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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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. hjcjones

    Tricks To Cover Up Mistakes

    Glare accusingly at the other musicians,as if they were the ones making the mistake.
  9. 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.
  10. Rather than "incorrect" the article should perhaps say "different". The intervals used in modern western music are simply a cultural convention, and different cultures use different scales with different intervals. Even in western music, equal temperament (which your concertina is probably tuned to) is a compromise which allows playing in any key but means that many of the notes aren't quite "right". Likewise pitch is a matter of convention. A=440 Hz was only settled on as "concert pitch" relatively recently, and even now many orchestras tune to a different pitch. Highland pipes are tuned to a different scale to those now commonly used for most western music.The difference is not much, but is noticeable especially when combined with the difference in pitch. It is close enough that you can play it on a concertina, but it won't sound quite right, whereas some exotic scales eg quarter-tone Arabic scales are simply impossible.
  11. hjcjones

    Is The Concertina For Me?

    Your original question appeared to be whether a 30-button instrument is capable of playing the same as the 40-button shown in the videos. The answer to that is yes. The additional buttons don't usually extend the range singificantly, they mainly offer alternative options for playing notes which nevertheless can usually be found on a 30-button. Having more 'reversals', where a note can be played in either direction, can allow some phrases to be played more smoothly, and can improve chording by avoiding a change of bellows mid-phrase. Nevertheless most tunes which can be played on a 40-button should also be playable with 30 buttons. As someone has pointed out, all instruments have some limitations. You are not going to be able to play the concertina the same way you would play accordion, but why would you want to? You already have the accordion for that. The concertina would let you play them differently.
  12. hjcjones

    A Touch Of Clare

    Why do musicians put out CDs? Obviously, they hope to make some money from it, but it's also a wish for their music to be heard. CDs are expensive to produce and have a minimum run which means that you have to be confident of selling a decent number for it to be worth the cost. However there may be still be interest in the music even if there is not enough demand to justify re-issuing it in physical form. Publishing online is cheap and easy. If it means keeping good music alive and still heard, why not? Like many older people, I'd prefer to have a physical product, but where this isn't possible then downloads provide an opportunity to hear the music, which otherwise would be lost unless you are lucky enough to pick up a second-hand copy. I have published 3 albums digitally, using CD Baby. Two of these are simultaneous digital releases of current albums which are also available on CD, the other is an out-of-print LP by a long-defunct band. They've more than covered the costs of online publication. What I find fascinating is the reach - these albums, by not especially well known bands playing an obscure genre of music, have been played in more than 30 countries from all around the world, and not just the anglophone ones. I find it extraordinary to think that my music has been listened to in Guatemala and Turkey, to name but two unlikely markets for traditional English dance music. I'd urge anyone with an out-of-print recording to consider publishing it online. You probably won't make much money but over time you should recover your costs and more, and more people will hear your music.
  13. hjcjones

    Mirrored Hayden Duets

    If there is really no difference musically between the two layouts then you may have a point. However I wonder whether a mirrored layout actually reinforces the instinctive tendency for one hand to mirror the other; whereas a non-mirrored layout might encourage the player to learn independent movement from the outset, which will make playing more complex music easier once they progress. With respect, I think your own preference for playing in octaves is a red herring, in my experience most people, and especially duet players, want to play something more complex.
  14. hjcjones

    Mirrored Hayden Duets

    I think most people find it easy to mirror with one hand what the other hand is doing. One of the challenges of learning a two-handed skill such as playing a musical instrument is learning to break that habit and becoming able to do different things simultaneously with each hand. It is more difficult to begin with, but once it is learned it opens up far more opportunities. I am therefore not surprised that you would find a mirrored keyboard easier to play, and as you seem to be content to play only in octaves then it would seem to be ideal for you. However music is much more than playing in octaves, and for most purposes the ability to play chords and countermelodies is essential. You haven't put forward any musical reasons why a mirrored system offers any advantages, only that it requires less effort to learn.. Any system can be learned when you're starting from scratch, but I think it would be very unwise for a beginner to start on any system just because it is easier to play, if it might cause them difficulties when they wish to play something more advanced.