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me playing with a friend


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this is a video of me playing with my friend blake from the beginning of last december:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_NXCYUtpQ8

 

i was not initially comfortable with posting this video. i had been casually working on these tunes for a while, but didn't really know them too well. as you can tell, blake is a great player, and i was just doing my best to keep up. if we had a couple days to practice, it would probably be pretty good, but we spent our time just looking at tunes and sessioning, so oh well. you can find more of blake's playing on youtube under the name jiggage, or at his myspace page. you can even find him playing on comhaltas live, if you look hard enough.

 

i don't mind doing gigs and sessions, but posting videos online makes me nervous. i just wanted to put it up to show some people, and get some feedback from a friend of mine on our balance/etc. (hint: i know it's unbalanced). the spots i do the worst is when blake drops down the octave in woman of the house. i didn't know his setting of the tune well enough to feel confident "by myself," but oh well.

 

i have learned how to blend a lot better because of this video, and have spent the interim time learning how to support players rather than drown them out. i'm still working on this and other issues, but it's all a journey, i guess!

 

let me know what you guys think.

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Very nice David!

 

People should post more videos, for me the videos are the best. We can learn a lot and share many views and comments.

 

First tune: The first notes sound funny, never heard that version. But I like it!

 

Second tune: Never heard that reel, I like the end of the first part!

 

Third tune: your friend is really good, I think that when he is playing the whole tune in the lower octave, there are a few notes that are too low for the fiddle and he is playing other notes that go well with the tune. That's really difficult to do! and it can be done in the concertina as well, also very difficult, one day I'm going to try it!

 

I can see that you can keep with your friend very well David, the two of you playing make very nice music. It's a pity that I cannot listen the concertina on its own, I hope you record yourself playing someday. Don't mind about the mistakes, I always do some in all my videos. That's the advantage of sharing the music with other musicians, they are going to understand the music you are playing even if you make mistakes.

 

And you are right David, all it's a journey!

 

Fernando

Edited by fernando
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Very nice David!

 

People should post more videos, for me the videos are the best. We can learn a lot and share many views and comments.

 

First tune: The first notes sound funny, never heard that version. But I like it!

 

my friend blake definitely has great versions of tunes. i believe he started on G and F# as pickup notes. if you listen to him here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1jZbqqPjH8

 

you can see that when he is playing by himself he has an even MORE different way to start george white's favorite. he was just trying to keep it "kosher" for me, :-P.

 

Second tune: Never heard that reel, I like the end of the first part!

 

i believe that my friend blake came up with the ending for the first part. actually, i believe he came up with it in the middle of that video posted above in this very comment. he tends to like to do it only once, but i actually prefer it on every time through the A part of the tune.

 

Third tune: your friend is really good, I think that when he is playing the whole tune in the lower octave, there are a few notes that are too low for the fiddle and he is playing other notes that go well with the tune. That's really difficult to do! and it can be done in the concertina as well, also very difficult, one day I'm going to try it!

 

you got it! instead of playing DBBA B2... he is playing G,B,B,A, B,2... (in abc notation comma is down an octave). it is definitely possible on the concertina, and i have been working on it, but i definitely don't have it "performance ready." hopefully by the next time we get together to do some videos i should have it down. there is just no good way to finger those note combinations, so it ends up on your pinkie and ring finger for most of it, with a lot of in and out!

 

I can see that you can keep with your friend very well David, the two of you playing make very nice music. It's a pity that I cannot listen the concertina on its own, I hope you record yourself playing someday. Don't mind about the mistakes, I always do some in all my videos. That's the advantage of sharing the music with other musicians, they are going to understand the music you are playing even if you make mistakes.

 

And you are right David, all it's a journey!

 

Fernando

 

yeah, i think i'm lucky to have such great friends who happen to also play music! unfortunately blake lives half a continent away, so we don't play together very often. if i make more videos, they'll probably have to do them by myself, even though i'm not too keen on making internet videos by myself. i can definitely do it, but it's a lot easier for me when i have someone to play with.

 

tonight i was in a recording for a television commercial, which didn't make me nervous at all, but for some reason when i play for people online my head gets tied in knots! if i can't muster up the clarity of mind to make the videos by myself, i'll have my friend jeff who is a bodhran player come over and do some videos with me. i agree that posting videos online is a worthwhile endeavor, so i'll do my best to get some videos up.

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Great stuff David, thanks for posting that.

 

RE: balance, I thought you did a pretty good job of holding back.

 

Which reminds me of the time I saw Michael O'Raghallaigh & his Fiddler brother in an All Ireland Duets final one year, in Clonmel, when the judge just couldn't decide between those two & another pair, so he had them back to play another set each ... how do you fancy that kind of pressure? :D

Anyway, believe it or not, neither pair made a single mistake, so the only reason he gave it to the other pair was, he said that Micheal was just a little too loud against his brother's Fiddle! :o

 

Personally, although you couldn't fail to love the sounds that Noel Hill & Tony Linnane produced on their legendary LP, back in 1978, I still prefer to hear two musicians kind of sparring against one another, doing their own thing a little. For me, it produces much more musical excitement, that air of the unexpected.

 

Let's face it, so much modern music on CD is far, far too clinical anyway & personally I prefer my Traditional Music in the raw, with all those tasty rough edges still intact. So yes, let's have some more, please. ;)

 

I hope you don't mind if I borrow it for the Irish Concertina's Video Library? B)

 

Cheers

Dick

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my friend blake definitely has great versions of tunes. i believe he started on G and F# as pickup notes. if you listen to him here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1jZbqqPjH8

 

He is really good! If I were you I would try to learn a few things from him:

 

- When he makes those pauses in the tune, he is giving energy to the tune. I've seen Noel Hill doing that, it can be done.

 

- At the end of the video he does again the playing of the tune in a lower octave using alternative notes. We can do it in our concertinas, we have the same notes! our lowest note is the same as his lowest note. I don't know about the fingering in the Anglo though...

 

I don't know how to do any of this things, yet! I see that you talk about your playing in the years to come. I think the same! this is a journey, a long journey to who knows where, but with lots of fun all the way through!

 

Fernando

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Great stuff David, thanks for posting that.

 

RE: balance, I thought you did a pretty good job of holding back.

 

Which reminds me of the time I saw Michael O'Raghallaigh & his Fiddler brother in an All Ireland Duets final one year, in Clonmel, when the judge just couldn't decide between those two & another pair, so he had them back to play another set each ... how do you fancy that kind of pressure? :D

Anyway, believe it or not, neither pair made a single mistake, so the only reason he gave it to the other pair was, he said that Micheal was just a little too loud against his brother's Fiddle! :o

 

Personally, although you couldn't fail to love the sounds that Noel Hill & Tony Linnane produced on their legendary LP, back in 1978, I still prefer to hear two musicians kind of sparring against one another, doing their own thing a little. For me, it produces much more musical excitement, that air of the unexpected.

 

Let's face it, so much modern music on CD is far, far too clinical anyway & personally I prefer my Traditional Music in the raw, with all those tasty rough edges still intact. So yes, let's have some more, please. ;)

 

I hope you don't mind if I borrow it for the Irish Concertina's Video Library? B)

 

Cheers

Dick

 

thanks for the request, and feel free to post it in the library! i agree that the interchange between musicians is great, and we both like to take that "sparring" approach to playing, as you put it. this video is more indicative of how we like to play rather than how we are TRYING to play. so, my negative assessment of the balance is based on that arbitrary standard, not on how we like to play in general.

 

we are trying to learn that duet style for exactly the reason that you state in that anecdote about micheál and his brother... not because of our personal preferences, but because of the rubric on a piece of paper that we expect to face in the future, :lol:. also i think that if we can play with the duet style well, we will be able to better add in that "air of the unexpected" when we are not playing the duet style. as you can tell, i'm not afraid to reach for the wrong note in hopes that it will be the right one :-P.

 

and of course, as my friend blake lives in California and i in Illinois, it may be a while before we have some more videos. i'll let him know the positive response, which may both convince me to practice more and encourage him to make to make the trip back out, B).

Edited by david_boveri
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my friend blake definitely has great versions of tunes. i believe he started on G and F# as pickup notes. if you listen to him here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1jZbqqPjH8

 

He is really good! If I were you I would try to learn a few things from him:

 

- When he makes those pauses in the tune, he is giving energy to the tune. I've seen Noel Hill doing that, it can be done.

 

- At the end of the video he does again the playing of the tune in a lower octave using alternative notes. We can do it in our concertinas, we have the same notes! our lowest note is the same as his lowest note. I don't know about the fingering in the Anglo though...

 

I don't know how to do any of this things, yet! I see that you talk about your playing in the years to come. I think the same! this is a journey, a long journey to who knows where, but with lots of fun all the way through!

 

Fernando

 

thanks for the feedback! i agree about adding space between notes. in "eel in the sink," at the end of the first part, my low A goes on longer than his does, which definitely ruins the effect that we were going for :blink: . i haven't yet mastered putting space between low notes! they take so much longer to start and stop compared to the higher notes...

 

if you're interested, i have the fingering all worked out to drop the octave with the fiddle, but i can't play it up to speed yet, which is why i did not do it for the video. the hardest part is the following phrase:

 

G,B,B,A, B,2B,A, | G,B,B,2 DB,A,B, {in abc notation, the commas denote lower octave)

 

all the notes occur on the left hand side. for low G i use C-row push on the 4th button, and A i use accidental-row push, 4th button. the low B is on the same button as the low G, but on the push. the D i use is the pull D in the C row. the hard part is that low G and B are fingered with the pinkie, and low A is fingered with the pointer. that means that i have to cross over my pinkie with my ring finger to get to the A. to go between low A and B requires crossing my fingers AND changing bellows direction. definitely doable, but it requires a lot more practice than i have put into it!

 

if that's hard to follow, i might be able to make a quick video with the fingering...

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thanks for the feedback! i agree about adding space between notes. in "eel in the sink," at the end of the first part, my low A goes on longer than his does, which definitely ruins the effect that we were going for :blink: . i haven't yet mastered putting space between low notes! they take so much longer to start and stop compared to the higher notes...

 

if you're interested, i have the fingering all worked out to drop the octave with the fiddle, but i can't play it up to speed yet, which is why i did not do it for the video. the hardest part is the following phrase:

 

G,B,B,A, B,2B,A, | G,B,B,2 DB,A,B, {in abc notation, the commas denote lower octave)

 

all the notes occur on the left hand side. for low G i use C-row push on the 4th button, and A i use accidental-row push, 4th button. the low B is on the same button as the low G, but on the push. the D i use is the pull D in the C row. the hard part is that low G and B are fingered with the pinkie, and low A is fingered with the pointer. that means that i have to cross over my pinkie with my ring finger to get to the A. to go between low A and B requires crossing my fingers AND changing bellows direction. definitely doable, but it requires a lot more practice than i have put into it!

 

if that's hard to follow, i might be able to make a quick video with the fingering...

 

Thanks for all that explanation David! it's a pity that I don't play the Anglo, I play the English system! :lol:

 

In the system I play, if I play in the usual keys they play in Irish music, I don't have to worry about which buttons I have to press, because I don't have repetitions of the same note in both sides. But I do have to worry about which fingers I have to use to play these notes.

 

I said that because I know it's perfectly possible to do what your friend does, but I couldn't give you any indication.

 

But I can see that you already have it! :D good! now it's me who has to discover it

 

Keep up the good playing! and enjoy your journey!

 

Fernando

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