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Martin Essery

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Everything posted by Martin Essery

  1. Very lovely. Have downloaded the music and had a run through. will return to it later as part of my repertoire 🙂 Great find.
  2. Yes, I spent the day on my own, happily, so I played for myself 😄 Thank you.
  3. Lovely playing. Are they your own transcriptions or is the music available?
  4. Great playing, thank you. I have had a Rochelle-2 for a month now and am still breaking it in. I would love to hear your experience, from new as to how it has changed over time. Do the bellows ever soften up fully? Do all the reeds eventually speak evenly?
  5. Thank you. Now you just need a baritone and a bass to keep you company 😄
  6. I am uncertain about 40 buttons myself, there is a stubborn part of me that wants to find out how far I can take the 30 button first, always interested in others opinions though. Was that octave G at the beginning? Short repeated note like that are difficult on the harp too, so it is played with enharmonic notes, 2 strings tuned to the same pitch, which is also like the choice on the concertina. Is it possible that by using the alternate G's you could negate the need for the air button? It is interesting to note that like my Rochelle-2, your air button is quite loud and breathy. I had the opportunity to play a Marcus Deluxe a few days ago, and they must have bigger air holes, because it was almost silent and a lot quicker. I do wonder when it would not cost any more why manufacturers skimp on the hole size?
  7. COMPARISON ROCHELLE-2 V MARCUS DELUXE This is not a fair comparison because they are different price brackets, with the Marcus costing 4 times the Rochelle, and different quality ranges, but that is the point. I am a lifelong musician, returning to concertinas after nearly half a century, and knew I would not be happy with a beginners instrument for very long, and bought the best I could afford at the time which was the 500 quid Rochelle-2. Something like the Marcus at nearly 2,000 quid is going to take some serious saving for pensioner me. I wanted to know how much I would need to save to get a decent instrument, so I went to Marcus Music to see what theirs were like. I have had the Rochelle for around a month now, so, to be fair I am still breaking it in. First visual was the difference in quality, first feel was, "Wow, this is heavy!". The Marcus is over 3/4 of a pound heavier, 3.17 lb compared to 2.4 lb for the Rochelle. The Marcus is also 2/10ths of an inch smaller, 6.3 inches across the flats compared to the Rochelle's 6.5, so not just heavier, but more dense too. I like the lighter instrument. Instantly with the Marcus in my hands, I was a better player! That is a qualitative change, but I can give some of the quantitative reasons. Bellows, both 7 fold, on the Rochelle are paper/cloth covered, and even after a month still feel tight, so when playing softly, rather than pushing in, I am pulling out less against the spring of the bellows, while the Marcus are leather covered, I think with deeper folds, and are much more compliant, stretched further, softer, easier to use, I did not feel like I was having to fight them. Air button on the Rochelle makes quite a breathy noise and I can feel the air resistance, which plus the bellows resistance equals time and effort, while the air button on the Marcus was almost silent and seemed effortless and easy. Now I cannot believe that a larger hole and larger pad is going to cost the manufacturers anything, so it just seems a shame to skimp! Also, the Rochelle air button is the same height as the other buttons and I have to shift hand position to play it, while the Marcus air button is longer and easier to reach and press. For both of them, for me, if I had a choice, I would place the button an inch further from the hand rest, so I could play it with the thumb pad rather than the first knuckle Apart from the weight, the other thing that was almost a shock was how little the button travel was on the Marcus compared to the Rochelle, and how much lighter the springs were, making the playing so much easier. At first, the Rochelle was leaving dents in my fingers and my fingertips were feeling bruised for weeks, the button travel is quite long, stiff springs, uncomfortable plastic button profile. Either the springs have softened with use or my fingers are getting used to them. The Marcus had much less travel on the buttons, the springs were softer and the profile more comfortable on the aluminium buttons. As a lifelong craftsman, I cannot see why any of that should cost more, surely it is a matter of the right gauge spring material? Why would it cost more to have a shorter range of movement, or a correct profile, whether plastic or aluminium (aloominum for our brethren across the pond 🙂 ). Concertina Connection who make the Rochelle-2 also make decent instruments, so it is not as if they do not know what they are doing. Are they deliberately making the cheaper instrument more difficult to play? I like the sound of the Rochelle-2, but the Marcus was definitely sweeter, and apart from bellows construction, this is where I would expect the extra money to go. All the Marcus reeds spoke freely and easily, while, after a month, some Rochelle reeds are still having difficulty speaking. If one was playing vigorously, it would not be so noticeable, but I like to play softly. I have tried to use all the buttons so they free up equally, but the LH G, middle G row still requires quite some bellows pressure to get it to speak. The D and B buttons either side, which have had no more use both speak with quite low volume. All I can do is give it more time. The Marcus Deluxe, with engraved metal ends, bellows stickers and gold leaf decorations was definitely a more stunning instrument to look at, but the standard with wooden ends, apart from a slight difference in tonality would still play the same. Personally, I do not need the bling, I like craftsmanship to speak for itself, so I would be happy with a plainer instrument, the important thing being that it played properly. So, I think I have answered my question, that I am going to have to spend between 1,500 and 2,500 pounds to get a reasonable instrument and I am just going to have to save up. I can console myself that is better than 15,000 to 20,000 for a new concert harp :-D. I have no regrets, the Rochelle-2 was all I could afford, and the extra hard work, although limiting my playing now, will make it all the more easy to play a decent instrument when I can afford one.
  8. Well done. Do you think that would be any easier on a 40 button?
  9. As a relative beginner, at first I wanted to tighten the straps for better bellows control, as they were stiff on a new instrument, and was okay when playing horizontally, but then I found that restricted how much the hand could twist sideways when playing across, so I loosened them again. So, for instance, RH playing B, C#, D becomes constrained with a tight strap. Assuming we are talking Anglo here.
  10. Around one o'clock last night, I was about to go to bed. I had had a busy day and not much time on my concertina, so I thought I would play a tune before I settled. I picked up my instrument, closed my eyes and started to play. I was lost in the music and started composing and playing through a set of variations on Greensleeves, inspired by a similar set I had composed for the harp. Coincidentally, I was actually wearing green sleeves 🙂 Then, although still inspired and not at all tired, It occurred to me that I had been playing for a while and should probably go to bed. I opened my eyes to find the Sun had risen!!!
  11. Thank you, I am having so much fun 🙂 Thank you for the original inspiration. I have played and composed for the harp for years, but the concertina has quite a different rhythmic feel and has awoken a new sense of music in me 🙂
  12. Thank you. I am on a limited budget, so will have to stick with the Rochelle 2 for the time being while I save for the next step. Still wondering whether to go for the Minstrel then the Clover, or to hang on for the Clover, even though that could be a year. I have lived long enough not to be in a hurry and will enjoy what I have till I can afford the upgrade.
  13. I certainly know the pained face of the wrong notes. I also notice I seem to breath for the concertina, almost like I am singing voicelessly though the concertina.
  14. That is very nice, I will certainly give it a try 🙂
  15. I am so glad for the size comparison. I have the R2, and am glad of the smaller size and non-plasticy appearance. The price difference is only 74 pounds in the UK. I find the buttons stiff enough to dent and bruise the fingers in playing, small and stiff. The bellows are stiff and springy too. Did you have to take the photo quickly? Mine would never stay extended like that for long, if I leave it, it springs back to about an inch of extension, so on the draw notes, I am having to fight the springiness. All that being said, it is the only one I have and I like the tone and am enjoying playing it, but will be upgrading as soon as I can afford to. I too would like a Minstrel comparison and maybe a Clover too. Will the Minstrel be a good enough upgrade, or should I head for the Clover?
  16. I will second that the Rochelle 2 is quite stiff. at least when new. After a short while of playing my finger tips are dented and feeling quite bruised. As an adult, I am prepared to go through that and build up toughness, but probably not best for tender young fingers. I too started on a very cheap 20 button with big buttons that stood me in good stead for many years.
  17. I keep getting caught by the double dotted crotchet that does not fit in the bar. Is it meant to be single dotted or is the quaver meant to be a semi-quaver?
  18. That is great, I will certainly give it a try. I have been playing solo line mostly, so not that good yet at fitting in the accompaniment, that will come 🙂
  19. Therein lies the value of more buttons. So well done ❤️
  20. That is so wonderful Simon! An inspiration! Thank you ❤️
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