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Geoff Wooff

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Everything posted by Geoff Wooff

  1. Yes I heard of your what, 50 years+ waiting list? You better eat lot of spinach if you want to complete it, assuming it works on you the same way it works on Popeye ;-) Azalin, Spinach works on me in the same way it works on other humans- which might finnish the point about Aliens and God. But we are off topic,oppps! Geoff.
  2. Geoff thanks for the reply, I do know all this stuff about different temperaments and tunings. However think about this. The chromatic xylophone and the piano are generally tuned to modern orchestral pitch and they are chromatic instruments, mean temperament instruments. I have never heard anyone suggest that the standard piano for example cannot be used to play jazz, blues or even ITM. Now I understand that some people might might find equal temperament grating, in fact there is an interesting book called 'How equal temperament ruined music'. However I think it is a bit much to expect the original questioner to get into such complications. This will just confuse him even more. Most of the EC and duet players players I have met are happy to play ITM with concertinas tuned to concert pitch in an equal temperament setting. Equal temperament was devised to allow players to modulate from one key to another. This isn't really required for ITM or folk music although it can be and is used in jazz and who knows maybe at some time in the future someone will write an ITM tune that modulates from one key to another. Of course he or she will probably be stoned to death for their trouble. Shaunw, Firstly yes, I agree that the original questioner might not want to be confused by all this "stuff", and although it was off topic, my last post was a reply to you and anyone else who found my tuning problems in the key of C# Major to be baffling. You mention something called 'Mean temperament' and suggest that that was what I was talking about. What I wrote was 'Meantone' which is so named because it is a tuning system compromise that is half between having perfect major fifths and perfect minor thirds, thus so named Mean (on a middle line between something). There is nowhere that I suggested the Piano could not be used to play any type of music you so desire but it does have a system within its string tunings that soften the harshness of some Equal tempered intervals. But I forgot, you know all this stuff. Just because most people are happy with something, like Equal Temperament for instance, does not require us all to follow along blindly. If a person plays a single note melody line as on a Clarinet or Flute or Concertina and they have been brought up with and only ever heard music played in Equal Temperament then yes they may be totally content. If and when, however, a concertina player starts to add chords to their melody line they will either accept the way their instrument sounds or avoid certain intervals in their chords. The reason why some chord intervals on a concertina sound so harsh is because the "free" reed gives a very pure note with little confusion in its wave form and two very clean pure notes that are not harmonically in nice alignment will not meld to produce a new sound - The Chord. There are many examples of people (and instruments) that are not tuned to ET. In the squeeze-box family we have the Cajun Accordion for instance, not tuned in ET, ah but that is a genre specific instrument, unlike a Concertina which might be used to play any type of music.Many accordions have two or more reeds for each note and often these extra reeds are 'off tuned' to create what?, a tremolo effect, more noise maybe or is it to soften the chord harmonies of Equal Temper? OK, take the case of.. the Guitar; here we have an instrument with a fretted neck that is set to produce ET notes. Now some people only go as far as to tune the strings "about right", or take their Guitar back to the shop when their teacher tells them it has gone out of tune. There are other guitarists who are very particular. I recall listening to a certain singer guitarist who would re-tune after every song, change the pitch of some strings and micro adjust things, try all the chords needed for the up coming song. This process could take two or three minutes and this was done on stage, the audience waited patiently because the end result was beautifull. This singer was compromising the tuning of the guitar so that the harmonies would be best and each new song might mean a change of 'Mode'. Now, Modes, thats another subject altogether and I will not start on that, but I forgot... you know all that stuff. So, to finnish... these other methods of setting out musical scales on Keyboard instruments do constrict the player to play in five or six different keys but on the English Concertina, because of the doubling of the G#/Ab and D#/Eb buttons it is possible to use one of the sweeter temperaments with a greater range of key signiture possibilities. When I play my Uilleann pipes I can adjust each chanter note for tone and pitch (some notes are more amenable to this than others)by ear, on the fly, so that they blend and harmonise with the drones. The scale and tuning can be very perfect (and sometimes very inperfect)so that the emotion created by some Modes is very apparent. On a good day I can produce a chord containing the notes D,E,F# and A, thus with intervals of Perfect second, perfect third and perfect fifth. Now try that on your concertina, play and hold D-E-F#-A the notes next to each other, not octaves apart. With a set of perfect intervals this chord will lock enough of the harmonics and high upper partials to produce a stunning tension and no discord. In Equal temperament you could only use such a chord to clear the room. I make Uilleann pipes. I spend a very long time creating the "Voice" of each note, placing it as best I can in the scale, by ear. There are two results from this finnicky fussy attitude;1. The waiting list is about 25 years if a person wants one of my instruments, and 2. I do not like, "sort of in tune" playing/instruments. With best regards, Geoff. PS; Shaunw, if you would like to see some more ideas on alternative tunings for Concertinas then have a look at a thread called "Just Intonation Suggestions". This is in the General discussions forum and dates from around 2005. That thread will also point you back to other intersting threads. G.
  3. Geoff I don't really understand your post, the EC is a chromatic instrument and if properly tuned can play in all keys and can play all chords. The EC has the same range as the violin and I have never heard anyone suggest that the violin can't play in any key you care to mention. In what way is the EC bizarre compared to a violin for example? A concertina tuned to mean temperament is the same as any other chromatic instrument. Oh dear me!! This is going to take a deep breath (after a long night on the Segas)....... The Violin is a fretless stringed instrument,its strings can be tuned in many different ways, its player can decide the exact pitch of each note by shifting their "fretting" finger up or down the played string a little. Therefore, a violinist can play in "Equal Temperament" or in any other temperament they so choose. My wife plays the "fiddle" (Violin if you really must), when we play fiddle and pipes (Uilleann pipes) she will tune each of her strings to the corresponding note of my chanter. This is because my pipes are not in modern ochestral temperament and they are 160 years old. She cannot change the open string pitch on the fiddle therefore those strings when played 'open' have to be in tune with the chanter notes.She will then adjust the fingered notes as needs be so that, at least, we agree. I will not describe things like F neutral etc. When we play Concertina and fiddle she does the same thing, I give her my G.D.A. and E. Why? Read on.... The concertina is a keyboard instrument that has 'set' or predetermined pitches for each note. These pitches can be made to follow the "Equal tempered" chromatic scale or any one of many of the other "temperaments" that have been devised by musicians to render their instrument more nicely in tune, to their ears. I do hope you are not winding me up here because much of what I will attempt to describe is, I WOULD HOPE, common knowledge. You can get all the information you need by Google-ing 'Temperament'. If you do not know me then let me just say that I am a musical instrument maker, tuning is my job, and No I am not looking for work. I will never be able to complete the orders I already have during my lifetime. So, Equal (or Even) temperament is where an octave is divided into twelve equal intervals (semi- tones). This is the common tuning system of Western Art Music (Classical Music) because it allows composers to write music that can modulate (change key) at will. It is also equal because it is an equal amount out of tune in every key. As a worst case; if you were to tune a "drone" based instrument to Equal Temperament ( a bagpipe or Hurdy Gurdy for instance) many of the resulting harmonies (melody against the fixed drone note) would be harsh. A simple harmony that is very bad in Equal temperament is the Major third. Now it happens that one of the most convenient harmonies on the EC is the major third. So an EC tuned in "ET" is for me unacceptably grating, as it was for some of the early masters of this instrument. Correct me if I am wrong but I recall that Regondi habitially used two concertinas, one in Equal temperament and the other in something that has been called "Uneven temperament". Paul Groff has made fine studies into the tuning regimes found on old concertinas,I am sure there are detailed explainations by Paul on the web somewhere. I also came across old concertinas tuned in a sweeter way and noticed that all the sharp keys got progressively slightly flatter and vice versa for the flat keys. So, when you get as far sharp as D# I notice that the corresponding Eb was very different, and the same with G# and Ab. This is the simple way to discover if an EC is tuned Equal or Uneven, just compare the G# and Ab pitches; same = Equal, different= uneven. This Uneven is just a different temperament. 'Temperament' in this sense means 'Compromise'. All these tunings, including Equal are compromises and all compromises have 'reasons' for existing. In my previous post I said that my concertina is tuned in 1/5th Comma Meantone. This is the name of one of the alternative temperaments that would have been devised for use on an Organ or Harpsicord. The more common Meantone temperament is called " 1/4 (or Quarter) Comma Meantone". In 1/4 Comma Meantone the keyboard is tuned with 'perfect' major thirds. It sounds wonderfull for cording on a Concertina but, some of the note pitches are a little far away from Equal temperament for playing with other instruments. I therefore have opted for 1/5th Comma, which is another compromise that is about halfway between 1/4 Comma and Equal temperament. I find that 1/5th Comma is sweet enough for me whilst being very rarely noticed by other musicians. I have been using this tuning system on my own concertinas for about 30 years. So, the use of a temperament other than Equal does impose certain restrictions with regard to the number of keys that an instrument can be played in, but,because the EC has separate buttons for G# and Ab, and D# and Eb, the maximum key pitch differences can be placed at these two points. This allows the number of nicely tuned keys to be increased by 2(?). Certainly keys as far as 4 flats and 4 sharps are happy. If I wanted to play in the keys of B,F# or C# then maybe I would need a brain transplant as well as another concertina. There are several fine books on the subject of tunings and even some recommended somewhere on concertina.net . If you really want I can give you the "Cents" figures ( + or - related to Equal temperament) that I use but you can find these on the web too. I reserve the right to have an opinion that the EC is Bizare and have not compared its relative bizarness to any other instrument. Many musicians I have met, and as recently as last night,are very curious about the concertina. The young accordion player last night who wanted to try it, was most perplexed even after my (I hope) logical explaination of the keyboard. I spread out my fingers on each hand then slid my two hands together so the fingers were interlocked, left/right/left/right. Then slid my hands apart to suggest how the notes are divided between each side, explained how the C scale went up the middle two row, how a C would have a C# next to it or a B has a Bb. How the next octave up starts on the other side, how the octave after that or before the first starts again on the other side but on a different row........ He is French so he used the Bizare word (or was it bizarre). Take a test; play a simple tune, in your favourite key..... now play it an octave up..... now play it an octave bellow your original octave....... going well? OK. Now take a fast dance tune, a reel or jig, whatever you like, and repeat the test. If you find that easy try changing the key, say from C to Bb and repeat the test. If you find that easy with out bucket loads of practice, then you are a true master of the EC, and I salute you. For an explaination of some of the unusual terms used here try books like "Fundamentals of Musical Accoustics" by A.H.Benade or C.A.Padgam's book of Organ tunings (cannot recall exact title). All this is written to try to be helpfull, not to confuse, in good faith, heart on my sleeve. The running order of the details could have been better but this is just poured out of my head and so comes like a 1950's English school dinner, slop on your plate. Best wishes, Geoff.
  4. Ah Zizi, your memory is still wonderfull, yes Anthony Collins that was his name and as you so rightly say, a kindly old gentleman. I have experienced "tune confusion" many times when listening to the flute playing of Gerald O'Loughlin, from Liscanor, who Gabi and I learned so much from, playing with him every thursday night for ten years. Well tonight we have to go out to play 'Segars' (cigas) I don't even know how to spell them let alone play them. They are dance tunes from Reunion Island...... Yep another life. Ah the memories of those old times..... sob sob. Geoff.
  5. On the EC playing in the keys of Ab,Eb,Bb,F,C,G,D,A,E should not prove problematic. Last night I tried C# Maj but my choice of keyboard temperament ( 1/5 th. Comma Meantone) threw up some sour intervals and my dog wanted to sing along in her prefered key of A. Whilst I am quite happy to play ITM transposed up or down a key, a more interesting exercise is to change octaves.Playing in a session in unison with the others, then play an octave down, then change to an octave above. If you look at the keyboard chart you can see how doing this will twist your brain one way and then the other. However, I am sure you do not wish to play ITM in C#,F# or B Maj. The EC is versatile, logical and bizare which is a great combination, almost human then. Geoff.
  6. [Hello Geoff... you are right about "Zizi" but I don't think you know who I am... I think I have met you once, maybe 9 years ago, in Maine... I just started playing irish music at the time. I hope you're having a great time in France, and that you don't miss Miltown too much ;-) I was telling Zizi that english concertinas and irish music are like UFOs to me, I can't believe it until I "see" it... but knowing you play the english is the only argument I need to be convinced. So please don't tell me aliens or God exist or it could put my world in tatters Hi Azalin, Maine ? Hmm the tee shirt says 2002 ( its an American XL so I use it as a night shirt) but I did not bring the Concertina (yes I know, DUCK) because it was a "piping weekend". However, you are too kind... drinks are on me. Yes I do miss Miltown, greatly. It was such a privilege to spend years there playing regularly with the "old" musicians, trying to absorb "The Gimp". I think it is much more important for the Concertina player (learner in ITM) to listen most closely to the other instruments of that tradition, Fiddle, Flute, Pipes etc.,than just to study concertina players. Once upon a time Zizi and I departed from Miltown after the Willie Clancy Summer School, twas '85 I think. We were heading back to London and we had plenty of time to catch the Ferry. Says Zizi to me "you know, we had a good week but I was unlucky not to see enough of the old fiddle players, the "Legends". OK says I lets go down through East Clare ,call in on Martin Roachford. Well I could tell you about the feeling that the fairies came out of the walls of Martins kitchen to dance when he played the fiddle... but I won't. We left there on a musical high and, needing refreshment,called in at a local hostelry. Being told there that Vincent Griffin would be 'playing tonight"( another famous fiddler) we ordered a second pint. All this is very well and,of course, Mr.Griffin was great too, but there was also another old fiddler that night who joined the session. Nobody famous I'm sure I hardly remember his name (Anthony...... something) BUT!! He played beautifull music and without one single grace note!! That man played as good as I have ever heard and the point I wish to make is that these days there is too much emphasis on "technique" and not enough on the music. It can be so bad that, I think, some players cannot separate "the tune" from "the decorations". So, the possibilities for grace note decoration are different on the AC and the EC, the music will sound different but good music should be our aim whatever choices we make... try our best and let others be the judges. PS; Zizi was, at the time of my story, very much a fiddler. Geoff.(Alien ?.... possibly).
  7. Bonjour aussi, to those kind souls from Montreal who were positive about my post. I think I know who you are! Will we see any of you at Tocane this year ? Keep this venue a secret.... but for the best week of sessions, I know of no other. Last year Gabi and I stayed up all night and played from 10pm 'till 6am for 7 days in a row. It is hard going now I'm over 60 but someone has to do it! I heard you are/or were in France Steve (if I have the right Steve), that right? I do not think O'Carolan would mind all these modern instruments and would not care if it was an EC player or AC player as long as they paid for the drinks. Geoff.
  8. Now 30° C so too hot to cut the grass, so its either do some work (Hmm not too keen on that) or play a few tunes... dum dee di de do. Serriously, it sounds like a pitch adjustment within your media programme. Wow, the H2 is half the price of the H4 (on amazon.fr), hmm, I could convince myself that I really need one. Geoff.
  9. [ Geoff, My choice of the word 'entitled' was inappropriate. If a 'Hornpipe' is to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from a 'Schottische', ( or even a 'Jig' or a 'Reel' ), what the hell. All that matters is that the musicians, the listeners and the dancers are enjoying the experience, and let them call the music what they will. My little Dictionary of Music likens the 'Schottische' to the 'Polka'. I guess that all music is derivative in it's origins and probably requires no specific categorisation. Any music which lifts my spirits, gets my foot tapping and proves appropriate for my Anglo Concertina is good enough for me. Rod Ah, now I did not mean to imply that Hornpipe and schottische are close to indistinguishable but just that the dancers found the closest dance type that they knew to exercize themselves whilst we made the noises. Little dictionaries can be dangerous in generalisations. A person once asked me a one line question . I then spend two days asking that person questions before I gave him my one line reply. In order to give the best answer it is vital to know where the questioner is coming from. As can be read in the recent 'Concertina for Mazurkas' thread, styles of dancing a 'type' of dance may differ from area to area or era to era and thus also the tunes. The common practice in ITM is to join two or three tunes together in a set. This can usually be done spontaneously, especially with jigs almost like a party game,; someone starts a jig and ,in turn, each person around the table starts the next one. It is possible to continue this game for as long as the gathering can remember more jigs.But this is just for fun amounst friends. If however the same game is tried using Reels, it can be quickly found that there are Reels and there are Reels. Some will go together and some might really be hornpipes in disguise. The other day I was trying to recall how to play the James Hill tune "The Hawk", tried playing it as a reel.... hmmm close but no Cigar, tried to adjust towards Strathspey then in the hornpipe direction... eventually it settled into its own very subtle slot. Is this a 'Rant'? Well it is like these others but...... You see, it was a difficult question. Geoff.
  10. Al, Have you tried recording something on your H4 and then playing it back using head phones or directly attached speakers then playing along with it? This to eliminate card reader/computer malfunctions. Well Geoff, of course he has, don't ask stupid questions!! OK ok sorry sir.Just drag me out of the dark ages, but gently please. Now cutting the grass- Phaaaa! Geoff.
  11. I bought an H2. It's cheaper than the H4 and I couldn't see any use for the extra tricks an H4 would do. It's been perfectly adequate for me and in practice I don't use most of the tricks the H2 will do either... Hi Dirge, thanks for that tip and yes I read the specifications and looked at the prices too..... maybe someone might enlighten us... I bought an Edirol for my wife... but it's hers... so I must find my own gadget. Anyone have any thoughts on the Zoom Q3 video recorder or any other portable recording devise? Geoff.
  12. Hmmm.... interesting Al, and I thought it was me. It is a lovely day here and I was thinking I might just sneak out and have a look for a Zoom H4. Maybe I should do some work instead, or cut the grass, wait for a verdict from those who understand these modern things. Geoff.
  13. Geoff, at what stage in the process is someone who creates/composes a certain variety of Jig or Reel entitled to call it a 'Hornpipe', I wonder ? ( Back to the drawing board !) Rod Rod, surely you are entitled to call your children what ever you like? If you can get your public to accept a new tune as belonging to a specific dance form then all is well. Here in France, where 'Dance' is very popular I find I only have to play a new composition to our musician neighbours and they will try to dance to it. They will soon tell me what they think. As an example of dance popularity among the traditional music followers here I give you this short story; Very early on, after my wife and I had moved here (Limousin, central France), we found out that there was to be a 'Scene ouvert' (open stage), singers night (musical evening, bring your song book, instrument etc.). So, knowing hardly anyone, and speaking virtually no French we arrived for the event with Uilleann pipes and fiddle. When told it was our turn we gave the room ( a large village hall) a couple of Hornpipes ,just from where we were sitting. It was well into the second tune when I looked up only to see about 40 couples trying to dance a Scottish (the spelling as is used here), I was amazed never having seen such a thing before, and we lived in Clare for 15 years. I had to give Gabi a nudge, tell her to keep playing. Of course, I do not mean that we had never played for dancing before or that sometimes two couples might spontaneously jump up and dance a "half set" during a session, but here musicians play ,for and, when people want to dance. So, maybe we had inadvertently played our first Scottishes. Cheers, Geoff.
  14. Rod, you are very welcome and glad I was able to help, but I do not know if this explaination clears the muddy water completely. My wife was watching the Brazil/Chile soccer match in the ajoining room and giving me an animated commentary whilst I was trying to write, which did not help the thought processes. I will think about this some more because your question is a very good one and I am sure there is more to defining the differences. There are quite a few other dance tune forms which have similar relationships/ confusions; like the Fling of Ireland and Scotland and its relationship to the 'Scottish' as played/danced in France. It is quite common in ITM these days for hornpipes to be played more like reels and vice versa, but it is in jig playing where the real test comes; in the combination of 3 time and 2 time, in the avoidance of inharmonic endings, but best I don't start on that one today. Chris; thanks for your 'thumbs up' too. Happy music, Geoff.
  15. It is the internal rhythm that differentiates a hornpipe from a reel or Strathspey or Rant. The Hornpipe is usually, these days, a four time tune that is usually written as a dotted 4/4.As it is played with differing amounts of internal rhythm emphasis depending on which musical tradition one follows, it should be noted that hornpipes are not always written 'dotted' and almost never played mathematically exactly as a dotted notation would suggest. The speed of playing can also be very different from one area to another depending on the style of dance. Where used for solo 'clog dancing' the hornpipe might need to be played very slowly. In Ireland, when the hornpipe is played for a figure of a 'Set' it can be played at almost Reel speed. Confusion can arise when compared to the playing of reels, which in some areas are not played fast and also have an element of 'dotted' rhythm. So the note lengths will not be 'even'. This is the main rhythmic device of pipers and is used because it is not generally possible to make a note louder or softer on a bagpipe, at will,to stress the beat. So by making some notes longer and some shorter the measure can be kept in place. It is like listening to an old clock with an uneven beat. There are compositional differences between hornpipes and reels too, phrase lengths, melodic expansions etc.,but I would want to think about that before trying to descibe them. The Jig is a three time tune that also has an uneven note length patern, in some traditions more than others. In a 6/8 jig there are two groups of three notes that one could ascribe note lengths for in a ratio of 5-2-3, 5-2-3 , the first note in each group being longer, the second quite short and the third somewhere in between. To hear this in action listen to jigs played for Rapper dancing in England , very fast and with almost no internal note length differences or the jig playing of the older Irish musicians, in County Clare (if you like) where the internal shuffling of note lengths is quite marked. Geoff.
  16. An instrument that is played regularly will sound better and feel easier to play than one that is not. Two examples; I recall Alistair Anderson saying that after a rare two weeks holiday he returned to find that his concertina was sulking, did not sound bright and cheerfull in its normal way. It took a few days to come back to full form. A few years ago Tom McCarthy came to me to have the tuning of his Jeffries Anglo checked, he also brought his spare concertina, also a Jeffries of the same vintage. The one he always played, even though the reeds were gummed up a little from playing in smoky/sweaty bars for years,sounded so much better than the spare. Was this difference due to one being better than the other or due to one being constantly in use? Try not to bang your concertina when placing it on a hard surface (like a table) or drop it when in its box or drive down bumpy roads with it sitting on the floor of you car. The reason for this, especially with an older instrument, is that a jolt can loosen a reed in its slot and this can put it temporarily out of tune/spoil the tone. So play it plenty and treat it like you would treat yourself, but do not give it cream cakes! Good luck, Geoff.
  17. How would you know that people are using their real names? ocd (real name John Smith, really) Well... yes.... that is true. Ok so I am naive. I have played with a lot of the people mentioned in that 'thesession' thread and, at least ,I know who they are. Geoff.
  18. Yes, a slanging match by people sitting behind their pseudonyms. Call me naive but I would much prefer if people used their real names. It does appear a little unfair to discuss, in this hidden way, the relative merits of musicians who, during performances and making recordings, wear their hearts on their sleeves and use their real names. I do not know many of the people on concertina.net, well I assume not, but those I do , because they use their real names, are people I have known for a great deal of time. They are all honest. But, coming to the point of the disscussion on thesession.... years back ITM was very male dominated but these days the women have come to the fore especially in County Clare and particularly on Concertina. It is a fine fine thing. Geoff.
  19. Ok Al, Edirol we have... Gabi uses it for her Cornemuse lessons and general gathering of new tunes, but I don't know what she has it set to (WAV. MP3 etc) so Maybe I will get a ZOOM4 and learn how to use it. The problem with my Bourrée is that whilst it sounds quite intense and 'traditional' on the H/gurdy, when transfered to the concertina there are definate nuances of English balade singing as in 'the boy meets sister in the forest and murders her because he has made her pregnant' type of thing. It is strange and very interesting how a melody can sound so different from one instrument to another. Cheers for now, Geoff.
  20. Truly Al, your kindness is an inspiration. You are welcome here when next in Limousin and I must make a trip back to S.E. England, after all the TGV leaves every morning from our local station, change in Lille, straight into London. I am trying to transfer a 3 time Bourrée, to Concertina, that I made on H/gurdy. It's a minor key piece(Cm or Gm depending on instrumets used) with 4 parts! Maybe that is why I have yet to interest my neighbours " it's tooo esoteric?" We did, however, have great success in introducing a Kerry Slide to our local dance band for dancing the Chappeloise. This 12/8 time feels better for some of the 'circle' dances than using 6/8 Irish jigs, which is not an uncommom practice, but one that can make our teeth hurt due to the straightening out of the internal rhythm. Hmmmm.... I am very fussy about the playing of Irish music so I must be very carefull how I make my Bourrées.... I'll work on it some more... What do you use for recording yourself ? Well I must go and buy a new B-B-Q.... it is getting hot here, Cheers, Geoff.
  21. Rightee ho Al, now tuning up.... crank crank..... gratt gratt..... No seriously, this is nice,I will give it a try and yes on the H/Gurdy. I am finding it easier to make new tunes on the H/Gurdy than on concertina but I have not managed to convince any of the locals to try out these creations, YET. I must go back and listen to your original version of what I thought was "All Day Breakfast".... which I had avoided for health reasons. Around here it is all Sol/Do (G/C) music but we have (D/G) pipes and Hurdy Gurdy too. Always interested to try new tunes and the dancers are keen to have something fresh to inspire them. I will have to pluck up the courage to send in a "morceau" or two if I can learn how to WAV or MP3 in a correct way to attach. I am fairly computer ignorant but "we" have come a long way since that terrible cassette I sent you in 2006. Sun is shining, at last, must cut the grass, Salut, Geoff.
  22. Hello Hyp, as most people play ITM on an Anglo the summer school classes will be focussed on that type of concertina. The Anglo is Chromatic but playing in the "remote" keys might be more difficult than on an English . As to the old question of the suitability of the English Concertina for playing ITM, I feel that music is in your head, so if you understand a musical genre then it is possible to play it no matter what instrument you choose. I have played ITM on the English Concertina for about 40 years (off and on) and eventually came to understand (or came to an understanding with myself) what I wanted in the way of style. After 40 years I am "at home" with this keyboard, like one's own language and so I would be happy to try any new genre of music that took my fancy. However, I now know that to play well I have to understand a type of music as completely as possible. This takes a very long time unless you have good teachers who can point you in good directions and "short cut" the process. When I commence to study a "traditional music" I find an instrument that has been used to play or even 'form' that music. I then study how to play that "traditional instrument" and ,as it happens, I then end up going back to the English Concertina with ,hopefully, a better understanding of how I might approach a style of playing. So, my style of playing ITM on the English Concertina should owe more to the 30+ years I have spent playing Uilleann Pipes than to my attempts to imitate the styles of Anglo players. Many people play clasical music on the EC and I am sure Jazz also. But if you really want a smooth passage towards the music of Noel Hill then maybe you should opt for the Anglo and keep your Jazz improvisations seperate or in keys that suit well to the Anglo keyboard. I should leave the "welcome to Concertina.net" to those who have been here a long time, best of luck with your choice, Geoff.
  23. OUCH Marien!, That sounds very nasty. Some years ago, in County Clare, a lady came to me with serious out of tuning problems on her Jeffries..... She had been Busking at the Cliffs of Moher.... 700 feet above the roaring Atlantic Ocean. The reeds were encrusted with rust from the salty air and I do not think they ever recovered. Another time- another climate; a certain gentleman, arriving at a Folk festival in Alice Springs (read 35-40° degrees Centigrade), jumped out of his car and greeted long lost friends, had a few drinks etc. Next morning, when he awoke, towards midday, there was a nice session happening close by. So, he retrieved his Paolo Soprani from his car and joined in the music. He lasted about two bars before many of his reeds came loose and fell into the bellows. The Beeswax which "sticks" and seals the reeds in situe had melted. It must have been a puzzle putting it all back together. Moral; never mind your dinner or your thirst or the romantic attachement you are busy trying to make..... guard your instrument. I think this is especially important for many of us who play "irreplaceable" instruments. Everybody gets attached to their instrument and to lose it or break it..... oh the tears. Geoff.
  24. Well Alan, I am getting better (faster) at setting up my Hurdy Gurdy, and it does help that it was made by one of the top makers, but my neighbours who play H/gurdy with us in "groups" are very much quicker to organise their instruments but are not that fussy regarding tuning, they just get on with it in a relaxed way. Long years of practice, maybe. Ah FUBU!! Chris; many thanks for your explaination... it sounds about right and logical. I was thinking that the gauze was chopping the sound waves, sort of sieving the notes. I also feel that the newly released sound is not really louder without the gauze but, much clearer. The overall effect though is of a definate increase in useable volume. I would imagine that if the same experiment was carried out using a Jeffries from the earlier period where the fret work was delicate, and thus the "holes" make up the greater part of the surface of the end plates, the results might be less dramatic. I once had a Wheatstone "laffaeola" (not sure if that is the correct spelling) and this had very tiny piercings of fret work in its wooden ends, just enough to let the air in and out. This instrument ,although it had the same internal parts, was very quiet due directly to the type of fret work. Not bad for £8 in a second hand shop though. So, the materials and fretting of the ends does have a marked effect on tone and volume. If this Baritone had metal ends I might not have noticed so much change. One final note; the gauze that I removed was quite fine and I do not think it was original. In the Wheatstone ledgers my 48 treble is listed with the word "gauze" but does not have, or look as if it ever had, gauze, whereas the Baritone is not listed with the gauze word. However, I am very happy that this instrument met the 3 Castagnaris "wall of sound" head-on and pushed them back into their half of the field, like a valiant knight of the musical battle field..... Blah Blah. Right, now where's that ******** Hurdy Gurdy. Geoff.
  25. I do not think that Concertina players really have much to complain about, regarding the continuous good service they recieve from their instruments. If you wish to experience "Frustration" then try playing the Hurdy Gurdy! A typical practice period goes like this; It's 7 in the evening, work finnished, dinner finnished, there is one spare hour before the next interuption, "Yes time to practice my latest tune"..... Hurdy gurdy out of its case, start to tune it... so-so, one string has a bad sound, screeches/ whistles: grates... Baahhh, change the cotton?, maybe the Rosin needs to be renewed or has become sticky or I need to get all the old Rosin off the Wheel and start again... no its just the cotton, take off the worn out cotton and replace, hmmm now that string plays some notes in tune and some not, because I did not get the amount of cotton exactly the same as before.... do I fiddle with the cotton or adjust the offending notes by twisting the "tangents"...... etc.... all this has taken maybe 20-25 minutes and some times longer, for me "the beginner". In the end the Hurdy Gurdy is sounding wonderfull and I am ready to get going on my new tune and the clock says 7.55..... Agggggg. Thats Frustration! This process happens every time unless one is prepared to play out of tune all the time..... Well, Concertina frustrations when they arise can be more difficult to cure, sometimes requiring a visit to "Dockor Sqweeze". I came upon this topic by putting "gauze" in the search box. This because I was looking for a "Gauze or no Gauze" discussion. Yesterday I removed the gauze from a woooden ended Aeola because I thought it was not producing enough "punch" for the amount effort applied. I do not wear "Mohair" sweaters or play by the side of smokey Turf fires so I am not concerned about "things" entering/ getting stuck in the reeds etc. Does anyone here think that a gauze filter in the ends of a Concertina will inhibit the tone/volume produced? Well I really did not think that it would make much difference, but removing it was worth a try. To explain why I need maximum volume; this is a Baritone/treble EC from 1927, I played a T.Treble for many years that was made the week after this Baritone/T and that had ample volume indeed. I am playing with a large band of loud instruments and often cannot hear myself. My, it must look strange, to the audience, when one of the band, some old deaf guy, is trying to play his instrument with his left ear! Well, Geoff, stop waffling and tell us, did the removal of the gauze make any difference? YES it really did!! Last night was "band practice"... This is French "Musique de Centre"... so the band last night was three Cornemuses ( not quite as loud as Scottish bagpipes but strong enough), three Castagnari diatonic accordions, one Hurdy Gurdy and electric bass guitar and some percussion... oh and me playing an octave below the other melody instruments. Not only could I hear myself but so could my wife, above her Cornemuse from the other side of the room! I am amazed and very happy to have found the gauze of the problem. Geoff.
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