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bellowsing on English concertina


jggunn
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There appears to be some distinct differences of opinion about this matter. Some advanced tutors and players suggest that using the bellows to articulate a note is close to a sin and can be not only detected by the trained ear but is technically incorrect. Other players however seem to claim that it adds lift and emphasis and should be utilized. An example to illustrate the issue would be the second part of the Blackthorn stick, first two measures edd, gdd Any thoughts on this? I cannot really hear a difference in tone, and it intuitively seems to me that bellow articulation is useful and often desirable.

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There appears to be some distinct differences of opinion about this matter. Some advanced tutors and players suggest that using the bellows to articulate a note is close to a sin and can be not only detected by the trained ear but is technically incorrect. Other players however seem to claim that it adds lift and emphasis and should be utilized. An example to illustrate the issue would be the second part of the Blackthorn stick, first two measures edd, gdd Any thoughts on this? I cannot really hear a difference in tone, and it intuitively seems to me that bellow articulation is useful and often desirable.

 

I would've thought that the difference between bellows and fingering would be quite noticeable, and fingering would give a more staccato result ... you could use either technique as suits the style taht you're aiming for.

 

(I play the blackthorn stick as a repeat fingering ... I play the beginning of the Trumpet Hornpipe or Silver Spear with bellows shake, but that's more because I can't get a crisp result through fingering them at speed.)

 

Chris

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The name Bellowsing was introduced by Goran Rahm to explain the act of using the bellows in a fanning action the base of the bellows being static. He recommends this style of bellows action as he states that it gives more control of the bellows particularly when playing an English or Duet for quick movement of the bellows in and out. There is a Video of him explaining this system on Utube. Amongst the famous Anglo players who seem to use this fanning style is Edel Fox.

Al

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when playing an English or Duet for quick movement of the bellows in and out.

Al

 

as well as instruments with bellows in general. Among accordions it is a very common way of playing. I came across this video and if you jump directly to 3:40 you may see it done very nicely.

 

Christian

Edited by Christian Husmann
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when playing an English or Duet for quick movement of the bellows in and out.

Al

 

as well as instruments with bellows in general. Among accordions it is a very common way of playing. I came across this video and if you jump directly to 3:40 you may see it done very nicely.

 

Christian

 

Worth watching the whole video for some amazing accordion playing.

Steve

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The name Bellowsing was introduced by Goran Rahm to explain the act of using the bellows in a fanning action the base of the bellows being static.

I thought he used that term generally for use of the bellows, and that the fanning was just one style of "bellowsing".

 

He recommends this style of bellows action as he states that it gives more control of the bellows particularly when playing an English or Duet for quick movement of the bellows in and out.

One of several points on which Göran and I differ.

 

Danny Chapman -- whose playing I much admire -- also uses a fannig method; I'm not sure whether it's exactly the same as Göran's or slightly different.

 

But I personally find that it doesn't give me more control. Instead, I find it limiting, particularly in terms of dynamic "punch", which I can do with much greater strength using a straight in-or-out motion than the rotational motion of fanning.

 

Other notable specifics of my style are that I prefer to play while standing (without any neck strap or other "aid"), and that even when seated I generally keep the instrument (even my big bass English concertinas) suspended above my legs. On the English, I also use the finger plates most of the time, using thumb and little finger to "grip" the end, rather than letting it "hang" from my thumbs. And I only put the tip of my thumb into the loop, rather than jamming it through all the way to the base; thus I get to use the length and flexibility of the rest of the thumb and its knuckles for dynamically adjusting my hand and fingers above the array of buttons while I'm playing.

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when playing an English or Duet for quick movement of the bellows in and out.

Al

 

as well as instruments with bellows in general. Among accordions it is a very common way of playing. I came across this video and if you jump directly to 3:40 you may see it done very nicely.

 

Christian

 

Worth watching the whole video for some amazing accordion playing.

Steve

 

Superb playing! I thought it's some French guys and subscribed to it. Guess who I saw? Kurilenko! A Russian player! Crap, people, are there any other accordion players besides Russians? I begin to get twitchy. What happened to music education in the US? Where are non-jewish, non-russian, non-asian american trained virtuosi of classical music?

But bellows-wise it appears that fanning is proper technique, regardless of what other people got used to. However the best tool is not the latest, fastest, more correct, or accepted, nor it is the proper, it's the one you know how to use. If you got used to playing with concertina on your head, and are able to put performance, similar to above-mentioned videos, who are we to dismiss it?

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The answer to Russians?

I may (may) have the answer. There was some pretty whizzy stuff by the master tutors and squeezerati at the Witney ((hold yr air button!) Melodeon HandsonMusic weekend's formal concert on the Saturday in October but that was not for recording.

 

But I have some bits of us mainly UK students and our homework set pieces on the final show us your stuff on the Sunday afternoon......

 

The dancing meolodeonites showed how to work your legs like a bellows at slow speed, Then another class did a piece that went faster and faster and faster -- hi-speed bellowsing. My group of course was squeezing in and out wildly in every direction but no pics as I did not have enough hands.....

 

Why so much explanation? Weeeell (he said, pressing air button and pulling out bellows for a big sigh)- the video off my still camera ain't that good and the files are enormous. So u will just have to wait till I sort it out to show it somehow. I have sorted out the time delay between the music and the picture by using Videolan.org (Windows' Media Player is a no no...) .. but but but...

 

PS

on the the Russian video (he really must have been christened Akkordeon coz I could not find his name in the info -- LoL) he did not have to pull and push for different notes so he had big advantage over Anglotinas and Melodeons.

 

PPS

I am sure u did not mean the phrasing as it came out from your quill but u might want to go back and fix it or they will think we are dim if we think such brilliant playing is the same as the Pol-glish for carp -- you know, the fish but spelt with a Kr....

:P

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But bellows-wise it appears that fanning is proper technique, regardless of what other people got used to.

Perhaps so, for a huge accordion, where a great deal of both force and energy are required to move the massive end and bellows, and the large cross section allows a small movement of the end to move a large amount of air. In a standard concertina the ends and bellows are much lighter, the bellows volume and cross-sectional area are both much smaller, and the bellows folds are relatively much deeper. As I've already said, I find that fanning the bellows on a concertina hinders me in playing with sharp dynamic emphasis. It also doesn't utilize the full volume capacity of the bellows.

 

I wonder how much fanning accordionists do when playing a 12- or even 24-bass versions of their instrument.

 

And for what it's worth, the accordion player in the video Christian linked to fans the top of his bellows only slightly and still allows the bottom of his bellows to move in and out slightly. I've seen much more extreme examples of fanning the bellows on big accordions.

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It also doesn't utilize the full volume capacity of the bellows.

 

 

That's me. I find myself curling the bellows occasionally on technical fast stuff, but it's not conscious and it's not often. Otherwise I need all that wind.

 

You certainly won't catching me 'bellowsing'. What a horrible word.

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Is this Mr Göran around? Perhaps he might let us know a bit more?

 

Some will be shocked but I have suddenly found my finger in the top fret hole on right side where the posh tinas have names of the makers. It just happens when I want to really pull out the bellows very fast against the extra strong air button spring and it makes it so much easier. More purchase than holding the concertina down against my knee.

:unsure:

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Is this Mr Göran around? Perhaps he might let us know a bit more?

 

Some will be shocked but I have suddenly found my finger in the top fret hole on right side where the posh tinas have names of the makers. It just happens when I want to really pull out the bellows very fast against the extra strong air button spring and it makes it so much easier. More purchase than holding the concertina down against my knee.

:unsure:

 

I honestly do not have the faintest idea what you are talking about.... :huh: Perhaps you can explain?

Concerning the use of the bellows, I find that fanning (I never use it) is restricting my use of the bellows and therefor the dynamics I want to achieve. Probably it works for some kind of music (or musicians) but certainly not mine (or me).

That said I am not someone who thinks you have to stand up and sway your concertina around with some big gestures to get your concertina going. I saw some English EC players do that. I do it for fun sometimes (when no one's around). I turn around and sway/play my concertina until I get dizzy. But honestly I think I get the same effects sitting down and working my bellows ''normally'', except for the dizzyness of course.

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Is this Mr Göran around? Perhaps he might let us know a bit more?

 

Some will be shocked but I have suddenly found my finger in the top fret hole on right side where the posh tinas have names of the makers. It just happens when I want to really pull out the bellows very fast against the extra strong air button spring and it makes it so much easier. More purchase than holding the concertina down against my knee.

:unsure:

 

I honestly do not have the faintest idea what you are talking about.... :huh: Perhaps you can explain?

Concerning the use of the bellows, I find that fanning (I never use it) is restricting my use of the bellows and therefor the dynamics I want to achieve. Probably it works for some kind of music (or musicians) but certainly not mine (or me).

That said I am not someone who thinks you have to stand up and sway your concertina around with some big gestures to get your concertina going. I saw some English EC players do that. I do it for fun sometimes (when no one's around). I turn around and sway/play my concertina until I get dizzy. But honestly I think I get the same effects sitting down and working my bellows ''normally'', except for the dizzyness of course.

If the first sentence was a question for me then here is a nice piccy which may help. V diff to take it lefthanded upside down, so, if it does not explain what I was stating, I will get my assistant (French not Russian!) Bresson to take it . BTW using the index finger would mean I could not reach the air button with thumb! :) click to enlarge.

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But bellows-wise it appears that fanning is proper technique, regardless of what other people got used to.

Perhaps so, for a huge accordion, where a great deal of both force and energy are required to move the massive end and bellows, and the large cross section allows a small movement of the end to move a large amount of air. In a standard concertina the ends and bellows are much lighter, the bellows volume and cross-sectional area are both much smaller, and the bellows folds are relatively much deeper. As I've already said, I find that fanning the bellows on a concertina hinders me in playing with sharp dynamic emphasis. It also doesn't utilize the full volume capacity of the bellows.

 

I wonder how much fanning accordionists do when playing a 12- or even 24-bass versions of their instrument.

 

And for what it's worth, the accordion player in the video Christian linked to fans the top of his bellows only slightly and still allows the bottom of his bellows to move in and out slightly. I've seen much more extreme examples of fanning the bellows on big accordions.

 

I actually think it's better ergonomics rather than musical dynamics. With fanning you are using powerful Pronator Teres and Supinator muscles in the forarm, plus your tricepts with very powerful Latissimus Dorsi to stabilize instrument on your knee. When concertina end is in the air, you'll have to use muscles in less comfortable positions, lots of Deltoid use as a distanced rotator/stabilizer, use all of the Rotator Cuff muscles and you will have delay of the wrist due to it's position relative to rotating muscles (Deltoid, Both Tereses, Pecs, Traps). What you are NOT using is the most powerful short rotating Protator and Supinator, which are much closer to the moving end. Long story short - you'll tire faster, and what's worse - such playing will cause more medical problems. Yes, big accordion is big, but your arms are not light either and have to be moved by shoulder muscles. It's especially relevant to Anglo players. Having said all the above, I must note that such problems must be more common for professional players, not for amateurs. Our problems are more likely to be caused by extensive computer use.

Edited by m3838
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...I have suddenly found my finger in the top fret hole on right side where the posh tinas have names of the makers. It just happens when I want to really pull out the bellows very fast against the extra strong air button spring and it makes it so much easier. More purchase than holding the concertina down against my knee.

:unsure:

I honestly do not have the faintest idea what you are talking about.... :huh: Perhaps you can explain?

...here is a nice piccy which may help.

It looks to me that Kautilya is pressing that finger against the end in order to brace the back of the palm tightly against the strap, forming a "rigid" structure to transfer the force used to pull out the bellows. I expect that otherwise there would be some play in the contact between the hand and the hand strap, resulting in a slight delay when trying to pull suddenly and strongly. I suspect that the placement of the finger in that "hole" in the fretwork is a coincidence of the size of Kautilya's hand and the details of the fretwork design. That finger (or another) could just as well have been braced by simply pressing against some other portion of the end.

Edited to add: I just took another look at the photo, and I revise my analysis. While what I describe above is a viable technique (variations of which I use all the time; after all, pressing on a button also braces the hand), it looks like Kautilya isn't just pressing on the end, but may actually be using the finger in the fretwork to pull the hand tighter in the strap. Hmm.

Edited by JimLucas
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