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Kathryn Wheeler

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Posts posted by Kathryn Wheeler

  1. On 4/9/2024 at 2:52 AM, Victor F said:

    Hello I am starting to learn about chords and have some questions. 


    When a music sheet has the letter of the chord on top does that mean you play the chord for the same length of the note below it? Is there anything special that needs to be done if the melody line includes the note in the chords?


    I noticed that in the Gary coove Easy Anglo 123 book that the c chord is notated as being 4 notes C-C-E-G.  I believe that it is only C-E-G? Is there a reason to include the extra C?


    I have attached images showing examples of it.




    There are many ways to play a C chord (I'd only use that bottom C sometimes if I wanted some extra bassiness).  You don't have to play all the notes, or you could double up some of the notes (as done here).  No rules really - just use whatever you think sounds good or feels good.  You don't have to play the third of the chord (the E here in a C chord) or you could just play the C and the E and no G (especially, say, if you have the G in the melody).  


    It's funny you say this, because I was literally only yesterday showing someone the suggested chords in this book - they're a really good starting point but there are often many ways to play the same chord on an anglo.  Even on a 20 button.


    For example - if you want a C chord, you could basically mash together any notes on the C row and make one!  Or play cross row and choose your C from the C row, the G immediately below it on the G row and then the E next to the C - a nice triangle shape of buttons! (Triangle chords as I call em!  If you play that pattern of buttons up and down on push and pull you can find other chords!)

  2. I don't play Irish music, but I would be experimenting with what sounds good or interesting.   From what I know the harmonic accompaniment is often extremely bare in that style, with some bits here and there.  It's all about the horizontal flow of the melody and it's ornamentation?  It's almost like any other notes are a kind of ornamentation.


    There are some harmony "rules" about what notes can be useful.  Do a bit of research on chords and how they're formed and the chords that go with the notes of scales of different keys. 


    If you've just got one big long Fsharp and you want to put some accompaniment in to go with it, you could try any notes in the chord of Fsharp major (F# A# C#) or Fsharp minor (change it to a non sharpened A) - I think it's probably most likely it'd be a F sharp minor as that's most commonly used in folk music, for example.    OR it could be a chord of D major (which has an F sharp in it) so you could try any notes from D F# A.  There are other chords you can use (and I've just read the other response above which has some others).  Experimentation is the best bet as it can throw up some really interesting and unexpected sounds which can be used for effect.

  3. This is a short snippet of Just As the Tide Was Flowing*.    It's a traditional song, but I started playing it for accompanying Border Morris dancing.   Specifically for a dance we do in Bow Brook Border Morris that goes by the same name (but we call Tides).  The dance was originally devised by the Witchmen side, who are a very inventive lot, coming up with a lot of popular dances. 


    I think this snippet captures the feel of the dance - specifically the A section here represents a figure where partners cross over for four, turn and then stick for 4 (which is repeated).  This is then followed by standing and sticking in the B section.  


    What I play during the dance really depends on what the dancers are doing.  In the very flowing (and rather raunchy) repeated "choruses" what I'd do is fuller and more rhythmic than what I'd do in the figures (like verses - the dancing changes every time).  In the figures I vary things up - sometimes I'd do melody in octaves, sometimes I'd do a countermelody (and sometimes there are other musicians).  The full range of what I tend to do is in the full video I've already posted.  


    *I've already posted a full video.  



    • Like 6
  4. Two ways:

    One end against left thigh (if I'm doing tricky things especially with my pinkie on the lower left side) - right side if right (I have a short little finger and it helps..)




    Playing the anglo standing (e.g. for dancing/singing with a group) - in which case I'd like to say I play it more vertically, with the instrument over the elbows, but in practice it varies..  I also move it around more (unconsciously - I guess it just goes with the whole body movement).

  5. It is brief (1 minute long), but it’s based on a longer video (that I also posted yesterday).  YouTube Short videos have to be 1 minute maximum.


    This is the original piece:


    Yes, played on a Bb/F with a good few more buttons.  It was played as if it was on a 20 though!  No third row in the tune.  In fact the piece it’s based on was originally written for one row!


    Theres more information in the video description on YouTube 

    • Like 2
  6. What an interesting discussion!


    I tend to use flavour words, as these come to mind most readily.  For example - a harsh violin E string I would describe as being sharp and lemony, or acidic, or stringent.  The lower tones on a viola might be fudgey or chocolatey.  


    Regarding concertinas, I've played some that were too metallic sounding and others that were warm and rich (is that still flavour, or am I using a wider range of words?)


    But saying this, since I studied acoustics I do use other terms like "this has too many higher overtones" (for harsh and bright). 


    Some concertinas have been excellent in terms of response and playability but have just a uniform sound I'd term "pure" (i.e. not enough soul or character...not emotionally complex enough?..that's quite an intangible thing to describe!)  I wonder if it is related to pure in the acoustic sense i.e. not having lots of overtones and having a sound wave more like a sine wave.  


    I did do an acoustics project but it was on the medieval fiddle.  It would be interesting to look at the acoustics of different concertinas and compare them i.e. do fourier analysis (look at what harmonics are present in the sound) to analyse the timbre.

  7. Hi!

    What else do I play?


    Piano accordion - I've realised I don't really play it for folk, unless I'm accompanying.  A lot of right hand chordal stuff, interesting harmonies, really using the sustain capabilities.  Basically a portable keyboard/synth with a nice bass! Lots of pop influences. Good with singing.


    Viola - chuggy rhythms, harmonies/countermelodies, double stopping, more soulful than my violin, which I'm not really using at the mo.


    Medieval fiddle - love the potential of it for droning (bit like a hurdy gurdy) and the interesting tuning.

    • Like 2
  8. Sorry I haven't responded to all your really interesting comments until now!  It is fabulous to see someone doing Cotswold Morris with a concertina - all I've been doing so far is a simple Border step.  I'm deep in Border country here, with little opportunity to try Cotswold. 


    And I haven't been in the set with other dancers (good point about sticks!)  The only processing I have done is at festivals just playing whilst walking (and the dancer's did their thing). 


    I do very much like how the anglo is a natural for really getting the _feel_ of the dance step in its playing, if that makes sense.

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