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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. Though I play a different style to you, here's what I do. I aim to keep the bellows somewhere at the midpoint, neither fully in nor fully out. I always strive towards this "home" position, and you can sneakily use the air-button to incrementally get back to this "base" position, hopefully without unduly affecting the volume. If there comes a point in the tune that you have to play a chord that is all press, then several bars or a phrase or two back, you can start to make preparations to "store up" air, knowing there will be a big draw on that reservoir of air coming up. It applies in the reverse too - if you have a passage which is all draw, you can seek to depress the bellows, letting off air, sneakily again, even though you might be using loads of press notes, to almost fully collapse the bellows, now knowing that you'll have a massive intake of air into the bellows coming up. I hope this makes sense to you, and I presume you are playing an Anglo concertina!
  2. To a large extent, it depends on the type of accordion, which you played, and also the style of music you'd like to play. If you have played a diatonic accordion, you'd have no problem playing a concertina. The concert pitch Anglo Concertinas come mostly in C/G or G/D. (C/G would more suit Irish Traditional Music, and similar folk musics, whereas the G/D would suit you more, if you wished to play in the harmonic style or accompany yourself or others singing.) With the C/G you have 2 keys, in which you can play straight away, however if you wish to play in other keys, e.g. in D, F and / or in A, you'd quickly run into problems due to the lack of C#, B𝄬 and G# notes, which typically you would get on the 3rd row. If you played a chromatic accordion, B/C or C/C#, it might initially take a little while to get used to the arrangement of notes. You could check out concertina makers, who have put fingering charts up on their websites.
  3. It could depend on the style of music, for example harmonic vs ornamented, or whether the player is playing single row, whether in C or G, or cross-row. Different makes of concertina might have different notes at the bottom of the right-hand side too. There can even be differences between 30 key instruments and 38+ key instruments. I have a draw G#5, where usually there might be an F#6, and it is a Godsend for playing tunes in A major.
  4. You could contact Frank Edgley, of Edgley Concertinas in Windsor, Ontario, also here on Concertina.net, who might be able to recommend someone to you.
  5. You'll find it here: http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=abc.sourceforge.net/abcMIDI/original/coll.txt/0005 Mind you, the tune, as played in the video, is being played in the key of C, whereas the tune, as written on the abcnotation site, is in the key of G.
  6. Can you share a picture of your concertina please.
  7. I wonder is it a G/D instrument, or even an A𝄬/E𝄬 concertina.
  8. 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.
  9. Here's a link, not too sure though, if it is current: http://michaelravenpublications.com/catalogue/folk-music-books/1000-english-country-dance-tunes/
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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."
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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