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Moll Peatly

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  1. I would suggest that supple bellows would be essential, which leads me to recommend a well-played-in vintage instrument over a new Chinese one.
  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of music making! I hope it will bring you much pleasure, but fair warning: it will also bring you frustration and hard work. For tutorials, read the Instruction Books For Concertina thread. There are several that can be downloaded for free. Of paid-for books, many have recommended Easy Anglo 1-2-3, but I'm not an Anglo player so can't comment. You need to learn two things: the physical skill of getting the right sounds out of the concertina, and how music works. A decent tutorial will help with the first of these, and then it's up to you to practice. On understanding music, you probably know more than you think, and I recommend starting off playing easy tunes you are very familiar with -- I usually suggest Christmas carols. If you can join a beginner's music group (any instruments), that will be very helpful. You don't particularly need to read music, at least at first. Most Anglo tutorials use tablature, that is, they tell you which button to press when. You can also try learning by ear: think of a simple tune you know well and figure out for yourself which buttons to press when so that the right tune comes out; this isn't easy but is rewarding and a valuable skill to learn. Feel free to ask questions here. If you tell us what sort of music you are interested in, we may be able to point you to good resources.
  3. When I started learning the EC, I marked up scores (in standard notation) with the fingering (L1x, L1, L2, L3 etc). But I quickly outgrew it, and I have a most a dozen tunes marked up that way (plus the odd bit of complex cross-fingering still). It helps that I could already read notation as a singer, of course. I see tablature on the EC as like a toddler furniture-surfing -- an essential stage while you are trying to learn lots of different things at once, but one you grow out of sooner or later. Doing away with it is an important landmark in your progress from absolute beginner to post-beginner. (Maybe you need to come back to it as you get to more complex music with frequent cross-fingering, but I haven't got there yet.) As a teacher, you need (I humbly suggest) to assist your students in the early stages with whatever simple aids are necessary but also help to wean them onto standard notation when they can cope with it. It sounds from your post like you're doing it right.
  4. I have learnt that the Four King Sisters were a quartet of siblings with the surname King. I have not been able to confirm if that is what their agent called them when they hadn't had any bookings for a while.
  5. These, a thousand times over. Even if the lining is vintage/original, it is of paltry value financially and of zero value musically. The case is supposed to look after the instrument, not vice versa.
  6. That scale works nicely on the English when you want to give your middle finger a rest.
  7. I've just realised this is the instrument mentioned by mike byrne on page 1 of this thread. For some reason, when I first read the thread, his picture didn't show up. Apologies.
  8. I see that Barleycorn are currently listing a circular concertina. Apparently it plays fairly well with a "rounded tone". Naturally.
  9. You can do the several-tunes-in-one-document thing in recent versions of Mozart, using the music break feature. It was a bit fiddly last time I tried it (with v14), but v16 may be better. Here's a shot of a pdf I produced that way (the grey margins are from the pdf viewer).
  10. This is the hardest thing about the English layout IMO. See recent thread about Savage Hornpipe. After some practice, I find it fairly easy to play the lower note with my index finger and then curve the middle finger to the fifth above it. The good news is that this is the most common situation. I still struggle with the less common situation of descending fifths (and especially the medieval saltarello tune that goes ADADADA) and when you get thirds mixed in (e.g Indian Queen: EAF#AA) which ties my fingers in knots. Needs more practice I guess. One cheat that works for some tunes is to transpose it so one of the awkward notes becomes a black note. But better to grit your teeth and practice.
  11. Depending exactly where you are, I suggest you join the WCCP and get along to the Quantock Lodge weekend in late September (booking open to members now). I think there is a formal "try a different system" session, and there will certainly be loads of examples of every system with owners happy to show them off. And Barleycorn to sell them to you.
  12. It has been many years, but I believe the trick is to use the ruler upside down, so the edge of the ruler is a millimetre or so off the paper and therefore not in contact with the ink.
  13. These are the best bits of advice IMO. There are two problems with playing in a session as a beginner, even one billed as a slow session. First, you have to keep up. Solution: Practice playing along with a metronome and work on playing a few notes at the right time, and worrying less about getting all the right notes in the right order. Second problem: a concertina player, especially a diffident one, will find impossible to hear what they are playing over all the violins and whistles, and without aural feedback my their fingers will end up all over the keyboard. There are various ways to reduce this (sit away from the rest of the players, next to a wall so you can hear the reflections, etc.) but I'm not sure they will often be sufficient, especially against a "wall of sound". The Quantocks may be a bit far for the person in the OP, but here's how the WCCP coaxes beginners into performing in front of others. Day and weekend meetings with plenty of beginners and improvers, including people who have recently gone through the same stages, so genuinely supportive. Split into groups by music difficulty (individuals decide which music they can keep up with). Lots of roomspace, and only concertinas, so you have a chance of hearing yourself (at least if you're going astray). Arrangements with two or three parts of different difficulty levels, so each player can choose to play relatively twiddly bits if they are up to it, or just one or two notes per bar while still contributing to the music (actually, it would be great if they made some of these arrangements more widely available). Each group presents its party piece at the end of the workshop -- attendance warmly encouraged but strictly optional. Any chance of finding or setting up a group along those lines?
  14. I know little about anglos or klezmer. But I will say that my repertoire includes a couple of tunes in D phrygian dominant (aka freigish), and they are a doddle on the English. (My middle finger loves 'em!)
  15. Afraid not. This is just a sympathy post -- it is a cracking tune, and I've occasionally looked at it and decided that God simply didn't intend it to be played on the EC. FWIW (not much), my usual approaches to tunes with fifths are: - If possible, cross-finger so I'm using a different finger for consecutive notes. The ideal, but some tunes you run out of fingers or get them tied up in knots. - Use the same finger for successive notes. Not ideal, as it breaks the legato and I can't do it fast enough for something like the Savage. - Transpose so one of the notes is on the ring finger. Not always possible, and if playing with others, they may object to whatever random key you end up in. - Give up and play something else instead. The good news is there are plenty of other great tunes. I've occasionally tried experimenting with rotating the box, vaguely Simon Thoumire-style, to see if that makes cross-fingering easier, but I've never made it work satisfactorily. I have enough other challenges with my playing that I haven't pursued it.
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