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About MitfordRI

  • Birthday 02/04/1970

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Bookbinding, letterpress printing, Vandercook 317 (I own one!), Albion and Hogenforst handpresses (ditto), Nolan proof presses (and ditto). Fiddle (ITM) and anglo concertina (ITM).
  • Location
    Rhode Island

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  1. A late entry here. Concertina, badly. Fiddle, even worse. And we keep tin whistles and recorders all over the house. We also have a Steinway B that is my husband's first love. He and #2 play piano. #1 sings only, but with a voice like hers who needs another instrument. #3 and 1 ... we like the fiddle and concertina. She is the only one of the 3 who immediately requests ITM in the car. My husband is the real musician. Mind you, he is the same person who thinks that Prokoviev is fun car music. But he is kind enough to keep telling me that everyone should play music. However terrifically badly. :-) I grew up playing classical piano. Transitioned to clarinet, but always wanted to play violin (but really fiddle). Was told it was much too hard. Gave up instruments entirely for 20 years. And then fell in love with the concertina at a party at my aunt and uncle's house. My aunt's best friend plays a Lachenal. It was like being struck by a thunder bolt. Like first love with all the attendant feelings of thrill, excitement, and insecurity. So I signed up for classes in Boston with my rented Stagi. Unfortunately, having grown up 'paper trained', I had no ability to learn music by ear. You can imagine how frustrating classes in ITM at the comhaltas in Boston were for someone who could only do music by "dots". I took a couple of years off (life got busy). But decided that if I was going to stick with the concertina, I would just have to buckle down and learn music by ear. And I did. I wouldn't say I'm brilliant at it. But, I have finally gotten to the point where most of the time, it's a lot quicker and easier to learn by ear than look up the sheet music. I practice 3-8 hours a week depending on the week. But, sometimes I can only practice one instrument. re: 10,000 hours for proficiency. I will have to win powerball first. Lucy
  2. So all I need now is £6000 BPS and I could ship the concertina to Mum and Dad's house in Dun Laoghaire ... Speaking of which, it doesn't matter that Ireland is on the euro vs. the 'punt' (which could go either way, I.e., English punt vs. Irish punt.). In fairness, Ireland and England haven't shared the same currency since I was a child. Even before the Euro, the Irish pound and BPS had an exchange rate. re: VAT. Depends on whether the Irish customer is also VAT registered. Memo to me: Buy lottery ticket tomorrow. Preferably in BPS. :-) And even if I won, this concertina would be so far out of my ability-reach that it would be a shame for me to have it. But I love the idea. Lucy
  3. Dear David: Happy New Year and I hope the practice is going well despite all the holiday interruptions. I have to say that I'm dead impressed you recorded your playing. Good for you. I know exactly what you mean about trying to "record a clean copy". I can practice a jig all week long on the fiddle. But when it comes to Thursday night class, if I don't have a warm up first, my nerves are so bad you might honestly think I'm trying to murder the poor fiddle. That or my teacher. Fortunately, he has cottoned on to my anxiety and makes me play easy pieces until I relax. (Honestly, a gin would work better but there is always the drive home to consider.) What I have learned from studying Irish traditional music in the past five years is ... admittedly not much. Shockingly little in fact. But I'm happy to share the few crumbs I have learned. 1) Learning from books alone doesn't work. 2) Learning from sheet music ... doesn't teach you how to play music. At least not for me. I was trained on piano so could read sheet music fluently. But relying on sheet music instead of learning by ear handicapped me very badly. I knew the notes. Knew where they were located on the instrument. But wasn't (and still might not be) playing 'music'. Not traditional music. 3) Learning to play by ear ... while painful at the beginning (think Mission Impossible in my case) ... really does help you to not only learn music more efficiently, it improves your playing. 4) If you can find a class or teacher near by, take lessons from a sympathetic and supportive teacher. Chris Stevens is a great teacher in New England. Sadly, I haven't been able to attend his classes in Boston in a couple of years (because I wasn't able to learn by ear the last time I took his class) but hope to in the spring. But even studying with my fiddle teacher gives me a better understanding of playing trad music on the concertina. I am amazed by how much I learn from regular weekly classes with Jimmy and how much of it applies to concertina as well as fiddle. Also ... meeting with a teacher one a week or even twice a month sets a deadline for new tunes, new skills etc. Best of luck with the practice and happy new year, Lucy
  4. speaking of which, i'm still accepting donations for the "david doesn't own an english concertina" fund. checks, paypal, and wheatstones accepted. This would be the perfect place for a LIKE button. :-)
  5. You like 3 wheel cars!! I was raised in a Heinkel Kabine. :-) When our family exploded, Dad bought a Mini Cooper. Later, when the family needed two cars, Mum drove a Renault Le Car and Dad drove an MG. Today, they both drive Smart Cars and I drive a Mini Cooper. But I would give anything for a Heinkel ...

  6. Geepers. I never answered this and I'm terribly sorry. I promise I will tomorrow. This is just a late night check in. I blame the holidays for my lack of response. December is kind of a black hole for communication.

  7. What a lovely tribute to a good friend. Lucy
  8. Hello Marcus. Sorry for the delayed response. I've had the flu. Very not convenient just after the arrival of my new concertina. re: Morses and Edgleys. Honestly, I like both. If I had to choose, I would definitely choose the Edgley. BUT there are lots of things I really like about the Morse. I find myself playing both. Depending on the tune.

  9. Hello to a fellow Morse Anglo owner. I guess you'll be playing the Edgely more now though. How does the action compare to the Morse?

    I've just ordered a Clover kit from Concertina Connection and I'm looking forward to putting it together myself and hopefully ending up with a playable instrument!

  10. **Like!** I want an original CD just for #8, Mazel. Will PM you. Beautiful recording. Lucy
  11. Dear Andy: Have you considered what bookbinders call a 'mix'? PVA is terrifically handy for building boxes because it sets quickly, is relatively flexible and is very strong. But ... it stains/alters leather, sets too quickly for leather work, and doesn't 'breath'. Wheat paste was used for generations in bookbinding. Currently, rice paste is preferred (in some circles). But for maximum flexibility, working time, lack of toxicity and ease of use, you would be hard pressed to improve on 'mix'. Loosely speaking, 'mix' is 55% PVA / 45% paste (either wheat or rice). But there are plenty of variations (not to mention opinions) in either direction. Some people think you should never ever go over 40% paste. Some of us play with 50/50 or even (gasp) 40/60 proportions. And the world hasn't ended. Yet. Paste can be mixed in small proportions in either a pot on the cooker or in the microwave. It has a very definite shelf life and so does the mix when mixed with PVA. So only make as much as you need. (Unless you are fond of culturing green furry growths.) But it is inexpensive, vegetarian and very non-smelly. Where are you located? I would be happy to send you 1/2 cup of both wheat and rice starch with preparation instructions if you like. Let me know, Lucy in Rhode Island
  12. As I posted elsewhere a few moments ago, I am the owner of the very beautiful ebony and curly maple concertina on Frank's blog. To anyone who is struggling with which concertina to buy, I can't recommend my experience with Frank enough. He is endlessly patient, generous with his time and stays in communication throughout the process. I.e., after the reed pans were finished, Frank sent me an email telling me the concertina was ready to be assembled. After it was assembled, he sent me an email to let me know he was fine-tuning the tuning. When I asked for my concertina to be "special" (go ahead, roll your eyes - I would), he called me to discuss wood choices and offered to 'cap' the handles in the curly maple. My only regret is that the photographs on his blog don't show the handles so you can't see how very beautiful this concertina is. The craftsmanship is truly beautiful. I expected Frank's woodworking to be beautiful as he taught woodworking for many years. But I was even impressed by his leather work. My other hobbies are letterpress printing and leather bookbinding. So I am fussy about leather work and skiving. The concertina has an absolutely gorgeous mellow sound, which was exactly what I had requested. In other words, Frank will not only build a concertina out of different woods at the purchaser's request. He will also explain how the various woods affect tone and then he will tweak the reeds (to the extent possible) to produce the tone desired by the player. The concertina plays like a dream. Despite being straight of the box new, the bellows are supple and respond quickly. I had expected that the bellows in particular would need a breaking in period. But I can see that the Edgley really isn't going to need a break in period at all. The button action is incredibly quiet! And, as expected with an Edgley concertina, the reed response is superb. All in all, I can't recommend either Frank Edgley or his beautiful concertinas enough. He is a wonderful man who makes very beautiful instruments. And he doesn't charge for emails or phone calls. But maybe he should ... :-) Thank you so much Frank, Lucy Maddock Rhode Island
  13. Dear Ceemonster: I'm not sure when you went off your hybrids because in reading previous posts, you were quite enthusiastic about your Morse only a couple of years ago. I have a five-year old Morse and a three day old Edgley. I have been delighted by both and don't regret either purchase for a moment. What I appreciated most about the Morse when I bought it was the ability to drive to the shop, try out the various concertinas, rent a Stagi (amazing anyone sticks with concertinas after 3-4 months on a Stagi) and play a reasonably priced proper instrument within a six month period. Doug at the Button Box was kind and welcoming and didn't make me feel like an ass for wanting to take up a new instrument in my 30s. I have enjoyed every minute on the Morse and would enthusiastically recommend the Button Box to anyone. That said, I can not rave about my new Edgley enough. Frank is an absolute treat of a gentleman. He answered every email patiently and at length. He called me to talk about my requests. He very kindly built my concertina with custom selected woods (ebony and curly maple). He tweaked the tone because I told him I prefer a mellow, pure tone over a honking sound. It arrived at my office on Friday and the entire staff admired it not only for its beauty but for its absolutely gorgeous voice. It plays like a dream. I would be **very** surprised if you were unable to play this Edgley as fast as you like. But I would also add that speed isn't the main driver in what makes music appealing. Musicality is. Lucy Maddock
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