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Posts posted by jileha

  1. I'm pretty convinced that "borrowing a finger" instead of chopping will greatly improve your flow in tunes. There are tunes, sometimes in Gm, where you need to borrow a finger to play the Bb and chopping would definitely not flow as much... but I guess we do what works for us. If you can manage to play as smoothly chopping those instead of borrowing fingers, good for you, but I couldn't manage on fast tunes.



    I haven't played that many tunes in g minor - do you have one or two example tunes so I could see what I would do? I assume that generally I would be able to do a lot with alternate buttons, eg. A and G on the G row. There might of course be tunes with a combination of Fnat, Bb plus A or G. But then there's also an A and a G available in the 3rd row... :P


    I play a tune in C maj (Dezi Donelly's, might be known under another name), where the tune shifts into Bb major in the B part.

    cGGA | (3_BcB dB fBdB | c_BGA (3BcB AB | Gc3 ecGc ...
    2211 |    323 23 2323  | 2333   323 13 | 12 ...

    No chopping, no crossing fingers.


    Sorry, forgot to explain my "code": The numbers indicate the rows, 1 = G row, 2 = C row, 3 = accidental row

  2. For the right hand: when you go from the C row RH B (index finger) to the 3rd row C# on the Wheatstone layout, you would use your middle finger for the C# to avoid chopping.


    Likewise, on the left hand, when you play from the C row G (with the first finger) to the A# to the A (as in G to G# to A), you would use the middle finger on the left hand for the G# (crossing over the first finger) and then use the first finger again for the A. This is how you would play the first measure of the Primrose Polka, but starting from F# to G to G# to A. Little finger, index finger, middle finger (crossing over the index finger) and then first finger again.



    Well, I wouldn't. :)

    Similar to chopping, I try to avoid crossing my fingers whenever possible. Particularly with faster tunes, with "finger acrobatics" like this it can happen much easier (at least to me) that a finger slips off the button. I also think it takes much more time than using alternate buttons with fingers ready in their "home" position. There are situations with no practical alternative where I prefer chopping to "cross-fingering" as I can "chop" faster and more comfortable. But in the two note sequences you describe, neither chopping nor finger crossing is necessary.


    The B-C# sequence I always play with the LH B in the G row, using the "standard" index finger on the C# in the RH (Wheatstone layout).


    For your second example (F#-G-G#-A), I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual), then switch to the G row for the push G with the ring finger, index on push G# in 3rd row, back to the pull A in the G row with the ring finger (which I keep on that button for that sequence). This means you have to stretch your fingers a bit more, but I find this also more comfortable than your alternative with three fingers taking up the space of two.

  3. Nice!! Both playing and instrument! :)


    As usual, I'm playing twice as fast as I'd like, recording makes me nervous and I'm messing up a few times but it should give you a good idea of the instrument and sound anyway. I'm playing a few reels I've learned from a great clip on Youtube.




    You're not the only one suffering from that affliction! I've also noticed that sometimes, although I feel like I'm playing at a nice, relaxed tempo, when I listen to the recording, it's much faster than I intended it to be. I guess the only cure is to practice recording oneself and to play deliberately slow - then the outcome should be just right. ;)


    I particularly like the second tune. Do you have a name for it? Who played it in the youtube clip?

  4. It looks like it's going to be released on DVD in the US.


    I just checked on Netflix (online DVD rental service in the US).

    No release date of the DVD yet, though.

    Hi Jileha


    That page on Netflix has been there for a year. I think they do that with every title ever made in anticipation. :blink:



    Geesh, if you can't even trust your video store anymore... where's this world coming to? :o

  5. Thanks for posting this, Azalin! Simply wonderful!


    Wow! I've listened to lots of concertina playing and that recording had some really outstanding playing. Can't wait to get my hands on her CD. Now I just have to find it somewhere.


    Ross Schlabach


    Yep, no excuse to wait any longer. I must get her CD a.s.a.p.! :)

    The only source I know where to get it is Custy's (http://www.custysmusic.com/).


    Does anybody know of a source in the US?

  6. I'll report on my order in this thread.Thanks to all of you for good advice and illuminating points.




    Please do. Please include any info regarding current pricing (the online price list might be outdated) and waiting times as well as any other information that might be helpful for my own decision in the near future. You can also pm me, if you prefer. :)

  7. I've been mulling over the same problem for a while.


    I'm playing (or rather: trying to play) in the style of Micheal O Raghallaigh, who's playing a 38b Suttner. I've "copied" some of his versions pretty closely and I've noticed here and there that he makes use of additional buttons. Eg. the push f# on the right hand side allows him to hold a base note in one tune, or the extra RH d allows some other variations - little things like that. However, the great thing about the concertina is that there are so many alternative ways of doing things. So, although I'm using a 30b Wheatstone layout vs. his 38b Jeffries layout, I've (so far) always found alternatives which don't take away too much from the overall effect of Micheal's version (it's anyways better to develop your own approach, so that's good ;) ).


    I've heard from some other players of 38b concertinas that they hardly ever make use of the extra buttons.


    BUT I haven't been playing that long, so I can't really be sure that 4 years down the road, when my (at this point not even ordered) concertina will be ready, I won't be missing exactly those keys. It's difficult for relative beginners whose style is still emerging to imagine their playing skills and needs so far ahead in the future.


    Don't you have the option to finalize your dream concertina right before Juergen actually begins building it? Maybe you can leave this decision open until that point?


    At this point, I'm leaning towards a 30b, maybe with some customization in the RH accidental row (I'd maybe like to add an extra d there somewhere), or the 32b model (no layout available for that one on the website, but that might be an option).

    Apart from the added weight, one concern for me is also that the additional buttons are added inside in the index finger row, so that your hand has to shift further towards the outside to play the regular buttons. Particularly in the left hand, this would require an even wider stretch for the pinky notes or chords.


    I definitely wouldn't decide on the 38b for the reason of making my life easier, ie. being able to avoid the D/E/F# triangle or to be able to play more notes in the same bellows direction. My main reason would be to have more options for ornamentation and chords.

  8. Cargo pants come in handy, too.


    Last time I flew, I had two instruments as carry-on, one as the instrument officially allowed by the airline, and one as my "personal item". I didn't want to risk taking an additional bag for my other belongings. So all my pockets were stuffed with essentials such as MD recorder, microphone, spare batteries, charger... I kept forgetting bits and pieces at the security check and was beeped back several times at each check. :lol:

    But nobody even cared and I could easily have taken another bag. They all let me even board early to have enough time and place to find a safe place for my instruments in the overhead bins.



    Only one guy at the gate tried to be a jerk and insisted that the little wheeled carrier I used for my accordion case counted as my "personal item" and that I couldn't take the box in addition to the fiddle and the carrier. But after I recommended him for his great sense of humor, he realized that he'd probably couldn't push that argument too far. If he had, I'd just given him the carrier as a very personal present. :P

  9. Anglo ... gives automatic phrasing - that's helpful.


    Errr what?! It no more gives you automatic phrasing than having your cat walk on your computer keyboard gives you automatic spelling...




    no, i agree with m3838's statement. most people play within a set system, which precludes a given fingering for each possible situation, which thus includes a bellows direction. the happenstance of bellows direction with each fingering allows for said "automatic" phrasing.


    there are different ways of accomplishing this, of course. but the fact is that many if not most players have a default fingering they refer to in certain situations, which precludes a bellows directions. in the row players, for example, have an in-and-out characteristic to their playing, which unifies a lot of concertina playing. across the row style playing can have more varied-sounding phrases, which are more complex and interesting.


    the automaticity comes into play in that players do not usually change things up "for the hell of it." that is to say, if you are going to play the notes ...D|AGA B..... most players will always play the AGA the same way*, maintaining consistency with his or her self in such a situation. on an EC or DC, you will have to choose whether or not you change bellows directions and where; an anglo player will almost always change bellows direction the same way in such a situation. though, of course... each anglo player may have a different "automatic" phrasing for that situation, i have not found an anglo player yet that doesnt have heuristical solutions that they default to for fingering patterns. some players do have more complicated ones, or are not explicitly aware of what their tendencies will be, but give me a tune book's worth of a player's fingering, and i can bet you there are patterns which are automatically generated by ways he or she have solved fingering problems.


    you do not have to default to these patterns, but i find that most players do most of the time. i myself do sometimes change the fingering of some notes "just for the hell of it" (independent of a chord) to mimick some phrasing ideal. in the bucks of oranmore there are parts where i finger the same sequence of notes differently on each repeat** to reflect how matt malloy changes the phrases. i know john williams is an advocate for teaching multiple fingering solutions, but i am not sure of in his playing if he varies his fingering during repeats of phrases in the same tune, or just prefers to learn all solutions and pick the best one.





    *provided they are using the same B and D in a similar sequence of notes

    **in the fifth part of the tune, the sequence of notes AdFd occurs 6 times. i finger it one of two ways: 1.) A third finger, both d's on push. 2.) A first finger, first d on pull, second d on the push. i do not make this decision based on fingering, as the situation each set of notes occurs is the same--all 6 times, the A is proceeded and followed by d. i used to do #1 for the beginning of the phrase, and when the entire phrase repeats. the other 4 times i did #2. now i vary it up, and do things like "2, 1, 1; 1, 2, 1." this is an example of NOT using an automatic fingering, which is actually unintuitive on the anglo concertina. again, keep in mind that every player has different automatic fingernig.



    ... and what does that have to do with phrasing? In particular with "automatic phrasing"?

    Phrases are not delimited by bellows changes. Phrasing does not depend on specific fingering, either, but is an independent means of expressing your musical interpretation of a melody. You should be able to phrase the same melody played with exactly the same fingering and bellows changes in many different ways. Or use identical phrasing with different fingering and bellows direction. Otherwise, we Anglo players would be the slave of our instrument, not its master. That doesn't mean that you can't use fingering/bellows changes to support your phrasing, but these are not its defining features. And it's definitely not automatic.


    "Automatic rhythm" I might have less problems to accept (particularly when compared to the EC), but also with restrictions.

  10. i think it is the issue. any one of us here on these forums who play the anglo could play a chromatic scale as good as that guy did. but none of us can play something like this:


    if anyone wants a less tasteful example, enjoy:


    I see your "Rafael Mendez" and raise you one "Arthur Rubinstein", who answered in an interview many years ago (therefore my quote is rather free): "Scales? Why would I practice scales? What a waste of time! If a piece has a scale in it, I practice the right scale right within that piece." <_<


    Actually, Mendez' Bumblebee made me cringe, just like the fiddle player I mentioned previously (what on earth was Rimsky-Korsakow thinking when he wrote that ditty?). Why would anybody want to be able to play like that? He ain't dazzling me with that! And, sorry, but "tasteful" was not exactly the term that came to my mind...


    Can you give examples of the "bad technique" of (Irish) concertina players? Are you referring to the clean, crisp cuts? Or maybe the perfectly executed crans? The dancing triplets? Or the smooth, unnoticeable changes of bellows direction? These are all part of the technique relevant for playing the concertina in a virtuoso (ie. accomplished, not dazzling) way. Actually, IMHO there is a good number of concertina players out there with excellent technique who could use a bit more musicality. Technique is far easier to learn than musicality.


    Each instrument and each musical genre has its own specific technique. Sure, you can practice your scales in A flat minor on the concertina or let the Bumblebee fly to your hearts content, and I'm sure in some way your playing Irish music on the concertina will benefit. But think of all the time spent practicing exotic scales when you could concentrate on more relevant things. I'd rather go with Arthur Rubinstein's approach. :)

  11. another way to say it was that m3838 and i were saying that there is no one who plays the concertina of any sort who is as technically proficient, masterful, and expressive as the top players on the violin. this is not derogatory on concertina players--i do not know of any irish fiddle players who play on 3 million dollar violins, nor should they. even the most virtuosic irish players have much less developed technique than the most virtuosic classical players. but yet i emphasize again that this is not necessarily an important distinction so far as meaningfulness and musicality is concerned. give me james kelly over itzhak perlman any day.


    Actually, one could argue the exact opposite:

    There are no top players of the classical violin who are as technically proficient, masterful and expressive when it comes to playing Irish traditional music. :rolleyes:


    Maybe you are not aware of the many discussions/complaints about classically trained violinists trying their hands at Irish traditional music and failing miserably - and many of them not even noticing anything wrong with their own playing. I have noticed that when I hear classical violinists play some Baroque violin music, I get really frustrated at how heavy and crude it sounds, always these long heavy bow strokes, each note as heavy as the one before it... I want to yell at them: Come on, guys, give it some swing, some lighter bowing, some lift!


    If I were to look at my reaction from your perspective, I would indeed come to the conclusion that there is no classical violinist playing with the same technical proficiency, virtuosity and expression as many Irish fiddlers. But no: These are two different musical genres or idioms, each with its own vocabulary, difficulties and techniques. I just happen to prefer one over the other.


    And, since Joshua Bell was mentioned: In a documentary on this brilliant violinist, he talked about venturing into other genres and how humbling his experience was when he first tried his hand (and bow) at bluegrass. He anticipated it to be easy, after all, the melodies are much less demanding than a Bach violin concerto, right? But he found out that there were other techniques and other aspects he had to learn before he could play with them without looking an utter fool. Many things that make up traditional styles would be considered as flaws by a classical violinist, but that doesn't make them easier to learn and master. It's just a different style requiring different techniques.



    this is not derogatory on concertina players--i do not know of any irish fiddle players who play on 3 million dollar violins, nor should they.


    I am also a bit puzzled by your apparent equation of "3 million dollar violin" with technical proficiency, expressiveness etc. And why shouldn't Irish fiddle players play expensive instruments? Don't they deserve it? Because they're inferior to classical violinists?

    The only likely reason is that the owners of Stradivaris are well aware of the fact that traditional musicians spend a lot of time playing in pubs with a fair risk of spilled beverages... way too risky to loan their instrument to Tommy Peoples and his ilk! :P

  12. I think a lot of this discussion depends on the definition/understanding of the term "virtuoso".


    See the following definition of the term:


    In Music in the Western World by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin, we find the following definition of virtuoso:[1]


    "...a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public."



    By the old definition, "a highly accomplished musician", I think we'd find an equal number of those in the world of concertina players than for other instruments. If you'd take all people of the world playing, for instance, the violin and "filter out" those one objectively could describe as highly accomplished musicians, I'm pretty sure you'd end up with comparable numbers. It's easy to forget of all those millions of people practicing many hours and never getting beyond a certain less accomplished standard.


    If we would go by the second definition of virtuoso as someone dazzling the public, I think many of us would agree that this is a concept very much remote from folk music/Irish traditional music - the standard fare of concertina music. This description makes me think of a fiddle player that used to come to our local session once in a while and "dazzle the public" - but made everybody else cringe. He gave a very flashy, virtuoso "performance", using incredibly long bows, lots of body movement etc. that made even simply tunes look extremely virtuoso. A truly virtuoso Irish fiddler would have gotten the very same effect (or rather, one that was more suitable to Irish traditional music) by playing very relaxed, with little bow and a flexible wrist. But this guy had the punters cheer, who would normally not even look up from their pints when really good musicians would do their stuff.


    IMO, the term virtuoso with the meaning of highly accomplished musician would also mean different things for different genres. For instance, Alasdair Fraser definitely qualifies as a highly accomplished virtuoso musician, who warms up for a concert featuring Scottish traditional music by playing a Vivaldi Concerto in a way that would put many classical violinists to shame. But does that automatically make him a virtuoso in Irish traditional music? Not by a long stick, as the fiddle styles are very different and Scottish fiddling is much more influenced by classical violin. That's why, although Alasdair Fraser has a beautiful tone, full command of all keys and all positions etc., I don't really enjoy listening to his playing as much as I'm enjoying some traditional Irish musician who maybe cannot play in A flat major and in anything but the first position, but knows how Irish traditional music is supposed to sound and is a virtuoso in his/her own right and genre. Somebody like Paddy Canny, for example, whose playing style didn't really display the stereotypical virtuoso elements and would probably cause people used to classical violin music to cover their ears due to his "intonation problems".


    A virtuoso on the Anglo concertina playing Irish music, for instance, would be someone who uses the "idiom" of that genre in a highly accomplished way. And for Irish traditional music, this genre does not include tunes in "weird" keys or speed at the cost of musical integrity in regard to rhythm, phrasing, expressiveness, etc. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a waste of time practicing those keys, but there are other things more important that will help you become an accomplished musician or virtuoso in that genre.


    Like in any genre or with any instrument, there are a few musicians at the very top who fall into the virtuoso category, and many more trying to be able to play a bit more like them - and also a good number believing that dazzling the public makes them a true virtuoso.

  13. In my previous life, my musical interest was a bit more varied, some rock, some classic, some Renaissance madrigals. But after I got started on Irish traditional music on the fiddle 9 years ago, my musical horizon has narrowed quite a bit. I pretty much exclusively listen to ITM nowadays. But there are just so many great tunes that are just waiting to be learned - and for that, you need to listen, listen, listen.


    Also, for people outside of Ireland it's definitely much more work to learn the "idiom" of ITM, and again, the best way to do it is by listening to a lot of Irish music.


    If I now happen to hear some Baroque violin music, particularly for solo violins, I noticed that I get really frustrated with the musicians. How can they play each note with the same weight and such heavy bow strokes? Don't they realize how boring and lifeless that sounds? Can't they add a bit more lift and swing? :lol:

  14. Unless your wife is really just looking for an excuse for not letting you have a go at her instruments, you could try to modify the length of straps indirectly by putting some foam over the handlebars. Here's a description:





    Otherwise, I can only agree with the Rochelle reviews. I started out on one and upgraded after 2 months to a Morse. The two instruments are worlds apart, but I was surprised how much one can actually do on the Rochelle. It's definitely a good instrument to test whether you and the concertina are made for each other.

    My main complaint was that I couldn't really reach the air button with my thumb and ended up using my index finger. :unsure:

  15. Thanks for that site! It's got some nice explanations of various ornaments and styles, with musical examples. It makes a nice distinction between long rolls and crans in actual musical notation. My German is a bit rusty, but I can get the gist of it.




    Except the stuff on ornamentation has been taken straight from a tin whistle site (check out the one the author quotes on his link page). That means that the described ornamentation is whistle ornamentaion and does not correspond at all to the ornamentation used in ITM concertina playing! You'd get better info on Anglo concertina ornamentation by searching this site or from some instructional DVD.

  16. Interesting discussion!


    Although I'm generally more of a nurture than nature person, there are certain characteristics in people that just seem so overwhelmingly "genetic". And they keep discovering genes for all kinds of things, eg. some gender-specific behavior (cf. http://www.innovations-report.de/html/beri...cht-44970.html).


    My friend's son has only met his biological dad once in his life for maybe one or two hours, but has developed some mannerisms that both my friend and I have only seen in his dad. The weirdest one is the propensity to make up extremely complex, long-winded analogies to prove a point, analogies that are usually way off target and nonsensical. The similarities between father and son are often uncanny. How can that be if father and son don't even know each other?


    However, it will never be possible to isolate all factors that come together to shape the individual person. Maybe, unknowingly, my friend reinforced the similar traits from an early age on, maybe even occasionally saying how much alike his father he is. Who knows. I recently saw a TV special on intelligent animals, including a dog who could do all kinds of calculations. Amazing, until they separated the dog from its owner. Although the owner never gave any perceivable signals to the dog, the dog was smart enough to pick up some involuntary clues that told it when to stop tapping its foot. Parents, teachers, peers etc. do of course send out similar unconscious or conscious signals to reinforce specific behavior. How could anybody ever analyze such a complex reward and punishment system?


    But the existence of such system doesn't force the conclusion either that there isn't any genetic base for some essential characteristics that determine the degree of "talent" present in a person. The only true test would be raising test-tube babies in complete isolation with exactly the same type of stimuli around.

  17. I am somewhat of the "black sheep" of my family in that I'm the only one playing music. I grew up in an environment practically void of musical input as my parents never even really listened to music on the radio. I don't know whether my parents owned any records at the time, and the TV programming didn't offer that much in regard to music either (1960's). My 4 years older brother had recorder class in elementary school, which he hated. He never played or practiced at home.

    As long as I can remember, I have always been driven by and driven to music. One of my earliest memories is of me sitting in what I later called my "music room" - a small unfurnished hallway with great acoustics - singing a children's song I learned in preschool (the only remotely musical input at that point in my life) without using words, just listening to the pure sound of my voice and the effects of that voice in the hallway. I don't know whether it really did sound that pure, but I still remember how I was completely enthralled by the sound and the feeling it created within me. I guess I was around three or four at that time.


    When I was five, I taught myself how to read music and play the recorded. There was nobody around who could have shown me or helped me with that - my brother and I were not on too good terms and he would have beaten me up had he known I was playing his recorder. Nobody encouraged me to do it, and as far as I remember nobody praised or reinforced me for it. Nobody really paid any attention to it, and I didn't expect any as I didn't think it was anything special.


    So, where did this urge, desire, drive come from? How could I muster the necessary attention span and perseverance to do it on my own?

    I find it hard not to attribute it largely to some kind of talent, predisposition or similar. External aspects might have contributed one way or the other, but I don't think they alone would have been strong enough. Except I don't have any grandparents or other relatives in my family whose genes I could have inherited... :unsure:

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