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Tom Hall

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Posts posted by Tom Hall

  1. I almost always begin by using the basic tune as accompaniment. This makes it easier to establish the tempo, if any. I also play chords as part of the tune. As I get more comfortable with the song, I tend to ease off on the tune and fill in with chords. This is always easier if I have a competent guitarist working with me; he/she can keep the tempo going, allowing me to be a bit more creative on the concertina.

     

    For this reason, I really enjoy accompaning other singers. i can do a lot more if i don't have to pay attention to both my singing and playing at the same time -- Tom

  2. Practising concertina is the last thing on my mind, due perhaps, to the rigors of childhood piano lessons. However, I do play as often as possible. Since my primary goal is to use the concertina to accompany the songs I sing, I probably take a different approach than most.

     

    It usually takes me a very short time to figure out tha basic concertina part for a song. Once I've managed to coordinate voice and instrument, it just a matter of working them enough to feel comfortable. Once I've gotten to the point where I feel comfortable about an informal performance, its just a matter of repetition to smooth out the knots and build on the basic accompaniment.

     

    The most difficult thing to me is to work up both the song and the concertina part together. I'm currently working on "The Death of Bill Brown." The song has been floating around in my head for about 45 years and I've almost learned it a couple times. What is making it more difficult is that I'm trying for the sound achieved by A.L. Lloyd and Alf Edwards. But I do hope to have it down before the "season of the year' ends -- Tom

  3. From the official instructions "...upload image and text files up to 120 Kb each, by simply using the "File Attachments" area of the message posting form. Images will automatically be displayed in the body of the message, and text files will be linked to. Try to remember to name your files in a "friendly" format, so use the ".txt" extension for text files, and ".jpg", ".gif" or ".png" for images..."

     

    I had trouble when I first tried as my pic was bigger than 120kb.

     

    Looking forward to seeing you -- Tom

  4. Alan -- I'm already old, and while I do not lightly take to change, I do believe that this new format is growing on me. I must admit that I'm very partial to the format on Mudcat, but as I spend more time here i find that I'm getting to enjoy some of the new features and will probably enjoy more of them once I figure them out -- Tom

  5. Like Richard, I have learned most of my tunes from others, or from just having them in my head for many years before I took up concertina. When I need to laboriously learn a tune from music, I go to books, O'Neill, Robin Williamson, the Boys of the Lough, et al. Since I am primarily a singer, most of my music library consists of song collections.

     

    My last experiences with sheet music was in the 50s when I was studying piano. I found that most of the sheet music was full of purposefull mistakes, ie. you couldn't play a piece just like the recording unless you bought both the sheet music and the record, except for classical music.

     

    What kind of music do you play?

  6. Having taken a few minutes to reflect on my previous post, over a wee dram, I felt that perhaps I should expand on my definitions with regard to concertinas. I am limiting my comments to those instruments made in Britain as i am woefully ignorant of German and Italian examples.

     

    Certainly, no concertina made after WWII should be called vintage; this term belongs to the pre-war instruments. The question for which I have no absolute answer is the line between vintage and antique. I should pause to ak those with more knowledge to step in and correct any errors for our mutual edification.

     

    Except for Sir Charles' first prototypes, I am sure that some parts of all concertinas were mass produced; buttons, springs, pads, valves, reed frames, reed stock. Other parts were made by hand, one at a time; frames, bellows, reeds. In all instaces, the final product had to be assembled and tested by hand, one at a time.

     

    Now that I've confused all of my definitions of antique and vintage, here's my personal take:

     

    Antique concertina -- pre 1880

     

    Vintage concertina -- 1880 -- 1940

     

    Hope this is of some help -- Tom

  7. Among those of us who are involved in the antiques business, vintage has a fairly consistant meaning, ie. having some age and from a period in which such pieces were very well made.

     

    Part of the problem comes from the all to often misapplication of the word "antique." To manyin the profession, an antique must have been made by hand, prior to the Industrial Revolution. To others, it must be of a certain age; 100 years is the most common usage.

     

    Thus, many valuable, sought after pieces that were manufactured, or are less than 100 years old, fall into a limbonic area. They are too fine and desireable to be called collectibles, yet do not fit any accepted definition of antique, and are therefore referred to as vintage; record players and automobiles spring to mind.

     

    As far as eBay goes, ignore terms such as antique, vintage, rare, and cut to the description. Most of the sellers on eBay are amateurs and wouldn't recognize an antique if it were embedded in their fundament; same goes for vintage and rare and unique -- Tom

  8. I wonder to what extent our choice is determined by our personal (odd choice of words) dexterity. I am right handed; the placement of the left end of the concertina on the left knee (btw, in common folk parlance this means the top of the knee, ie., banjo on my knee, have her on his knee. etc.) seems natural. Are those of you with differing preferences left handed perchance? I have no idea to what extent this factor makes a difference, but we should soon find out.

     

    On a variant note, some weeks back during one of our weekly sessions, I happened to glance over at Young Chris during a tune; He was holding the left end of his Anglo against his left knee with his left elbow, all the while playing a perfect accompanment with right hand only.

     

    Your thoughts, please -- Tom

  9. When Linn and I got together twenty three yaers ago, she had two neutered male brother cats. Their reaction to my concertina playing was perverted. They'd get a strange look on their faces and then attempt to play a "bugger thy brother" game to no avail. The current cats pay no attention.

     

    Some years ago, the former nieghbors kept sheep. Every time I went outside to play, the sheep would come running to the stone wall in rapt appreciation, much as cows do respond to bagpipes. I still want to find a very sturdy boat and see how whales might react to either of the aforemenioned instruments -- Tom

  10. My Lachenal "New Model" previously listed has a serial number of 32321, raised metal ends, metal buttons, ebonized frame, new bellows, pads, valves, retuned to A440. It came with a Matusewich case which has the serial number written on the label along with another number which I had hitherto not noticed. I now see a difference in the first number. What it appears to read is:

     

    32322 pan

     

    44785 side

     

    There is no label or number currently in the oval space on the side.

     

    I hope this helps in your endeavors. I also hope it may help you explain to me this new mystery of two numbers -- Tom

  11. Lachenal "New Model" English system (see Avatar)

    The old Trinity College English box is somewhere around the house.

     

    Some of the formidable lists of instruments I've seen so far lead me to believe that some members must be incredibly wealthy, or reduced to beggary in pursuit of their musical passions -- Tom

  12. While I can't say that concertina playing is therapy for me, I can state that music, for me and many friends, is very much so.

     

    For the past twenty years an ever growing and changing group of us have gathered on late Friday afternoons for a four+ hour music session. Its a mix of tunes and songs, sometimes full ensemble, full chorus, other times a solo instrumental or ballad. Most often the pieces chosen are selected to make for the fullest participation.

     

    The instruments are many and varied; concertinas, both Anglo and English, guitars, 4 and 5 string banjos, mandolins, octave mandolins, flutes, whistles, hammered dulcimer, celtic harp, bodhrans, bones, button accordion, piano accordion, shuttle pipes, and sometimes a standup bass.

     

    Our ages run from 15 to 70 years and have never been a barrier. In fact it is good to have more younger folk coming as somebody has to be learning the songs and tunes for future generations.

     

    Together we sing away the week's troubles, reel in the hardships, haul up birthday greetings, or just waltz around the mysteries of life.

     

    If you're ever near coastal New Hampshire on a Friday, come join us -- Tom

  13. One of the first really good folk song albums I ever acquired ( at age 14 I think) was "English Street Songs" by A.L. Lloyd, accompanied by Alf Edwards on English concertina. As I bought more LPs by Lloyd and Ewan MacColl, I got to hear a lot more of Edwards' great playing and thus acquired the bug.

     

    After many years on the quest for an instrument, I managed to find a Lachenal student model, c. 1911. It had been retuned, almost, and had patched bellows, but it worked and served me well for a dozen years. I moved fromthat to a Bastari treble and then to a Trinity College English. Then two years ago, I found the Lachenal I am now playing and enjoying immensely -- Tom

  14. I'm still stumbling around in my controls. I think I managed to add an "avatar." But I definitely added my location. Is it possible to create a "Locator" on this site as there is on Mudcat? That would make it easier for one member to see who is in any general vicinity. whether close to home or adjacent to travel plans -- Tom

  15. For Victorian ladies, the English concertina was an ideal instrument, and much of its marketing was aimed toward them. In those good old days, ladies' instruments were the piano, harpsichord, harp and violin, and not martial brasses or suggestive woodwinds. And the connection with sailors may actually be more recent than is commonly thought.

     

    The decline in popularity was due to many factors. During WWII, production all but ceased. And the post-war Wheatstones were not always the highest quality. The growth of radio and then television cut deeply into the popularity of live and homemade music. And when it began to resurface, people wanted guitars and, to a lesser extent, banjos. As was suggested, concertinas were not "cool," except to we few who persist in our free reed madness -- Tom

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