Jump to content

The Air Button....and When


Ron Denis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello,

About the air button..

I have noticed that when I use the air button; the volume of the note played looses volume.

Of course, this has to be normal.

Do you have to treat the air button the same as taking a breath on the whistle?

which is simply not playing the note , the breath takes the time of that particular note.

Although taking in bellows is not as fast as taking a breath.

What do you do.

Thank You,

Ronald

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You need to be able to play a note at the same time as you use the air button. You compensate for the reduced volume by pressing or drawing harder. Over time it becomes second nature. Playing scales or a tune with the air button slightly open is reasonable practise. It is much easier to do with a good concertina as they are usually more air efficient.

Edited by Chris Ghent
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the problems can be bellows control. You could be letting your bellows become too extended or contracted before you try to adjust air. You might need to take smaller breaths of air more often and/or find alternate fingerings of certain notes to reverse the airflow. Bellows control is an entire discipline in itself. But don't despair, we are all constantly working on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that you mention it and I've thought about it, after a few years of squeezing and playing across the rows (Anglo 30 C/G) I use the air button to adjust the bellows at the beginning of a tune and when I close it at the end and store it. I think I owe that to Bertram Levy, even before latest book. When I started out on an Anglo 20 C/G I used the button quite often. Even on the old 20 not so much. Thanks for calling my attention to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good advice above.

Yes it is good to practice a gentle air intake by using the air button very gently whilst playing, In some tunes there are occasions when you require to play a number of notes with chords on either the push or the pull.Try to avoid a huge gasp of air as it will often sound like a hesitation to those listening.Chris has explained how to do it.It just takes initial hard practice and then it becomes second nature.

On the very rare occasions I try to play the Anglo like a duet ,it takes many hours to work out chord direction to the tune being played,against the air available .One tune requires me to play the same note in different directions to get the air back in the bellows.

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if instrument makers could do anything to reduce the actual sound of those inevitable gasps for air which are not always so easy to avoid on an Anglo. Does a larger air pad and its corresponding aperture lead to quieter breathing ? In a perfect world it would also reduce the duration of each gasp. I believe some Anglos have two air buttons....one each side ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have noticed that when I use the air button; the volume of the note played looses volume.

Of course, this has to be normal.

Ronald,

Of course this is normal! The whole point of using the air button part-way while sounding a note is that you have to open or close the bellows more quickly to keep the volume (pressure) at the same level, so you can reach the fully open or fully closed position at the end of a fairly short draw or press phase. This is done to give you the full bellows travel for an ensuing, long press or draw. So air-button use is all about thinkng ahead!

 

Taking gulps of air on an Anglo is not really feasible - as someone pointed out, it takes too long, and it's too noisy if you're playing solo. I only gulp air when I'm playing full chords on the off-beat of dance tunes, and in this case I press the air button right down. The "gasp" from the anglo is swallowed up in the downbeat of the instrument I'm accomanying.

 

You're right about the size of the air-hole, though! Gulping air is part and parcel of Bandoneon playing, but the Bandoneon has a huge trap-door-style air valve that admits a lot of air very quietly!

 

BTW, I also use the air-button on my Crane Duet to adjust the bellows position for a long phrase that I want to play legato. The Crane air-hole is smaller than an Anglo's, because it never has to be used for great gulps of air, but it's perfectly adequate for bellows positioning.

 

Cheers,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today's xkcd comic could just as well be about "the need to think ahead for using the air-button whilst playing anglo concertina" as, well, what it's actually about -_-

 

Note, it has "adult language": http://xkcd.com/1290/

 

(For language geeks, see http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/schlenker/ENS-LN-1.pdf#page=3 (bottom half of page, and onto page 4) for more about this.)

Edited by wayman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank You for your responses,

I find it hard to just release the air button slightly,

Either you push it or you don't.

Ronald

Ronald,

 

"Pressure" not "Movement" is the key word when it comes to bellows control!

Remember, Pressure = Force x Area.

 

Don't think of moving the ends of the bellows towards or away from each other; think of pressing or drawing with a certain force, and the movement will just happen.

Same with the air button. Just apply a gentle force to it ("lean on it"), until you notice that your hands are moving faster, although they're still applying the same force to the same bellows area. It just takes practice - like everything else in music!

 

Cheers,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron:

 

It might be your concertina that is the problem, not you.

 

I have an Edgley where the air button falls right underneath the knuckle of my thumb and that has a decent amount of resistance to it when pressed. It is easy to 'feather' the air button on this box. Most of the time I leave my thumb resting very lightly on the air button ready at a moment's notice to give a gentle squeeze to release a little air.

 

I recently acquired a Stagi where the air button is about 1/2" further outboard and a bit further away from the hand rest. It does not have much resistance when pressed. I find this almost impossible to feather as I have to reach out with my thumb to get to the button and when I press it, it very easily goes to full open.

 

I have some ideas to improve the Stagi which I will try soon.

 

I notice that the new Beaumont Hayden from the Button Box has its air button built right into the hand rest. I imagine this would make it very easy to operate albeit at the expense of some added mechanical complexity.

 

Don.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play Anglo in the harmonic style: melody mainly on the right and accompaniment consisting of bass notes, chords and runs mainly on the left.

 

The need to get the correct chords often dictates which option I choose if the same note is available on both push and pull. It is common for me to play the same note on 2 or (rarely) 3 different buttons and in both directions over the space of a bar or two of music. Over the course of most tunes, the "ins" and "outs" often more or less cancel each other out - this is largely because the Anglo was designed with the common simple harmonies in mind.

 

However, my Anglo playing went to a new level as soon as I started to feel confident using the air button in time with the music at various points throughout the tune. It generally reduces the situation which I either run out of bellows or run out of air. It gives me control over the other aspects of the music like how many notes I wish to lay at once, and how loud. Without using the air button, I would have to compromise on these things to manage my air supply that way.

 

Look at the phrasing of the tune. Most tunes divide into phrases of 2, 4 or 8 bars and there is often an opportunity to tap the air button at the end or beginning of a phrase. In addition to this, an easy "cheat" is to play a block chord as the more buttons are down, the more air can go through.

 

The first thing is to be sure where the air button is. You need to be able to find it surely and reliably. I tap it with the outside of my thumb. It is rare for me to hold it down for more than a beat - often but not always an off beat (Pah, rather than Oom).

 

Someone asked earlier in the thread, do some Anglos have an air button on each side. It is of course possible that some musicians have chosen to set theirs up in this way. However, the button on the left hand that is in the corresponding position to the air button is usually a drone - an additional bass note which can be played either like a normal bass note or held down with the thumb to provide a constant drone throughout a passage of music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not possible to play adventurous harmonic music on an Anglo without some constant subtle use of the air button. I believe Alan Day made the point that it is not impossible to employ delicate and varied compression of the air button without interruption to the flow of the music by adjusting the bellows pressure to compensate for the simultaneous interaction of the air button A somewhat different and considerably more demanding technique.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...