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Everything posted by hjcjones

  1. There are a number of problems which beginners face when learning to play this way. The biggest one for many is co-ordinating both hands (this can also afflict melodeon players, even though playing chords is easier on that instrument). Especially if you've been used to practicing each hand in isolation, bringing them together can be too much for the brain to handle at first. This is why it is usually recommended to try to play with both hands from the start. The problem you seem to be having is remembering which chords to play. It is one thing memorising a melody, but memorising a chord sequence in isolation can be more difficult. Again, this is where playing both sides together can help, especially if you have some understanding of how chords work (this could be knowledge of music theory, or intuitively recognising how chords work together with the melody). If you are learning the chords at the same time as the melody they become part of it, and you will find it easier to remember which chords go with the melody. Furthermore, as Gary has pointed out, the choice of chord may dictate the bellows direction and you may have to alter the way you play the right hand. If you have already learned to play the melody a particular way without chords you may have to unlearn it when you come to fit chords to it - another reason for learning both together. Even for experienced players, arranging a tune may involve trying out different combinations of left hand chord shapes and right hand melody fingering sequences until they arrive at the best way of playing it. It isn't easy, as you're having to develop co-ordination between both hands while thinking about both chords and melody, and at the same time managing the air button. It's a bit like learning to drive, when changing gear, working the clutch and at the same time remembering to steer can be a bit overwhelming to begin with, but it soon becomes automatic.
  2. It's perhaps worth pointing out that a 40-button doesn't significantly extend the range - possibly by one or two notes at the squeaky end, if that. It think the only additional note on mine is a very high C, and it doesn't get used much. The advantage comes entirely from alternative reversals of the notes you'll find on a standard 30-button . Someone mentioned weight. Obviously more metal = more weight, but my Crabb has aluminium reed frames and weighs only 20g more than my 31-button G/D, which has brass frames.
  3. I don't think it's often claimed that chords are straightforward. The more usual claim is that the instrument is very well-suited to playing an accompaniment (which is not quite the same). Within the 20 core buttons, holding down pretty much any combination of buttons on the same row will produce an acceptable harmony. It may not be the correct chord according to music theory, but it will do. No knowledge of chords or music theory required. Equally usefully, as long as you keep away from the accidental row, hitting a wrong button won't be a disaster as it will probably harmonise. It's quite hard to play a really wrong note. The Anglo is also well set up for playing in octaves. Admittedly things do get more complicated if you do want to play "proper" chords, and if you move away from the major home keys. Then you're in similar territory to duet concertinas, where it does require some effort to learn the different chords and some awareness of how chords are formed. Even on the Hayden the chord shapes may be fairly easy, and you only have to learn a few, but you do have to learn them.
  4. It's a fair question. It didn't arise when I started, because I wasn't aware there were different types of concertina. I just bought what the shop had, which turned out to be an anglo. If I were starting again, I would seriously consider a duet. However (not having seriously tried to play one) I wonder how intuitive it is to play? Forming chords on anglo is very straightforward (in the home keys anyway) even with no knowledge of music theory. On the other hand, I think of chords as shapes rather than notes, and find them on the anglo by poking about until something sounds right, so I'd probably work it out. I wouldn't change now. Having a 40-button gives me the best of both worlds. I can play it like a duet (almost!) or like an anglo, as the mood takes or the nature of the tune suggests. The instrument (although not my talent) is capable of playing complicated polyphonic music, as John K, Cohen B-K and others demonstrate. Having to think about the push-pull thing isn't quite the obstacle it sometimes appears to players of other systems. It is something else to think about, and can be difficult at first for beginners, and some never take to it. However it soon becomes intuitive, and like changing gear when driving doesn't require much conscious thought most of the time. It can actually be a benefit when you're arranging a tune, because it forces you to explore alternative ways of playing a phrase.
  5. For Irish-style playing there is probably not much advantage in having more than 30, especially as many players seem to have quite specific ways of playing which are based on the 30 button instrument. The benefit comes when playing harmonic-style, as the left-hand chords often dictate the bellows direction. The additional reversals give you more options to match right-hand melody notes with the bellows direction of the chord or bass runs, and to play more legato when the tune calls for it.
  6. I wouldn't assume that. I learned by ear and don't know the note names which belong to most of the buttons. After playing this particular instrument for some 35 years I can more or less find my way around it, but I still rely on trial and error a lot of the time so anything like this is helpful.
  7. This app looks really useful. In my experience, once you get beyond the core 30 buttons then the idea of a 'standard' layout becomes increasingly remote. In my time I have owned a 40-button Lachenal, a 40-button Crabb, and a 38-button John Crabb G/D, and they all had differences. Whenever I play someone else's instrument I usually soon find a button which isn't what I am expecting. I recently had the opportunity to handle John Kirkpatrick's 40-button, made by Crabb only four years before mine, and most of the additional buttons on the right-hand side are different from mine (John's is close to, but not quite identical with, the Wheatstone layout in the app, so I guess mine must be the rogue). The option to create one's own layout would therefore be helpful.
  8. See my post above. £3400.00 + buyer's commission of £897.60 incl VAT. If the winner was bidding through The Saleroom or one of the other platforms, rather than in the room or on Gardiner Houlgate's own website, there may be additional commission on top of that. The seller also has to pay commission so they won't receive anything close to the figure the buyer paid. However it appears that the previous owner has passed away, and if this was sold by his executors they may have felt obliged to sell by auction to show complete transparency, although they would probably have got more from a private sale. The auction house has made £1258.00 in commission, so a good result for them. It was interesting to watch the auction, but I was able to resist the temptation to bid myself. I hope it's gone to a good home, it seems to be a good instrument.
  9. It's just gone for £3400.00 With buyer's commission at 20% + VAT the buyer will pay £4279.60, which I guess is a fair price for a Dipper, possibly even a bargain. The seller will receive £2788.00 after paying seller's commission at 15% + VAT, which doesn't look so good. There are sometimes good reasons to sell at auction, for example where an item is very difficult to value. Another reason is where there is a legal duty to demonstrate that the seller has obtained the best price, for example when a mortgagee sells a foreclosed property. A possibility here is that it may have been sold by executors of a will who needed to demonstrate full transparency to the beneficiaries. Another reason is where the item is expected to attract a lot of interest which might result in a bidding frenzy - bidders can sometimes get carried away. This one certainly attracted a fair amount of interest, and the auction was being watched worldwide with at least one bidder on this from Ireland. However whilst this quickly brought in bids it didn't get out of hand. The eventual price the purchaser will pay looks fair, but after the commissions are deducted the amount the seller actually receives doesn't look so attractive. I can't help thinking they might have done better through a private sale. I'm still unclear whether VAT will also be payable on the hammer price. The Saleroom's website shown in the original link says it should be, Gardiner Houlgate's own website is silent on VAT. I believe it should depend on the VAT status of the seller, and I would expect this is a private seller so I would assume not. If it is payable, the buyer will pay an additional £680.
  10. I think this is almost certainly to do with technique rather than the instrument. Even if it is a bit more leaky than is desirable, provided the instrument is playable it should usually be possible to compensate for this with the air button. Most notes on the Anglo are duplicated elsewhere, so as Gary has said look to find notes in the other direction to even out use of the bellows. You can use the air button at the same time as playing a note - you might need to slightly increase pressure to maintain volume, but this isn't a problem since the purpose of this is to open (or close) the bellows more quickly than in normal playing. The idea is to set up the bellows ready for the next phrase - if you know there is a long section which will be all on (say) the pull, use the air button on the push in the phrase leading up to this to make sure the bellows are nearly closed. This does need the ability to think ahead when playing, but it comes with practice. It is often said that the air-button is the most important button on the instrument. Working out when and how much to use it should be as much a part of learning a tune as the actual notes.
  11. That seems to be a hefty additional premium just for bidding online. Even if a buyer pays the lower rate of commission this will still be nearly £800 on a hammer price of £3000. Add 20% VAT as well and they are looking at paying nearly £1400 on top of the figure they actually bid. The VAT is confusing. The terms I referred to before clearly state that 20% VAT is payable on the hammer price. That is nothing to do with Gardiner Houlgate - they are only agents for the seller. They must charge VAT on their services that they provide themselves ie their fees and commission, but if VAT is payable on the sale itself that can only be because the seller is VAT-registered. However it's a further trap for the unwary, since it isn't very apparent that VAT will be charged until you start digging. Taking commission from both sides of the deal is, as you say, standard for auction houses. There may be cases where they earn it. There are some situations where auctions really are the best way to go. One is where it is genuinely difficult to value the item, but I don't think that can apply here. Another is where the item is expected to generate a lot of interest, and with these a good auctioneer can really drive up the price. However, again I'm not sure that's the case here. It's true that Dippers are highly sought-after, and this one may well attract a lot of interest, but the auction house doesn't seem to be doing much to push it. They've provided only a brief, even perfunctory, description, and not even mentioned important details such as what keys it is in. I wonder whether they really understand what they've got?
  12. Next to the price it says "Additional fees apply". If you click on the question mark for more information it says: Additional Fees: Commissions*: 32.34% Inc.VAT/sales tax VAT/sales tax on hammer: 20.00% *Includes buyer's premium and online commission. For more information please read the auctioneer's T&Cs. Whether or not VAT is payable will depend on the VAT status of the seller. This suggests (if it is not an error) that the seller is VAT-registered, which is perhaps unusual but not impossible. This is definitely something I would want to clarify if I were going to bid. 20% makes quite a difference. If they are VAT-registered this would alter the amount they would receive from a private sale, where they would also have to charge VAT. Nevertheless, the seller is paying a considerable price for selling at auction rather than privately. I wonder how many sellers at auction understand that as well as paying seller's commission they also bear the buyer's commission too, since it reduces the amount the buyer is able to bid?
  13. Just of of curiosity I've been running the figures. If I'm reading it correctly, the purchaser will pay 20% VAT and 32.34% buyer's commission on the hammer price, so more than half as much again. If it sells at the top of the guide range (£3000) that means the buyer hands over £4570.20, which is probably not excessive for a Dipper in decent condition (assuming it is). However the seller doesn't receive that £3000, they will have to pay seller's commission of 15% + VAT. The seller ends up with £2460 for an instrument they might have sold privately for £4500 or more. The auctioneer will take more than £1250 net of VAT in commission for putting it on a website, and a few minutes of bidding in the auction room. I think I've been in the wrong job all these years.
  14. Steinberg do an Android version of Cubase called Cubasis https://www.steinberg.net/cubasis/ I've not used it (although I have Cubase LE Elements on my PC), and I imagine that for the price it is cut down considerably from the desktop DAW, but it still seems to have a lot of capability. I don't have the knowledge to use the desktop DAW to more than a fraction of its potential, so I don't think this would trouble me. With any tablet/phone based DAW I wonder if physical size could be a problem? I find need all the screen space I can get with the desktop DAW, and at times would like to have a second monitor. Even on one of the larger tablets it wonder if it could be too small and too fiddly. I don't find a touch screen is as precise as a mouse, and editing audio can require considerable precision. You'd also need some way to connect mics. I can it see it has its uses for recording away from your PC, but I suspect you'd want to import it into a desktop DAW for the final editing and mixing. I'd be interested to know users' experiences with these.
  15. For me that style does not appear to exploit the advantages of the duet system, which is that it facilitates the playing of chords and countermelodies. The very ease of mirroring what the other hand is doing could, it seems to me, be a disadvantage if you wish to play anything more complex. This is not of course a criticism of how you choose to play it. I agree that a less common layout could be more difficult to sell on.
  16. The normal arrangement for both duets and anglos, which have low notes on one side and high notes on the other, is for the lowest and highest notes to be played by the pinkies of the respective hands ie bidirectional. This mirrors the run of notes on a piano keyboard, and is what Wakker describes as "standard". I don't play duet, so I'm not sure what advantages if any the unidirectional layout might offer. The fingering is the same with both hands, but I'm not sure that is an advantage - instinctively our hands tend to mirror one another, and one of the challenges of learning any instrument is breaking this pattern and becoming being able to use them independently. I'm doubtful about a layout which encourages mirroring for that reason. If you are starting from scratch then perhaps it doesn't matter, whichever you choose you will have to learn the patterns. I suggest you discuss with Wim what advantages he feels the different options offer. My gut instinct would be bidirectional simply because that is standard, and most players of the Hayden system will have that (and for me as an anglo player the logic is familiar), but he may have very good reasons for offering the alternative. I play guitar myself, and in my opinion playing guitar doesn't transfer to concertina, except that you are already used to moving your fingers independently and have an understanding of music and chords. I wouldn't base a decision simply on how a guitar fretboard works.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
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