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Jody Kruskal

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Everything posted by Jody Kruskal

  1. I'm just saying that I don't want the end screws to be super tight or too loose either, so a seasonal adjustment bringing them just snug enough is in order. I like to check them twice a year in early summer and winter.
  2. The only problem is that you have to feed it distilled water in the winter and empty the reservoir it in the summer. It does take some vigilant weekly maintainenananananance to keep things stable. Still, worth the trouble for me. The other thing I like to do is to re-seat the end-plate screws from time to time. I back them off and then bring them back up to a gentile finger tight level of torque. I believe this relieves humidity related pressures from swelling or contracting wood.
  3. David, I'd say 38% is not ideal but rather, on the low side of OK. For me, in New York City with central steam heat in my home, I've measured humidity levels as low as 8% in the dead of winter. But not inside my climate controlled concertina cabinet where I have seasonal electric humidifiers and de-humidifiers keeping it around 50% year 'round. The waxed-in reed frames don't much care, but the dovetail slotted traditional concertina reed shoes have stopped their yearly fluctuation between either squeezing and buzzing or rattling and flattening since I plugged in my big concertina case that keeps the humidity constant.
  4. The Morse boxes are extremely quick and lightweight.
  5. Concertinas do not generally go out of tune. That's one of the great things about them. Just pick it up and play. However, things can go wrong and I always bring a repair kit to a festival or gig. Lots of things can break. Springs snap, pads and valves fall off, bellows get punctured and reeds can fail. Reeds can corrode or get lint caught in them and they can crack. Playing as much as you do, especially if you play loud, could crack a reed. I've done it by over-playing. A cracked reed might well sound as you describe. Another thing that has happened to me and may cause your calf to bawl might be something touching the reed as it vibrates. Perhaps the bellows is impinging? Especially when the bellows is almost closed completely.
  6. back in 2006 I posted about mine. Lots of discussion back then.
  7. This from a review of my playing on our Paul & Jody album. "...he's able to make the anglo-concertina sound like a mouth organ... bending and blurring notes, so that his playing could never be mistaken for that of an English or even Irish player. ” - Rod Stradling, Musical Traditions
  8. I too use the Trial and Error method (T&E). Otherwise known as Hunt and Peck. The Anglo is just so unknowable. The only way for me to figure it out is to play a bunch of ways, listen and adjust to make what I hear align more with what’s in my inner ear... or something. Could be any number of things. I could list them. You can’t really know how it feels or how it sounds unless you try, T&E is the way for me. I think that a good arrangement is one that both sounds good and feels good to play. That's what makes these screen sharing lessons so interesting and fun. E.H. has little playing experience but very good taste in tunes. He (delightfully) presents me with a score where all the grunt work of data entry has been done. I get to just play around and edit his rough version on the fly and instruct E.H. at the same time. It’s really a blast for me. I might say to him... “If you do it that way in measure three, you are forced to cut, but if you use the right hand 5 button on the push, then it sounds smooth, right? Listen, I’ll play it both ways for you. They both sound good, but this way is easier, right?” Easier and simpler are usually better in my book, right? Together we cook that tune down to its essence through the exorbitant use of T&E. Then it’s recorded in tab... set aside to work on later. Back to T&E; In our sessions I will often play a passage in an E.H. score a dozen times using T&E as I tease out the best way for him to play it. Then together, we make the edits, him on his computer keyboard and me with my words. For example, I might say... “See if you can get all those button numbers to line up”, or “Put the UM lower than the PA there”, or “Where your curser is? Thats a 4a not a 3”. That kind of detail stuff.
  9. I have been teaching students of the Anglo concertina for many years. All of them adults with various abilities, interests and goals. Every student wants something different and I work with them to get the most out of their concertinas. Most often, I give my students harmonic arrangements of tunes and songs that I pick for them, then we work on learning and playing the music. Not so with my unusual new student E.H. He is a professor of interactive media at a major university and knows his way around a computer. Though not much of a player yet, his musical knowledge and curiosity is wide ranging. He wants to learn traditional tunes on the Anglo and I’m there to help him. Although he is a beginner on the box, he has managed to get through a few of the tunes I’ve given him and practices studiously. Then, a few months ago, he started giving me tunes that he wants to arrange. Not just titles and recordings; rather... he pulls good tunes off The Session or other ABC sources, drops them into Musescore (a free notation app) and with his charts and meager practical knowledge he begins to craft written arrangements in the Coover tab. He has grasped the principles of my harmonic style. Each new arrangement he makes shows his growing understanding, yet he is unable to play any of these new scores as his instrument is at the shop for repairs. Still, we work together on his scores every two weeks on Skype. Before our lesson, he sends me a few new scores that he has been working on. Then for an hour, he shares his screen with me and I go over his work. First we discuss and correct any melody notes that seem questionable to me. I give him instructions verbally, and watch his curser move about as he makes the changes I suggest. Then we tackle the chords. Based on those improved chords, we adjust all the bellows direction markings and start figuring out his options for the (mostly) left handed accompaniment. There are many possible ways to get the melody, rhythm, chords, accompaniment buttons and bellows all working together. We work through these options and agree on the best way for him to get the job done. I play the tune this way and that until we both like the result. Then I tell him verbally what to change in the score to reflect our agreed on arrangement. E.H. makes the document changes as I watch him edit on his shared screen. Any miscommunications or mistakes are easily corrected as I monitor his work in real time. This is a strange way to learn an instrument. One that I have never encountered before. E.H. has a bunch of scores now that he really likes, but is not yet able to play them and that is fine with him, all part of our process. The creative act of collaboratively arranging and making a beautiful score is very satisfying to both of us. Now that his G/D Morse Anglo is back from the shop, E.H. has his work cut out for him to start learning to actually play these finely crafted scores. I’m sure he’ll do just fine with time and application. Our lessons, using this unique learning system, foster deep insight into the possibilities and limitations of the Anglo concertina. If you want help creating your own custom Anglo scores in tab, I would be happy to assist. Here is Sweet Jenny Jones, one of our creations. (Note that left hand draw 3a is pitched at a low A on this modified G/D box). sweet jenny jones 2.pdf
  10. Henry is a planchette, a marionette puppet controlled by a single string attached to my knee. While singing and accompanying Henry on the concertina, I bounce my leg and Henry dances to the music. Henry always makes folks smile. Many stay to laugh at his antics, and then to listen to the unique sound of the Anglo concertina. The instrument I play is a fully restored antique squeeze box, loud but sweet, rhythmic and punchy, great for dancing and above all, cheerful. I talk to the audience, sing songs and let kids pull Henry's string to make him dance. People seem to enjoy this, and I usually gather a crowd.
  11. Anglo concertina singer Jody Kruskal and clown-baker Beth Leonard tell the story of baking a delicious Gooseberry Pie. Yum!
  12. Hi Randy, For quick and dirty audio editing I use Audacity which is exclusive to iOS. Destructive editing only though. For PC, check out this link: 6 Best Audacity Alternatives for Android https://helpdeskgeek.com/reviews/6-best-audacity-alternatives-for-android/ For precision non-destructive editing and mixing I use Protools. I think they make it in PC. It costs $. Good luck
  13. I visited the Deansboro, NY musical instrument museum twice. Amazing collection. I would guess that would be the collection Wunks is referring to. Read about it here. Update On Fate Of The Music Museum
  14. Last night I played concertina with my Punjabi neighbor Abdul and his friends including the famous Salamat Ali & Azra Riaz. Look ‘em up on google. They are the real deal. Actual celebrities with numerous recordings available. They sing songs from Lahore, Pakistan and the Indian Bollywood classics and accompany themselves on harmonium and tabla. There were a dozen of us in Abdul’s music garage, just across from my back door, singing and clapping along to the music after our delicious Pakistani feast of nan, chicken spinach and spicy dal and gulab jamun. BTW, we ate with our fingers, soaking up the juices with nan and we left our shoes at the door. My neighbor Abdul and his music loving friends meet most Friday evenings for dinner and Ghazals, a Pakistani potluck and sing song. Mostly I just listen, but tonight I brought along my Ab/Eb in order to play with them in Rag Khamaj in the key of black 2 (Mixolydian in Eb). Salamat Ali Kahan himself insisted that I play along and we had a great time. He gave me a short lesson in vocal technique and it could have gone on longer for all of me, but after all... it was a party and we had to cut the lesson short. I have much to learn about this rich musical tradition. Such fun, trying to follow the tempo and time changes of the tabla player! My Pakistani friends were super encouraging and welcoming. Concertina is not a traditional instrument for this genre, but everyone agreed that it sounds so good. Brooklyn is a fine multi-cultural place to live and I am a a new convert to the popular songs of Lahore.
  15. I just got back from the Fiddlin’ Bear - Lake Genero Old-Time festival. http://www.sacrasoft.com/Genero/ What fun we all had... just like the before times. This music gathering in Pennsylvania has been going on for quite awhile, but I started going in 2010. That was back when I first started playing Old-Time music on the Anglo concertina as a serious avocation. Since the covid pandemic shut everything down, this was the first big players festival I’ve attended (proof of vaccination required). It was great to play again with my old friends and make some new ones. The setting is beautiful. 150 musicians camping by a small lake in the woods. No stage, no headliners, no workshops or concerts. We just informally play tunes together in small groups all day and late into the night. It’s a big party. What I like is to hop from session to session and play with a variety of amazing musicians. I never saw a piece of sheet music the whole three days. It’s all done by ear. Half of the tunes that I played this weekend I learned on the spot, having never heard them before. Picking up tunes on the fly is a knack that can be learned. For those that don’t know, Old-Time music (in this context) is mostly an American Southern fiddle tunes tradition with guitar and banjo backup. It’s not Bluegrass, though we do share some tunes in common. It’s not Country, though some of us do sing old Country songs. The core of the repertoire are great tunes that have been passed down from a few dozen great fiddlers, living and dead. Many of the tunes have been learned from old 78’s that were recorded in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Back then, folks called it Hillbilly music. So when I take out the Anglo concertina at Lake Genero, I run the risk of upsetting some purists. At this point though, most of them have gotten used to me and I have learned how to play concertina without making folks unhappy. I’ve learned the genre. This year, I was not the only concertina player there. English player Rachel Hall made a surprise appearance. What fun to play again with her and her Philly friends!
  16. The dog days of summer are here and I'm panting hard with my tongue lolling out and mop in hand.
  17. Extreme weather here in Brooklyn tonight. High winds and heavy rain all at once. The aftermath of hurricane Ida has left my basement flooded a few inches in the low spots. Lots of mopping to do. Still planning to attend Lake Genero Old-Time Festival this weekend and next weekend... The New England Squeeze-In. Yay!
  18. I've had the same problem, but I used a block of thick leather, thinking that it would be more gentle on the bellows. Works fine.
  19. Tumbling tubes in Brooklyn, a musical walking meditation. Best to listen using large speakers or headphones to hear the low tones. The Gravity Pipes is a parade of chance events that results in unpredictable melodic phrases, all in a low register. Large diameter PVC tubes as long as 11 feet, rise up to the sky and dramatically fall, bouncing to create deep and satisfying resonances. Play along on your box in G.
  20. I got quite a few responses in messages and thank you all for your help. After considering a new Wolverton or Morse, and several Jefferies 38 button instruments that I lust after... I have decided on a used Edgley 30 button hybrid from a friend. The Jefferies instruments would have been nice, but they just cost too much considering the limited use for this odd key. Now that I have had a chance to play my Ab/Eb Edgley I'm glad I got it. So much fun to play with my Pakistani friends who favor the flat keys for their raags.
  21. Silly arrangement, but splendid playing.
  22. I'm looking to buy an Ab/Eb Anglo. Got one? Know someone who does?
  23. I use the Flipside 300 by Lowepro for touring with two concertinas. It's a durable thick walled backpack with lots of foam pad internal blocking options that are adjustable using velcro, so you can configure the inside anyway you want without committing yourself. Very light and easy to carry, yet sturdy enough for delicate photographic equipment (for which it's made) or squeeze-boxes. Fits two concertinas with secure padding between and a bit of room for extras, small storage pocket and water bottle holder. It has a bunch of external hooks and loops, so that I can attach a folding chair which is very handy as a hands free ride for my boxes + seat at festivals and travel. I've tried a number of clumsy cases, but I always come back to this one because it works so well. 15 years of touring abuse later, it's getting a bit frayed around the edges but still works as good as new. https://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-DSLR-Camera-Backpack/dp/B000YA33DC/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=Flipside+300+lowepro&qid=1620187324&sr=8-6
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