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Clicking


mathhag
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I have been working on Irish Concertina Lessons with Caitlin Nic Gabhann. They seem to fit exactly to what I need right now . But I have been mildly distracted by a clicking noise as she plays . Almost like a ring hitting the side of the instrument. It is definitely in time to the playing. 

This morning I was listening to Irish Concertina Ensemble and I heard that same clicking. 

Can anyone tell me what it might be? 

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Long fingernails  can  tap  on the  metal or wood of the ends.   It is very  easy  for a metal button  to  come into contact  with a metal end  with a small degree of  sideways  movement  cause by  worn  bushings.  The bushing  between  button and  lever  are also  very  likely to  be worn .  I do not know what  instrument  Caitlin Nic Gabhann plays  but  I have seen many  Jeffries  where  they have been played so hard and long that the rivet holes  in the levers are worn out  and every  actuation  causes  a click.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd ask her. I did a quick google of the course, but only to her speaking.  It is likely any of the above. She is shown with two concertinas a Carrol I think at a glance and an antique that I didn't look at hard enough to identify so I am not sure which she is playing for lessons. Sometimes the mechanical sounds of the instrument can be mitigated by miking or mixing, but if the lessons are already made they will likely be what they are.  Sometimes this sound can't be helped, or it is celebrated as part of the music.  I was recently listening to Noel Hill playing the Boys of Baillisadare and noticed his instrument clicking dramatically in the first few bars before the guitar joined in and again throughout the piece.  

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The concertina is a mechanical device.  You push the button, it moves a lever, the lever pivots, the other end of the lever lifts the pad.  There are several contact points where there is slight movement between the components and this causes the clicks and taps.  This sound can be minimised if the instrument has felt bushes, but it can never be absolutely eliminated.  My 3 Lachenals are quite clicky.  My Dipper less so.  My old Jeffries was pretty good.  My Marcus was clicky.  It's part of the character of the instrument, just like when you listen to a recording of an acoustic guitar, you can hear the fingers squeaking on the strings.

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Many Irish concertina players use a very abrupt grace note as a percussive sound on a rhythm point or as a differentiation on the second of two identical notes. They produce this sound by playing another note, often the button immediately beside the expected note, using a lot of force on the bellows and a very short tap on the button, only putting the button down about halfway. This creates a sound which is less a tone and more a “snatch”. I have heard people say, what is that intermittent noise when they first hear it. If you listen again and count the beats and if the click often falls to the 1st or 3rd beats then it is likely this is what you are hearing. 

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