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John, Wexford

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About John, Wexford

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    Concertina, Uilleann Pipes, Maths
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    Co. Wexford, Ireland

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  1. I wonder is it a G/D instrument, or even an A𝄬/E𝄬 concertina.
  2. If the "R" indicates the Right Hand Side, it would seem doubly unusual to be chamfering these holes, as the notes would generally be in the 2nd octave or upper register.
  3. Here's a link, not too sure though, if it is current: http://michaelravenpublications.com/catalogue/folk-music-books/1000-english-country-dance-tunes/
  4. You're lucky - my oldest cat attacks me. She bites my fingers, she bites me on the leg, on the arm and most recently she jumped on my shoulders from the kitchen counter, digging her claws in, in the process.
  5. I'm not quite sure how to reply to your post, so please forgive me, if my reply seems somewhat simplistic. First off, I have to say that it seems to me that all Anglo concertinas appear to have 2 names; the "Technical" name or fully qualified name, (to pinch a term from the internet), or the "Nickname", which does rather lead to lots of confusion. So a technical name for a concertina might be "C/G", (the names of the rows), but I suppose it is now universally accepted that this is actually really a concert pitch, or "D" concertina. So, an informal rule of thumb might then be to: nudge the first note of the 2-note designation of the concertina up by one note to give the concertina it's nickname. On that basis, then, a C/G concertina is a D or concert pitch instrument; a Bb/F concertina plays in C. It gets a little bit confusing, however, when you look at an instrument like C#/G#, but, if you allow that another name for C# is Db (or to give it it’s more correct musical symbol D𝄬) and that G# is also Ab, then another name for C#/G# is Db/Ab – one note up from Db then is Eb, and so, a C#/G# is "informally" also known as an Eb concertina. There has been a marked trend towards playing in Eb in recent years. And so then the Ab/Eb concertina is pretty much seen then as the Bb concertina. I want to change direction here for a bit. So what actual fingers do you actually use on a C/G instrument? You can get every note from E on the first line of the stave to b' on the 2nd space above the stave, with 4 notes available as either press or draw, (being B, c, d', and e'), with only two fingers on each side. The only notes out of range therefore are D and F#, (possibly C# also), but it is helpful to keep the LHS pinky finger hovering over the F#/D button and the ring finger over the draw D note, so this is not really an inconvenience. That all sounds and looks great, until you tackle tunes like Lady Anne Montgomery or The Lads of Laois or Denis Langtot's, all reels, where there are fairly intricate note combinations that require to be done with the weakest 3rd and 4th fingers on the LHS, and usually at speed, especially so if you are not left-handed. There is no doubt, but that this is difficult. So, wouldn't it be great if there was some system out there, which would transfer all the low notes up to the strongest fingers on the LHS and RHS, and there is - it is the lower-pitched G/D system. But there is a price to pay for transferring up the lower notes to your stronger fingers on both sides – the high notes now become somewhat more difficult to ornament, simply because there are no further buttons with which to do simple graces and rolls, and you now have to do all these graces and rolls with your weakest fingers on your RHS. So, it’s sort of a “six of one”, and a “half a dozen of the other” situation. So, if the G/D concertina could be seen somewhat as a solution for being able to play low notes more easily, than on a concert pitch concertina, the Ab/Eb is the corresponding solution for playing in Eb, and this is what I was alluding to, in my previous post. Sorry for being so wordy, but I hope this is of some help to you. If you have any other query on these different systems, you can reply in this thread or dm me.
  6. Yes, concertina players do roll the F# on the 2nd space on the treble clef, but not the full-fledged tin-whistle, fiddle, uilleann-pipe type rolls or C#/D style accordion rolls (I left out the B/C accordion here), but rather different groupings of notes, more like "extended grace-notes", as Noel Hill was once wont to describe them. I should point out here that the D2 (according to your chart) press roll is nowhere near as satisfying as the draw D2 roll. You don't have to slavishly follow the rolls from other instruments, and, if you try to emulate these rolls on the concertina, you'll be doomed to failure, from the start. My pinky is below the level of the last joint on my ring finger, I'm sure everyone's is different to some extent. But that really suits me. I park my pinky finger on the F#/D button, and it is always accessible. Just to reiterate, the F# is on the inside row, and really convenient. What you are proposing to do, is stretch your hand across to the location of the proposed new E button, with the pinky finger, then shift your hand position somewhat down to get the upper note in the roll, i.e. this case 1st finger draw G on the outside row, then back to the E, to then execute a really fast E triplet, consisting of the new E, D and E, with your weakest/smallest finger, and, presumably, also with your middle finger slightly tucked in under your ring finger, (most likely, your ring finger will be hanging out over the end of the concertina), just to get the draw D. The first thing that comes to mind here is that your hand is going to cramp, severely, I would say. The 2nd thing is: what a waste of resources - you'd be tying up your weakest fingers, possibly on your weaker hand, in unbelievable contortions for one roll ! The next thing I have to say is that, as you well know, concertina buttons and button accordion buttons are completely different. You can get away with a lot on the accordion, because of the flat, smooth, large buttons; it is just so easy to slide a finger from one button to an adjacent button, even in the middle of a roll ! Not so on the concertina. Finally, no amount of "air concertina" is going to condition you for the level of contortion, you'd be likely to experience, if you go ahead with this proposed button change. I suspect, as Dave Elliott was implying, that your Lachenal might not have this button, and so you have not been able to fully experience the reach across the instrument, and the scrabble for the grace-notes, at speed. What I would suggest is that you ask your maker if he or she would be prepared to add an additional button above the RHS B2 / C3 button, (not all makers do). I have a press F#2 there, and it is brilliant in triplets, and in some rolls. Or, possibly, go with the earlier suggestions from Dana Johnson. I made the transition from button accordion to concertina, and you'll do fine. I started off mostly RHS fingering on the C row, going right up to the RHS pinky finger, up to B3 on your chart. There was almost always a pause or "delayed reaction" when I went to the LHS, but you get used to it. At least you can already play; you can skip the introductory tunes, and the rudiments of music; you know what you're aiming for, and; presumably, you have an existing reportoire. No matter how long you stay with the concertina, there will always be a stage in sessions where you will say to yourself "I have never played this tune on the concertina before."
  7. I'm sorry I completely misinterpreted your original post. I had assumed, wrongly now, as it turns out, that the proposed F'# /E' note, to which you referred was an octave above, i.e. the 5th line and 4th space, respectively on the treble stave. I know the fingering chart you had in mind. So, unfortunately, all my previous comments are negated. If I understand it correctly, you are looking to roll the E on the first line of the stave, by doing something like this: E -- G E D E, i.e. intending to use your left hand side pinky finger as a lynchpin or fulcrum, and to quickly weave your draw G and D notes, using your 1st and 2nd playing fingers, around these 3 E notes. What I would suggest is to take out your concertina, don't push or pull your bellows, and without sounding a note, do a dry run of the roll. I think you'll find that this is completeley unworkable.
  8. Hi Kevin, Triplets don't necessarily have to be all in the one direction. I have many triplets of the type: In / In / Out and Out / Out / In. I have far less where the the notes in the same direction are at the end of the triplet, but they do exist. What you don't want to end up with is In / Out / In or vice versa. You've got to look at how many fingers it takes to accomplish your triplets and rolls as well. Take a look at your suggested run of notes DEF#G. If I were playing these notes, I would play D' LHS, E' (same button), F'# RHS and G' (same button) and it takes just 2 fingers to do this. If you did manage to implement your suggested note changes, then to play D'E'F'#G' , whether push or pull, would take 4 different fingers to do this; 8 fingers in total, if you want to be equally conversant with both push and pull versions. Essentially it is not worth the effort, even with the proposed note substitutions. Take the E' F' G' triplet - try this one - E' (1st finger LHS) / F'# / G' (F'# and G' are both got with the 1st finger). To my ear this is much more satisfying, and the bellows change gives a little bit of crunch to the triplet, plus you have accomplished it all with just 2 fingers, your strongest on both sides of the concertina. It is far easier to change bellows direction at the end of the triplet, than to depress another button. You'll have to get used to the fact you'll never be able to fully duplicate the accordion-style rolls on the concertina, but there is fun to be had in coming up with the alternatives. I hope this is of some help to you. Regards, John.
  9. There's actually 2 different versions of the "Concertina Reel." There's the standard version from thesession.org, which has simply been transposed up from D to G, and then there's the version, as transcribed by Pat Mitchell, and which is included both in his seminal book "The Dance Music of Willie Clancy", and on his solo LP album, from 1976, entitled "Pat Mitchell - Uilleann Pipes." You can listen to a 20 second clip here on Apple Music Preview https://music.apple.com/us/album/uilleann-pipes/1280455332 Pat is playing on a flat set of pipes, which I think are pitched in B, so this short clip should be coming out in the key of E.
  10. The grace-notes or cuts don't necessarily have to come from the same row. The press B on a C / G instrument works well for both press G's on the Left Hand Side (LHS), and the G's themselves, and the grace-notes and rolls on the G's, are all fairly interchangeable. The C on the RHS would be my second choice, for gracing G. I would like to produce a guide to concertina ornamentation, but it is a ways off at the moment. (I do have an index, however). Can I ask, do you cut E's with F#'s, and F#'s with G's on the whistle and flute. This, my reply, I can see, has crossed with Notemaker's reply.
  11. In this recording, Noel Hill is playing an A𝄬 / E𝄬 concertina, which is the same as saying that he is playing an E𝄬 version of a G / D concertina.
  12. Hi RAc, I'll answer from within narrow confines of ITM in Co. Clare. We had a friend, a player who also danced. Typically we would be playing ITM for set dancing, mostly falling into 2 distinct types of set; the Caledonian Set or the Lancers Set. (There are other sets danced in Co. Clare too). I'm going to give an example for the first 2 figures or movements. Typically we would play 2 x 2 part double reels for the first figure, so that works out at AABB x 2, and repeated for the second tune. Most of the Caledonian set consists of identical sequences danced by the "tops" and "sides", or two couples facing each other. The advantage of this arrangement was that as the "tops" finished their sequence, the "sides" came with a new reel, often chosen to be a complete contrast to the preceding reel, and thereby, hopefully, giving the dancers a bit of a lift too. For the second figure of the Caledonian set, a much shorter figure, we used to play 2 single reels three times, so that would be ABABAB, and repeated for the second reel. The added advantage, again, was that the "sides" again took over with a new tune. Our friend had an exact arrangement for every figure. The remaining three figures were all biggies. Typical Clare, everyone danced reels, but the fourth figure could be played as jigs, but you'd have to check with the dancers first. There was an optional sixth figure of hornpipes, but not everyone danced the hornpipe figure. (As a novelty we used speed up the last 8 bars up to reel time). To us musicians, the hornpipe figure looked to be the same sequence of steps, whether it was the Lancers or Caledonian. Our friend had an equally extensive repertoire of tunes for the Lancers set, timed again to co-ordinate so that the sides came in with a new reel or jig, as appropriate. Perhaps there could be something here for you, in changing tunes, when different groups take their chance to dance, or speeding up the last eight or sixteen bars of a hornpipe or strathspey dance. Regards, John.
  13. You could contact them directly - they have a website. http://sfo.org.uk/contact/
  14. There is no doubt but that Noel Hill and Tony Linnane's 1979 album is a gorgeous and classic album. . What might not be so well-known though is that Noel plays between 80% to 90% of the material on the album on an A𝄬/E𝄬 concertina. An A𝄬/E𝄬 concertina is the E flat equivalent of a G/D concertina. The only 2 tunes played by Noel on that album in C/G fingering are the Hornpipe "Johnny Cope", (on a B𝄬/F concertina) and the Reel "A Pigeon on the Gate", (on a C/G concertina).
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