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Jesse Smith

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    Buffalo, NY, USA

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  1. It started with the pad occasionally getting stuck just the slightest bit open (so I could hear an air leak on that side, but no real effect on the note), but then it got worse and the note would continue to sound even after I released the button, but going flat and fading out. I'm pretty new at the Anglo, so I'm not sure what could have caused it to get worse.
  2. If there are problems in both directions, then it is almost certainly not an issue with the reeds. If your "sick duck" sound is the note going flat as it fades away, I recently had a similar problem and it turned out to be an issue with the pad sometimes not closing correctly and letting a little air slip through. If I lightly pumped the bellows without pressing any buttons, I could hear the air leaking on that side. I think the lever arm was not centered on the pad and as it pivoted it was sometimes binding up against the pivot point. In the end what I did was reglue the lever arm to the pad, with the pad better centered on the hole and the arm better centered on the pad. So far everything seems to be moving smoothly and that side of the box is now airtight (or mostly so!) again.
  3. I think the big difference is that Irish dancing tends to be done close to the floor, with small steps, whereas much of English dancing is done with larger movements, either with a skipping step or outright leaps and capers as in Morris dancing. The more time "in the air". the longer the space between beats.
  4. I am shocked that a ren faire organizer would be a stickler for period accuracy. Most of the bawdy songs they sing are modern rugby songs. Vendors are selling steampunk jewelry. People are walking around eating smoked turkey legs. Randy, I hope you will continue writing occasionally. I have greatly enjoyed the stories on your blog.
  5. I am very new at this (started on the Anglo last month), but I can already tell you that unlike Aaron I find the right-hand G4 and A4 incredibly handy to have, so that I can play the run from G up to C all on the right hand while saving the left hand for bass and chord accompaniment. (I play English/harmonic style.) The pull D6 is useful, and the C7 is not at all common in tunes but it's a note you wouldn't otherwise have at all and seems like it will be useful to be able to go all the way up and finish the scale in C. The other extra buttons I don't think I have found use for yet, but as I said I am very new to the concertina.
  6. I will be there, assuming the freight railroad strike doesn't cancel my train (I'm David's aforementioned passenger). In the event that happens, hopefully a last minute car rental can be found. I'm thinking I will bring my new Anglo as well as my melodeon, in hopes of sneaking some advice off Jim and Jody and any other Anglo players I run into this weekend. Looking forward to your English pub session, Jim!
  7. Since I started playing the melodeon and more recently the anglo concertina, I've been resigned to the fact that if you're going to play weird instruments like this in the United States, you pretty much have to be a bit self-sufficient about doing minor repairs. I'd recommend David Elliott's Concertina Maintenance Manual to anyone who owns a concertina. Much better to learn to diagnose and correct a silent or constantly sounding reed at home than to spend the money for roundtrip shipping to a fettler and have to cope with the anxiety of sending an expensive and unique instrument through the mail. Still, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that more fettlers would be a great thing!
  8. Fair Play was actually written by John's late wife Sally Kirkpatrick. I'm sure he would be happy to know that her tune is still getting played across the water and inspiring new dances!
  9. The song was written by John Tams to the tune of Swaggering Boney. I prefer this recent version over the half-declamation style of singing in Roberts & Barrand's version. And I like that they included the Morris slows.
  10. Hello, I've just acquired my first concertina, thanks to Greg Jowaisas. It is a Lachenal anglo concertina, apparently their "Special Model". Inset metal ends, 44 bone buttons (including air), parallel reed pans, 7-fold bellows. Serial number is 121324, stamped on the right-hand reed pan. The label on the right side reads "Lachenal & Co. Patent Concertina Manufacturers, London". My estimate of manufacturing date from looking through the past posts for nearby serial numbers is 1892. Does that still seem accurate? Thanks!
  11. That's great! I used to sing the song all the time when I was a kid. I was a big fan of the show.
  12. You might appreciate a book called "The Inner Game of Music". In some ways it is very much a "1980s self-help book" but its core concept is that performing well (in music, or sports, or anything really) is largely about getting your inner critic to shut up and take 5 while you're playing. Unfortunately, the book spends 200 pages beating that idea into the ground, but you might find some suggestions for helping to quiet this voice. Skim the first chapter, maybe!
  13. That might be the most laidback rendition of the Wonder Hornpipe I've heard. Lovely sprightly stepping from the ladies. (It really is wonderful to see a group that never stops dancing the entire time!)
  14. I don't think you would ever regret knowing how to read music. But the notation only tells you a fraction of the story about how a tune could be played. There is so much more to the rhythm and dynamics (especially with a bellowed instrument) that you will never learn from notation. When I'm learning a new tune, I will usually start with notation if available, but with the understanding that it is just the skeleton of the tune. Then I will listen very closely to a favorite recording of the tune. And for any given part of the tune, I might imitate that aspect of the recording or experiment with my own ideas. By the time I have practiced a tune enough to say I have learned it, I will have memorized it and won't need the sheet music anymore.
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