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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. Easiest concertina for a pianist to learn? Crane duet! I base this statement on an anecdote ... At my company's summer fĂȘte, I ran a stall for children to try out musical instruments. Guitar, banjo, mandolin, of course, but also Autoharp and Waldzither. And my two concertinas, an Anglo and a Crane. One little girl - perhaps 11 or 12 years old - wanted to try a concertina. She said she had piano lessons, so I gave her the Crane, and explained that the middle 3 columns were her "white" piano keys, and showed her middle C and told her how to play the next notes in the scale of C major. By the time she'd reached the C above middle C, she seemed quite comfortable with it, so I said, "Just keep on going," and she made it through the next octave without a mistake. "Great!" I said, "Now do the same with your left hand!" - and she did! As I say, just an anecdote ... Cheers, John
  2. This is a good point! I'm a multi-instrumentalist, being self-taught on all my instruments. While I have found that each instrument teaches you something that is useful for the others, it is also true that my personal arrangement of a given tune differs from one instrument to the other. I'm a folkie, so the melody is inviolable, and when I've worked on a tune for a while, the chord sequence is also pretty well cast in concrete. However, the actual notes that I play, which chord inversions and chord voicings I use, depend on what falls most easily on the keyboard or fingerboard of the particular instrument. My Anglo and 5-string-banjo arrangements of the Psalm tune Crimond obviously sound very different because of the timbre of the instruments, and in spite of the same melody and chord sequence. My Anglo and Crane Duet arrangements of The Greenland Whalers, on the other hand, probably slound pretty similar to a listener because of the simliarity of timbre, and in spite of the fact that I use parallel thirds at some places on the Anglo, because they're simple, and at other places I use suspended notes on the Crane, because they're easy. I reckon you'll get the best results if you exploit the specific strengths of your instrument! In short, if you want to use an arrangement that was made for a different instrument from yours, do so at an abstract level, i.e chord structure and rhythmic treatment, and not at the note-by-note level. Cheers, John
  3. A friend of mine, who is a bayan (Russian CBA) virtuoso and also a teacher of CBA and PA, has voiced the opinion that the CBA (C-Grifff or B-Griff) is the instrument of choice if you're serious about accordion music. The PA is an alternative for those (and they are many!) who have taken their first musical steps on the piano. If, as you say, you've never played the piano, then there's no reason not to opt for the Chromatic Button Accordion. Bear in mind that, if you ever get to te advanced stage of wanting to play a free-bass accordion, the fingering of the left-hand side is modelled on the right hand of the CBA, not on the piano! Cheers, John
  4. I'm a great believer in Equal Rights. Concertinas, banjos, mandolins, guitars, Waldzithern, Autoharps, ukulele - each of them is in its case, protected from dust, falling down and being knocked over, in a large cupboard. None of them is easier to reach than another, so they get played whenever I want to play something on that particular instrument. BTW, many banjoists and guitarists are much averse to keeping their instrument in a stand - whether at home, or on stage at a gig - for fear of getting them knocked over and having their necks broken. Cheers, John
  5. PS: I just looked at my currency converter, and the difference between 1600 Canadian Dollars and 1600 British Pounds is roughly 700 Euros. You could buy an entry-level hybrid Anglo for that amount! John
  6. Paul, I see it didn't go for the Sterling amount shown on eBay. What would your Canadian Dollar asking price be? Cheers, John
  7. I liked the badger with the banjo. Sort of gives meaning to the term "Clawhammer!" Cheers, John
  8. Interesting! I wonder if he's any relation to the Bill Badger who was (and, I believe, still is) Rupert Bear's best friend. He was a friend of mine, and of my children's, and now my grandchildren have got to know him, too. However, I've never seen Rupert's Bill Badger make music of any kind. Cheers, John
  9. It's a funny thing, but this type of discussion about ITM (or OTM, for theat matter) reminds me of J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel and W.A. Mozart. Why? Because (a) these three were extremely good at improvisation on the keyboards, and (b) to play their music "correctly", you've got to play the exact notes they wrote down and sent to their publishers. Whereby the notes that they wrote down were often probably the result of an improvisation at the keyboard. And I'm quite prepared to believe that Johann, Georg(e) or Wolfgang might well have improvised some improvement in a piece of theirs when they themselves were performing it. That would still have been authentic Bach/Handel/Mozart - but if a modern concert pianist did that, the cries of "Not Correct" would be deafening. Of course, "traditional-based dance music for listening" is different from "Classical Music." To me, the main difference is that trad. music is "Performers' Music," whereas academic music is "Composers' Music." That is, with a folk song, I have a generally accepted lyric and tune. These are usually time-honoured and often rather good, so I try to bring out their beauty, humour or poignancy. How I do this is very much up to me. I can sing unaccompanied, or arrange it for the piano or guitar, or use some instrument commonly associated with the culture from which the folk-song comes. My tempo, harmonies and diction will be different from the next singer's; you may prefer his or mine, or be amazed at the differences.It'll be the performer you appreciate, not the composer (who must have existed at some time, but whose identity has been forgotten.) Remember, music is not dots on paper, nor an abstract memorisation of words and notes - music is vibrations in the air, and it's the performer who is responsible for these.. Of course classical music is also vibrations in air, more than anything else, but in this case, the performer has very much less liberty to influence the form that these vibrations take. He ideally interprets the composer's ideas on this. So what about your so-called ITM? I suppose, if you're not Irish, the only way to sound Irish is to regard "The Irish Musician" as the composer of a reel, and try to get as close to his idea of how it should sound as a classical violinist tries to get to Paganini's idea of a sonata. Cheers, John
  10. I had this problem at the start, too. Lungs at bursting-point when the bellows was fully extended, slumped over when it was closed. I assumed that this was because I had learned the mouth organ at a very early age, and my "breathing apparatus" was programmed to blow when a note lay within the tonic chord, and otherwise to draw air in. The situation improved when I discovered that I could control the expenditure of air using the concertina's air button, much as I did with my nose on the harmonica. This helped me avoid extreme bellows movement. (Another advantage of learning the harmonica first was that I knew my way about the intricasies of the Richter scale, and could find tunes on the Anglo almost right away.) What probably solved the breathing problem - and that very quickly - was the fact that, like most instruments I've taken up, the Anglo was intended as a song accompaniment. Needless to say, my motivation to achieve normal breathing while playing was high! Cheers, John
  11. @perspiration, What do you mean by "harder?" You shouldn't have to push or pull with greater force to keep a "breathe" note sounding steadily, but you do have to pull or push faster. That's the whole point of the exercise: getting the bellows to fill or empty quicker than it would if you were only sounding notes without pressing the air button. Think, "Constant pressure, greater speed!" Cheers, John
  12. The obvious reason why it's not suited to the anglo is that any Anglo notation has to take both the player's hands into account. So when you're annotating a standard stave, it's pretty intuitive to place the left-hand (bass) tabs under the stave, and the right-hand (treble) tabs above it.That's the way the familiar piano score is structured. If the tabs are being used independently of a standard-notation stave, a horizontal line - as in the cited example - can be used to separate left- and right-hand tabs. I'm not very keen on designating each occurrence of a given button with one of two letters. I find it more direct to assume one bellows direction - preferably the Press, because the concertina is a squeeze-box - and to use some arbitrary mark for the Draw.(My old tutor uses a circumflex, or inverted V, to indicate "Draw.") "Mark or no mark" is easier to distinguish than "P or D", IMO. Cheers, John
  13. Stephen, I think @maccannic has answered your question pretty well. The point is, the letters printed above the stave are not a complete notation. The merely form a basis for improvisation. It's up to the player to decide which harmonising notes to play, but in the first three bars of your example, the notes used should be part of the G major chord. Maybe G, B and D, or B, D and G, or maybe only G (I'd probably play a low G on the first beat of Bar 1, where the melody has an 1/8th rest, and then hold a G chord (G, B, D) for the whole of Bar 2.) Bar 4 uses the notes from the C major chord (all or any of C, E, G, in any squence), and so on. What makes this so easy for string players, as @petey points out, is that for instance, a banjoist's left hand forms the chord of (in your example) G major, but doesn't sound the notes of the chord. It's the right hand that selects which of the prepared notes of the G major chord to actually sound, and in what sequence, and in what rhythmic relationship to each other. I find that I can transfer the "banjo feeling" quite well to the duet concertina. I place the fingertips of my left hand over the buttons for the desired chord, but don't necessarily press all of them, or all of them at the same time. Meanwhile, my right hand is free to finger the melody. I imagine that this kind of chordal accompaniment might be tricky on an EC, if one is playing the melody at the same time. But I know it's possible, from what I've heard on recordings. I reckon we have to live with the fact that certain musical techniques work better, or are easier to master, on one instument than on another. And the EC, Anglo and Duet concertinas are, for the purposes of fingering, three different instruments. Cheers, John
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