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Jesse Smith

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Everything posted by Jesse Smith

  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.
  15. I had already learned some of this stuff from learning to play the guitar for Beatles songs, etc., but I read a good book called "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People". It's fairly comprehensive, but goes at quite a gentle pace and has lots of fun doodles and cartoons to make it feel more accessible.
  16. It must be true, I play the melodeon (and soon the Anglo concertina) and I'm constantly feeling pushed and pulled in all directions! 😄
  17. I received a copy of Gary Coover's "Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style". I don't actually play the anglo concertina (yet!) as I am focusing on the D/G melodeon, but Gary's book has transcriptions of some of my favorite John Kirkpatrick tunes as well as plenty of other good stuff that works just as well on the anglo's close cousin. And someday when I do turn to the anglo concertina, this is definitely the style I want to play, so I was very happy to get this book now just in case it ever goes out of print. (I also own a copy of "Easy Anglo 1-2-3" which I bought when first deciding between the concertina and the melodeon.)
  18. Very nice, thanks for posting. I've been learning Rodney on the D/G melodeon, and I imagine the melody fingering is pretty much the same on the anglo, right?
  19. Are the reeds actually silver? What sort of tone does that lend?
  20. Hmm. Personally, I am leery of that approach, if only because I have seen too many videos and recordings of people who play like that not just for practice but "live": speeding up on the easy parts and slowing down on the more involved sections. I prefer to work on tricky bits in isolation, so that I don't inadvertently practice an unstable rhythm into the piece. But for others it might not be a problem.
  21. Oh, and I also think experienced performers (John Kirkpatrick comes to mind) have a whole bag of well-rehearsed tricks to cover up and recover from mistakes. I'm not at the proficiency level to know what those tricks are, but I expect that once you play an instrument and a set of tunes enough, you learn some "holding patterns" that can get you back onto safe footing.
  22. Rhythm is more important than melody when it comes to sounding like you meant to play it that way. If you flub a note, as long as you don't fall off the beat most people won't even notice. If you can convert the wrong note into a grace note or suspension that resolves to the right note, all the better. Don't draw attention to the error. Smile if you need to react but definitely don't grimace or wince. I think there are two types of practicing regarding mistakes. One is like what LateToTheGame said, where you stop and drill that tricky section repeatedly and slowly until you can play it correctly. And the other thing is to actively practice playing a tune straight through without losing the beat, even if you play some wrong notes. Both are useful when working towards a performance standard.
  23. Mikefule, I hope I am not hijacking this thread, but do you feel a 20 button anglo is sufficient for most English tunes? I don't play the concertina yet (I am learning the D/G melodeon) but I would eventually like to acquire a C/G anglo. Would 20 buttons be sufficient for playing harmonic style arrangements of English tunes, possibly including accompanying songs? My top musical "role model" at the moment is John Kirkpatrick, and I believe he plays a 40 button anglo and makes use of them all! But of course I'm not looking to play professionally or revolutionize the folk world, just to play for my own enjoyment.
  24. Hello Dee, I am also in Buffalo and I'm also interested in finding people to play traditional music with. I am currently learning the diatonic button accordion (aka melodeon), but it's quite similar to an anglo concertina (and I would love to learn the anglo someday as well). My focus is mostly on English folk music. I plan on attending the Nietzsche's session at some point but I'm not sure if it is more focused on Irish tunes and my melodeon wouldn't fit in there. There is a "button box club" in the suburbs of Rochester that meets monthly to play button accordion and concertina. I've attended one session, but it was the day I acquired my melodeon so I didn't play. If you find a local group to play with, let me know! Jesse
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