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About Paul_Hardy

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    Chatty concertinist
  • Birthday 08/20/1953

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  • Interests
    English concertina. Computers. Walking/rambling/hiking.
  • Location
    Cambridge, UK

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  1. I’ve also been trying to find a way of musicians playing together from home, and have written up a two-page essay on the subject, particularly concerning latency, Zoom, and avoiding concertinas being interpreted as background noise and suppressed. – you can read it at https://pghardy.net/greenshoots/virtual/virtual_music_sessions.html.
  2. I've played my 1/5th comma English in sessions and it blends well enough without standing out. It's tuned so that A=440, so I can give a reference A to others, but still has sweeter thirds. See https://pghardy.net/concertina/lachenal_27590/lachenal_27590.html.
  3. There isn't a right answer to that question, but from my perspective (I'm a similar age), I would go wider (new tunes) rather than deeper. I have a tunebook with some 600 tunes (Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook - free to download). If someone was to start any of those tunes, I could join in and make a fair stab at playing by ear, and I could play any of them reasonably well from the dots. However there are probably only a couple of dozen that I could pick up an instrument and start playing without dots or prompt, and to vary the playing style spontaneously. To me, that width is valuable, and more valuable than being able to play more tunes by ear spontaneously without the dots. For other people, the important metric is to be able to play a small number of tunes totally by ear and unprompted, and in different styles, and to be able to perform them in public. I do recommend taking a well-known tune and playing it in different keys, and in different rhythms (straight or Hornpipe swung), playing it while reciting the alphabet, or any other way of ensuring it is engraved in your deep memory. However, playing a variety of tunes lets you learn the standard patterns of notes that turn up in lots of tunes, and hence make it much easier to pick up new tunes. Best wishes for your future playing.
  4. Regarding 'Concertina face', my wife keeps instructing me to "Cultivate an intelligent expression when in repose", as I go blank or drool under stress. Regarding talking and playing, the only workaround I've found is to say what I need to say using the rhythm of the music - effectively sing it. Tonight I'll be leading our regular slow session of Greenshoots, and I need to say things like "one more", or "faster", or "out next time". This used to be impossible, but by singing them, it's now merely hard!
  5. In the days before equal temperament, all instruments were tuned to just or meantone temperaments so that fifths and thirds were closer to simple mathematical ratios (2:3, 4:5). Then, the semitones were of different sizes, and each key did have a different feel. A symphony in D minor would sound different (possibly sadder) than one in E minor. Now, with instruments all in equal temperament and all semitones the same size, unless you are a very unusual person with absolute pitch, the sound should feel exactly the same in different keys. That said, the ergonomics of certain instruments makes playing in some keys easier than other keys. An example is the standard violin who's strings are tuned in fifths from low G (G, D, A, E), and hence 'prefers' playing in sharp keys (of G, D, A, E) rather than flat keys - but in the hands of a really good player can play in any key. An extreme case is diatonic instruments like 20 button Anglo concertinas, or two row melodeons, which can only play in two keys, and lack the sharps and flats for other keys. These days, for melodeons, that seems to be the keys of G and D, and given the prevalence of melodeons in sessions, a lot of English sessions seem to play predominantly in G and D. Scottish fiddle tunes are often played in A or D. The English concertina is chromatic (has all the sharps/flats), and hence can play in any key, and the logical layout from Sir Charles means it's not any harder to play in two flats than in two sharps. Despite that, I find that nine times out of ten, I play tunes in G or D (or their relative minors), in order to fit in with the crowd. I would actively encourage you that when you have learned a tune in one key, while it is in your head, to shift it to a couple of other keys. Shifting up by a fifth (G -> D) is trivial on the EC - shift up a row and add one more obvious sharp. Shifting down by a fifth is similarly easy. If shifting down gets too low, then shifting up by a fourth (G->C) is equivalent, and is very similar, other than the finger pattern is mirrored to the other hands, which is a good practice exercise! I hope this helps.
  6. I can vouch that Ross Webb does exist, I've known his parents since before he was born (in the village where I live), and that he did buy an English concertina several years ago, so this looks kosher!
  7. I was at the WCCP weekend when Eddy showed his prototype. He had a 3D printer on the go, printing a bellows - the strategy is to 2D print the bellows structure as rigid, but with 'snap along here' weak lines. These lines are then bound using thin leather (or other modern flexible material), then bent so that the weak lines snap to make the flexible joints. I had a play on the prototype, and it was quite responsive and 'concertina-like'. Work was needed on the thumbstrap and pinky rest, but quite doable I believe.
  8. I've just released the 2019 edition of Paul Hardy's Xmas Tunebook. See http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/tunebooks/. It has the same 60 carols and Christmas tunes as the previous 2012 edition, but has had a total overhaul and simplification of the included guitar chord suggestions (input from a family of music teachers!). I've also sorted a couple of cases of tunes which had bad bar alignment due to anacrusis confusion, and made various other layout improvements. So if you are using a downloaded version of the 2012 , e.g. on a tablet) it's a good idea to update to the new version. It's free for download as PDF for printing off (including a version with a gutter for easier binding), or increasingly for people to use in tablets like iPads. You can also download for free the ABC file and use a program to play along with - I have a page on Playing ABC. Alternatively, from the link above you can order a printed and nicely bound (can fold right back) copy from Lulu.com for £4+pp. Happy squeezing,
  9. I got those figures from the PDF file in Little John's post at So, LJ has a increasing step of divergence from ET between fifths of 2.8. Alex has 2.346, GeoffW has 2. I'm still not sure I fully comprehend the theory, but if the syntonic comma is 21.5 cents, then 1/5 comma is 4.3 cents. However, the tempering of the fifths is away from Just tuning, not from ET. ET fifths are already tempered from just by 11th of the syntonic comma (ET is 1/11 Comma meantone tuning), so we need to subtract that (1.96 cents), giving about 2.34 cents, which is what Alex has in his table. So my table for the English concertina with 14 notes per octave, and 1/5 Meantone tuning, holding A=440 is Degree Note ET cents 1/5MT From ET Whole Cents 1 A 0 0 0 0 2 Bb 100 111.731 11.731 12 3 B 200 195.308 -4.692 -5 4 C 300 307.039 7.039 7 5 C# 400 390.615 -9.385 -9 6 D 500 502.346 2.346 2 7 D# 600 585.923 -14.077 -14 7 Eb 600 614.077 14.077 14 8 E 700 697.654 -2.346 -2 9 F 800 809.385 9.385 9 10 F# 900 892.961 -7.039 -7 11 G 1000 1004.692 4.692 5 12 G# 1100 1088.269 -11.731 -12 12 Ab 1100 1116.423 16.423 16 Does anyone disagree with that working?
  10. I'm about to re-tune an English concertina from its current Old Philharmonic pitch (about 35-40 cents sharp of Concert A=440) down to concert pitch. However, the instrument is tuned so that G# and Ab are appreciably different, as are D# and Eb. So I deduce this is currently in some meantone temperament. Having read the rest of this thread, it sounds as if tuning to 1/5 comma meantone with A held to 440, would let me play in all the keys I'm likely to (mainly G, D, A, occasionally Bb, F, C) without being noticeably far away from other ET instruments, but still have purer thirds than ET. My tuning software (TE Tuner or UltraTuner on iPad) don't seem to support 1/5 comma. So I'm looking for a table of cents deviation from ET for the 14 notes of an English Concertina octave. I've found one table of 12 values, that doesn't distinguish between the G#/Ab and D#/Eb enharmonic pairs. Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C# G# 16.8 14 11.2 8.4 5.6 2.8 0 -2.8 -5.6 -8.4 -11.2 -14 So, can someone who properly understands temperaments, or has done this before, provide me such a table with the 14 note values needed for an English concertina using its enharmonic pairs? Otherwise, I'm going to have to dust off my Python programming, and deduce it it from first principles!
  11. Nicely played. Did you intentionally use 'Chimming'? - Bells are usually 'Chiming'.
  12. Have you a date of manufacture?
  13. Alex Wade is an excellent teacher and English concertina player, and is I think still in your neck of the woods - see https://alexwadeconcertina.com/. If she can't help you herself, she would know the other players in the area.
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