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Everything posted by RAc

  1. Thanks, I wasn't aware of that. In any case, I never meant this to be a permanent solution, only a troubleshooting technique to narrow down the problem It's certainly a good idea to swap the reeds back after the test is completed.
  2. yes, of course. F,G and C is what I meant to write. The soft keyboard on my tablet yields unpredictable output. Sorry for that and thanks for pointing it out! Poor Roger obviously followed me in falling down the trap door...
  3. Interesting! Obviously, the question arises why the sharps are ommitted from the F,G and A names? Is that deliberate?
  4. yes and no... there is nothing incorrect about what you write; however, the important (semantic?) difference between text and music (the "contents" of what is being written) is that texts are for the ear (through listening) AND for the eyes (through reading), whereas music is exclusively for the ear*. Thus, any musical notation is a crutch that attempts to "freeze music on another medium for later playback." I believe that there is no inherent advantage of one crutch over the other; they are all targetted a different aspects of the playback process (for example, all of the "standard notations" and their variations bear a visual relationship between pitch and position on the staff which - I postulate - make it inherently easier to visualize music within the mind's eye. On the other hand, MIDI and abc - which is sort of twins separated at birth - make it much easier to render music electronically, transport it, transpose it and so on.) Possibly within one or two more generations, standard musical notation will be but an exhibition piece in the museum of cultural history, with digital storage being the state of the art. That would very likely yield neither better than worse music than the last several hundred years, but certainly a very different way to approach music and musical learning. *(Of course, a nicely and diligently laid out score (in any notation) also has an inherent aesthetical value, but I darestate that this value does in no way relate to the value of the original piece of art and its reception.)
  5. Sean, a fairly straightforward test on a unisonoric instrument is to swap the push and pull reeds in the offending chamber. If the problem stays on the same direction, look at a valve issue. If the problem switches directions with the swap, it is a reed issue.
  6. My nephew decided to learn Piano Accordeon at the age of five. I decided to learn the concertina at close to fifty, in parts because I had hauled his Weltmeister from A to B one too many times... But I had tried myself at the guitar for about 30 years prior to that, and I guess my nephew and I picked our first respective instruments for the same basic reason: We had heard someone play it somewhere and liked the sound. Thus the formula appears simple: The more popular an instrument is, the more young followers it will attract. Of course, there are other effects. My father had dediced to learn the piano at a young age also for the same reason, and it would have been natural for me to get started on the piano as well when I was a kid. Yet it seemed uncool at that time; the guitar seemed so much cooler (and was rather rebell-ish back then which made it even cooler).
  7. I believe I mentioned that already, but for my projects, I'm using FluidSynth on a Windows machine to render the input coming in over USB MIDI. I haven't exactly stress tested that yet, but I can't say the results were unsatisfactory. Worth a try in any case.
  8. Couldn't agree more - it is apparent that a lot of heart blood has found its way into the organization of rhat remarkable WCD. Thanks so much to everyone involved!
  9. Actually, I was able to find the original sound file that Alan posted in 2011 (it seems to have disappeared from the older thread). I uploaded it here: https://soundcloud.com/rac-13/march-of-concertinas As far as I can tell, this is his original playing, ie before I started destroying it with my beginner's slab on it (which is still accessible in that thread). I currently don't have easy access to recording equipment, so I probably won't be able to contribute this time. It's worth noting, though, that this is at least the third attempt on this collaboration (in the older thread, Alan mentions that there had been an even earlier attempt a few years prior). I think it is great that finally - fittingly for WCD 2022 - this wonderful piece gets the attention and life it deserves! This is sort of TOTM revived? Hoping for more such collabs!
  10. Here are some more recordings... unfortunately a good share f them got lost in the internet's dementia. Mabe I can recover a few of those, let me dig... Thanks again, Al!
  11. Another example where this occurred is Alex's Muller conversion#2: A Second Müller Conversion – Holden Concertinas If I recall correctly, Alex posted a sound comparison between the original wooden and the modified metal end plates on Instagram and also came to the conclusion that the difference is hardly audible. That caused me to abandon the idea to ask him for a second set of end plates on #4 (I had originally toyed with the idea of having both a metal and a wooden set on the instrument).
  12. I had/have the same problem even though I had 30+ years experience as a fingerstyle guitarist, thus, hand/ finger indepence to my was not news at all when I started on the duet. The solution, as always, is drill - a child learning to walk fill fall down a bazillion times before staggering, eventually walking, then possibly dancing. It takes whichever time it takes, but the magical moment when it finally works is well worth it. Vary your exercises. For example, practice left hand only at times, then throw odd melody notes in instead of desperately clinging to the tunes you really really want to play. The only important thing to remember is this: Make sure to get it right. Your Oohm-Pa rhythm must be stable as a rock, that is not negotiable. If you settle on being satisfied when it sort of half way works, neither you nor your listeners will be happy campers. Thus, once you have managed a certain degree of left/right hand independence, do introduce your ears ro a metronome. It will be frustrating at first but will bring you miles forward. Your goal is to constantly move out of your comfort zone until you are in a new one which you can then break out of.
  13. ... Hello and welcome to this Form, Dashy! This may or may not be useful (apologies if not), but you may want to also look at this project: https://www.koopinstruments.com/legacy-projects/harmonicade-prototype-1
  14. I'm surprised you neglected to list the fifth element: Money... SCNR
  15. Stephen: There is reason to believe that Mike (the user with the nick ragtimer) passed away a few months ago: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/catonsville-md/michael-knudsen-10091483 Let's hope I am wrong... All the best, RAc
  16. I guess I don't think about it, I simply take it as it is... I believe your confusion stems from the fact that the lowest C happens to be a "wraparound." If the layout would start to rows up, your lowest note (again a C) would be the rightmost one in the center; thus, the right to left zig zag pattern would start in the "intuitive" position. The simple math involved (diatonic scale in three columns) stipulates that octaves are always offset by one column, so the RH lowest C (if it is required that it is the lowest note) could be in any of the center columns.
  17. Thanks for the information, Łukasz, interesting stuff! The harmonic table layout turned around 90% counterclockwise would IMHO be completly unusuable for melody playing because then you would have major thirds on top of each other in the same column. It would be the Crane fourth issue superimposed to major thirds which are among the most frequently used intervals. Also, you'd lose the ability to play power chords with a flattened finger which is one of the Crane's greatest assets. As you wrote, with big enough buttons you could play even full chords, but it looks like then you'd have to go through extra pain to leave out the third of the chord (ie twist the finger sideways). It would be interesting, I believe, to combine different layouts, for example such that the HTL could be on the left hand and 5CC on the right, or something like that. Yet I've always believed that every minute argueing about layouts is a minute wasted on practicing your chosen system instead, so unless something jumps into my face (or I end up with plenty of overhead time I can not use practicing), I'll stick with the Crane system as it is and try to get better at it, may there be "better" systems around or not.
  18. Well, I now have been able to program a 5CC keyboard for my concertina simulator (isn't a lockdown in combination with the festive season good for something after all?...). So far I am, well, flabbergasted. All of the points made by @Little John are right on spot. For the left hand, this layout is a dream come true; all of the Crane's complexity reduces to one consistent power chord shape, similar to the Hayden (as far as I understand it), and the major and minor full chords reduce to a very few equal shaped triangles. Even diminished chords (which are very inconsistent on the Crane) fall very easily into a single pattern. I haven't looked at seventh chords yet. On the right hand side, 5CC becomes (as John suggested) a truly transposing instrument. This is particularly useful for my current favorite music genre (ragtime) as ragtime frequently has a Trio Part D which is generally Part B transposed a fourth up, so unlike the traditional Crane layout, where you have to think one note off when transposing, 5CC is simply next higher row for part D over B, period. Also, for the most widely used keys in English folk, all of the root notes (G,C and D) are in the center column with the respective note leading right into it (the seventh interval) immediately next to it. This makes it much easier to think of the center column as the "home" regardless of your key. The property 5CC has in common with the Crane - a scale zigzagging left and up - makes it fairly easy for Crane players to convert; on my simulator, I could pick out most of my standard tunes rather fast. I also tried to finger out some of the more chromatic tunes, and so far I have found nothing where I would consider the Crane system superior, I wished I had known about this earlier. Now my Plan A would be to send my cousins Luigi and Angelo with their violin cases to Alex and convince him to abandon all instruments in the works in favor of a 5CC for me. Unfortunately I don't have cousins named Luigi and Angelo, so I have to revert to plan B which would be redesign my MIDI concertina for the 5CC layout so I can start practicing 5CC. In case there is any maker out there who'd like to try out designing and building a 5CC, please contact me immediately! 😉 I don't know why 5CC hasn't ever made it into the concertina mainstream, it would practically be something like a Hayden turned 90° around, with all the Hayden ease and orthogonality combined with the Crane idiosyncracies.
  19. One of the reasons why I prefer to record my videos in nearly headless Ruediger mode... 😁 very nice recording, Jim, well done!
  20. As for the material: Any unwound (even used) steel string (guitar, banjo, dulcimer...) will do nicely, costs very little and comes in a wide choice of strengths to choose from. I use between 0,5 and 0,7 mm diamter type. A nice side benefit of them is that they normally come with a ball end that helps jamming them to build up the tension mentioned by Tiposx.
  21. FWIW, I also recorded a video: ...mostly to prove to myself that I am able of single taking a slightly more complex piece. It does get a wee sloppy towards the end, I understand, but I was out of time I could shell out for music after about three hours restarting and discarding take after take (there are many errors one can make when there are many notes in a piece). Thanks for watching!
  22. Indeed, very good and useful information, David, Thanks! The one addition I'd like to make would be this: Like any other musical skill, these techniques must be explicitly and systematically practiced. One possible practical approach to this is to record yourself playing the "obbligato" (verbatim) part (or take an existing recording), then play it back in infinite loop mode and accompany yourself, forcing yourself to play different variations out of David's toolbox every time through. The brain must get used to a) knowing where in the piece you are at every time and b) drawing from the toolbox in real time. Without drill and practice of exactly this skill, it's not very likely to happen by itself. Another great place to practice this (once you've done it on your own for a while) is in a session with enough participants so that your individual mistakes and experiments don't throw off the entire group. In such a session, you can do things like stop in arbitrary places within a tune and make sure you'll get back in (that helps sharpening skill a above), switch between accompaniment part, melody and both, accompany with chord arpeggios or chord fragments, vary, add or remove melody notes and so on. The important thing (I believe) to understand is that this process requires patient and careful (sometimes frustrating) drill just like it takes a beginner to find his/her way into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Over time it'll get easier and more natural, but only when you force yourself to do the drill regularly (sounds disgustingly teacherish, doesn't it? Guess I should start following my own advice then before ranting on...)
  23. I decided to learn this piece for several reasons: 1. It's a witty rag that sounds good both slow and fast (I do the former as I can't play at lightning speed) 2. It was written by a woman, and although women have contributed significant pieces to the ragtime realm, few are known to the musical public, so I like to draw attention to those underrated composers 3. It's tons of fun to play 4. I'm an IU graduate. Played on Holden#3 Crane Duet All comments (especially critical ones) welcome and appreciated. Thanks for listening!
  24. Hello, I received my copy of "The Unexpected Polka & Other Tunes" a few days ago. You'll find the details here: Home | The Unexpected Polka & Other Tunes I do recommend the book for everyone who is interested in folk dance music, in particular English. I've known Chris for several years now, and he never fails to amaze me with his profound and deep knowledge of almost everything musical. He's a very experienced and seasoned (multi instrumentalist) musician, dancer and caller (and also a wonderful human being). He is always looking for the little twists and surprises and unusual turns in pieces that make the tunes and dances stand out and fun. Unfortunately I never met Alastair in person, but I don't have doubts that he's also a first class musician and a perfect match for Chris in this project. Obviously, decades of hardcore musicianships have found their way into this book. The things that IMHO distinguishes this collection from other ones are first the selection which is very broad in every respect and second the arrangements. Have a listen at the audio section on the web page - there are unique and idiosyncratic second and sometimes third parts to every piece, even the very simple pieces, which makes them fun to listen to, let alone play. Aside from the contents, the book is also very well crafted with great love for detail. Obviously a lot of heartblood went into it. This book will very likely become one of the cornerstones of the English ceilidh and session group I am a part of (conveniently, a good share of our standard repertoire is already in it). The usual disclaimer: No, I don't get paid or receive any other types of benefits, and I did write this recom up on my own and without any coercion. I just truly believe that the book deserves a broad audience.
  25. As an additional use case, I'd like to repeat that I have only recently (a few months ago) downloaded the font and put it to use in conjunction with FluidSynth as the PC side of my MIDI concertina experiments. It works like a charm and sounds very nice. Thanks again, Phil and Don!
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