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eskin

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  1. I played Anglo concertina for about 6.5 hours straight in a session this past Saturday and the biggest issue I had was that the tips of my fingers on my left hand were starting to get sore at about hour 6. Playing for long periods of time requires absolute attention to having proper ergonomics in the hold and motion of the instrument. Any unnecessary tension will at a minimum negatively effect your playing, and at worst ultimately result in injury in the form of tendonitis, neck and shoulder problems, or other issues. One suggestion that I think many players may benefit from, assuming you're a left side anchor player like myself, is to place a small 10" square of leather or suede ($5 at Michael's craft stores in the USA) on your left thigh on which to anchor the instrument. This can reduce the amount of energy you need in your left arm to stabilize the instrument on the push allowing you to relax your left upper arm and shoulder more. One other benefit is that you don't have to dig the corner or edge of the instrument into your leg as much, particularly if you are wearing pants that are made of a slippery fabric (or shorts!), the leather just keeps the corner or edge from slipping. I handed out a pile of these years ago at one of Noel's West Coast workshops, they were quite popular. I always keep one in my concertina case.
  2. It was one of those moments when I realized that everyone was going to be playing and knew the tune quite well, so I scrambled to setup a quick video capture using the front facing camera on my phone. We played for nearly 6 and a half hours on Saturday!
  3. On April 30, 2022, I visited the session at the Penny Whistle Pub in Houston, TX. In the video I'm playing my Wally Carroll Noel Hill model C/G Anglo Concertina, along with Michael Allen on banjo, Armand Barbe on guitar, and Kendall Rodgers on accordion.
  4. I'd totally forgotten about the concertina in "Prometheus", thanks for the reminder! G*d, that was a horrible movie, other than the opening and the "Engineer" scenes, which were amazing. The rest, just tentacles.
  5. Have a spare $8200 to answer the question? Private company does zero-G “Vomit Comet” flights: https://www.gozerog.com Or maybe take it on one of those “slingshot” rides at the fair. 🙂 My guess is it would play exactly the same as in normal gravity. I was surprised to learn that the ISS maintains the same 14.7 psi air pressure and oxygen/nitrogen ratios as sea level on Earth. It would have made a big difference in pitch if it had been much different as has been the case on previous NASA space missions. For example, Apollo 11 had 100% oxygen at 5 PSI.
  6. I've never had any issues taking mine on flights other than watching the TSA folks often get confused by it on the X-ray. I think it is the perfect travel instrument, fits underneath the seat with no issues. I do agree with the recommendation to place it on the X-ray belt so that the bellows are front to back, not stacked vertically because it does look a lot like a fragmentation explosive otherwise. I have been sent (randomly, not sure) to TSA secondary inspection a few times and had it swabbed and checked for explosive residues. I'm actually worried about that because the inside of the concertina (or accordion) will pick up whatever is in the air from where you play. Let's say farmer Bob was in the pub the same night as your session right after filling his truck with diesel fuel and spreading some ammonium nitrate fertilizer on his corn crop. In addition, if they do want to open the case to inspect it, be sure to speak up and give very specific instructions on how to open the case since they will not let you touch it once they have begun the inspection. The last thing you want is the nice officer to dump your precious instrument on the hard airport floor.
  7. I play in the traditional Irish style, originally learned to play from Noel Hill, and as per his teaching use a left light inner thigh instrument corner anchor. I also started many years ago using a 8" square leather patch on my left thigh to provide further resistance to any instrument sliding on smooth material like some kinds of nice denim. The instrument is rock-stable in this configuration and allows me to reduce having to use any energy or attention to my left arm to stabilize the instrument on the push and provides some additional instrument left side motion resistance on the draw. It just doesn't move around at all with minimal effort from the left arm. The leather is also great for playing when you are wearing shorts to avoid bruising from the corner digging into your thigh. Left hand strap is a bit looser than my right, about 1/2" clearance from the bar.
  8. Here's the ABC if someone wants to play with it: X: 1 T: Muireann's (Niall Vallely) Z: Transcription: Michael Eskin R: jig M: 6/8 L: 1/8 K: Bmin |:dBA {d}BAB|def {f}ede|{e}f2e {ef}ede|faf ea/f/e| dBA BAB|def {f}ede|fba fed|{e}f2e {f}edB:| |:BAB {d}e3|{d}BAB {a}fef|Bba fed|{e}f2e {f}edB| BAB {d}e2B|{d}BAB f3|baf a2b|fa/f/e {f}edB:| |:BAF {G}E2G|{A}FDE FDE|FAA ABB|Bdd {f}edB| {d}BAF {G}E2G|{A}FDE FDE|FAB def|1 ff/e/d {f}edB:|2 ff/e/d efg|| |:{a}fef b3/2b/b|{a}fef a3/2a/a|fba fed|{e}f2e {ef}ede| fef b2f|f{f}ef a2(3e/f/a/|baf a2b|1 f/g/fe {ef}ede:|2 f/g/fe {f}edB|]
  9. My best guess transcription of some of what Niall Vallely is doing on his recording of "Muireann's" from:
  10. This was a huge driving force behind my development of concertina and accordion emulation apps.
  11. Nice to see some innovation with the instrument even if it's not something I'd personally be interested in.
  12. My experience of the Suttner and Jeffries instruments I've played were that the Suttners were like a fine European sportscar, and the Jeffries were like a fine British locomotive. 🙂 Both are wonderful instruments, but nothing else I've played has that characteristic Jeffries honk. My only issue has been all the Jeffries I've played have been a bit on the heavy side, but I don't know if that's true of all of them.
  13. I don't think so, but one could absolutely write some Javacript code to do low-latency audio sample playing and mixing locally entirely in the browser using the Web Audio API I mentioned above and per-note audio samples (which is what I use for my concertina apps). This is exactly what I would do if I were to port one of my apps from native iOS to a web app. If super low-latency isn't a requirement, you could easily use simple HTML <audio> tags to play locally hosted sounds when a button or other element is tapped.
  14. You don’t need Java to run local web apps offline. You just need for the app to not include or refer to any resources not on the local machine.
  15. Web apps can be easily turned into standalone desktop applications using a number of technologies. The company I work for uses a freely available technology called “Electron”, which essentially uses Node.js and an embedded Chromium browser (essentially Chrome) combined with your web app code (HTML + CSS + JavaScript) to create Windows or Mac (but not mobile) installable native apps: https://www.electronjs.org Similarly, on mobile, there are very easy ways to build an native app that creates a web view and then inject either remote or local web content. I did that for the WARBL wind controller iOS app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/warbl-configuration-tool/id1445377915 which wraps: https://warbl.xyz/configure.html My own concertina-related mobile apps for iOS and Android are not web-based, they are native and on iOS use the AVAudioEngine APIs for low latency audio playback, effects, and mixing: http://appcordions.com/concertinas Unfortunately, Android doesn’t provide a ubiquitous low latency audio graph API like AVAudioEngine, which is why I generally promote my iOS apps over the Android versions. I just can’t do on Android what I’m able to easily do on iOS, for example, there is no reverb available on my Android apps. Recently I started experimenting with the newer low latency Web Audio API, available in essentially all modern browsers, even on mobile. It appears that it could be possible for me to port some of my native mobile apps to web apps using this API for the sound: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Web_Audio_API Of course, the question would be how to monetize and protect from piracy any web apps I’d want to sell rather than give away. It’s far easier to just let Apple/Google solve with all that for me via their App Store/Google Play stores using native mobile apps.
  16. I have some great holiday news for John Whelan fans! John has agreed to let me make all 36 of the available "Taking Time" recordings from 2020-2021, over 70 hours of tunes, available for free download. I've added them all to the "Taking Time" set list and recording archive site at: http://michaeleskin.com/johnwhelan.html You can download the entire set of recordings in two .zip archives or the individual session recordings. There is also a PDF available with all the setlists from the sessions. If you enjoy these recordings, or find them useful, please consider donating to help support John's future projects using one of his online tip jars on the page.
  17. Yes, the device gyroscope is used to track the tilting on my iPad apps. You can calibrate the center point as well as set the amount of tilt required to trigger a direction change. There are two versions of this app, one is a standalone version that has my concertina samples built-in, the other is a MIDI controller that can be used to send MIDI messages to other apps. I think it's absolute fantastic that there is a lot of activity on building MIDI concertina controllers. I played a Wakker MIDI Anglo for a couple of years, an absolutely fantastic wireless instrument, but had some issues with the switching system. It had one wire of each button switch as the brass button lever, and the other as an L-shaped post next to the lever that would make contact when the button was pressed. The problem I experienced was that over time, since only the post was gold plated, corrosion would build up on the lever and you'd get switch bounce. The solution was to open up the instrument every few weeks (if you didn't play it every day) and clean all the levers with a pencil eraser. That was fine, but the instrument was built with standard machine screws going directly into the wood to hold the sides on. Repeatedly opening and closing the instrument eventually would risk strip out the screw holes in the wood. I think the same design with either magnetic switches and a more robust side attachment system that made it easier to maintain, perhaps with threaded insets instead of the screws going directly into the wood would have been the ultimate MIDI Anglo concertina. I really enjoyed it while I had it, it was fast, very responsive, and the wireless range was impressive. I ended up trading it for my late 18th century Lachenal Bb/F (it is the basis for the background image in the iPad app) to a guy who needed a silent instrument he could play in headphones because his dogs went absolutely crazy every time he practiced.
  18. Three dimensional instruments are so 1857. 🙂 Actually, if you're building MIDI controller instruments, my "Celtic Sounds" MIDI sound module app for iPhone and iPad has the same exact samples as my iPad apps. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/celtic-sounds-midi-module/id1403026032?ls=1
  19. Hi Paul, unfortunately, I don't record the sessions, it's already challenging enough for players without knowing that their playing is being recorded. Glad to hear you've got a local virtual session going as well!
  20. Invitation to join The Ould Sod Virtual Session on Zoom Since March 2020, throughout the pandemic shutdowns, when there were no pub sessions, I’ve been hosting a weekly session on Zoom. You can learn more about it here: http://michaeleskin.com/session It’s an open session held weekly, the latest Zoom link and times for the events are on the website. In the session we play solo sets and we also have "chained sets" where through Zoom muting/unmuting we can chain together several players playing, for example, a set of jigs or reels. We might string together 7 or 8 players in a row, each playing one jig or reel three times. We also do what we have come to call "Celtic Karaoke" (I know, I know, stupid name) where individual players who have the capability, mix in recorded tracks with their solo performances. Sometimes its nice to play along with a larger ensemble, and several of us have curated tracks that really work nicely for this setting. Of course, since it’s Zoom, you’re listening to only one player at a time, but the chained sets really have a lot of the energy of a real session. Many of the regulars have optimized their audio setups to provide extremely high quality, stereo audio, on Zoom. You might be surprised as to the quality of the audio you will hear. Now that real sessions are opening back up, many of the "lifeboat" sessions on Zoom that were running during the pandemic lockdowns are starting to either shut down or reduce their frequency. As I expected, we’ve also had a decrease in the number of players for my session as well. I’m hoping I might be able to recruit a few more strong players from here to at least give it a try. I intend to continue these weekly Zoom sessions for as long as I have enough participation to make it fun for everyone. Anyone is welcome to join in to either participate in leading sets, being part of chain sets, or just spend the whole night listening. You are most welcome to participate in what every way you enjoy. We can accomodate up to 100 participants, and we’ve never had more than about 35, so plenty of room for listen-only players. Again, please visit: http://michaeleskin.com/session for the current schedule and Zoom meeting link. As of July 3, 2021, the session is every Thursdays from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Pacific time (9:00 PM - 11:00 PM Eastern time). I hope some of you will consider joining us for tunes. Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer about the events. Thank you, Michael
  21. The Ould Sod Virtual Session happening again on Zoom tonight, Tuesday, Aug 11th starting at 6 PM Pacific time! https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6193681854?pwd=eXd3L2ZEeWNnMDBZYVI0RkJ2c3Vudz09 Meeting ID: 619 368 1854 Password: session
  22. The Ould Sod Virtual Session happening again on Zoom tonight, Tuesday, Aug 4th starting at 6 PM Pacific time! https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6193681854?pwd=eXd3L2ZEeWNnMDBZYVI0RkJ2c3Vudz09 Meeting ID: 619 368 1854 Password: session
  23. Yes, if you use the same fingerings on a Bb/F on an instrument with the same relative pitch layout as a 3-row C/G as far as the third row, you're just effectively playing the tune down one tone. So if you are playing a tune that would be in the key of G on a C/G what you would hear is the same tune in the key of F. I have a Lachenal Bb/F that use for playing with flat sets of Uilleann pipes tuned in C (standard pitch would be D) and I just play exactly as I would on my C/G. Similarly, I have an A/E for playing with flat sets of Uilleann pipes tuned in B.
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