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Everything posted by Podzol

  1. I started playing EC because I was a tone deaf cellist. I liked the chromatic aspect of the instrument. I began on a Jack, because I could play the cello repertoire on it. I loved that box so much. I played the begeebers out of it. When I was convinced that this was a life-long source of joy and the bellows finally gave way (3 years, 3 hours/day), I did not hesitate to upgrade. I picked up a Morse Albion, then traded that for a Geordie when that came out. So, in summary, I strongly recommend the Jackie/Jack instruments to get you going! The little tunebook that comes with is a nice starting tutor, too. Then I went on to The Concertina Workshop by Alistair Anderson.
  2. Thank you David for your observation. I entered the abc using the Craic app for ipad. I'll also have a listen to your suggested change. I appreciate that you took the time to play it and consider it so closely! Blake
  3. Hi Mikefule! Nice to run into you again! Hope you're well.
  4. Thank you, Wolf! These are great suggestions... I'll consider them as I make adjustments. I think you're absolutely right about it being more of a jig. I was pleased with those two bars in part B, as well. I wish I knew as much about music theory as you do! In time, if I keep at it, perhaps...
  5. After about a decade of enjoying such music on my English concertina, I finally decided to try my hand at composition. Thought I'd share. Hope you enjoy! DryKindling - 2_6_19, 8.49 AM.m4aDry Kindling for Doctor Mulligan.pdf X:1 T:Dry Kindling for Doctor Mulligan C:Blake Ketchum L:1/8 M:2/4 K:C (3GAB||:c>B c>g|(3agf e>g|(3edc G>c|(3ABc (3def| (3gfe a>f|(3gfe c>e|(3fed (3Bcd|1c2 (3GAB:||2c2g2| ||:(3efg (3c'bc'|(3d'bg (3d^cd|(3fef (3g^fg|(3def (3gab| (3c'ge (3ceg|(3agf (3efg|(3edc (3Bcd|1c2g2:||2c4||
  6. Agreed. The method of repair would depend upon what parts became moist, how moist, and whether they molded, warped, cracked, corroded, stiffened, delaminated, or otherwise failed. Hygroscopic moisture can persist a very long time in tight spaces beneath screw heads and tight seams causing problems down the road. Forcing it to dry might cause it to dry unevenly causing other problems. If you have a nice instrument that you'd like to preserve, I'd consider getting into a shop for a thorough go over. To add to the list of instruments for the rain, I'd like to add spoons, washboard, and voice.
  7. I picked up EC because of the ability to play classical music in a variety of keys. I was initially an enthusiastic and tone-deaf cellist. Discouraged with my progress on that instrument, I switched to a baritone English concertina. I play a lot of folk music from the Isles and from Scandanavia, but also the classical music that I love to play. I'm quite happy with the instrument and am beginning to compose some arrangements with a countermelody in the lower register as well. I'm also working on playing a melodeon, and learning some of the joys and challenges of a diatonic instrument. I'm using the Milleret and Pignol tutors for that, so lots of crossing rows. With respect to those posts about the initial steepness of learning the English keyboard, I wholeheartedly agree. Just learning my first scale, I could also hear all kinds of humming and scratching sounds while my brain tried to format itself. But the effort paid off, and now playing isn't painful to my brain. :)
  8. I definitely like the idea of the < and > symbols, but > is already a musical symbol. I'm making some arrangements of classical music for EC, and so this is of particular interest to me. I'm using EasyABC, which has a great ABC editor and has pretty sharp rendering algorithms. ABC has limits, so I am just using the up and down bow symbols from strings. Up being pull and Down being push. I'm not complaining about ABC, I love that it makes laying music out so widely accessible with common tools. Playing the cello (in my mediocre fashion), the down-bow has a lot more power, which reminds me of the push on a concertina, so that's why I chose that particular symbol assignment. I agree that indicating bellows can make much clutter in a layout, but much like fingerings in some piano scores, if it is indicated only where it is either complicated or of strong preference to the arranger, it may not clutter so much.
  9. Here's a shot of how Regondi does it in an EC tutor: And Crabb in an Accordion tutor: (the V is push) And the American Accordion Association used arrows in 1938. In my notes I presently use bowing notation. What about three symbol notation, push, pull, and doesn't matter. Maybe: ⋃ for push - concave for reducing the bellows, ⋂ pull - convex for inflating the bellows, and ‖ for end of bellows instruction. Those seem easy to write, they are accepted digital characters (not to ABC, though), and seem somewhat intuitive to me at least.
  10. Thanks, Wolf! Yes, I do hear some mushy peas in there. Not quite soup, but almost. I'll work it at different tempos and think of nice hard dried peas. Wolf: By the way, Ive been enjoying your recordings, thanks for sharing them with the forum. Have you any transcriptions? I'd love to see how you put the accompaniment together. Everyone: your comments are much appreciated. I play in a relative vacuum (there is some air, of course), so it's fantastic to get some feed back from fellow players.
  11. Thanks, Rod. A good suggestion. Will do!
  12. Thanks, psmooze. I just joined a group of musicians who play Scottish music in a casual setting, so that will certainly help. I also think playing like peas in a pod will help stabilize my tempo somewhat too. I'll look into the transcribe program. My son has something that he uses for his music practice, called something else, but id does a similar thing. Thanks!
  13. Thanks for the encouraging and detailed comment, Chas. I do appreciate it, and agree. I remember reading that peas in a pod passage in the Concertina Workshop book now that you mention it! I think also I would benefit from working with a metronome to help me regulate tempo. Sometimes my fingers run away from me if I have drilled a certain passage a great deal. Thanks again!
  14. Here's my crack at this fun hornpipe by Scott Skinner after many months of whittling away at it. It's uneven here and there and not as crisp as I'd like it to be, but all the notes are there in approximately the right places. Have a listen and don't be too hard on me! I'm self taught. I play a Morse Baritone Geordie, which I am delighted with. I've linked to it here (.m4a) And here (.mov) and here (.wav)
  15. Hi Everyone, Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies! I will have a closer look at the squeeze in. My life's a wee bit complicated so it's hard to get away. Maybe, though.... I do know Patty Lambert! I occasionally try to keep up at the sessions that she organizes and we play in the same community band. She's wonderful, plays Anglo, tho. She could help me from the stand point of Irish music, for certain, if even on a different system. I might try to cross paths with Dr. Rachel, and i certainly like to listen to good music and will seek more concertina recordings. I appreciate your help! Blake
  16. Hi good people! I was wondering if there was anyone in Pennsylvania who might be willing to give a lesson on the English Concertina. I am in central PA, but am willing to travel quite far for an occasional lesson. After several years of teaching myself, I can muddle through by hitting notes, even the correct ones fairly rapidly when appropriate. I believe that my primary deficit is in the artistry that will turn those notes into music. I like playing a wide variety of music, from traditional Irish and Scottish, to classical. Have been having fun with some tangos, lately too. I think pointers on technique, style, phrasing, accompaniment would all be things from which i could benefit greatly. Thank you for any suggestions, and if you're willing and able to teach, please send me a p.m! I play a Baritone Geordie from the Button Box
  17. I've got some good news to report. I had my second session last night and it went very well. I re-read this thread right beforehand so that all your thoughtful comments would be used to maximum effect. I had the humble goal set to get through one song without losing my place and play most of it. The result: I got through 4 songs quite well, Sally Gardens, Arran Boat Song, Fanney Poer, and Rights of Man. I received some heartfelt compliments from others there as well. To kind of wrap up what I consider to be a very helpful thread, here are your suggestions that I found most helpful in no particular order: Practice from the end and coming in at different points. This was useful on every song that I tried. When listening, it's pretty easy to anticipate when the line will wind up, so chiming in at that point worked quite well and prepared me to start the next refrain fluidly. Practice with recordings and if you have access some flavor slow-down app that retains the pitch. The sequence I followed was: learn the tune in my ear, learn to play the tune, play it along with midi or a clean recording slowly first then up to speed, finally work with the noisy recording from the pub. Do sit in a corner (especially if the session has many players, your hearing is off, or there is background noise as was my case last night) This was essential for me to hear my concertina. Understand that it is challenging and be patient with your progress. I would like to add: Pick some of the slower songs some airs or a waltz, for example, and learn to play those expressively. Though I am not suggesting that playing slow music well is easy, it is easier to mechanically get the right notes at the right time. Whittle a way at a challenging favorite (Rights of Man was my choice). If you can't play the whole thing, come in on the parts that you have down well. Doing this gave me a taste of what it will be like to learn the more challenging repertoire. On the tunes that you are not playing, actively listen. I practiced identifying the sections, trying to hear chord changes, and trying to recall the name of the tune. I also met some folks who invited me to practice with them inbetween sessions. I appreciate all your helpful comments. Your suggestions had everything to do with the fine experience that I had.
  18. I think about this often. When learning the layout of the EC a few years back, it was the most counter-intuitive experience I had ever had while learning an instument. I could almost feel connections formng in my brain. The juggling between left and right hands on the EC is unlike any other instrument that I have fiddled with. At the time, I was reading a laybook on brain plasticity and the observation of this happening in the motor cortex was a lot of fun. Now, I suppose, the same will happen between my ears and the hornpipe lobes and jig lobes.
  19. Thinking about the transparency and lighter texture of traditional ensembles helps me understand how so much of what I like about this music would have been a part of the original experience. I like baroque music on original instruments, in fact I build one of those kit harpsichords a while back, currently I am also working on some Bach bourees, which I think is also a type of dance, though I dont know how it goes. That would probably help with my interpretation of the music. Glad to hear that my difficulty and impression about the tempo of the music isn't unique. Thank you for the recording suggestions, I will have a look. As I play more, reading new tunes is much more like reading, where the sets of 3 or 4 notes becme like words, and as I approach fluency, I no longer read note by note all the time. Memorizing is also coming much easier, and I will have a number if tunes to try out at the session, next week. Can't express how much this thread has helped! Much progress in a week.
  20. To threadjack my own thread, I had a question about tempo and listening to reels and jigs. While learning, I play them slower and pick up the tempo as my fingers develop the physical memory for the tune. During this process, I love the melodies: the patterns, turns and stutters along the scales within melodies, and accelerating arpeggiatic gestures that give a sense of weightlessness or emphatic resolution the tonic. I just love it. The music is delightful on so many levels to me. But by the time it gets cranked up to the sometimes dizzyng tempo and when in session, there may be a couple different versions being played simultaneously, or the swing isn't strictly uniform, some of that expressive clarity that I initially found in the music seems to be lost to my ear. It isn't this session in particular, when I listen to other recordings/vids at tempo I have this issue also. Will I get better at hearing the melodies at tempo? Maybe my processessing speed isn't up to snuff since I haven't become fluent in this language yet.
  21. Hi again! I'm amazed at the wonderful support and great ideas! A couple specific responses. Re learning the end first---brilliant! I had forgotten this. I took cello from a fabulous cellist and he had us working through difficult classical passages with this method. I will certainly do this! Re learning the "bricks" that are used within tunes, this is a great idea for facilitating the ability to learn by ear. As an aside, i am a web developer and as I have been going over the tunebooks and recordings of the session that I went to, I noticed an abundance of patterns. I imagined a web tool called the "jig-O-matic" that accepts a few parameters of input and randomly generates a jig using algorithms to control variation, chord progression, and the use of arpeggiation, scale, ascention and descention. No doubt, this would be musically laughable, but might provide unexpected snippets that could be incorporated intelligently into new works- much in the way some authors warm up by freewriting on arbitrary subjects. I also wondered if anyone has ever attempted a mathematical analysis of this genre of music. A fractal analysis or something like that that seeks patterns at a variety of scales time and pitch. Re the Folk Orchestra. I ran into this problem when I learned cello. I ended up starting a beginners orchestra an was amazed at all the adult newcomers it drew. It was a lot of fun, but when I relocated, the orchestra faltered after a while. Organisations like that need driven leadership if they are to last in my experience. As far as an instructor, I think I own the only EC in the county, so I am self taught. I have had a lot of classical music instruction, and am kind of an autodidact, but am new to music without paper. I ran into this local session in my search for instruction. The session's main organizer and flautist also plays anglo for the polkas. She has given me the clear impression that this group welcomes the musically inclined newbie. Thanks again; I may be a solitary English concertinist, but I am no longer a lonely one.
  22. Great advice. I love the analogies. I would never have thought of surfing while playing my EC. It is a fine image, but being from the North, originally, visualizing snowboarding in waves of powdery snow while squeezing my EC comes more naturally. Love the tip about sitting in a corner. There was an unused corner at the session, so hopefully it will be avaiable nexttime. My son had the forethought to record the session on a laptop with a decent mic. Havent had a chance to edit it yet, but I plan to play along quite a bit. When I get to know the group better, i will ask for a mentor. For now, I have the recordings and my son can strum the chords. Ken, this session is in State College, PA. The venue alternates between a used bookshop and a pub that's styled after those in Ireland. Usually there are about a dozen people. A smaller group on Thursday of 10. 7 of whom knew all or nearly all of the tunes comfortably. I am glad that I posted. So very helpful! Blake
  23. Thanks a bunch, Steve and Geoff. That is very encouraging. Steve's analogy of a wave seems like a very realistic description of what I can expect, and I should learn bob up and down with the experience. I also liked Geoff's observation about following your ears as they take in the music from the more experienced players and follow along. I never thought about it that way, but that's what I do in my community band (playing trumpet) and I do just fine there. I'll post again in a month after the next session! I should mention that the group is very warm. I brought my 14 year old son wil his guitar and they were delighted to have him strum along. He fared quite well and made me very proud.
  24. My pop was a piano tuner, so I learned to read music and tinker with a keyboard. My older brother's girlfriend gave me banjo lessons until they broke up. I bugled on every hose, copper tube, PVC pipe in our garage and basement. In school, I played clarinet, euphonium, and trumpet. The first instrument that I bought on my own was a bugle. Since my funding agency would pay tuition, I learned cello - kind of- when I was working on my dissertation. I was good enough to play (quietly) in the University Orchestra, which was a great experience. My intonation was awful, and this actually was the inspiration for me getting an instrument with buttons! I play EC. I still play trumpet and am in a community band. We play some pops, some classical, an some big band tunes. I am learning to play Chapman stick, which is a real challenge for me.
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