Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About L'Albatroce

  • Rank
  • Birthday September 28

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Western Washington
  1. I recently put my concertina down for a couple of months (shame on me!), and when I came back to it one of the reeds was out of tune. I've used up all my repair knowledge by opening it up and making sure the reed shoe is properly fitted in the pan, but that hasn't had any effect. It's been in a pretty stable environment since I played it last, no radical humidity or temperature changes. And it hasn't been knocked around any. Any ideas for what could cause this? I'm a little loath to send it anywhere by mail for repairs since I had some minor issues crop up because of it's transit when I first got it, so extra points for solutions I can do myself.
  2. In my other musical life I play Turkish music, and I had a great teacher who gave me this advice for approaching a new piece of music: To divide it into pieces and give all these pieces "names", memories or feelings that the passage evokes for me. This helps think through the emotional content of the piece, examine the more formal structure, and memorize it faster. It's a process I've found really useful for all my musical endeavors.
  3. IIRC the late Richard Morse was working on a mid-range Hayden after producing similar anglo and english instruments. I don't know what his process was, but given that he never completed the project I'm guessing the answer to your question is: harder than you'd think. There are surely others more with more knowledge of the story than I, but it didn't seem like a simple retool.
  4. It depends on what you're playing and how you learn it. If you really don't care about the key you play the songs in, and it's a simple matter of having a not-so-great G/D versus a good-quality C/G I'd make the change and upgrade. After moving from a Stagi to a traditionally made concertina, I've found the action of the buttons and the quality of the bellows makes a real difference in my playing, aside from any questions of the reeds and their layout. If you want to play in the same keys, G and D aren't particularly difficult on the C/G box, but if you want to play a lot in A, that can be kind of a pain. In anycase, playing the same fingering (transposing the notes) will be easier than playing the same notes (transposing the fingers). If you have a good ear, I would also be less scared of changing. Playing G will be just like playing D on the G/D box, so if your ear can keep things straight the muscle memory will follow with much more facility. Translating dots to fingering is much less logical, at least that's been my experience in transposing on the anglo. One way to check to see how you'd do with the switch is to transpose a tune in G into D and see how comfortable that feels.
  5. I just wanted to throw in my opinion that the anglo system is not necessarily better for learning by ear. I've played both english and anglo and learned a fair amount by ear, and I've found it easier to learn on the english system. I tend to be a visual learner, and on the english your chords are all in little triangles, which I find very easy (er, relatively) to navigate. Transposition is also easier for me since, like a piano, all the scales have very similar fingering. If I hear a V-I change the fingering is going to be more or less the same regardless of the key. I play a lot of fiddle tunes that are usually in A or D major and it was always a pain for me to swtich my brain between the two when learning a new tune because the fingerings are so different. Many genres of European folk music are heavily reliant on the I and V chord apreggios for melody. On an english concertina those chords look similar and have almost the same relative positions regarless of the key, this is not the case on an anglo. You also don't really have to memorize simple chords on an english (at least not in root position, I'm not going to touch more complex harmonies here), they're all just the same triangles. Whereas on anglo I had to put in a fair amount of practice to be able to call up Dmaj or Cmin without thinking. In short I've found the transposability of the english to be a great help in my own learning. I don't want to imply any kind of inferiority of the anglo, just offer my view that the kind of transitive logic (anglos are good for irish trad, irish trad is an aural tradition, therefore anglos must be good for aural traditions) that suggests anglos are better for aural learning is not true for everyone. Also shouldn't this be in General Discussion?
  6. I tried the paper shim, and it worked for one of the reeds. I can feel how much more snug they are when I shim them, but it doesn't seem to improve the tone for a couple of the reeds. A couple of reeds are quieter, and I need a lot more pressure to make them sound at the same volume as the others. More specifically, when I hit my push f#, it feels like I'm hitting molasses. Any other ideas? Alternately, there wouldn't happen to be any concertina savy people in the Seattle area who could have a look-see would there?
  7. I recently got myself a new (old) concertina reeded instrument. It's a real joy to play except for one thing. I suspect it took a bit of a bumping around on its way in the mail, and some of the notes have a creaky, gravelly kind of sound, like there's a kind of shudder to the reed. Any ideas on what this could be? I opened up the ends and looked at the reed pans and there wasn't anything obviously out of whack (though most things that can go wrong are probably not obvious to me). I can post sound files if that would help, but I'm hoping you the collective intelligence of the boards can help me.
  8. This is completely irrelevant to the topic but, Chris, are you purposefully quoting Emma Goldman in your signature or is it just a coincidence?
  9. Does anyone know what the copyright status of these works is? If it's expired, making a free edition of the classical conertina repertoire would be a good project for the forums.
  10. As someone who has spent upwards of five years in higher education studying linguistics, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that it is not easy. The only reason we have an idea of a "pure" language is because there are institutions that exercise a certain amount of authority that use a more or less standardized language. What makes a prestige dialect accepted is not its formal characteristics, but the clout of the institutions that wield it. "Proper" French or English is no more pure than a "dialect". In fact, coming up with a quantitative way to test this is a lot harder than common sense suggests. In Turkish it used to be the other way 'round. "Proper" Turkish was full of Arabic and Persian loan-words an syntax, which were absent from the spoken language of the less educated. That is, until the government decided that the proper language should also be pure and attempted to purge all Arabic and Persian elements from official discourse (with, I might add, more success than the Académie française has had). There's no a priori reason why Alsatian or Chiac couldn't be the standard literary language, just a history of institutions. And they'd probably decry as barbarous innovations the increased usage of words like "entendre" or "détester". Back to the music. My view is that keeping old styles of playing is a Good Thing because musical diversity is a Good Thing. Once you break a tradition, something is lost that you really can't get back, even with the best documentation. Lute players have a variety of written material at their disposal, but because the tradition of lute playing was broken, they can only guess how the people who developed the instrument and repertoire played it. There are currents in contemporary music to use instruments as purely physical objects, to obtain whatever kinds of sound they can by any means (the works of Piotr Zabrodzki for tuba come to mind), and they produce some pretty interesting stuff, but knowing how the people who developed the instrument played it is something I value. Innovation is great, but elevating one style to the "authentic" way of play genre X makes me uneasy. In any case the concertina was an innovation from without when it was first invented (it is worth keeping in mind that all instruments were invented, they didn't just arise spontaneously from the mist). Aside from the uilleann pipes, I don't think there's any instrument played in Irish dance music that has been either invented or heavily modified in Ireland (though those who know more than me can eithe confirm or deny). I play my concertina mostly in French Canadian music, which although it's been done before, is not really traditional. Part of my journey in this music has been how to preserve the traditional sound (I really dislike modern interpretations with electric bass and drum kit, to the extent that I have to constantly remind myself not to look down on them), while still trying to find my own style. I don't want to (and in fact can't) sound exactly like an accordion, fiddle, or harmonica, but I try to draw on their idiomatic playing to inform the sound I get out of my concertina. It might be stating the obvious, but in musical performance everyone needs to be playing the same thing (or the parts of the same song) in order to sound good to a degree that it is not necessary to all speak the same dialect to understand one another. For that reason you need to be more explicit about what is desired musically so that everyone is "on the same page". And indeed in order to preserve these older styles of playing there has to be an open resistence to innovation in some circles.
  11. I realize this may not be central to your argument, but this isn't strictly true. I'd even take issue with the idea of a "pure form" of a language, but that's a story for a different message board. Billingual children are very adept at what they call "code switching" in the biz, that is changing between different languages and dialects at the drop of a hat. There is, for example, Chiac in New Brunswick, which is frequently perceived as very sub-standard French, but it's spoken by bilingual people people who often have access to more standard varieties of both French and English (for an example, see the exploits of Acadieman). Billingual areas in the Southwest United States are also rife with bilingual kids and adults who act as vectors for foreign words and idioms into either Spanish or English. The salient common point between music and language, as I see it, is that any concept of a "pure" form of either is an ideological construct, one that advances certain value jugements, in a state of mutual feedback with heterogenous practices. This is even more tangential, and even more anecdotal, so don't take my word for it, but I notice a lot of bilingual people consciously importing idioms from one language into another. There was an interview with Gruff Rhys, in which he said he liked to literally translate Welsh idioms into his English song lyrics since what was banal in one language was colorful in another. My neighbor's daughter also informed me that a "fu man chu" moustache meant "crazy man moustache", since "fou" is French for crazy, "man" meant man, and chu then must mean moustache. Okay, I promise no more talking about language on a concertina board. I just can't help myself sometimes.
  12. Gorgeous instrument. Does anyone know how common these bits of Jeffries memorabilia are? Are there many receipts that he signed floating around concertina-collecting circles? It seems like that would make the instrument even more desirable. I agree with Ken though, if you ever had any beginnings of an inkling to play concertina, give it a try. But if not, there are plenty of people who would be happy to take it off your hands .
  13. It seems to me though, that what makes music music is the presence of rules. Music is at its most basic organized sounds, and if you don't know the rules that organize the sounds, you can't make sense of it as significant, thus the eternal inter-generational complaint that kids' music today is "just noise". The problem is not so much rules, as authenticity that makes us value those rules (as some of you have pointed out). We have many different sets of rules at our disposal, even if they aren't generative we at least recognize them. I can hear something and think it sounds jazzy even if I can't reproduce it or say exactly what makes it sound like jazz. In a genre like Irish trad part of what makes it "traditional" music is that it has a more fixed repertoire (than say ska or punk rock, for example) and is associated with a bound (though not strictly) territorial entity. So if I were to go play some Irish reels, I wouldn't just access my set of generic musical rules, but would bring bits of all the musical rules I've absorbed over my lifetime, unless I have enough training to use a certain set. It seems to me there are two poles of how musical rules are implemented (ie musical style), that any given performance with fall between. A conscious training of an enumerated set rules, and the less conscious use of rules gained from lived experience. Part of what complicates this picture is nationalism (groans from the audience). The idea of a nation and a people that constitute it allows the child of Irish immigrants in Boston, for example, to make certain claims about authenticity. If you are operating under a framework that does not privilige a homogenous people united by some kind of territory (as the people who are the source of "traditional" styles did), the esssence that makes Clare and Mayo playing more intuitively similar that any other two traditions (I think of a tradition as a repertoire, instrumentation, and formal musical features) of music just isn't there. The situation is in some ways analagous to national languages. Before the rise of nationalism, language was a marker of class more than authenticity. Most people just spoke a local language, and the wealthy also had a command of some kind of literary language. With the inclusion of nationalism, it became important that everyone speak a standard language as a marker of national belonging. The point being that if your music must be authentic and represent some kind of territorially-bound essence (note how most kinds of "traditional" music are qualified with the name of a nation), then it becomes more important to imitate your predecessors. In ye olde tymes, only rich people had ancestors (think about the importance of blood lines to nobility) and every one else maybe knew two or three generations back. With the rise of nationalism the entire people of a nation now have collective ancestors which are part of what constitutes a nation in the first place. But these ancestors are public property rather that the private reserve of noble geneology. What does this have to do with musical authenticity? Well, "traditional" music gets its authenticity in the same way, there must be some claim to a collective past to legitimize the current formal charateristics of the style. This is not to say that authenticity is not important in the constitution of other kinds of music, heck rock and country are pretty much the same music with different senses of authenticity, but I think it operates a little differently. I don't think this means that "traditional" music should be dropped and we should no longer be concerned with keeping older styles of playing around. Heck I play two styles of music that are intimately involved with the kinds of questions of identity I mention above. Rather I think what's at stake needs to change. Value like "good" or "real" aren't what is at stake, but rather enjoyment. I think as long as we're up front about why these styles of playing are worth keeping, they are in fact Good Things: because we derive enjoyment form them, and not because they are some kind of untouchable reified entity that has an essence valuable in itself. So yeah, I think we need rules to have a tradition, we need rules to have music, but I think the more interesting (and relevant) question is what is at stake for maintaining any given set of rules. Umm, sorry if this is rambling and not completely on topic, but I've been thinking a lot recently about this kind of thing.
  14. Great link Henrik! The increasing presence of archives on the internet is a great resource, especially for us with interests "off the beaten path". I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the sound recordings from the Canadian National Archives. They've got some great old Québécois musicians. The more I find out about the musical culture of South Africa the more intrigued I get. "The White Man's Burden" might have been disasterous for local economies, but it lead to some interesting musical forrays.
  15. So would having "lowered rims", as it were, lessen the difference in sound between metal and wood ended instruments, since it reduces the acoustic effect of the ends?
  • Create New...