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About Anglo-Irishman

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

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

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  1. Absolutely! Read through carefully - it gives you all you neeed for improvising accompaniments. John
  2. Yes, indeed! Not only the human voice, but also each instrument has a range of pitches (bottom note to top note), and the voice or instrument is at is best in the middle of that range. On the other hand, each piece of music centres around the mid-range of the intended singer or instrument. A bass aria will have a different range from a soprano aria; a cello concerto a different range from a violin concerto. The traditional dance music of Ireland is essentially violin music, and is played in keys that put the tunes in the violin's mid-range. Other instruments with a similar range, like the flute and (modified) tenor banjo have cemented these keys in the tradition. And the Anglo tuning that realy can play the jigs and reels in their traditional keys in its mid-range, is the C/G tuning. Irish dance tunes tend to lie under the strong fingers of both hands in this tuning. Cheers, John
  3. Ron, Since you mention the Jew's harp, you might also mention the African kalimba, pointing out that these are plucked reeds, as opposed to the more familiar blown reeds. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that you need one reed (or tongue) for each pitch, although the timbre of a single reed can be influenced by the form of the resonance chamber. Another distinction comes to mind: the blown reeds can be either bellows-driven (concertinas, accordions, harmoniums, etc.) or mouth-blown (sho/scheng, harmonicas, Melodica, etc.) You might also want to point out the essential difference between a free reed and a beating reed (as found in woodwing instruments). I wish you much success with your talk. Cheers, John
  4. Bob, I find it easiest to bridge the gap between two sung verses of a song by simply playing the melody of the last line of the verse. The next step up would be playing the melody of the last line with the same harmonies as you used to accompany the singer's (fiddler's or fluter's) last line. This is what I often do when accompanying myself on the concertina or the 5-string banjo. On the guitar, at which I'm not as proficient, I usually play just the chord sequence that I used to accompany the last line of the verse, using the same rhythmic structure (picking patttern). You can, of course, do this on the concertina, too. When you've mastered that, you can try and be inventive and compose your own bridges - but be sure you don't put the soloists off by messing too much with the harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece! Hope this helps, Cheers, John
  5. While I stand by my original statement that Cnet is good enough for me, I do see one advantage in a FB group: If some young concertina enthusist or concertina-inquisitive person lands on a concertina FB site, it would be helpful to them - and to us CNetters - if it contained a notice to the effect that many concertinists are older, conservative folks who don't frequent FB, and if you want a wealth of information from experienced players, makers, collectors, teachers and simply enthusiasts of the concertina, you should click on the link to CNet. Cheers, John
  6. Hi, I had a problem like that with my Crane, too. The fact that the "ghost" note occurs on the press but not on the draw would indicate that the pad is not seating properly. On the draw, the negative pressure inside the instrument sort of sucks the pad into the hole, but on the press the positive pressure lifts the pad enough for just a little air to escape. So replacing the spring, to pit more force against the internal pressure, was a logical thing to do. But since that didn't work, perhaps the problem lies in the pad having shifted from its original position, possibly through inadvertent bending or straightening of the lever. If this is so, the circular depression in the pad, which is caused by the edge of the hole, might be admitting air. Check that the impression on the pad matches the hole. Another possibility is interference from a neighbouring pad. My Crane has "only" 48 buttons, i.e. two less on the treble side than yours, but the pads are still pretty crowded round the perimeter. It could be that a slight change in the alignment of a lever has caused two pads to touch ever so slightly, so that the closing force of the spring is dissipated by the friction between them. Again, check the alignment of the levers. Hope this helps, Cheers, John
  7. Here you go: link It shows my friend and his charming wife at an organ festival. The two of them often sing to the accompaniment of their barrel-organ - the old, moralising and precautionary ballads that were working-class entertainment before the advent of radio. Interestingly, the monkey (bottom left of the video screen) is still part of the team, and still the one collecting the money. Nowadays there's a law against exploiting live animals, but the German organ grinders still typically have a soft-toy monkey on their organ. Cheers, John
  8. Yes, fascinating (raising one eyebrow), those Tanzbär concertinas! A friend of mine is an organ grinder. Now that he's retired, he does it full-time. And he has quite a collection of barrel organs and other mechanical instrumets. My particular favourite is an American "preacher's organ", which has free reeds instead of the usual pipes of a barrel organ. It does indeed sound more unctious than the usual German barrel organ - partly because the rolls are all of good, old Anglo-American hymn tunes! I appreciate his music, and he appreciates mine, but we've never really done anything musical together. Perhaps I could persuade him to add a Tanzbär to his collection, and offer to demonstrate it whenever he's doing an organ show. Cheers, John
  9. Update: No, the seller is not willing to provide internal photos "at this point in time, after so many bids." If the photos showed what I would expect them to show, he'd have a high bidder - but as it is, it's a pig in a poke. Pity! Cheers, John
  10. That would be my guess, too. The button arrangement is not consistent with other German concertinas (e.g. Carlsfelder or Chemnitzer), and certainly not with an Anglo. I've asked the seller if he has photos of the inside, with reeds and action. Let's wait and see! Cheers, John
  11. What do you folks think of this eBay item? The visible hardware - air lever and air grille - are definitely German. In fact the grille looks identical to the one on my small, single-voiced Bandoneon dating from around 1900. The button arrangement also looks very similar (though not identical) to my Bandoneon's; however the hexagonal shape and the foliate fretwork look more English. I'd love to see a pic of the innards of it. The positioning of the fretwork makes me think of the German-style, parallel lever arrangement. I would assume it has traditional German reeds mounted 10 to a plate, but it would be nice to know whether they're mounted on the back of the action-board or in reed-banks, and whether they're single- or double-voiced. I don't know if you'd call it pretty - but it certainls looks interesting! Cheers, John
  12. Three Welsh tunes that I've found work extremely well on the 30-b Anglo, and which I play as a medley in C, Am and C are The Ash Grove, David of the White Rock and All Through the Night (I'm afraid I only have the English titles, but on the other hand I don't sing them, just play them). The tunes in C are heavily harmonised, that in Am is melodic, with a lot of expression. A couple of other tunes that harmonise well on the Anglo (in C on the C/G) are Men of Harlech and Cwm Rhondda (including the obligatory tenor flourish over the held note in the penultimate line of the verse). Hope this helops, Cheers, John
  13. Hi, @frogspawn, You mention playing the mandolin. I, too, am a mandolin player - the mandolin was my first instrument as a child, because my father played one (a beautiful Neapolitan Stridente). My second serious instrument was the 5-string banjo, which I started at about age 10. My first concertina was an Anglo, and I stayed with this system for decades. When I fairly recently, in the Internet Age, got the urge to play a Duet concertina, I looked around for the available systems, and settled on the Crane - like you. For me, the left hand of the Crane can be played very much like a banjo - chords in different inversions, played wholly or in part, as block chords or arpeggios, and with varied rhythmic treatment. The Crane right hand is like a mandolin - the scale goes up a row until you run out of fingers, then continues on the next row, and accidentals are played by pressing the button adjacent to the natural note, as in fretting a mandolin. So when I'm singing to the Crane, I pretend my left hand is a banjoist and my right hand a mandolinist, and take it from there. The "banjoist" (LH) takes care of the accompaniment throughout, and the "mandolinist" (RH) plays the intros, outros and melodic bridges, and either "sits out" the vocal verses, or plays or augments high chords, or plays rudimentary harmony lines. In my self-taught approach to the Crane, I emphasise learning chord shapes on the left (like on the banjo) and scales on the right (like on the mandolin). Works for me! Cheers, John.
  14. Well, I've played the Italian Stagi Anglo that I learned on for over 20 years now. The bellows did fall apart (my fault, for using leather balsam to "supple them up" ), but a new bellows from Concertina Connection (then still in the Netherlands), combined with a bit of tinkering early on to get rid of a few mechanical "teething problems," left me with an instrument that was quite adequate for band work. In fact, when I did get a traditional-reeded Lachenal Crane, and took it along to band practice, my bandmates immediately told me to keep to my "old" one - it blended better with the band sound (of fiddle, guitars and bass). I have now progressed to the point where I can play quite nice Anglo solos (mainly folk-song arrangements), and I must admit that these come out better on my present Anglo, a traditional-reeded Dallas-Crabb. OTOH my only video soundtrack hitherto was a field recording made by a professional cameraman when I was on holiday with my old Stagi. And through the loudspeakers, it sounds very nice. So I'm with those in this thread who believe that you can only tell the difference between two concertinas or concertina types when you hear them live, not as recordings. to a certain extent, a good sound-man can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Cheers, John
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