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Nick Oliver

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Everything posted by Nick Oliver

  1. I have Dipper no 35, a nice wooden inlay 30 button Anglo, and Alistair Anderson reckoned that it was the best Dipper he had seen up till then. It was made in 1980, and is very nice to play, with a very nice tone for Morris and folk stuff, and is still my favourite instrument. I doubt if anything earlier even exists in G/D, let alone is that good. It is NOT for sale! My avatar is a sketch of me playing it. Nick Oliver
  2. Colin Dipper has made some 48 key English double action basses, essentially for the West Country Concertinas group at Ruishton, Taunton, and he has mended my single action Wheatstone C bass. His son John (the folk fiddle man!) seems to be taking the business over now at Heytesbury, Wilts. I don't know whether anybody has made any with double reed pans (ie. two at each end, one with the big bass reeds, and lots of wooden plumbing, which reduces the size a bit. I don't know whether that needs to be single action either.) There is a tremendous variety in bass concertinas - they were probably all made to custom specs.
  3. (Thread drift!) Yes - we have privately made recordings,but not for sale, only for participants - about 36 instruments/players, nearly all English, one or two Anglos, maybe a couple of McCann duets. Mainly Brass band repertoire - marches like Slaidburn and Florentiner, but there is a record which we (24 of us) made for sale in about 2009, which is still available - called Marches and Tunes by Hawkwood Concertina Band. The website for it seems to have gone, but there are still some about. Google will find some contacts. Nick
  4. Here are some basses lined up at Hawkwood in 2014 - 11 instruments visible - all wooden ends, all English layout. Some go down to the C two octaves below middle C, some to the G below that (is that a contra-bass?). total range varies a lot, from about 2 or 2 1/2 octaves to 4 octaves. Most are single action but some, including at least one 48 key G Bass, are double action. All are are heavy, some very. The one consistent thing about basses is they are nearly all different from each other! This must be the largest known gathering of basses! I Think that there were twelve there that weekend. On David's instrument the F one and a half octaves below middle C would make that a slightly extended baritone, and if the fingering layout is not two octaves below that of a treble but the same, it is what I know as a baritone-treble. Looking at David's picture, though, it looks to be a duet, perhaps a Hayden, and they usually don't seem to be tuned down, just extended as far as required. Nick
  5. English players in the concertina band world usually read treble clef music on both baritone and bass instruments. There are two or three of us who read bass clef on basses. Downward extended trebles - ie. baritone trebles and bass trebles - (which can go down another octave or more) are often played from bass clef for bass or baritone parts . Anglo players would usually read treble clef on any size instrument as well - I certainly would. Nick
  6. Very Interesting Pictures. One point is that Bill has seen a couple of Bass Anglos (which are as rare as hen's teeth - I have only seen three in 50 odd years), but the pictures, and most others that I have seen of the Old Bands show them playing English system instruments. I have seen references to early bands around 1900 changing from Anglos (which lots of recruits would already have been able to play) to English. The Mexborough Band certainly played the English system at the end (which was in the 1970's). Nick Oliver.
  7. I once saw a very reasonable suggestion that Tooting Bec is actually some sort of London Transport 'in' joke that they put on buses to confuse tourists, and not a real place at all, but then my wife got a job at St. Georges Hospital, Tooting. . . . She commuted from Ruislip Gardens (We grew Horseradish in the garden (If you've got it you have no choice - it doesn't go away!)) Nick
  8. Looks nice! But seems to be a strange range - Middle C up for 2 1/2 octaves to G. Or is it a "Tenor/Baritone" - tenor range, baritone tuning? Nick
  9. As we are below the Northern Line, I shall try Rayners Lane I am, of course, an Anglo player, so referrig tn David's initial definition, the next move will need to use a reversal, for which, I think, Rayners Lane is well equipped. Nick Oliver
  10. Yes, Lachenal 2000 is mine and also looking for a good home. & Hi Stuart - how's tricks Nick
  11. Getting dangerously close to water, but to get to Craven Cottage, it must be - Putney Bridge
  12. The Quartet record was not as good as the original (IMHO), which was all the one player multi-tracking himself (as it were|). It started a bit of a Concertina Band Revival in the 80's and 90's which is still happening. If you want to play this stuff (and apparently all the Mexborough Band's music was parts cut out of Brass Band Magazines - so it's Brass Band repertoire) sign up for the concertina band sessions at Concertinas at Witney, or go to Kilve or Squeeze-East at Stamford, or some of the local groups, like West Midlands Concertinas at Stourbridge, or Yorkshire Concertinas (Huddersfield or Otley, I think). You need to be able to sight-read moderately well, and it's mostly English system, but there are one or two anglos about (me for one). We use Basses and Baritones as well as trebles, and you can usually borrow these if you don't have one (and basses are like hen's teeth). Most of the arrangements are new, but we do use the Mexborough arrangement of Lady Florence, a polka by J. Ord Hume. The ICA should have details of all these events and groups. Nick Oliver
  13. I would call it a Baritone-Treble - Baritone range and treble fingering. A friend of mine has an instrument with the same layout and reads music off the bass clef onto the bottom octave or so of it, so in fact he usually plays bass parts on it. Not an Aeola, though, and not such a nice instrument. Nick Oliver
  14. Sandra Kerr - English, mostly for song accompaniment
  15. We had an English Ceilidh band based in Worcestershire, so we found a list of old cider apple varieties, and chose 'Harry Master's Jersey'. A later incarnation, still led by my wife Ann, was called 'Ragtime Annie', but Ann got used to it after a while! Nick
  16. Barnwood Manor House is very much still there and is an old peoples' day centre. We (that is Jenny Cox's Bristol Concertina Group) played there for the old folk a few weeks ago and were very well received. They know all about Charles Wheatstone and there is a room with an old Victorian fireplace dating back to that time. The houses in the grounds are sheltered accommodation associated with the day centre (and was where our audience came from). We didn't find the pub! Nick Oliver
  17. Perhaps. The Lost Chord is a song composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1877 at the bedside of his brother Fred during Fred's last illness. Was that in your repertoire, Nick? Chris Yes - Sullivan's Lost Chord arranged for Concertina Band is in the can now, along with another fifteen tracks, some old Concertina band standards, some new arrangements, one newly composed and previously unpublished piece, and it went very, very well. I don't think that anything like this has been recorded using modern recording techniques before, and the sound of four bass concertinas at full belt in a march like 'Slaidburn' is amazing! Rob Harbron did the recording and producing and he played us that before mixing. This CD is going to be something different! Nick
  18. We've all been practicing hard, and now at lunchtime we're off down the M5, three in the car, seven concertinas in the boot (two Anglos, two trebles, two baritones and a bass) and a bottle of wine or two for the evenings! The weather forecast looks good so we may get a chance for a walk in the woods in the spring (we are usually here in January). By Thursday evening it should all be done bar the final tidying up, so we are going out to play skittles! Will we find the Lost Chord? Nick
  19. The line-up of instruments will include probably half a dozen basses, of which a couple will go down to the G three ledger lines below the bass clef stave (that is two and half octaves below middle C) and the rest are the usual C basses (down to two octaves below middle C), quite a few baritones, and a couple of piccolos. All are English layout except for my trebles - I shall be using a Dipper C/G anglo for most of my treble parts, and a Dipper G/D anglo for one or two pieces. I also have been allocated several bass parts which I shall do on an English 56 Button single action C Bass. ( I have become 'bilingual' since I got the bass, but I confuse the hell out of treble EC players because I read bass clef onto it rather than treble clef transposed down two octaves! This has turned out to be very useful outside pure concertina groups - I play it in the Moseley Village Band alongside cello, trombone and bass clarinet.) This is all derived from the regular January Hawkwood weekends, which recently have seen about 3 anglo players and a couple of McCann duets as well as the array of ECs listed above. We have yet to see a contra-bass at Hawkwood (Three octaves down from a treble), in fact I have never seen one at all, but I live in hope! I gather that the CDs will be available from the people involved, particularly Jenny Cox, and probably Dave Townsend, and possibly from Rob Harbron who is doing the recording and production for us. The music varies from about 5 to about ten parts - there are twenty two players expected - and is mostly what can loosely be described as Brass Band repertoire. Now - back to practicing! Nick
  20. A Baritone Treble is tuned as a treble but is extended down another octave to about the G one and a half octaves below middle C, but a Baritone is tuned an octave lower than a treble so is normally played as a transposing instrument from the treble clef. I've seen one or two Baritone trebles, but they were not very impressive - a bit wheezy and slow, and with 64 buttons, heavy. There seem to be more real Baritones about - quite a few people in the concertina band world have a baritone as well as a treble, and many are very nice instruments, often 56 key (so extended up), and nicely decorated. (Although Chris Algar had none at all at Witney this year - a friend of mine was looking for one). I have a theory that in the past people played baritones as solo instruments reading directly on to the baritone, and thus played trebles as transposing instruments - up an octave, which may explain the popularity then of the extended trebles (up from the normal 48 to 56 buttons in the dog-whistle direction). For real rarity try the bass - (tuned two octaves below the treble) - mostly missing the bottom 6 buttons, so the bottom note is the C two octaves below middle C, two ledger lines below the bass clef - although there seems to be about two dozen or more in captivity at the moment, mostly single action. There are a few which go down to the G - this is hen's teeth country! and these are sometimes called contra-basses. Are there any real contra-basses? - by which I mean instruments tuned three octaves below a treble. Is this what Bernard Wrigley plays? I've never seen one. Nick Oliver
  21. I have a C/G Dipper no. 200. I mentioned it to Colin in about 1989, when I guess he allocated the number and a page in his notebook, but I didn't even specify it for another 3 or 4 years, and then, what with some nice inlay work, an air lever rather than a button, and whatever, I got it in 2000. I also have a G/D, No 35 dated 1981, also with wood inlay work and an air lever. I gather from a conversation with Colin some years ago that he essentially allocated numbers to orders, and then it may never be made at all, or on the other hand if the spec gets changed too late he may make another with the same number. He reckoned that there was one number which cna be found on three different instruments! Nick Oliver
  22. Not free but much cheaper than Sibelius is Noteworthy. I've used it for years. (No ABC interface as far as I know, but midi)
  23. At a Brian Peters workshop last year he was suggesting using a scale of G starting on the highest draw G on the left accidental row, then that press A (same button) then rh C row BCDE, then rh G row F# G. This gives a nice bouncy bellows reversal between each note, and a nice meaty G major chord (on the C row lh) on the draw, as well as C major (press) in some useful places. You can also dodge back to D major draw chords, by using some draw alternatives - lo - the three chord trick! I wish I could do this consistently, though. I started simply with Shepherds Hey, which works nicely.
  24. Yes, Colin insisted on doing personalised fretwork (Canal narrowboat roses and castles theme) and decorative inlay on that - it is Dipper No. 35 of 1981 in G & D. My other Dipper (No. 200 in C & G) wasn't there but is almost as pretty! Nick
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