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Moll Peatly

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  1. That's an interesting experiment, but your results are less statistically compelling than they might intuitively seem. If it was completely random whether right or left responded first, then 45% of the time you would get at least a 5:2 ratio in one direction or another. In other words, if you counted how many left-hand buttons respond first, then 45% of the time your answer would be 0, 1, 2, 5, 6 or 7. So this is not evidence that left-hand buttons tend to respond first.
  2. Instruments can be described either melodic or polyphonic, depending whether they can play more than one note at a time or not; and also as staccato or legato, depending on whether the note tends to be sustained after the initial attack. In theory, the combination gives you four categories of instruments, but in fact, nearly all fall into one of just two categories: A. Melodic, legato: Voice, bowed strings, winds. B. Polyphonic, staccato: Piano, guitar, harp. Nearly always, if you are choosing exactly two instruments for a duet, you want one from list A and one from List B. Voice and guitar complement each other well, as do violin and piano. Voice and violin tend to fight and clash, likewise guitar and piano, so they are very unusual combinations. Concertinas and similar are oddballs: naturally legato but polyphonic. So the above rule doesn't help much. I tend to think that the thick, rich sound of the concertina needs to be accompanied by something pure and bright with a sharp attack: harp, mandolin, or hammered dulcimer would go well, I reckon.
  3. WCCP have a residential weekend up the road in the Quantocks this weekend (30 Sept - 1 Oct), and Barleycorn will be there with a selection of their concertinas for sale. You could give them a ring, and if they've got anything that sounds up your street, gatecrash (or even better, pay to attend!) the do to try it out.
  4. That's a great lesson. When I am faced with an unfamiliar tune as dots on a page, and start off just playing it mechanically like your computer, it sounds terrible, until I can figure out where the phrases sit, after which it suddenly begins to sound like a tune (even with all the wrong notes and shonky rhythms I introduce).
  5. What David Barnert said. If you sing a song, or read a poem out loud, you will naturally take a breath at the end of each line. That's a phrase. That's where the bellows change will naturally go too.* Most stereotypical concertina tunes, especially for beginners, will be in two or four-bar phrases, so "periodical movement" and "phrase movement" are the same thing. The main thing you will need to check is whether the phrases begin and end on the bar line, or if there is a pick-up note (anacrusis) so the bellows change comes between beats 3 and 4. A difficulty you may have as a beginner is that fumbling for notes and correcting errors takes up time, so you run out of air and have to change direction in the middle of the phrase. That's just part of learning, don't worry about it. I believe the duet and English are naturally played in a more legato style than the anglo, and bellows control is a big part of that. That's what "you should never hear the change in direction" is about. But of course different music demands to be played in different ways, and as an anglo player you are doubtless familiar with the effects you can get. And as you get into more interesting music, the phrasing and bellows work will be less rules-based and more a matter of style. * It is not a coincidence that the length of the line in a typical poem is very similar to how much you can speak before taking a breath, or that the length of phrase you can play on a violin before changing bow direction is very similar to the length of phrase a person can speak or sing before taking a breath, or that the length of phrase you can play on a concertina before changing bellows direction is very similar to both. Each ultimately derives from your lung capacity.
  6. Obvious answer: contact the people you bought it from. You've probably figured out that concertinas are mechanically complex beasts, and it's not uncommon for new (or old) instruments to need a bit of fettling. A reputable seller should do that for you, within reason. You will still want/need to do a bit of basic servicing yourself, though, and the best resources for that are (a) this forum* and (b) Dave Elliott's Concertina Maintenance Manual. *Except for me. I haven't a clue how to fix one note sounding louder than the others.
  7. It is a good tune, and as pseudonyms go, I'm definitely more of a "Moll" than, say, an "Old Simon the King". 🙂
  8. No instrument can do everything. That's why there are lots of different instruments. Major categories of instruments include tuned/untuned, staccato/legato, melodic (monophonic)/harmonic (polyphonic). Any instrument will be unable to play some specific types of music, or only poorly. You can't play a piano piece (polyphonic) on a violin (monophonic), and if you play a violin piece (legato) on a piano (staccato) it will typically sound rubbish. It also makes a difference if you are playing solo or as part of an ensemble. Some instruments are great solo instruments, others (especially rhythm) work best in an ensemble. With that basis, a concertina can broadly play any Western music. Some individual pieces will be impossible, of course. Some styles will suit it better than others, but depending how rigidly that style is defined and guarded, it should usually be possible for a concertina to make an effective contribution. For example, you can't bend notes on a concertina, which is a major feature of blues; but that doesn't stop pianists playing the blues. If you want to play a concertina in a particular musical style or genre, and it's physically possible, then go ahead and do it. If it's a genre which doesn't have many concertina players, it may take some effort to make the music work, but if you do, the genre will be richer for it. And of course, if you're just playing for yourself and friends, anything goes.
  9. Thanks, I appreciate you were trying to be helpful. I suggest the appropriate course would be to point Don to this thread and let him get in touch if he wants to.
  10. Please don't post other people's personal details (including email addresses) without their express permission.
  11. So we have an answer, but not the question? Let's see... Is this it? The linked page says "Concertina in case, with label Scottish Concertina, W. Mitchell, Wishaw", and picture is "© GREAT WESTERN AUCTIONS, Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland, UK" as per the third post in this thread, so appears to be copied from the same auction listing.
  12. Chant was written without sharps or flats, only natural (white) notes, apart from the occasional B flat. This means that any instrument that can play in C major (preferably with access to a B flat as well) will work. I'm not familiar with anglos but presumably that means a C/G anglo will work, other configurations may or may not. Any English or duet concertina will cope fine in this regard. This doesn't mean that it was all in C major; in fact hardly any was. You apparently know about modes and stuff. The upshot is that the keynote or tonic, around which the tune is centred, could in principal be any of the white notes. Different keynotes will have a different feel because they are different modes. I mention this because even if you only want to drone on the tonic and the dominant, you will still need most or all of the white notes available. A keyboard that doesn't have an F natural will be a big problem. (I was going to add something about relative versus absolute pitch, A=440, and all that, but I think that's a purely theoretical distraction, so I'll leave it. I assume you would expect to play as if written at modern concert pitch.)
  13. Helmholtz notation So yes, c' is middle c (or C4 in scientific notation).
  14. I like the idea of transparent ends, so you can see all the workings and gubbins. Like a skeleton clock. When I'm rich...
  15. Ask yourself four questions, in approximate order of importance: 1. Does the idea of getting a different note from the same button when you push and when you pull seem (a) perfectly natural and sensible or (b) utterly bizarre and brain-mangling? 2. What sort of music do you mainly want to play? (a) Folk and similar, in a few common keys or (b) a diverse range of music in all keys. 3. Should you use your two hands (a) right hand high notes, left hand bass like on a piano keyboard or (b) both hands playing an equal role like on a typewriter keyboard? 4. Do you expect to play (a) largely by ear or (b) largely from printed music/dots? If you answered 1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, get an anglo. If you answered 1b, 2b, 3b, 4b, get an English. If you answered 1b, 2b, 3a, 4b, get a duet. If you answered anything else, get a banjo. 😈
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