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Making yourself heard...


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the concertina is very hard to hear for the player... but rest assured that everyone else can hear you if you are squeezing away with gusto. the more you play out, the better you will be able to hear yourself. in general, when i play, i try to blend so i DON'T hear myself, because of the fact that my concertina is so loud. if i can't hear myself, that usually means everyone can hear me just fine. if i can hear myself, that usually means i can be heard above everyone else (which is convenient for leading a ceili band, etc.).

 

if you avoid playing it at sessions, you will never learn how to judge your playing. eventually, you can learn to hear the dissonance of you playing the wrong notes with everyone else's "right" notes. so, i know i am playing the right notes when there is no dissonance, OR when i do not hear my note sticking out (or at all).. when people are playing out of tune, however, it becomes tricker. personally, i can feel the dissonance in the air, and even on my fingers tips. a couple of months ago a friend of mine got a new accordion which was tuned VERY wet. i was not prepared for this, and i felt a buzzing in my fingers so much that i had sit somewhere else to make it stop.

 

so, however you learn to hear yourself at the session (or know if you're hitting the right notes), the only way to learn it is to play in more sessions. it took me several years, and i used to just play loud so i could hear myself. one time, i was playing at a session, and i looked down at my fingers. they were moving, pressing buttons, and i didn't realize i was playing at all because i didn't hear anything. to me, this is the golden standard that i strive for.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Sue

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one time, i was playing at a session, and i looked down at my fingers. they were moving, pressing buttons, and i didn't realize i was playing at all because i didn't hear anything. to me, this is the golden standard that i strive for.

 

:D

 

Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of the time God wanted a change from all that angelic choir music, and asked Gabriel if he could find a couple of good instumentalists who could play something danceable.

"Sure," said Gabriel, "What about Ludwig van Beethoven and Turlough O'Carolan? One's a pianist, the other's a harper. Both innovative musicians, and both widely acclaimed when they were alive."

So next evening, Beethoven and Carolan found themselves on the celestial concert podium before throngs of saints and angels.

Half-way through their first piece, Carolan asked, "How is it going, Ludwig? Have the saints and angels started dancing yet?"

"What!" said Beethoven, "Have we already started playing?"

 

;)

Cheers,

John

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As a new player, I really have this problem and can sympathize. I find that sitting next to a fiddler is about the worst. Their instrument is right by my ear and the tone is similar enough to drown out anything I might hear. Great idea about sitting in a corner or near a wall - Thanks

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I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Sue

 

I tried my anglo in sessions a few times but I found I could not really hear myself so I either play harmonica or flute now. I do play in a wind band and I can't always hear myself there unless I get it wrong then suddenly I am aware of my own playing :o

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Try to get a seat in a corner.

No don't listen to Graham!!! Please! Or everyone will start nicking the corner I always take, normally right across the other side of the room next to the punters, near the door for easy escape and easy access to the bar (and loo..). I can hear ALL the other players (individually) AND myself, BUT they can't hear all my dodgy notes as they are deafening each other. I really get to hear if my backing chords are working!

 

Plus I get space under the drinks table to put all the plastic bags from my supermarket trolley (Waitrose not Lidl)with my gear in, and room on the drinks' table to put out all my rubbish so I can switch around between instruments for different keys. I get ton(ne)s of room to stretch out the bellows but most important of all it really impresses the neighbouring punters who don't know the difference between a flat and a sharp and an ear-jarring dischord. They are impressed more by the theatricals, as I thrash the bellows soundlessly in and out using just the air button!

 

It can cost tho: I normally have keep my place safe from encroachment by bringing along a few friends who don;t drink and neither enjoy nor are displeased by my failings and I am happy to say they seem only available for sale or hire from the US..

 

http://www.valuebuy.net/monkeys.html

PS By the time the toon reaches the climactic end you can usually have worked out a chord that works and you do a big rasping flourish on your anglo just after the last note and the punters are even more impressed! I saw just that done last night at the George Squeeze Scrape and Blow and it highly impressed a holidayin visitor from the State Department in Wash DC :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

We also all played March of the Concertinas led by Al Day himself - sound and video shortly...

Edited by Kautilya
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I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Sue

 

I tried my anglo in sessions a few times but I found I could not really hear myself so I either play harmonica or flute now. I do play in a wind band and I can't always hear myself there unless I get it wrong then suddenly I am aware of my own playing :o

 

I have no experience whatsoever of 'Session' playing but I suggest that the Concertina is probably not the most suitable instrument to hold it's own amongst a miscellany of other relatively undisciplined instrumentalists all struggling to make themselves heard. I see it at its best as a solo instrument, or on occasions enhanced by some gentle but well balanced guitar or piano accompaniment. It rarely, if ever, fares well in a free-for-all.

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I have no experience whatsoever of 'Session' playing but I suggest that the Concertina is probably not the most suitable instrument to hold it's own amongst a miscellany of other relatively undisciplined instrumentalists all struggling to make themselves heard. I see it at its best as a solo instrument, or on occasions enhanced by some gentle but well balanced guitar or piano accompaniment. It rarely, if ever, fares well in a free-for-all.

 

So stay at home playing with only yourself to hear you then....and take a melodeon to sessions? ;)

*ducks behind parapet*

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I have no experience whatsoever of 'Session' playing but I suggest that the Concertina is probably not the most suitable instrument to hold it's own amongst a miscellany of other relatively undisciplined instrumentalists all struggling to make themselves heard. I see it at its best as a solo instrument, or on occasions enhanced by some gentle but well balanced guitar or piano accompaniment. It rarely, if ever, fares well in a free-for-all.

 

So stay at home playing with only yourself to hear you then....and take a melodeon to sessions? ;)

*ducks behind parapet*

 

Why not.....could be the best of both worlds. Do what you fancy and don't take any notice of what I say !

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one time, i was playing at a session, and i looked down at my fingers. they were moving, pressing buttons, and i didn't realize i was playing at all because i didn't hear anything. to me, this is the golden standard that i strive for.

 

:D

 

Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of the time God wanted a change from all that angelic choir music, and asked Gabriel if he could find a couple of good instumentalists who could play something danceable.

"Sure," said Gabriel, "What about Ludwig van Beethoven and Turlough O'Carolan? One's a pianist, the other's a harper. Both innovative musicians, and both widely acclaimed when they were alive."

So next evening, Beethoven and Carolan found themselves on the celestial concert podium before throngs of saints and angels.

Half-way through their first piece, Carolan asked, "How is it going, Ludwig? Have the saints and angels started dancing yet?"

"What!" said Beethoven, "Have we already started playing?"

 

;)

Cheers,

John

:lol: :lol:

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I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Sue

 

i can hear myself, I play a carroll concertina. as i said above, i try not to hear myself TOO much, because my instrument is so loud.

 

As a new player, I really have this problem and can sympathize. I find that sitting next to a fiddler is about the worst. Their instrument is right by my ear and the tone is similar enough to drown out anything I might hear. Great idea about sitting in a corner or near a wall - Thanks

 

if you sit to the RIGHT of a fiddler, you will be able to hear yourself better. in other words, if their fiddle is to YOUR left, you are farther away from the sound holes on the violin.

 

I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Sue

 

I tried my anglo in sessions a few times but I found I could not really hear myself so I either play harmonica or flute now. I do play in a wind band and I can't always hear myself there unless I get it wrong then suddenly I am aware of my own playing :o

 

I have no experience whatsoever of 'Session' playing but I suggest that the Concertina is probably not the most suitable instrument to hold it's own amongst a miscellany of other relatively undisciplined instrumentalists all struggling to make themselves heard. I see it at its best as a solo instrument, or on occasions enhanced by some gentle but well balanced guitar or piano accompaniment. It rarely, if ever, fares well in a free-for-all.

 

well, if you have a group of instrumentalists who ARE disciplined and try to blend, it can be delightful to play the concertina. if anyone DOES want to play the "let's see who can be the loudest game," i always win, :-P

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I've read this thread with interest as I'm finding it quite frustrating not to be able to hear myself in sessions. I started playing (quite recently) with a melodeon which I enjoyed very much. I now have a concertina which I play much more, partly because I like it better and partly because of a shoulder injury. What prompted me to start playing anything was a very good session in my local pub and the encouragement I received from some very good players. Being part of a good session is still one of the great pleasures. The concertina is fine when playing with a few friends but in a larger session I can't hear it at all.

I play an anglo so I'd like to ask any anglo players out there who play in sessions: Can you hear yourself play in sessions? If so, what instrument do you play? Any advice as to the type of concertina that would be best in a session setting would be appreciated.

i can hear myself, I play a carroll concertina. as i said above, i try not to hear myself TOO much, because my instrument is so loud.

As a new player, I really have this problem and can sympathize. I find that sitting next to a fiddler is about the worst. Their instrument is right by my ear and the tone is similar enough to drown out anything I might hear. Great idea about sitting in a corner or near a wall - Thanks

if you sit to the RIGHT of a fiddler, you will be able to hear yourself better. in other words, if their fiddle is to YOUR left, you are farther away from the sound holes on the violin.

I have no experience whatsoever of 'Session' playing but I suggest that the Concertina is probably not the most suitable instrument to hold it's own amongst a miscellany of other relatively undisciplined instrumentalists all struggling to make themselves heard. I see it at its best as a solo instrument, or on occasions enhanced by some gentle but well balanced guitar or piano accompaniment. It rarely, if ever, fares well in a free-for-all.

well, if you have a group of instrumentalists who ARE disciplined and try to blend, it can be delightful to play the concertina. if anyone DOES want to play the "let's see who can be the loudest game," i always win, :-P

Well...I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with David in a session a few days ago when he was visiting my area. It was one of the biggest sessions I've ever been in, with probably 25+ people including 4 bodhrans, a tambourine, a set of spoons and at least three guitars. And David does play loudly (and very well) even when he's not playing his Carroll. But I could always hear myself play well enough to tell whether I was playing the right notes, though I could hear David more clearly than I could hear myself even though we weren't sitting next to each other most of the time. I think part of it may be a matter of training one's ear to pick out one's own sound amid the roar.

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well, if you have a group of instrumentalists who ARE disciplined and try to blend, it can be delightful to play the concertina. if anyone DOES want to play the "let's see who can be the loudest game," i always win, :-P

Well...I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with David in a session a few days ago when he was visiting my area. It was one of the biggest sessions I've ever been in, with probably 25+ people including 4 bodhrans, a tambourine, a set of spoons and at least three guitars. And David does play loudly (and very well) even when he's not playing his Carroll. But I could always hear myself play well enough to tell whether I was playing the right notes, though I could hear David more clearly than I could hear myself even though we weren't sitting next to each other most of the time. I think part of it may be a matter of training one's ear to pick out one's own sound amid the roar.

One factor that I'm not sure has been mentioned yet is local acoustics.

It sounds as if the session Daniel attended has good acoustics for the musicians to hear each other. The session I join at Pub Ro (Helsingborg, Sweden) has about the worst for-the-musicians acoustics I've ever encountered. (I attend because it's convenient and friendly.)

 

In Pub Ro the musicians sit both sides of one long table in a long narrow room which has patrons sitting around smaller tables at the other end. Sitting among the patrons, one can hear the music quite clearly, while sitting with the musicians I often can't hear either myself or the musicians on either side of me, yet the drowning-out chatter of the patrons is practically deafening. It seems that in that space, the more distant the source of a sound, the clearer it is, and it doesn't matter what instruments are involved.

 

So I wonder how much of the poor experiences reported by others is actually related to particular instruments and how much might be a consequence of inappropriate acoustics, possibly affecting all instruments (but somewhat compensated in instruments held closer to the player's ear).

 

Unfortunately, I don't know whether the venue for any session has ever been deliberately selected on the basis of favorable acoustics for the musicians.

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Unfortunately, I don't know whether the venue for any session has ever been deliberately selected on the basis of favorable acoustics for the musicians.

 

The Peoria, Illinois, session usually meets in a side room in the pub which is just the right size for the musicians and those who want to listen. The acoustics are quite good for the musicians.

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well, if you have a group of instrumentalists who ARE disciplined and try to blend, it can be delightful to play the concertina. if anyone DOES want to play the "let's see who can be the loudest game," i always win, :-P
Well...I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with David in a session a few days ago when he was visiting my area. It was one of the biggest sessions I've ever been in, with probably 25+ people including 4 bodhrans, a tambourine, a set of spoons and at least three guitars. And David does play loudly (and very well) even when he's not playing his Carroll. But I could always hear myself play well enough to tell whether I was playing the right notes, though I could hear David more clearly than I could hear myself even though we weren't sitting next to each other most of the time. I think part of it may be a matter of training one's ear to pick out one's own sound amid the roar.

One factor that I'm not sure has been mentioned yet is local acoustics.

It sounds as if the session Daniel attended has good acoustics for the musicians to hear each other. The session I join at Pub Ro (Helsingborg, Sweden) has about the worst for-the-musicians acoustics I've ever encountered. (I attend because it's convenient and friendly.)

 

In Pub Ro the musicians sit both sides of one long table in a long narrow room which has patrons sitting around smaller tables at the other end. Sitting among the patrons, one can hear the music quite clearly, while sitting with the musicians I often can't hear either myself or the musicians on either side of me, yet the drowning-out chatter of the patrons is practically deafening. It seems that in that space, the more distant the source of a sound, the clearer it is, and it doesn't matter what instruments are involved.

 

So I wonder how much of the poor experiences reported by others is actually related to particular instruments and how much might be a consequence of inappropriate acoustics, possibly affecting all instruments (but somewhat compensated in instruments held closer to the player's ear).

 

Unfortunately, I don't know whether the venue for any session has ever been deliberately selected on the basis of favorable acoustics for the musicians.

This is a good point. The session I was describing had musicians sitting roughly in about three concentric circles, and there were not many customers at the bar and tables. There were times when I could even hear clearly enough to tell which of the several flute players were out of tune.

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These are only a few of my thoughts. There used to be the old saying 'If you can hear yourself then you're playing too loud'. I think if some session players thought about this a bit then things would calm down. It is difficult, great tunes, really enjoying it, hence the getting louder, getting faster (although the speeding up is often from players with timing problems, i.e. not playing the spaces). Yes, a little more courtesy could be spread around in some sessions, i.e. if someone starts a tune, follow them, don't rush off with it the way you want it. Concertinas certainly aren't good instruments for hearing yourselves. For those of you that can, you could try play all (or some) of the tune an octave down, I'm an English player and find I can sometimes do this and then you can hear what you are doing. Its good practice for playing down the dusty end. Some sessions are all fast and frantic, others are slower and more relaxed, its finding the one that's right for you (or starting one even, the more the merrier).

 

Keep squeezing

Angie

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