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About Mikefule

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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    Author of Bridge of Otherwhere, 2018, available on Kindle/Amazon. Dancer, Fool, and occasional musician with Dolphin Morris Men of Nottingham, UK. I play Anglo concertina and harmonica. My concertinas are a Dipper 30b G/D, Lachenal 30b C/G baritone, and Lachenal 20b standard and piccolo. I have composed a few tunes and also written songs for occasional performance at Morris events. Other hobbies include sailing my Cornish Cormorant (12 ft balanced lug), cross country unicycling, motorcycling (Moto Guzzi V7) and other outdoorsy stuff.
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    Lincolnshire, UK

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  1. There is a huge amount you can achieve on a 20 button box. It's not as versatile as a 30 (or more) but I feel that its restrictions give it more of what I consider "the authentic Anglo sound". Harmonic style on a 20b Anglo requires a lot of compromises, gaps, cheats and bluffs and as a result it sounds like no other instrument. I play my 20b from time to time just to get back to basics. I think it makes me a better musician on the 30b. Playing in the second key (G on a CG, D on a GD) gives you a pretty full set of chords and bass notes for tunes in the maj
  2. Assuming you are playing the melody mainly on the right hand, you have 2 octaves below your tonic. So if you're playing in C on a 30 button CG, you can use any of C (E) G c e on the left hand as bass notes for any part of the tune that needs a C major chord. (E) is button 1 on the accidental row.) A simple but effective technique is to play an Oom accompaniment, rather than "oom pah". Play the bass note once or twice per bar (depending on the time signature) on the "on beats". That bass can alternate between 2 notes a 5th apart (C G, C G) or stick on one n
  3. Two approaches: 1) On an Anglo, almost every note of the two main key is available in both directions if you cross the row. Therefore you can often find an easy way to do a run of melody notes all in the same direction rather than "push pull" along the row. 2) Failing that, just because the arrangement shows continuous long notes, it doesn't mean that you have to play them like that. Indeed, breaking them up a bit and leaving a few gaps (rests) may liven up the arrangements. The music is as much in the gaps between the notes as it is in the notes themselves
  4. There are many many routes through the maze. On a 20 button CG, in the main octave used for melodies in C (starting on the C on button 1 on the right hand) every note is available twice except the F. That means that just for that one octave C-c there are 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 128 different ways of playing the scale. Of course on a 30 button, there are even more options. Of course, in real life, you don't need to learn them all, but you will find yourself using short runs of 3 or 4 notes along various routes. Assuming your box
  5. On the octaves thing, it is (in my mind) important not to play simple octaves note for note all the way through. If you do this, you may as well get a single row 2 voice melodeon. Instead, I tend to play the lower note of the octave only on beats 1 and 3 (in 4/4) most of the time, occasionally playing every beat of a bar, and sometimes lingering on one note for longer, perhaps if it is a pedal point (a note that is common to two or more consecutive chords). From here it is a simple extension to vamp pairs of notes (the octave and the next button up or down) some of the
  6. I set out from day 1 to learn "the harmonic style" and now tend to feel that there is no single "harmonic style" There are techniques and approaches that work for different types of tune. However, you need to make a start with a basic style and the develop techniques as you go on. The two things to work on are: The physical coordination required to play 2 things at once. The intuition of which notes to play. The simplest harmonic styles are based on octaves. Here is a link to an excellent article on the subject: https://www.concertinajournal.o
  7. The air pressure generated by the bellows affects the attack and volume of the reeds. Pressure and volume are inversely related: on the push, in order to double the pressure, you must halve the volume of the bellows. On the pull, if you want to double the pressure, you must double the volume of the bellows. (This is approximate as there are other allowances that need to be made.) Thus, if you use the full length available in a set of longer bellows, you have to move the ends further in the same amount of time (i.e. faster!) to achieve the same change in pressure.
  8. Rochelle. It is good enough to tell you later when you need an upgrade. A good player can get good music out of one. Good value at that price point. I had one before I moved on to a Marcus — and later to various even better ones.
  9. I'm an Anglo player so can't comment in detail on the subtleties of bellows direction for English. In theory you get the same note in each direction, so the choice is yours between long legato (smooth) phrases with the bellows moving in one direction, or a more accented dance rhythm with the bellows pushing on the accented beat. However, as for "fan form", I don't think that is important in its own right. The bellows is a pump which moves the required quantity of air in the required amount of time. As long as you change the volume (capacity, not sound) of the bellows by the righ
  10. It is quite common, perhaps more so in American music, where the rhythm is given by the words and the overall direction of the melody by the chords, and a number of standard harmonic options fills in what's missing. 2 singers may sing the same song to a slightly different version of the melody, but they'll harmonise. I don't know if that's the case here, but it is a common approach. Similarly, in English folk music, you often find just the melody line written down with no chords, but a knowledge of the style gives you the chords.
  11. That's interesting, thank you. The Anglo is (as Keith Kendrick describes it) the "thinking man's piano" and should be capable of playing a wide variety of styles. In reality, it seems to fit some much better than others. I find it is usually fairly easy to come up with an interesting range of arrangements for tunes in a familiar style. So, for example, it I play a Morris tune that remains in one key, I can usually develop an arrangement with 3 major chords and 2 or 3 minor chords and the occasional 7th, and with various "standard" bass figures that will fit very nicely. It's ju
  12. I looked it up after reading your comment and I was wrong. It does pass through. Apologies.
  13. It doesn't pass through the hole. It is offset towards the direction from which the air comes. The air flow between the edge of the reed and the edge of the hole results in low pressure which draws the reed into the hole blocking it. The air flow then stops and the reed springs back opening the hole. The reed does not pass through the hole. It opens and closes the hole.
  14. If you twang a reed, it oscillates, sending a small pressure wave in each direction. Think of waggling a canoe paddle slowly in a calm pond. The waves will radiate but with the strongest force emanating from the flat side. If it goes right left right left right left, it pushes the wave one way on every right and the other way on every left. If you play a concertina reed, it waggles at the same rate. It opens and closes the hole in the reed plate. It goes open close open close open close. The sound pulses are on the "open" which is the same frequency as EITHER the right OR the
  15. Nice looking instrument. 5 fold bellows as originally made, but they look like new hand straps. Fretwork looks OK. Hopefully it's been looked after. Is it in modern pitch? A 20 button Lachenal was designed as a simple "working man's instrument" and all the better for that. If it's a good example, it will be charismatic and rewarding to play.
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