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Tune Of The Month For June: La Luna Dins L'aiga


Jim Besser
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Hello everybody, I've been enjoying the TOTMs for quite a while now, very interesting and lots of fun to listen to and to read.

I recorded a rough version in a kind of umpah style and made up some chords. I hope it is not too far out and you enjoy it anyway.

https://soundcloud.com/squeezer-stefan/totm-la-luna-dins-laiga

It was played on a Wheatstone Aeola 57key Maccann.

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Hello everybody, I've been enjoying the TOTMs for quite a while now, very interesting and lots of fun to listen to and to read.

I recorded a rough version in a kind of umpah style and made up some chords. I hope it is not too far out and you enjoy it anyway.

https://soundcloud.com/squeezer-stefan/totm-la-luna-dins-laiga

It was played on a Wheatstone Aeola 57key Maccann.

Well done Stefan !!

 

A different approach, and why not ?

Nice to have another Maccann version, especially on that Concertina.

 

Geoff.

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Here's this month's attempt and my continued work on adding accompaniment:

https://soundcloud.com/mildredestelle/la-luna-dins-laiga

 

A question for EC players -- how do you keep the accompaniment notes (esp low sustained ones) from overwhelming the tune? I seem to have trouble keeping some notes from blasting out with a great HONK! How much is the nature of hte beast and how much my overzealous fingers?

 

Before uploading I listened again to all the versions so far and it seemed to me that the duets manage the tune/accompaniment balance in a very nice way. Are the reeds more 'equal' on a duet or do you you train your left hand to lighten up? Or, indeed, do you keep the accompaniment side of the concertina away from the recording speakers?

 

thanks in advance for any ideas/ suggestions

Sarah

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Here's this month's attempt and my continued work on adding accompaniment:

https://soundcloud.com/mildredestelle/la-luna-dins-laiga

 

A question for EC players -- how do you keep the accompaniment notes (esp low sustained ones) from overwhelming the tune? I seem to have trouble keeping some notes from blasting out with a great HONK! How much is the nature of hte beast and how much my overzealous fingers?

 

Before uploading I listened again to all the versions so far and it seemed to me that the duets manage the tune/accompaniment balance in a very nice way. Are the reeds more 'equal' on a duet or do you you train your left hand to lighten up? Or, indeed, do you keep the accompaniment side of the concertina away from the recording speakers?

 

thanks in advance for any ideas/ suggestions

Sarah

 

NIce delicate version, quite different again... :)

 

As to the balance, I am content with my third version ("Twice through"), whereas others may be not. However, I believe I could improve on that. IMO It's a matter of attack and legato on the melody "side", or of achieving a personal "tone" in general.

 

Anyway, it is possible to expand the first-touch-capabilities...

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A question for EC players -- how do you keep the accompaniment notes (esp low sustained ones) from overwhelming the tune? I seem to have trouble keeping some notes from blasting out with a great HONK! How much is the nature of hte beast and how much my overzealous fingers?

 

Before uploading I listened again to all the versions so far and it seemed to me that the duets manage the tune/accompaniment balance in a very nice way. Are the reeds more 'equal' on a duet or do you you train your left hand to lighten up? Or, indeed, do you keep the accompaniment side of the concertina away from the recording speakers?

 

Sarah,

on the EC it is mostly the capabilities of the actual model that will determine a balance between different notes. The original instruments were, it would appear, played more or less in a single melody line style therefore balance in chords was not so much an issue. Towards the end of the 19th century attempts were made to improve the efficiency of the instrument and increase its power... this lead to even worse imbalances, at times, before an equilibrium of voicing arrived in the early 20th century on some models.

 

'On Some Models' being the operative point; For Melody and Chordal accompaniment on the One instrument a very fine balance of tone and volume is desirable. I thought for many years that these fine instruments were just to gentille for Folk Dance music and I use a very different and unbalanced EC from the late experimental end of the 1800's when playing at sessions and at Dances.

 

The Wheatstone Aeola that I have used so far for my TOTM recordings is most ideally voiced for making melody and accompaniment on the one instrument. Perhaps I will try to make a recording of this month's tune on the unbalanced EC and see what happens.

 

 

The Duet player has the distinct advantage of being able to place the microphone(s) in such a way as to improve the balance and I did just that by moving my little recording device to favour the melody end. Of course the choice of notes can help all of this too and a Duet could be mechanically balanced, in the design or by adding baffles, so as to allow a substantial chordal regime on one side with clear melody on the other, but it would appear that that was not the original idea. If you look at any Accordion or Bandoneon you will imediately see that the right hand side has a far more openings in the end plate to let the sound out and the left side is quite closed and baffled.

 

Nice playing by the way :)

 

PS; it sounds as if you have recorded in an accousticaly Bright place.... perhaps if you were to use a neutral or sound dampening area like a carpeted room or outdoors then maybe the strength of your accompaniment notes would be less dominant ??

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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Sarah, furthermore as to the balance between melody and chords:

 

The techniques of constructing an instrument and then again recording it, as mentioned by Geoff, are of course of the highest importance. But in the hands of an accomplished person even a junk instrument might sound like heaven whereas in the hands of a beginner even the high end instrument might sound dull and bleak.

 

I play an "Old Model" Lachenal (Excelsior). It has a level (not inclined) and thus unbalanced reed pan and might be lacking all the technical improvements as mentioned by Geoff (but hadn't been disimproved as well). At first touch I found it nearly impossible to make the melody well heard against the chording (consisting mostly of two additional notes). But the more pointedly and confidently I can play the melody (with the already mentioned features of attack, legato-playing of phrases, decay a.s.f.) the better gets the balance as well. Of course a certain restraint with the chords will make up the other part.

 

It is quite important to be able to rely upon a great instrument (which I believe I can, despite the above-mentioned limitations). On this basis, there seems to be a wide open space to evolve the skils of one's musicianship...

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Here's this month's attempt and my continued work on adding accompaniment:

https://soundcloud.com/mildredestelle/la-luna-dins-laiga

 

A question for EC players -- how do you keep the accompaniment notes (esp low sustained ones) from overwhelming the tune? I seem to have trouble keeping some notes from blasting out with a great HONK! How much is the nature of hte beast and how much my overzealous fingers?

 

Before uploading I listened again to all the versions so far and it seemed to me that the duets manage the tune/accompaniment balance in a very nice way. Are the reeds more 'equal' on a duet or do you you train your left hand to lighten up? Or, indeed, do you keep the accompaniment side of the concertina away from the recording speakers?

 

thanks in advance for any ideas/ suggestions

Sarah

 

oooh! A very nice try Sarah. I particularly like your version of the melody and the gentle pace you play it at.

 

Chris

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Here's this month's attempt and my continued work on adding accompaniment:

https://soundcloud.com/mildredestelle/la-luna-dins-laiga

 

A question for EC players -- how do you keep the accompaniment notes (esp low sustained ones) from overwhelming the tune? I seem to have trouble keeping some notes from blasting out with a great HONK! How much is the nature of hte beast and how much my overzealous fingers?

 

Before uploading I listened again to all the versions so far and it seemed to me that the duets manage the tune/accompaniment balance in a very nice way. Are the reeds more 'equal' on a duet or do you you train your left hand to lighten up? Or, indeed, do you keep the accompaniment side of the concertina away from the recording speakers?

 

thanks in advance for any ideas/ suggestions

Sarah

 

I've wondered about this too, and recently decided (as already stated by others here) that it's largely the instrument's qualities that make the difference.

 

That said, though, I myself have only recently been able to remember tunes well enough that they play over and over (nicely) in my head in the background, during my day! I don't particularly have memory problems, but since I'm just not around people that are playing the tunes, it's been hard to etch them into my 'hard drive.' So, I'm happy enough to play a single line, but then I let my ear pick out what little bits of harmony it wants to add.

 

There is, of course, the 'rule' about not relying too heavily on thirds, but spreading the harmony out with sixths. I do make a little effort to follow tonal harmony rules, but really it's the ear that gets the final say!

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There is, of course, the 'rule' about not relying too heavily on thirds, but spreading the harmony out with sixths. I do make a little effort to follow tonal harmony rules, but really it's the ear that gets the final say!

 

I hope you don't mind me recommending the open fifth once more... :)

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S0 -- one part instrument, many parts operator uncertainty. That's good. I like that I can continue to have a fantastic time playing at my current level (with my current instrument) and know that there are so many things yet to try -- playing in a different room, for instance, or going outside (lucky passers by....), or, indeed, picking the right accompaniment note be it a 5th or a 6th or an octave or something i don't know the name of but pleases my ear without stealing the show. Certainly the more times I play a tune, and hear others play it, the more I can really hear and begin to understand the subtleties -- Yay TOTM.

 

Perhaps some day I'll be able to say, "Oh, I see, I am this kind of player and perhaps an instrument with 'these' qualities would be extra fantastic.

 

Geoff -- you are absolutely right about the acoustical brightness of the room in which I recorded. What a difference to play (much less record), somewhere with more tapestries or trees and less dry wall.

 

thanks!

Sarah

 

ps Open fifth? Isn't that a string instrument thing? What other kind of a fifth would there be on a concertina?

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Oh also, when you were talking about balance and voicing, were you referring to some of the topics covered here:

 

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=13998&hl=parnassus

 

and here?

 

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=14292&hl=parnassus

Yes indeed.

 

Regarding earlier points about recording Duets and Room Brightness etc... I made a very effective Left hand Baffle simply by putting my left arm into the sleeve of a light summer jacket and throwing the rest of the garment over that end of the concertina so as to cover the grill.... :) It is something to try if your 'room brightness' is too much for a recording. When playing my Concertinas in the Bathroom I use a twist of toilet paper in each ear ^_^ !

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ps Open fifth? Isn't that a string instrument thing? What other kind of a fifth would there be on a concertina?

 

Yes Sarah, one might say it's a string instrument thing, but I believe it's about two issues then:

 

Firstly, tone spacing and respective tuning (which you might have been referring to and in fact wouldn't simply apply to the concertina).

 

Secondly, the playing, Open (or empty, according to the German name for this) means just the interval without interjacent thirds (or whatever tones). In a sense this is a spring thing too, because since the spacing of the violin a.s.f. strings is providing the interval sort of naturally the player can rely upon it when using double stops.

 

And here is my point: Since the EC is capable of kind of a fiddle sound (as to the Treble, just in its range, too) and provides the fifth basically as part of the chord triangle (two notes in a row, with the exception of the B-F flattened fifth) this playing technique fits it too - at least IMO, always having loved that fiddle sound and feeling quite happy to adopt it (inclusive of the respective ornamentations) for my EC playing...

 

If you don't have that fiddle sound in mind you might however try the open fifth thing (which can of course make up no more than a starting point) in order to avoid thirds - and furthermore possibly acquire a fast access to chording and harmony by that.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor
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