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Doug Anderson

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Everything posted by Doug Anderson

  1. Also excellent lobster rolls at the Sugarloaf Frostie just a short walk south on Amherst Road (with an interesting variety of ice cream for dessert too). I am sorry the retail store is closing, but very relieved to hear that the repair business will continue.
  2. I started with an EC, switched to a melodeon with little difficulty despite its being a completely different system, switched to AC with no difficulty despite the inside out rows, and then tried to play an EC again and it was hopeless. The changing of the bellows direction completely did me in.
  3. The Button Box makes both a D/A Céilí and a baritone D/A ESB.
  4. The UK hymnal Hymns Ancient and Modern uses the tune Lewes (hymn 64).
  5. In my hands or in the case is what I was taught. But the case is on a low table, with a raised border, in the middle of the living room.
  6. I spent several months trying to play both my Morse with the Wheatstone layout and my Jeffries with the Jeffries layout - both are G/D Anglos. I eventually gave up and sent the Morse to The Button Box to have the reeds changed to the Jeffries layout. I had no particular preference for one layout over the other but switching the Morse was a much more practical solution.
  7. Red River Valley, of course, but also Whoopee Ti-Yi-Yo (also called Git Along Little Dogies) which was my first public performance piece as a vocalist at age five.
  8. Thanks for the heads up. I just downloaded the site as a web archive.
  9. Might the difference have something to do with the key the instrument is likely to be played in relative to its home keys? If most tunes in a book emphasize the push notes then showing push on top might seem more intuitive, and vice versa if the tunes tend to emphasize the pull notes. (I am assuming playing across the rows.)
  10. I tried it with the "e3" in the second measure, and with an "e2 e", and I prefer the latter.
  11. I began singing in public at age 5, and am still doing so 65 years later. I currently sing first bass in a choir that concentrates on early church music in the English tradition. I have played for various lengths of time and eventually abandoned the piano, harmonica, recorder, guitar, penny whistle, mandolin, English concertina and melodeon. I currently play the first instrument I ever played, the ukulele, and the most recent, the G/D Anglo.
  12. Hi Jody, I'm working on an example of this right now. An arrangement of a hymn tune (Dundee) that I am trying to play in G (transposed from the Eb that my choir sings it in) has a distinctive switch to the key of C in the first line, but you would never know it from listening to the soprano/melody part (or the tenor part). The switch from the F# note to the F natural only occurs in the alto and bass parts. Without the change of key the whole effect of the musical phrase is lost. That means I have to find a way to work in an F natural on the left side. It's only available on the pull, and that complicates playing the melody on the right side. And it's just this sort of thing that makes the Anglo such a fascinating instrument, for me at least.
  13. Hi Jody,Thanks! That's actually kind of encouraging. It sounds like I'm on the right track. The more I find my way around the third row on the instrument the better I am able to experiment with the bellows direction and find partial chords or single accompanying notes that fit the melody line. I like your list of priorities too. Lots to think about!
  14. I get the G/D part. Playing melody on the right hand of the G row of a C/G gets pretty squeaky. But what do the extra 8 buttons add to the equation? (I ask this as a 30-button G/D player trying to teach myself to play right hand melody and left hand accompaniment.)
  15. Thanks for posting. It explains a lot :-)
  16. I agree it's frustrating. When members of my choir miss practices they keep the rest of us from hearing how we sound together. And that has a negative effect on our performances.
  17. I agree. If not for the Rochelle I would not be playing the Anglo today. I began about 12 years ago with an English concertina. My frustration with not being able to play melody and accompaniment (my problem, not the instrument's) led me to switch to a Melodeon about six years ago. That was better, but I was still limited to just bass notes and chords for accompaniment. I was tempted to try an Anglo, but after two false starts I was hesitant to put even more money into the search for THE instrument. Finally, some positive comments here about the Rochelle convinced me to give it a try. I was accustomed to playing good instruments (Wheatstone, Castagnari, Saltarelle, Morse) and was pleasantly surprised by the playability and sound of the Rochelle. It's a tremendous value. I would probably have stayed with it longer if it was available as a G/D. I found that playing melody and a low harmony on the C row of the Rochelle was fine but the G row was impossibly squeaky to my ear. I ordered a G/D Morse Céili. It arrived a week ago and I've barely put it down since. Keep in mind that the following observations may be partly the result of the change from C/G to G/D, and not just the change from a Rochelle to a Céili. The first revelation was the air button. A quick tap on the Céili air button at the end of a musical phrase is enough to correctly position the bellows to begin the next phrase. On the Rochelle it takes more like a complete measure to do the same thing. The result is that the Céili always has more air available. The next difference I noticed was the balance between the low and high notes. On the Rochelle, when a chord on the left hand contains the same note as a melody note an octave higher on the right hand the melody note almost disappears. This effect is more noticeable on some notes than on others. It might be something that a good tuning could improve - at a price. In contrast, a right hand melody note on the Céili seems to have more of an "edge" than the same note an octave lower on the left hand. It stands out more clearly. The last difference I've noticed so far is more subtle and may well have more to do with the pitch than with the instrument. On the Rochelle. the two-note chords that I prefer sound thin. That's fine for ethereal pieces in minor keys but it doesn't work well with the hymns and American folk tunes that I mostly play. Switching to three or four-note chords exacerbates the air and balance issues I mentioned above. On the Céili, two-note chords have a fuller sound which creates more opportunities for interesting harmonies and moving bass lines. To sum up, buying the Rochelle worked out very well for me. But even if the result had been deciding that it was not for me, I'd have felt that I'd given the Anglo a fair chance. I would encourage anyone considering taking up the Anglo to buy a Rochelle and give it a squeeze.
  18. Doug Anderson


    Thanks from me too for the EasyABC link. I upgraded to Lion so I could provide better phone support for a relative who just switched to a Mac. I hoped that I'd find a replacement for Barfly and this looks promising. I sing in a church choir. I can't imagine using anything but dots (standard musical notation) for sharing music in that context. I can sight read choral music pretty well. But dots don't work for me for playing the Anglo (or the melodeon). I play the melody by ear and improvise the accompaniment in both instances. I gave up trying to play from dots because the accompaniment drives the choice of buttons and reversals and I found it too confusing. So I use a pad of blank staves, a pen and a scanner to suggest harmonizations to our choir director and abc to share tunes with other instrumentalists. --Doug
  19. No they aren't. That's rubbish. I'm not sure which of the two assertions you disagree with. I spent a couple of days with a borrowed Stagi Hayden and only succeeded in reminding myself of the problems I had coordinating my two hands when I took piano lessons as a child. Shortly after that I tried a borrowed melodion for a couple of hours and found myself playing simple with a rudimentary bass accompaniment - the first time I'd accomplished that on any instrument in almost 60 years. Based on my experience, duets are not similar to melodeons, and melodeons are very east to play. I now have two G/C melodeons and two EC's and I enjoy switching among them.
  20. Not counting two horrible years of piano lessons when I was little, my first foray into instrumental music involved a guitar and the folk music scene in New York City circa 1960. I went through a series of fretted instruments over the next 40 years, without much success. Sometime in the early 80's I heard a concertina player on the street in Red Bank, NJ. To this day I don't know what system it was. I do know that since that day I was fascinated by the idea of playing a concertina. I didn't follow up on the idea for almost another 20 years because concertinas were expensive and I doubted I'd do any better with a squeezebox than I'd done with fretted instruments. Finally, a friend showed me an ad in an old magazine (it might have been in Sing Out) that said Button Box rented instruments. Within a week, I'd called them, arranged to rent a Stagi, and started playing. Within another week I found I'd made more progress with the EC than I'd done with fretted instruments in 40 years. That was almost 10 years ago. I now have three EC's - a lovely old Wheatstone, a Morse and the Stagi, which I periodically loan to people who express an interest on playing a concertina. (I also have a couple of melodeons, but that's a story for another forum.)
  21. Mine is a little ceramic figure of a flop-eared rabbit playing a concertina. I helped a friend take things that hadn't sold at her yard sale out to the curb for a bulk trash pickup. I set down a big cardboard box of glassware and pottery and took a quick look. There was Concertina Bunny looking up at me. He's been sitting on my music bookshelf ever since.
  22. My first squeezebox was an EC. After playing the EC for several years I was attracted by the ease of playing chords on a DBA. I was advised to consider a CBA instead, because of the push-pull business. I briefly tried a borrowed CBA and was overwhelmed by the size and weight. I bought a smallish DBA and an instruction book, set the EC aside for a couple of months, and taught myself to play rudimentary tunes and accompaniments on the DBA. The real test came when I picked up the EC again. I had no trouble with the fingering, but I found myself trying to fit the bellows direction to the note being played. That gradually went away as I started switching back and forth between the two instruments. Five years later, I take both the EC and the DBA when I go out to play with others and switch back and forth with no difficulty. I've never played an Anglo for more than a few minutes but I'm confident I could learn to play it alternating with the EC too.
  23. I have a Wheatstone with raised ends and a Morse with flat ends. Until you mentioned it, I never thought about the difference. I don't find either one to be better/worse, faster/slower, more comfortable/less comfortable, or different in any other meaningful way except that the Morse is a LOT lighter and they don't sound the same.
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