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Everything posted by jileha

  1. To add a bit more ITM specific info on the accented notes, or pulse: For jigs, you stress not only the first note of each 3/8 group, but also the third. This is a bit tricky at first, and as always the melody itself has always priority. That means certain tunes or certain phrases lend themselves better than others to add this third note accent. You can practice this maybe by whistling the tune and giving an extra huff of air on the stressed notes. Also playing it slowly and deliberately in the beginning. And of course, listening to recordings, maybe slowing them down so you can pay attention to that third note. Micheál Ó Raghallaigh is a player with a very nice pulse in whatever he plays. For reels, you also add a fair amount of back beat to it. I.e. in a sequence of 8 eigth notes, you end up playing an alternating pattern of stressed-unstressed notes, and the back beat gets a little extra umph. You can practice that not only by playing louder and softer, respectively, but also by lengthening and shortening the notes a bit. Once you play up to speed, the slight variation in length per se will not be noticeable, but you get a nice pulse. One little thing that Micheál Ó Raghallaigh often does to add a little additional umph on the back beat or the third note in jigs is using a cut on that note or a chord in the left hand. Also, don't be afraid to give a good extra umph on those notes. In the beginning, I was convinced that my pulse was almost too strong - until I recorded myself playing and I could barely hear it. I think half of that extra stress happens only in your head. That's good this way because you don't want to overpower the melody with your accented notes, but probably particularly in the beginning it doesn't hurt to overdo it a little bit. Once the pulse becomes second nature, you can control it and blend it together with the melody and vary it or break the pattern by stressing different notes here and there.
  2. I had three different kind of revelations with different instruments I picked up over the years. With the flute, it felt like I was pouring my soul into the music - just the way your breath seems to come from your deepest inside and comes out as sweet music. With the fiddle, it felt like the fiddle was alive, was music itself, and I was the instrument, a mere tool, to allow the music to come out. A little bit like the anecdote of the sculptor who simply liberates the shapes already inside the stone or wood he works with. With the fiddle, I definitely got the feeling that it was meant to be. Before picking up the fiddle, I even had a recurring dream about being at a friend's place, finding an old dusty - and marvelously perfectly tuned - violin (at that point in time, I didn't know yet that it was supposed to be a fiddle) on the top shelf of a closet. I would take it out and play it. Just like that. I had this dream repeatedly over I don't remember how many years, although I had never really liked violin music that much. The puzzle pieces came together when I decided to learn Irish fiddle, and the dream never occurred again. With the button accordion, it felt like I was sculpting the music three-dimensionally, because of the interaction with the bellows. I experienced these feelings at the very beginning of my learning these instruments, and after getting used to them, those feelings faded away. But at the time they occurred, they were quite overwhelming. Pretty strange... Since the concertina in many ways is so similar to the accordion, I didn't experience anything new, but it's still a match made in heaven! :-)
  3. One other thing is also to learn to be more economical with the air. Don't worry, that will most likely happen automatically over time as your bellows control improves. But you could already try to use smaller bellows movements, so you don't run out of air before you can change bellows directions. Maybe you're also playing fairly loud; try to play more softly. You'll use less air this way. The other thing, which will also develop over time, is the very quick use of the air button. Sometimes, there is just this one short note on which to "breathe". But with practice, this will be long enough. Ultimately, it all boils down to bellows control. Definitely learn to play across the rows. It gives you much more flexibility in tricky situations.
  4. For repeated As or Gs in either octave, Irish players often use the two doubled notes on the C AND G row. I.e. for the G, coming from the B flat, the first G would be the push G in the G row, the second G would be the push G in the C row. This works really well in this tune. You can use this technique also for some fast triplets: e.g. cA (3AAA or BG (3GGG as alternative to crans. For the repeated high Ds and low Fs I'd use a cut. Although only two repeated notes shouldn't be too big of a problem, might just need a bit more practice. I only use the B flat on the accidental row, maybe the high A before the B flat in the accidental row as well (4th into 5th measure of the B part). This tune is not yet in my repertoire; playing it at full speed will show which fingering works better. Thanks for bringing that tune back to my attention. It's such a great tune and it's been on my concertina to-do list for a while. Too many tunes and not enough time!
  5. Before buying any CDs, I would do an intensive study of youtube recordings of the many well-known concertina players. You'll find all the big names there. Find out which or whose style you like best and would be most motivated to learn. Then go and buy CDs from your three most favorite players to study their playing in more depth. Don't worry about faster players. There are plenty of tools to slow down their playing. Go with what excites and inspires you. Don't buy what others suggest to you - find out what you like. To the names already mentioned I would definitely add Edel Fox and Mícheál O Raghallaigh, and I'm sure others will come up with some more names to check out.
  6. I don't see the chords on concertina that much as backup. They often have a more rhythmic than "chordic" quality and work as some kind of rhythmic counterpoint to the rhythm of the backup player. Chords are not always added in the same manner or at the same beat. In one bar, you might have a chord on the back beat, the next bar the chord comes in on a different, maybe even unstressed beat and almost works as some kind of syncopation. This way, the music gets the typically ITM-ish floating linear quality (sorry, can't find any better words to express this at the moment). Fiddlers achieve this by changing bowing patterns, slurring into the beat, etc. Concertina players can use chords or octaving for similar purposes. Since you mention the "regulator" chords: do you also leave your regulator chords out when playing the pipes with a skilled backup player? I would hope not, as they add a very specific quality to the pipes and the overall music (also or particularly to a session) and allow certain ways of expressions unique to the pipes. The same is IMO true for chording, octaving or other typical concertina add-ons. In this regard, backup players should always back off IMNSHO.
  7. I guess because you seem to imply that a concertina player has to give way, so to speak, to everybody else ("if there is a backup guitar/bouzouki player, I leave out all my chords, or if I know the backup player and where he/she's going, I'll coordinate my playing to match their chords") and must not dare to interfere with a piper ("or even a piper who might have his/her own ideas of harmony using the regs"). If I start a set, I think everybody should try to adapt as much as possible to what I'm playing, be it accompanist, piper or player of other instruments. That, of course, implies that I'm not going way overboard in any way that I know would make it difficult for the others. But the choice of chords, I would think, is mine.
  8. Accompanists are called acconpanists because they accompany the melody instruments. Any decent accompanist should be able to identify the chords being played by a concertina or button accordion player, particularly as the chords available to them are not that many or that complex (usually just fifths) to confuse them. And this is what I've got from an All Ireland Concetina Champion when I asked him if/how to use chords in a session. If there are several regular melody players playing chords at a given session, they might have to coordinate to some extent, but again, the chording options for those (cocnertina, button accordion, pipes) are fairly limited, so I don't think there would be too many problems. If one would take your opinion to the extreme, fiddle players wouldn't be allowed to play double stops, because they might clash with accompanists or other melody players... In my opinion, chording on the concertina adds (as well as the use of the bases on button accordion) a lot of rhythmic umph to a session and variation to the tunes. And based on what I have heard from session members as well as listeners, I'm not alone with that opinion.
  9. It definitely has the "wow" effect. But IMHO, the musicality suffers. At that speed, for me, everything turns to mush. I'd rather have those tunes at half the speed with a nice rhythm going on. Maybe my ears are just too slow...
  10. [bold face mine] Phrasing and rhythm are two completely different things. I can understand the view of the concertina having some sort of "inherent" rhythm, but this is still something that a good musician needs to be able to control. With the good concertina players, there is hardly any visible movement when they very smoothly change the direction of the bellows; some don't seem to move the bellows at all. Therefore, there is no jerk in their playing, no stressed note/change in the air pressure superimposed by a change in bellows direction. Good Anglo playing is smooth, with stresses on exactly those notes the player wants them to be. The player is master of the instrument, not the other way round. If the Anglo really had a mechanical rhythm beyond the control of the player, any tune played on an Anglo would be characterized by a constantly varying stress dictated not by the tune but the change of bellows direction. That kind of music would sound pretty awful. Listen to players like Edel Fox, Mícheál O Raghallaigh and so many others and you can hear how much they are in control of the instrument. They play and phrase their tunes exactly the way they want and emphasize exactly the notes they want - with a steady pulse that is not depending on bellows changes but on bellows control. I definitely can't hear any limitation in their musical expression due to bellows changes or any kind of superimposed rhythm and there's definitely nothing mechanical about it.
  11. There seems to exist a misunderstanding in regards to phrasing. Fiddlers can play phrases that consist of more than one bow stroke; concertina players can play phrases that consist of more than one bellows direction. A player with a decent command of his/her instrument can shape phrases at his/her will, no matter what the instrument. Changes in bellows or bow directions, stressed notes, legato and staccato notes, short pauses - they all are means to shape phrases. Changes in bow/bellows direction can be used to signal the beginning or end of a phrase, but do not necessarily do so whenever they occur. Otherwise, Irish music played on an Anglo would mainly consist of 1, 2 and 3 note phrases! And what about the banjo? Only one-note "phrases"? Yikes!
  12. Mícheál O Raghallaigh - Providence Pádraig Rynne - Guidewires Aogan Lynch - Slide Caitlín Nic Gabhann - Crinniu Also, a great CD is Comb Your Hair and Curl it, with Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, Mícheál O Raghallaigh and Catherine McEvoy. You can try a YouTube search for the above bands.
  13. Sorry, but what gives you the idea that the EC has to be indistinguishable from the Anglo when playing ITM? I've never said it "has to be indistinguishable", but just that in most cases it will be clearly distinguishable. That is, since Hyp got interested in the concertina in ITM by listening to players such as Noel Hill, s/he might end up being disappointed because s/he won't be able to reproduce the typical sound/style/rhythm/ornamentation which attracted him/her in the first place. On the contrary, it is the many well-meant repetitions of advice to go with an English concertina that incorrectly imply that ITM on the English concertina is indistinguishable from ITM played on an Anglo. You should be able to emphasize or "de-emphasize" whatever individual note you want on either Anglo or English. A necessary change of bellows direction on the Anglo doesn't always coincide with a down beat but can occur at any place in the tune. It's the tune (or your interpretation thereof) that tells you which notes to emphasize and which not, not the instrument. So how does the oh-so-important-for-ITM Anglo "pulse and bounce" fit into this last paragraph? Or did you just contradict yourself? Jonathan Where do you see a contradiction? You can theoretically get the pulse and bounce on the English concertina, although almost all players that I've heard play ITM on the English don't. Maybe it's because the "convenience" of being able just to keep pulling or pushing in one direction until you run out of bellow folds is too tempting. From the Anglo perspective: Maybe because the Anglo player has to learn to implement bellows changes at odd places right from the start it is easier and more natural to learn to integrate the bellows into one's playing than with the English. Hyp just seemed under the impression that the Anglo provides some automatic mechanism for emphasizing down beats. But although pulse and bounce is very important, there are other elements of the Anglo style, particularly the ornamentation, crans, octaving, etc. My main point is: If you're attracted to a particular style played on a particular instrument, it doesn't make much sense to pick up a different variety of that instrument which most likely will not result in the style that attracted you in the first place. I also think that, if you have been playing ITM on other instruments for a while, playing ITM on EC might come easier as well since you can transfer many aspects to the new instrument. Starting out in ITM on an EC will most likely increase the difficulties. By now there have been some additional views regarding the difficulty of playing ITM convincingly on an EC, but I thought this pretty much unanimous support of the EC was just a bit misleading and might create the wrong expectations. Sure, it was pretty much a coincidence that the Anglo is nowadays the instrument of choice for ITM. But all the restrictions of the AC have contributed to its particular style. Sure, if you are really serious about playing ITM on concertina, you can play it on either English or Anlgo, no doubt, but if you are really serious about playing ITM in a particular style close to that of Noel Hill, Edel Fox, Micheal O Raghallaigh etc., you'd be better off with an Anglo. That's what Hyp has to find out and decide for him/herself. If you can read music you don't need to go to these workshops? Pardon me!? You seem to imply that playing ITM is just playing the notes of tunes commonly played in ITM. But you need more than just the notes, you need the style. And for the style, the Anglo is by default better suited because its peculiarities have shaped that style. And in order to learn that style, you need to be exposed as much as possible to that style by listening to recordings and, if possible, by instruction as in workshops. It's not a question of validity. EC is just as valid as AC, but if you're after a specific style than you should look more closely into that instrument that plays that specific style. Exactly. That's why I think the many voices in support of the EC might be just a tad misleading!
  14. If you're main and first interest is Irish traditional music, go with the Anglo. If you're main interest is playing jazz and other types of music, go with the English or Duet. Of course, it's possible to play ITM on an English concertina. But why would you invest in one instrument with the goal to emulate another one? Why not go with the second one in the first place? At any Irish concertina workshop (particularly in Ireland), you'd be the odd one out with an English and you'd be pretty much left to your own devices on particular technical issues. And although it is possible to play Irish traditional music on an English concertina, in most cases it still will sound like an English concertina - just compare the aforementioned Simone Thoumire's playing with that of well known players of the Anglo concertina such as Noel Hill, Edel Fox, Kate McNamara, Micheal O Raghallaigh, etc. A lot of the differences comes from the pulse and bounce, which is so important for ITM. Also, the Anglo concertina in ITM has its own set of ornamentation, which makes the Anglo playing very characteristic. If it's the Anglo concertina that attracted you to Irish traditional music, go with an Anglo. It will take you a while to familiarize yourself with the instrument anyways. Why not give the Anglo a good solid try to start with if you're seriously interested in playing Irish music? You should be able to emphasize or "de-emphasize" whatever individual note you want on either Anglo or English. A necessary change of bellows direction on the Anglo doesn't always coincide with a down beat but can occur at any place in the tune. It's the tune (or your interpretation thereof) that tells you which notes to emphasize and which not, not the instrument. As for jazz: You might not find all keys that accommodating on the Anglo, but a lot probably depends on individual tunes/melody lines. What might seem as limitations at first, however, might well turn into your own jazz style. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on C# major scales; after all, you can always transpose tunes! And if you later find the Anglo completely incompatible with your jazz ambitions, you can look into English or Duet concertinas as an additional instrument, for I am sure you won't be willing to part with your Anglo ever.
  15. Maybe you should wait for the Apple tablet rumored to be released in March... Plenty of space for all the buttons we need! Think of all the possibilities!
  16. Thanks for this fast upgrade, Michael! The skins are beautiful, and the option to change pull direction is great. It really does make a difference for lefties. Now I just have to upgrade my iPod.
  17. Pretty! I've had a chance to try the app for a while. Nice, although I didn't get that easily used to it as Ashkettle. I'm getting my pushes and pulls mixed up. So now I'm really curious whether the option to change the direction will really make a difference, or I'm just hopeless! I'll let you know when I find out. Is there a particular reason you placed the push/pull indicator and the info and options interface at the bottom of the screen? The way it is now, left and right hand are not aligned, but the right hand needs to be positioned lower. This might also just be a question of getting used to it, but I found my self missing buttons more easily (obviously, there is also more space to go astray on the right side). But if one holds the iPhone relaxed in the playing position, the fingers of the right hand tend to go parallel to those of the left, ie. they'd miss the buttons... I'm not sure I'm making that much sense, back to the egg nogg!
  18. Not true -- I'm running it now on my iPod Touch, sans microphone. It does require a 2nd generation Touch, as stated on the apps store page ... perhaps you have an older one? I guess I must have. I was always under the impression it was a 2nd Gen. Let's see, who do I know with an iPhone?
  19. Oh no! This App is incomaptible with this iPod Touch This app requires a microphone. As there is no audio input, this must be some mistake (in the code?), I hope...
  20. Now that I re-read your comment, no you don't tilt it forward and back, i.e. away and toward you, you tilt it to the left or right by lowering one hand and/or raising the other. A tilt down on the right is a bellows pull, a tilt down on the left is a bellows push... The threshold for the switch over point can be set from very wide to extremely sensitive. Thanks for clarifying that, it wasn't quite clear in the videos. But I would still associate the upward movement of the hand with the push, the downward movement with the pull, ie. the right hand does the push/pull in your version. But maybe it's just me being difficult... it usually is...
  21. Can't wait to get my hands on it, Michael. The new skins looks great! Since you're already working on an upgrade... The pull/push direction on the current version makes sense if you're using your right hand to work the bellows on your real concertina: push - you tilt the right side of the iPhone/Touch forward, pull - you tilt it backwards. However, I'm using my left hand and I could imagine that the current setup might be a bit counter-intuitive for "lefties". Do you think the pull/push direction could be made a user option?
  22. Thanks for the recording, David. This is definitely a tune for a good finger workout, no matter what approach! That's the good thing in Irish music; there are so many techniques that work for one musician but not for the other, but they are equally acceptable as long as the end result sounds good. You're more used to cross-fingering, so it works for you; I'm used to playing alternate notes in the C row, so it works better for me (as you might have guessed I'm not using Noel Hill's system). One comment regarding "using the G/A/B on the G row isn't advised": Maybe the chromatic steps of this tune fall a bit out of the ordinary and warrant a less strict interpretation of Noel Hill's advise. It would be really interesting to find out what he'd actually use on such a sequence.
  23. Yes, please post your version. Regarding the fingering, generalizations are always tricky because a lot depends on the notes played before and after a particular sequence.
  24. I have to apologize! I was playing air concertina... Of course, it's the F# with the little finger. A lot of the personal choice of fingering depends of course also on the type of ornamentation used.
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