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About Anglo-Irishman

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Acoustic music of all kinds. Collecting playable instruments.
  • Location
    Near Stuttgart, Germany

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  1. Anglo-Irishman

    Creeping Reed Shoe

    Just couldn't resist this one ... A man walked into a tobacconist's shop and said, "I'd like a white shirt." The assistant replied, rather perplexed, "But we only sell requisites for smokers!" The customer nodded and smiled reassuringly: "I am a smoker!" Ducks and runs for cover ...
  2. Anglo-Irishman

    Need some personal reviews of a brand

    Come to think of it, the three instruments that I use most for song accompaniment and solo instrumentals, and in the band, are the 5-string banjo, the Anglo concertina and the German Waldzither. And my first contact with each of them was in the form of a decidedly sub-optimal specimen. However, I soon reached a stage where I realised that these were instruments for me, and that an upgrade (in the case of the concertina and Waldzither) or an extensive renovation and set-up (in the case of the banjo) was really worthwhile. If I'd been put off by misplaced frets, buzzing strings and detuned reeds, I'd have missed out on a lot of musical pleasure! Cheers, John
  3. Anglo-Irishman

    Need some personal reviews of a brand

    That's the spirit! Not only the bad workman, but also the unmotivated learner blames his tools! Sounds like you'll be OK. And if that concertina really is scrap, at least it's new, and has that money-back guarantee - which a beat-up used one wouldn't. Cheers, John
  4. Anglo-Irishman

    Which Mic

    For quick takes, I use a Tascam DR-05 portable digital recorder. It has stereo mics, and is really easy to use. Sound quality is easily adequate for Internet purposes. It attaches to a PC via USB cable, and then serves as an external storage device, from which you can copy the sound files (mp3 format) to your hard disc, and thence into the Internet. When I've uploaded a sound file to my PC, I usually edit it in Audacity (freeware) to remove false starts and long silences at the finish. If necessary, I can equalise it in Audacity, or even edit out minor mistakes. The Tascam is also useful for "listening" to yourself practising!👍 Cheers, John
  5. Anglo-Irishman

    WILDLY Off-topic - Gluing paper to card...

    Somewhere I read the tip that, if you're glueing paper parts to card for cutting out, you should glue paper to both sides of the card. This prevents the assembly from curling, should the paper and the card shrink by different amounts while drying. Cheers, John
  6. Anglo-Irishman

    Fanny Powers - The South Wind

    Yes, there are other decorations than grace-notes, but I've only come across them in classical singing. What you're talking about may be what is known as a "turn". This is written as a sort of 90°-rotated "S" over a note, and involves hitting the written note, then a semiton above it, the written note again, then a semitone below it, then the written note again. All this spread over the duration of the written note. The notation is shorthand for a sort of quintuplet, and is sung with emphasis on the first of the 5 notes. If you've got a recording of "O du, mein holder Abendstern" AKA "Wolframs Lied an den Abendstern" from Wagner's "Tannhäuser", there's a turn in it. It's over the syllable "Eng-" of the word "Engel" in the line "Wenn du entschwebst dem Tal der Erden, ein sel'ger Eng-el dort zu werden." (... if my memory serves me correctly - it's a long time since I sang it!) Trills (Triller) and vibrato are other ornaments that are not grace-notes. Cheers, John
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    Fanny Powers - The South Wind

    Wolf, Your concertina certainly has a marvellous timbre. Interesting that you note that you used no equalisation on the recording - I'm always reluctant to judge an instrument by a recording, because what comes out of the speaker is often far removed from what went into the mic. Now to your interpretation of Fanny Power. I agree that the ornamentation is too much, too aggressive, or whatever else has been said. Here are a few thoughts on the matter of ornamentation: Carolan was Irish, and ornamentation is a typical feature of Irish music, so ornamentation is the name of the game, right? Well, wrong, actually! Ornamentation is a typical feature of purely melodic music, vocal and instrumental, and the traditional music of rural areas in Ireland (and Scotland) developed in an environment where one fiddler or one fluter played for dances, and one singer sang - unaccompanied - for entertainment and edification. Playing or singing the bare tune over and over gets boring very quickly - but the harmonic treatment that is possible for the urban musician in his band, orchestra or other ensemble was not available to the country musician of yore. So an important function of ornamentation is to hint at an underlying harmonic structure. As soon as there's a second voice or an accompanying instrument, ornamentation becomes unimportant, except perhaps here and there for special effect. I know that when I sing an Irish ballad unaccompanied, I feel the need to add ornamentation; when I sing it with the band or self-accompanied, I don't. Bear in mind that Carolan was a professional musician and, above all, a harper - so his compositions presume polyphonic capability, with ornamentation only for occasional emphasis. Another point: what is ornamentation, as opposed to harmonisation? For me, ornamentation consists of grace-notes. which are defined as having no time value. They do not alter the rhythmic structure of the basic tune to which they are applied. They are, as I said above, gentle hints at a harmonic structure, and should not obtrude. Their shortness makes them inconspicuous, and it's a good thing to keep them quiet as well. (When I play Carolan on the banjo, I prefer to make grace-notes as hammer-ons and pull-offs, not as plucked notes.) With the concertina, this is not possible, which is why ITM anglo players just give their grace-notes a very brief tap of the button. Your ideas for improving you interpretation are right on. Quite honestly, the linked version, with several iterations of (apparently) exactly the same arrangement, got me bored fairly quickly, I'm afraid. It would certainly be a good idea to start out by stating the basic melody, with only as many ornaments as you really feel you need, played as unobtrusively (short!) as possible. Then introduce a second line, and probably dispense with ornamentation, then play a fully harmonised iteration. Playing two or more iterations of the tune - whether bare melody, ornamented melody or harmonised arrangement - exactly the same way, is never a good idea. From the recording I can tell that both you and your concertina are well capable of this! Cheers, John
  8. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    In "vocal duet style," as you put it, the lower voice is usually the harmonic support for the more exposed, higher voice, so the higher voice has the more elaborate role. The lower voice can provide this harmonic support with a narrower range: if the optimal note would be too high, the note an octave lower can have a similar effect. The fact that most duet systems have a narrower range on the left-hand side than on the right reflects this. Cheers, John
  9. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    I fear I must disagree here! The button layout of the Anglo - that is, the aspect of it that makes it more suitable for certain types of music than others - was not designed, it was adopted from the German concertina.This is based on the Richter scale, the main virtue of which (apart from giving you twice as many notes as you have buttons) is the ease of harmonisation. Very nifty for parallel thirds, for example, which are played on adjacent buttons in the same bellows direction, but also for bass runs. Oom-pa is no easier on the Anglo than on the Duet, piano or guitar. On the Anglo and related German concertinas, the tonal space is not rigidly divided into a descant and a bass (like on the accordeon), it's a continuum. Lower melody notes frequently lie on the left-hand end, higher harmonies often on the right. So IMHO, what is silly is bounding oneself by ingoring the original intent, and regarding "oom-pa" or single-note melody with a few double stops as the be-all and end-all of Anglo playing. The accordion does "oom-pa" better, and if I'd wanted to play Irish dance music exclusively, I'd have kept my violin going. It's unrivalled for single-line melody - as fast as you like - with a few double stops. But for the odd jig now and again, I can use the same Anglo that I use to accompany my singing or to play instrumental solos. OTOH, I couldn't accompany myself on the fiddle. To me, the Anglo is a very open concept. It offers ease of harmonisation, which you can use whichever way you like - oom-pa, block chords, arpeggios, parallel thirds, bass runs, all in one piece, if you wish to. Or you can exploit the bisonority in melodic mode by having to move your fingers only half as often as a fiddler or fluter. The price of all this is the difficulty of handling different keys. You can't just transpose an arrangement, like you can on the Crane duet - you have to make a new arrangement for the new key. In certain genres of music, this is a major drawback - in other genres it's hardly perceptible. I find the Duet concept equally open. You can do a lot with it, but as with any instrument, there will always be things you can't do quite so well with it. Cheers, John
  10. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    OK, here's my 2 cents ... 1. Philosphically speaking, much as I enjoy and admire Baroque keyboard music, especially that of J.S. Bach, I doubt whether that was the kind of music that Messrs. Maccann, Crane and Hayden had in mind when they developed their duet systems. Certainly the capability to play the entire Baroque keyboard repertoire is not a valid criterion for the success or failure of the systems. If you're looking for an instrument on which you can play that entire repertoire, try the harpsichord! If you can find pieces that fit on your duet concertina, more power to your elbow - I'd like to hear them! But you must always bear in mind that when you play music composed for instrument A on instrument B, though the result may be impressive, compromises and no-go situations will be inevitable. 2. Practically speaking, as I see it, the duet concertinas have something to do with the musical term "duet." Most people associate this term with two people singing in harmony, one with a high voice, one with a low voice: e,g, soprano and tenor, tenor and bass, soprano and alto. Consequently, a duet concertina has two "voices": a high voice on the right and a low voice on the left.The offset of an octave between the two has proved useful, and it is convenient (easier to read) to have the same notes an octave apart on the same buttons on each side. To continue the analogy with vocal duets: Given that an average, trained singer has a range of more or less two octaves, but their bottom notes are not usually an octave apart, a vocal duo will have a lot of overlap. This allows the voices to remain within the same octave, even when the higher voice is getting close to the upper limit of its range. Similarly, when my melody line lies in the upper octave of the right-hand end of my Crane, I like to have my chords or tenor notes in the upper octave on the left - i.e. in the overlap area. To sum up: the presence of the overlap on a duet concertina is not the result of a deliberate decision to provide an overlap. It is rather the consequence of the decisions to pitch the ends an octave apart, and to provide each end with an adequate range. Adequate, that is, for popular songs, SATB hymn-tune arrangements and the like. Cheers, John
  11. Anglo-Irishman

    What is this concertina?

    Hi, Dave, This is definitely a German concertina, and definitely "vintage". Your photo of the reed banks shows this quite clearly. The drilled sound-holes (as opposed to fretwork) and the chamfered corners are also typically German. The reeds are not, in fact, accordeon reeds, but traditional German concertina reeds, arranged ten to a plate (5 for the press, 5 for the draw of the bellows), the plates being held in place by hooks. You'll find the same arrangement in Bandoneons. It looks like there are two reeds to a note, so the concertina will have a full, rich tone, quite unlike a traditional English-built concertina. As to the value, this instrument will not have the market value of an English-built Anglo of similar vintage and condition, because the concertina world of today prefers the crisper sound of single, traditional English reeds. However, an aficionado of the older German concertina (of which there are not many, even in Germany) might fork out a couple of hundred Euros for it - if you're lucky! If it's in tune, with all reeds working, it would be far superior to the accordeon-reeded East German Scholer models that crop up on eBay quite frequently. A voice from the past, so to speak! Cheers, John
  12. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina as dominatrix ??

    Well, I did say, "a psychiatrist or something!" If one of them wants to analyse us, we can share his or her fee. Though I don't know which of us needs analysing more, Rüdiger, you or I. @maccannic: Does this answer your question? Cheers, John
  13. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina as dominatrix ??

    Yes, i know what you mean. The erotic aspect of musical instruments came home to me one time when I was in Ireland on business. I saw a rather neat acoustic-electric mandolin in a music shop, and thought it would be good for band gigs with a PA, so I bought it. When I told my cousin (with whom I was staying) of my purchase, she assumed a shocked tone of voice and said, "What? You've got a Madeline? Does your wife know about her?" I must admit I have a faible for older women instruments.They have a past, and contribute actively to the partnership between musician and instrument. For instance, my Windsor zither-banjo is a real Edwardian lady with a refined voice and fine but not gaudy adornments, and she leads me into her world of drawing-room ballads and - if she's feeling flighty - music-hall choruses. My duet concertina is a Crane-Triumph - a real Sally Army Lassie - and she takes me along the road of hymn tunes, gospel songs, and music-hall ditties that Gen. Booth wrote Christian words to (to keep the Devil from having all the good tunes!) However, neither of them is of a dominating disposition, soI get to play my favourite music, too! Just in case anyone (like a psychiatrist or something) is interested, here's a little song I wrote, based on my cousin's deliberate malapropism. It's about the time I was alone in Rome on business - and guess what ... Madeline Refrain: Madeline, Madeline, Cutest one you've ever seen, When I take her on my knee, Madeline, she sings for me. I was strolling down the street, When she stayed my wandering feet. Through the window I could see, Madeline was made for me. Refrain... Now, her neck was long and slim, And her curves were full, but trim, And her warm Italian flair Made me love her then and there. Refrain... Well, her voice was soft but clear, Really music in my ear. So I took her, there in Rome, And she followed me back home. Refrain... Here she sits, upon my knee, Large as life, for all to see; Here she is, my "Madeline" -- My Italian mandolin. Refrain...
  14. Anglo-Irishman

    making a jig for springs

    Don't worry, Chris! Even here in Germany, where the building trades have been metric for generations, carpenters still talk about four-inch nails (4-Zoll Nägel). Not a colloquialism - correct trade jargon! German organ builders also use the non-metric foot (Fuss) to denote the pipe registers. Old ways die hard! Cheers, John
  15. Anglo-Irishman

    Jody's next CD, TRAIN ON THE ISLAND

    Chromatic autoharp and Anglo concertina, eh? I must have a listen to that! Cheers, John