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Posts posted by maccannic

  1. It took me about 18 months before it all started to fall into place. Since then I've progressed about as far as I ever will, since any improvement is countered by the effects of arthritis in my fingers.


    However, I can say that the best way to improve is to play along with other musicians, that way you can put in what notes you can and leave out the ones you can't play or can't find quickly, and no-one will care as long as there is enough noise going on. If there is no-one to play with in Buenos Aires, then just put a CD on and play along to that (preferably a CD in a sensible key like G, D or A minor rather than E-flat or B). You will find that what you couldn't do one day you can do the next day.


    Good luck and keep persevering (we need all the Maccann players we can get).


    There's a good non-technical description of modes in A.L.Lloyd's 'Folk Song in England'.



    Lloyd's book is highly recommended and the section on modes is certainly interesting and helpful. However, he does rather get his knickers in a twist at one point, claiming a tune is Phrygian when it really isn't. I can't remember which tune it is, as I don't own the book and haven't read it for about 40 years.

  3. I don't know where this project ever got to, but I've just discovered that Hazel Askew of the excellent Askew Sisters is playing Maccann these days, and doing very nicely on it (no surprise there!). Was she included on the list, and are there any other recent additions we should know about? Sadly, of course, there must be some names to remove from the list, for the inevitable reasons.

  4. My ukulele fiasco was a physical one - my fingers simply couldn't get into the right shapes and positions. I couldn't get them to play a single chord, cleanly

    This is not meant to be as unbelievably sexist as it might appear - but did you file your nails before trying to play the uke?

  5. As a player of a Wheatstone Aeola 67-key Maccann which I use for song accompaniment (among other uses), I suppose that that is the one I would recommend. Really, I would think the 46-key Maccann is a bit of a toy by comparison.


    Some keys are easier than others, though. G, C and D are the easiest major keys. So if a song is a bit high (or low) in G, it's a long way down to the next 'easy' key of D (or up to C). Keys like F or A are manageable, but take a bit more practice. Am, Dm and Em aren't too bad.

  6. Do what my wife does. She keeps her EC treble in its case, and puts the concertina complete with case in a square soft concertina bag from Hobgoblin, with the case handle poking through the not-quite-closed zip of the bag (there is a fastener on each end of the zip, so they can meet in the middle). This means she can either carry the whole lot by the handle, or sling the whole lot over her shoulder using the bag strap. Extracting concertina from case is no problem, you just undo the zips and you can get at it.

  7. I decided very early on that the concertina wasn't for me. Having looked at both anglo and English, I couldn't imagine getting anywhere with either of them. So that was that.


    Then much later I discovered the previously unsuspected 'duet' concept (by carefully watching Tim Laycock on stage). But which system to go for? Someone told me that while the Crane was probably easier to get going on, the Maccann had greater potential in the long run. So I got a Maccann (hadn't heard of Haydens). I think my mate may have been half right (i.e. harder to get started on the Maccann) but I'm not sure about the other half. Sometimes I listen to great Crane playing (Tim Laycock, Paul McCann etc.) and I wonder if I got it right. Then I hear Iris Bishop (who by the way had an even more accidental start on the Maccann, believing she was getting an English) and all my doubts disappear.

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  8. Interesting that so many appear to be playing with their eyes closed. This is very tempting on the concertina, because it avoids distractions and you couldn't see the buttons anyway, even if you wanted to. I try to force myself to keep my eyes open when I'm playing to or with other people, because I think it creates a better impression.

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