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Everything posted by Ken_Coles

  1. Michael Reid wrote: . Let's see, Doug Barr and I were the Anglos, Rich Morse and David Barnert were the Haydens, and Ken Sweeney - and it must have been you Michael? I should have introduced myself - were the Englishes. I noticed this too, and reacted the same way. Where were the Maccanns? (singing "hearty" songs in the other room!) We only had one Crane player at the S-I; a beginner dispairing of finding a teacher... Ken
  2. Hi folks, I turned down David's generous offer to look over his shoulder Saturday (hey, it was a weekend off), but I am now at a friend's on Cape Cod (will be job hunting this week). Had fun, and at the last minute organized an Anglo Beginner's support group when I saw none of the real experts (i.e. the Kruskals) were present to talk about chord playing, etc. It went OK (thanks to Frank E. for helping out). Everyone got an appropriate sense of the typical choices you make when starting out, but of course no firm answers. Bob, the black box got to the BB after they left Friday, so it didn't get to Bucksteep until Sunday. But the red one was there. I ragged everyone to try it, but it was not easy to get them to write in the book after playing only a few minutes. I did get some comments, and if I have the time and energy, will write more about the Edgley + Morse + Tedrow times we had. For all of you, each of these makers is curious about our reactions, and I will try to generalize later -- it's very late right now. I took the red one with me to visit a friend in Boston Sunday afternoon (I left my Morse for a repair) and my friend and I had fun talking, singing, and playing in the park. She even tried it (never played before) and some strangers came up all excited. One had just ordered a (cheap) anglo for her (I gather boy) friend. A nice date, nicer thanks to a Tedrow concertina. What more can you ask (no, let's not answer that one!) I won't be checking in much this week, maybe at start of Oct; livlihood (search for same) comes first! Cheers, Ken
  3. I haven't looked at your chart yet, but you may be interested to compare it with the one William Meredith posted here several years ago: Another English Chord Chart He could add some minor chords, but it shows some of the structure of Wheatstone's invention. Ken
  4. I believe Frank Edgley can tell you; I heard he was planning to build a copy of this layout and may already have done so (unless I've mixed this up with some other project). If he doesn't see this thread you might ask him directly. Ken
  5. Check the new article by Geo Salley, on how he got started with the concertina years ago, complete with photos of some of his concertinas, both sublime and odd. Clicking on the thumbnails of concertinas brings up bigger versions (up to 150KB, so allow time to download if you use a slow phone line like I do). Adventures during the Concertina Revival Ken
  6. In the playing for Dancers thread, Cornelia asked Well, contra dance was the most accesible kind of dance for me, when I first tried it 22 years ago at a tender age in Washington, D.C. It was real big with young people in the 1970s, and I sometimes wonder if we have all aged as a crowd, as the folks I see at contra dances are all my age (now 40s), though maybe this is in the Midwest U.S. only! The dance is done by two couples who execute various figures as a foursome, commonly for a 32-bar dance, after which the couple will "progress" up or down the line of couples and do it again with a new couple. The moves are taught before the dance in a walk-through, and a caller calls the moves throughout the dance (at least my favorite callers don't stop calling in the middle of the dance!). Some would compare it to square dance (descended from the old quadrilles, for four couples), but the culture is quite different. Much square dancing in America is codified, some folks wear fancy/silly (take your pick) costumes, and live music and even callers can be uncommon. Contra dancers I know are a decidedly informal lot, the moves are ones you can learn if you can walk, and they are very good about helping beginners feel welcome right away. Live music is almost universal - I can't remember ever contra dancing without it. I can't tell you much about the history of contras, perhaps others here can. Someone told me it has ancestry in the British Isles, but much of it seems to be a North American form. It is very big in New England, and I learned it in the Hudson Valley of N.Y. in the mid-1980s. It was a huge singles activity there, and hundreds of people would show up for the dances. Eileen Ivers used to play for our dances! (for 50 bucks, maybe?) I bet she doesn't have to do that anymore! The music might be a moderately fast fiddle tune or something similar. Over the last quarter-century Contra dance music has become a form of its own, with well-known bands like Wild Asparagus, or the more recent rave, Flapjack. Many original tunes have been written for contra dancing. To get back to the thread topic, I got my first chances to play in a contra dance band this summer, once at Pinewoods and twice at a local dance weekend, and I enjoyed it, though it took focus and stamina. Gee, we should really start a new thread if anyone else wants to expand on this. Ken
  7. Here is Geo's picture -- I'll try uploading it. I need to learn how to do this anyway. Geo's version was very big and at very high resolution. I made it 4X smaller, making the file 16X smaller. Here we go. Ken
  8. Come to think of it, I _have_ played for dancers (experienced teens and/or adults) once or twice. At the session in Indianapolis I go to, once or twice a year someone is there who dances. Of the three sessions I have gone to in Los Angeles, the most accessible one for an intermediate player like me has several regular dancers. Even the waitress (a fetching young lady, but apparently old enough to work in the bar) danced spectacularly a year ago when I was there. This last June, however, she watched us with a sad look, as she had an ankle injury. Being in the midst of a crowd of more experienced players made it easy for me. Having dancers added alot to the session, but I'm sure that's different from playing for kids at a feis. Sometime I want to go watch my cousins' kids dance -- I never have and need to see how it works for them. Ken
  9. I am just at the point where I can play for other kinds of dances, and I know it helps me improve. Dancers, especially young ones, require _very_ even tempos, and I know I have to be very good to provide that (I'm not quite there, actually). The teachers should help in communicating what is needed, and I have seen that happen with my cousins' kids (several are dancers) when some musicians I know are asked to play for them. Maybe the least experienced dancers require the most able and adaptable musicians, and vice versa? Ken P.S. How are you and the kids? Keep you-know-who off the computer sometimes...
  10. I am interested in this topic also, as I still have the Bastari in my possession that I wrote the "discovery" story about. Italian story OK, maybe it is not a "gem," but it is in much better shape than the average used bastari and has screwed in rather than waxed reeds. It needs tuning, which I can do after a lot of practice this summer, but the buttons are always an issue. After seeing a set of Tedrow-style brass buttons fitted to a Stagi by Len Rheaume, I figured I would try it to. So I am interested to know that Bob says If the only objection is that it is just too much work, maybe I will tackle it anyway. We concertinists aren't known for being realistic! I may doctor the bellows too. And after spending too much time fixing it? Probably sell it! (Don't write me about that yet; that day is quite a ways off!) Anyway, an old Bastari like this one might be worth it, but you won't know on ebay what you're getting, you need to see it in person (good idea for any used purchase). Ken
  11. Gratifying to know folks look at the new pages here...Maybe we need to add the Lucas Duet to the pending Squeeze-Off. Ken
  12. I finished adding links for lost/obscure pages. Most were already linked somewhere, but perhaps the changes I made will make them easier to find, including Bill D'Ambrogio's review of his Dipper Anglo, and the photo of the 1981 Willie Clancy week concertina concert (in the Museum page, worth a visit if you haven't been in a while). Thanks for your patience. Ken
  13. Short reviews of three recordings, by John Nixon, Emery Hutchins, and Gypsophilia with Scott Robinson, have been added to the Music page. Music page I checked the most of the directory for "orphan pages" and put links for them in the relevant places, namely the Learning (link below) and Music (see link above) pages. Learning page There is still some more of this to do, but several reports on early Scandinavian Squeeze-Ins, Roger Digby's review of the Scan Tester Recordings, and Randy Merris's article on the Paul DeVille tutor book are now again accessible. Jim Lucas has reported the ultimate solution to the Anglo-or-English debate and the which-duet-system debate. Check it out here. Jim Lucas's duet I have a few more lost or obscure pages to relink. After that, don't expect any effort from me on new submissions for a month or two! I have some neat stuff from Geo. Salley to catch up on next. Concertinally yours, -- Ken
  14. One of the people at Pinewoods this year (see my report) showed what was "Peter Bellamy's Anglo." It never occured to me to ask what key it was in...I assumed it was a C/G. I have some LPs (and CDs remastered from LPs) where the pitch is clearly off thanks to variable speeds on some studio tape recorder. Try playing along with Altan's "Snowy Path" (a slip jig I recently learned). I have trouble believing Altan was tuned nearly a semitone off A440! More likely a technical problem, as cuts of later vintage on the same anthology are dead on A440. I figured most folks knew anglo playing was among Peter Bellamy's many achievements -- see for example the Free Reed collection, "This Label is Not Removable." Maybe we need the experienced experts to write about some of this... Ken
  15. The Squeeze-In is great, as far as I'm concerned. It is great for trying other kinds of instruments and hearing them played at every level of ability. I get a great boost, and wish we could scare up a sponsor for a Great Lakes edition - I suspect the Button Box had to spot a fair amount of funds to get it launched. Every year I either go (three out of the last six) or I have a good reason not to (being out of the country, being busy teaching in a school that week). Some folks have commented here in the past that there weren't a lot of (fill in type here) players there. So it isn't, for example, an Irish anglos players convention - go to Noel Hill school or one of the other summer classes for that. OTOH I believe Frank Edgley was planning to go this year. Frank? Don't go expecting someone to cater to your style or instrument or to set it up for you -- you get to set it up yourself. One year I proposed a Cajun accordion beginners support group, and it worked out great. One or two experts came and helped us choose easy beginner tunes, which we taught to some other folks (PA experts) who had never played a diatonic box before and said afterward, "Thanks, I enjoyed that." I'm starting to think about coming this year if I'm still not working by then and can find the funds (I'm sure at this point only campsites are still available). We can set something up for anglo, what do you say? I joined the English concertina orchestra as the token anglo player the last time and fit right in! Squeeze on! Ken
  16. Has the concertina helped me deal with stress or sadness, you ask? Most definitely; it is doing it right now. Four years ago I rather idealistically left a cushy, high-paying but dull and stressful job. I wanted to be a school teacher. In the time since I have had some adventures and interesting times, but have never made enough salary to cover my modest needs (I do without cell phones, Cable TV, without a TV for that matter - a great development for my music, drive a ten-year-old car, etc.). I did have one real job; it was last year in a parochial school, a very different experience for me. I took instruments to school all the time, played in church, and so on. But in July, halfway through the summer, they called to say enrollment had fallen and the grade I taught was closing up. The last six weeks have been mostly a mad scramble and close to 100 job applications, but no prospects. School is now well along here and I am facing either going into some other kind of work (if I can find any) or moving a long way from here to one of the few places in the U.S. where they actually need new teachers. The "teacher shortage" in my country is mostly a myth. The reason for going into all this is to say music (and dance) have been my solace. I even had a paying gig last week that will buy my groceries for two weeks. I don't know how people who aren't musicians cope in such situations. It has kept me out of an unproductive negativity. I must say, I did two smart things when I was young: avoided tobacco and started studying musical instruments. May music help all of you also. Ken
  17. Stuff in the page header is dynamically generated from php code -- that's Paul's domain, so you'll need to ask him, though I'm sure he intends to do this just as soon as he can. Ken
  18. I will certainly fix a link from Learning page...As soon as I can, though using my phone line for my hunt for a job comes first right now. I will look at the Home page, though we can't fit every single link on there. I will start checking the Server for other orphans. And folks, again, if you know something has vanished, don't suffer silently but let us know (gently, if you can). We'll fix it as we can (remember, we are a volunteer operation -- if there was a face icon with a vise squeezing it I would put it here! Instead I'll use this one. ) Ken
  19. A recent post in the General Discussion area led me to the discovery that a detailed article by Randy Merris about 2 years ago is not linked from the Home page or the Learning page (the article was a study of the books by DeVille and Kail). I found it by checking all the files on the Server, and it seems we Admins need to make a thorough inventory to see if anything else in there was not permanently linked somewhere logical. So, if you know we had an article here in the past (especially if you wrote it!) but you can't find a link for it now (and you really have looked), let me or Paul know by email or post it here. Thanks! Ken Edited to add this note: Actually, email is best. Trying to reply here (on the Official Notices forum) puts your note in a queue where it sits until we happen to check it, so it can get lost.
  20. Alex, Yes. Randy Merris, one of our resident scholars, did a comprehensive study that is posted right here on Concertina.net....Now where is it? Ah, Here we are: Review of DeVille by Merris Read the whole story there. No need to duplicate Randy's work, I would say. Turns out DeVille cribbed a lot of stuff from even earlier books. Personally I recommend more modern books for students of anglo, depending on what style(s) they want to play. There is also a review of DeVille by David Wallace that _is_ linked from the home page and the Learning page. I was about to repeat my old sermon about look around, there is lots of stuff here that you may not have seen yet. But I had to use my status as Admin to log directly on to the Server and find this article. It was never linked from the home page or the Learning page that I can see, though I haven't looked everywhere yet. After its announcement fell off the News on the Home page 18 months ago, I guess no one knew it was there. Apologies Randy! Fortunately, Paul insists that pages by guests have names that start with their initials (rm in this case) so I knew where to look. I guess Paul and I need to check for other missing articles and revise all the links (after all, we need something to do...). Ken
  21. None of us can tell you very much; with these boxes, a lot depends on condition. A 30-key W15 might go for 300 to 475 dollars used if fixed up. In unknown condition they are worth less than that. These only feel "fast" if you haven't played a traditional-design anglo, though I can only speak for the ones I've tried and not this one. The part of the story that surprises me is the provenance. I don't know Paul Groff but would not have guessed he handles instruments like this one very often. Auctions are always a shot in the dark. Back when I was rich I indulged in one or two. The malady seems to have passed, at least for now. Ken
  22. Well, you have already talked to Bob, so I can't add anything, except that I have watched him play his unusual D/A where the A is a fourth lower than the D row, and it does give some nice nearby alternate fingerings in the upper octave when you watch Bob play. Have fun with it! Ken
  23. After writing the "available Keys" article, I got interested in these myself. I since have acquired an A/E Lachenal, but it is not in A=440 and I have no reason to alter the tuning. I use it solo or to sing with. It has the lovely deeper tone one also associates with G/D (and Ab/Eb for that matter) concertinas.
  24. As one of the people who helps sweep the floors around here, I might add one or two things that motivated some of these changes. First is a number of requests I heard to the effect, "Can I easily pull up all the posts I've made?" The answer was "No" in the old system. If you look at the html labels, you will see that there are over 16,000 posts in the old forum system. Having no search facility was a weakness that needed addressing. That doesn't mean we can't improve on some of what you're adjusting to here, but we need to keep searchability if we can. Second, I know I have spent alot of time (as the assistant bottlewasher) deleting bogus posts and ridiculous ads for all manner of non-concertina nonsense and laboriously documenting each item I deleted for Paul so he could tweak the anti spamming features in the code. I haven't counted, but I would guess a hundred instances at least in the last year or two. This also took time away from editing and posting reviews, articles you submit, etc., which is what I should be doing. So, while I hope we can continue to wish for/pursue things like threading, these are two improvements I hope we can hang onto. Ken
  25. I was just at an Irish session last night, attended by another concertina player from the region who owns the G/D Lachenal famously mentioned by Paul S. in his 1998 Noel Hill School report. Yes, the one with filed reeds, originally a C/G. I'm told no reeds have broken in recent years, it has a great tone, and the owner gets reasonably fast response out of it - certainly faster than I get on a number of reels. Very authentic, very Irish. That said, don't try this (all that filing!) at home, kids! Ken [Wow, my first post!]
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