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Fiddlehead Fern

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About Fiddlehead Fern

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    Chatty concertinist

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    the open sea
  1. I never got to see him perform, but I will never forget the reactions of people all throughout the Hudson valley when I was working on Clearwater a few years ago; everyone I met had nothing but praise for Pete and the sloop, and most shared stories of how their lives had been positively influenced by his life and the Clearwater's presence, it was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life to this point. What a loss to the entire world.
  2. All the points I was going to make in response to the original poster have been thoroughly and eloquently answered. One thing, however, that I continually have a pick about is the assumption that just because you're on a boat your instruments will instantly corrode and rot into a puddle of goo, which in my experience has simply not been the case. Granted, I also have a bad habit of taking my instruments (a Morse Geordie in the concertina dept. and a fiddle in the "other" category) camping, but never mind that. I can't speak for ocean sailing, because I've not done it yet, but during my time on the Great Lakes I never had a problem with my instruments being damaged due to excessive humidity, because even though you're on the water the ship acts pretty much like a decently protective building. Common sense applies too, clearly if the whole watch has just come below in their dipping wet foulies and the berth deck is a dank mess, it's an inopportune moment to grab your box and play a few tunes. But for the majority of the time a good case and storage in your bunk (or if you're in hammocks, the sail crib) is a perfectly acceptable environment for an instrument. Anyway, it's always good to see another sailor on here.
  3. I had my concertina with me this past summer when I worked on Clearwater. I didn't meet Pete, though.
  4. That's one of my all-time favorite CDs, and that tune was one of my inspirations to learn concertina. I'm so glad you've also discovered it!
  5. I'm pretty sure this is the best thing I've seen all day.
  6. I got a one this summer as a long-awaited upgrade from my Stagi, and I've been really happy with it. It's a nice size and light and I think it sounds wonderful. It's got a very quick and crisp response, definitely suitable for quick dance tunes. It's got a nice dynamic range (for a concertina) as well, which is really nice.
  7. Nobody cares if you spill beer on a fiddle. I identify as both a fiddler and a violinist, and I use the same instrument all the time and use the terms interchangeably to refer to it. I feel like this is the sort of issue that can be debated forever, without ever coming to a suitable conclusion, so my two cents is that it's a highly subjective opinion that changes from person to person.
  8. That's great! Sometimes I've used the half step to get a slide-like effect, but I'll have to try the different pressure with the bellows to blend it.
  9. Think Like A Banjo I might suggest that you think like a banjo. Just as the melody often plays against the 5th string, you can do the same on the concertina albeit an octave lower. In fact the fiddle does this as well, playing against the A (second string) as in for example “Granny” or “Cluck Old Hen” or against D as in “Old Molly Hare”. Similarly in the lower strings the fiddle plays a bar A, E, (AE), E (or the open GD) as well as in for example “the 28th or January” or “Growling Old Man and Woman”. Also like the banjo, you can do all the double thumbing techniques. And then there are all the offbeat double stops. Lots of things to work with without needing the slides. You can hear many of these techniques in the CD “the Bellow and the Bow” with Kirk Sutphin and myself or actually study the notes in my tutor “American Fiddle Styles for the Anglo Concertina”. True the tunes in the book are really a vehicle for expanding the knowledge of the instrument but the techniques for playing the style, as described above, are all there. While the tunes are written with fingerings and bellow movements for the anglo, there is no reason they can’t be done just as well with the English system. Bertram Oh, I'm aware. As I said, there are plenty of things that are easier to do on the concertina than fiddle that sound great, and slides aren't at all necessary. I was just noting that when switching an old-time tune from fiddle to concertina that's the first stylistic difference I notice.
  10. Old-timey fiddle tunes are delightful on the English concertina. If you can't find other old-time squeezers you can always follow the fiddle line, which is probably a good thing to do anyway, since that'll open you up to a huge amount of tunes. Once you get used to that you can start doing accompaniment or embellishments that sound more concertina-y rather than "I'm pretending to be a fiddler". The hardest thing for me when switching old-time tunes from fiddle to concertina is dealing with the fact that I can't slide into notes, and figuring out how to invoke a drone-y double-stop sound that's so common in the style. Really punching the rhythm is something to learn too, since Irish players tend to be a bit smoother.
  11. I learnt on a Stagi (tenor) and this summer upgraded to a Geordie (also tenor), and it's the Most Wonderful Thing. I find the dynamics a billion times easier to control on the Geordie, as opposed to always loud. I don't know about the baritones, but I would assume it would be a similar situation. On a side note, those little 18-button stagis are precious, a friend of mine has one. We'd swap instruments and both get ridiculously confused, me for lack of buttons and he because the sudden addition of 30 more buttons. It was great.
  12. My brand new, absolutely marvelous Morse Geordie tenor. I'm in love.
  13. I took it to the Button Box, and they replaced the key. The aluminum lever had worn through the metal on the bottom of the key, and some of the others were about ready to go as well, so they'll fix them up too.
  14. This sounds super-cool! Unfortunately I'm not going to be around DC then. Any concertina happenings in Western North Carolina?
  15. Continuing to further the sailor/concertina sterotype.

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