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Roger Gawley

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Everything posted by Roger Gawley

  1. Allan, "free-reed" was just fine. We found your version of "Newcastle" slightly amusing. And I agree with you that Paul Evans did a good job. (Where were you recorded?) Cheers, Roger
  2. Part of this was recorded during Concertinas at Witney this year. Paul Evans seemed to be a very decent bloke who you could expect to do a good job. Apparently he got onto this idea through making a programme about the banjo with Douglas Rogers! Of course, we will have to see how much Witney material makes it to the broadcast.
  3. This may be a good place to mention that you could find a few photographs of Swaledale 2007 at http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=swaledale+...2007&m=tags
  4. Thanks for the support Dan. Speaking for myself, I do not think that the time has come to ditch the paper copy of the newsletter. It will come but not as soon as one might predict. The committee thrashed this one out a couple of years ago and concluded that many members value the paper copy and that it is one of the things that bind the membership together. Or course, meeting real, live concertina players is even better. What we are doing now with PICA seems about right: members get the paper copy first and the electronic version for the world follows.
  5. GIF is one of the ONLY two "standard" file types on the internet AND compatible with all operating systems out there. The other is JPG. I would hazard to say that there are actually more gif's than jpg - or any other file type for web and graphics use. Gif was invented in 1987 and has not changed - though new "features" have been added such as interlaced, no background, animated, etc. Jpg files arrived on the scene considerably later and have undergone many changes in basic encoding, compression algorithms, component resolutions, segment aspect ratios, color modeling, resource block extensions, international standards changes.... I've experienced many cases of being unable to open/view/manipulate jpg files due to incompatibilities between the files and the programs I'm using. Oh yeah, not to mention that jpgs are lossy. If I had to pick one image format that I think would stand the test of time and quality (no degradation), I'd pick gif. I *do* realize that it has some limitations (mainly the nmber of colors it supports), but for line art, crisp graphics, and music scores! Nothing else comes close. -- Rich -- Oh dear, I just caught up with this discussion which I am very glad to see, and am about to nitpick with one of the people here I most respect and tend to agree with. Anyway the original discussion concerned the idea of scanning the library not the technical details. Here goes the nitpick regardless, the proper standard for sending files would be PNG: Portable Network Graphics format. GIF has indeed been around for a long time but is a proprietary format (currently belongs to unisys I believe). I am just not going to get into the "JPEG is lossy" debate. (Maybe somewhere else but not here.) This is technically correct but rather beside the point. Several people here have suggested digital camera images as a good means of speedy transmission if not necessarily archiving. These are going to be JPEGS. As I just happened to have my camera and the latest ICA music supplement here in the office, I tried photographing a page of music. The result is rather encouraging: I cannot put it onto a computer screen here because I do not have the connecting lead with me, but just looking at it on the camera LCD it looks as though it would be quite possible to play directly from a paper version. Does not meet Jon Mac's requirements above however. Sorry about the nitpick. The first thing for the ICA to do is to decide its direction on this. Then we can have the technical debate, consulting people like Rich who have opinions based on wide experience. So, you see, at least four ICA committee members, all with differing views are reading this. How's that for responsiveness?
  6. Speaking of young concertina players, concertina is back as an instrument at the Folkworks Durham Youth Summer School this year. The tutor is the excelent Rob Harbron. There is a lot of information on the FARNE website at http://www.asaplive.com/FARNE/FolkworksCommunity.cfm?ccs=548 Please encourage any young player to consider this, no, just come! It is hard to see how any youngster with an interest in music could fail to enjoy the week. Read the comments from last year and you see that this is an understatement. Something not immediately clear from the website is that the Summer School runs from Monday 13 August to Saturday 18 August. Youth is anyone aged 14 to 25 but there are parallel Summer Schools for oldies like me and for kids aged 10 to 13 although the 8-year old will have to wait for a bit. Send your kids to Durham this summer!
  7. I should probably declare an interest here: as the result of a poor decision a few years ago I am a director of Roots2Music, an excellent if not very profitable retailer of folk music CDs. We recently had an announcement that a CD of recordings by Tommy Williams and Gordon Cutty is to be released late in July. Cannot locate the notification now but I think this is one combined CD of both men. The same notice announced that Alistair Anderson's "Concertina Workshop" (an LP that had something to do with my being here today) will become available on CD in November. I know that a lot of people have "bootleg" CDs of that but hope they will feel obliged to purchase a legal version. Needless to say, Roots2Music expect to have both of these as soon as they become available. Roger, with his roots hat on
  8. But tell us Stuart, do, why is it called Mother's Thinking Bath ?
  9. We all do different things! There are at least three ways to deal with repeated notes on English concertina: just use the same finger, swap two or more fingers, hold the finger and use the bellows. These produce different effects. You should try each of them and see which you like best in a particular tune. The speed may influence your choice as may the possibility of holding other notes. I got very geared up to always using the same finger on any particular button unless I go stuck (hand out of position from playing a G# for instance). Emily Ball helped me to loosen up and be more flexible about which fingers to use. As rather general advice, you want to know where the buttons are and where your fingers are (all of them even if you do not plan to use them for a while). The simplest way to achieve this when starting out it to be consistent about fingers and buttons but sooner rather than later you should try different fingerings. (I used a little finger to play a note last week. Just felt like the right thing to do; I was sitting. Worked fine, made the rest of the tune easier. Try it one day, you may like it. If not, do not do it again.)
  10. Must have missed that one; is this an annual punchup between American and British readers? Roger
  11. Now that's ineresting. I used Firefox (1.0 if it makes a difference) and got to the MP3 without trouble. There is something not quite right about the picture and the caption above it but the whole page seems to show up.
  12. John Kirkpatrick is talking about playing for dancing and I warmly agree with him there. Nothing is more annoying than the band changing tune just as you are really getting into the dance. Less sure about tunes played for group amusement but most tunes would benefit from being played more times than they often are. Roger
  13. Actually, I will be closer to you than Tootler is; Theo is probably nearer. There are quite a lot of concertina activities around here although the bias is towards English rather than Anglo. An English concertina class is about to start at The Sage (Folkworks). Swaledale is coming up. That is for all systems and definitely Anglo-friendly but is not really for beginners. They are a very welcoming bunch though. There are a few Anglo players around: email me for some ideas, Roger
  14. Someone sent a copy of the article to Harry Scurfield. At Swaledale two or three years ago, Harry put on his cowboy hat and read it out at the final concert. It was an absolute hoot.
  15. A very real problem for many of us, touched on here, is that if you learn from dots you can become dependent on them and unable to play without. There is a technique (this came to me with a name but the name has gone) of learning a tune from the dots but never playing while looking at them. Put the dots at one end of you room and the instrument at the other. Memorise a bar or however much you can manage. Walk to the other end of the room, pick up the instrument and play what you just memorised. Put down the instrument, walk back, check that you got it right. Repeat that bar for security or move on to the next bar if you feel brave, walk back and play two bars. Carry on in this fashion until you can play the whole tune. Or maybe the A part, you are probably allowed to start over again with the B part. If this sounds terribly tedious: it is. But you have never played the tune while looking at the dots so you avoid the blind panic that sets in when they are not there. This is not learning by ear and it does help to have a good idea beforehand what the tune sounds like, but it can work for some of us. Give it a go! Roger
  16. Someone has to have that position! Good to have you back. Roger
  17. You pronounce it "try-tone". It is the interval of three whole tones. Half an octave if you ignore some of the subtleties of tuning systems. Also known as "The Devil's Interval". Look it up in wikipedia which will tell you more than you probably wanted to know. Roger
  18. He had a bodhran in it last time. As well as the concertina, the shakey egg and the rattle thing. I think the dancing doll fits inside too but not the plank it dances on. Roger
  19. It is on Corn Street, very close to the centre. One of the most friendly places I have been to. The session on Friday evening was booked by Dave T, when we left there about 1:30, we were invited to come back anytime so some of us did after the concert on Saturday. The old boy singing songs has already been described. Watching Norman Chalmers playing a few gentle notes to keep him on pitch and at a reasonable rhythm was a joy. The tutors were good too! Roger
  20. ICA members have a lot in common with concertina.netters: they have wide interests and they love to share. Actually, I have no idea how Bryan found this one. Roger
  21. Jim, Thanks for this heartening tale. The idea of combining our CD shop with a cafe has been thought about. A very nice idea in many ways but we do not think that it would work in our present location. We have also thought of moving but that has a whole different set of problems. Next time I am in Elsinore . . .
  22. As part-owner of a record (=CD) shop, I can confirm that sales are down. Some people do still want physical stuff and many people enjoy reading sleeve notes (am I supposed to call them liner notes these days?) But not enough of these people. What I fear is that the retail chain that supports all this will collapse. We are being squeezed from all sides. In some ways the availability of specialist CDs via the internet is better than ever provided that you know what you want but the opportunity to browse recordings in a real shop is vanishing. I suppose that customers will all be very sorry when they realises what they have lost.
  23. I am going to have to disagree with you here. Most musical styles have their own idioms and learning to play one idiom does not necessarily make it easier for you to learn a new idiom. In some cases the opposite is the case. I was talking to Donna Long who teaches Fiddle and Piano in Baltimore and also leads the Beginners/Intermediate Session on Monday nights. I made a comment that she must like it when she gets a fiddle student who has been classically trained before they came to her.. because at least they already know how to get a good tone out of the instrument. Her comment was that it was nice, but that alot of them ended up giving up on playing Irish Fiddle because it was too different to what they were use to. To take it further, there is little point in me trying to learn how to ornament a tune by listening to a fiddle player... an Anglo concertina simply can't do alot of the ornaments a Fiddle can (which is ok, because neither can the fiddle do many of the Anglo ornaments). Its important to listen to players of other instruments, but we have to recognize the real limitations. Ultimately, the best resource is a skilled player of your instrument, playing the style you want to play in who can give you lessons. I mainly agree with this but (always a but) the estimable Emily Ball who was leading our Engilsh concertina class until recently got us listening to fiddle players, Anglo players, whistle players to see what we could learn from them in our approach to a tune. At the end of the day you are yourself, playing the instrument you are playing and trying to imitate something else is futile, but you can often "borrow" some good ideas. Roger
  24. Around here (Northeast England) there seems to be a young generation of concertina players already. Not sure that the ICA are best placed to be doing this (said without consulting anybody; I am on the committee but am responding instantly). Folkworks are doing something like what you suggest and the WCCP, closer to you, have a similar scheme. How many new concertina players do we want? Roger
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