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Posts posted by cohen

  1. Hello all. It's been a while since I posted on here, hopefully you wont mind me using this post for a little shameless promotion. 


    I am an English folk singer anglo concertina and melodeon player- some of you may be familiar with my work through the very nice thread that was started on concertina.net about 2 years ago:


    I've launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for my second solo album which I am planning to release at the end of the year. This album has been in planning for about 9 months, and unfortunately the current situation with Covid-19 in the UK has left me without work for the foreseeable future and therefore without funds to produce the album. I am therefore asking anyone that is interested to consider supporting the project through Kickstarter, in exchange for a range of rewards, including advance copies of the album, skype lessons, bespoke tunes, song requests, right through to your own gig.

    If you are interested, the kickstarter page is here: http://kck.st/2UFvMWE

    Thank you very much for reading.

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  2. I've spoken to Steve on a few occasions about his beautiful and unusual concertina. Steve refers to his concertina as a Bass-Baritone-Tenor, although Steve Dickinson says that Wheatstone referred to such instruments as 'Cello Concertinas'. I believe it is a 64 key Aeola but the bottom 4 keys have anglo action (i.e. they play a different note in each direction). The lowest note is a Bb which is nearly 2 octaves lower than the usual G bottom note of a treble English concertina. The concertina is still tuned in old pitch so its about 12 cents sharp of standard concert pitch. He said it came from a former salvation army musician from Doncaster. 

  3. My layouts for my 45 key Jeffries are in the PDFs attached. The first shows the layout as it was before I bought it (which is probably more relevant to what Adrian is discussing here). I had the layout altered when I bought the concertina. I was already used to the wheatstone/lachenal accidentals from my previous anglo so I had the notes on the top row altered to match that as shown in the second PDF. If I were to do the alteration now I think I may do it slightly differently, I have lost some of the advantages of the Jeffries system, especially the c#5/eb5 reversal and I have ended up with two eb6s on the pull. But my playing has been shaped by this layout and I feel that it is too late to change now.


    A few people have also raise the lack of an f4 on the push on the left hand on my concertina, it is one of the few missing reversals. I have seen a number of Jeffries (including Adrian's) that have an f4 on the push of the thumb button, but I use the thumb drone so much that for me it is a useful trade off.


    What is particularly interesting for me is the key at the top of the G row on the right hand (sorry not familiar with Gary's new numbering system) which both I and Adrian have as a G#/Bb reversal instead of the high F# and B as it is on almost every other concertina I have played. I find this reversal extremely useful, far more than the extreme high notes it displaces. I wonder if/why this is unique to only the larger Jeffries.

    Cohen Jeffries-key-layout original.pdf

    Cohen Jeffries-key-layout altered.pdf

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  4. But I'm wondering about that range. In the video, the lowest note I can hear (at the very end) is a G, two octaves below the fiddle's low G (2½ octaves below middle C). That's the same lowest note as my "G-bass" English. "2 octaves lower than standard C/G" would mean a lowest note (LH, C row) a full fifth lower than that. Do you really have such a note? (That would give it the range of the English "contra bass" seen in some old Wheatstone price lists, though I've never seen or heard of one in actual existence.) If you really do have that super-low C (3 octaves below middle C), I hope you'll record something where we can hear it. :)




    FWIW, my understanding of the "usual" anglo terminology is that a "baritone" anglo is an octave below a standard C/G (and so with the same lowest note as a "bass" English) and a "bass" anglo is an octave below a standard G/D (and so with the same lowest note as a "G-bass" English, that same lowest note I hear in your video).


    The range is a full 2 octaves lower than C/G so yes, the lowest note is C 3 octaves below middle C. As you say the lowest note in this recording is the G above that. I'll make sure to use the super low C if I record anything else on the bass. The bottom note is so low that you can actually feel it in your arm before it sounds, it's glorious!

  5. I thought I would take advantage of the festive season to give this concertina its first public outing.





    I bought this concertina a year ago in an auction, it was previously discussed on concertina.net here:



    It is a C/G bass 2 octaves lower than standard C/G. There is no makers name, but everything suggests that it is a Lachenal. The concertina when I bought it in auction was in a poor state- tuning all over the place, broken reeds, splits in the bellows, broken ends (at some point the ends have been replaced), but Andrew Norman did a great job at restoration and it now plays very nicely. Andrew finished the job in September, it hasn't had its first public outing yet, but I've been trying out lots of new material on it, so hopefully it will make an appearance soon.


    Merry Christmas!



    I grew up listening to my brother Tom playing morris tunes on Anglo but taught myself. He listened to Kimber recordings, but taught himself. So as another self taught Anglo player, who have you been listening to?


    My own listening these days has been an attempt to closely match the fiddle players I admire.


    Glad you enjoyed my playing Jody. Of course I remember you and thoroughly enjoyed your gig at Pete and Sue's.


    I have been influenced by a great number of concertina players, far too many to mention all individually. The great advantage of learning to play, as I did, in the digital age, is that recordings of countless concertina players are available instantly for me to listen to and study. But I'd say that the player that had the greatest influence on me has to be John Kirkpatrick, not only as an Anglo player generally, but I think he was the first player that inspired me to investigate the Baroque repertoire on the Anglo. It was hearing him play the Mattheson Gigue (second piece in my recital) that awakened me to the capabilities of the Anglo. And there have been a handful of other concertina players that have played material from the Baroque era that I have been able to take ideas from, especially Adrian Brown (thanks again to him for starting this thread), Brian Peters and Rob Harbron (though he plays an English).


    And as you say it is always useful to take ideas from players of other instruments, there may not be loads of Baroque concertina players but there are plenty of keyboard players and lute players along with flautist and violinists etc. playing Baroque material that I have borrowed ideas from and adapted for the concertina.


    If you don't mind my asking, there are many things I'm curious about. What was your course of study in the music department at the University of Leeds? I don't imagine they had (or you needed) a concertina teacher. What drew you to study a genre that you didn't expect to perform after your graduation recital? Did you have any exposure to classical music previously? Do you play other instruments (besides the melodion)?




    My course at the university of Leeds was BA Music. The recital you watched here was for my performance module which made up a third of my final year, the other two modules were dissertation and musical editing and source studies. For the performance module each student is allocated an external tutor that specialises on their instrument or voice, in the first year of my course the melodeon was my main instrument so I had lessons arranged with Pete Coe, by the end of the course, as you saw, the concertina was my main focus, but I didn't have any concertina lessons at all.


    I chose this repertoire because by my second year on the course I had come to the conclusion that the material that I was playing at that point (mainly folk dance tunes) wasn't technically challenging enough for the level that I was expected to perform at on my degree. A large part of my decision to look into the Baroque repertoire was the influence of hearing John Kirkpatrick play the Mattheson Gigue (the second piece in my recital). When I was looking for technically challenging pieces to learn on the concertina, this was the first to come to mind. I tried to learn it at the beginning of my second year on the course, but failed, so I decided to look for some simpler pieces that were composed in a similar style, which led to me exploring the rich Baroque repertoire. A year later I returned to the Mattheson Gigue and having a few other baroque pieces under my belt, meant that after much practice I was able to play it. Once I had these pieces learnt, I came to the conclusion that the Baroque repertoire provided material that presented enough of a technical challenge, while still being within the scope of the Anglo concertina.


    In answer to your other question, I had dabbled in a number of other instruments prior to the concertina and melodeon, but not much seriously. My first instrument was the violin (I did actually take that pretty seriously at the time) which gave me some grounding in the classical music world. I did get to grade 5 on the violin, but lost interest after that and the concertinas and melodeons took over. As well as my prior experience on the violin, I had studied classical and baroque music extensively throughout my degree from a historical and theoretical standpoint. This certainly helped when it came to my performance, but of course, the fact that there has been little prior example of baroque music on the anglo concertina means that I was able to make a lot of it up for myself.

  8. I've been completely overwhelmed by the response to this thread in the past week and the the number of places that this video has been shared to as a result, huge thanks to Adrian for sharing!


    Wayman is absolutely right here, the Baroque material I played in my recital is not a usual feature of my live sets. Other than university related performances I think I've only played Baroque material twice in public, both as requests, one in the case of the Sheffield gig that Wayman mentioned. To be honest I thought that there wouldn't be many people interested in Baroque concertina- I expected it to be a case of folkies saying "this isn't folk music, I don't like this" or for people interested in Baroque music it would be "that isn't an authentic Baroque instrument, this is bad", but I've been surprised by the number of people that seem to have enjoyed my recital, which is making me think seriously about incorporating some Baroque material into my regular set.


    I've had a number of emails from people asking about my concertina- a number of people seem to have thought it is a duet. It is in fact a Jeffries 45 key Anglo, I brought it in 2014 from Theo Gibb, but it had previously been advertised and discussed on concertina.net here: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=15586


    Thanks again to everyone for showing interest in my music!


    Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

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