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Alan Caffrey

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Everything posted by Alan Caffrey

  1. Hello all, some of you must know the Salamanca reel, but can you play it on concertina (anglo that is)? I heard this on the first Bothy band album and thought 'I just have to learn it'. But of course when I found the music and listened again I realized it has horribly difficult triplets. I can't imagine getting up to any speed with this tune. Is it possible to play as written or would an anglo player play it differently? Thanks for help. Alan Caffrey.
  2. I'm totally non-tech - could someone kindly explain the wav file and mp3 file thing. thanks, Alan.
  3. I see you're from Northern Ireland so I'm guessing you're playing Irish tunes, is that right? Well I was in your situation about 3 or 4 years ago; here are a few things that helped me: jot down the names of a few tunes that are played regularly at your session, tape them or get them from a book or session web site - I like the Walton's '110 Ireland's Best Session Tunes' sieries which come with CD's of the tunes - learn them and practice along with the recordings. Practice alone and record your practice to get an objective idea of how you're playing - this was very painful for me but it will help in correcting your errors. Don't give up! It's amazing how after a while tunes will start sticking to you - just like a language, the more you use it the easier it will get! 5 years on (I know that seems a long time) other session members are looking to me to lead off and I know dozens of tunes. Good luck! Alan.
  4. Oops! that didn't come out with as much space between the crans and rolls as I intended but you can still make it out: crans on the left, rolls on the right with just one space between them. Alan.
  5. I recently got back from the Catskills Irish Arts week - what a fantastic festival! To sit at the elbow of Chris Droney and hear the man play 'the flowing tide' - wonderful! I did a class with Michael O'Raghalleigh, very enjoyable, laidback and low stress, the way I like 'em. Took lots of notes and taped the stuff but of course my scraps of paper puzzle me now. Here is part of a list Michael gave of long and short crans and some rolls: crans rolls ddbac cgcc eece dadd f#dbf# egee gecg(g) f#af#f# adba gcgg But which notes are where, for instance the first roll: low c? high c? two c's tapped together? And where to use them? Could anyone give me examples where these might fit into common tunes? I live in the middle of Arkansas so won't see another concertina player until next July, so I can only count on you folk for help; thanks in advance, Alan.
  6. Hello, I'll be there! I'm in for Micheal O Raghallaigh intermediate class in the AM and 'sets for fun' dancing in the PM. If anyone hasn't been before this will be a fab week. See you there, Alan.
  7. Hello all! So last night I was playing tunes with a guitarist and he pointed out that the time signature of a tune (The banshee, AKA McMahon's reel) was 'cut time'; I have always considered this tune as just a straight reel; how does or should this effect my playing. It did make a differance to his accompaniment. Thanks, Alan.
  8. Thanks for the responses: here is the Arkansas session web site - http://www.arcelts.com/acms1/index.html. Click on "sessions", scroll down and click "Tune of the month", the tune "maggie in the woods" is January 2004 - I think. Alan.
  9. Hello to all, I've played concertina for about four years now and from early on I realized that some tunes were harder to play than others - kind of obvious that isn't it? At our local Irish session we've had "tunes of the month" for quite a while - that's a tune published on our web site that's either a common tune in session that the lesser mortals may not know, or a requested tune that someone wishes introduced to the session. So these tunes are downloaded from various sources and are not specifically for concertina. I presumed that there was no difference, but maybe there is. I taught myself from the Frank Edgley book mostly and some from the Mick Bramich, and noticed some of their tunes differ from the same tune when derived from other sources. So is arranging tunes for concertina something that is frequently necessary? What are the rules if any? Example: Maggie in the Woods, I got the tune from a web site and I have a devil of a time fitting all the "little notes" in. Could it be arranged more appropriately for concertina? Thanks in advance for thoughts and hints, Alan.
  10. I was where you are about 4 years ago. I got a C/G anglo: if you want to play Irish tunes that's what you need. I can now play in sessions and not make too much of a fool of myself - most of the time. As to reading music, here's a few tips: take a look at an Irish tune book and you'll see that nearly all the tunes have either one or two sharps - that means nearly all the tunes are in the keys of G or D or a related minor key - this is really keeping it simple and you don't need to know all about 'dorian','aolian' keys etc, etc. This means you're working with only about 15 or so notes since we play Irish tunes with about an octave and a half. We only use a couple of sharps, that's an F# and a C# on any regular basis. So you don't have to have the music skills of a Mozart to 'read' Irish tunes. As to time intervals you really get that from hearing the tune first: if you can hum a tune you know the intervals don't you? The written music is for most of us to find out what note they are playing if we don't have the time/skill to learn by ear. Think of it this way: you don't need the written music to sing a Beatles tune do you? A tip on learning which note is which on the written stave: separate your instrument practice from your music reading practice. Take a tune and read through it sevaral times saying out loud what each note is, 'G', 'D', 'B', etc. Do that a couple of times a day for 5 minutes and next week you'll be 'reading' music. I would recommend the Frank Edgley tutorial: it's nothing fancy but it has a CD available and will give you a bunch of common session tunes to get you started. Good Luck, Alan.
  11. The job I had to do was remove levers and lubricate the pivot with a little graphite powder and wiggle them back and forth to get free motion in the lever. Maintenance? More of a settling in problem I think. Oh, and I added tension to one spring. I live state side and was in England to collect the concertina, and to see dear ol' Mum, when the first lever stuck. Colin and Rosalee drove into London from down near Stonehenge to do the fix, good people! And it was handy to have Colin show me how to do it. Yes, more of a settling in problem I think. It's a wonderful instrument. Alan.
  12. Hello to all, I too would like to state how pleased I am with the Dipper's work: I collected my Claire model C/G last September and it's an absolute pleasure! It has mahogany ends framed in ebony with black bellows with old gold bellows papers, the wood is very dark and shiny. Colin told me that he obtained the mahogany from the natural history museum in London, they sold off the wood that they used to pin bugs to for display after changing out their shelving system. I received the instrument three years almost to the day of placing my order, and it's made a huge difference to my playing. I was playing a mid-range concertina before Colin's and the Dipper is a big step up in quality, sound and playability. One thing I would like to say to people starting out on concertina is that what ever instrument you pick you really need to be willing to do some repairs of your own. It's unfortunate that we all so spread out so you may not have anyone to show you how to do it. But if you don't learn to do basic repairs yourself you may have a lot of 'down time' and it's frustrating and costly to insure and send your instrument to a repairer. A lot of repairs will only take ten minutes to do, but of course you don't want to make things worse! I've had to do repairs on all my instruments including the Dipper though it has had less problems than the others. So good luck and don't be discouraged by the stories you hear of waiting times (for standard models anyway), I did as Colin suggested and gave him a telephone call once in a while to show I was still interested, and the instrument came through right on time. Bye for now...Alan.
  13. David, the book (+ CD) that really helped me take off was the Frank Edgley tutorial - this is focused on Irish tunes but even if Irish music isn't your goal this learning package will give you plenty of playable tunes to get your fingers used to the layout. But.... I started with a Stagi and remember that I couldn't play the G row because the hand rests were too close to the buttons - maybe the Button Box adjusted them for you - you really need to be able to play the G row to play Frank's style (which is easy to learn and adaptable to most Irish tunes) Good Luck! Alan.
  14. Re: pets, I've had a laugh at sessions at my house when I've suggested maybe a song would be nice, then playing those high notes down at the bottom of the rows on the right hand of my C/G my cairn terrier will start in howling! Try it with your own dog; I think it's the same principle as dogs howling at train whistles. Alan.
  15. Wendy, I agree with Ivan - of course it would really help to have the dimensions and the weight of the object, I've seen objects very like this before and I think this is probably the remains of a bodhran. Hope this is helpful...Alan.
  16. Bill, no I wasn't at the Catskills this year - have been in the past and hope to next year.
  17. Thanks for a response Bill, the problem is when you get this extra facility you don't want to mess up, you want to 'start out right', and that's where I am; so advise would be most welcome. I also would like to say that the Dipper that came with this 'problem' was worth every penny! It's not just the reeds: it's the craftmanship that is way beyond any midprice concertina; put your name on the list and save up your pennies - you won't regret it.....Alan.
  18. Well no response to my question so before it disapears off the radar I'll add another comment to try and kick start it as it were. Now I know Jaqueline McCarthy plays a two row with extra buttons at the top of each row on both sides, and I did a class with her a few years ago, but she never got specific on fingering patterns or stuff like that and I didn't watch closely. Anyone ever notice how she utilized these buttons? I think her c# was one of these extras so obviously she had to use her extras frequently. Alan.
  19. Thanks for the tips - moving the mic further away helped with the upper range but the lower notes are still pretty rough - so I'll try a better mic - can anyone recommend a mid price mic? Alan.
  20. And another question.. on my new instrument I have an extra button at the top of each middle row: that's an F# push/E pull on the left, and an A# push/G# pull on the right (this being the same notes reversed directions as the top button left incidental row). Any advise on their use?..I mean should my fingers, middle and ring, stay in position over the second and third buttons down and index stretch up or should all fingers move up one button? The first option seems more logical but the stretch is putting my figers out of place and I'm messing up. I'd welcome any advise from players with similar machines. Thanks, Alan.
  21. Quick question here: when I record myself playing with either of my concertinas, a Dipper and an Edgley, the recorded sound is ..harsh?..course maybe? It does not sound like the instrument to my ear as I play it. It certainly doesn't sound like the sweet tone produced on, say, the Mick Bramich disc or on a Mary Mac Namara tune. I have a mini-tape recorder, and a fostex four track and both machines give me the same effect. Any hints on achieving a better tone? Thanks, Alan Caffrey.
  22. Absolute bril! I am a late entry into concertina playing and play Irish only right now, but I would like to extend into other styles. I collected my new Claire (spelling?) model Dipper from Colin just a few weeks ago and he played a chord style that just made the instrument honk and shout. The two styles are a world apart: I will certainly purchase a copy. Is there a disc with it?( maybe you've already said if so), it always REALLY helps. Looking forward to getting my copy, Alan Caffrey.
  23. Hi to all, quick question here: can anyone (dancer or musician) explain the format of a set dance tune?I'm looking at two tunes, 'The Blackbird' and 'St Patrick's Day', they are in different times but both have a regular first part which is repeated then a longer second part which is also repeated. I guess this must do with the dancing, thanks for info, Alan Caffrey.
  24. Thanks for responses. But, if I started in on, say, "Egan's" or "Salmon tails up the river" do you think they might know an Irish tune what with all the polkas they do play; surely some tunes have crossed between cultures over the years. Alan.
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