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Kathryn Wheeler

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Everything posted by Kathryn Wheeler

  1. I like how you incorporate the finger choice within the bellows direction indicator. Very efficient. It also will make it clear which button you’re using pretty much I’d think. (Apart from the odd case where you get two identical notes on the same direction of course) I’d been using the lines like in Gary Coover’s notation to indicate out bellows.
  2. How do you make a note of what finger to use where? There are times where it is useful to have a reminder especially when you’re working out a tune or coming up with an accompaniment for it. Or those times when you’re writing a tune down for others to learn At the moment I’m writing a finger number in a circle (because occasionally I also use numbers to indicate a button choice). So there are two things here that need numbers! In my playing I occasionally feel the need to make a note of what fingers I would like to use, because good fingering choice can make all the difference can’t it! Some things just feel right whereas other choices are all wrong for a particular context. And these patterns of notes or runs occur time and time again, so your fingers remember that pattern. On a 20 button anglo this issue occurs from time to time eg a shift of hand position down on the left side when you want to navigate the lower reaches in certain contexts. And sometimes you need to change the finger you usually use on a note here and there. When coming from a 20button to an Anglo with more buttons then what finger to use where becomes even more of an issue - what fingering should I use in this phrase or run to feel most comfortable, to incorporate buttons on the top row (or wherever extra buttons are on the instrument). When you search for fingering on the internet you will get lots of “fingering charts” that actually are just what notes occur on the pull and push for each button. That’s not what I’m talking about! So, if some people call this fingering, what do they call “what finger to use where”. On every other instrument I’ve played _that_ is called fingering, haha! what do you do?
  3. I don’t tend to play mouth blown reed instruments but yes can see how it might add to free reed instruments!
  4. Yes diatonic instruments do lend themselves to modal music don’t they! I first came across modes in medieval music and then realised we use them unconsciously a lot in folk and other popular music. They’re great! On bowed strings, because you don’t have buttons for notes or even fret’s indicating where to put fingers, you can play any pitch - even notes that don’t exist in our scales. But let’s assume we just restrict the ones we do use - then you can be restricted by how the notes lie under the fingers, changing strings (using patterns that feel nice or interesting), or whether to change position. You can impose restrictions. And that’s not even going into what bowing options to use. It can seem really overwhelming but imposing restrictions can help. So it’s refreshing to pick up the 20 button anglo!
  5. That was a fun listen, thankyou, and a gorgeous background picture. The landscape looks familiar but I can’t place it. I find it fascinating how the different modes affect the opportunities for accompaniment. I also like how some are more sparing because that gives nice contrast. There are two instruments going on in that recording by the sounds of things. I’m actually now tempted to play around with the idea on a different instrument too because how the notes lie under the fingers will be different. This was after jamming on viola last night in an impromptu session after a dance out (it’s a side where all the music is on bowed strings).
  6. Ah fabulous! I’m just starting to think of interesting dance ideas and combinations- the tunes come far more quickly!
  7. Yes! And such interesting modes come out don’t they! Actually wouldn’t that be a fun exercise - a tune in each mode. And yes there are many joys in exploring this instrument aren’t there - I think not having things that more buttons give you makes for working with what you do have. And a restricted palette can lead to creative choices! You can also see that with melodeon chord basses and buttons, resulting in people using some gorgeous unexpected harmonies.
  8. It is very pixie-ish indeed! In fact we have plenty of interesting mushrooms that come up out there 🍄 And yes it’s a brisk version of a dance step we do (when I say we I don’t mean pixies haha!)
  9. Whilst I'm on the subject, I've found when writing tunes for dances that it is much appreciated if it is based as closely as possible on the structure of the dance and make it feel like it feels to dance it, if that makes sense. I've come across quite a few tunes that don't do that and it actually frustrates me when I dance them! A good tune choice can really add extra energy!
  10. I must say I resemble a concertina-playing pixie in amongst the speedwells here haha! This jaunty, puckish tune is one of those that just happened whilst absent mindedly noodling about. Just as the speedwells popped up unexpectedly when I stopped mowing a patch of lawn. It's all based around a repetitive riff or rhythmic figure, if you prefer, which uses notes that occur on both the push and pull. Here it's a D and A alternating with a D and G and then, in the middle section, a B and F# alternating with a B and G. There's something very mesmeric about these sorts of riffs, where you alternate the same note on push and pull. You can get quite a few of them on the 20 button anglo. I might do something on that subject soon. It also makes a change from chordal accompaniment. The melody in the right hand also just happened - I'd recommend anyone having a go and seeing what falls under the fingers and sounds good. What's fascinating is the mode that the piece is in - it's a D-ish kind of tune (like a D major scale but with a C natural on the seventh). D mixolydian mode I do believe! And then in the middle section it goes into what sounds like B minor. But! Very unusually it has a C natural on the second of the scale (B phrygian mode). But actually it's a lot simpler really - these scales are what happens when you try to play D major and B minor on a C/G 20 button anglo! You don't have any C sharps!
  11. This is fascinating, thankyou! I am suspecting that who and what you want to play concertina with is having a big influence.
  12. Yes I agree - I took up dancing a few years back after being a musician for years and now I aim to play the music just as it feels to dance it. Watching the dancers closely and how the feet fall, the rhythm of the stepping and the atmosphere of it all. Mind you I’m mostly dancing these days rather than playing for dancing! It’s also given me an appreciation for what tunes feel like they’re suited well to the steps and structure and what doesn’t - and also things like if and how things are swung, rhythm wise.
  13. This one whirls and swirls along, but then gets a bit ominous in the second half. A bit like the river Severn! Sometimes you can be having a pleasant stroll along the meadows, thinking about your next pint, but at others it's a real force of nature. It might sound a bit French in name and style. It's inspired by the memory of my friend Mike Kerslake who played hurdy gurdy, who lived at Bevere in north Worcester, a stone's throw from the river. The word Bevere, however, doesn't sound half as refined as it looks! - it rhymes with "every" and is related to beavers!
  14. I do like to look at ridges across a foreground of fields
  15. Yes, now you mention it I can really hear the French influences. Isn’t it funny that you don’t always notice things like this at the time. It’s possible there’s a classical waltz influence behind that somewhere. But basically it feels good under the fingers!
  16. That’s what I was thinking of, yes, violinistic. In the sense of “lies under the fingers, feels good to play” sort of way. However the concertina version sounded strange hence having a laugh!
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