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Everything posted by CrP

  1. Same as Matt, I'd love to see & hear some examples. I'm curious to know if anyone these days has incorporated any of the novelty sounds into more than a single or occasional "show-off" piece.
  2. Thanks, Mike. I recall seeing a documentary called "Bandoneon" a year or so ago that seemed to do a very respectful job of describing, showing, tracing the history of said instrument. What struck me then was that it (the film) included pleas from some of the players and repairmen to the world at large -- mainly sounvenir hunters, I guess -- NOT to buy the vintage German original bandoneons to take home as souvenirs, thereby removing them from circulation. Seems that the instruments were being bought up by wealthy tourists [accuracy of that statement I cannot attest to] and thus depriving players in Argentina of the best instruments. Did anyone else see that film?
  3. Yes, good question. I'd love to see a Video or learn of a recording that demonstrates the use of the novelty sounds. Surely there must be some old 78's of Vaudeville or (more likely) British music-hall comedy performers who used concertina as part of their "shtick".
  4. A quick search of C-net discussion archive turned up only one thread on this topic, as best I can determine, namely, 21 August, 2004 : http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1444&hl=%2Bbird+%2Bcall&do=findComment&comment=13484 So, allow me to pique your curiosity, if I may -- does anyone nowadays still use the novelty buttons? I'd appreciate hearing some guesses -- or informed research, for that matter -- on how they were used in the past. My guess is it would have been in connexion with song accompaniment, probably in popular/folk/non-classical settings, e.g., music hall, comedy, dialect and folk culture [with a small "c"] genres. Of the instruments I've seen & played, admittedly all anglo concertinas -- Jeffries, Lachenals, Jones -- many if not most of those from the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th seem to have the novelty buttons/sounds as standard on anything much more than 30-key anglos. So, comments. anyone?
  5. About topic #2, I have a couple of observations that might well be as appropriately discussed on the "Ergonomics" forum as on this general discussion. As one who has done a fair bit of music teaching in his lifetime, I've concluded that one very important principle that applies to all instruments as one begins to learn to play concerns the question of "how much effort"? Just for instance, if one's goal is to be able to play for long periods of time (for a long square or contra dance, maybe), then it's important to develop endurance and to minimise the physical effort expended so as to conserve energy -- the buttons don't need to "bottom out" in order for the instrument to produce good sound, I think. So, in this regard, I heartily second Ted's comment to "avoid the beginner habit of pressing the buttons excessively HARD at the bottom." An even more important principle, though, IMHO, is developing a consciousness of tension versus relaxation in the fingers. Relaxation is the musician's friend (as a general rule) and tension a hindrance or an interference in making music that flows without causing injury to the parts of the body that move fingers, wrists, hands, arms, etc. So, when it comes to learning how best to use button travel and the force required to press a button down, I favor spending a lot of time just getting the feel of your instrument and focusing on the minimum effort required to make notes sound for the required length of time and at the desired volume (use bellows control to get more or less volume). I've found that it's usually wise to begin with learning the minimum effort required, then to proceed from comfortable command of that light, relaxed, minimum effort basis on up to other aspects of playing, e.g., "more volume" and careful use of damper openings (which, crudely speaking, depends on the extent to which one presses down a button). I think it's easier to proceed from less effort towards greater effort than to go in the reverse direction when the goal is to develop good musical technique. We could also take this in the direction of discussing what distinguishes a melody note from an ornament, let's say. Forgive me if I tread on contested ground when I say that it's good to be able to consciously decide to use a very light flick or touch on a button to get an ornament. For that (i.e., ornament), you don't want to press the button all the way to the bottom, so to speak.
  6. Thank you Mark for posting to the C.net for me. If I may say, I think the case worked out well, the hesitation being that it's a bit less protective than, say, a hardshell case. It's lightweight, for sure. The bottom piece (you can see part of it, covered in light-blue ultrasuede) in the lower (2nd) of the 2 photos, is fairly stiff foam, cut to fit the Jones anglo that lives inside the basket -- a tight enough fit that it holds the bellows closed, with the basket top pressing lightly down on the concertina to hold it in place, kept tight by the two leather straps. In terms of reproducibility, well, it's a one-of-a-kind and would be fairly impractical to copy unless one were very (just for instance) obsessively focused on doing all the fitments by hand and taking hours to get them just right.
  7. Those of us with old concertinas indeed are worried, since so many of them did use now-banned or restricted woods, the exact nature and provenance of which can be disputed. Then there are issues with ivory, bone, mother-or-earl, and so forth. I have aJones with bone buttons that is probably best kept here in the country, since I don't want to risk having it confiscated or destroyed by a zealous customs officer for lack of proof concerning the button material. Yes, I have an appraisal from "Button Box" to the effect that the buttons are bone rather than ivory. So, I'm following this issue, as are several friends who are violinists with bows that may be subjected to confiscation. Here are some recent articles discussing the topic that appeared in the NYTimes. Has anyone actually followed the recommended path by contacting Fish & Wildlife ["Musicians traveling abroad with ivory instruments are still required to obtain a federal certificate that serves as a passport of sorts for their items. Mr. Hoover said musicians should apply online at the Fish & Wildlife service website at least 30 days in advance of travel.]? See: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/author/tom-mashberg/ [specifically, the 3rd item in this "Arts Beat" series, from May 15, 2014]; and (Tom Mashberg reporting in the NYTimes, June 20): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/21/arts/design/law-to-impose-tough-limits-on-sales-of-ivory-art.html?_r=0 NB his statement: ""Crucial to the bill is a section that outlaws the sale of all ivory objects unless an item is both at least 100 years old and consists of less than 20 percent ivory. Federal rules require that items be 100 years old but do not set any content restrictions." Stay tuned; I predict more confusion to come.
  8. Well, that attempt to post a photo of the basketry case didn't work. I have a couple of good photos but can't figure out how to attach or post them. BTW, to reply to RWL's query, yes, I think the name "ultrasuede" is kind of a generic (or maybe a brand?) name that's applied to the fabric that comes close to imitating suede leather.
  9. Having made a couple of cases for my concertinas -- two "gig-bag" nylon carry cases and a custom-made basketry case, handmade to order by a fine basketmaker/craftsman, I can tell you a couple of my solutions. One fabric that has worked very well is ultrasuede. Yes, I found it difficult to sew, since it's pretty dense. However, it has some advantages, in that it seems to wear well; stands up to the abrasion that comes with frequent insertion & removal of instrument. It's supple, and gradually adapts/conform to contours of an instrument. I found it was easy to glue it to foam or to other materials. Available in colors, too. I don't think it emits any gaseous fumes that might harm a fine wooden finish, but that's a question worth asking. I've used some cotton napped cloth that once was part of an L.L. Bean "chamois" cloth shirt, also with good results. If you know anyone who works with upholstery fabric, you might seek his or her opinion about suitable properties for something that will need to stand up to a lot of abrasion from wooden ends; wooden handrests; metal ends; screw heads; and so forth. However, in this department, there must be more than a few experienced cases-makers who can weigh in on the subject who also are members of C-net.
  10. I'd like to make a contribution to C.net in appreciation of its worth to me and squeezers everywhere. How do I do that?
  11. Thank you for pointing this out. Nice selection of tunes!
  12. I found the tribute to Pete written by fellow folk musician and singer Tom Paxton in today's "Washington Post" to be a fine evocation of the spirit of music making that both Pete and Tom have championed for these many decades.
  13. Elderly Instruments in Lansing MI has one. See: http://elderly.com/accessories/items/ACC-CONC.htm
  14. I've had a couple of wooden-ended Lachenals bushed with felt to help the feel of the buttons and really liked the results. In case you might want some practical advice about doing itself then I'd recommend contacting Greg Jowaisas to ask for advice or help.
  15. In "Anna Karenina" (released last year, with Keira Knightly), there's a brief pass across the stage during the opening sequence by an actor carrying an anglo concertina. If memory serves me right, there was no sound audible on the soundtrack because there was way too much noise from all the other activity going on.
  16. Since I suffer something like withdrawal-from-a habit-forming substance if I go more than a couple of days without playing my concertina, I'll take it with me on a cruise that begins next week in Oslo (Norway) and ends in Iceland. Does anyone know of music stores or concertina-playing activity in those places? Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
  17. The video I keep listening to/watching is this one -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcmkm5MevI&feature=related "Waltz for Hendrik" by Mannie Erasmus. To my mind, it's a lovely, understated demonstration of graceful music-making by a totally comfortable, mature artist. Does anyone by any chance know of sheet music for this piece? I'm not musician enough to transcribe it off the video. As close as I can figure it, he's playing in the key of G# !
  18. Allow me to add my satisfaction with the work that Greg has done for me on a Jones, a Lachenal, and some very nice work on my old 44-key Jeffries (circa 1885-1890).
  19. Mr. Bailey: As it happens, I'm in NYC once or twice a month and often go from there (or through there) to visit my son, who lives a couple of miles from the Button Box. If you're inclined to discuss this, please call me [ 301 933-9834 ]or write via private E-mail. I'll gladly take your instrument there for no charge and leave it in their care.
  20. I have a modest amount of research on players in Russia (and E. Europe -- but let's leave that for another thread), being a student of Russian music (strictly amateur) and Russian language & lit (as an academic) starting waaay back in college in the 60s. I can't lay my hands on my previous stuff, but I can send some beginnings here. For instance, there's this that appeared a couple of months ago on a musicians' list called Forum: "Russian accordion", written by Viktor Livanov: >>On it [concertina] there are all of a few people who play [these days]. In Moscow I know of one guy with an English and two with anglos and that, in all likelihood, is all. In Petersburg, nobody plays anglo any more at all or it's really unlikely.<< Then, there's Nikolai Bandurin, a specialist in chastushki (very hard to describe; it's kind of like vaudeville/music hall or a major specifically Russian urban folk tradition involving improvised (or seemingly improvised on the spot) satirical verse commentary on -- well, you name it -- with concertina riffs or choruses or show-off brief interludes between the jokes/verses. Often done by a pair of comedian-musicians. See: http://www.nikolaybandurin.ru/news/index.php/2009/08/13/intervyu-zhurnalu-oficery-rossii.html More later, if there seems to be interest, since this is kind of out of the mainstream (speaking, I admit, from a Western-centric viewpoint).
  21. Hoping I haven't missed someone else's posting about a sighting, here goes: There's a concertina -- an anglo, I recall -- being carried across the stage from upstage L to downstage right by someone in the recent "Anna Karenina." It comes very soon after the opening of the film, as the camera gradually moves onto the stage from the hall; onstage, there's lots going on and much confusion and movement. I didn't hear any music coming from the soundtrack (the pertson carrying looked as if he were playing) and it had all of 2-3 seconds of fame. My hat off to the person who thought of including it in the film, since there most definitely is a concertina tradition in Russia, mainly anglo, though to the best of my knowledge there's virtually nothing written about it (the tradition) that I've found during cursory research of my own. The instrument tended to be used by comedians who played brief interludes or riffs in between jokes, satirical comments, and that sort of thing. There were a couple of virtuosi who played it well, even up into the 1960s. Now there's a topic for a research paper!
  22. Greg: Could you contact me off-list about your anglo concertinas for sale? (301) 933-9845 gajdas_cp@verizon.net Thanks
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