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RobSay

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  1. Hello - I have a question on musical notation for the English Concertina (although it could equally apply to Anglo & Duet).

     

    Is there a generally accepted standard of musical notation to indicate bellows direction?

    (Text takes up too much space and is too busy)

     

    The reason I ask is that I recently delivered a couple of sessions at the Swaledale Squeeze and was asked how (or whether) I could write out what I actually do on a particular tune. One thing that became apparent is that in one place I consistently use a pull note in a particular way to achieve softer note articulation on a descending run - but I change to pull a note earlier in the previous bar and it's this I want to indicate.

     

    My natural choice was to use violin Up & Down bowing (Down indicating Push) like so:

    post-4140-0-94586300-1464174655_thumb.png

     

    All references, examples, contradictions & comments welcome.

     

    thanks

     

    Rob

  2. Well now - there's a story to that piece ...

     

    Cuckold is a very old tune and has many different sets of variations - mostly stemming from Border piping and Northumbrian piping traditions. The baseline version for many years was that in the Peacock tuneback - of which there are numerous facsimilies (such as here: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/musicfiles/manuscripts/peacock.pdf).

     

    A chap by the name of Matt Seattle has done an extraordinary amount of work to recover old forgotten music & manuscripts and make it available in various forms. His musical journey has lead him to the Border pipes, the discovery of the Dixon manuscript and fascination with all things variable in the BP repetoire. Some while ago he published (in one of his early books I think) a setting of Cuckold that was very definitely his version (reworked orginal themes, sustantial new variations etc).

     

    Whoever it was that did the music for M&C went for authenticity and played music 'of the period'. If you're looking for 18th century vernacular music from Scotland - at some point you will come across Matt's work... Anyway when the soundtrack CD to Master & Commander came out, somehow Matt's variation set was one of the pieces .. and it was not attributed to him (I choose to err on the charitable 'genuine oversight' here). As with all things of this ilk (i.e. marked trad), the 'arrangement' was copyrighted to whoever did the recording* - Fox music in this case. Fortunately Matt was in the Union and had a pretty clear trail of evidence (published books are sort of a gold standard really ...) - and Fox eventually agreed the work needed to be recognised as belonging to Matt

     

    So if you want Matt's setting of the tune, you need to find a copy of the Border Bagpipe book (now out of print) ... or write to him; he's a terribly nice chap: http://www.dragonflymusic.co.uk/ - given the history ... any random copies floating around on the internet aren't really going to be popular.

     

    * © is highly unbalanced hammer for old trad music

  3. Hello - A lot of Billy's tunes work really well on the concertina. If you're playing English Concertina, some of the more arpeggio'd tunes with successive 3rd jumps can prove interesting.

     

    As far as the other books the NPS have on offer, they all contain good box tunes.

    - Book 1, lots of 'standards' and a few that have dropped out of currency. Some classic variation sets

    - Books 2 & 3 have less well known tunes but there's some absolute gems in there and you get some modern compositions (#1 was compiled 80 odd years ago!)

    - Charlton Memorial ... has some excellent tunes, particularly hornpipes (but there's a new edition in the works :) )

    - Peacock/ Minstrelsy / Bewick - older 18th & 19th century style, mostly simple chanter (8 note) tunes .. some with variations,

    - Fiddle music of James Hill (All the fiddle tunes in G&D ... I'd skip in favour of the proper one (LLB)

    - Lads Like Beer (fiddle music of james hill) .. all of the tunes in the proper keys and all of the history we know. Much played around the world (but v. demanding)

    - Remember Me (Whinham) ... fiddle repertoire of 19th C dancing master

    - Variations book ... what it says, really good fun but don't expect to play much with anyone else! Hardcore piping repertoire

    - Billy Pigg & Tom Clough ... fantastic resources, both very pipey - in different ways. Just tunes is OK - but I think the history/context adds to the mix

    - Great Northern Tunebook - Vickers manuscript, excellent resource, not massively played but has many many gems.

    - Dixon - 18th C border pipe music with varations

    - First 30 - designed as a primer for lone pipers, 30 tunes that are guaranteed to have cross over with any other piper you meet

     

    If you want:

    - a book with tunes others might know ... 1,2,3, Hill, Charlton & First 30

    - to be a piping expert ... 1, Peacock, Pigg, Clough, Dixon,

    - historical music ... Peacock, Bewick, Dixon, Clough, GNTB

    - sheer enjoyment / challenge on Concertina ... Hill, Whinham, Pigg, Variations

     

    (For reference / disclaimer - I play both pipes & concertina ... and I have had a hand in the production of a number of the books)

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

  4. For Sale: Wheatstone Aeola Treble, #27864

    • 48 keys, 6 fold bellows, steel reeds, brass mounts, concert pitch, lovely tone, original leather case
    • Original manufacture: May 8th, 1919 (http://www.horniman.info/DKNSARC/SD01/PAGES/D1P1150S.HTM)
    • Refubished: 2009 by that nice Mr Gibb @ theboxplace - incl pads, valves, thumbstraps & retuning

    post-4140-0-89093900-1363608393_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-54113800-1363608412_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-04753600-1363608425_thumb.jpg

     

    The concertina came to me from a lady who was sorting out her grandfathers effects - the only history I have is "he'd had it all his life" - but I doubt that was from new. You can see in the photos that the fretwork has slots for bowing levers. There is no mechanism and indeed there are no airholes in the actionboard base or the reedpan (i.e. it was built like this). Leather case is OK for storage but I'd recommend a new case if you're you going to be taking it out

     

    It's an excellent player - classic Aeola versatility, ready to go and just looking for the right person to make beautiful music with.

     

    Reason for sale: one in, one out!

    Price: £2700 incl UK delivery

    Location: Northumberland & occasionally elsewhere (ask!)

     

    Donation to C.Net - irrespective of sale.

     

    thanks

     

    Rob

  5. Does anyone have an ABC of the first tune they work on, a Billy Pigg song called Little Jenny?

     

    PM'd - I don't know if Alistair plays two or four parts on the DVD but the fourth part owes much to Adrian Schofield's interpretation of the garbled recordings.

     

    If you want more Billy Pigg tunes, try the Billy Pigg book:

    http://www.northumbrianpipers.org.uk/index.php?page=Book-Store-One

     

    A lot of them go well on (English) concertina since Billy used a lot of arpeggios but some of the third jumps can get a little mechanical.

     

    Also take a look at the Old Drove Road - the same thematic structure gets re-used in at least 4 tunes.

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

  6. Oh my word .. I shouldn't be surprised by what appears on the internet any more. Apparently I was on the telly on Sunday, they reshowed "The Glass Virgin", a Catherine Cookson film from ~1992 .. and then someone pointed out it's also available on youtube.

     

    For your delectation and to make sure that someone other than my granny has seen it - part 8/10 - tunes at ~1:15 & ~1:55. There's even a concertina close-up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28RTGSAdDjI

     

    If I recall correctly the actors couldn't dance and that they played the wrong track based on the spec :) I also had to sacrifice my waist length hair to get that bob!

  7. I am considering the purchase of a 'New English'. Does anybody here have some thoughts about this?

     

    I had a similar thought 3 or 4 years ago .. I've only had 2nd hand reports and none from players I know well.

     

    Wim had just moved or was moving out to the states. I couldn't find a way to try an instrument before ordering. The import duty ultimately made the instrument unaffordable and I stopped pursuing that option (Sorry Wim).

    I spoke to Colin Dipper - he was not very keen as he had masses of work and was concentrating on making Anglos. He also held the opinion that the supply of older quality EC was strong enough to mean the new cost differential would be very high. I got the impression he hadn't produced a new EC for some time.

    I'd played a Suttner years ago and heard a Norman (or was it the other way round?) but didn't feel they offered much over an good well restored historical instrument for the cost. Not a heard a recent Steve Dickinson (Wheatstone) instrument.

     

    And I'm still waiting for the right instrument to come along...

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

  8. I have recently acquired a metal ended lachenal.

     

    Hello Simon - I think I know which box you mean ... :)

     

    On mine there were multiple sources of action noise which I've found on a similar box over the years:

    • When depressing the button there is the sound of your finger hitting the button, can't do much about this except modifying playing style
    • If the hole bushing is dead you get a click or a scrape from lateral movement (renew bushing - really helps)
    • There can be a noise of the button engaging with the lever end (new bushing in key)
    • When releasing the key, lateral movement of the key can make a small noise again
    • You do get rattle from the lever slot - I found this particularly noticeable on keys where the spring was closest to the slot. Stronger springs might help or moving the action point back (but it's pretty cramped in there and I was loath to mess with the original design).
    • if the slots are worn then this gets louder and is almost unavoidable
    • By far the biggest noise was the slap of the pad back on to the hole - new pads can help but I never managed to reduce it by much. On slow tunes you can reduce the noise by slowing the return button travel speed with your finger but this does change the end shape of the note.

     

    I never experienced key pegs bottoming out or pads hitting the fretwork but these would be significant

     

    R

  9. Hello - the time has come to part with this lovely instrument - I've a Wheatstone Boyd in need of an expensive rebuild!

     

    56 key extended treble Lachenal concertina - made for the retailer Harry Boyd of Newcastle. These concertinas were made to a high specification and are very bright with good response - also easily identifiable through the 'H Boyd' in the fretwork design on the RHS. It's number 39851 which puts it somewhere around 1900.

     

    Concert pitch, raised metal ends, bowing valves (air in & out), five fold bellows, light action (standard Lachenal hook), original(?) wood case.

     

    I purchased this instrument from Barleycorn ~1994 and was refurbished at or before this point. It's also been rebushed and bellows rehinged since then and the long thumbstrap screws replaced with bolts. I've used it as my main instrument for over 12 years - I got another identical one about 5 years ago; played that in and kept this in reserve. Note that this isn't the the one on my CD - but it sounds very similar.

    post-4140-0-25270200-1297590506_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-01393900-1297590615_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-92710100-1297590632_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-97261500-1297590653_thumb.jpgpost-4140-0-27197400-1297590675_thumb.jpg

     

    Cost: £1650 +postage

     

    I'll try and get a sound sample up next weekend. Donation to CNet if sold here. I'm baed in Northumberland, UK but I'm travelling around a bit at the moment - UK, Dublin, Germany, feel free to ask if I'm in your area, it might work!

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

  10. Seriously though, I'm wondering if a Concertina ever really has been adapted with a different strap set up on either end, for someone who was perhaps suffering from some form of physical problem?

     

    Morning - yes there have been several I believe. I recall a story about a concertina player in Hexham who used to play having lost a limb in the Great War (or maybe 39-45?). The concertina only had a single functioning end. I don't know what system it was or whether the instrument was taken up before or after the injury.

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

  11. Hello - I've a couple of things to add to this topic

     

    I've found myself on the horns of a moral dilemma but hope this resolution fits.

     

    First off and most importantly: I am NOT a disinterested party - I have made an offer for this instrument, I've been after one for years.

     

    My natural instinct in this sort of case and to avoid any impression of impropriety would be to say nothing and let events take there course. However I can't in all conscience do that based on what I know.

     

    I have been to see and play the instrument and had a good look at (and inside) it. It's a Wheatstone Boyd, Serial #22833 (lost ledger period), extended treble (model #22). In my opinion there is a significant amount of work required to turn it into the instrument that any player would want. I have discussed some of what I found with Chris (nice bloke, clever chap :) but he's not (and does not claim to be) a concertina expert).

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

    http://www.milecastle27.co.uk/rob/

  12. are there any significant "performance" differences between a wheatstone boyd and a lachenal boyd?and as seems to be typical of lachenals is there a huge variation betwwen one lachenal boyd and another?

    how do your 2 lachenal boyds compare with each other Rob?

     

    Wheatstone actions I've seen were riveted (quieter / smoother) - My lachenals are quite 'clacky', fine in live performance / dance situation but recording with them is quite tricky. Wheatstone is also lighter (based on a very small sample) I think it might make quite a difference tho' since you need to move the box about to get note articulation. My two Lachenals are very similar in tone and feel. Main difference is service intervals - a newly reset box is different to one that's been worked hard for 5 years.

     

    Weight and action are the principal reasons I would swap. My expectation is that the reeds would be as good with the possibility of them being better.

     

    R

  13. thank you very much for that stephen.Now, where can I find one!!!

     

    They are quite rare but also not overly popular because of the particular sound, they are very demanding instruments. The reeds speak exceptionally quickly and the sound is characterized by a lot of attack - they are very bright. The down side is that if you play slower stuff or try to play softly, you need much more control. They don't speak much at low pressure and tend to cut in rather than the soft start that is available on other top end instruments. They're easy to play too loud but in my experience there is a sweet spot where they sing. This is quite frankly the best EC instrument to play dance music on but isn't much cop for songs or classical (not that I do much of either)

     

    I once taught a group where everyone was on Aeolas and Edeophones (majority wooden ended). My instrument sounded completely different - all of the things I do to bring music to life were much harder work for the students and I struggled with getting them to reproduce my lift.

     

    I have two (Lachenals) both picked up from Chris Algar over a period of 15 years - the second one is an insurance policy and is identical to the first. I find it very hard to switch between a Boyd and non-Boyd (I sold by metal ended Wheatstone when I get the second because it was too disimilar). Wheatstone Boyd's are much much harder to find - I've only ever seen two (one of those being Alistair's). As for cost they are maybe 2/3 of the cost of an Aeola or Edeophone because they are harder to play and aren't as useful for the majority of stuff that EC players concentrate on.

     

    You do occasionally find a Boyd without the fretwork design (labels in box or on reed pans) - need to play it to find out tho'. Your best route to a Boyd is by contacting Chris and asking him to look out for them. In terms of location, they do tend to show up more in the NE of England rather than anywhere else - on which basis contact Theo Gibb and ask him to look for you (but I'm at the head of any queue for a Wheatstone Boyd ... I'll be selling one of current ones if that ever turns up. :)

     

    Hope this helps

     

    Rob

  14. In an attempt to decipher what that designation signifies I'd like cnet members to respond if you have a Wheatstone made after 1913 (serial #26300 or up) that has fretwork cut between the buttons.

     

    Wheatstone Aeola #26503 just appeared on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Rare-C-Wheatstone-Co...1QQcmdZViewItem

     

    Ledger: http://www.horniman.info/DKNSARC/SD01/PAGES/D1P0610S.HTM

     

    "81 Fret" - picture shows cutout fretwork.

     

    Rob

  15. Thanks guys - v. helpful.

     

    In my experience the 81 frets designation is for fretwork that includes openings between the buttons.

    The effect is quite similar to to the Edeophone treatment in the same area.

    ..

    The two 81 fret instruments I have played (Aeola and hex) had great reeds and were quite loud.

     

    And the instrument has just this type of open fretwork between the buttons - bonus points to you.

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

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