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adrian brown

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About adrian brown

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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    I play anglo concertinas with the 38 button Jeffries layout. I tend to play in a more legato 'duet' style, rather than the more bouncy anglo style, but it depends on the repertoire. I play a lot of "early music" - lute music, broadsides ballads and so on and I try to sing too. With my wife, we play as a duo "Dapper's Delight" named after the area in Amsterdam where we used to live. We play mostly 16th - 19th century music in our own arrangements and do some singing too.
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  1. And there's a bit more to Cohen's Gigue than meets the eye: When I saw that Cohen was offering to write "a bespoke tune" as a reward for sponsoring his crowd-funding campaign, I jumped at the chance. My expectations were that he'd write an "8+8 bars with repeats" dance melody, but what he's come up with is something of an entirely different complexity... As he wrote to me: "Your tune I've written in the style of a four part Baroque gigue... I used the French musical cryptogram system to make the first 6 notes of the piece spell 'Adrian', 'Brown' is slightly less convincing musically when spelled out using this technique, but it is also in there somewhere in the second section. I tried to write it to be playable on your concertina layout, so hopefully you can have some fun with it." I certainly will be having a lot of fun both learning and playing it, and being on a cycling holiday without a box was a bit frustrating when I first got the score and saw the video... It's a wonderful surprise in any case and I'm very thankful to him for all the thought and effort that went into it, way beyond the call of duty! I should also mention he's additionally written a 3/2 hornpipe - "Lady Borsch's Hornpipe" for Susanna (my other half and the wind section of Dapper's Delight). Adrian
  2. Well I think John Kirkpatrick started it on his first solo LP. He called it Gigue too, it being a four-part gigue by Johann Mattheson (1681 – 1764). I think there's a more recent recording of it by JK on the Anglo International cd set and Cohen played it too in his final recital at Leeds Uni. Adrian
  3. My apologies, I didn't point out that my remarks were intended to be directed at tunes that were sung, rather than played to a collector, and the choice of key that the collector then chose to notate it in. Of course if they were played on an instrument, I can quite understand they would be notated as played. I have also managed to take this thread way off topic - sorry Gary... Adrian
  4. Just to add my tuppence-worth to this... Plagal and authentic modes were still highly important in renaissance polyphony where most parts exceeded the single octave range of the theoretical mode. Simply the system adapted to later styles and modal theory continued as the general basis until the Italians messed everything up around 1600! I find it a very useful idea to apply this to folk tunes - MIke (and David will correct me if I am wrong here) I don’t think it's the upper range of the tune that indicates plagal or authentic here, rather how low the tune generally sits under the tonic. Likewise, I think you can ignore a leading note under the tonic - if that’s all there is, you can consider it authentic. Where it gets interesting is applying this to an Anglo, where you want to keep the melody as far as possible on the right hand. I would almost instinctively play a plagal tune in G on a C/G Anglo in either G or F and an authentic tune in C or D, for the simple reason that the melody sits better on the right. Too many passages that need a low a and g are going to complicate my left hand accompaniment. However, if I was playing a G/D Anglo, I'd have the same tendency, only a forth lower and play plagal tunes in D and C and authentic tunes in G or A, which of course as David has pointed out, is not right way around. Of course if I was playing with others, I’d have to adapt, but still, on a G/D, I’d feel much happier playing something like “Young Collins” (the plagal B part) in D rather than in G. Which leads me to another question concerning the key signatures the collectors used when notating tunes. As far as I can see, the Bacon book of Morris Dances faithfully reproduces the key signatures from the manuscripts and other sources. But how did a collector decide for example that a tune should be written in F rather than G? As David says, most tunes were written within a range of one and a half octaves from D - presumably to avoid too many ledger lines and to keep most of the tune within the stave, but was the choice of key signature generally otherwise arbitrary? We know that collectors who used recording equipment, like Percy Grainger, were highly fastidious in their notation, faithfully recording every slight hesitation or melodic/rhythmic deviation, but for those without such devices notating “in the field”, I imagine they had an interest in keeping things simple. Adrian
  5. Thanks Howard, glad you enjoyed the book. For a very long time, I didn't really think about "which button, which finger" and if needed, I certainly didn't worry about occasionally using the same finger for consecutive buttons (I think what the ITM players refer to as "chopping". But in playing more complex pieces and arrangements, I started getting my fingers tied up in knots in certain passages if I hadn't planned things out beforehand, and I was forced to come up with some sort of a system. I basically have two main "positions", with my four fingers either covering the upper or the lower parts of the main rows + the extras (for example RH buttons 1-4, 1a-4a and 6-9, or 2-5, 2a-5a and 7-10) Changing between the two positions can either come naturally if there is an easy succession of notes, or if things start to get complicated, it's the alternative push g and pull a buttons on each end that act a sort of "anchor" points to swap between the positions. I'm not sure if this makes sense written out like this, but I find it helps a lot to keep my fingers on track in some situations. If anybody is interested, I'll see if I can find a suitable passage to illustrate this and will notate it with my finger designations. Cheers, Adrian
  6. Slightly off topic, but perhaps relevant to the issue of how best to notate for the Anglo. In "our" book, there was one tune: Belle qui tiens ma vie that we notated in treble and bass clefs, with the button numbers above each of the two staves. I asked Gary to do this specifically because it was a four-part tune and I thought it was important to see the individual lines in a horizontal sense, rather than simply a succession of button numbers. To use this on an Anglo, you really need to write the whole thing an octave below how it would sound on a CG, with the happy coincidence that most of what you play on the right hand will be in the treble clef and the left hand on the bass clef. (Right hand button 1 push becomes middle C.) Now to my question - how did you find that Anglo players? Did it make sense? The nice thing about learning this is that it opens up a whole world of keyboard scores that you can theoretically play on the Anglo, although in practice of course, you often need to simplify or edit them somewhat for reasons of range or missing notes. Adrian
  7. Hi Howard, I use my pinkie on both hands, especially for the lower buttons of the left hand (1 and 6) while on the right, I use it more for the "extra" buttons on the end of the middle and inner rows of the Jeffries 38, which having 7 buttons across the middle row, I don't think I'd have a chance to reach otherwise. These provide me with the reverse e and f, which in combination with the reverse c and d on the end of the inner row, allows you to play more legato. I think playing while standing is a different issue though and I used to do it a lot more than I do now. I tried to block the instrument between the strap and the palm of my hand, so that the angle of the hexagon sat in the cusp of the palm. Does that make sense? Once it was there, I found it was possible to balance it in combination with the angle of my forearms. Again, I'm not sure how this is going to sound, but it felt a natural way of doing it and gave me the flexibility in my fingers that I needed. I used to rehearse playing standing and if I didn't do it for a while, I sort of lost the habit and found I needed to go back and start again with simpler tunes. Ultimately though I started having strange pains in my arms and hands and I decided to stop for fear I might damage something. I still like to stand when singing, since the arrangements are normally a bit easier and I can sort of dangle the Anglo in a much lower position for my arms. I hope this helps, Cheers Adrian
  8. Thanks Jim, I remember dancing Glorisher as a teenager down in Sussex and ending up on my back in a rose garden after the last chorus - those were the days... I found this video of the dance on youtube, but it does seem to me the musicians are a trifle optimistic in their choice of tempo. You play for dancers all the time, what do you think? I would love to be able to do justice to the Sharp piano arrangement of this tune, but it needs some adaptation to play it on the Anglo and I've never found a solution that works. Adrian
  9. Thanks Jim, I ran a workshop for "Early Music on concertinas" at the Witney Supersqueeze weekend a couple of years ago and I think it was one of my favourite teaching experiences. We did pieces in several different styles and even added diminutions for those who could manage - I'll see if I can did out a recording of one of them. Adrian
  10. Since we moved out to the sticks last year, I’ve not had a lot of time for the concertina, somehow there was always a paintbrush in the way or a shelf that needed to be put up. But we now have space and specifically a designated rehearsal “studio” and the last couple of months have given me time to record a few pieces I’d been fumbling around with for a while, including these two 16th-century Franco-Flemish chansons. Both start with the same chord sequence and both are written in a more vertical harmonic style which is particularly suited to the Anglo. The first is Dont vient cela, a poem of lost love written by Clément Marot (1496 – 1544) and set to music by Claudin de Sermisy (c. 1490 – 13 October 1562), a composer working at the French court. The bellows reversal in the middle of the B section was forced on me by the succession of a low Bb and an Eb, which are in opposite directions on my layout. It took a lot of practice to try to make it as smooth as possible and I hope it doesn’t disturb the flow too much (blame the person who designed the tuning layout - wait, that was me…). The other is Susanne un jour by the composer Didier Lupi Second (c.1520-after 1559) which appeared in his book of Protestant songs, Chansons Spirituelles in 1559. The text tells the Apocryphal story of Susanna and the Elders and the theme was used by several later composers, most notably Orlando di Lasso who’s 5 part setting was a real 16th century hit. Instrumental versions of chansons and motets are standard repertoire for the recorder consort or other renaissance families of instruments, where typically the players would be expected to extemporise diminutions. The advantage of separate instruments for each voice is that the melodic lines come out of the chordal structure much better - playing all the lines, I find this hard, but it’s something to work on in the future. Adrian
  11. Thanks Robin, Here are a few more: Dearest Dicky Mrs Casey Fieldtown Processional Glorisher Cheers, Adrian
  12. Many musicians of all genres are suffering particularly badly at the moment - not just in lost income from gigs and teaching but also from lost transport and hotel bookings that were made and often paid for months in advance. It’s nice to hear that people with the means are willing to dig deep and help the artists they admire in these difficult times. Adrian
  13. Just to be clear on a couple of points - has anybody seen this done on a concertina by another maker than the Jeffries family? And has anyone seen inboard chambers on Jeffries concertinas without it? If so, are they on the right or left side? What strikes me about the scalloping is just how similar it looks in all the photos (and in all the instances I've seen personally). Clean and decisively cut with sharp tool(s), it looks the work of somebody who knew what they were doing and went about it in an efficient manner, rather than a later, perhaps hesitant modification by a repairer. Adrian
  14. I did - but I'm a bit hesitant to stick it here without Geoff agreeing to it first? (I just ask myself why it has been deleted and perhaps we should ask him to re-post it) Send me a PM if you are desperate to see it... Adrian
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