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About Mikefule

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    Author of Bridge of Otherwhere, 2018, available on Kindle/Amazon. Dancer and occasional musician with Dolphin Morris Men of Nottingham, UK. I play Anglo concertina and harmonica and occasionally a bit of 1 row melodeon. My concertinas are a B flat/F Jeffries, a G/D Dipper and a G/D Marcus. I write a few simple tunes and also write songs for occasional performance at Morris events. Other hobbies include cross country unicycling, motorcycling (BMW F800S)and other outdoorsy stuff.
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    Lincolnshire, UK

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  1. Mikefule

    Anglo playing guidance needed

    For a lively dance rhythm on Anglo, common choices are: Bass note on the on beat, chord or part chord on the off beat: Oom-PAH Oom-PAH Oom-PAH Oom-PAH Silence on the off beat, chord or part chord on the off beat: ( — ) Pah ( — ) Pah ( — ) Pah ( — ) Pah Bass notes on the on beat, silence on the off beat Oom ( — ) Oom ( — ) Oom ( — ) Oom ( — ) These are only common choices. They have the benefits of being easy and obviously rhythmical. The bass notes on the on beats drive the tune forwards, and the chords/part chords on the off beat give it lift. However, if you do these things all the time all the way through every tune, it can become bland and repetitive, especially as many folk tunes have the same 5 chords (for any given key). The first simple change to make is not always using the root of the chord as the bass note. Oom (pah) etc. can become C (eg) E (eg) C (eg) C (eg) etc. The next change is to think about what chord is coming next, so that the bass walks in the right direction to get there. Fr example, if the tune has the chord C major followed by F major, you may play an oom (pah) accompaniment: C (eg) E (eg) F (ac), because the F is on the same button as the E, and the bass sound is moving upwards C, E F. Another nice change for a short passage of music is full or part chords on the beat, especially if there is a run of chords: play "chunk chunk chunk chunk" rather than simply "oom-pah oom-pah". Other options include playing the open fifth for the on beat, then filling in the missing third on the off beat. Another is to find the pedal points: notes that are common to two consecutive chords, and ether hold them down or repeat them as the chord changes. There should be no artificial limits to what you try, and no limits to your invention, but it is usually a good idea to have something consistent and simple happening (chords on the off beats) that you can then choose to vary for effect. The combination of bass note on the on beat, chord or part chord on the off beat, is a good foundation to build on, and the first thing to learn if you want to play harmonic style. Of the two, I certainly found it easier to get the chords on the off beats working before I managed to get the bass notes on the on beat working — but perhaps that's just me. Now I find that, whatever I'm playing, and however well I know the tune, nearly all my thought and expression goes into the left hand (accompaniment) and I accompany each tune slightly differently each time, sometimes changing the finger of the melody to get a different accompaniment.
  2. Mikefule

    My introduction and question.

    Well, for a start, it's good to have a clear idea of the music you want to play, rather than just a vague idea that you'd like to play a concertina. For example, if you'd wanted to play modern jazz then the Anglo would be a bad choice. Both the Anglo and the English will work for Irish tunes, cowboy tunes and shanties. The Anglo strongly favours a small number of keys, but is very versatile within those keys. The layout of the keyboard with the different notes on push and pull is confusing at first, but as you learn more tunes, you find out that the notes are all in the right place to fit the common patterns and harmonies. In a sense, the Anglo is illogical, but so is music, and the two are a good fit. The English layout follows a much more "obviously" logical pattern. The two instruments favour different styles of play and usually sound different, although a good player can make an English sound a lot like an Anglo and vice versa. Listen to good musicians playing each system. My own story: after around 25 years in folk music and dance, playing various instruments to a mediocre standard, I decided "on paper" that the English was the obvious choice for me. I borrowed one for a month and struggled. Then I heard an Anglo played well one Monday evening, and had a quick go on it, and I heard an English played well on the Thursday of the same week. Suddenly, I understood that the Anglo was the sound I wanted. I've never looked back.
  3. Mikefule

    My introduction and question.

    My first concertina was a Rochelle. I got on fine with it, but soon decided to upgrade. That was over 10 years ago. I now own 4 Anglo concertinas, but not the Rochelle. By coincidence, I got the chance to play a Rochelle only about 3 weeks ago. Of course, it was not as easy to play as the instruments I now own, but it was surprisingly good. It was far better than the various other "budget" and "beginner" models I've had a go on over the last few years. Far better. The Rochelle is an Anglo. The Jackie is equivalent in quality, but is an English. The two instruments are fundamentally different, despite superficially looking similar. They are more different than a guitar and a banjo, or a clarinet and a flute, or a boat and a motorbike. They are in effect completely different instruments from each other that just happen to be the same general shape. Point is, before you choose one, you need to be sure whether you want an Anglo or an English (or even a duet, which is different again! If you've never played either, it would be a good idea to see if you can find either a local shop/store or a local music session where you can talk to someone and have a go. What sort of music would you like to play?
  4. Mikefule

    B to C#

    I don't play Irish all that much, but I do strongly believe that there is no single right way of playing the Anglo that works for every situation. I try as far as possible not to use one finger consecutively on two buttons on the melody side, but sometimes it turns out to be the best way, not only for convenience, but also for timing and emphasis. I would not reject on theoretical grounds something that worked in practice. Playing a left hand accompaniment, my left little finger has sole control of 4 buttons, and is first or second choice for a total of 6 buttons. So while I'm agonising over the niceties of "correct" fingering for the right hand, my left little finger (my weakest and least mobile as I'm right handed) is wandering all over the place,, sometimes playing 3 or 4 different buttons consecutively. The sole arbiter of what is "right" should be whether it sounds good at the speed you want to play it: smooth if you want smooth, staccato if you want staccato. People who try too hard to convince you that there is only one right way may want to sell you their "method". This is traditional folk music on an instrument designed for the Victorian working class musician with little or no formal musical knowledge. I suggest you try as many approaches as possible, revisit tunes you've played for ages, and experiment. You may find 2 or 3 solutions to a fingering problem in one tune, and find several other tunes where you can use each of those solutions.
  5. The Webley in 2 keys on a 20 button Anglo:
  6. Ring o' Bells in two keys on 30 button Anglo.
  7. Mikefule

    starting anglo concertina

    It's certainly a good starting point. Going by my own experience, when I said something very similar as I was starting out, it sounds like you're setting your objectives and describing your preferences according to what you think is achievable. That's great, but don't be dogmatic. If you take to it then in 10 years you will have different objectives. You will be 10 times better than you ever imagined, but still not as good as you will want to be. As Acker Bilk said,"If I ever play a tune perfectly, I'll never play it again." Some Anglo players learn a few basic tricks and patterns then apply them to every tune. Others are constantly exploring and improving. I still find new insights into tunes I learned 10 years ago. I think you are going about it the right way in learning some basic foundations: runs and scales. Reading music is a particular problem for transposing instruments such as the Anglo. If you have, say, a CG instrument, and you find the dots of a tune written in E, chances are, you will rearrange it into C, G or possibly D. Then you pick up your GD instrument and have to decide, do you use the same fingering and play in a new key, or different fingering to achieve the same key? Sight reading is therefore tricky. A fiddler or flautist would simply play it in the key as written.
  8. Mikefule


    It may be that as a new player you are pressing the buttons too hard. Remember that you only need to push a button hard enough to lift the valve. Loudness comes from how hard you push or pull the bellows. Practise tapping the button: tap and release, at least for the shorter notes. I started from never having played ad practised for sometimes an hour a day and I have never had tenderness or callouses on my finger tips. The more relaxed you are, and the lighter your touch, the better your playing will be. You can add loudness later.
  9. All concertina systems and all styles of music are welcome. Remember we have two regular venues. Go to the right one! Next meeting: Saturday 6th April 2019 13:00 to 17:00 Kingswood Methodist Church Lambourne Drive Wollaton Nottingham NG8 1GR Following meeting: Saturday 2nd November 2019 13:00 to 17:00 Arnold United Reformed Church Hall 37 Calverton Rd Arnold Nottingham NG5 8FF
  10. Mikefule

    First “Old Timey” Tune

    I have a small repertoire of what I think of as old American tunes which I play on a 30 button in a harmonic style. On a CG, I play Golden slippers in G. On a CG, I play Old Log Cabin in C. They both work very well.
  11. Mikefule

    Elise Hayden duet UK, £280

    Advertised for a friend who is selling it now that the owner has passed away. More photos available. PM me if you want to be put in touch with the vendor. She is in the East Midlands of England. The following was written by the vendor. For sale £280.00 A brand new Elise-Hayden Duet 34 Key Concertina with substantial padded gig bag. The Elise is a 34 key Hayden duet concertina which produces the same note on both bellows directions (push and draw). It comes complete with a substantial padded gig bag so it can be easily and safely carried around with you. The Duet Concertina is probably the most versatile. Like the English concertina, the same note plays in both directions, but like the Anglo, the treble notes are on the right hand side and the bass notes on the left. The Elise-Hayden Duet 34 Key Concertina is a wonderful instrument and has the ability to perform to a good standard of playing making it a great entry level instrument and also fantastic for intermediary level playing too. It is very well constructed and will give you many years of pleasure! I would prefer the concertina to be collected but I will post out to mainland UK if you're unable to collect. Buyer pays postage costs.
  12. Mikefule


    The concertina is a mechanical device. You push the button, it moves a lever, the lever pivots, the other end of the lever lifts the pad. There are several contact points where there is slight movement between the components and this causes the clicks and taps. This sound can be minimised if the instrument has felt bushes, but it can never be absolutely eliminated. My 3 Lachenals are quite clicky. My Dipper less so. My old Jeffries was pretty good. My Marcus was clicky. It's part of the character of the instrument, just like when you listen to a recording of an acoustic guitar, you can hear the fingers squeaking on the strings.
  13. Mikefule

    A tune what I wrote: Bright Winter's Morning

    A quick demonstration video of the tune. I've not yet got it confidently up to performance standard — the left hand is surprisingly tricky — but the tune is there. A
  14. Mikefule

    A tune what I wrote: Bright Winter's Morning

    I wrote, <<Of course, there are more nuances than that. >> I was giving basic advice to someone who said that they had no idea how to play jigs. That does not mean that I disagree your more sophisticated advice aimed at someone who already plays jigs confidently and is ready to add such nuances. As for whether I object, why should I? If it sounds right and works with whoever else is playing and whoever is dancing, then that is what matters. The only thing I object to in folk music or dance is the generic fast stompy stomp approach which sacrifices the subtlety of the tune in a frenzy of speed. If a triplet goes (for example) DED and you only really hear the first D, or can't be quite sure if it was DED or DC#D, then, to me, that's bad playing.
  15. Mikefule

    A tune what I wrote: Bright Winter's Morning

    Outside of the Morris, a jig is simply a lively dance tune in 6/8. 6/8 is the one that has the underlying rhythm | Didderly Didderly | didderly didderly | although sometimes a "didderly" is played either as "Daa da" or "Daaah". Of course, there are more nuances than that. The main thing is that one bar (didderly didderly) should be enough for the dancer's feet to touch the ground four times. This may be: (1 2 3 hop) or (1 hop 2 hop). The traditional Irish step is in fact 1 2 3 (and) with the "and" being in mid air! (In a session, it is common to play so fast that the best a dancer could do is stomp along at 2 steps per bar.) In the world of Cotswold Morris, a jig is any dance for a solo dancer or pair of dancers. The rhythm may be any of the common folk dance rhythms: 4/4, 2/4, 6/8 or even, sometimes 3/4. The trick with playing for a Morris jig is to know the tune well, check how the dancer expects the slows to sound, then watch the dancer carefully as you're playing. A good jig dancer will work with you.