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jon melville

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About jon melville

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    midlands, england
  1. I'm on the lookout for an English concertina. I already have a mint Wheatstone 48 with metal ends, which is great for tunes but a bit strident for song. So.... a wooden-ended Wheatstone or other, must be steel reeds and pristine condition..... any out there for sale? Anyone have any opinions on the Marcus or Morse ones the Music Room sells? What about, say, a 56-button tenor-treble? Do they have the same notes in the same places (so I don't have to re-learn everything) with just a couple of extra low rows underneath, or are they different? Again, that could be useful for singing to. All comments gratefully received.
  2. While we're on instrument functionality, the EC is easiest to play if you're left handed, since it has no hand bias. Important for a lefty; I play other instruments upside-down and that isn't possible on an Anglo.
  3. However, on English, octave notes change hands each time, so it's quite straightforward to play diads and triads underneath melody, since most of the notes you want an octave below are on the other side. IMHO, it's easier to play English in an Anglo style than vice versa. People have commented that they think I play both systems for morris: smooth graceful legato with swells and lifts for Fieldtown and Sherborne corner dances and punchy melody over snappy chords for Headington dances, for example. Actually, of course, it's all English.
  4. I found that sitting at home with CDs and playing along as if at a session helped - you get into the way of playing the important notes like the first in each bar, plus recognising the runs and intervals as they crop up "live" - then when faced with tunes in a session, I could apply the same approach. It is better to play few, correct, notes than to over-reach and get it all wrong. In a supportive session like the one you described, you will earn a lot of kudos and respect.
  5. I always loved the tone of the concertina. I practically grew up listening to Keith Kendrick all the time. I played piano accordion (and guitar, mandolin ....) and then met me better half who also played a 120 bass PA. Two hernia ops later I HAD to take up something lighter, and English was the obvious choice, to still give the volume to compete with an accordion.
  6. In the case of the standard treble English, the button next to the useful low G is an utterly useless G#. Not a major problem to have it retuned to F, as I have done, to give that low note for songs and tunes in F or Bb.
  7. There are two tracks of him on the "Magic of Morris" CD and a significant number were released on cassette by the Morris Ring, which I believe will eventually be reissued on CD. They may have some tapes about (and BFB who runs the morris ring shop also carries the "magic" CD.
  8. I believe he was shipboard on both occasions when torpedoed FROM submarines. A real character, I have fond recollections of him teaching bartenders all over England to make a pink gin. Also a rare charmer, a fellow morris man put him up for a ring meeting and his ardent feminist wife was all prepared to meet him head-on. It took him less than a minute to have her eating out of the palm of his hand and waiting on his every need. I had the honour of him playing for a jig many moons ago at a ring meeting; although he had a tendency to play a little fast and "grandstand" when playing for set dancing, he paced it beautifully and waited for me to land every time (I was about 18 at the time and got a long way further off the ground than I do these days). Later on in the drinking, he fell over at the feast while playing yet did so without missing a beat and completed the dance playing prone. The world was somehow a brighter and less-predictable place with him around.
  9. I have found that if anything 30 buttons leaves some spare for trad. folk music in G and D, with forays into F, C and A. However, where I've found I need the full chromatic set is for rags and swing numbers. As a jazz pianist, you may find yourself limited by fewer than 48 buttons (I've not explored the 37-button layout, so that may be adequate). In addition, as a musician, you are likely to progress faster than most beginners and may find the limitations of the cheaper boxes in terms of speed of playing and response hinders your development earlier than some. If you are relatively central I am not far south and west of the Leicestershire mafia, should you be seeking further advice - feel free to PM me. Also I would recommend a visit to Chris Algar of Barleycorn Concertinas, Stoke-on-Trent area. Massive collection, although probably all above your price range, but an opportunity to see and discuss and play what is available and what the limitations, pros and cons might be with an expert.
  10. The picture which has made some of today's UK newspapers is a frontal shot of a group, one of whom is definitely playing PA.
  11. I haven't heard it, but I can guess. Speed the Plough in phrygian mode? English tunes, and particularly morris ones, are a great opportunity to explore other modes. I occasionally do the Upton-on-Volga Stick Waltz (Aeolian mode I think).
  12. The tights should of course be red - Lincoln Green is a misnomer, like Bombay Duck (or is that Mumbai Duck?)
  13. As an aside, a few years ago the Royal Ballet formed a Cotswold and rapper team. They were well taught (they sought out the best instruction the morris world could offer beforehand) and performed spectacularly, with high jumps few mere mortals could aspire to. I had an opportunity to discuss this with a couple of the guys. They said the biggest problem they found with learning the morris was the requirement for a lack of precision - the fact that you are not supposed to point your toes "just so" in such-and-such a movement, but a degree of imprecision was needed to reflect the essential rusticity of the dance. They themselves had recognised that as an element of the morris which they were striving to emulate in order to be authentic. The other interesting snippet I remember is a discussion on "doing nothing" when others in the set are performing capers. Ballet never requires dancers to "do nothing" on stage - they always have a position to be in and an action to perform, even if that is to remain stationary. Standing stock-still in precise ranks is not doing nothing, as any soldier or performance artist will attest, and has a tendency to draw attention from the capers. However, nothing in the last few posts has done much to help Mikefule with his fingering, nor can I offer any assistance as an English player, so perhaps we should get back on topic?
  14. Believe it or not, Mikefule, I think I still own one of those. I got it about ten years ago - it's a London-made one (only the actual French-made ones are worth any money apparently) and has a single diatonic row, melodeon-style but in reverse, in F, plus another half row which gives all the accidentals to make it fully chromatic. Two bass buttons, root and chord, give chords of F and C. When I say in reverse, I mean it plays the chord notes on the draw not the push, so a melodeon player would have to think "backwards" to get a tune out of it. Mine was thoroughly battered, slightly out of tune and leaky, so I gave it to Pete Grassby to mend. He offered an expensive rapid fix or a cheaper "when I have a minute" job and I haven't seen it since!
  15. Oops - realised almost as soon as I posted. English, 48b, treble.
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