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Everything posted by BertramLevy

  1. There was not sufficient applicants for a workshop so I I am going to offer a concert that should be interesting to concertinsts of all persuasions. Mark your calendars Bertram Levy is one of the foremost performers, innovators, and teachers of the Anglo concertina. His first tutor, “The Anglo Concertina Demystified,” published in 1984, continues to be sold worldwide and is considered “without peer, the definitive instruction manual for the instrument.... .” As a performer, he has appeared on film soundtracks, National Public Radio, and numerous recordings. His 1986 record, “First Generation,” was selected for a Grammy nomination. Levy is also a major force in the revival of Southern fiddle music. His landmark 1967 recording with the Hollow Rock String Band is included in the Smithsonian collection entitled “American Folk Music.” His present tutor, “American Fiddle Styles for the Anglo Concertina,” reflects the author’s long experience with Southern fiddle music and his deep understanding of the Anglo concertina. In addition it reflects a new vision for playing the instrument derived from years of intensive study of the bandoneon in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The concert on February 17 th at the London Irish Center is a rare opportunity to hear the extraordinary repertoire of Bertram Levy in the UK and should be of interest to all concertinists. The concert begins at 8:00PM. Reservations can be made at bertramlevymusic@gmail.com. Admission is 15 pounds.
  2. As there does not appear to be enough interest in a second workshop I will only hold the one workshop in Essex on Feb 9. I have sent out material for that workshop to Andrew Collins who will distribute it to those that have enrolled. Instead I will present a concertina concert at the London Irish Center on Friday Feb 17th called “Thinking Outside the Box” The concert should be of interest to english and duet players as well as those of the anglo persuasion. Unlike the other concerts in the London area, the Feb 17th will feature my concertina repertoire. Hope to see you there. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited at bertramlevymusic@gmail.com.[
  3. Oliverio Girondo club has good tango programs every saturday night and dance orchestras at MN several times a week. Cafe Vinilo also has good programs for tango.. Both are on facebook. There is an Irish step dance school in Palermo a section of Bs As. There are plenty of Irish bars but I dont know if there are sessions.
  4. My Tour itinerary in the UK is now pretty much set as follows: Thursday Feb 9 concertina class Essex Friday - Sat - Sunday Gainsborough festival Feb 10 - 12 Gainsborough festival Tuesday 14 Feb Richmond SW London Thursday 16 Feb Islington Central London Friday 17 Feb workshop to be confirmed Saturday 18 Feb Oxfordshire Sunday 19 Feb house concert SW London Most of the concerts will be focussed on old time music with my daughter on fiddle and myself on 5 string banjo, concertina and fiddle. The concertina workshop on Feb 9 is in a private venue near Colchester in Essex focussed solely on the concertina. It is already almost filled with 8 people registered and only 2 remaining spots - for more details write to “AndrewCollins” on Concertina.net or andrewjohncollins@googlemail.com Since there are only 2 remaining spots in the Feb 9th workshop, I would like to offer a second workshop for concertinists in the London area. I have reserved a room at the London Irish Center on Friday night the 17th and while there is is considerable interest in a banjo workshop, I would offer it to the concertina players if there were 10 people that wanted to sign up. In the presentation I call “Thinking Outside the Box” I will play a variety of concertina arrangements utilizing different approaches to the instrument and discuss bellow management, accompaniment, fingering alternatives and lessons learned from the bandoneon. If there is time I can teach a tune as well so attendees should bring their instruments. Please let me know if you are interested through this site or my email bertramlevymusic@gmail.com thanks Please let me know if you are interested through this site or my email bertramlevymusic@gmail.com
  5. I'm only just now seeing this thread. Thanks for the kind words with regards to my development over the past few years, Bertram. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to work from your advanced tutor and then interact directly by skype. Whatever I have gained as a musician, I owe directly and overwhelmingly to the combination of your book (which, sadly, has never been understood or heralded, as far as I can discern, as the indispensable paradigm shifting game changer it truly is) and the skype correspondence. Thanks for the kind words Andy and Bruce. If my book is a game changer, it’s only because I saw no method out there that taught the concertina as you would teach any another serious instrument. I modeled it after Bela Bartok’s wonderful “Microcosmos” that uses Hungarian folk tunes he had collected to teach the piano. The two volumes set is required study for most music majors irrespective of the student’s primary instrument. American fiddle tunes seemed like a reasonable choice for me given my similar experience in the mountains of Appalachian. Though playing Southern fiddle tunes may not be the ultimate goal of this book, these tunes are rhythmically complex and require a wide range of harmonica-like and legato phrasings in order to play properly. True my book requires the ability to read which I realize many concertina players are resistant to learn. However it takes the same effort to read as to learn tab and opens up infinitely more possibilities. Nevertheless even for those who do not want to totally immerse themselves in the entire method, the book contains loads of cool little fingering pearls to pick and chose.
  6. I presume from the above that your tour (http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=19027&do=findComment&comment=180060) is going ahead? Do you have specific venues and dates yet? Thank you. Roger Yes Roger we are moving ahead with plans to be in the UK. We are planning to go to the Old Time Music Festival in Gainsborough between Feb 10- and 12. In the week before we will be in the north of the country and could certainly come to Manchester if you knew of a folk club there that would be interested in hosting us. I certainly could do a class on the concertina as well.
  7. I was in my studio exploring concertina fingerings and called to my wife who was sitting on the couch in the next room doing her nightly sudoko , “Which is more f-cked up, doing sudoko or finding alternative fingers on the concertina?”. Without hesitation she answered , “alternative fingerings on the concertina!”. For over a half a century I have been exploring the intricacies of this instrument and now, at seventy-five, feel the urge to pass on my insights. I have had the pleasure of advising Andy Western over the last two years as he meticulously studied my second book and seen him develop into a marvelous player with a wide musical range from Quebec harmonies to Bach counterpoint. Serious players of the anglo concertina in the UK who would be interested in some instruction can contact me at bertramlevymusic@gmail.com I will be performing with my daughter between February 7 and 18, 2017 in the UK and possibly be available for some private or semi private lessons. With a frequency of thirty years (since my last tour of the UK ), I consider this to be a very rare opportunity. “You don't want to miss a chance to learn from this man - he is legendary on our side of the pond.” Ken Cole concertina.net 30 August 2016
  8. yes I understand the Stagis are pretty poor these days - mine has served me well - I guess I was lucky - I am impressed with the Rochelles -
  9. starting to get serious about this trip - looks like the dates will be Feb 2 to 17 2017. I am working on a London performance venue for an old timey concert of banjo fiddle and concertina. If someone can provide a space I will do a class . If not I can offer some private lessons. We would be happy to come to Manchester if there was a folk club or venue that would have us (as well as a class). Cambridge as well. Also any suggestions for other folk club venues around the island would be appreciated. thanks bertram
  10. Jody introduces an interesting subject here. For what its worth this is how I approach learning a tune on the fly My first rule is to play softly. Its hard to control the bellows when unsure and my tendency is to play to loudly. Second I don't play long notes unless I know the melody - to me long notes sound like a bleating sheep and dominate the sound of the session. I play the notes short, no more than an 1/8th note at most. Of, course when I know the tune there are places for 1/4 notes. If you have ever played with a pedal steel you know that their long notes dominate the space with little room for other instruments. If they are the wrong notes, it is a distraction. Next , as has been pointed out, understanding the chordal structure is essential I play them softly but in good clean beats or offbeats - either works - for old timey I prefer the offbeats played staccato and rhythmically. You might want to refer to my video at Galax Festival presently on this forum. I am playing on the fly in part but to be fair, i have played these pieces on the fiddle and know where the music is going and where it rocks. It’s particularly interesting to see how I play chords behind Eddie’s singing - staccato. I listen to the tune for three elements - thematic phrases, moving lines and stationary lines. The thematic lines are usually the hook that distinguishes the tune -Most often they are the first and third measures. I start by playing the notes simply - sparse is ok but preserving the intention of the phrase is important. For example the singing of the first line Go tell aunt Rhodie is a thematic line. It is counted one, two and, three, four 1/4 1/8 1/8 1/4 1/4 The moving lines are those that connect thematic statements to stationary lines. They provide direction which services the intention of the tune. They may go up or they may go down. These phrases are the most difficult part of playing on the fly. If you watch harmonica players they will often play with 2 harps: one in the key so they can play on the row and another harmonica in a different key so that they can switch to playing cross- row. In the anglo the same applies but here all the harps are contained in one box. For example in the key of G in the C/G, you can play the tonic either on the third row or cross row scales and arpeggios in two different directions . For the dominant D chord in the key of G there is also a closing scale and opening scale to provide moving lines. I find the one that best fits each moving line and in this way avoid stumbling (too much) It is the same approach as on the banjo where I move the chord positions up and down the neck to where the inversion best fits the melodic line. Stationary lines are easy. They usually are on a chord which allows either a double stop or vamp. It is here that the concertina can really rock. Finally playing on the fly depends on the genre. I would never play an Irish tune on the fly - to me it feels disrespectful to the musicians that have worked so hard to get it exactly right which is so much in the style and aesthetic.
  11. thanks Steven I just let the rhythm flow through me and out my arms and fingers. It helps to have the chops.
  12. Bertram Levy with daughter Madeline at the Galax Fiddlers Convention 2016 in Galax, Virgina playing Tommy Jarrell's Cider Mill with Eddie Bond and the Bogtrotters. This is the Round Peak harmonica style played in the key of D on the C/G Stagi. This is part of what I will be teaching in the UK in February. There are two other videos on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cha83Js_CVA
  13. thanks Jim Lucas for clarifying my inquiry : Who could/would arrange or sponsor such a workshop and make the necessary local arrangements? If not you, maybe someone you know? I am definitely interested in offering a series of classes around the UK. It appears there is interest in a workshop (class) around London and Manchester. I will be touring with my daughter with whom we have a fiddle banjo and concertina duo of Old Time Music from the piedmont region of Appalachia I am arranging some possible concert venues for us. Is there someone in the London area who would be interested in arrange the class? Roger: how many concertina in your area who would come to a class? thanks everyone for your response Bertram
  14. I am considering visiting the UK to do a series of workshops and concerts with my fiddle playing daughter and wondered if there is an interest. February or early March would be a good time for us. I have a series of classes called "Thinking Outside the Box". thanks for your feedback. Bertram
  15. David I think you play the first part quite confidentially and it sounds good. Measure 8 is a problem for you and when you mess up it undermines your confidence and affects your ability to play measure 9 smoothly. Without seeing your hands I can tell that measure 8 you are playing the repeated C closing on the right side R6. You will find it a lot easier and smoother to begin that phrase on the third (G) row button L14. You can play that entire measure opening with the B on the right second row R6 and the A on the left second row L10. You can then finish either closing or opening as you like. Generally if you are having trouble in one spot, there probably is a different way to rephrase the melody that is more comfortable. This is guideline - make the uncomfortable comfortable. Beyond that there is the whole discussion of the visualization of the phrase in your brain first and then translate that to the fingers. But I won't bore you with that whole discussion Bertram
  16. Kirk Sutphin and I want to announce the release of our new CD “Two Peas in a Pod”. This recording is an imaginative look at the Round Peak music of Surry County, North Carolina and the surrounding Piedmont region Surry County like County Clare in Ireland is the musical mecca of this country’s greatest fiddle tradition. Inspired by the iconic duo of Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham, we have taken the Round Peak repertoire to a new dimension. The magic that happens here between Kirk on fiddle and myself on banjo and concertina is only enhanced further by the haunting vocals of Eddie Bond This Round Peak music is sacred so the thought of doing something innovative is almost heresy. But with Kirk and Eddie on board doing what they do best, I had the freedom to mold the underpinnings to unique shapes. Also in an idiom where everything to the untrained ear can sound the same, I believe we successfully constructed a mosaic of different sounds to keep the listener engaged. In this recording the concertina assumes a unique role as that of a cello. Where as "The Bellow and the Bow" emphasizes the concertina, the banjo is takes prominence in the “Two Peas”. You can sample the entire program at http://bertramlevy.com as well as ordering information. Here is a small taste with the “Boll Weevil and ”Old Bunch of Keys_ Boll Weevil Old Bunch of Keys.mp3
  17. Looks somewhat like a bandoneon jim but doesn't have all the buttons which makes me suspicious. On the Left the bottom row on a bando has 8 buttons yours has 7. Like its missing the low C/F. Also looks like it doesnt have fifth row on top and 2 buttons on the upper end F/F# and high G#/A on the right ALso only has 7 on the lower row instead of 8 and no fifth row. and perhaps the out row (on your leg side) While it does have the odd configurations and clusters like a bando, the diagonal arrangement is of the buttons is more linear than the curve of the Arnold bandos. I have never had a chemizter in my hands but I think they are 4 rows so I guessing more likely a chemitzer (big help I am) Those horn holes are also more characteristic of a chemitzer. You may have to get a button chart and check out the tones. Taste like chicken must be frog.
  18. yes send a photo of the ends and I can tell. In the bandoneon there is no real tuning in the sense of a specific key. The bandoneons (diatonic) are fully chromatic with 5 octaves - 3 octaves on the left and 3 on the right with an overlap of the upper most octave on the left and the lower most on the right. The difference is the caja harmonica on the left which changes the quality of the sound in the upper octave on the left to more of a flute sound. The bandoneon is really a two keyboard harmonia held in the lap. It was in fact invented as a portable organ for small churchs. The overlap of left and right octave allows one to play most piano and organ music since there is often a crossover of the right and left hand on either side of the piano middle C. The center keys that you find similar to the concertina should not mislead you into thinking that there is a easy home key. In fact playing in 6 flats or 6 sharps is sometime quite ergonomic. The insane and often impossible to visualize system actually has a very interesting logic in which phrases can be constructed in an arc around a central axis in your hand. IF you cant find the arc in one direction, the solution is often present in the other direction since they are two entirely different systems. This is different than the piano in which the fingers generally line up in a singuar plane. Once you begin to understand this, you can arm each of the phrases in your piece by where you place the central axis of your hand. More than that your hand begins to have a posture like that of a ballerina which allows speed, alacrity and also becomes the basis of the memory of the piece. The lessons learned from the bandoneon have greatly expanded my understanding and approach to the concertina.
  19. One more thing I meant to mention In the second measure of first part of the Bull at the wagon the double stop is the E chord - BG# - for this it is necessary to shift the axis of the left hand a little so that the B on the Lower G row is fingered with the 4th finger rather than the third - that allows the second or index finger for the G# L5 and concluding the phrase with the A L4 on the top row with the third finger - all while closing the bellows. Hope that helps Bertram
  20. Both Chris and Jim are right. Use of the G# should be played with the adjacent A whenever possible - its the pairing principle which is to try to group two note in a direction for good phrasing. For example if you have a run E F#G# A - play the E and F# on the third row L15 to R11 while opening Then play G# A on the right top row R3 to R2 (Wheatstone system) closing. I spend a chapter on this particular move in the key of A in my tutor but this is is the basic principle. In my video of Bull at the Wagon in this forum - playing all keys in C/G - I conclude the second part of the tune in this way but in the lower octave L5 to L4 on the left.. LIke everything there are always exception like the first and third measure of the second part of the Bull at the wagon. Here the G# stands alone but I make the G# an accent which keeps the intention of the phrasing going. Bertram
  21. I have enjoyed this discussion, especially the thoughts of the above wayman note. As I see it, choosing a system really comes down to how you want to approach the instrument. You can use the folk approach – learn a few chords on the left and the patterns for the melody on the right. For this approach choosing C/G or G/D becomes a question of your singing range or the idiom you wish to play. Your experience with the melodeon is probably similar. The other approach is to study it as you would any other musical instrument, learning all the notes, the scales and the arpeggios. I prefer the latter approach as you can see alternative fingerings, unique counterpoint applications and the great potential that an instrument capable of playing melody, harmony and two independent voices can offer. For some reason however there is a general resistance to learning in the latter approach even though the instrument has only 15 buttons on each side. If you really study the instrument you can do it with both systems though I think the C/G has more options for playing old time and irish music. As far as the home key, the key of C (middle row C/G) is the most limited because the C’s E’s and F’s are all in one direction on the left as discussed in a different section of this forum The same would hold for the key of G on the G/D box. G and D major are the most versitile keys in the C/G box . Bertram
  22. Thanks Bruce you are a good proof reader I fixed the 4th line. It follows the pairing principle where the d on the left hand L15 is paired with the C# on the right R1 - thanks Bertram Bull at the Wagon 2.pdf
  23. Ok Thanks to my friends Bruce McCaskey in USA and Luciano Dujmovic in Buenos Aires - I have the video on youtube. When I get back to the states I need to get Bruce to give me a tutorial. Anyway here is Bull at the Wagon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_-hmdSZhT0&feature=youtu.be
  24. Let me try sending it to Bruce - I am sure if he around he can submit it - it appears to be in google drive. Bertram
  25. As promised here is the arrangement for Bull at the Wagon which I feel really communicates the intention of the piece. You should compare this version with Jody's version which he submitted. Per the previous discussions Bull at the Wagon has three parts - the first is the wagon. In this arrangement the symmetry of the first 3 measures with a strong off beat is crucial to establishing the feel of the wagon wheels. For the second measure one should use the 4th finger as marked to free up the second finger for the G# on button L5. The second part is the flight of fancy - The third part is the Bull moaning. As with the whole piece, air management is key to making this happen. This is especially the case in the third measure as the moaning of the bull lasts a quarter note and consumes a fair amout of air (especially on the Stagi). The quarter note is then followed with a chord placed to free of the fifth finger for the phrase that follows. When playing the opening phrases it is often helpful to use the air button as well to replenish the bellows. Also please note that there is a finger shift at the end of the second measure in the thrid part as marked 5 to 2 to set up the hand for the third measure. Playing this tune in A (the same as the fiddle) comes out well on the C/G concertina especially the first part where the offbeat wagon feel is part of the tune. I tried to play it in the key of D as one would on a G/D box and was immediately faced with problem of having to change directions in inappropriate places in the phrase that detract from the rhythmic intention of the phrase. The third part works equally well in both the A shape and D shape For those who have my fiddle tunes book, you will see that I have not reversed the stems for the left and right side. If it's really a problem I will write it with those aids but hopefully by submitting the video one can see what is going on. The arrangement does require study and can not be executed by playing a bunch of chords and taking notes out. Nevertheless its well worth the effort and will sound really great when played in an old time session So now I will try to put in the attachment. I am not sure I can do the video part - may need to get someone like Bruce McCaskey to submit it for me. Wish me luck Bertram Bull at the Wagon 2.pdf
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