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michael sam wild

'High Pitch' instrument on Micheal O Raghallaigh CD

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I've been listening to MO'R's Inside Out (2006), ) On some tracks he says he plays a Jeffries 46 button A flat/E flat, he describes as 'high pitch' and says'"it's somewhere between modern Bb and B." which I have always found confusing but as I had no way of knowing I played along on a Bb or C whistle

 

Recently, for the first time I was able to play along ( to the best of my ability) on a lovely Wheatstone Bb/F I have borrowed from a fellow c netter , Bill Crossland, and found it fitted nicely on the middle Bb row. That instrument is about 75% of the way to B, I call it Bb## So I suppose it is 'high pitch' it fooled my guitarist mate!

 

Do you think Micheal may have a Bb/Eb 'high pitch' or will it be as he initially describes the instrument, what I'd call G#/D# ( Ab/Eb)

All I can work out are the keys he plays in rather than the tuning of the instrument. it sounds nice in any case.

 

 

I have emailed him on the address on the sleeve notes but got no reply, wonder whether it got through.huh.gif

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I've been listening to MO'R's Inside Out (2006), ) On some tracks he says he plays a Jeffries 46 button A flat/E flat, he describes as 'high pitch' and says'"it's somewhere between modern Bb and B." which I have always found confusing but as I had no way of knowing I played along on a Bb or C whistle

 

Recently, for the first time I was able to play along ( to the best of my ability) on a lovely Wheatstone Bb/F I have borrowed from a fellow c netter , Bill Crossland, and found it fitted nicely on the middle Bb row. That instrument is about 75% of the way to B, I call it Bb## So I suppose it is 'high pitch' it fooled my guitarist mate!

 

Do you think Micheal may have a Bb/Eb 'high pitch' or will it be as he initially describes the instrument, what I'd call G#/D# ( Ab/Eb)

All I can work out are the keys he plays in rather than the tuning of the instrument. it sounds nice in any case.

 

I'm confident Micheal meant what he wrote. I don't have the CDs here with me, but my recollection is that on his initial solo recording (The Nervous Man), he described the box in question as a G#/D# -- which, as you correctly noted, is the same as Ab/Eb. I'm not aware of a reason for preferring one description over the other.

 

Now -- as has been discussed on this board before, it's common among Irish players to say that a C/G concertina is "in" D. Tunes in D sit well on it with across-the-rows fingering; it's the box of choice if you're playing with a D flute, D pipes; etc.

 

By that convention, an Ab/Eb box is "in" Bb; and since its tuning is high relative to the current pitch standard, it's "somewhere between modern Bb and B."

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That's right , he mentions a 46 button Jeffries G#/D# sytem. Like a salvationn Army Ab/Eb. The trerminology would reflect the brass band convention of naming keys.

 

What date were these 'high pitch' instruments?

 

As to the naming it a 'Bb instrument' I reckon some pipers played in those keys so such a concertina would help.

 

I've not heard a C/G described as a D instrument but I know what you mean .People often describe an instrument by what they can play along with. D Concert flute often means one in D like a tin whistle. I suppose before peole read music readily or had tuners it was whether you could get along with other musicians. I've heard a mouthorgan tuned diatonically in A but played in E for blues scales described as an 'E harp'.

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... it's common among Irish players to say that a C/G concertina is "in" D. Tunes in D sit well on it with across-the-rows fingering; it's the box of choice if you're playing with a D flute, D pipes; etc.

 

Maybe after a lot of practice they do, but I wouldn't have thought tunes in D sit particularly well on a C/G, compared to other common session keys. huh.gif

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Normally "high-pitch" is a way of telling the reader that the instrument has not been retuned to the modern standard of A=440. So a Bb/F instrument that is described as high pitch will probably have A=446 or something close to that. If I remember correctly, the modern tuning was not adopted until somewhere around 1921. So instruments made before that date will likely be "high pitch" unless they have been retuned after the musical world accepted A=440 as the standard concert pitch.

 

Ross Schlabach

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... it's common among Irish players to say that a C/G concertina is "in" D. Tunes in D sit well on it with across-the-rows fingering; it's the box of choice if you're playing with a D flute, D pipes; etc.

 

Maybe after a lot of practice they do, but I wouldn't have thought tunes in D sit particularly well on a C/G, compared to other common session keys. huh.gif

Since the only note in the key of D not shared by the key of G is a C# instead of the C natural, if you know where all the notes in the key of G are, all you have to learn is where the C#'s are and you can play in D. What style of fingering you use may slightly impact how easy you find playing a d scale is, but it is insignificant in practice. If you only have a 20 button, you have to work around the lack of C# which is one reason why 30 button C/G's are the prevalent choice. ( besides the fact that some of us like to play in A, F, Bb and G minor as well ) I suppose what constitutes a common session key depends on the sessions you frequent, but G and D are most common at every session I've been to with A coming in next especially if there are a lot of fiddlers.

A long time ago, someone told me to think of concertina keys having more to do with their range rather than what you could do with them. The C/G has essentially the same range as the Fiddle which makes it relatively convenient to play the same tunes. Yes, some Keys take more practice to play in than others. D doesn't happen to be one of them. If you want to play in a specific key on a concertina and it has the notes you need, you can do it. (so what if you have to practice ) There is sometimes more chord limitation than you'd like, but you may be pleasantly surprised. I used to play the Dear Irish Boy in E minor since it was easy to play there, but when I relearned the tune in G minor, not only did it fit the mood of the tune better, but the chords and counter notes I had available were much better and more interesting.

Dana

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Earlier in this thread, I said that Irish conventions for the key designation of instruments have been discussed before. For anyone who wants to revisit that issue, here's the thread I was thinking of. The most relevant part:

 

In Irish music terms, a C/G Anglo is "concert pitch", i.e. it plays across the rows in D. If you play an Ab/Eb in that D fingering, it plays in Bb, hence "a Bb concertina".

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... it's common among Irish players to say that a C/G concertina is "in" D. Tunes in D sit well on it with across-the-rows fingering; it's the box of choice if you're playing with a D flute, D pipes; etc.

 

Maybe after a lot of practice they do, but I wouldn't have thought tunes in D sit particularly well on a C/G, compared to other common session keys. huh.gif

 

 

I think it is better to persevere with D on a C/G than go for the G/D option mainly because the buttons allow nice ornamentation.

 

 

I never cease to be amazed at how the older players adapted what they had with the common C/G.

 

I'm still keen to know what type Wm Mullally played though.wink.gif

 

Thanks everyone so far it's done a lot to clarify things.

 

Ross, where's the best place to read about the changes in pitch and the reasons?

 

Michael, that earlier 2008 post was great.

 

Stephen, The 'couple ' thing ( see below) explains why I used to get stocious after being invited to go for a cupla drinks with an old friend in Ennis.

 

Quoted

'I'm reminded of how, in the Irish language, the word "cúpla" means "a few", rather than just "a couple" (= two), so if you ask an Irish person for "a couple" of something (in English), they're likely to ask how many you want because of this... 'blink.gif

This post has been edited by Stephen Chambers: 02 July 2008 - 12:15 AM

Edited by michael sam wild

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