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Posts posted by maccannic

  1. Me again. Right, to deal with some of your other questions:


    Relative minors: what you have been able to work out for yourself is all basically true.


    Modes: yes, if you go from E to E up the white notes, you are playing one of the old modes (actually the Phrygian).


    The question of using B7 in E minor: B (or B7) is the dominant chord, which helps to define the key you're in. So B (or B7) and E define the key of E major, while B (or B7) and E minor define the key of E minor. This generally works for classical music, also the kind or European folk music which much of classical music developed from (e.g. Austrian, Hungarian), and also much popular music like music hall, tin pan alley etc.


    Much folk music is modal, however, so a folk tune in E minor would likely have a D natural rather then a D sharp in the scale. This would mean that a chord of B or B7 (containing a D sharp) could feel inappropriate, adding a colouring to the tune which shouldn't be there. A chord of D, or B minor, or Bm7, might work better because it has a D natural in it.


    Hope this helps.

  2. The guitar chords specified in printed music should be taken as a starting point only, not definitive. I rarely stick to them, and in any case I rarely use the same chord sequence twice running if I play a tune twice. Play whatever chords work for you. You probably have a feel for where the tune is trying to go, so play chords which don't get in the way. Just for fun, however, you can also play chords which pull the tune in another direction. Then people will either be impressed by how clever you are, or react with horror.


    And as for computer generated chords, forget it. I've seen instances of this, and without exception they were garbage.


    I could answer you questions about relative minors, but I haven't got time right now (it's a big subject). I'll be back on here tomorrow, but I expect someone else will have replied by then.

  3. Well, Dirge, the old (1898 Lachenal) one went down to 'tenor C', while the new (1914 Wheatstone) one goes down to 'baritone G'. You're right that everything I played on the old one I can also play on the new one, except for the lowest left-hand E-flat which is now where it should be, below the D, whereas it used to be next to it. Also, right at the top of the right-hand end one or two notes are in different positions, but I don't very often go up there. Yet.


    The main problem is the extra bass row puts the buttons into different positions relative to the hand bar. My old machine had very short non-adjustable straps which I never got round to doing anything about, I just managed (I've got quite large hands), whereas on the new one I've been able to adjust them how I think I want them (I'm still experimenting). What I thought would happen is happening - as I get familiar with the new one I can't transfer back to the old one without a few minutes of practice first. So while I'm trying to use the new one at our weekly session, where I can get lost in the mix, I still need to use the old one for more public performances such as the folk club. Hopefully this pantomime-horse arrangement won't last too much longer.


    Another difference I notice is that the buttons on the new one are either smoother or more rounded than the Lachenal, so my fingers feel as though they're slipping off.


    Do I sound like I'm complaining? I assure you I'm not, I'm going to love this thing like I loved the other one. I definitely won't be 'sending it back'.


    Edited to add: Another thing slowing me down is, whereas before I often had to compromise on my left hand chords, e.g playing B minor or B-flat major in an unwanted inversion or else too high up, I am now trying to put in the lower root-position versions which I couldn't play before. So even the tunes I could play I am now struggling with.

  4. After twelve and a half years I've taken the plunge and acquired my second concertina, another Maccann duet.


    It's a bit bigger, it's a bit louder, it's a bit better generally, but above all it's . . . different.


    I want to get good on it a quickly as possible, so then I can sell the old one. But it's going to be quite a learning curve. There are some extra notes, while one or two of the same notes are in different places. But more than that, playing it is just . . . different. The weight, the feel, the response, the position of the buttons relative to the handrests. In short, I'm all at sea again, just like I was 12 years ago.


    If I concentrate on the new one, I guess I will lose my touch on the old one, so there will be a gap of some months (or more???) when I won't be able to play in public. Or I could try to keep the old one going too, in which case my progress on the new one will be that much slower.


    What experience do c.netters have of this?

  5. I don't believe it !! I watched a documentary yesterday on UK Channel 5 about Alcatraz prison. Apparently during the last (unsuccessful) escape attempt before it closed, part of the escape plan was an inflatable raft made by stitching or welding rubber clothing together. This was then filled with air using (and I think I quote correctly) "an accordion-like musical instrument called a concertina".


    I find it a bit odd that a British-made documentary would think that its target audience would not know what a concertina is. But nice to think that the concertina could be such a liberating influence.

  6. Sorry, should have been more careful.


    You have 2 diatonic rows which the system is named after, i.e. G/D. The third row is for the accidentals, which is all the extra notes not part of the major scales. You can't normally play just on the third row.

  7. An anglo in G/D has two rows - one plays G major, the other plays D major.


    Your tune is not major but is in the Dorian mode in A, which is the same notes as G major, so will play on the G row no problem.


    Edited to add: By the way, Dorian, definitely not Mixolydian.

  8. and finally, does the 40 key Anglo really offer useful solutions to finger tangles and key options. At some point (on the surface) the larger instrument ought to offer more possibilities but being heavier and slower is the larger instrument really a solution? Why do the 40 key Anglo players want 40 keys instead of the 30 that is so common?



    I'm no anglo player, but I gather that a 40 button anglo is completely chromatic in theory, you just have to learn where all the notes are. I expect this is easier said than done, but having seen Zak van der Vyver playing at Kilve last weekend in C, G, A, E-flat, B-flat and A-flat on the same 40 button machine, I know for a fact it's possible. I guess on a 30-button it wouldn't be.

  9. Ask yourself, why do you want to play concertina? Presumably, something has inspired you. So, now something will have to inspire you as to which type to play.


    Try to listen to some of the great players. Get copies of Anglo International and English International (Duet International is still under preparation). Listen to the great anglo players like John Kirkpatrick, Andy Turner, Noel Hill, etc. Then the English players like Alastair Anderson, Simon Thoumire, Keith Kendrick (who's also not bad on anglo). Try and hear duettists like Ralph Jordan, David Cornell (Maccann) and Tim Laycock (Crane).


    Hopefully one day you will think, that's it! That's what I want to be playing!


    Then having made your choice, don't lose heart when you come up against the inevitable difficulties and limitations. Be happy and keep practising.

  10. I'm with hjcjones on this one. You never stop learning. If you do, you're dead, or you might as well be.


    But competence? How good do you need to be to be competent? On piano accordion, I played in public after less than 3 weeks, accompanying somebody singing. I don't suppose it was much good,but it was OK.


    Duet concertina has been a bit slower - 18 months to really feel I was starting to get the hang of it, 3 years to use it in public for anything worthwhile, but now after 12 years I still know I'm miles from where I want to be.

  11. Looks brilliant !!! (Not that I've got an i-phone or anything).


    Presumably to play both ends at once, you'd need two i-phones, yes?


    Just one more question, why no top G? A Maccann without a top G is like sex without an orgasm.

  12. I have heard classical played on Maccann, Crane and Hayden duets of various sizes (I've never knowingly heard a Jefferies duet).


    I take Dirge's point about not wishing to butcher the classics, but realistically the arrangement is going to be key. The more buttons you've got, the less you'll have to compromise, but even a smaller machine can give a good account of many classical pieces, especially if you include e.g. Joplin or Sousa in the definition of classical.


    My Maccann has three and a half octaves, so the limitations for e.g. piano or organ music are obvious, but I believe you can suggest the essence of a piece without playing all the original notes and without butchering it.

  13. I'm the opposite. Despite having an octave and a half overlap, I hardly use it except for the occasional low B or whatever which won't fit on the RH end, and the occasional note on the RH end to make the LH easier. But then I don't play scored pieces or arrangements. As far as possible I choose a key to let the 'tune' fit on the RH end.


    My machine, a 64-button Maccann, has 2 and a half octaves at each end with an octave and a half overlap. As I hardly use the top octave of the LH end, I could really do with a bit more at the bottom end.

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