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Everything posted by wayman

  1. On my first couple visits to Sheffield, I recorded sessions on my phone so I could learn what seemed to be "the normal Sheffield local session tunes" for my next visit. When I returned after another six months, I found the repertoire - at the very same session! - was completely different. Part of this was down to the earlier sessions being melodeon-heavy (and chock-full of John Spiers and Andy Cutting material) and the later sessions being fiddle-heavy (and ... not), but a larger part of it (I learned with still more years of visiting / living in Sheffield and going to the same sessions there) is that tunes really go in and out of fashion in a big way. Whatever was on the latest Leveret album, or whatever Topette uploaded to Youtube last month, will be really hot for a while, and then nobody wants to play it again for a year. But then, everybody knows it and it's fine to bring it up again after a while. While tunes that would make most "top ten English session tunes" lists (eg, Speed the Plough) pretty much never seemed to get played at that session unless they were started and very quickly turned into parodies of themselves as a big in-joke. So I guess my advice is, listen to the stuff on English albums that were super-popular from about ~5-10 years ago and learn some stuff from there. Like, pretty much anything off New Anything (Leveret) or Tunes (Spiers & Boden) are likely to be known by many people and yet are probably old enough that they haven't been played at every session for the past three months.... But better still, just be prepared to sit back, follow, and learn new tunes, and, yeah, if you get asked "lead something from back home", have a good 'un or two of those in your pocket that are easy for everyone to pick up or groove on. The overall English session vibe, if there is one, is "tunes where you can improvise around the melody" ?
  2. Well I hope you're bringing some to Vermont this weekend, Jody! See you Saturday on Elliott Street for a business transaction? (or "trainsaction"?) [oh, wait, more careful reading and now I see the "next month"... guess I'll be waiting on the platform for this train for a little while...]
  3. Also, here's the Folk London Club Guide (last updated a few weeks ago, so seems to be well-curated and likely reliable!).
  4. First Sunday (so, the 3rd of June this year) at the Horseshoe, from noon to three or so. This session had maybe half a dozen concertinas of all systems, plus me and Jim Besser, last June. Very friendly and welcoming, great tunes (if you like English tunes!).
  5. I think the Dipper baritone I looked at had differently-sized pad holes, and I made measurements / notes about this, though I don't think I did experimentation about how this affects reed response... and I hadn't even considered the possibility of a differently-shaped hole (so the same amount of air can travel through it, while none of it gets too much of a "head start" towards the tip end of the reed). Nice insight, and I'd love to see whether that idea bears fruit. Another project for someday, if you don't experiment with it first... ? W
  6. Good spot, Adrian. This would corroborate my findings that the length of air travel made more difference than the total size of the chamber in the ESB prototypes... Okay, it seems like I will have a new hobby the next time I'm back in the UK where my test bellows live, Dana! Not quite as crazy as the guy who carried a piano up Ben Nevis, but definitely a bit out of the ordinary... It'll give me a good excuse to do some hill climbing ? W
  7. Dana, that's brilliant! I love it! In the 38-key Jeffries, there's a button on the left which is Bb below middle C on the draw and Bb an octave higher on the push. They never feel or sound quite the same, and I've always wished I had a solution to that. I don't really want to monkey with a Jeffries reedpan in that way, but I'll keep this in mind for future efforts of my own.
  8. Now I want to take a test bellows and variable-chamber-size jig and various reeds to different altitudes (with greatly different air pressures) and collect lots more data! ? Imagine the other mountain climbers wondering what the heck you're doing up there, when you get to the summit and set up your test bellows... ?
  9. Frank, is it strictly the size of the chamber (the volume of air in the chamber) that makes the difference? In my experience, if the chamber is longer than the reed, but the tip of the reed isn't all the way at the one end of the chamber and the pad hole isn't all the way at the other end of the chamber, the extra length of the chamber doesn't make nearly as much difference, no matter how much longer it is. That makes me think it's less about the volume of air in the chamber - and hence air pressure, though that may be a distinct factor - as about how far the air travels. But because the physical dimensions of the concertina are a limiting factor (if you want to keep it to a 6 1/4 or 7 inch instrument), sometimes making the chamber deeper is the only way to enlarge the chamber, and that does make some difference, just not as great a difference.
  10. I've got reedpans for a large Wheatstone Maccann from the 1920s, and reedpans for a Lachenal baritone anglo from who knows when, where on the left side, the plane of the reedpan is not parallel to the plane of the action board: the chambers get progressively deeper from the end with the higher notes to the end with the lower notes, and it's a pretty big difference (the lowest chambers are probably 1/4 or 3/8 inch deeper than the highest chambers). I've never seen this done on the right side reedpan of a Maccann or anglo, though that's perhaps because the reeds are a bit less "in pitch order" on the reedpan. But on my G/D Jeffries, a previous owner (Robin, this was you who did this, right?) shortened the chamber of one of the highest reeds on the right side by filling the back end of the chamber with blu-tac, and that does seem to increase the response of the reed! (There's a thread here, from about five or six years ago, where Robin and Adrian discuss this at some length.)
  11. (I then used these findings to redesign the reedpan for the Georgie baritone (English) model, lengthening as many of the chambers as we could make space for, and it dramatically improved the response of the lowest half-octave of that instrument! So these experiments with chamber length are very worthwhile.)
  12. Very nice jig, Alex! I made something very similar when the Button Box was designing the Morse ESB (baritone anglo model), and then took the data I gathered (on lengths that seemed to work well in practice for various pitches) and tried to come up with an algorithm that described the data. I recall getting somewhere roughly with that, but given that I'd already done the empirical research which definitely worked on a prototype reedpan, there wasn't really a need to perfect an algorithm. This (as demonstrated in instruments on three successive full prototype reedpan designs with different chamber lengths) made an enormous difference in the performance and sound of the instrument. I was guided by a Dipper baritone that had conveniently come in for repairs just as I was starting to think about ideal chamber lengths for reeds. I measured its chambers; the one thing I remember is that there were (unsurprisingly) some differences in actual length / air volume for chambers that seemed to work with hybrid vs concertina reeds, but also (unsurprisingly) the trend in each was pretty similar in the ratios of air volumes between pitches.
  13. Folk music is rarely as simple as many people think it is! I simplified my explanation of the "three melodic notes" to "scale tones 1,2,3 of a minor scale" just to quickly describe the melody but you're right, technically it's NOT that, and whatever it is, the "complicated whatever" is what makes the Watersons' recording so good. I want to sit down with this at some point and figure out what the Watersons are actually doing sometime. The simpler the tune, the more varied the ways you can mess around with harmonies... Another three-note tune (maybe song? are there lyrics?) that's similar (at least thematically in title) is "Hot Cross Buns", which might be Suzuki book 1 tune 1 or 2, one of those things kids learn at age three and then never play again.... Christian religious baked goods seem to get celebrated with three-note melodies for whatever reason!!! (Anyone know a three-note song about communion wafers?) For a Christian religious baked goods song with many more notes in the melody, seek out Rosie Hood's recording of "Baker's Oven" (the only recording I or Mainly Norfolk know of this song; lyrics here though to hear it I think you'll have to buy the album or song, or better still hear Rosie live sometime - all worthwhile experiences, especially if you catch her current dual-bill tour with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, to work some concertina content into this post).
  14. A soul, a soul, a soul cake, Please, good missus, a soul cake, An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry, Any good thing to make us merry. One for Peter, two for Paul, Three for Him that made us all. (As sung by the Watersons) It's just the first three notes of the minor scale. Six years ago I handed John Roberts a toy concertina with zero buttons, rubber bellows, and one diatonic reed on each side, just to see what he'd do with it. This was at the intermission of a Nowell Sing We Clear performance, in the theatre lobby. And he immediately launched into the souling song, and it was perfect.
  15. It's a way to play concertina and shakey-egg at the same time!
  16. I'm curious what the economics of some other comparable instrument-focused or folk-music-oriented online forums are, which feature similar discussions among like-minded communities. Melnet, Mandolin Café, Chiff & Fipple, Banjo Hangout, Fiddle Forum ... and places like the Session and Mudcat, too ... are any of them paying north of $1000 pa for their forum software? If so, where does the money come from? If not, what other forum software(s) are they using, what are their annual costs, and would cnet gain or lose functionality if it switched to any of those other platforms?
  17. I can't imagine anyone visiting this site clicking on the ads that have been observed or described so far... it's unclear to me what this accomplishes for anyone. Don refers to "paying members". Are there paying members? I'd never even known that was an option! What does it mean to be a paying member, how does one do it (or even discover one can do it), and are there benefits (besides knowing you're supporting a worthy website and, potentially, avoiding ads)?
  18. Could cnet use the same forum script as melnet (which, if I understand Theo correctly, would save considerable money)? What are the drawbacks? Could the existing cnet archives be ported over to that forum system? Could they be turned into a static archive and remain accessible for reading and searching? (There must be a way to get a dump of all the forum content, and then it's "just" a matter of someone writing the code to turn it into something searchable and readable...) Another consideration is that explicit dating ads not only are troubling for those of us already here, but also make a less than favourable impression on newcomers.
  19. Remove the bellows. In their compressed state sitting flat on the bottom of a large cooking pot, carefully see what volume of dried rice fills them. Then repeat while someone holds the bellows open with one end still held down flat in the pot. For more accuracy, perhaps use quinoa or cous-cous Then remove the bellows from the pot, add water, simmer, steam some vegetables...
  20. Being curious about how much greater the volume of air in the expanded bellows on a 7-inch concertina is compared with the bellows on a 6-1/4-inch concertina, I tried to come up with the mathematical formula and see whether there was a really fast way to estimate / calculate this. I would love it if someone similarly math-inclined on a Monday morning could look at this and confirm or correct the below. I assume the number of folds is the same for the bellows of the two hexagonal concertinas being compared. I assume that volume reduction due to bellows folds for any given bellows (as a percent of the volume with no folds) is roughly the same as for any other bellows (to the point of being unimportant here) because to do otherwise would be even more folly than this already is. And this is specific to hexagonal concertinas. Those with Aeolas or Edeophones will have to offer me significantly more tea before I consider how to reduce that math into an easy comparison algorithm. Then let N = "size of a regular hexagonal bellows, as measured perpendicular to the flat sides" let S = "length of a side" let A = "area of a cross-section of the bellows" let V = "volume of the bellows" With the above assumptions V2/V1 ~= A2/A1 S = (N * sqrt(3)) /2 A = (3 * sqrt(3) * S^2) /2 And thus A = 9/4 * sqrt(3) * N^2 So for two concertinas which measure N2 and N1 where N2 = X * N1 A2 = X^2 * A1 Given the example common bellows sizes N2=7 and N1=6.25 X = 1.125 A2 ~= 1.25 * A1 and V2 ~= 1.25 * V1
  21. Good point! In practice, this has never been an issue for me playing either the Beaumont or Peacock, but perhaps that's because both are 7-inch instruments ... which means the bellows have 25% more volume (I think - see footnote!) than an instrument with a typical 6-1/4-inch bellows (and the same number of bellows folds). When I play duet, my limited repertoire tends to be slow pieces which are suited by drone accompaniments, so I'm often holding three or four buttons for a measure or few at a go, but even so I don't run out of air where I might if I played the same arrangement on a 6-1/4-inch instrument. ... if anyone's really into math and wants to check mine since it's early on a Monday morning, I'm going to start a math-intensive thread with my equation for this because I'd like someone to confirm it, but don't want to derail this topic!
  22. You can watch videos of both Beaumont and Peacock being played here on the Button Box website The two feel and sound a bit different, as well as having the obvious differences that come from the number of keys. Feel-wise, one of the most noticeable differences is that the Beaumont's buttons are 1/4-inch diameter with a slightly rounded top, and the Peacock's buttons are smaller (3/16-inch?) with a squared-off top. The air buttons are in totally different places, too (the Beaumont's is on the inside of the right hand-rest, the Peacock's is on the right side where the little finger would push it, down and right of the other buttons). None of that is objectively better or worse, but one may feel more comfortable to one player and the other to another. (And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.) (Full disclosure, I assisted in the design of the Beaumont and made the first few dozen. But I won't be offended if anyone offers critical comments based on their experiences!)
  23. I don't think I've ever seen a traditionally-reeded English concertina (by any maker) without radial chambers. Has it been done, and if so, why? It seems like parallel chambers would artificially limit the number of reeds in the instrument by a lot. Hybrid-reeded English concertinas have parallel chambers, but that's only because a radial layout doesn't make sense given the blocky rectangular shape of the hybrid reed frames.
  24. Do you know if that layout is his choice, or did he happen to buy it that way and learned to play it? I think he requested it of Suttner, who made it; I think the idea was that it gives him full (or nearly full) bi-directional chromaticism over a narrower compass of notes, enabling a lot more octave playing for all those riffy groovy things he does? I'll write and ask him for a note chart and report back when I get it. (I just lucked into seeing Talisk up in Scotland last week when I noticed one lunchtime that they'd be twenty miles up the road from me that evening - it was fun surprising Mohsen by being somewhere he totally didn't expect to see me (two days after he played in my own city, and I wasn't there to see him!). That was when I learned all about his fantastic microphones and crazy pedal set-up, which I might find time to bring up as a new forum thread...)
  25. The common place to put that low-D on a 38-button Jeffries is in place of the B-flat (just adjacent to the low-F). Every anglo I've seen with that note has it in that position - mine, Jody's, Adrian's, John Roberts's ... others too but I can't recall them offhand. This particular button ("2a" on the new numbering system some of us are encouraging for more-than-30-button instruments, but also "2a" on regular 30-button numbering I think!) on the pull is commonly B-flat on a 30-button anglo (and is still a B-flat on some anglos with more buttons, too). On 38-button Jeffries it's sometimes a C-sharp (the same octave as the C-sharp push on button "3a", giving that C-sharp in both directions) and it's sometimes the low-D. (On a 38-button, the low-B-flat draw which is lost in this way commonly appears on button "5c" (I think!) - the added button which is just to the right of button "5".) I've seen (and made) 30-button anglos with the low-D in the same "2a" location (and there's simply no low-B-flat on the instrument as a result). This is an option for Morse Ceilis and ESBs. It's one of the most useful notes if you want to play bass runs in the harmonic style, particularly in the keys of C, F, G, and the dorian mode with tonic D, and I'm sure it would be fantastic in the key of D too. (I just can't remember using it there as much, in a bass run context, as there's no low-F-sharp. UNLESS you stick a low-F-sharp in as a replacement for the "duplicate" A on button "8" draw... which I've done on one instrument! Most anglo players I've talked to consider that one of my greater sins in life.) The really low end of Mohsen Amini's anglo is totally weird, and I forget what his layout is. But all of the buttons down there do strange things, with low-D and low-Eb and ... maybe low-C-sharp and low-F-sharp too? I don't remember, but I do remember there's no lowest-C on his instrument. Both the extreme lowest buttons ("1", "1a", and I think "6" on the left) and the extreme highest buttons on the right side play non-traditional notes. He also has an octave modifier pedal when he plays with Talisk (probably with Ímar as well) which lets him drop his entire concertina by an octave at the tap of a foot!!!
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