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gcoover

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Everything posted by gcoover

  1. I know there can be a tendency to overthink the issue, hoping to find some sort of perfect system. I know I certainly did at first. I tried them all, and struggled with the two-step coordinate-style numbering and tab systems that only made it more difficult for me. So I went back to the historical tutors, in hopes they had already worked out a decent way to notate this bisonoric beast, and found that the "1-10" single-numbering system for each side was the best for me. Simple, straightforward, easy-to-remember, lots of music already notated like this in the old tutors, and very important for me - a very quick and easy way to mark up Anglo arrangements on existing printed music with a pencil. But I found the historical bellows direction notation to be all over the place, so merely simplified it (for me) by drawing a single overhead line for draw/pull and nothing for press/push, with the result being it was a much clearer way to see the overall phrasing (and air use) at a glance as opposed to having to pick through all the violin bow symbols or Ps and Ds (which look waaaay too much alike). It's a lot like learning to type (oops, it's called "keyboarding" now) - there are lots of different teaching methods all striving for the same goal of creating a crutch that gets you started, and that is hopefully also the quickest to throw away. And if adding Anglo notation to previously printed music is important, find what is simplest and easiest and makes sense for you. Unfortunately these notation discussions often generate far more heat than light - better to spend that time playing music instead! Gary
  2. One fairly reliable test for checking whether the button spacing is cramped or not would be to draw an imaginary line from the points of the hexagonal end plate that would pass through the top row of buttons (left to right). On my Wolverton 30-button this passes through the middle of the farthest button, but on Wheatstones you'll find that all the buttons are below that line. It's only a few millimeters, but it can make a world of difference - to me the Minstrel is pretty much unplayable with it's cramped spacing and low handrest. Gary
  3. Hi Andrew, try to check the distance from the handrest to the apex of the buttons (well, that's what Chris Algar calls it) - which would be the maximum distance from the handrest to the middle button on the top row. This is not at all standardized, and most instruments don't give this dimension, but it's pretty important. The historical Wheatstone and current Minstrel layouts are pretty scrunched up and I find them difficult to play, so you'll probably want to look for something else. I really like the Herrington and Wolverton layout dimensions, but they are hard instruments to come by. And yes, a handrest height of 1" will make all the difference too. Gary
  4. If you like Bertram Levy's and Frank Ferrel's excellent "Sageflower Suite" album, or Charles O'Connor's "Angel on the Mantelpiece", then you will likely enjoy this too! Gary
  5. It only took listening to the first two tracks to convince me to buy the album. No mad diddly thrash here, just incredibly musical explorations of how beautiful these tunes can be. An absolute pleasure to listen to, your efforts are much appreciated! Gary
  6. As late as 1921 he toured the vaudeville circuit with several other acts, including Dora Robeni, "a concertina artist". A British newspaper says he was from "across the pond", but it looks like he played mostly in England but also around the US. Assuming it's the same Harry Edson. Gary
  7. There is an ad in the April 27, 1908 Evening Express about acts at the Cardiff Empire on Queen Street, including "Harry Edson and His Dogs", "Doc" and "Tige" - "an act as Marvelous as it is Clever". Especially if the dogs played the concertina!?! Gary
  8. Hey Frank, don't worry too much about the air at first - you're probably pushing and pulling a bit too hard, and also probably too slowly since you're still learning and getting the hang of it. Practice and familiarity and time will likely take care of the problem, but it can be really frustrating at first! In a little while it will feel like second nature. I sometimes still get the push and pull reversed so it's not just you - it just takes a while to get the subconscious and motor memory properly trained. Gary
  9. One thing you can do for starters is search the internet for the sheet music or lyrics with the chords - they probably won't be in the key you want so you'll have to transpose everything. And then that might not fit your instrument or have the notes you need in the same directions so you'll have to transpose again until you find something that works. You can also use something like the Amazing Slow Downer program (which definitely lives up to its name) to try and figure things out by ear by easily changing the pitch and/or the speed. I've used both methods to work up things like "Over the Rainbow", "Moulin Rouge", "Love of My Life", "Eleanor Plunkett", as well as some of the J-rock tunes of SCANDAL like "Shunkan Sentimental". And then once you know what the chords are, find the corresponding buttons and through a lengthy-but-fun process of trial and error, find where the notes are and in which direction, decide how much of the chord to play, when to play the various notes high or low, or maybe no thirds or maybe only one or two or three of the notes. You don't want to overpower the melody with a big heavy chord, so sometimes just a few notes or an arpeggio of sorts will do the trick. Sometimes you hold off and add some notes of the chord later to fill in some gaps in the rhythm. When you don't have the right notes in the right direction, you can default to no chord at all or maybe play some octaves instead and everyone will think you did it intentionally just to add some variety! And there will likely be times you will need to change the direction of the melody notes to fit the chords you want to play. Playing along with the recording (at varying speeds) will really help you focus on maintaining the rhythm and feel of the tune, and by ploughing through regardless you'll make mistakes that might lead to ways that work better. Nothing wrong with a little (or a lot) of experimentation! At the end of the day it boils down to what works and what sounds good to you - and that will probably change as you play the tune and learn more about it and how you want it to sound. It's not an easy process, but it is a great voyage of discovery that can have some really surprising results that will teach you a lot about what you and your instrument are capable of. Gary
  10. Glad to hear you are finding the books helpful! Unfortunately the songs you reference are still very much under copyright, which is a huge pain to track down, and then the big music publishers typically want $150+ minimum per song for print permission. That's why there are no Cyril Tawney songs in any of the sea songs books, really sad. If a song was written pre-1924 it is in the public domain and free to use, so that's why I mostly concentrate on traditional material or tunes where I can contact the composer directly. Barbara Steinger at Akkordeonschule Aarau in Switzerland is working on a book of traditional tunes from that area so maybe it might include a few French tunes. If anyone wants to work up a bunch of tunes from any of the Malicorne albums that would be wonderful! Gary
  11. A candle is much too dangerous! But you can take off one end, darken the room and then put the bellows over an exposed light bulb to see if there are any leaks. There will usually be some movement if you just hold the closed instrument up by one end - it's the speed of the drop that indicates leaky bellows or leaky pads or some other source of leakage. Gary
  12. Sounds like your new Anglo might use a little more air than most - sorry to hear that! I really try to make all the tunes suitable even for "leaky Lachenals" and other beginner instruments whenever possible by making sure there are not too many long stretches of push or pull, and sometimes deliberately changing directions sooner than I would normally do because I know some folks will need it. But yes, this tune will take more air than most, so you have a good challenge on your hands! On my Wolverton hybrid I can play this passage almost three times consecutively with no problem, so here are some things to consider. Like Mikefule said, beginners (including myself at the time) tend to push much harder than need be. I think it's a psychological thing, trying to force the tune out - doesn't work that way! Also, beginners are usually playing much slower because they are learning, so that compounds the issue. Suggestions for now: don't hold the longer notes at the bottom, tap all the bass notes lightly. If and/or when the time comes, you can hold things for longer. Or even leave out the #4 and #5 buttons altogether. If you can make it to that pull d at the end of the last measure, it is there specifically so you can grab some air while playing it. Good luck! Gary
  13. Makes me thirsty - За твоё здоровье!
  14. Coming soon! And hopefully out in time for his concertina workshops in September and October later this year. Needless to say, there are an amazing number of his Anglo concertina tunes to choose from, so just let me know if there are any personal favorites or must-haves that you would like to see in the book. Might even include a few songs, too. With dots and tablature, paperback and Kindle, and with the full blessing and support of Mr. Kirkpatrick, MBE. And yes, the book will include a 30-button version of his unbelievable arrangement of Johann Mattheson's "Gigue" that is featured on Anglo International (and Jump at the Sun). Gary
  15. I have to second the recommendation for the iPhone app Sheet Music Scanner. In my experience it's about 99% accurate, and super easy to export as XML and then import into Finale. And this is from just taking a picture of the original, works much better than other programs that import from my flatbed scanner. Very little touch-up required. Gary
  16. Whatever you get, make sure it has a very comfortable handle, or can have one fitted. Multiple instruments can get heavy quickly and a thin little handle will quickly hurt the very hands needed to play the instruments inside. If the case also has provision for backpack straps, even better! Gary
  17. Got it, thanks. I think my original intention was just to direct folks to concertina.com and let them prowl through the site to find the book pdfs in hopes they would explore some of the site's other great features and articles along the way. But in this instance it's probably better to go directly to the books. Gary
  18. Thanks, David! I've updated the original post with the direct links.
  19. I have to blame John Kirkpatrick and John Watcham ("Morris On", "Son of Morris On"), Alistair Anderson ("Concertina Workshop"), Mandy Murray ("Aleanna"), and Michael Hebbert ("The Rampin' Cat"). Being a keyboard player the idea of push-a-button-get-a-note makes a lot of sense, they stay in tune for decades, they can make a lot of noise for their compact size, and they're just quirky enough to make for a fascinating challenge. Gary
  20. By any chance did any or all of these play together at Hawkwood, and if so are there any recordings? That would be the most awesome rumbling sound ever! Gary
  21. Ni hao! Don't worry about the 40 buttons - it's the same as a 30-button but with extra buttons on the side, so any of the books for 30-button will work just fine. I went looking for concertinas a couple of years ago in Tieling, Beijing and Puyang, the music stores knew what it was but that was it and didn't know anywhere that sold them, or anyone that played one. I think the Yue Wei folks are maybe wholesale only, and will make them if you order a large number at once, but the quality is pretty cheap. Which is a pity, since I've seen some amazing high-quality luxury goods made in China, but maybe the high end concertina market isn't big enough to get their attention. One of my books has "The Moon Knows My Heart" in it - happy to send that song to you to get you started! Gary
  22. I'd never heard of "comb filtering" before, but now that you mention it I remember recording in a studio where the engineer did the crossed mic thing in front of the bellows and it resulted in an excellent sound. And it also minimized any clatter from the buttons and pads that would have occurred if the mics were closer to or facing each end. One nice advantage of having stationary mics is the ability to easily switch back and forth between different instruments, and it allows you to fade in and out and do doppler effects that are impossible with mics hardwired onto the instrument. Gary
  23. I just want to add this is a really good exercise for finding and using alternate notes on the Anglo when trying to play as smoothly as possible in both directions, and also due to wanting to play certain chords under the melody. The lack of a high d' on the pull is really frustrating, but not insurmountable! Gary
  24. Fancy a little Icelandic music? Especially one that should have won an Oscar? From the singing of Molly Sanden, Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrell, but here in the Key of G instead of the concertina-unfriendly original key of F#. Let's just say the elves have provided this arrangement for 30-button Anglo concertina. The more air you can take in during measure 98, the longer you can hold the mythical "speorg note"! Gary Husavik-ANGLO-G.pdf
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