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A second sample of my Music


chiton1
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Here are three more videos of my playing. Note that I tend to be a little more nervous when playing in front of a camera than when playing on my own (to my surprise it's more or less having an audiance in front of you...). I think I would play somewhat less tense and more posed when playing for myself. The sound is not a 100% to my liking as well.

But it will give an idea of what you can do with an English Concertina in Irish music, and that you can play ECs energetically and with bounce (how much more do you want?!). I am certainly not the most gifted payer around and thus technically there is much room for improvement. For instance I am working on incorperating ''repeated notes'' in my play, but I am not fully satisfied yet. Plenty of other ornamentations could be worked on and added, both taken from the Irish Anglo playing, and from scratch (EC possibilities).

So please give me your comments (especially from Anglo players). Give me some feedback. I promise I can take criticism and negative remarks.

 

Two hornpipes:

Three Polkas:

Two Jigs:

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Hi Chiton,

 

Lovely playing you do with the english concertina. Irish music can be played on it with the same quality as with an anglo, and you are proving it!.

 

Your level of playing is higher than mine (I'm in youtube, with the name chirritutiplen), that's for sure, but if you don't mind I will tell you that if we want to play with the same sound that the anglo players play, I think we have to open the bellows as little as possible. Because in my opinion that's one of the things that makes our playing a bit different from the anglos. For us is very easy to go in and out extensively, but with that I think that we loose part of that sound that makes the anglos so good.

 

Can we do the same as them? I think so, but we have to focus on the maximum distance we cover with the english concertina. But I've seen that in some moments of your videos you do that for a while! the only thing for you is to keep it all the time. With our concertinas we can do that even more that the anglos if we want, it is difficult, but possible.

 

And your arrangements are good! I also have to work on them and try to make them, but you know Chiton, our rolls are with three buttons!

 

What would really make the difference with the anglos are the chords, that is the real thing, because we have a way more possibilities... but this is a thing that I've left for the future because I have to try to get the melody line first.

 

Keep up the good playing Chiton!

 

A bientot!

 

Fernando

Edited by fernando
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There's many good things in your playing. However, one thing that is missing is a(n interesting) shape to each note (e.g. in the hornpipes) after the initial impulse. At the moment each note has pretty much the same shape - it starts with an impulse, then stays loud(!), then it stops immediately as the next note starts. That means the sound can be quite "relentless" - perhaps appropriate for getting attention in a noisy environment, but not (I think) for playing in a living room (i.e. where you're playing, and where most people will be listening).

 

I think the sound of the concertina is much nicer and more interesting if each note is in general given an impulse and then allowed to die away to some extent - that way each note can be made bouncy. And in addition spaces between notes can be really nice too.

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Well, I am impressed! It proves a point to me, that you can actually sound close to the real thing playing an english! The anglo still produces a more 'swingy' phrasing I'd say, but maybe it's a deliberate choice. Anyhow, you're the first english concertina player I hear I'd actually want to sit down with and play along, and I'm gosh darn picky :lol:

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What do know! By coincidence, I have had the thought "I need to get around to playing 'The Peacock's Feather' again, and then here it comes... and "Delahuntys" - that came up from my pre-historic slime. == Hornpipes == I found myself playing along with the clip, but apart from small differences in version, there were a couple of places were we fell apart - it may well be differences in style. Could be fun to make an audio-only recording, where I play along. Hmm, that's a thought. But - I do lack a little emphasis/dynamics - there's a lot of bellows pressure most of the time, due to the presence of the camera, I guess. I tend to play louder and faster than I really want as soon as I think of the microphone. == Polkas == Lots of power here. Never heard the first one... (then I read the info ;-) ). Irish polkas are endangered: in this part of the world they tend to be Scandinavi-ized: played like right off sheet music (which can fool people to think they are really easy), umpa, umpa... not here. == Jigs == You play them in the same key as Kitty - one thing that's managable on an EC. I learned the set from Noel Hill/Tony MacMahon "Aislingi Cheol" (no - not in that key). But I play it much slower, simply to hammer to repeated notes into my fingers. I try to work around the repeated notes with another figure that (that's the theory) gives better flow. When I am able to demonstrate it, I will. I actually do think you use bellows movement to a degree that disturbs some of the figures. Make the experiment of playing it extremely slow, just to see what happens with the bellows. Could be interesting. /Henrik

Eh?! What happened to all the line breaks?!!

Edited by Henrik Müller
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I too was impressed. There is a lot more life than I usually hear in an English concertina playing Irish tunes. However, I did not see a lot of bellows movement, either in the polkas or in the jigs. What I did see and hear is continual pressure on the bellows and a lot of quick finger movement. Am I wrong in thinking this? I think more bellows movement would help give the tunes some lift, rather than the continual attack and intensity.

For comparison, here are some jigs as played by Dick Glascow:

. Dick is a fine player who, incidentally, sold his Anglo to concentrate on playing an English concertina. I'd love to hear him play some polkas on his EC and compare it to his Anglo clip. I wouldn't say his playing is "better," but it is more relaxed and has a gentle lift to it.
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Well done, I know how daunting it is to go public in front of a camera!

 

I think you have showed that an EC is technically fine for Irish music and played by the right person can hold its own . I know Alistair Anderson, Simon Thoumire and others could play that kind of music if they grew up in the environment and wanted to.

 

If you played in a relaxed session and on audio only I bet quite a few people would be hard pressed to distinguish. When I first heard Henrik at Bradfield the other year I was convinced he had a Anglo.

 

 

I liked the way you held the EC on the knee for control and in the jigs I thought your use of the bellows and the chords was punchy.

 

 

If the EC had been affordable in traditional folk music by ordinary people I think it wiould have developed a style that was perfectly acceptable.

 

 

Just look at the way the B/C button accordion evolved from the earlier melodeon type instruments.. The EC has that added flexibility.

 

 

Having said which I am sticking to the AC but I want to have the Wheatstone EC I bought on eBay done up too for the trickier keys!

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Thanks everybody for your comments, they are greatly appreciated. Replies to all I give here underneath.

I must admit I put a little too much emphazis on the energy side and lost somewhat musically. But my main goal was to show that ECs do not always have to sound legato, slurred, and nice but too smooth.

 

It took me some time to find out how. My first concertina was purchased (in 1982 I think) because I heard Noel Hill play and quite liked the sound of the concertina. I did not know there were different types, so when I asked a friend of mine in England to buy me one, he came back with an old wooden ended Lachenal English concertina with bone buttons. If I had known then that Irish music was almost excusively played on Anglo, I surely would now be one of the many Anglo players around! This instrument sounded nice but was very quiet and to get the most out of it (to shake the bellows) I started to use two fingers in the pinkierest for more grip. Concertina was just a little thing on the side then, I mainly played flute and whistle. At a moment I even sold the thing but years later I found one in a Dutch antique shop and could not resist it. This was a metal ended Lachenal and was better suited for Irish music than the previous one, and this one had wrist straps which made a difference (for grip and control). And on this one I played from time to time, until about 5 years ago when I took up the concertina more seriously and started to explore the instrument. I went on a quest to find the best suited instruments, and did workshops with Tim Collins, Jacqueline McCarthy, Edel Fox, Colm Delaney & Padraig Rynne to see what I could learn from Irish Anglo players. Went to Witney once to see what I could learn from English players (Alistair Anderson, Dave Townsend etc.). I already had considerable knowledge of (and perhaps more important - feel of) Irish music as I started of playing it on whistle when I was 17 (33 years ago!) and buying a wooden flute three years later. In fact Peter Laban (well known in this forum) started off at about the same time as me. I remember me learning him how to do a roll on the whistle (we lived in the same city). Later he immersed himself in Irish music, and there's nothing I can learn him about Irish music now, on the contrary I am certain there is loads he could learn me. [sorry Peter for disclosing this little fact on your youth - you probably forgot anyway].

At first I found out that the bellows should be used more than was common practice on ECs (therefor my whish for a better grip/control), later I understood that hitting the buttons slighty harder adds to the punch needed, and also a more generous use of cuts, and sometimes adding a little ''space'' (like a hiccup) when making rolls was important so that the music became less slurring. So these and other little tricks (like the use of bellow presure etc.) gradually added up to what is my style of playing now. Well, so much for the biography....

 

Fernando: I will try to keep my bellows more closed when playing and see how that works for me (I must confess that I like the feeling when I totally unfold it from time to time).

 

Ratface: I do agree that my music here is as you say ''relentless'', my playing could be more subtle and several notes could have been given more feeling and quality (sort like of a microdynamics within a note - a thing easier done in slower pieces). Although I would not use your technique on all notes, I am afraid that I would option for the use of relentness notes or even phrases when appropriate in my view.

 

Tony: Thanks!

 

Azalin: Swinging phrases... Yes the phrasing is also something I have to work on (unfortunately it has less to do with mastering my instrument but more with my musicality I fear :( ). By the way you are not planning a trip to Brittany are you?

 

Henrik: Delahunty's is part of my prehistoric slime also, but there are some good tunes embedded in that slime and I think this is one of them!

The jigs I played were indeed a little faster than planned I think. To refind the name(s) of the tunes, I took Kitty Hayes CD and heard her playing it again and it was only then I realized that I was overdoing it in speed. She played it much slower but it sounded great. Do you think I use the bellows too much? (as David thinks I am not using them enough...) - What do you mean by: What happened to all the lines breaks? ??

 

David: Indeed I put a lot of presure on the bellows. Here you may be right that some variation could add to the result. The finger movements are there I think but they are needed to play the way I want it. I could do less ornamentation thus less finger movements (if that's what you mean) but that would result in a style of playing which is not mine. The attack and intensity are part of the energy needed to make the EC come to life in Irish music. Probably somewhat too much now and will gradually (partly) replaced by other musical means (I hope). I did not yet hear Dick's polkas, but I saw a few videos and was amazed how quick he mastered the EC! I played polkas with Timmy McCarthy (he only plays polkas, slides etc. - and teach how to dance them) and there's loads of energy in his polkas and I must say they are never relaxed. In my view polkas have to be played with lots of swing and energy.

 

Michael: Thanks, and good luck with your new EC!

Edited by chiton1
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...

- What do you mean by: What happened to all the lines breaks? ?

...

Oh - nothing to do with the music - it was my post that was all messed up:

I always make sure to make paragraphs (line breaks), but for unknown reasons they had disappeared, making it one long text mass.

/Henrik

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bravo! although i can tell that it is on the english, i don't think i would be able to if i didn't know ahead of time and couldn't see you playing. my favorite are the hornpipes. something seems a bit off rhythmically in the polkas... they just don't feel like polkas.

 

i wouldn't normally offer any negative criticism, but since you asked... there are a few times that the ornamentation is a little sloppy, and you could use some more chords tastefully added in--you have a good sense of chording and phrasing, and i would enjoy seeing more shine through.

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quote name='david_boveri' date='10 December 2009 - 12:35 PM' timestamp='1260466503' post='105011']

bravo! although i can tell that it is on the english, i don't think i would be able to if i didn't know ahead of time and couldn't see you playing. my favorite are the hornpipes. something seems a bit off rhythmically in the polkas... they just don't feel like polkas.

i wouldn't normally offer any negative criticism, but since you asked... there are a few times that the ornamentation is a little sloppy, and you could use some more chords tastefully added in--you have a good sense of chording and phrasing, and i would enjoy seeing more shine through.

 

It's not a bad thing to hear that Irish music is payed on an English I think. I do not wish to sound exactly like an Anglo (if that is possible), I just want the English to be played with more energy, less legato and slurred as usual, and I want the music to have an Irish feel to it. Strange that you think the polkas are off rythmically. I do not know how to play them otherwise and dancers are satisfied...

You are quite right, unfortunately sometimes the ornamentation does not come out of my fingers as I would want to. Double notes and chords I did use very little in the beginning but I am getting more and more at ease with them, and now I try to let them come naturally without to much pre-thinking. So probably the use of doubles and 3-4 note chords will increase somewhat with time.

Edited by chiton1
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Seems like a fine effort and I want to say that I like what you're doing, so the criticisms are just small suggestions because you asked. I like most of the ornamentation, particularly in the jigs. I wasn't quite convinced with the rhythm in the hornpipes or polkas, and I agree with Danny about the "relentless" drive with everything sounding like it's at full volume. I prefer a slightly more varied dynamic approach. I find when I play highly rhythmic music like jigs and such that I must anticipate the button to reed lag ever so slightly and try to play a hair before I actually want the notes to sound. I have a number of ornament tricks which help with this so maybe we could compare notes on ornaments(so to speak). Of course this is more pronounce for me because I play a baritone. I've posted a couple of hornpipes on YouTube, so you can hear my approach to those. I haven't posted any jigs, reels or polkas in Irish style yet. The one thing I find very noticeable is that you're resting your concertina on the same leg that's providing the rhythm, and this gives the music a bit of a whomping pulse which I personally don't care for. Have you tried keeping the rhythm with your other leg? You also might try getting a rhythmic effect using the bellows instead. Still, I really think what you've done is way better than most of what's out there.

 

Mark

 

Here are three more videos of my playing. Note that I tend to be a little more nervous when playing in front of a camera than when playing on my own (to my surprise it's more or less having an audiance in front of you...). I think I would play somewhat less tense and more posed when playing for myself. The sound is not a 100% to my liking as well.

But it will give an idea of what you can do with an English Concertina in Irish music, and that you can play ECs energetically and with bounce (how much more do you want?!). I am certainly not the most gifted payer around and thus technically there is much room for improvement. For instance I am working on incorperating ''repeated notes'' in my play, but I am not fully satisfied yet. Plenty of other ornamentations could be worked on and added, both taken from the Irish Anglo playing, and from scratch (EC possibilities).

So please give me your comments (especially from Anglo players). Give me some feedback. I promise I can take criticism and negative remarks.

 

Two hornpipes:

Three Polkas:

Two Jigs:

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I like it.

 

Tony, I couldn't help noticing that you are classed here as a"Chatty Concertinist" but you wrote only THREE WORDS! :lol:

 

... exit, stage left! ...... 8.gif

 

Just trying to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble.

 

My wife tells me I have Asperger’s Syndrome and can’t take a joke. I can’t tell if she means it or not.

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Hey, congratulations, what a great job. That is lovely music indeed. B)

 

Since you ask though, I think, if I have to say something, then my only criticism would be with the rhythm, which is after all such a fundamental part of this music.

 

The Hornpipes, for me come over as just a wee bit edgy & I think that's because, although they are 4/4 tunes, and should have a lovely lazy legato aspect to them, I notice your leg is tapping away in 2/4 which clearly has an effect on the music you are producing.

It might be worth trying to tap in 4/4 & see if that helps.

 

The Polkas don't work quite so well for me & I think once again, it was the rhythm.

I notice you are tapping your foot in 2/4 but unless my ears deceive me, you are actually playing them in 4/4, so I think you tend to lose that lovely drive you get from 2/4.

As an exercise, have you tried emphasising every 2nd note, when playing your Polkas?

Obviously you don't actually do that when playing, but there needs to be a 2/4 drive rather than a 4/4 one to Polkas, or you lose them.

 

The Jigs have perhaps the best rhythm to them, but they somehow also have that edgy feel to them too.

I don't know if it would help but have you ever tried tapping your other foot in half time, while your first foot taps on the beat?

i.e. one foot tapping 1, 4, 7, 10, etc while the other foot, the lazy foot, taps only 1, 7, 13, etc. I find that this technique helps me to keep a steady beat, but also encourages me to encorporate a touch of legato.

With instruments like the EC & Northumbrian Pipes I think it is perhaps very difficult to squeeze that all too essential legato aspect into the playing of Irish music. ....... i.e. Hurry up .. but take your time!

;)

 

All that said, I must say, it seems very unfair for me to be sitting here picking holes in such fine music, but after all you did ask, so perhaps it would be more rude of me to say nothing. :P

 

Perhaps I would be better qualified to offer you advice though, if I could actually play the darn EC even half as well as you clearly can.

So please understand that I'm coming at you, as an Anglo player & a devout lover of Irish Music, but also someone who has a growing interest in the development & promotion of the EC, so as a great admirer of your music.

 

Also, please bear in mind too that I may very well be completely & utterly wrong in absolutely everything I have just said above, so please feel free to disregard everything I have just written. :wacko:

 

Most importantly of all though, please carry on making such wonderful music on your EC & to hell with all of us old, farty, Anglo/Irish begrudgers ... what do we know anyway!

 

Cheers

Dick

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Praise indeed & thanks David.

 

To be perfectly honest though, I'd hate to have folks pointing out all the flaws in my playing, the way this brave man has set himself up for attack, with these three fine clips.

We'd be here all day .. at least! :(

 

Oh & by the way, I did sell my Jeffries, but I still have a nice wee G/D Lachenal, so when I need an Irish Concertina fix, that's what I use!

It's hard work to play, but at least I can keep my hand in.

 

Cheers

Dick

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