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Stephen Mills

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About Stephen Mills

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    Chatty concertinist
  • Birthday 08/16/1949

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    I have played classical guitar since the mid-70's. I dabbled in anglo and English concertina for a couple of years before receiving a Tedrow Hayden duet in Aug 2005. Now I spend my time only on the Hayden, mostly folk and jazz tunes, and in trying to keep my classical guitar pieces alive and improve my jazz guitar. I am also fond of playing abstract board games with whichever daughter will humor me.
    Update: Retired 1/1/2020 and relocated back to the Rockies, where my heart lies. I haven't been playing much the past few years, but hope to resume.
  • Location
    Boise, ID, USA

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  1. I presume the preferences of Anglo players is indeed a distribution based on experience rather than theoretical concerns. For example, after 40 years of playing from classical guitar scores, I am comfortable playing Anglo while reading a single treble clef (across the limits of the guitar fretboard - I do have a slight hesitation on encountering even higher notes on the Anglo which take a couple of times through to hone in on). With either of the other 2 notations (especially with bass clef), I often find myself using a pencil converting them to the single treble clef notation. Players with prior experience on piano or other instruments would probably have different preferences. So my preference is different from the two much better Anglo players you mention.
  2. It's hampered perhaps by considerable dissonance and a failure to resolve.
  3. I was living in Houston, TX (~85% humidity) when I bought my Hayden duet in 2008. In the winters, such as they were, the house humidity would drop to about 45% and a couple of reeds would start to squawk. I solved this by putting wet paper towels in a small open yogurt container in my case. I now live in Boise, ID (~45% humidity). Many more reeds complain much more squawkily. The small humidifier in the case solution no longer works. I put my concertina in a standard cooler chest with a open beaker of water. Humidity climbed to 83%, and there was discernible improvement, but not nearly enough to have a playable instrument. Problems are usually worse on the draw than the pull. I have given the instrument at least 2 weeks to adjust to the closed 83% environment. I have read the many humidity threads, but I think I may have come to the end of personal solutions. What sort of internal modifications are likely to be needed to restore order? Does something need to be done to the reed pans? (I haven't come across my Dave Elliot repair book since the move.)
  4. It was nice to come across this. Although I haven't been very active on concertina lately, the last things I avidly attacked a few years ago were saltarelli and estampies, by means of which I became acquainted with several of Zoltan's videos. I played this one in particular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgZp9DoW3CY that allowed for lots of harmonic choices in a medieval style, to my mind. (I play a Hayden duet.) edit: and finally found the other Zoltan saltarello I played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8aQm3SoyI4
  5. John, there was a talented multiinstrumentalist named Aldon Sanders who posted occasionally many years ago. One of his tunes, the Orange Rogue, was on Henk van Aalten's Recorded Tunes Page. You can still access some of those tunes with the Wayback Machine, but Aldon's link is dead. It can be downloaded here as an .asx file, which can be played with Windows Media Player. Aldon played it on English concertina and pennywhistle, so all you need to do is break out your banjo and it's then all in your hands.
  6. It's even better when the livestock participate, Jody.
  7. My 52 button Tedrow Hayden spans the range from a low C to the D above the C 3 octaves higher, with a full octave of overlap between the sides. On the relatively few occasions I tackled baroque pieces with 4 part polyphony, I found that it was usually much easier to finger and make the voices flow when I fingered 2 buttons on the left side and 2 buttons on the right (though not always possible). If you depress 3 buttons on one side, some difficult positions arise and further, when one note moves and the other 2 stay, you often have to refinger all 3 buttons to continue the melody – not ideal ergonomically or musically. So that’s another virtue of overlap.
  8. You might ask advice of Allan Atlas, a musicologist at CUNY who plays and has written about the English concertina. He hasn't posted here in about 5 years, but appears to be still active as an academician. See: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Page-Elements/Academics-Research-Centers-Initiatives/Doctoral-Programs/Music-%28Ph-D-D-M-A-%29/Faculty-Bios/Allan-W--Atlas. Edited to add: I see now that Allan was a student of Boris's and dedicated his book on the English concertina to him, so I imagine you are well aware of him.
  9. I'd never heard of Delicq until now. What nice tunes! I found Nadiejda ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uCH0-No6Mc ) excellent. I located some dots here ( https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bwr-ZWeDeHFoLWtLUEtJS2RkWEE/edit ) and will make this my next tune.
  10. In the 2011 Man Booker prize shortlisted book, Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, the late-nineteenth century narrator sails the world collecting exotic animals. The concertina is mentioned 2-3 times. In the first brief instance, their ship meets another at sea and a fiddler from one boat and the player of a unspecified squeezebox play tunes for the merriment of the rest. Late in the book, the narrator decides he must learn the concertina. He acquires one and it figures at the end in a courtship.
  11. The same is true for me... And me. Excellent as always, Tona. Perhaps I'll shift my focus to the other classical piece I have been working on... I did this commonly on Anglo, even with 3 buttons , eg. an Em chord on the left hand. On Hayden duet, sometimes a 1-5-1 chord is called for, which can be done with 1 finger, but it is very difficult to do in proper time. I have to do that with this Gymopodie, as well.
  12. I’d be wary of extending any TOTM’s to 2 months. My sense of excitement grows toward the end of the month in anticipation of the new tunes and themes to be announced. If there is particularly low participation, as this month, it might be that the tunes, despite being selected by fair vote, are farther from the mainstream interests of members than usual (as I believe to be true for this month). Extending them for a month would in my opinion be counterproductive. I also think interest naturally wanes as time progresses. As partial evidence, I observe (without complaint) that my last posting, done on the last day of the month, has apparently been listened to only two times (one of whom might be me, depending whether Soundcloud counts the poster.) I observe in myself a decline in likelihood of listening to the postings of others as the month ticks down. When a new entry pops up months later, on the other hand, it seems fresh again.
  13. Although I have participated only twice, I have also made a few other runs at it that were not worthy of posting, but useful to me, so I vote for its continuance. However, the second question remains relevant to participants as well, and my answer would be all of the above (excepting the new "not relevant" response.) Sometimes the tunes appeal to me and sometimes they don't, which is to be expected. At my level of skill and time, a month is often not long enough to produce a respectable recording. I might also note the general lack of melody-only submissions (Jim Lucas and a few other excepted) and that those who vote tend to mostly disfavor the so-called ITM repertoire. I find these trends unfortunate and hope that the TOTM is not perceived to be incompletely inclusive. Of course, the Theme of the Month can help here.
  14. This little piece is a saltarello usually attributed to Vincenzo Galilei, 16th century lutenist and father of the astronomer Galileo Galilei. Vincenzo dabbled in physics himself, making some historic observations on the physics of vibrating strings, for example, the discovery that a perfect 5th has the proportions of 3:2. Galileo was a talented enough lutenist that some contemporaries said that he played even more favorably than his father. https://soundcloud.com/stephandp/saltarello
  15. Thanks to all who helped. I believe the link in the original post is now identical and should work.
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