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About hjcjones

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 07/15/1954

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  • Gender
  • 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. hjcjones

    tuning choice for an anglo

    But players of English music don't want it to sound Irish. As I said before,. G/D is favoured by English players because it makes it easier to play full chordal accompaniments in those keys. This doesn't have to mean sounding like a melodeon, there are other ways of playing chords beside oom-pah (but that goes for melodeon too). If you don't want chords then a C/G is fine for English music, and it's perfectly possible to pay chordally in those keys on a C/G (listen to John Kirkpatrick or Brian Peters), however G/D allows a few more options as you're then playing in the instrument's home keys. G/D is of course also suitable in terms of keys for Irish music. However the modern Noel Hill style of playing is based on a C/G played across the rows. There were older styles of Irish playing which were played up and down the rows, and a G/D would allow you to play in this style in sessions, but I think that would be an unusual (but interesting) choice for a modern player.
  2. hjcjones

    tuning choice for an anglo

    What do you mean by 'general use'? The conventional style of Irish concertina playing assumes a C/G, playing across the rows as the tunes are usually in D, G and A. G/D has become popular with English style players who want to play full chord accompaniments, as these are the common keys for English music. If you want to play only the melody then most keys should be achievable on any 30 key instrument, at least in theory - in practice some keys might be awkward to play. To play with chords you are more limited to the home keys and those nearby (although some players can manage the most unlikely keys) If you want to accompany singing, then the singer's preferred key is then a factor. There's no simple answer. You mention Irish, so that points to a C/G. You'll be able to play most other things on that too, but other keys might mean making some compromises, especially where chords are concerned
  3. hjcjones


    Auctions are possibly not the best way to sell a concertina. To get the best price at auction depends on as many potential purchasers as possible knowing about the sale. Many auction houses don't seem to do very much to publicise concertina sales to players (often when news of an auction appears here it has been posted by a member rather than the auctioneer), so in many cases they are probably bought by dealers rather than players. If more players were aware of the sale and were bidding for something for their own use the prices might be higher. Whatever the faults of ebay, it is more likely to be seen by players than something in the catalogue of an auction house. The other issue is that even specialist instrument auctioneers may not be very knowledgeable about concertinas and may undervalue them, or in some cases have over-optimistic ideas about value. The original seller may have grounds for complaint against the original auctioneer if they weren't properly advised. The other thing to bear in mind is that auction houses charge a commission to the purchaser as well as to the seller, so what the purchaser actually pays will be higher than the hammer price, which is what gets reported. It is common practice to start with a low asking price to get the bidding moving but to have a higher reserve price.
  4. hjcjones

    Concertina perceptions

    I wonder if the association with clowns is more of a continental European thing? It's not an association that I'm at all familiar with, as a Brit. My main recollection of musical clowns is of the white face clown but he would usually be playing a trumpet. Of course, the UK had a number of musical hall performers on the concertina, both serious and comedic, but that is an entirely different tradition. Also, perhaps concertinas were less common in some continental countries than in the UK, and many people would only come across them when they were being used by clowns, whereas in the UK they were at one time ubiquitous.
  5. hjcjones

    Pierced Metal Sides

    I used to own a Lachenal anglo with metal ends on wooden frames. Nothing unusual there. However the edges of the frames were pierced, if I recall correctly with pair of small f holes on each side. To my regret I don't seem to have a photo of it now. I've never seen another one quite like it.
  6. hjcjones

    Jeffries Bros Praed St, Anglo.

    There are a number of online calculators which claim to convert 1935 prices to today's values, but they all come up with wildly different figures! All I can say with confidence is £3/10/- in 1935 is equivalent to to just a few hundred pounds today. I think we can safely say this instrument will be worth a lot more than that. Interesting too that it was bought from a general outfitter rather than a music shop.
  7. I'm not sure you can take concertina.net as faithfully representing the entire concertina community. Its members appear to come largely from the folk music community, and it originally had a very strong bias towards Irish music although this seems to have widened out in more recent years. That would account for the large numbers of Anglo players here. There is, or used to be a separate (and probably older) community who preferred to play classical and other forms, and they played mostly EC and duet. They had little to do with the folk community, and vice versa, and I suspect only a few have found there way onto here. Also, the non-anglophone communities hardly feature at all here, unless someone posts a video. The distribution of instruments you find on here may not be typical of concertina players world-wide.
  8. hjcjones

    Concertina Bow Arm

    I am indeed. In this style, the melody is mainly played with the right hand, with the left hand providing chords. This contrasts with the Irish style of Anglo playing where the melody is shared by both hands, or of course the EC where this is a consequence of the keyboard layout. I think it does. Admittedly you have to move several fingers simultaneously to form chords, and this is a challenge for beginners (as it is on guitar and other instruments) but once you have overcome that the left hand is far less busy than the right, which is usually having to play lots of notes while the left hand is holding down a single chord. Of course, you can make the left-hand accompaniment more complicated once that hand has acquired more dexterity through practice (or should that be sinisterity?) As you go on to say, with stringed instruments the left hand fingers the notes, and while this might appear to be the more difficult task what the right hand is doing is providing the musicality, through fingering or bowing the strings. This requires more sensitivity and control, in order to transmit this to the strings. I'm not entirely sure how this translates to the concertina - perhaps Noel's logic is that fine control of the bellows is better achieved with the dominant hand, which for most people is the right.
  9. hjcjones

    Concertina Bow Arm

    I'm right handed and play in the "English" harmonic style, and I support the instrument on my right knee and use the left hand to drive the bellows. I think many other players in this style do the same, although there are many who use the left knee. I'm not sure there's a particular reason for this, except that with this style the melody is mostly played with the right hand whereas the left is playing simpler chords, so it makes sense to support the hand which is doing the most complicated work. I played concertina before I took up melodeon, so I can't blame it on this. With the Irish style the melody is more evenly divided between hands. In this case it might make sense to support the left hand, which for right-handers (ie most people) is usually less dexterous. I can see the analogy between bellows use and fiddle bowing, but unless you are taking this extremely literally I don't see why it should matter which hand is doing it. However it cannot be denied that Noel Hill knows what he is doing and is probably worth listening to!
  10. hjcjones

    "Top Ten" session tunes?

    Seesions in England tend to be separated by genre. Commonly, you will find: Irish sessions are usually pretty much exclusively irish music. Some can be very specific about playing only "their" version of a tune in a "correct" style an on acceptable instruments (and may not regard EC, as opposed to Anglo, a proper instrument for playing Irish), others are more flexible. English music sessions, which usually also admit some European tunes, especially French and Scandinavian, but Irish tunes are generally not welcome (partly because there are plenty of pure Irish sessions, and partly as a reaction to the previous dominance of Irish sessions before English music was rediscovered). They may have a regional focus, particularly in areas such as Northumberland and East Anglia which have strong regional traditions. You may also find "Euro" sessions which focus on European and in particular bal-style music. You may also come across other genre-specific sessions, and of course there are also some very general sessions where anything goes. Even within these genres, there is considerable variation in repertoire. The standard tunes from one session may be unknown in another session only a few miles away. To the extent that there is a common repertoire these tend to be the ones which are so overdone that no one wants to play them. The list Paul Hardy gives above certainly contains tunes that most people will know, but they're not ones I hear often at sessions I go to (but at other sessions it may be different). However most sessions are tolerant of inexperienced players, up to a point, and if you start one of these people will usually join in. Edit: you may also come across "slow sessions", which are aimed at less experienced and less confident players, where you are more likely to come across these tunes and where they played slower than full session speed. Even if this description does not apply to you as a player, these may be your best chance of coming across the repertoire you are learning from books. Many sessions are now publicised on the internet (but beware, the information may be out of date) so try to find out beforehand what sort of music is played. I'm sure the session etiquette guidelines are no different to where you usually play. I think Wayman's advice is sound, and you may find people are more interested to hear one of your local tunes. The real skill to playing in sessions is learning to play by ear, then you can join in tunes you haven't learned beforehand and maybe have never heard before.
  11. hjcjones

    Tricks To Cover Up Mistakes

    Seriously, don't let it put you off. Chances are most of the audience havent noticed, and most of those who have won't care. Keep playing eith conviction, and try not to panic when you come to that place next time through. If its too obvious to ignore, laugh it off, it will help to get the audience on your side.
  12. hjcjones

    Tricks To Cover Up Mistakes

    Glare accusingly at the other musicians,as if they were the ones making the mistake.
  13. hjcjones


    I have to agree with Anglo-Irishman - if you want an instrument that plays like an accordion, get an accordion. Concertinas, in all their various forms (and diatonic accordions for that matter) are different instruments. Embrace that, and take advantage of it to do something different musically from what you can already do on accordion.