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Posts posted by StuartEstell

  1. Ha! No... our adjoinining neighbour plays Hammond organ so is most accommodating!


    When the Jeff duet is well-exercised it'll respond at lower volumes, but it gets a bit stiff and needs a bit more welly when played less regularly. And if welly is applied it's more than a match for my voice even if I'm in full-on foghorn mode. The answer, as ever, is to play more! :)


    I'd be interested if you find this, but I think small rooms don't help either, as the sound bounces all over the place and you can't rely so much on the voice projecting at ninety degrees to the box.

  2. Thanks Adrian. Absolutely -- balance is a perennial difficulty with fuller / more droney accompaniments. It doesn't help that I've not been playing as regularly as I might and this box in particular is quick to become grumpy and less responsive when not played regularly...

  3. An arrangement of "Hier Encore" from French duo Brigitte's album "À bouche que veux-tu?", played on Jeffries duet concertina. The arrangement is a work-in-progress, using elements of the original, as well as a the bassline from "Sidewalking" by the Jesus & Mary Chain.


    I've been resurrecting my spoken French over the last few months, so it seemed like a good idea to have a go at learning some French songs. It's proved surprisingly tricky to stop pronunciation going haywire while wrestling with the good old Demented Typewriter. As it stabilises I'll add more detail.

    Just as when singing a traditional song, I've stuck with the original gender of the song -- hence all adjectives are in the feminine.




  4. Well, part of being a musician is working through those uncomfortable periods of reassessment and self-scrutiny that can only be brought about by constructive criticism.


    You're right re: Harry Cox; his singing is as dry as dust (in a good way), I just mentioned him by way of the kind of source singers I like. I never think of Hedy West as a revival singer, as (to my understanding at least) she had a similar kind of singing lineage to Jean Ritchie, but I guess that's open to interpretation...


    Have you had vocal training, Jody? I was taught classically for a while and sang chorally for a long time; in some ways that's been of huge help in that I rarely if ever injure my voice and can sing at considerable volume for ages. But I think that's another reason why the vibrato, as you say, "creeps in" unbidden.

  5. ... and further, on reflection: proof that it's always good to get candid feedback -- I just drove into the city, singing a few of my "regulars". Jolted out of unconscious habits, I listened hard. And I see what you mean. What surprises me is how little vibrato I use on longer notes in the middle of phrases where it might be of greater expressive use. So thanks, Jody.

  6. Jody, thanks for being candid, and for taking the effort to comment at length -- as I think I've observed before, you and I sometimes come at things from quite different angles, I think, which is fine.


    That said, I listen to a good deal of traditional singers, but rarely singers of the revival. With a few exceptions (like Nic Jones, Peter Bellamy, John K. etc.) I tend to like hearing source singers like Harry Cox far better. It also interests me that you see my use of vibrato as a "pop" trait as Hedy West uses it similarly -- in fact when I was working on a way of integrating it into my traditional singing she was very much my model.


    But in short, no, I haven't really hit on anything different with this song -- I think it's simply one that doesn't lend itself to longer notes at the ends of phrases because the character of it is so brusque. I think perhaps that is where the predictability arises in that I often add beats at the ends of phrases when the final word of a phrase seems to warrant it. More beats on a long note = more vibrato. The automatic end-of-phrase note-lengthening is something I've been thinking about addressing for some time -- or at least making it more conscious.

  7. Adrian is partly to blame for this one! It hadn't really occurred to me to try many additional Smiths songs, although I'd been thinking about reviving "The National Front Disco" and "Margaret on the guillotine" given the current political climate. Some of you may remember that I used to do "Girlfriend in a Coma" on anglo, but no others.


    I always thought the line about the "back scrubber" had something of the music hall about it, so I've (kind of) played it for laughs...



  8. This won't be to everyone's taste... continuing in a similar minimal/drone vein to the "Mr. Jeffries' Laptop" pieces I recorded a while ago, here are three improvisations based very loosely on the Child ballad "Willie of the Winsbury", all played on my 67-key Wheatstone Maccann duet. In the longest piece I decided to make a feature out of the noise the low A valve is making on the pull.


    If you enjoy them, please consider bunging a few quid in the pot -- all proceeds will be donated to Amnesty International.



  9. Here's a bit of fun -- the Pet Shop Boys' song "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk", which is a mouthful of a title worthy of Morrissey. It has typically arch lyrics, and my arrangement has elements in common with the way I play "Just as the Tide was Flowing".




    (edit: I've finally broken my duck with videos as I now have a mobile case that will prop my phone up properly :) )

  10. If your budget will run to it I'd say go for a 30. For song accompaniment you will have access to a far greater variety of chord voicings with a 30. You can accompany successfully on a 20-button (I used to drag out a nice Lachenal 20-key G/D when singing Miss Otis Regrets!), but they are by definition fairly limited.


    It's also worth thinking about what keys you like singing in - that may influence whether you choose an instrument in C/G or G/D. If you really want that Bellamy sound you may want a 31-key -- i.e. with a thumb "drone" note.


    (Edit: I see Dana just beat me to it :) )

  11. Is a AD two tones lower than CG or 6 tones higher than CG? Is seems like were saying the DG is one tone higher than CG. Do I have it right? Thanks Ron


    I think your confusion is coming from the way you are referring to the keys of the box. Convention is to describe an anglo by the lowest key first -- so D/A rather than A/D. The second row of the two is a fifth higher. Therefore a D/A anglo is a tone higher than a C/G.

  12. A D/A that sounded a seventh lower than a C/G would, I expect, be referred to as a "D/A baritone" -- a D/A would normally be a tone higher than a C/G. G/D is a fifth lower than C/G.


    I had a steel-reeded 20-key D/A Lachenal, which was marvellously shouty. Keith Kendrick has a D/A 38-ish key Dipper which is a thing of absolute wonder.

  13. I'll answer with some more questions:

    • Do you want to accompany your own singing, or mainly play the tunes of these songs?
    • What other instruments do you play already, if any?
    • Do you read music / play largely by ear / both / neither?

    There's no "right" answer but the more we know, the more we can help you to focus your search for the right instrument for you.

  14. Here's one for the legion of drone/doom metal fans among us ;)




    A version of the longest track from Earth's Extra-Capsular Extraction EP, to celebrate 25 years since its release (and the impending arrival of Dylan Carlson & co. in the UK for another tour...)


    This is a slightly different version again from the way I used to do it in my experimental tuba group ORE -- not least in the instrumentation (2 tubas plus all manner of guests including contrabass clarinet) but also for the addition of harmonic lines and a relaxation of the rather rigid deconstructive process I used to apply to it (removing one note from each repetition until left with the coda pattern).


    Still a work in progress while I work out whether I like what I've done with the chords at the end :)

  15. Thanks folks --


    Gavin -- yes, definitely south of 50 at the moment!


    John -- I confess I was lazy with the articulation of the repeated semiquavers on D taken by the xylophone in the original and used bellows rather than fingers... Some of the chord changes are hilariously counter-intuitive on Jeff duet but you're a brave man to attempt that lovely not-quite-circle-of-5th modulation passage on a C/G!


    Now, I must keep that Blankety-Blank pledge...

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