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About RAc

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  1. Possibly the TO is puzzled about the seemingly missing backgrounds in some of the photos? It is my understanding, however, that these effects can be created by professional or semi professional photographers employing lighting techniques.
  2. Being a relative newcomer to concertinas myself (I got my first concertina, a Lachenal, in 2011 at the tender age of 48), I don't have decades of experiences to draw from, but the last 9 years have been pretty intense musically, so there are lots of incidents which I'd call highlights on an amateur level. I feel incredibly fortunate to have connected to the English folk dance scene which is a lovely group of open-minded and supportive people as well as a treasure cove of great tunes and dances I immediately felt at home with. Fantastic musicians, such as Alex Wade, Adrian Brown, Dave Ball, Chris Jewell and Jochen Riemer, have greatly helped, influenced and encouraged me. I especially love to play for dancers. There is something truly magical to the (between musicians and dancers) shared experience of a Ceilidh night. One highlight was a Ceilidh I helped organizing early this year (before "it" all began...). In the preparational process, I learnt a lot about the "behind the curtains" of dance nights, such as interacting with callers, understanding tune sets, matching dances with tunes and so on. Everybody was very nervous because we (the band - which only meets irregularly and had to perform without our "front man") didn't know what to expect (it was a Scottish ceilidh which until then we hadn't done yet) and the callers didn't know us except for a few videos. So the tension was almost audible, but with the first few bars, it was clear that the match was good, and from then on, the evening was pure fun. The other recent highlight was the positive encouragement I received in this wonderful forum for my "personal musical work." I intended my Soundcloud recordings most of all to be something like a documentation process of a musician's evolvement (some of my older recordings are actually pretty mediocre at best, but I leave them there because they were the best I could do at the time I recorded them). So again, thanks to everybody who listens to what I post - every comment or feedback is a small to major highlight, and if I learnt at some point that what I did actually helped someone else in his or her musical growth - that would certainly bring an even brighter smile to my face. Another major highlight was working with Alex Holden and Nina Dietrich towards my custom Crane, in particular the first minutes I spent in Alex's living room, being handed the beauty he had finished just hours before. It's impossible to convey the experience; after months of very intense communication and pondering detail options, seeing, smelling (yes, that's an important element as well) and playing and listening to what had been a random collection of raw materials just shortly before that is truly wonderful and also magical in its own way. Thanks for starting the thread, Alan, and I was moved quite a bit by your story! As a German native, I am naturally very aware of all the wrongs and sufferings our ancestors must be held responsible for, and I am very grateful for having spent most of my grown up years in a Europe that focussed on overcoming borders, healing and forgiving. It's very tragic that we are in a backlash period now (which I strongly hope will be over soon).
  3. Hi Lappy, I like this! You've got a good voice that suits this kind of music really well. May I ask if you (as a Canadian) have been tackling any of Stan Roger's songs? Might be a good match for your voice! The only suggestion I have about this video is the arrangement. I believe it could benefit from more distribution between the instruments and the voice. I'd suggest that you insert an instrumental break somewhere in the middle where you let the concertina take a solo (similar to what you do at the end) and then vary the voicings over the chorusses. Shanties with numerous chorusses tend to becoming tiring to listen to, so you may want to use the instruments to add a few surprises (such as leaving out the concertina altogether for half a verse). But given the number of instruments I see in the back of your video, it looks like you're very experienced, so you would probably have thought about these things yourself... Really good!
  4. This is really an unlisten youtube video. Since it is unlisted, I won't post the direct link. The tune is labelled Tom Maguire's Fancy, user's name is clunktrip.
  5. You're welcome! I'm by no means a Joplin expert, but I suspect there's even more. I'm planning on digging a bit deeper into that musical period, believing there are more treasures to be unearthed!
  6. Well, Geoff, apologies for not having responded so far - but (I'm almost ashamed to admit) the name Tommy Williams wasn't familiar, so I ordered his CD, my curiosity roused by your remark. The record arrived today, and I gave it a first listen. What can I say? Being likened to someone of his calibre is about the most flattering compliment imaginable. Thank you so much. Naturally, he was several leagues above what I can ever hope to accomplish musically, so reading those kind and encouraging words made all the long hours of working on the instrument worthwhile. There are a number of his pieces that may be doable for me, although very likely not as his level of technical ability, so once I've given the record some more thourough listening, I'd love to tackle transcribing and learning a few. Thanks again for pointing out his name to me, the record "Springtime in Battersea" should be very interesting to every duet player. Coincidentally, the record I got is a double CD featuring Gordon Cutty (EC) as the other artist. It's a lucky coincidence that there is one piece both players recorded (Woodland Flowers) and thus can be found twice on the record. I find it very instructional and enlightining to compare the EC and duet players' respective takes of the same piece!
  7. Hi Aleskei, I don't think anyone has pointed that out to you yet: When tackling concertina restauration jobs, DO get "the bible" (Dave Elliott's "Concertina Maintenace Manual"). It'll answer most questions you'll have at that level as well as prevent you from falling into numerous trap doors.
  8. Hi Alex, for the case, you can try Oliver Stoffregen: http://www.diatonie.de/index.html

    The case I left my Lachenal in when I picked up #3 was bought from him. The case is not in his current online catalogue, but I'm sure he can point you to sources (I believe it's an Italian one).


    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. RAc


      Hi Alex, the one I have does fit my 55 button Wheatstone which is octagonal. I'll measure it (both the case and the instrument) for you once I'm at home.

    3. RAc


      Hi Alex, the inside measurements of the case are 25x21,5 cm (bottom rectangle) x 20,5 (height, of which 5,5cms are the inside lid space and 15 the main height). My Wheatstone is 19cms across the sides and 20,5 cms across the corners. As I wrote before, it does fit in the case. Hope that helps!


    4. alex_holden


      Thanks, it sounds promising!

  9. Well Aleskei, I hope you do have extensive experience with wood/leather/paper/metal work outside of instrument restauration! Reading statements like the above tends to give me goose bumps - for the simple reason that concertinas make you believe they're easily restorable by amateur craftsfolks, but there are lots of trap doors you can fall into (btdt). My own personal experience is that the first restoration project tends to be a throw away job for reasons that are impossible to assess without some experience. I strongly recommend to learn your abcs from a cheap beaten up instrument of which there are many offered on ebay. The one we're looking at appears to be too valuable to be at risk of falling victim to beginner's enthusiasm. So best of luck - please keep us informed about your progress, but unless you are an apt and experienced craftsperson with lots of tools and patience at your disposal, expect the job to be harder and more time consuming than you may envisioned.
  10. In my ongoning exploration of early 20th century American music, I added a rendition of Joplin's Rosebud March to my SC collection: Played on my Wheatstone 55 button Crane. Thanks for listening!
  11. Added the magnificient Train of Artillery set (thanks to Jake Middleton-Metcalfe for introducing it) to my soundcloud collection:


    1. Don Taylor

      Don Taylor

      Very nice, I like these marches.  I have a question:


      When you play the little short sequences of 6 notes imitating a trumpet or a bugle (pap-pap-pap-pap-pa-paah) all the same note - there are quite a few of these at the end of your recording - do you play these with one finger or alternating fingers? 


      My first thought was to use alternating fingers, but it does not sound 'punchy' enough that way, not really a bugle-like sound.  Rapid tapping with the same finger gives me what I want, but we are not supposed to do that!

    2. RAc


      Thank you for your comment, Don!


      Your question proves you very observant (or whatever the acoustic counter part to that adjective is). I found the second piece (Marquis) much harder to play than the Train of Artilleries, mainly for the very reason that the punchy groove is very hard to get right. I still think that Jake does a much better job than me here.


      For the right hand, I'm actually re using the same finger. It works for two reasons: First, the phrase cries for a rather sharp staccato, so the "very hot needle" metaphor (hitting the notes very sharp and short - maybe even shocked ;-)) does the trick. Second, the first note of each group should in fact "push into" the bar, meaning you start playing the note slight ahead on lower volume and then increase volume to full on the 1 of the target bar. If that sounds too abstract, have a listen to Jake's rendition, he does a superb job, it should become clear then. One of the net effects is that you have more time to space the repetitive notes. The timing is sort of difficult to get right, though, because naturally you must keep the finger on the first repetition of the note until the bar push is completed and then make the subsequent notes shorter. It's one of those things where you must let your ears guide the fingers.


      Another thing to keep those phrases from sounding too static is to alternate the left hand chord chomping from on beat to off beat in (hopefully) the right places (this requires disciplined use of the metronome!). I also use the flat finger power chord trick on the Crane extensively for the left hand chord chomping to make the stresses fuller.


      You are very welcome to contact me via PM if you'd like to set up a Zoom session so we can go over some of the details if that's of any use to you.

  12. Hi Stephen, yes that's correct. The second reed is under the valve. You can actually take out the entire reed plate, there should be a hole in it into which you can stick a finger in and pry the thing out. It may take some work, but the plate is not mechanically attached to the casing. In Order to avoid putting it back the wrong way, you may want to put alignment markers on the top with a felt tip pen or somwthing the like. If you visualize the air flow, it's easy to deduct which one is which: On push, the bellows are initially full and press the air out via the reed whose button is pressed, so the air first pushes through the (inner) reed, then blows out the outer valve and escapes throgh the holes in the end plate. Likewise, the air presses against the inner valve and seals it, so all of the air must go through the inner reed. On pull, the reasoning is opposite.
  13. Hi Randy, we had this discussion before: https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/topic/20357-top-ten-session-tunes/ I still tend to believe that sessions tunes go in and out of style fairly quickly. There are tunes that pop up infrequently over and over again over the years (eg Chinese Breakdown or Levy Jackson Rag), but when it comes to "bread and butter tunes" such as 32 bar jigs or reels, I couldn't name any that make it beyond local favorite status (in our "tribe," The Great North Run is in that group)... I'd be curious how others look at this though.
  14. Hi Son_of_Leo and Stephen, Stephen may have erratically replied to the notification Email (even though the Email explicitly states not to respond). @Stephen: When logged on to c.net, you need to click the little envelope symbol on the right hand corner, then navigate to the message in question and follow response instructions. If you hit respond to the notification mail in your email client, nothing will happen; the response will go into byte heaven and never be seen by anyone. It's easy to fall into that trap. Some forum implementations therefore do not include the text of the message into the notification mail but simply inform you via Email that you have received a message, thus forcing you to explicitly log in to see the message. @Son_of_Leo: You can verify whether the recipient has read the message in your personal messenger area by looking for the "read" timestamp (it will either say "not read yet" or give you a time stamp for the time the recipient has retrieved the message).
  15. Hi Gregor, if my ear serves me right, I am inclined to suggest that you practice this against a metronome. The first part sounds about right, but in the second part I believe you lose the rhythm a few times. It appears to be rather tricky so without discipline it's very easy to lose the steady beat. Apologies if this should be a wrong assessment (I'm currently not at home so all I can do is tap out your video against the mp3 file you linked). Thanks RAc
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