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Roger Gawley

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Everything posted by Roger Gawley

  1. Actually, it makes a treble good for playing anything you could play on a fiddle! If you want to sound like a fiddle too, you need to do some work with the bellows but you can get close. I remember closing my eyes at the concert where Alistair Anderson played with the Lindsay String Quartet. In the final number where Alistair was playing the second violin part, you would swear that all the instruments were strings. Roger
  2. Good together aren't they? What struck us was that Emma, who is half-Swedish, sounded a bit more English as a result of playing with Rob and Rob sounded a little more Swedish (slightly less English anyway). Then they pitch into American tunes and it all sounds different again. Rob is now on the road with Nancy Kerr and James Fagan. Just finished a tour with Methera, a folk-inclined string quartet which includes Emma. Best part of the show was their "big band" set together. Go see the man in any combination.
  3. No you don't. You have to separate the notes but it is no particular effort, more a way of looking at things. English players may be more inclined to start from a written tune and they are sometimes written out to look more uniform than they are played. You need to know what a hornpipe for instance should sound like but it is not particularly hard to play properly on English concertina.
  4. Certainly. Fairly easy Depends who you are. Ever met Keith Kendrick? Most Northumbrian pipes seem to be in F-sharpish Probably not. Win some, lose some, Roger
  5. Many of us are pretty ropey and reading rhythm from the dots but, as noted by others, the written dots are often only an outline of the tune anyway. If you ever get to hear Alistair Anderson describe how Will Taylor taught himself to read music, do. In outline, Taylor who had been playing traditionally for decades, found himself confined to home by a nasty virus, sent his wife to buy "1001 folk tunes" and started with those that he knew working out what the dots meant. He was quite good at reading by the end of the week.
  6. I realise that you are joking but actually it is not. It is easier (for some people at least) to hack out a simple melody with one hand on piano than whistle. The trouble is that this is so easy you are expected to do something different with the other hand. Like everyone has already said, some instruments are easier for some things. The easy one for you is the one you get on well with.
  7. tallship has beaten me to filling in the names. Having printed out the tunes and taken them home, I see that something funny has happened to Rusty Gulley. The time signature is given as 3/2 but there are six quavers to the bar. Now, around here (northeast England) Rusty Gulley is generally played with an alternating rhythm. Take the dots as they come out and treat the time signature as being alternately 3/4 and 6/8. Actually a few 3/2 tunes seem to do this but not always so regularly. Not explaining this very well. Think of each bar as six notes, whatever they are and place the accents in the odd-numbered bars on beats one, three and five of the six and in even-numbered bars on beats one and four. I think this is what the Cut and Dry Band do on The Wind in the Reeds but they play it very fast. Will try to dot this out over the weekend, Roger
  8. That would be the CD that should have been called "The (almost) Complete Cut and Dry Band" featuring Alistair Anderson with the two Robbs and two other Northumbrian pipers whose names will not come right now. So they should be played very staccato if you want to get the pipes sound. I know a record shop (OK, I partly own it) that would be happy to send the recording to any part of the world.
  9. Somewhere (think it was on concertina.net but I cannot locate it) I read a discussion on the most productive ratio of listening to actual practice when learning a tune. The view expressed by people I have great regard for was that ten to one would be about right. Time of day is also very personal, but remember the state-dependent learning effect (that which is learned whilst drunk is best recalled whilst drunk). Once you have got somewhere with a tune, try to play it at different times, in different rooms and watching the buses go past the window. Happy practicing, Roger
  10. Two-finger, three-finger and four-finger styles are all possible and all have advantages. Try everything and settle on what works best for you. But, sooner rather than later, consider using a "wrong" finger to avoid problems. The most common challenge is to play two notes a fifth apart (and so using the same finger) either smoothly or very fast. The solution is to cross over a finger but which way to do it will depend on your hands and on the tune. You need a map of which finger goes on which button to make any progress when starting but you also need to move beyond it to get past a certain level. Emily Ball got me to be more flexible about which finger I used on which button. I wish I had run into her much sooner. Roger
  11. There is no one best way to learn: it depends on many factors including the kind of person you are today. Some ways are better than others and the ones involving other players (not necessarily concertina players) are better than sitting at home with any kind of teaching aid. John Adey is right that Kilve would be good. I went there for the first time in March. They are a very friendly and encouraging bunch. May go back in October although it is a long way for me. Essex may not be that much closer than Durham. Roger
  12. I am sure that both Bella and Martin share your belief that the song is more important than the singer. They do have stylised voices but so did many traditional singers. Each of them wrote one of the songs they sang so they have first go at what the style for that one should be. Bella seemed very nervous; she is normally more relaxed and that did affect the voice. When he played at the CD launch party, Chris Sherburn said that he found it difficult to find the right note to accompany Bella's voice. Many players would pick up a different concertina but he preferred to work it out on his normal instrument.
  13. Having spent much of the last couple of days at The Sage, Gateshead watching final year performances by students on the folk degree course at Newcastle, I can understand how Anne feels. She should not worry though: youth brings something to music but experience brings something else, particularly to song. Best of luck to both of you in this new enterprise! Roger
  14. I certainly agree with the "lovely young concertina player" description. Any idea how those of us who cannot get to Tulla in the near future might get a copy of this CD?
  15. Getting out to meet other duet players is definitely good advice. Perfect if they play Hayden but good anyway. Last week at the Swaledale Squeeze, I invited myself to sit in with Tim Laycock's duet group: five people playing three different systems! They were very kind. None of them play Hayden (truth be known, nor do I) but they offered some good ideas and were very encouraging. Get out there and meet some players. Do not wait until you are "good enough". I did that with English concertina and missed years of support and fellowship that way. Of course, if you can get to England, Hayden players are more numerous although still thin on the ground. Visit Kilve and you can probably get advice from the man himself. Roger
  16. This is all very true. Rob Harbron often does something where he holds on the common note whilst changing the others. For instance, when going from a C chord to a G chord the G note is common. You cannot do that with one finger on three buttons. The advice to try both ways and see which you prefer for this case seems to hold good for many aspects of concertina playing (and probably much more). Allan Atlas says much the same in his book. The only bad way to play is one that causes injury. But I do not agree about wider spacing. Obviously different players have different fingers. In just about every case where Allan describes his way to cross fingers, I would cross the other way round. Does not mean that either of us is wrong: just different. But nor does it mean that changing the design would be a good idea. The beauty of English concertinas is that they are all the same (well, nearly) unlike Anglos where finding two the same is a surprise (am I allowed to say that here?) Roger, ducking and running
  17. The spacing is just about perfect. You (well I anyway) can use one finger per button if you want to or one finger on three buttons sometimes. A few weeks back in a mixed band led by David Oliver and unsurprisingly containing two piano accordions, we were looking at a chord that started out as an E7. You can do that with three fingers on the left end of an English layout. Still get drowned by the PAs. Then David suggested getting a bit jazzy (it was a cajun tune so artististic sensibilty did not enter) and adding the 9th. I got a bit carried away and put in the 11th, 13th and 15th. Had to cheat a bit and move the G# down and play Aflat with my little finger. At this point all I can do it clamp the instrument to my left knee and pump out the rythm using my right hand but it does begin to compete with the accordions. Seven notes using four fingers on one hand. Still not up to some of the stuff in Dancin Wtih Ma Baby. No need for any improvement, Roger
  18. I have one of them, great fun. My wife bought it for me to stop me going on about wanting a hammered dulcimer. The trapezoidal tune cards have crochets and quavers printed on them under the strings with a zigzag line to follow the tune. They also use commas to mark the points where a singer or whistle player would breathe. These are remarkably helpful. Italian tadpoles do not tell the whole story. Of course, this only works for short tunes. It is meant to help you hack out a tune that you know. I believe that it was intended for Russian schoolchildren but some evil capitalist grabbed it and shipped it to England. Roger
  19. Thanks for this. I had missed the construction and repair thread; seen it now. I might take the ends off anyway but I am forewarned. Have not developed a playing style yet so your comment about hand position is useful. What you say about the reeds is true (I was aware of this before I bought the instrument). It rates average on the baritone scale. That is to say that compared to baritone concertinas which tend to suffer from the same problem, it is better than the worst I have ever played and not as good as the best. OK, I will try some deep, low chords. I sometimes play in a group with two piano accordions so need something like that. I seem to be making myself out to be an ace player. Actually, I can play Three Blind Mice in parallel octaves so far. But in a range of keys! Encouragement always welcome, Roger
  20. I wrote this for jammer (like a concertina but wider, keywise) keyboards, but perhaps you will find it useful. Jammer playing - reading music scores. Ken. Thanks, Ken. We seem to look at music from different points of view but you have some interesting ideas there. Roger
  21. It was wonderful. The weather wasn't but everything else was. I had this plan to write a "report" but have not recovered enough to do it yet. Still do not really understand about the prawns. Roger
  22. This sudden burst of interest in the Hayden duet is of great interest to me as I have just bought one of the square "bandonion" models. Any guidance on playing it, helpful web resources etc, received with gratitude (and maybe even thanks). I am in touch with Brian since I bought it from him, Roger
  23. There are two schools of thought on this one (and some very strongly held views!) If you can play two or three buttons consistently with one finger, go ahead and do it. Or course this can make it difficult to play moving chords (such as going from a C-chord to a G-chord with the G-note held over the change). You may not feel the need to do this. Be brave and do not let anyone tell you that you are doing it "wrong".
  24. I would second both recommendations. Cannot see where you are. If in UK, we could send you a copy of Alistair's tutor (or Folkworks would). Neil Wayne is bringing out the recording on CD any day now. Last time I spoke to him, he had plans to put the tutor on the web as a PDF file. Allan Atlas' book is wonderful, and one of the few to address the question "how should I hold the instrument", but not really for beginners. There are quite a few recent tutor books each with strengths and weaknesses (he says, mumbling into beard). Get hold of Alistair's Concertina Workshop if you can.
  25. I have used abc quite a bit. References have already been posted to Chris Walshaw's pages and Steve Mansfield's tutorial at lessession. You can even save a copy of that to your machine so you can refer to it offline while typing tunes. There are thousands of tunes available in abc format. As pointed out, the quality varies but so does the reliability of hearing any one version live. I use Bryan Creer's abacus program which is neither quirky not inefficient. Not sure if that is currently available. It is certainly quite useable as a text processor for music. Good luck! Roger
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