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Posts posted by StuartEstell

  1. As far as I'm concerned the "whole-band" concept (which I actually never heard or encountered in the context of piano lessons or talking about the "Schifferklavier") is misleading insofar it is suggesting an interpersonal interplay and sound/tecwise diversity which can't (or at least shouldn't) be faked.


    Wolf -- likewise as a classical pianist I never encountered this, but I suppose to an extent on piano you just take it for granted that what the instrument is doing is self-contained.


    I wouldn't agree that anything "shouldn't" be faked. Somebody, somewhere will find a way to do all sorts of things successfully, and more power to them. I would venture to suggest, though, that many that do this sort of thing very literally (and I think guitarists / bass players can be particularly guilty of this) often seem to forget to make any actual music while achieving blinding technical feats.

  2. Ceemonster, I think you and I view this "single instrument as band" from a similar perspective, although it sounds as though we differ markedly in our preferences. For me the appeal of concertina tone is in the interplay of the overtones that sometimes do such weird and wonderful things when playing chordally/contrapuntally. Fistfuls of notes, preferably with added drones! :)


    From the perspective of one who is a player of "all of the above", I'm also not sure I agree that a "whole band" feel is technically any more difficult on a 30-key anglo than it is on one with more buttons, or -- in practice -- than it is on a duet keyboard. As you suggest, the limitations of the instrument force certain choices, from key to individual notes, but it's more than possible to develop complex arrangements on a 30-key instrument.

  3. Very much agreed, Jim. Learning when to play nothing is a valuable skill -- musical absinence, if you like, versus being over-keen and plastering oneself liberally all over everything. (I've been guilty of this myself, so I'm not throwing stones from a glass house :))


    Even if you're not playing jazz it can be instructive to listen to what some of the really great jazz pianists (e.g. McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans) do when 'comping (accompanying), either in the left hand while soloing with the right, or with both hands while filling in the sandwich between the bass and soloist. Unless you're aiming specifically for thickness of texture from duplicated parts, less is emphatically more, especially if there are rhythm instruments whacking out the pulse alongside you.

  4. As the most famous of the dead Kennedys once proclaimed that he was a doughnut to the assembled German audience, I shall play




    where I shall stop in at the local doughnut shop and cover myself in custard.



    Edit: Samantha reminded me that I had named the wrong Kennedy. That comes from eating too much jelly (or jell-o).


    The name of the player escapes me but there is a spectacular tuba version of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" in which the entire opening is played in full chords using multiphonic techniques. It _is_ possible, just hard.

    Is this what you are thinking of?




    That's the chap -- Dave Bargeron -- although the video is showing as unavailable for me at the moment.


    I haven't heard it for a very long time but it made quite an impact on me as a younger tuba player!

  6. Tony Hall, the melodeon player, has always been interesting in this regard for me. He adds in multiple melodies/harmonies on the treble side of his box that in the past have convinced people that he was mixing multiple recordings. Usually it involves playing a harmony line with his little finger in the upper octave. He also manages to get some percussion going just by his choice of playing clacky old Hohner boxes!


    Good call Robert -- you're right, his playing is extraordinary.

  7. No, Ruediger, not a bad move at all. A very good one, as demonstrated by the long pause that has followed it. You've demonstrated a keen understanding of the supplementary codex to the Wrekin Rules in your deployment of the Wenlock Edge manoeuvre, developed by poet A. E. Housman after a winter gale blew his bird table over. It's a bit like castling in chess, with more trees.


    With all this in mind, I shall play


    Holland Park


    where Les Barker no doubt once purchased a meat pie.


    (Incidentally, Samantha says that she once had a gentleman friend from Shropshire, but she had to put a stop to it as he wanted to move North, and she didn't want any little arrivals being born out of Wenlock).

  8. In summary:


    I'm sure there's an age thing going on

    I don't think you can blame competitions and awards

    I think there's a complex Irish/Scottish basis to what Mohsen is basing his playing on rathger than any single definable "tradition"

    I'm sure he's experimenting with just what he can do with the tunes, his instrument and his skill level

    I think he's a fabulous player but I wouldn't necessarily want to listen to 2 hours of some of his stuff


    Nicely put, Alex.

  9. hmm.


    I am interested by the responses people are giving on this thread, mostly people are not into the more repetitive parts of the tune. The thing is its just a repetitive arpeggio following a chord sequence, that part of the tune seems to me to follow the general pattern most modern dance music you would hear in clubs. Most mainstream clubs play music which is pretty much a beat, a chord sequence and then some vocal samples thrown in, its mindless to listen to but in a club its just a beat to dance to and people enjoy it. Most modern music I hear people dancing to is like this, I think it is a generational thing. If you listen to younger melodeon players in England (I use melodeon players as an example as there are not many young concertina players in England sadly) they don't sound like the generation before, they put in the odd bits of jazzy stuff, different rhythms and especially chord sequences that would not be found in traditional music normally. As a young player I find it very exciting, it gives this sense of having possession of something rather than just repeating it.


    Perhaps we are somewhat dry in our approach to playing traditional music? The danger being that following a "tradition" can lead to a somewhat unadventurous musical style. To give another example:


    I was in Ireland a while ago and went to some sessions, all of the fiddle players were very very good but they all played identically, I learned that most had been in competitions at points in time and some might have even had the same tutors when younger. Then there was this Canadian woman who had learned Irish music away from Ireland and completely put her own spin on everything. It was way way more interesting and full of life, the other fiddle players seemed so stiff and un humoured by contrast...



    To conclude perhaps the piece of music that started the thread was not perfectly suited to the present audience


    Actually, I really like relentless repetition in general -- it's the execution of it here that's not to my taste.


    But just as One Direction are not of my generation, neither is Mr. Amini. And his response to this thread might be (quite justifiably) to paraphrase Pete Townshend in "My Generation" --- "why don't you all just f-f-f-f-fade away..." :lol: I'm 40, so to a 20-something I'm a total dinosaur. I don't think this music is aimed at me. And that's fine.


    While I think there's a lot in what you say about what can sometimes seem like "tradition in aspic" I also see a kind of new orthodoxy forming around what I lovingly call "melodeon jazz chords", which might expand the harmonic vocabulary of the instrument a bit, but once I've heard the piled up minor 7th chords a few times the novelty wears off and I find myself wishing for cleaner, starker harmony. Again, that's just my taste.


    Stephen -- point taken re: meantone tuning but for Arabic music you're going to need more than just G#/Ab and D#/Eb -- for playing maqqam scales based on C you'd certainly want D half-flat and F half-sharp as well. (Has anyone ever built a microtonal concertina with a full set of quarter-tones?)

  10. (Edit: I know the request was for solo instrumental performances but I think the same approach applies here...)


    For my taste, Nic Jones is the consummate accompanist -- here's his classic version of Canadee-i-o which I'm sure a lot of you folks will know already. To my ears, any other instrumentation would be completely redundant:




    Pretty much anything recorded by Nic Jones is a masterclass in "band in a single instrument" playing in the context of traditional song -- I like his recordings less when other musicians are involved, apart from the songs with Tony Hall on melodeon.


    Nick Dow is also very good at this sort of guitar playing, but he has very little online presence.

  11. I am indeed honoured to be laying the foundations of this year's game; many thanks for your kind words, Chris.


    The late Harold Trousers, the Black Country industrial magnate who founded the world's first knee factory, once said to his wife "Way've bin all rowernd the Wraykin and ar still ent got mi scratchins". These words came towards the end of a spectacular shopping trip which saw them depart Halesowen and its environs to purchase said delicacy from the local butchers, taking in Shropshire, the Rhondda valley, Mandalay, and pockets of the as-yet undiscovered North Korea. This was no small feat considering they were travelling by tram.


    In honour of that momentous journey, this game will employ the Wrekin Rules, which can be simply expressed thus:

    • Yo con goo where yo want, speshly if yo con get bosti fittle
    • If it's black owver Bill's muthers, gerrout the overgrowernd stashuns *

    I will, as is customary, make the first move to




    Where I once observed closely as Mrs. Trellis was attacked by an oyster.


    Samantha will be keeping score, as ever, although she may have to leave early to see her gentleman friend, who she says hasn't taken her round the Wrekin in some time.


    * Translation: all usual moves are permitted, but preference is given to stations where it is possible to purchase fine comestibles in the near vicinity. If it's threatening rain, keep out of the overground tube stations.



    I've always thought concertina would be marvelous for the modal Middle Eastern or Indian/Pakistani stuff that is essentially melody lines. Would love to hear it in some Iranian classical music or Indian music.

    The challenge with Arabic music is that many of the maqqam scales involve quarter-tones and other microtonal intervals.


    I was singing with a Pakistani harmonium player the other day and the semi-classical songs we were working on sounded equal tempered to me, though I could be mistaken.



    Jody, agreed, what might be loosely termed the Indian classical traditions are generally equally tempered, especially when a harmonium is involved. There are in theory 22 steps to the scale but my understanding is that these are mostly expressed through inflections of bent strings, and the average sitar or sarod player thinks in terms of the same 12 chromatic steps that we do.


    Arabic music is rather different -- there are quarter tones all over the place. Here's an example in maqqam Jiharkah on this page, where the upper part of the scale has 3/4 tone intervals:



    Some time back I had the pleasure of playing with Iraqi oud player Khyam Allami (I was on tuba) and achieving the correct intonation was extremely problematic and involved all manner of crazy fingering. Those adjustments just aren't possible on box of course.

  13. I've always thought concertina would be marvelous for the modal Middle Eastern or Indian/Pakistani stuff that is essentially melody lines. Would love to hear it in some Iranian classical music or Indian music.


    The challenge with Arabic music is that many of the maqqam scales involve quarter-tones and other microtonal intervals.

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