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Alan Caffrey

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Posts posted by Alan Caffrey

  1. The dots for Home Ruler from the Comhaltas tune book show the bass notes as BDAB, do you play the A's and B"s all with your little finger? or swivel your hand down to play the B's with your ring finger. I recall a class with Gearoid O hAllmhurain (sorry if I haven't spelt that right) where he taught us to play the Mountain Road reel with the low notes on the G row, with the little finger playing both notes - the finger jumps from low D push to low B push and back to low D push - it has taken me years!  I played it for the first time in a session just recently.


    Thanks in advance,  Alan.

  2. Hello!

                    I'm trying to play two hornpipes on C/G anglo - Home Ruler and Kitty's Wedding, both have a bass note motif of B,D,A,D that I have not played before, in fact, apart from adding bass notes to make two note chords (or whatever you call them) the low D is as low as I go. I find the B and D as push notes on the left hand G row outside buttons and the low A on the incidental row as a push on the next to last outside button. All the fingerings I have attempted feel very clumsy and I have difficulty getting back to regular hand position to  play on through the rest of the tune. Practice will improve matters I'm sure but I would appreciate suggestions as to which fingering of the notes would be best in the long run.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Many thanks, Alan.

  3. So I have long fingers and Noel suggested I get taller hand rests, which I did and installed on my instruments. Now, my straps are held in place close to the concertina face by the usual system of a wire that attaches under the rests, problem: because my rests are tall there is a lot of play in the strap backwards and forwards - Noel pointed this out to me and suggested I put a countersunk screw through the strap into the rest higher up the hand rest. I'm not sure I like that idea (more holes in the straps/a screw right where my thumb usually rests) and I know I've seen instruments with metal strap guides - but which maker or makers use them? I was hoping to purchase four of them (I have two concertinas)to solve my difficulty.


    Atb. Alan.

  4. Hello all,


    I've been learning the Dublin reel from the Frank Edgley 'Trad Irish tunes' book, then I looked up the tune of that name on the 'The Session' web site. They look like different tunes to me. The reel on 'The session' appears to be the same tune as recorded by Planxty on 'cold blow the rainy night'. I like both tunes. Are they related? Totally different? Are they named correctly?


    Thanks for help, Alan.

  5. Hello,

    yes I was in Caitlin's intermediate class at the Catskills last year, really enjoyed it! She did teach us some tunes of course but also did a thing where we would pick a standard tune and she would show us how she might play and ornament or varie that tune. The advantage to this was we could concentrate immediately on the ornamentation as we had the tune in our fingers already.


    She's a very gifted young lady, and very busy, as she is also a dancer and plays fiddle too.



  6. But getting back to the original idea...


    is there a way to display the tune as a posting on forum? so as we might comment on it and make suggestions about it. And then how about sharing how you might play the tune - I'm talking specifics: cut this note, add this bass note, try this fingering or this variation, etc.



  7. Hello All,


    I have received lots of useful help on this site in the past, and I've had an idea for lessons. I am stuck here in the middle of Arkansas and have little, let's say NO contact, with other concertina players except for perhaps a week in summer when I'll get to a festival. That's very useful but of course you come away and think 'I wish I'd asked this or I wish he/she could have shown me that'.


    So I'm going to choose a tune from the 'tune-o-tron' list (or whatever it's called) and ask for suggestions about ornamentation of that tune. I choose 'The Boys of Bluehill', the well known hornpipe.


    For those who want to make negative comments please save your breath! Remember that lots of us go to classes every year and don't know things, and ask stupid questions, and can't work out exactly what other people are doing from recordings.


    I look forward your suggestions.


    Thanks in advance, Alan

  8. Handing down the Tunes : the life and legacy of Tommy McCarthy is a documentary film by Ken Lyman. Ken was working on on the preparation of it at the time Tommy was diagnosed with cancer, he visited locations with Tommy and did a lot of preliminary interviews. Unfortunately Tommy passed away before filming was finished.


    Ken has now finished the documentary. A special pre-view for family and friends will be held in September, in Miltown Malbay


    I am glad to see this project has come to fruition, Tommy was a lovely man and a lovely musician who left a rich legacy in his own music and that of his family.


    I hope this film gets a DVD release in the near future for those of us further afield who would love to see it. Yes, a great musician. The 'Sporting Nell' recording as a treasure.


    Alan Caffrey.

  9. Hello all,


    I used to have the County Champaign tune book download but have lost it somehow. I found a link at 'The Session' site but it links to nothing currently. Might anyone know if these files are available anywhere?


    Thanks, Alan.

  10. Being, as said, a low tech person , and having downloaded Audacity, I now must ask - what format is the recording on my CD's and what should I convert them to, to most easily run them on Audacity? I would be grateful for any/all tips.


    Thanks, Alan.

  11. A person who probably knows is, the one and only, Colin Dipper. He lives not far from Stonehenge (as featured in 'Tess'), and in the heart of Hardy country. Hardy is one of my favourite authors - one of the few who produced more than one 'classic' novel + of course the poems. I think Hardy wrote the tune 'Haste to the Wedding' but I could be wrong there. That tune is a good example of a tune changing key when it crossed the Irish sea.


    Alan Caffrey.

  12. I stumbled apon a great video of Irish music going down somewhere far away (I think). Search 'Kilrush polka set' on u tube and you should find it. Apart from being a great video, with a concertina player, what are the tunes? What makes up the set?


    Later, Alan.

  13. Noel Hill got me to change my hand rests to higher ones and it's really helped my playing and it really depends on your hands. According to Noel the hand rest should match your hand so as the finger between knuckle and the next joint is parallel with the surface of the concertina - I hope that makes some sense. I think most makers tend to make their rests to suit a smaller hand than mine.




    P.S. funnily enough Bob is making me some rests even as we speak: thay will be etched with scenes of the sinking of the Titanic and inlaid with precious stones - they're taking a while but I'll treasure them when I get them.

  14. I think it is a great idea but will not be up untill thursday night. maybe sometime on friday. Doug Barr


    If this is your first time at East Durham you're in for a treat. I don't know about a concertina get together though: you'll find plenty of sessions going on around the Weldon house area and the next mile or so in town; you won't be short of people to play with or company, trust me. What classes are you doing?


    Alan Caffrey.

  15. Hello to all,


    I play Irish tunes on a C/G anglo down here in the heart of Arkansas; there are very few players down here. I just had a contact from a gentleman asking for assistence to lean to play a Hayden duet - I've never seen one before, I know nothing about them, what they play, keys etc, but I'm always willing to help. So, what can we do with this instrument? Can anyone reccomend a resource for learning to play the duet?



    Best wishes, Alan.

  16. Thank you!

    I'll try those - it's that 'does this sound right?' thing; especially when you have no one to teach you , and say'this is good.' Thanks for your help, especially Lawrence.


  17. Yes, let me clarify: I'm talking really about the Irish style of adding a harmonizing note (or two) occasionally, and not about the full chording through a tune as in English style. And I play across the rows. Options in D just seem very limited.


    Thanks, Alan.

  18. Good day to you all,

    here's a request for help; I'm an isolated player with no one else to help me! Now I can work out some chords easily enough when I'm playing a tune, I'm talking Irish style here, in G (on a C/G anglo) but it seems so much harder if I'm playing a D tune. I was trying to put some chords in Denis Murphy's slide and am just stuck! I'm looking at the Comhaltas dots of the tune - if you can point me in the right direction I'd be eternally graterful.



    Best wishes, Alan.

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