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Posts posted by geoffwright

  1. This subject was discussed some 4 years ago and concensus seemed to be that there was no way of notating in a logical way to fit all concertinas above 20 buttons (especially Jeffries which have a number of different layouts).


    We all thought T(op),M(iddle) and B(ottom) seemed more logical than C,G and Other row, although the larger anglos have extra buttons dotted around, so some variation of <T3 will fit most cases. Of course the 3 stave tab gets around what to call the rows, but can increase the size of the music to "Jumbo print" proportions.


    We also agreed it was not a good idea to notate whole tunes in tab, but to limit it to where the fingering was different or some cross-rows fingering was required. The tab should only be a reminder, not a notation. It is probably better to learn a few tunes with the new fingering in, to get it into the sub-concious so they become automatic.


    Various people pointed out that tab of this sort has been used by trad concertina players e.g. Mrs Crotty, and the Helperby Fiddler document was also reputed to have anglo tab scribbled into it.


    Personally, I only use musica picta for anglo chords or scales (especially in one direction) and use a button layout chart with numbers on.

  2. I was sat watching R.H. and commenting on the various points mentioned as they came to mind. As usual, he had to think for a minute how he actually did it, as he does it automaticly without thinking about it.

    I don't think he does do a full 90 degrees rotation, which was why my 30 degrees came into discussion.

    As far as moving the plate goes, in the discussion on Sunday, we both agreed that even placing the little finger on the near corner of the finger plate rather than the curved end moved the concertina position round to an angle where the bottom notes are easier to reach as basses when playing a tune. Just moving the plate an inch back with a slight adjustment to the angle would help IF you wanted to alter the hand position just a little.


    I also remember inspecting S.T.s thumbstraps and didn't see any modification - they were just at full length.


    In answer to Bruce, the bellows technique is probably where the two differ, but due to the speed they operate at, it is hard to tell. R.H. plays with rapid changes in direction to suit the tune and as you say, keeps the ends quite close together in a V shape. Neither play in the smooth in/out flow that most E.C. players use.

  3. Just to make matters clear, I was talking about playing a tune and adding a bass line and/or chords at the same time. Possibly something different to "just" playing chords, which many people do on the E.C. using the standard finger position.

    The photo of S.T. shows exactly what I was enquiring about. The only thing he does to his concertina is use the thumb straps as long as possible.


    My point about the finger plate is that if it was moveable, possibly on a slot, it could be used to play in the usual hand position, but with the concertina rotated round at a bit of an angle. (Imagine S.T.s concertina with a finger plate nearer the bottom of the buttons - I know that is the extreme case).


    And don't laugh this idea out immediately, Jim - during the weekends discussions with Robert Harbron, he did say that he was having a special one-off concertina (with 4 extra buttons) made by John Dipper and he was going to do something different with the finger plate, but hadn't decided what to do yet.


    Like S.T. who learned E.C. in isolation, hearing them but not seeing them being played, Robert Harbron heard concertinas playing bass runs and chords under the tune, liked it, and copied it on E.C., not realising it was an anglo he was listening to, hence his fingering style.


    Someone else, somewhere, must have learnt to play like this?.

    I fancy trying!

  4. After spending a weekend watching Robert Harbrons' technique, especially his chord playing, it struck me


    that much of it is made more difficult if you use the usual English hand position with the fingers at 90


    degrees to the buttons.

    N.B. If you don't want to play chords, this may still apply to you.


    If you want to play chords, isn't it made easier if the fingers are parallel with the buttons?

    Would this be made easier by

    A) Tilting the concertina forwards through some 30 degrees so the buttons are nearer the angle that the


    fingers usually lie in.

    B) Posibly doing something with the finger rest to help this new position.


    This technique (or something very similar) is used by Robert Harbron and Simon Thoumire, and probably




    Does anyone else use this technique - anyone any thoughts/suggestions on it?

  5. Here we go - rant mode.

    To my mind, in England at least, the problem is the BBC run a mile from the F word as they are obsessed with youth listener figures (It doesn't matter that their audience invariably aren't at home so can't be listeners).


    Listening to the likes of Mike Harding, it is hard to tell whether it is a Country & Western programme or pop music as it definitely isn't Folk. He will say the program is called Folk & Roots, but that is a feeble excuse. Why not have a separate Roots program (Gardners Question Time?)


    A brilliant example of a good Folk programme is Folkwaves (Radio Derby on Mondays) 2 hours streamed Folk run by 2 instrumentalists (Mike Peat & Lester Simpson) so the singing is kept to 50:50.


    I do listen to Late Junction and Any Kershaw if I am in the car late at night and they play an incredible amount of Trad Folk (including concertinas!), providing you listen to a lot of other stuff in between, so they are allowed to play it (after 11pm).

    What there is a dearth of in the North of England is local Folk, since the BBC axed Henry Ayrtons programme without warning (thats how worried they were about axing it). That programme used to cover from Radio Derby up to the Borders with info about who was playing where and it was popular but not to under 20s. So what? The programme that replaced it is dire, unprofessionally produced and not really worthy of Local Radio funding. Keep nagging the BBC all of you!!!!!


    So the answer is, compared with Radio Scotland (around 8 weekly folk programmes) and the Irish output, we do not get our licence fees worth of folk.

  6. You should pick the best key for the finger-layout your concertina - be it C/G or G/D. If people want to join in - thats fair enough.

    Melodion players who have not tried it, refuse to admit that D/G boxes CAN play in C or A - miss it out or play another note if it isn't there!!.

    If you are following other people, C/G players don't crib, they just get on with it in F through to A with no complaints.

    What is it about flute and melodion players who maintain they cannot transpose - get some scales learnt.

  7. I once met someone who had turned the pages for the celebrated concert organist, Susi Jeans, who warned him that she was used to reading about twenty bars ahead of what she was playing

    I was turning pages for a long-retired cathedral organist who is still alive so shall remain nameless (clue FJ). Half way down th page, he said turn over, then, continuing playing, he said "Isn't it clever when you can do that?".

    Clever git.


    If you take your music on stage, you never see the audiences reaction. If you take your music into the pub, you take up too much room and again, there is no eye-contact. You also miss the funny bits.

  8. I played PA, BA and M (G/D) before AC and EC (work all those out).


    What I found most helpful was that PA encourages you to play bass runs (providing you practise your scales) and these are readily available on AC (again, after scale practise).

    PA is also useful for training the ear to what a major and minor chord is and how counterbasses work with chords to make inversions - all done with one or two fingers.

    And on the subject of fingers, there is no better exercise for strengthening up your left hand fingers for AC than some PA bass scales (And vice-versa).


    Yes, accordions and concertinas do mix, as long as you use the quietest stop and take the musette off, in fact, the blend is often better than some concertinas with accordion reeds.

  9. As usual, Samantha is not far from the truth - why look down when playing? If you are not alone, have a look around the room while you play. Watch the audience asleep, watch the other concertina players grimace - you are guaranteed to have a smile on your face.

    And if you are following other players, it is a must to look up and watch - don't just rely on ears.

    You can also signal to other players if you have eye-contact - "look at him, snigger snigger".

  10. ITM can be played for dancing across here - I play interspersed with proper Scottish stuff and the dancing class purists still dance to it - they propably don't realise.

    If you are primarily a dance band player, you might make ITM sound more interesting to English ears by making it danceable rather than a race.

    I am pleased but not surprised Chris found it a revelation.

  11. I think the worst thing about taking music on stage (especially for concertina/accordion players etc.) is that people hide behind the music. We want to see you playing your instrument, not your instrument appearing either side of the music.

    So in future, arrange your music stand to one side or low enough so the audience can actually see what you are playing. There is nothing looks worse than a band of stands.

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