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Everything posted by Boney

  1. Sheesh. This is much like the "academic vs. traditional music" debates. I think some careful reading and realizing that people are honestly presenting the aspects of the issue they're familiar with makes any contentious feelings needless. In any case, it's gotten me thinking about going to Europe and studying accordion repair and building (finding concertina relevance where I can). Then making myself (and maybe others?) funky honkin' accordions with alternative fingering schemes (such as Wicki).
  2. Strange responses here. I'm sure nobody would deny there are many paths to becoming an instrument maker. If you're seriously in it for the long-term, and can get professional training or apprentice under an established maker, why wouldn't you? I know some people who have done just that. You can go at it simply by studying other instruments, experimenting, and trial and error, but of course that takes years of hard work too. In either case, if you don't have dedication and talent, you probably won't make great instruments. Background in history, performance, acoustics, and other related fields can only help. And busking and playing in bands and messing around with stuff on your own can only help too. You find the path that works for you, and if you make good stuff, people with discernment will realize it. Of course, it's easier to go out on your own when you're making a "folk" instrument, where personality and character are often valued more than absolute perfection. There's a niche for hobbyist makers. The classical world is a different story. Why are people a bit bent out of shape by this? I don't see snobbery or exclusion...just a description of a path serious students can take, if they are so inclined.
  3. The BBC is calling the show "Travelling Folk," under the "Celtic Connections" label, after all. But to be clear: My comments don't have anything to do with whether or not Mr. Thoumire is playing traditional tunes, or in a traditional style. I'll also add that I like the part where he does a little run up to the very high notes on the concertina, it made me smile. People often call those notes useless, I think they have their place, if you know how to use them.
  4. Flubs a few notes? I've just listened to it three more times, and what I consistently hear is a very precise (and rather common) "hot lick" substitution for a couple of bars, to end one phrase and punch into the next. When he comes back in after that "punch," the first few notes are weak and rhythmically sloppy, even garbled. As Danny said, he doesn't lose the main beat, but I really don't think it was intentional. But, maybe this has reached the point where we both have our overall impression of the video, and have a hard time hearing things that contradict that impression. I'll bet he can hear more mistakes than both of us put together.
  5. I'm absolutely sure that at no time was he in danger of "falling off" and losing the tune. Yes, I agree, I wouldn't put it that way either. It's something much more subtle (but maybe more pervasive) that I'm talking about. Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I guess some people enjoy that kind of approach, and feel a few fluffed notes here and there (if they even notice them) hardly distract from their enjoyment of the speed and virtuosity. But I think that "feel" colors some people's perception of the whole piece enough for them to get annoyed...even if they aren't exactly sure why. Very mysterious and viscerally emotional stuff, this music.
  6. No, I don't think so. How about at 1:17 where he flubs a few notes, then gives a smile? I realize it's a live performance, and I don't expect it to be perfect -- are you saying it is? I know this is subjective, but to me, the whole thing comes across as skittish, and barely in control. There are stretches where it's quite solid, but then there's a section with a lot of ornamentation or something, and it lags just a bit then catches up...stuff like that. It's subtle, sure, but it's enough to bug me. It's not really the "mistakes" that bother me, per se, but the approach behind the performance that leads to those mistakes, if you see what I mean. I still enjoyed it, but it's not my favorite kind of playing.
  7. You're not the only one. As I said in another thread, it's much more satisfying to hear a musician who's in full control, and he isn't in this clip. And I disagree completely. You may not like Simon's style. He is jazzing things up a bit. But I can hear -- and see -- that he is completely in control. (And so is Ian.) I'm speaking mostly of his rhythm. It's somewhat sketchy throughout, with some clear bobbles in there, like at about the two minute mark, and I recall another near the end. By in full control, I mean the feeling that he's playing easily, not at the limits of his ability. Maybe he just started it faster than he meant to.
  8. You're not the only one. As I said in another thread, it's much more satisfying to hear a musician who's in full control, and he isn't in this clip.
  9. Well, it seems things have turned reasonable and civil, which is excellent. I hope I don't get folks riled up again by picking a nit: I'd say that ability to play at a variety of speeds is a very useful skill in performing music well, and in getting across the feel of the music you're playing. Certainly it's relevant. I suspect you mean playing fast just for the sake of playing fast is irrelevant, which I'd probably agree with. But like most people, I enjoy a lively tune played quickly, if the musician playing it is in control at that speed, and it suits the tune and setting. Speed is just another tool in the musician's toolbox. Practicing playing faster is a completely reasonable thing to do, if you want to play quickly. But I do agree that many amateur musicians play too quickly for their skill level. It's common to hear them (er, us) attempt all sorts of things they can't really pull off -- another very common example is attempting ornamentation before they've mastered it. And it's quite distracting. But that's not to say speed is bad, or ornamentation is bad. I think the main thing to keep in mind is what you're trying to accomplish with your playing. If you're trying to entertain a discerning audience, it's imperative that you play in control. That may mean that you need to simplify your playing, or slow it down. But if you're playing for a noisy party that just wants to whoop it up, you can sacrifice some control for speed or volume or energy. Playing with friends at home, you can take more risks, which can be fun and a learning experience. Practicing by yourself, it's good to occasionally push far beyond your comfort level to help yourself grow as a musician, even though it would be painful for others to listen to. It seems many musicians don't make these distinctions, and play at the limit of their ability at all times. There is no attention left over for lilt, spontaneous variations, listening to the other musicians, responding to the audience, or expressing the music in a heartfelt way. Playing too fast is a common way for that to happen, but not the only one. To agree with the initial post, but say it in a different way: To play in control, you need to practice playing in control, which probably means slower than you usually practice. I agree this is something that would be very fruitful for most musicians to do more often. If you're struggling, that comes across in the music, even if we don't consciously notice it.
  10. Mmm, great stuff! You can find the Shepton Mallet here: http://www.concertina.net/ecs/07.mp3 Linked from Roger Digby's article English Country Music – A Personal View.
  11. I think you mean the E on the bottom line of the treble staff, yes? It doesn't exist on the G row, but you can find it on the C row above it. It's the push on the second button from the right on the left side, as you can see in this graphic:
  12. This has come up here before. Most Irish musicians I've met (the west coast of the US) won't use the word "song" to mean tune, but other various tune-players sometimes will. Especially if they're younger. I wouldn't be surprised if digital music distribution has made this more common. MP3 player ads tend to talk about how many "songs" their device will hold, for example.
  13. Yes, definitely too early. This one was made about the same time as mine, and has the Hayden slant, as mine does.
  14. "Perfection" is a matter of personal taste, not a measurable, invariant quality. Perfection is like infinity; you can pursue it forever without getting any closer. 'Perfection' is still not a bad thing to aim for. I prefer to aim for excellence.I think it's more realistic and -- for me at least -- more than adequate. No harm in aiming ! "Perfection" is a funny word, one I try not to use. I can't have a visceral connection with it, so I can't "aim" for it. But I can aim for an ideal, that is, a sound I have in my head, how I want something to sound. I know I won't reach that ideal, but I know I can get closer and closer...athough the ideal will evolve over time, too. So if you call that ideal "perfection," then I can't imagine aiming for less, no matter how "excellent" that "less than ideal" may be. How would you decide in what way you wanted to compromise that ideal? Of course, I can aim at one aspect of it at a time, and recognize and value the result when I get closer. But "closer" isn't the aim point. If you're aiming an arrow at a target, it doesn't make sense to aim for "within a few inches of the center." Even if you're happy with that result, you aim for the center anyway, right?
  15. I recorded these in a large completely unfurnished, uncarpeted room recently, just to play with the nice natural reverb. So, here are a few slower tunes: This was adapted from a fiddle duet arrangement: http://concertina.JeffLeff.com/audio/AshGrove.mp3 I've been wanting to have more fluid arrangements, especially in the left hand parts. So in this tune, I'm just messing around with the chords instead of doing anything rigid. http://concertina.JeffLeff.com/audio/Inisheer.mp3 This is a full four-part harmony arrangement from an old hymn book: http://concertina.JeffLeff.com/audio/SilentNight.mp3
  16. Cool. I like the way you give it a good punch every once in a while. Although your microphone tends to overload...maybe the mic input could be set manually on your camera to a lower level? And the little tiny grace note at just after 2:20 is very nice!
  17. Futurama, Season 1: A Flight to Remember:
  18. To really master any style, you need a great ear, lots of practice, and access to high-quality source material. That's true for rock music, Irish traditional music, Jazz music, Classical music, or even learning a new language. Some people will be able to perform excellently, and others will fall short, or retain some of their native "accent." I think this has very little to do with the instrument. Yes, an instrument with a sound far outside the tradition will be difficult to bring in -- you won't have the "source material" to emulate directly. But a duet or English concertina could easily be used to play Irish traditional music that would satisfy the pickiest critic. Yes, it's certainly easier to emulate existing players using an Anglo, and there may be some advantage to the diatonic layout. But if Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh or Noel Hill were motivated to try their hand at English or duet, clearly they'd be able to play convincing traditional music on it in short order. I think the main issue is that no professional-caliber player of duet or English concertina (that I know of) has specialized and immersed themselves in the Irish tradition in the way many Anglo players have. But there are also plenty of "dabblers" in Irish music who play Anglo, and I'm sure it's just as grating to a purist as a dabbler playing a duet or English. It really has little to do with the instrument, and almost everything to do with skill and intention.
  19. Sounds like he's wiggling the bellows open and closed quickly.
  20. Dana, you remind me of something I've read before that resonated with me:
  21. It's 11/8, counted 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 3.
  22. Typing is much more like playing a single-line melody on the English, I think, what with the letters of words distributed between both hands. Also, rhythm is not important and there are no dynamics. Well, some play the concertina that way too...
  23. She is only 16, a lot of kids are skinny at that age. Here's a larger version: http://dakota-fanning.org/gallery/albums/clippings/VogueItalia/DakotaVogueItaliaScanFeb2010008.jpg
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