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About hjcjones

  • Birthday 07/15/1954

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  • Interests
    Traditional music and song, especially English.

    I play Anglo: a C/G Crabb 40 key, a Dipper D/G 31 key, and Lachenal F/C baritone. Besides concertina, I play melodeon, guitar, hammered dulcimer and recorder, and sing.

    I used to be in the ceilidh band "The Electropathics" and now play with Albireo
  • Location
    Cheshire, UK

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  1. For EC and duet systems there is no need for tablature, as each note on the stave maps to a single button (although duettists may have to cope with a small overlap). Why would you learn a button numbering system, when it is more useful to learn where to find each note on the keyboard by name? The reason tab is useful for anglos is that there isn't this one-to-one relationship between notes and buttons. Most notes can be played on two buttons, and sometimes three, and in either bellows direction. The player not only has to know which note to play, but which button on the keyboard is the best option for that note in that particular phrase of music. The same note may be played on different buttons at different points in the tune, either to facilitate fingering or to fit in with the chords. Tab is a way of recording these choices, either for teaching or as an aide-memoire.
  2. The biggest problem with anglo tab seems to be deciding how to number the keyboard. The difficulty is that this is split between the two sides, so there is no indisputably right way to number the buttons. A guitar string has a linear sequence of frets along its length, a button accordion has single rows of buttons, and these can be logically numbered, but with the anglo there are choices. Do you treat both sides of a row as a single unit and number them from low to high, or do you number the sides separately? Low to high, or high to low, which reflects how we usually think of our fingers. All the systems are logical, but they are not consistent with each other and not always intuitive, the way guitar or melodeon tabs can be after only a little study. The other problem seems to be that some systems (such as the one showed in the starting post of this thread) try to combine the tab with the musical stave, and it ends up looking cluttered. The dots should show you what to play, the tab shows you how to play it. I think it is clearer if these can be separated (guitar and CADB melodeon tab usually show the tablature as an entirely separate stave below the conventional notation). Some systems do this better than others.
  3. I think this overlooks the point that when most of these tutors were written they would have had a fairly limited circulation and would be aimed at a specific audience with a shared musical culture. The authors may have been working in relative isolation and may even not been aware of other types of tablature when they invented their own. Or they may have felt that those existing systems of which they were aware were inadequate and attempted to improve them. The internet has changed all that, but we forget how difficult it was to find information even as recently as 20 years ago. When I began playing more than 40 years ago there were very few resources, and very few ways of discovering that they even existed never mind how to gain access to them. No system of tablature is entirely intuitive. They have to be learned. Some may find one system is easier for them to learn, but what appeals to the one player may be challenging for another. We all learn in different ways. The question is, now we have better communication and greater opportunity to compare them, will one system begin to prevail? And if some still find that system is not intuitive for them, will they invent their own and add to the proliferation and confusion? I doubt any author thought it would be helpful to start beginners off with tunes they hadn't heard before. On the contrary, they probably chose tunes which they expected their intended audience would know. Passage of time and the increased geographical range offered by the internet mean that we no longer share a repertoire of common tunes. The OP is in west Pennsylvania, I am in England - if I were to write a tutor I would have no idea what tunes we might have in common. Perhaps I was lucky. When I started to learn I could find only one printed tutor ( I can't remember which). It was old-fashioned even then, and I didn't know many of the tunes (although they would have been known to the original audience for whom it was intended). I had the same problem learning guitar - Bert Weedon's 'Play in a Day' was then only about 10 years old, but popular music had changed radically since 1957 and I was not familiar with many of the tunes he had included. My problem with the concertina book was not the tab system it employed but that it wasn't teaching either the type of music or the playing style I wanted to learn. I stopped using it, and began to learn by ear. I would suggest the choice of a tutor should depend more on the style you want to learn than the tab system it employs . Both tab and conventional notation are not ends in themselves. They are not music, they are just fairly clumsy attempts to represent music, and in the case of tab to indicate how it might be played. But tab in particular is a dead end, since outside beginners' tutors and a handful of other tune books there is very little music written in tab. My advice to a beginner would be to use it as a pointer, as an aid to learn to find their way around the instrument, but above all to depend on their ears to discover where to find the notes. If you are going to put a lot of effort into learning written music, learn conventional notation and figure out for yourself which alternative fingerings work best.
  4. I agree the proliferation of tablature systems is confusing. I make very little use of any of them - I learned to play by ear and have never learned to play either from dots or tab. It's a pity that the concertina community hasn't whittled it down to just one or two, but I guess people tend to favour the system they learned from their first tutor. They all have their own logic, but they each have to be memorised. The CADB system used by diatonic accordion players has a simple logic which combines button number with bellows direction can be easily expanded to any number of rows or buttons, and I've often wondered why that hasn't been been adapted for concertina. Possibly because it is French, where there are few concertina players, and was only discovered by British players fairly recently. I think the horizontal keyboard diagram format makes more sense if you think of it as relative to your hands - if you put your hands out in front of you and look at your fingers they will naturally align with the horizontal keyboard diagram. A vertical alignment would require an additional mental transformation. For some that will be automatic, others might find it difficult. The virtue of tab for beginners is that it tells you which button to press, which musical notation cannot, since most notes are duplicated on the instrument. It is probably for this reason that tab is popular with players of stringed instruments, which have a similar multitude of options for each note.
  5. I'd have thought a scammer would have used pictures of instruments in rather better condition in order to attract high bids. But perhaps that's a double-bluff. It certainly pays to be wary of sales on ebay, but there are genuine sellers out there, it's a shame we have to be so suspicious.
  6. As well as duties you also have to consider CITES if your instrument contains materials from protected species. Here is some guidance from the MU but it is for UK residents taking instruments out of the UK, you should check with the Italian authorities if this might be an issue. https://musiciansunion.org.uk/working-performing/working-overseas/travelling-with-a-musical-instrument/musical-instruments-made-of-rare-materials/musical-instrument-certificate-mic#exemptions Prior to Brexit the EU was treated as a single entity for CITES purposes and it didn't apply to cross-border travel within the EU. Now UK is outside, CITES rules apply. There seem to be some exemptions for antiques dating from before 1947, and for "personal effects" carried in baggage, but it's a bit of a minefield and everything is written in impenetrable bureaucratese.
  7. I played guitar and that led me to folk music. The first LP I got was a compilation album from the BBC's 'Folk on Friday' programme, which included the late Tony Rose accompanying himself on concertina. I liked the sound, and it seemed like a "proper" folk instrument. My local music shop had a bright red 20-button concertina in the window, and I saved my pocket money until I could afford the £5 it cost. I struggled with it at first and put it to one side, but was later inspired to pick it up again by Richard Plant, who I knew at university, and later by Colin Cater. Eventually I started to make some acceptable noises on it, at which point the instrument gave up! My next move was to a 26-button Lachenal (leaky, but it taught me bellows control) and I didn't look back. It was only later that I discovered there are different types of concertina, and that Tony Rose had played English whereas I had acquired an Anglo. Ah well. I'm very happy with Anglo, although if I were starting again I might consider duet.
  8. The answer partly depends on what problem you are trying to solve. If it's for solo work, or alongside one or two others where you can keep a distance between you and avoid too much of their sound spilling into your mics, then stand-mounted mics have many advantages. If you can, talk to sound engineers who are used to working with these instruments and find out what works best for your set-up. Of course if you're recording then leave microphone choice and placement to the sound engineer, and be assured you almost certainly couldn't afford what they will use. If like me you are part of a large noisy ceilidh band squeezed together on stages which are usually slightly too small, then on-board mics are preferable. Microvox are a cheap entry-level solution but don't cut it for serious work, and it's probably worth spending a bit more for condenser mics with phantom power, either from a battery pack or from the sound desk. I use a pair of Thomann CC75s which are astonishingly good value, and appear to be entirely adequate as part of a band sound where you don't need to capture every nuance. The biggest problem is finding ways to attach mics to the instrument. I was never happy sticking velcro onto expensive instruments. AKG provide a sort of putty which works well and shouldn't damage the finish. On my anglos the mics I use have clips which attach to the hand straps, but not all mics have the clips positioned at an angle which will work. I've seen some usebrackets fitted to the strap retaining screw to which a mic can then be attached, and for EC players this may be the only option. Velcro cable ties can also work to attach mics to straps.
  9. It depends what you think is the point of the anglo system. Surely because it can add natural bounce when played in certain way doesn't mean it should only be played that way? Playing legato suits some tunes better, and the anglo is also capable of playing those, just as it is possible to play English with lift and bounce. However, as you say, mixing both techniques opens up many possibilities, especially where it avoids disrupting the chords by forcing bellows changes at musically inappropriate points.
  10. I use Musescore for more complex harmonic pieces (mostly for transcribing guitar tablature) and being able to edit the score itself (or the tab) is so much easier than trying to bracket harmonies together in ABC and get everything ilined up corectly. However for the simple short unharmonised folk melodies which make up most of my repertoire I find it far quicker to use ABC than Musescore. The complexity the latter offers can get in the way when you're doing something simple. There are keyboard shortcuts, but I still find ABC simpler for that purpose. Horses for courses - ABC is brilliant at what is was originally designed for.
  11. In my experience, not very well. Here's an example using Scan Score, which resulted in a complete failure. However a lot will depend on the quality of the original and the quality of the scan (this was taken on my phone). Perhaps if I'd taken more time to align it exactly right and fuss over image quality I might have got a better result. I got a much better result from a printed score, almost completely accurate although it missed the key and time signatures. I would then have to export this as XML and use other software to re-export it as ABC. The software is improving all the time, and some apparently give good results, especially if you're willing to pay a bit. here's a useful summary of what's currently available: https://www.musicrepo.com/music-scanning-software/
  12. Music scanners are improving all the time, but the ones I have tried have met with mixed success. Admittedly I have only tried those which are free or cheap! Usually the output requires at least some editing to correct errors. For simple folk tunes I find it is usually quicker simply to transcribe it into ABC myself. For more complex music ABC probably isn't the best solution anyway.
  13. I've tried this in ABC Explorer, EasyABC and Mandolintab.net's ABC converter. Only ABC Explorer doesn't display the tie as a slur. So depending on what software the original transcriber was using maybe it displayed correctly for them. All three played it back without difficulty, although the notes aren't played slurred but I suspect this is beyong the capability of the simple midi player. You will come across a lot of errors in ABC. Besides the tie/slur confusion, a common error is failing to understand modal key signatures. I'm sure my own ABC could be found lacking in many ways. I often find it necessary to edit files, if only to tidy things up.
  14. Probably just a mistake by someone who doesn't know or care about the difference between a tie and a slur. The output when it's converted to notation is the same, two notes connected by a curved line, so it's then up the to the musician to interpret how to play them. It's slightly quicker to type than putting them in brackets (and in my case avoids the delay of having to look up which sort of bracket to use). Many users of ABC, myself included, are a bit hazy on the finer points of music theory.
  15. Copyright can exist in both the piece itself and separately in an arrangement. Simply fitting chords to a melody usually isn't sufficient to be an "arrangement", it has to be more complex than that. If you're just playing for your own pleasure then copyright is absolutely nothing to worry about. Even if you were to perform in public copyright is then handled by the venue, which has to pay a licence fee to a music rights organisation (in the UK this is the Performing Rights Society). The performer might be asked to provide details of the pieces played, but you don't need to askthe composer's permission or pay a fee yourself. If you are going to make a commercial recording then you will have to pay to use copyright material, but again this is usually handled by the music rights organisations and you pay them a fee at the time the recording is published. However if a recording is just for your own private purposes then again you don't need to worry. This is a considerable simplification of what is a complicated area, and also the law may differ in different legal jurisdictions. At this stage of your musical career you don't need to worry about it.
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