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Kathryn Wheeler

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Posts posted by Kathryn Wheeler

  1. Fascinating!  Is the increased flattening because we are more likely to detect a change in pitch at those lower frequencies or something to do with the size of the reed (I’d have thought a bigger reed might be more stiff/harder to move by an increased pressure of air?)

    The concertina definitely isn’t producing the watery burbling you can hear in the recording (luckily recordings not off video confirm that too...phew..)

  2. Hi everyone,


    What methods do you use to record nice audio on your concertinas?  I'm interested in seeing what solutions work for this instrument, what equipment you may use etc.  Forgive me if this has already been discussed - if so, a link to any relevant threads would be great.


    I have wanted to do quick and easy recordings so far (as I'm so new to it, I didnt want to overwhelm myself with setting up loads of stuff..might not have got round to it at all if so!) - for that a phone and a nice quality small recording device are quite handy for when you're in a rush or out and about.   The phone's audio is fine for rough ideas and seems ok enough but the video - well at the moment I am investigating the possibility that it introduces a strange distortion (a watery burbling), which might have something to do with some settings on the phone, a microphone used by the phone when videoing being duff or possibly stuff introduced by Windows 10..investigations ongoing!


    However, I do have access to some vocal mics (although no condensers - these are performance mics) and mixer/recording software on a computer (no instrumental mics at the moment that are suitable - only instrument specific mics on my piano accordion - so yes, I'm familiar with an instrument having two ends that move!!)


  3. RIght, I've had a listen back to the audio (by listening to it on my phone with earbuds in and also on my computer with headphones) and I've discovered a few interesting things.


    The issue is a garbled sound which sounds like it is underwater-like distortion.  A burbling.


    I have checked the levels in a mixer and its not like there is any clipping - the sound is not now and never was too loud.  So that's good.  I exported the video file as an mp3 (not ideal but eh) and looked at it in Audacity and found a note with the warbling and zooming into the waveform nothing looks untoward (that distortion must somehow be in there as information though).


    Initial web searches reveal that this sound distortion type is known - and may be something to do with recording devices that people often use to dictate into/use in meetings (and phones?) being optimised in some way for voices rather than music.  Apparently something called  "echo cancellation"/noise cancellation can cause that   I'll look into that.


    I am wondering whether it is because I filmed it on my phone and didnt use a separate mic/recording device.  So far all the videos of me playing concertina taken on the phone have that burbling.   I am going to continue seeing if this is a problem with iPhone videoing.  Also its possible I did a bit of initial editing (trimming of the video) on my phone and possibly also in Photos in Windows 10 before importing into my film editing package.    I'm going to test this by recording some video!


    Its odd because when I use the recording app on my phone the burbling is not there.  Also the burbling is not there when I use a separate recording device (I havent used a proper mic yet).


    That said, it was my second ever attempt to play something live videoed on a concertina - and I didn't want to spook myself by setting up a load of stuff and getting all perfectionist about it.  Since then I put a recording device further away as well as video - and that doesn't have this distortion on it.

  4. Hi Theo - I recorded this on a phone, as a video, so nothing fancy and it’s possible the phone could have been too close and there was clipping maybe?  I’ll have to take a look/listen to see what sounds there might be.  It was my first “proper” video of me playing concertina and I guess it’s a surprisingly loud instrument and I haven’t done proper experimentation into distance etc yet.  So there’s that possibility I suppose.


    As for tuning/set up of the instrument- I’ll do a careful listen.  I’m aware of the concept of beating from tuning fifths in violins but am not at all clued up about how concertinas are tuned (yet).  So, I assume octaves should ideally have no beats?  The instrument came from a dealer back in April and I haven’t had anyone look at it since. 

    Will report back after investigation!  Whatever, it’s something to learn from!  Thanks for pointing it out

  5. Dan - Thankyou, those are incredibly insightful and useful thoughts, which sum up a lot of what I’m starting to find out.  Honestly that would make an amazing quote for an album (not that I have one!) or website or gig promotion - there are some wonderful turns of phrase there!  Count me very encouraged to carry on enjoying tune arranging on this lovely instrument. 


    I love the way the 20button encourages certain ways of thinking - in how to accompany oneself on it (and I am finding there is more and more to learn and more ideas a plenty to uncover .. right hand accompaniment of various sorts, playing unisons/same pitch using different buttons creating a lovely different timbre - those are what I’m thinking of just now). It’s like the Anglo has opened up a new compartment of how to look at making up melodies, how to approach rhythm and how to accompany.  I really don’t want to lose this way of thinking and am in no rush to do too much on more buttons. 

    I have played piano accordion for a good few years now and come across so much oom pah, yes! (but to be honest I treat it like a portable synth/keyboard with lots of r hand chord stuff and very much value it as something I can accompany people in a wide variety of genres/styles and in any key.  I don’t really do straight folk on it)  


    So,  I definitely want to explore how the Anglo is different - the rhythmic potential, the in-out ness of it, the alternative ways of playing the same pitch, just the way the pitches are so differently arranged.  It’s fascinating to find out what suits the instrument and what doesn’t. 

    But honestly it’s made me look at the piano accordion differently - particularly the left hand side and combining chords and bass in interesting ways now.  Though I did have the disconcerting feeling of “should I play the next bit on in or out bellows...aargh”.  A sign ive been concertina-ing  a lot!


    I keep thinking I should listen more to recordings (I have a bit - I’ve analysed and replicated a few - both old ones and more recent players I’ve really liked) but I’ve been mostly just noodling, finding out what it can do and coming up with ideas and then and working on arrangements.  

  6. Thankyou!


    Some really insightful and valuable comments, I really appreciate that.


    Wunks - ah yes, I didn’t realise what exactly was going on there until I wrote what I’d played as sheet music! I just remember wanting to add bounce and dancing rhythm to it like I’ve felt dancing Morris.  I have definitely enjoyed those rhythms in some melodeon playing I’ve heard.  I haven’t quite got my head around what is involved playing it on the fiddle (I guess the bow is moved quicker to cause the accent?) but now you mention it I have noticed it in some players that play English fiddle tunes.  Can you recommend anyone to listen to? Do you play yourself?

  7. Thankyou, John and RAc!


    Yes, lockdown has been an interesting mix, certainly all interesting and a definite learning curve.  I know a lot of people who haven’t touched instruments and others who have been playing for local clubs’ zoom nights. I hope you are still feeling like playing. 

    RAc - on the subject of concertina face, I guess that was a particularly jolly tune - my latest one is more “deep and meaningful” so there’s probably plenty of interesting expressions there.


    My standard piano accordion face (maybe it’s a thing with free reed players?) is one of whimsical “away with the faeries” expression


    I must say the layout of the buttons on the Anglo and the push pullness of it and the fact there are not all the accidentals on a 20button is fascinating and leads to a whole new way of thinking about music


    Im particularly enjoying how the alternatives with different buttons or on the push vs pull (even on a 20) are great for say playing one section legato vs dancey 



  8. Hello everyone!  I hope here is a good place to put this - if not, let me know!

    I've been on the anglo concertina Facebook page for a while and have now discovered this forum.


    If I have videos to share, where is the best place to post them, please?




    I took up anglo concertina back last April, at the height of lockdown and it's really been my go-to instrument ever since.    I have been a musician pretty much all my life and I found the impossibility of getting together with band mates or having gigs and (the worst) not being able to jam, improvise and work on material with others, live, in person and in the moment, really hard.  As a result, I strangely went off singing and playing anything I had been playing with others.  Luckily I'm getting some enthusiasm for those things back now somewhat - and I hope it will continue.  Also, on the upside, I'm writing lots and getting round to arranging music to perform all on my own.  I really havent gone for Zoom or similar at all, for some reason, although I realise it has been a godsend for some - possibly because I love playing with others live.  That said, collaborative videos have been a wonderful thing.


    Anyway, I have found, right from the very start, that picking up my 20 button Lachenal has ended up with new tunes coming out of it.  I've recently started videoing them (as well as producing sheet music)


    I love the harmonic way of playing, but also really like picking up tips from other styles, too - after all, it depends on the piece and what feel it has!  


    I really enjoy working with different ways of arranging a melody such that it results in (hopefully) lots of nice variety!


    Here's one of my recent tunes:


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