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Fiddlehead Fern

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Everything posted by Fiddlehead Fern

  1. My musical exploits so far: I was always a noisy child, humming constantly, banging on things, I've even been known to sing in my sleep. (How I managed that, I'll never know, but apparently I did.) Around age six developed an interest in the violin, threw temper tantrums when parents told me I had to be older to start playing music. Brok my doll's violin trying to play it, parents relented, bought me a real violin......learned to play it, realized that there was practicing and work involved, hated it, stopped. Got desprately bored one fateful summer's day, got out violin, dusted, tuned, played for fun (revolutionary concept, that, and utterly desperate), loved it, played all the rest of the summer, started lessons again, progressed. Went to Virginia to visit friends (who later inspired me to take up traditional music), saw three tall ships at Jamestown Settlement, fell in love (meh, boys can wait). Became obsessed with ships and sea chanties......became exposed to the concertina, liked it. Stopped taking violin lessons, progressed more than I had when with a teacher, switched teachers, began playing traditional music. Years later, age fifteen, Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2007, chatting with friends, saw a concertina out of the corner of my eye, moseyed over, fell in love again, decided I had to get one of those.....went online, googled "concertina" came up with this site, joined, began asking many questions, thought, pondered, soul searched, decided I wanted an English 48 button tenor and would die (or something like it) if I didn't get one. March 2008, called Button Box, ordered the said 48 button English tenor (a Stagi), April 2nd, 2008, UPS came, handed me a box, I went to my room, tore it open, and took out my new toy with trembling hands, spent the rest of the day making dreadful noises. I've been playing with it ever since, having a blast and loving every moment it's in my hands. Most recently I met another English concertina player, ran to fetch it from the car, and ended up playing for several hours....lots of fun, gave me an incentive to practice more, as did the arrival of my copy of English International. As for being a step up on the ladder of becoming a "serious trad head", yup, it's worked for me. The music on my iPod doesn't hurt, either........... It's always fun to casually mention to my peers that I play fiddle and concertina......most other teens just stare at me and go, "Huh? What's a concer-thingine?" Why I usually don't get along so well with others of my age group......... Hey, I'm not socially challenged, everyone else is!
  2. I bet passers by wondered how the fern was making music. Perhaps. I don't really remember making any noises while I was in them (I was usually hiding out from mom and homework), but that is in no way does that mean I actually was being quiet. I tend to make lots of noise (singing, humming, tapping fingers, clicking teeth, etc., etc.) without even noticing it.......other's usually do notice it though, unfortunately.
  3. Mine is a picture I took of my the scroll of my fiddle against some ferns in the garden. I figured it fit the nae I chose, and I remember playing in those same ferns when I was little, I could curl up right inside and not be seen by passerby.....
  4. you mean they don't all look like Johnny Depp? Aww, what a disappointment! Yaar mates, I'm pleased that ye're so exuberant in the celebratin' o' this fine day! I've been a swaggerin' bout town and a singin' o' my favorite tunes all the day..... "Where is me hat, me noggin' noggin' hat? All gone for beer and tobacco! For the brim is all wore out, and the crown's been kicked about, and me hair is looking out for better weather!" Join me in the chorus now! Or, if you prefer, "I'm a pirate, a dirty rotten pirate, I delight in stirring up a foght, and bopping little kiddies on the head, 'till they're.....dead!" (My grandma's pirate song.)
  5. Tomorrow, Sept 19th, is "Talk Like A Pirate Day." (No, I'm not kidding, look it up!) Since the concertina is often part of the general smush of popular "pirate-related" things, how are you planning on celebrating? Yarr!
  6. Mine's here! Mom opened it, I grabbed it and shoved it into the CD player, asking-only after it was playing- "Oh, hey Mom, wanna hear it?" I'm thoroughly enjoying it right now!
  7. Yup. My fiddle is named Titania (after the queen of the fairies in A Midsummer's Night Dream), my concertina is named Linda (After a friend who passed on just before I got the 'tina), my Mom's 'cello is maned Celeste, and her violin is Linny. My Dulcimer has yet to be named, as does my second best violin, but my first half-size violin is affectionately known as "Tiny" among her friends.
  8. Ditto! Well, not entirely. I've been interested (my friends all yell out 'obsessed!!!') with sea chanties since I was nine or ten, about the same time I fell deeply in love with tall ships, coincidentally (hah). With those recordings that I eagerly listened to I decided that the concertina was something that I liked, it sounded cool. Never mind that at this point I refused to practice my violin (yes, at this point I was still playing the "violin" instead of fiddle) and was near the point where I'd abandon music presumably forever. Skip to five years later, I've picked up the fiddle again, am enjoying it, and occasionally playing around with my lap dulcimer and making dreadful noises on the practice chanter a friend gave me. At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival there's a guy with a concertina........you get the idea, I listened, remembered my dream to play concertina (that I never exactly forgot, just put in storage) and decided that I NEEDED to get one of those for myself. A bit of research on concertinas, saving my allowance and dog-sitting money and I was calling the Button box to order my very own 48-button English Stagi. Got it on April second, and began teaching myself that day, took it to a session 20 some days later and got told that they'd break all my fingers if I was actually telling the truth about how short of a time I'd had it. I was, but they didn't, what are friends for? So, that's pretty much it. I was pretty thrilled that it was smaller than a fiddle and didn't need tuning, that was a definite plus. The only thing is, it's heavy! Easily as heavy in its case as my fiddle is, and nowhere near as portable as a flute (which half of my friends play), but lots and lots of fun. If I'm in Wisconsin another week I'd bring it to the session I went to last night. I probably won't be though, oh well. I'll read through this thread completely later, I didn't get to read all the posts....dying laptop battery and all. (Edited to correct my inexcusable grammar and clarify some bits.)
  9. Wow. Umm, I think I'll just continue my boring existence and stick to the concertina in the passenger's seat........ Although, my dear parents did decide that I can get a learners permit when I get home, back east, yay! As soon as I turned 16 everyone started asking me, "So you're 'sweet sixteen,' are you driving yet?" Well, I've been able to drive a car (stick shift) since I was eleven and my Dad brought me home a Yugo instead of a go-cart ("It's better than a go-cart Fern, it has a radio and roll up windows!!"), just not legally, which is a bit of a problem.
  10. Hello all. I am currently visiting my grandparents in Wisconsin. The other day I was sitting with my mom, playing concertina for a bit to pass the time...it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, my chair was comfortable, the wind was blowing across my face, I had my feet up, and the lovely Ohio countryside was whizzing by the window of the car. (I was a passenger, don't worry!! ) I have found that the concertina is the best instrument to play while riding along the Ohio Turnpike in your Mom's '81 VW Rabbit. The previous owner had ripped out the radio and cassette player, so if we were going to have any music on the way it would have to be live.......the van that slowed down while passing no doubt wondered what on creation they were seeing! "Hmm, now what was in that soda from the rest stop?!?"
  11. Yes, my experience too. I think it has something to do with the fiddle being tunes in fifths and the buttons in the centre rows of the Ec being fifths apart that make the tunes easy to work out. Sumthin' like that anyway It's also changed the way I play fiddle and learn tunes. After a few weeks with the concertina I started hearing the songs I played in intervals, and not as where I put my fingers on the fiddle. (I can read music, but before when I saw the "dots" I would just see them as where to put my fingers on the fiddle, and not as notes....oops. One disadvantage of learning to read music as a lazy 8 year old! I'm not doing that as much anymore though.)
  12. I started with "Lavender's Green" (Or "diddle, diddle" as it's also sometimes called), then decided that I had to learn "The Lass of Patie's Mill", and so went on to conquer that. Afterwards I realized that "A-roving" (Maid of Amsterdam) was easier, and played that. St. Patrick's Day in the Morning, Parson's Farewell, A Hole in the Wall, Rights of Man, Old French, Morpeth Rant, Speed the Plow, Soldier's Joy, Liberty (or the Tipsy Parson), Flowers of Edinburgh, Smash the Windows (roaring Jelly), Kesh Jig, Tenpenny Bit, Off She Goes, Lannagin's Ball, Swallow's Tail Jig, and Blow the Man Down followed, although not in that order. So, that's just some of the ones I started with and that I'm working on now- I started in April. My "main" instrument is fiddle, I already knew the tunes so I just transferred them on over and it was a pretty smooth switch. (I've also been learning new songs on the concertina and then transferring them to the fiddle!)
  13. Happy birthday!! I hope it got there on time! Hmm, I was wondering about this just today. Good to hear it's coming!
  14. Yes, good points to be sure, but if she has the interest enough to follow through with earning the money and actually paying for the thing herself, I think she'll stick with it. I'm not sure that she'll make a big career of music or anything, but I think for a kid who probably won't get many chances at music if she's interested, okay at doing it, and really wants to learn, it can't be bad. I do thank you for your input though, and it is good advice. However, I'm not sure how well that would work in her situation (it really needs to be transportable for her, going from one parent to the other). (Just from my own experience, I found the piano an infuriating instrument to play.....but that's just me and my finicky string player side coming out...... ) "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) Or just hand the kid a concertina, that seems to work too. Ooh, corrupting little children is such fun!
  15. Hello, I was recently at a living history event, where I brought both the fiddle and concertina and played both quite often. We were camping with some friends, and their 10 year old niece was very interested in the concertina, and went from knowing nothing about music to being able to match sung pitches, play a C Major scale, Hot Cross Buns and Mary Had A Little Lamb in only a few days. She absolutely loved it, and a bargan was made that if she did chores and earned money to save up she could buys herself a concertina, the plan was greeted with much enthusiasm on her part, and I think she'll follow it through. Anyway, she was playing with my 48 button Stagi, and found it pretty easy to handle, I was wondering if the Jackie would be a good one for a little kid like that. I think I remember someone saying they were a bit large and/or heavy? I doubt that she'll need all the buttons since she'll be learning about music as she goes along. (I opted for the 48 because I already play music, she'll probably have a slower go of it and not need to upgrade to more buttons soon.) If anyone has any ideas on that, I'd like to hear them. In any case, it was a fun to corrupt someone else into concertinas and music in general!
  16. I'm not advanced (I started in April) but the first few tunes I played were: Lavender's Green (it's a little weird on the EC with the fifths, but not too hard. It was my first attempt at actual music on the beast.) A-Roving (also known as Maid of Amsterdam, this one is quite fun to play and was easy for me to learn) The Lass of Paitie's Mill Parson's Farewell A Hole in the Wall Barbra Ellen "Of all the Simple Things" (that's the only name I know it by, I'm not sure if it's right though) British Grenadiers (sometimes called War and Washington, on this side of the puddle ) and the Garryowen I found these to be pretty easy, if played slowly and then worked up to speed. Of course, I already played all of these songs on the fiddle, and just moved them over, so I was used to them fast, but learning is the time for playing slow. Hmm, wouldn't my violin teacher would love to hear me say that!
  17. This looks interesting.....nice to listen to also, I'm currently using it as background music in another window....hee, hee. the moving pictures in the background are a little distracting when trying to follow along with the music, but fun. Another very nice thing is that the music part loads pretty fast! My computer is being slow right now (phone issues, grr) but the music loaded all nice and in good time....wow, I'm impressed. It's not way fast, of course, but not as bad as some things I've tried to listen to.
  18. Oh yes, the Bloody Jack series! I've read and enjoyed them. Well, yes, they are rather far fetched and not very historically accurate, but fun just the same. (Quick reads too, like potato chips for the mind, yum!) :]
  19. Welcome! I'm new to concertinas too, I just started on the EC in April, with a violin/fiddle background. I love it, and I've been playing lots of Irish tunes. That sounds funny, the dancing in WalMart-- jigs are great fun. I can sort-of-kind-of-almost do one, but I've found I'm much better on the music end, I can easily leave the dancing to more graceful people! It's a shortening of "newbie," I've seen it spelled with zeros even. (n00b) I'm rather partial to the term "neophyte" myself.....
  20. Well, I have a unicycle...and I have a concertina..... In the 5 or so years that I've had the unicycle, I've never been able to actually ride it without putting my personal safety and the welfare of others near me into extreme danger. I've somehow missed out on the genes that allow both my parents to ride unicycles and touch their noses with their tongues, such a bummer. On the other hand, in the month and some that I've had the concertina, I've gained relative competency and assurance that I'm doing pretty well. I doubt that I'll be trying to combine the two anytime soon. Yes yes, I know, where is my sense of humor?!
  21. Yeah, I'll call the Button Box when as soon as I get a chance. They were very kind when I ordered it. Being with out my new "favourite toy" certainly would be a bummer-- I'm having a great time playing with it. It's quite charming. Besides, I want to show it to all my musical friends next weekend when I see them at a historical event.
  22. I recently got my very first concertina, a tenor Stagi EC from the Button Box. I love the beast, it's fun to play and is all in tune, etc...you know the drill. However, I have noticed that two of the buttons seem to be a bit overly fond of each other, and get stuck. The notes are the G above middle C and the B just over to the side of it 9both on the left-hand side). They tend to get stuck when I press them at the same time. They do not stick by themselves, they have to both be pressed. It seems to happen the most when I press the B down a little before, and then the G won't go down all the way easily. If I push it a little bit harder it goes down and they both get stuck, strange. I would appreciate the instruments attempts to educate me on chords and make it easier for me to adapt to an instrument capable of them, but even I am unable to anthropomorphize inanimate objects that much, so I'd like some advise on how to get the lovely little thing to stop sticking. I am aware of it now, so it doesn't happen as much because I treat those buttons with extra caution, but it is still annoying. Is there anything I can do? Help!! P.S. I really don't know much about how the concertina works, as I have said, I'm a total neophyte. I would like to learn more about its "guts" but at the moment the thought of taking it apart and actually doing something to it strikes fear into my very soul. I'd like to get more competent and comfortable before I do anything drastic.
  23. I've seen these holders before-- Gaelic Storm always has them in concert... However, I agree with Allan here. Some of us don't need mind altering alcohol to act...strange.
  24. Yes, and it's a colonial song because England is now a colony of America... I meant that it was from the 1700s. It was an easy one that came to mind. Others that I've attempted (and managed, I'm happy to say) were Barbra Ellen, Blow the Man Down, the Lass of Paitie's Mill, Maid of Amsterdam and a few random hymns. Good luck!!
  25. I got my concertina today!!!! I'm quite overjoyed. I think the UPS man was a bit taken aback at my skipping down the sidewalk and beaming at him whilst trying to see the label on the box to confirm that it was indeed my concertina. Ah well, he'll get over it. I promptly opened up the box, took out the instrument and started making horrid noises on the thing. Great fun, but excruciating for anyone whithin earshot. I have however, figured out Lavender's Blue- an old (very simple) colonial song, and, of course, Hot Cross Buns. When I first got the idea to get into all this, I admit I was thinking, "hey, how hard can it be? I know how to read music, and all you have to do is pump the bellows and push buttons. You don't even have to tune the thing!" The complacent violinist inside of me smirked. The warning flags stayed, unhelpfully, out of sight. So, after a while of making the aforementioned noises, I picked up my violin and reflected on how easy it was to play. A full confession, and I humbly ask for pardon. Anyway, there's my big news for the day.
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