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About RAc

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  1. Hi Jim, what makes you think that anyone on this forum would be able to give a definite answer, after the unbelievable chaos that happened on the political stage for three years? I don't believe anyone has a clue, in particular not the decision makers "in charge." To me it seems as if the current status is more or less bought time. Lots and lots of open questions with nobody in sight who appears to even know where to start looking for answers. The idea (as far as I understand it) is that, yes, the transition period until a final agreement is meant to preserve the status quo in at least the trade relationship between the EU and the UK. It's certainly something everybody in Continental Europe and most people in the UK would like to see happen, but you never know what happens in the UK parliament. I wouldn't bet on anything in this respect. All we can basically do is hold our breath and hope that sanity will eventually return.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brexit_withdrawal_agreement : " The negotiated and from both EU and UK government agreed withdrawal agreement, if passed by the House of Commons, provides for a transition period after leaving the EU until 31 December 2020, in which the UK would temporarily effectively stay in the single market, in order to ensure frictionless trade until a long-term relationship is agreed. However, the latter remains subject of negotiations yet to come. If no such agreement is reached by that date and the transition period is not extended, a no-deal Brexit would remain the default outcome in 2021. "
  3. Hi......? I'm Robin

        My main question is the 70% issue...............I just haven't heard this before (  I don't think)

              Actually bellows control is central to my anglo playing ......I have designed a layout and Colin D. has built 3 anglos for me. It's a somewhat changed standard  37/38 key layout such that MY anglo ends up playing a bit like a bandoneon, thus playing a lot more on the draw and less on the press to try to get longer legato phrases with less bellows reversals ( which I often try to avoid.)

         So, I often need to compress my bellow fully to get max. air for the phrase. Perhaps less so on my very responsive G/D, but the F/C needs lots of air for chords and my bass G/D Dipper could really use compressed air scuba tanks !.....I'm still coming to terms with this one.

                   THAT SAID..............I did try to measure my bellows use ( slow day in paradise here !) and pretty much don't extend the bellows over 70% most of the time. However , if I needed to I really wouldn't be troubled. I think new anglo players have other things to occupy their minds but I agree that bellows control is hugely important.......funny thing is I also play English and am rotten at bellows control, and melodeon, which I am great at bellows control because I keep the bottom strap done up to get more response from my reads.

        Did you mean 70% on draw and press ?

    Anyway, it's always a pleasure to chat with others interested in concertinas; I'm up here in Paris, Ontario.

                   Just added a couple of videos for interest.



  4. Hi there Mathhag, this is a difficult question to answer because everyone is different, has a different approach to music, different expectations and goals, individual difficulties to overcome; therefore, whatever advice you get will be from the individual perspective of the answering person and may or may not be of help to you. So here is my personal answer, derived from my personal (limited) horizon. I hope you'll be able to make something of it... To me, the most important insight is that the process of making music consists of many different skills. Being able to play one (or even many) tunes in the closed space of one's bedroom is one very basic skill, but there are many more, such as playing the same tunes with distractions, in the presence of others, in sessions, in ensembles, for dancers, finding variations on the tunes, possibly improvising over the tune, picking out tune harmonies in real time, transposing tunes on the fly and so on. The point is that you will need to practice every skill separately. As long as you "merely" practice the same tunes in the same arrangements in the confined space of your music room, you can do that for hundreds of hours and will still be frustrated as soon as another person enters the room because even the most familiar tune will be gone as if you had never played it before (you have limited your practicing to one skill - tune memorizing - but neglected working on another one - playing with distractions). You'll be surprised how even seemingly small changes of the environment such as changing rooms, try playing while standing, even leaving the door open will affect your ability to play the tune. Thus, one of the best favors you can do to yourself is try to leave your "comfort zone" as frequently as possible so that your brain becomes used to the changes and environment. I for myself have established a "work flow" in which I try to memorize a tune in the first step (I'm neither a very good sight reader nor a good by ear player), and as soon as I have done that reasonably well, practice the tune against a metronome, then try to speed up the tune until I can play along with a Youtube recording of the same tune. Sometimes I'll do things like record myself and then try to accompany my own recording with a different playing style. Also, whenever I think I've got a tune to a presentable state, I'll take it to a session and show it to other session menbers. If it resonates (as it does every once in a while), it becomes part of the session's repertoire. All of the above serves one umbrella purpose - namely to practice as many of the different skills used in music making as needed to serve your personal goals. Now you say that you live in a remote area, so you don't have many opportunities to play with other musicians (which is one of the most important, satisfying and and yielding ways of making music). However, you can approximate that particular skill, for example by trying to play along with YouTube recordings. So to finally come back to your initial question - my advice would be to not think in terms of "how many tunes should I work on" but look at the tunes as vehicles to get better in as many of the skills you would like to get better in as possible. One of the things you'll possibly experience is that once you widen your repertoire, you'll live in the anxiety to forget pieces that you worked on a longer time ago because now you spend your time working on the more recent ones. That's normal and expected, so the balance between keeping your repertoire so small that you can take care of all of your tunes and learning new ones is sort of hard to keep. Oops, that late already? Sorry, I start blubbering nonsene. Hopefully there are one or two useful ideas in those elaborations...
  5. Actually, the advice is not about wear prevention, but about articulation. You basically face the same problem on push and pull: If you are almost at the end of your bellows travel but can't reverse yet for whatever reason, your notes start to become anemic, so you want to keep a reserve. Someone of your experience and level of expertise may have forgotten about this a long time ago... ;-) In case we do delegate this to another thread (good idea btw unless it is agreed that this is of interest to Gregor), please explain your statement " if I need air, then I need air and it's not because of lack of bellows control". Isn't the issue of air supply central to all bellows driven instruments, and isn't the key to its solution the ability to always have enough air... and isn't this a direct function of how one works the bellows?
  6. Not at all that bad, Gregor, given that you've only been at "it" for so briefly! An observation I'd like to share is that you tend to work your bellows in the red zone, in particular on pull. While playing, you shouldn't extend or compress the bellows beyond +-70% of its range, in particular when you have enough folds. In practice that means you should change bellow directions more frequently so you don't risk the danger of running out of air. When to reverse is somewhat of a science; pick ends of phrases if possible so that the changes are hardly (ideally not at all) audible. Check the Videos of your favorite artists, paying particular attention to their bellows control. It's a very very common phenomenon, bellows control is one of the issues that tend to be swept under the carpet or waved away with comments like "it'll just come over time." Not exactly helpful a remark like that is, but I guess it comes over time by itself, no?...
  7. Just for completeness' sake - there is a competitor's app that does pretty much the same thing sa beat mirror: LiveBPM No lock- in metronome feature either, more like a "visual metronome" the two can act as.
  8. fwiw, I did contact Alex at tencettles. The beat mirror does not feature a metronome, but he is very interested in the idea. He wrote he'll give it a thought and might incorporate the lock in metronome into the beat mirror, so stay tuned! 😊 For another side note, I wrote to Thomann's studio department. The big T is Europe's largest outlet store for everything around music. They're not aware of any device that has lock in met features, so very likely there is none on the market...
  9. I'm not sure. Either you misread my question or I misread your answer. I'm not looking for beginner's instructions on how to play in time. I use a metronome very frequently and have been playing for dances and other contexts that require steady rhythms for several years now. Knowing a tune by heart before attempting to play it against outside distractions is part of my elementary work flow. The first part of the issue is that frequently bands/session groups/ensembles run off time collectively, normally speed up in the run of a piece (I'm sure many bands experience this problem). That problem can be dealt with by making one person (ideally the drummer if there is one) responsible for beat keeping and chaperoning the rest of the band to stick to the beat, if need be with the help of a metronome. Now the second part is tricker, namely, you can not set a static beat on the chaperone's metronome before the beginning of a tune. In a normal dance/session context, the actual speed of a given piece is determined by the person starting the tune (frequently the musical leader, in a dance context in accordance with the caller), not the chaperone. The time to try to adjust the metronome to that speed normally is not there for the chaperone and/or would require extra work: Setting the metronome to tap mode, hitting the tap button in time until the metronome has locked in to the rhythm, then starting the metronome on that speed (in sync with the music that's already playing!) and finally joining in. To overcome that second part, I thought about a self-adjusting metronome that determines the beat via a built in microphone (a lot like the beat mirror does) and then continues the rhythm on its own (of course with the beat in time with the predetermined samples). Can your answer help solving these problems? If not, apologies for not making them clear enough. If yes, how? And yes, it is true that in real gig settings, the bands should not have to rely on metronome help to collectively keep a steady beat (although I've heard of a number of pro bands where the drummer frequently derives his backbone rhythm from a rhythm computer during concerts), and in some contexts is is desireable to be flexible with the rhythm for various reasons (for example if the caller requests a change of speed during the dance). Nevertheless, such a device could be very useful during band practices at the very least. Thanks!
  10. Great, thanks Mike! That does look promising, but the feature missing appears to be the ability to couple with a true ticking metronome. I'll email Alex and ask him about it. Now if I only had an Apple device... 😢 I'd still prefer a standalone device, though, because timing will never work accurately in a Smartphone environment (all it takes to seriously disrupt the function is a virus scanner or updater kicking in right when you're in the middle of a fast Polka...). Nevertheless, it's a great pointer, thanks again!
  11. why sure, it could. One could also build a little foot pedal for the tap button, but both would sort of defeat the purpose. I understand that musical analysis is not an easy task, but when I look at, for example, the waveforms visible in Cubase when recording, I see clearly perceptible peaks on the beats (well that may be specific to certain instruments and certain styles of music). Also, many electronic metronomes these days have what is called a "training mode" in which the desired beat is matched against what you really play, so the metronome can tell you're off. If it can do that, it should also be able to scan a recording in real time and assign a beat to it, no? Thanks!
  12. Hi there, I am trying to find a metronome that "listens" to its environment for a beat and starts to tick autonomously once it "locks on" that beat. Sort of like the tapping function except the tapping input does not come from a button but instead from the analysis of microphone input. Surprisingly, there does not appear to be such a gizmo. At least my online research hasn't yielded results yet. That kind of thing would be very useful in dance contexts where the exact speed is not known until the tune has started and there are no free hands or feet to tap the rhythm. Once locked, the metronome would prevent the player/band from speeding up or slowing down. Is anyone out there aware of such a device (if all fails, a Smartphone app would do, but I very much prefer standalone devices)? Thanks!
  13. Thanks for the response, wunks! All of what you write is a lot like it is in English/Scottish music. I'm mostly interested in the details of your final half sentence though (" you can then proceed accordin' "). From my limited understanding of American music, I seem to remember that the dances are less set but rather called "on the fly," so the musicians indeed need to listen to the introduced sequence of figures to obtain a sense of the details "in real time." In English/Scottish however, when the caller announces the name of the dance, the musicians normally know the sequence of figures and so have an idea of what tunes to pick. Could you elaborate on the exact meaning of "proceed accordin""? Thanks! @Mudchutney and @John, Wexford: Thanks so much, that's exactly the kind of responses I was looking for! Happy New Year to everyone!
  14. Just for completeness' sake... All the best for 2020!
  15. I have a question for you experienced dance musicians and/or dancers. As far as I can tell, most English and Scottish dances work in multiples of 8 bars, meaning a set of dance figures is normally finished after a multiple of 8 bars, and the next round of a dance consequently begins at another multiple of 8. A typical example is the Eightsome reel, where the "body" of the dance consists of 8 rounds of 48 bars each. Further dissecting the dance, one finds that each round is split into two identical halves, each of which further splits into three groups of 8 bars. The first group is an ad lib dance of the dancer in the middle of the moving circle, the second group futher dissects into two halves of 4 bars each in which the center person sets and dances with one distinct partner, and the third group is a figure 8 reel pattern among 3 dancers, again in 8 bars span. (There is also a 40 bar intro and outro dividing into 5 groups of (again) 8 bars each, but that's just for completeness). On the musical side, the "basic blocks" are of course a huge selection of pieces to choose from. Most English and Scottisch pieces appear to be 32 bar pieces (jigs, reels or hornpipes mostly). A lot of those can be looked at as 2*2*8 bar pieces structured AABB, but the A and B sections are so discreet and standalone that each multiple of 8 can easily be constructed from them, e.g. AABAB, ABBAB for 40 bar groups and ABABAB, ABBABB, AABBAB, ABAABB or something the like for 48 bar groups. Some 32 bar pieces, however, are structured more like 2*16 so it's not easy to rearrange the parts freely (for example the Knutsford). There are 48 bar pieces such as the Galopede that are basically AABBCC extensions to AABB, so these can as well be rebuilt in any convenient way (eg ABCABC or AACBBC for 48 bar pieces). Now the interesting question is of course how to select music to accompany a given piece best. I've looked at many Youtube videos of this particular dance (the Eightsome reel) and of course also read the thread on mudcat (https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=135364) in search of an answer. The reason being that a band I'm involved in too may need to accompany the Eightsome Reel soon... There is a broad spectrum of approaches. In some cases, there are 10 different AABB reels played against each of the ten sections, frequently played ABABAB in each of the middle rounds. It seems to me that this would mostly be appropriate for dancers who know the dance really well; each new tune can be chosen to add more dynamics and drive to the previous one, thus "pushing" the dancers who don't really need fixed points in the music to revert to. On the other side of the spectrum, you would have one or at most two ABCABC piece(s) for the entire body of the dance, so the dancers have recognizable "safe harbors" to resync with if they get lost (The ABC groups align nicely with the halves of each round). Thus, this is probably the better choice with dancers just learning the dance. On the downside, playing the same tune for 8 rounds may get boring in the dancer's ears and gives little room for adding or subtracting dynamics during the dance. I'd be interested in knowing how you seasoned dance musicians tackle those questions. Let's assume your band has an active repertoire of, say, 50-100 32 bar reels and maybe half a dozen 48 bar reels which you could all use in a million of possible permutations of A,B, and C sections. Let's also assume that a caller suddenly announces the Eightsome reel so you would need to make a decision what to play to the dance (the question would of course arise the very same way with any other dance). Would you typically use the same music every time for the same dance, or does the front person look at the overall picture (such as whether these are experienced or beginning dancers, how much you would want to challenge them, how much they have had to drink so far, how exhausted they are and so on) and then decide on the music? If a given dance has an "internal structure" of, say, 2*3 groups of 8 bars each, would you prefer a 48 bar reel played ABCABC to match the grouping over an ABABAB rendition of a "standard" tune, or don't you care? It is my sentiment that the best dance musicians would make a fresh decision with every new dance, taking all of the factors into consideration dynamically so the music would best fit the dancers, their experience, the overall mood of the location, time and occassion, the vibes and so on? Or am I overinterpreting? Please don't flame me if this should be a stupid or trivial question, I'm fairly new to dance music. It's an exciting and fascinating world, and there is so much to learn... Thanks!
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