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Everything posted by RAc

  1. RAc

    Christoph Pelgen

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the name - Christoph is one of the corner stones of Balfolk music in Central Europe. He's a well read, versatile, humorous, warm and emphatic human being, plays pretty much every instrument known in the balfolk scene and is also an enormously productive tune writer. There are huge collections of his tunes available. He writes about them: "So my tunes can all be used free of charge and I would be pleased if they got played. You can do whatever you like with them, change them, find your own variations and harmonies. If you want to record one of my melodies, I simply request that you attribute it tom me and send me a copy of the CD." I have recorded one of his tunes on my soundcloud collection: soundcloud link (of course including all the imperfections and shortcomings implied by my limited abilities as a musician). It's a very witty tune, and pure fun to play! And yes, there is a chord change I keep missing in the D part (in the repetiotin short before the rhythm change, there should be a Bb instead of a Gm). I know, but my fingers refuse to learn that... I keep working on it.
  2. RAc

    Christoph Pelgen

    I recorded another tune by Christoph: Scottish Latino I added a second voice and played all three tracks (melody w/ concertina, bass w/ concertina and rhythm guitar) myself. As the name implies, this is a Balfolk piece with a strong latin twist to it which I hope I could capture a little bit. Recorded with Holden #3 Crane duet. Thanks for listening as usual! P.S. I took wunks's point back to the other thread it was brought up in.
  3. Added Waterman's Hornpipe to my Soundcloud collection. This is an unusual and very energetic and hypnotizing Shetland traditional tune. Doesn't sound much on a solo concertina, but I plan bringing it into the repertoire of my session group. The piece sounds great in an ensemble with brass instruments.


    This recording is also unusual for me because it's single take, no cuts, no post processing (except for normalizing).


    Thanks to my friends Louise and Klaus for bringing it to my attention!


    Played on my Holden Crane.


    Waterman's Hornpipe


  4. I believe David Bernert should be David Barnert?
  5. RAc

    Name of this tune from the Hebrides?

    Who am I to argue? You are so much more knowledgeable about music than I am... the only objection I would have about this observation is that both the German tunes you mention are muscially very basic and simple (more or less varations on the ionic scale), more like playful introductions to "Western listening habits" with random fitting lyrics. They may well have evolved independent of one another (music historians may well may prove me wrong though). I envision something like children practicing diatonic scales on, say, the recorder and making up lyrics on the fly as they do so. I see more family relations between "Man in the moon" and "the wild rover," believing it unlikely that those two evolved independently.
  6. RAc

    445 Hz?

    Coincidentally, this incident has found its way into (at least) one song which is very much worth listening to - "Stonecutter" by the wonderful Canadian Singer/Songwriter James Keelaghan (released on his album "Home"). No concertina in those lyrics, though. We're pretty much completly off the original issue anyways, otherwise the issue should probably be moved to a separate thread.
  7. Wunks wrote: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ While my sentiments align with those above, I sense a need for at least a minimal level of protection of attribution. It seems a regular practice in the "industry" to use the promotional formula "such and such a tune" by "such and such a recording artist" to imply authorship. "as played by" would be fine. It seems to happen a lot with folk music of uncertain origins but I've seen it with contemporary tunes as well. What would be a minimal protection for casual compositions ? Does playing a tune on a site like this and declaring authorship help? Given the sometimes cannibalistic nature of the Music/Money biota, I can envision facing legal action for playing one's own creations........ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I believe this discussion might as well be kept here as it addresses the nature of folk which correlates quite weill with the thread title. I understand that there are entire folk degree programmes at universities that exclusively deal with definition attempts for "folk," so hopefully someone with that type of background will chime in. An observation that may be in place here is that there are a number of "classical" pieces that made their way into the standard folk repertoire, therebye losing its origin and authorship attributes. Random examples are the Huntsmen's Chorus ("Freischütz" bei Carl Maria von Weber), the Fowler (Mozart's Vogelfänger) and Michael Turner's Waltz (also a Mozart piece). Those are frequently found in tune collections, sometimes attributed, most often not. Folk repertoire appears to be more interested in anonymous pools of danceable tunes, although (in particular in English music) there is also a tradition of honoring local musicians and their work by keeping their names in the titles of the tunes (which is the safest way to ensure the names don't get dropped). Walter Bulwer and Fred Pidgeon spring to mind here. I strongly believe in intellectual property, and I would very much appreciate it if the composership and creative achievement would be honored over time. However, in (particularly folk) music good pieces tend to get lives of their own and will be kept alive even after the death of the composer, which would be an argument in favor of "forgetting" the composer over time. Very creative composers like Pat Shaw and Christoph Pelgen will eventually be remembered as long as original collections of their works are preserved, so researchers and collectors will be able to trace down the orgin of the tunes. All of this is of course difficult in the times of the internet, in which IP is assumed to be free and part of the public domain, as you suggest. I personally hope that this attitude is just a phase and will fade over time, giving way to the consciousness that it's always and only individual humans who create something new and original, and their names should be honored (and, more importantly, their work will be honored through allwoing those individuals to make a living on their work). Time will tell.
  8. Bphhhht. You mean the stuff college kids live on during Spring Break recess? The chemically synthesized substance sold at a Buck a gallon that makes your vomit turn bright daisy yellow? I don't have any idea how I survived my Graduate years at IU even though I only got trashed twice or three times on that crap. Would have been enough poison to finish a small army though. There are acceptable beers in the States, they're called Microbrews, but those certainly don't qualify as "thin" (and I'm not sure if many folk festivals get their supplies from Microbrewers). Us Germans unfortunately don't have a lot of reason to claim pride in our cultural heritage (a terrible little lunatic with a ridiculous moustache and a single testicle has driven that out of the German soul for good among many many other things), but IF there is anything we may use to connect the terms "German" and "good" without a bitter taste, then it is beer (even though there are bitter brews in the portfolio. Pun intended!). Anyways, that was just a side remark, let's try to keep the thread focussed on the issue of folk, right?
  9. It's been 25 years since I lived and worked in the US the last time, so I can't make a meaningful statement about the current scene there (I listen to folk alley quite a bit which suggests a rather lively scene, but scattered scarcely all across the vast country). But I will chime in immediately in your envious observation that the UK has an extremly lively traditional folk music and dance scene. It appears very very easy to find session and playalong opportunities practically everywhere (except, interestingly enough, in Scotland, at least 10 years ago when we visited it). Throughout the entire summer one can practically spend every day and night at folk festivals without wasting a whole lot of time driving. There's traces of Morris dancing everywhere. Some of those really into the scene can plan and pursue careers as session/dance/band musicians, callers, festival organizers and so on. And it's even spreading; we have a growing scene of English folk music enthusiasts in Continential Europe which (I don't have hard numbers to support this, it's just my impression being a member of the scene) has already outnumbered the Irish scene and comes close to Balfolk following. I personally tried myself on Irish music but could never get the hang of it, but English immediately resonated when I was introduced to it a few years ago. Can't seem to get enough of it. I'm also fascinated by the lightness which English musicians seem to be able to walk the tightrope between traditional and modern music. Prime example to me is Show of Hands which can play any jig/reel/hornpipe you name but also tackle very modern issues and incorporate young and fresh music and musicians. Chapeau! Let's just hope that through strands like this we can rebuild the bonds that are being cut off by all the Brexit lunacy.
  10. Sincere apologies to you, Rod; I did not mean to imply you were suggesting anything wrong. Yes, Larry IS concerned with a single reed only, but it was my Intention to point out to him that for a single reed to sound right in a given reed assembly, it has to be tuned to the system of all reeds in the assembly, not only to some absolute frequency (it is not unlikely that this means the same thing, but it's not a given either). Of course a complete re-tune is nowhere in the picture (I never mentioned that anywhere in my post; again apologies if my posting was unclear about this). Apologies also to Larry in case I stated something obvious to him.
  11. Uhm, I'd be very hesitant to recommend this strategy to someone new to tuning concepts without these words of caution: 1. This tuner app will probably assume equal Temperament Tuning. IF the Instrument in question is indeed tuned in ET (it likely is, but it's no given!), it's safe to use the "absolute" frequency (but see below). If, however, the Instrument happens to be tuned in something like mean tone tuning, adjusting the needle to 0 may make the reed sound really bad. 2. Prior to attacking the reed, Larry should double check that the Instrument is otherwise not only in (ET, see above) tune with itself but also in concert pitch (meaning A should be tuned to 440 Hz). If that is not the case, meaning the Instrument is in tune with itself but not with respect to absolute Standard pitch, tuning the reed to a Zero needle will, again, make it sound off. If A is NOT tuned to 440 Hz but the Instrument is in tune with itself, then the 0 needle position for the D# must be adjusted so that it fits the relative Tuning of the Instrument. The tuner App possibly can do that, but it's sort of an expert mode.
  12. RAc

    Double Duet

    absolutely brillant, Don, thanks for sharing! Couldn't stop laughing!
  13. RAc

    Double Duet

    I did propose it in aonther thread, but if memory serves me right, I originally got the idea from John (Anglo-Irishman) a good number of years ago. Thanks for remembering me though! Just to bring the issue back on top: I wrote a little Windows app that allows you to design your own keyboard and "dry test" it on your tablet, that might be an alternative to paper and pencil (and even makes the "right" noises). Re the design: I guess its usefulness largely depends on the kind of music you are targetting. One problem with this layout I see (from the point of view of a dance/session "musician") is that transposing appears to be quite awkward. Both the Crane and Hayden and (judging from my limited exposure; I'm sure more knowledgable people will chime in) the EC allow you to play a piece you already know in a (circle of fifth) related key without too much re-fingering. Hayden none as far as I understand the system. On the Crane, you basically move one row up for a fourth and a row down for a fifth and can recycle the same fingering pattern almost identically (one position will change with each step). Of course you'll need different chords on the left, but that's not a big deal once you got familar with the basic chord shapes. If worst comes to worst, give your left hand a brake and become a melody only player briefly. It depends on the range used by the melody how many keys you can cover this way, but for many standard dance pieces, you can usually play the same tune in D,G,C and possibly A Ionian (and derived keys of course) with little fingering adjustments. That's actually fairly useful for session playing. In English sessions, most pieces are played in G or D, but in Balfolk sessions, there are occassional standard repertoire overlaps - but the sound space in Balfolk is centered around C and F. So if you know a piece in, say, G, and go to a sessions where they play the same piece in C, you can work yourself out of the dilemma with little pain once you know the G fingering. I don't see how one could accomplish this with the proposed design. But again, if the TO is not a session player but instead looks for a way to play classical or jazz pieces covering a wide range of keys, it may be more useful. I myself am not too interested in new layouts (I feel comfortable enough with the Crane way of things with its +s and -s and try to get as far with it as I can), but it's always fun to muse about different ways to go about things.
  14. RAc

    Adrian's Concertina Instructor...

    http://www.concertina.com/merris/bibliography/anglo-tutors.htm It's a C.F. Adrian (further details were not available on short internet search, I'm sure someone will pitch in here soon)
  15. RAc

    Shipping from Germany to US.

    The problem w/ DHL is that their rates raise exponentially with shipment insurance coverage. If I remember correctly, I chose UPS to send my Concertina for maintenance to Norwich a few years ago, they were by far the least expensive. @Rod: The individual who will send your concertina to you may want to inquire w/ Mailboxes etc. They have quite a number of branches in Germany and will probably be familiar with Cross Atlantic shipping options and may even handle the shipment in total with the sender.
  16. Nice, Tim! Robust and steady beat, and the melody comes across clear. Only thing that comes to my mind is that the basses are sometimes uneven in attack, at places sound diffident, and at times it looks like you get into the yellow air supply area. One possible way around all the issues would be to hit the bass notes sharper and shorter (think of the old red hot needle metaphor). Not that I could claim any superior ability for myself (by no means), it's just my impression as a seasoned listener. But when it gets to that level of criticism, the implication is that it already is very good (it is imho). Thumbs up!
  17. It may be a browser problem. Some versions of Internet Explorer are known to corrupt zip files during download. Fiddler2007 may try to use an other browser for download.
  18. I'm surprised you haven't considered Alex Holden yet... he's an extremly talented craftsman, he'll do pretty much every customization you can think of, makes stunning concertinas old style new tech... plus, flying out to MAN from Germany to pick it up in Person is (perversly) cheaper than insured shipment (I know because I've been there). Only issue is his current order back log, you'll need to check with him.
  19. RAc

    445 Hz?

    +1. In my opinion, one of the cardinal sins in making music is making music all by oneself (I must know because I did that for ~30 years until I realized it wouldn't get me anywhere). The sooner a beginner starts to become engaged in session groups, workshops, playalongs, ceilidhs etc the better and the faster the musical progress. Playing an Instrument that does not allow you to play along with many other instruments really is a turn off, so a compatible pitch should be a killer criterion for picking an Instrument.
  20. RAc

    445 Hz?

    Actually, the "right" choice of systems is probably the #1 question asked by novices. It's the kind of question that yields 5 different answers from 4 different people, which is a strong indication that there is no answer that suits more than one musical biography. I started out about the same time as Wolf. Upon advice from Anglo-Irishman, I chose the Crane duet and have stuck with it ever since, so by now you have three Germans going down three and a half different rows (if John pitches in, that makes it four Germans and probably six roads). What you may want to do to help you choose "your" system is print out the different layouts in approximately 1:1 size and do some dry playing on paper to get a feel for the different playing philosophies.
  21. RAc

    MIDI concertina project

    I don't think anybody's pawning off one against the other, or am I wrong?
  22. RAc

    MIDI concertina project

    well, maybe this helps to understand some of the resistance against MIDI concertinas played in a folk environment: I'm digital by profession but analogue by passion. My job is to develop Embedded firmware, specializing on Machine to Machine communication. This is farily technical; I do my share of debugging with an oscillscope, and I'm familiar with most current digital technologies (I can crank out something like the purely digital concertina I recently programmed without a lot of effort). I truly love my job. If there was any value for me in such a project, I could help with the Software side of such a project and come up with a fairly decent solution quite fast. Yet I don't want the rest of my life to be dominated by something that requires electrical power, to a high degree *because* I am very familiar with and aware of its potential for abuse, misuse and overuse. I refuse to participate in so-called social networks, my access control system is a good old metal key, I'll never invite anything called Alexa or her facefriends in my life, and any gadget named something with "Smart" in it doesn't have any business in a house I'll ever live in. I could write my own book about the naïveté with which people sacrifice very delicate and intimate personal freedoms to modern technology and its luring conveniences (and as a side effect help destroy our planet through useless waste of electric energy, but that's a different story). Thus I don't have much use for digital music. I have a few electric powered music tools (metronome, digital tuner, a virtual concertina on a tablet and a few pieces of software that help with printed music), but those are but aids to help me become better in playing good old analogous instruments of good old natural materials (wood,leather,paper and metal). I use the ETools exclusively at home so that I can interact better with other musicians as soon as there is more than one instrumentalist involved. There is something in the experience of playing real hand made music (even better: for real human dancers) that refuses to become sucked into the digital borg. It's still genuinely human in very many respects, highly interactive and leaves space for things that are automatized away by the algorithmic world we choose to live in. Things like space to make errors, doing irrational activities for the pure fun of it, be part of a choreography that has a lot of beauty without being judged on a scale from 1 to x, provide a play ground to experiment with wild ideas and so on. I like the musical experience being that way. Mainstream music (99% of what is publicly successful and played in public) is streamlined, pre-and postprocessed, industrialized, tailored to marketing manipulated "market demands," predominantly a vehicle to increase company profits and more and more generated without the participation of humans or acoustic instruments. To my ears it's no fun to listen to. Why play a concertina you can by the flip of a switch make sound like a trombone? If I wanted something to sound like a trombone, I'd play a trombone. If I wanted something to sound like another instrument without being another instrument, I'd play a MDI keyboard. Although there is a reasonable space for digitally supported musical instruments in predominantly acoustic environments (a case that springs to mind is electronic bag pipes which allow the player to practice without affecting neighbors and family members), I prefer the "public" folk world to be the oasis it is and thus feel very uncomfortable with electronic instruments of any kind (even electric basses for which there are very valid arguments) in it. Concertinas belong to the niche instruments whose domain *is* the folk world. There are some instances of concertinas being used in other contexts (for example, Stefan's Rock'n'Roll concertina is a very interesting and intriguing crossover which I don't object to because its target realm already is fairly electronic to begin with, so it's taking the concertina into the electronic world instead of vice versa), but most people, I believe, take up concertina playing to be part of the folk (and thus old fashioned analogue) world. I believe (hope?) to be in agreement with a good percentage of other members of the folk community in this respect. Therefore I do not believe there is much reward for an individual putting a lot of work into such a project (unless of course the work is predominantly done for oneself and afterwards shared to other interested people as in my case). I personally prefer to spend my spare time practicing on real concertinas than working on artificial ones, even though the sounds I could generate on the latter ones may sound much "better" (which wouldn't be due to my mastering them, though, but thanks to the algorithms preprogrammed into them). This is not to criticize you or your work, just an attempt to explain why it isn't very likely to catch on (even less as electronics capture more and more of our daily lives).
  23. RAc


    I play both. Don't worry about the callous on the fingertips, it's not going to affect your concertina playing. The only incompatibility I found is that you do not want to play a concertina with guitarist's picking hand finger nails (a costly french polishing job will be the price).
  24. My beloved gave me a Windows 10 tablet for Christmas, which I took as reason to refresh my UI programming skills (I'm a systems level developer, and I HATE developing UIs). What I have so far is an App similar to Eskin's concertina app, but it runs on WIndows 10 (theoretically scalabe from mobiles to everything else that supports touch screens), displays both hands of a 45 button Crane and plays the sound(s) when the corresponding button(s) is/are touched. The "final" version will offer the opportunity to design your own keyboard layout as XML files (unfortunately this will be limited to unisonoric instruments). The idea is to have a simulator that lets you try out unfamiliar layouts or do some practice on your familiar layout. And no, there won't be fancy graphics, just grey-on-black button shapes (if anyone is willing to make something bigger out of it, I might be willing to share the source at some point). Before rolling out the thing, I'd like to have a few of you look over what I have so far in terms of compatibility, usability, general feedback and so on. Aside from owning a Windows 10 device, you should have some at least some rudimentary knowledge of computing (you'll probably need to install a certificate in order to install the package and stuff like that). This is intended to be a non profit crowd development thing (I'd request users to share their custom keyboard layouts). I also don't want to spend an infinite amount of time on it (I'd rather practice on a real concertina than a virtual one), so once the feature set I envision is implemented, that would be the end of at least my work on it. Please drop me a PM if you're interested. Thanks!