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Simon H

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Everything posted by Simon H

  1. I haven't a religious bone in my body but I know some good advent carols when I hear them. I absolutely love this set of three stately ancient advent tunes which go back literally to the mists of time. Here are a set of ABC's I found when looking for them - work brilliantly in ABC explorer. Personent Hodie http://www.abc-notation.com/abcs/pe/personent-hodie/personent-hodie-vocorg.abc O come O come Emanuel http://openhymnal.org/Abc/O_Come_O_Come_Emmanuel-Veni_Emmanuel.abc Picardy - Let all mortal flesh keep silent. http://openhymnal.org/Abc/Let_All_Mortal_Flesh_Keep_Silence-Picardy.abc You can hunt them down on youtube to play along to as well. Something about these ancient tunes really sets my blood racing I love to tootle along to them, imagining I'm playing a thunderous cathedral organ. Simon
  2. A lot of the noisier internet forums use this form of moderation to add a level of self policing to the forums with sanctions available to moderators to deal with low scoring individuals etc. Other social networking sites use comment "karma" where comments are ranked and presented by score. All well and good on sites where the great unwashed battle it out every day on politics and celebrity culture. Utterly innappropriate on a members forum where minor disagreements tend not to escalate too much and the moderator has a firm hand. These particular gizmos can be divisive in a friendly environment where members can wreak havoc after a minor tiff by voting down all their adversaries posts. Whilst it may be fun to try out in a thread like this, I'd strongly suggest that Paul takes a look at whether these features are really needed in a cosy place like c.net forums. My vote (and a poll might be the answer) is that these features be disabled going forward. Simon Edit: now I'm getting upvotes, I'm changing my mind.......
  3. If you are an iphone or ipod touch user, you should give Tunebook a look. Here's a video I put together describing it. Tunebook is not my product, I'm just a happy user. Head over to the app store for a copy.
  4. Just a quick word for mid-range vintage instruments, for learning, a tidy Lachenal would not break the bank and would give you the weight and a lot of the handling of a modern "quality" instrument. Chris Algar would easily find you something suitable. Edit - sorry missed your location - Chris is a long way from you. Nonetheless my comment re vintage instruments holds. Simon
  5. The point regarding the foot spray is its particular antifungal properties as very often it is fungus growths that are found in the folds creating dust and spores which can be harmful to player and instrument. I wouldn't use any spray with ground spices or particles of any sort in it as chances are going to be greater of clogging reeds. Simon
  6. I got this tip from an old accordion player - Fungal spores can be quite harmful, so it is best to brush and blow out all the folds of the bellows on all old instruments. Do this in open air and avoid at all costs breathing the dust. Then get a deodorant foot spray, that has antibacterial and antifungal action. Make sure the type you get doesn't leave a powder residue. I can't remember the one I used, it was liquid based in a small pump action bottle from the chemists. (I'll see if I can get a name). Spray inside just enough to mist all surfaces inside - not enough to even dampen, let alone wet, leave open to dry off. You will have a sweet smelling and nasty-odour-free concertina from there on in and future fungal growth will be prevented. I treated a few instruments this way with huge success. One smelt so bad and was so full of dust and fungus that it was unplayable, now after a clean out and spray, 3 years later - it still has the faint odour of lemons when it is played. Simon
  7. Museums' purposes and roles have been in constant flux for as long as museums existed. Here in Britain in recent years lottery funding, and the trendy "heritage with everything" style has completely changed many museums and particularly the style, substance and presentation of exhibits. Collections amassed for the purpose of having a broad representation of the evolution of a class of object, whether musical instrument, childrens toys, or fine ceramics, find themselves in a difficult position with public expectation of interpretative display, hands-on multimedia presentation and push-button display cases that reward the customer with some fancy action. Serried ranks of (to the layperson) identical musical instruments do not a valid business model make. We should perhaps be thankful that the Horniman has more strings to its bow than just free reed instruments. Prior to the recession, small museums featuring everything from bakelite radios to tinplate toys sprang up, sadly some of these have since closed their doors and I know of some that have dispersed their collections through auction. The concertina presents a fascinating, and quite special, case study in this area. On the one hand we have a section of a the Horniman (the Wayne Collection) featuring instruments back to the earliest. On the other hand we have an active connected community of players, and a worldwide auction system and buying and selling network that regularly features many of the types of instruments found in the Horniman. Those instruments are being sold into the hands of players who are actively playing the instruments, restoring them, and discussing them ad infinitum, videoing them, photographing them, going along to workshops and sessions and generally getting enjoyment from them. We also have a slow but steady stream of old instruments appearing from lofts and garages, and moving through the restoration process into becoming living breathing instruments again. To make the picture even more interesting we have the modern makers of quality instruments, future exhibits for the Horniman. So whilst a collection exists and there are instruments out in the wild being cherished and played we have the best of worlds. There is a resource for those who would study the intricacies of design and development of the instrument, and we have concertinas being played and heard all over the world. Long live the concertina and its timeless appeal. Simon
  8. "Government to backtrack on controversial live music laws" http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/oct/21/police-law Simon
  9. Ok - this one has got me to thinking, and I'm not at all sure I'm in agreement with the "put it on a shelf and you'll come back to it when you're ready for it". Many of the people who say this are I suspect from what I understand of their postings very accomplished players. I think it is quite different for someone such as yourself who is at the beyond-beginner, developing stage. I identify a lot with the frustrations and pains you have gone through and shared on this forum learning the Anglo, as I am at a similar level on EC. Like you, I have recently acquired a top notch instrument to further my playing. Unlike you though, I have kept myself solely concentrating on EC (other than a little low whistle and piano to keep my hand in). I genuinely fear stopping playing even though there are times I feel I would happily throw my Aeola against the wall in frustration! The last thing I want people to think of me is a dilletante, someone who got an expensive instrument, appeared at a few local sessions, played badly, started to improve, then disappeared off the scene. My concertina spent the last 30 years in a garage, For it to be rescued for a couple of years before suffering a similar fate would be scandalous. Once put on the shelf it might just become another of those things I did for a while. It is these thoughts that push me along. But then there is this. I hear a new tune at a session, it catches my ear. I go home and look it up, I get a recording of it, I play it incessantly in my car on the way to work, then I start to move it into my fingers. After a few days practice I can stumble my way through it. Then one morning I get up and as usual before work I have a short practice. I play the tune slowly but for the first time, fluidly - it is (let's say) Trip to Pakistan. My fingers for the first time "get" the second part without a stumble and I extend that long C an extra half second, the plaintive sound of the instrument in my hand speaks and the music suddenly makes sense, it becomes magic to me. At that moment there is no other instrument I would want to be playing than my sweet concertina. Don't get bored - don't give up. Melodeons are not the answer, they are another question. One you will sooner or later ask of yourself, and that question is not about the instrument, it is about you and about music.
  10. Looks like its going on wide release. Article from The Independent Simon
  11. "i left the tune and concertina for about a week or two - loads of stuff to do like paint fences - then picked it up last night and on hearing the tune again on the cd could automatically play the tune" I used to call this "horse learning". My ex wife was heavily into horses and breeding and bringing on youngstock for eventing, cross country, dressage etc. Her approach to training was to introduce different "topics" to the young horse, whether a particular pace or movement or whatever, just to the point where the requirement was understood (and that is important) but the facility of execution was nowhere near achieved. Then she would allow the horse time to soak it in for a day or two. After a couple of days the exercise would be re-introduced and the step change would be significant, the soak time had allowed the brain to process the requirements offline and the ability to perform it was greatly improved without any intervening training time. I certainly know this works for me on the concertina too, particularly where my fingers are trying to do something new. I give it a break and come back a day or two later. But, for this to work, you have to do it right before leaving it. If you can't do it right, there is no correct muscle memory to process in the soak time. This doesn't work quite the same for new tunes per se, you have to shorten the soak time after the first run through or it will be forgotten completely. At this point the tune memory is more around the shape and sound of the tune, not in the movements. It is possible to learn a tune at lunchtime and forget it by evening. Though once the tune is moving into finger/muscle memory, then the breaks can be much longer. and very beneficial. Just my personal observations. Simon
  12. So - here's how its looking today, after some polishing, new handstraps, a bunch of new valves, two reeds touch tuned, and some light leather treatment to keep the bellows supple. Simon
  13. Read about it over on this thread. http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9961 As I said over there:- "What I ended up with may not be a bargain, and had we not been bidding against each other I might have got it for less (not much , judging by the Flog it footage), but what I ended up with is a truly magnificent TT. Our man got a bit extra for his pains, and I got a gorgeous Aeola TT. " I don't feel in the least unfortunate. Simon
  14. I was going to keep a low profile, but members of this forum deserve to know what happened to this fine instrument, particularly with its TV star status and the two threads on it over recent months.... Sometime ago I asked a well known concertina dealer to look out for a metal ended Aeola TT for me. His verdict was it would be a long wait with an expensive outcome. The expense I was prepared for but the long wait was another thing... So along comes a TT in a small town auction. I had a pal who lives down there check it out before the sale, and I put a phone bid in. Unfortunately another buyer got it..... You've guessed. What I ended up with may not be a bargain, and had we not been bidding against each other I might have got it for less (not much , judging by the Flog it footage), but what I ended up with is a truly magnificent TT. Our man got a bit extra for his pains, and I got a gorgeous Aeola TT. Restoration is something for long and careful consideration, apart from some obvious immediate repairs, (ie quite a few gurgles and silent notes), the instrument is totally playable, smooth as silk. I'm well capable of any work needed, having restored and tuned a few concertinas now, including restorative nickel plating and bellows repair. But there is nothing this needs apart from possibly taking down from old philharmonic pitch, which at the moment I'm not inclined to do. I'm inclined to leave it as is for the moment - my playing with other instruments is ably carried out by my treble. Bellows on the TT are as new. I've replaced handstraps and may replace thumbstraps too. I've so far only done the valves on an as-needed basis, but will do the full set soon. The action is fast and silky smooth. I'm leaving the pads alone for now. So - a lot of money spent but I ended with the concertina of my dreams. Us sufferers of the acquisition disorder can easily fall prey to the "more money than sense" ridicule of others. But money in the bank earns little interest and not half as much pleasure as this instrument is giving me. It was interesting to see the Flog it piece on it. I'll maybe post a couple of pics in its tidied up state. Simon
  15. I have a small label affixed in the bellows of my concertina(s): Wheatstone English Concertina No xxxxxx If you are reading this you are handling a valuable, cherished but unfortunately - stolen musical instrument. The owner would have removed this label before sale. The fact that the label is inside, means it is definitely stolen. Please now contact the police. If you have been asked to purchase this instrument, obtain details and contact the police discreetly as soon as possible. The loss of this instrument has been notified to Police, dealers, Ebay and posted on internet forums, specifically concertina.net . People are looking for this instrument, Even if you have bought this instrument, possibly some time ago and only just discovered this label, do not ignore this notice, it is just as stolen as it was when you bought it. You may be unable to play this in public as it will probably be recognised - hand it in to the police or call the rightful owner. The owner will pay a reward for the return of this instrument. Owners details XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX tel XXXXXXXXXX DO NOT ALLOW CRIME TO WIN – DO THE RIGHT THING I know this might not work but it is a chance. I know if I bought an instrument with this label in I would (releuctantly) try to get the instrument back to its owner. Obviously the issue of financial loss makes this difficult. Hopefully a suitable reward should help. I also bought a pair of new strap buttons and had my name and phone number engraved on them in case of simple loss. The original buttons stay in the box. Simon
  16. "Maybe some coaxing will be necessary to get it vibrating again." I suggest if you are working with what could be a rare Jeffries Anglo/Duet/whatever - that you put things back together carefully and get an expert to do the coaxing and rust removal for you. Enthusiastic amateur attempts are likely to work out very expensive. The most illumination we can get is photographs.
  17. I think it was discussed here Chris: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php...267&hl=axis
  18. It's very easy for those "in the know" to see through appearance to real value. But for the outsider, someone who has just found an instrument, a concertina like this might subjectively look every bit as good, or better, than any other, particularly if all the attention you've ever paid to concertinas before was to ascertain they were hexagonal with buttons. Anyone who has dealt in antiques will know that two subjectively similar items can have values orders of magnitude different to each other. This is why occasionally fantastic old concertinas appear in job-lots and car boot sales. Ebay can act as quite a good educator, if you set a start price beyond the value of an item, i is unlikely to sell. This guy is obviously learning, but slowly.
  19. I posted this here a few days ago to resounding silence. Before it gets submerged completely, here is a link to discussion of this brilliant tool over at session.org. http://www.thesession.org/discussions/disp...s#comment459505
  20. What a pleasant hour that was. Well done. It would be neat to issue the "Music from a plinth" tunebook with MP3's of your performance, and ABC's to go along with. There's a few tunes you played I'd love to learn. Simon
  21. I'd love to know which Beatles/Simon and Garfukel tunes you find that work well.
  22. "you see the other tunes I play but I don't Play....its all from writing out the button numbers' rather than actually off by heart." LDT, there are a couple of things I've discovered on this path that we've chosen for ourselves of playing concertina. It is a rocky road and we are the only one with the motivation to keep on the winding track and we are climbing it alone. The most anyone else can do is "cheer from the sidelines" but the effort is ours alone. For many of us, the type of challenge presented by learning is of a different nature to any challenges we've faced before, there are no short cuts, and the process of gaining skill and knowledge is never-ending. Its a little like golf, no-one has ever done a round in 18 shots so there is always a challenge to get better, however good you are. Something else which I'm reminded of from your earlier videos, this is one area of creativity where it is difficult to over-do the expression. We know that some actors ham-up their parts and come over corny by putting too much expression into their playing. Music isn't like that, and the concertina isn't about just pressing the buttons in the right sequence. Find a slow air that you like, (listen to Danny playing Rosline castle for example) get the notes and "ham it up to the hilt". Even if it comes out awful it will be done with feeling and that has to be an area to work on to get away from just pushing the buttons in sequence. But you know this anyway and your playing is hugely improved. Keep at it girl, keep on the rocky road, we're here cheering you on!
  23. Bryan Duggan from the the school of computing, Dublin, has come up with an implementation of his MATT2 software in Java that is very, very neat. If you play a snatch of the tune you want to know through your pc microphone, it cleans up the sound, analyses it, converts the notes to an approximate ABC string and then compares that string to a database of over 11,000 tunes. It then presents a list of possible matches, with midi and ABC . Most of the times I've tried it, I got perfect matches. Great way to find related tunes too. You might need to get the latest version of Java to run it - that is no problem at all and is a very quick install. You can find Tunepal here http://tunepal.org Simon
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