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goran rahm

Contemplating...still

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Oct 17 in the previous thread "Contemplating.." I raised some questions and was advised to read the book for answers. I have now at least got it....so it is easier to refer to the text for comments.

 

I copy parts of the last exchange of messages for an introduction and add some comments:

 

Allan:".....the bellows pattern is now in its THIRD manifestation . . . .each new approach aiming at changing the direction of the bellows LESS often . . . . ."

 

Goran before:"......

1) Is the above due to particular demands regarding very long legato phrases in this particular piece or do you regard reduction of direction changes as some kind of aim in itself?

 

Goran now:

I do get the impression that you aim for sparse changes of bellows direction:

 

a) The Connaughtman's Rambles p32: "Of course my own preference is to change

directions as infrequently as possible..."

B) p33 How we manipulate the bellows...more problematical when the music is not symmetrical....followed p34 by "If the idea behind changing directions

is to attack each of the notes and gain a real sense of separation between them, I would argue that we can obtain the same result by keeping the bellows flowing in the same direction...."

c) p31"..the normal manner of differentiating between groups of notes played legato or detached involves the fingers, not the bellows!"

d) p38 "I would take an entire measure with the bellows going in one direction...."

 

I can agree neither on B) nor particularly c)....I can not accept the idea that 'legato' playing is possible with squeezeboxes except in one direction at a time despite there are others than you Allan who seemingly mean so...

 

Goran before:

2).... your tutor.... does it contain descriptions regarding various ways to execute the articulation modes...legato/portato/staccatto....in relation to bellows work and button work respectively? (According to Hugo Herrmann terminology 'bellows articulation' and 'finger articulation')

 

Goran now:Allan commented on this later on....see below

 

Goran before:

3) Have you discussed the issue regarding the choice between push and pull respectively for 'attack' , amplitude, and staccatto? (Pull stroke usually being regarded as 'stronger/more efficient...but this is depending on several factors in management of the bellows....)

 

Goran now:

 

p38...concerning Regondi ex.4.13: "What is surprising however is that he takes the single-note upbeat to each section with the bellows going out, thereby setting a pattern- counterintuitive to my way of thinking- in which all the strong beats have the bellows going IN!.....And even were I to change bellows with each pair of notes

I would turn things around so that the drawing out of the bellows coincided with the strong beats fo the measure"

 

I absolutely agree and since this is one of the situations where players 'by intuition' do differently ( I actually believe most players choose press for the strong beat...) I had wished however that you had developed the matter a bit more.....

It is so surprising that Regondi does it this way...the analogy with violin bowing ought to reverse it...)...what about other pieces....

 

Mechanically speaking....you get better attack,precision and force on 'draw' with all squeezeboxes..... and IF someone really likes the 'bowing' analogy the physical 'down-bow' of course is 'draw' with the squeezebox.....

 

 

Goran before:

4) Have you discussed the reasons (and adviced practise..) for playing with the bellows as much 'closed' as possible or with a 'fanning' technique?

 

Goran now:

I haven't so far found it mentioned....any comments..?

 

Goran before:

5) Have you discussed the issue regarding working the bellows with dominantly one hand(either or them..) or with both hands symmetrically?

 

Goran now:

I haven't seen that...except when you mention somewhere that you don't find it meaningful to play seated with the instrument 'in the air'.

I definitely do mean that the symmetry of the English concertina does

invite to symmetrical management of it and this being the 'most natural' way to handle the instrument as long as it does not collide with other demands. So I

would find it essential to discuss the implications of 'symmetrical' vs 'assymetrical' management of the concertina.

Comments?

 

Allan before:

"...and finally, i fear you will be saddened by my remarks about the accordion tutors and their prescriptions for using the bellows. . . . they smack of what might be called a kind of "Continental" (specifically Central European/German-speaking) PSEUDO-SCIENCE............

 

Goran now:

p41..."Our discussion about the use of the bellows may well be the most extensive treatment of the subject in the concertina literature"

 

I may agree and really appreciate your efforts here Allan but I take it for granted that you don't mean your approach is SCIENTIFIC either....or do you :-)...I haven't reallly read all the accordion literature on the subject but I fear your expression above regarding "Continental PSEUDO-SCIENCE" was a bit too confrontational....not to say offensive...from this side of the continent.....:-)

 

p41...(5): "Should we as concertinists seek to emulate the accordionists?"

 

I mean for my part that things might be easier by associating and accepting the

didactic approaches that actually are established in the 'accordion world'...which IS a much larger one...with like you say yourself in the "Postscript" p41 "legitimate"

enterence in the academic musical environment.

 

Allan:.."so in the end, i'll leave it to you to find out about what i did and did not write. . . . .but i will say that what i did write leans toward the practical, intuitive, and most of all, at least i hope, MUSICAL. . . . .can i make my intent any clearer than that?????. . . "

 

Goran now: Hm...I do hope there ARE a few things you would enjoy making a bit clearer......:-)

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DEAR Göran and Folks: have just downloaded Göran's comments and printed them out. . . ..will respond as soon as possible. . . . .though it may well have to wait until the beginning of next week, since i'll be out of town most of this one...............allan

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Göran and Folks: Well, let me respond while I have a bit of time. I'll take G's comments up in turn.

 

(1) G. gets the impression that I "aim for sparse changes of bellows directions." I aim for NOTHING. But why change the direction of the bellows when (a) it serves no musical purpose, and (B) one doesn't have to? I don't equate many or few changes with being good or bad. One simply changes directions where the MUSIC dictates a change.

 

(2) G. "cannot accept the idea that 'legato' playing is possible. . .except in one direction at a time." As he often does, G. is seeing things in terms of black and white. Obviously, it's better, I think, to sustain a legato line with the bellows moving in one direction. No less obviously, this can't always be done, in which case one simply changes directions. In the end, it's a matter of degree.

 

(3) G. writes that "Mechanically speaking. . .[one] get a better attack, precision and force on the 'draw' [that is, bellows going out]." I agree, and I usually try to attack with the bellows going out. However, note that in the example that I cite in the tutor from the Molique "Serenade," I really do whack away at the big chords with the bellows going in. One should be able to do virtually anything with the bellows going in either direction. As I stated a number of times in the tutor, we want to build up our technique to the point where we can do more than we normally have to do.

 

(4) G. asks if I "discussed the reasons. . .for playing with the bellows as much 'closed' as possible. . ." Simply put, one has greater control over the bellows when they are less extended.

 

(5) G. states that the concertina "invite. . .symmetrical management" of the bellows, and that that is the "most natural" way to handle the instrument. To be frank, I don't watch the bellows as I play. I think, however, that I do handle them more or less symmetrically, though if I favor one direction over the other, I suppose I pull out to the left.

 

(6) G. states that I "don't mean [that my] approach is SCIENTIFIC. . ." I certainly don't. Such "scientific" -- or, as I prefer to view it, "pseudo-scientific -- approaches is the very thing against which I argue most strongly. As for being confrontational and "offensive" in assigning that "pseudo-scientific" approach to the Central European/German milieu: let's call a spade a spade. There is a difference, one that cuts across many areas of both scholarship and the arts, between the Continental and Anglo-American approaches to things. And I am not ashamed to say that my allegiance is to the latter. As the great soprano Beverley Sills has often noted: you can take the kid out of Brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn out of the kid. I am what I am!

 

(7) G. seems to harp on the way in which accordionists do things. Now, while both the accordion and the concertina have bellows, the two instruments are NOT the same. One doesn't handle the bow on a double bass as one handles it on the violin.

 

(8) G. ends by saying that he hopes "there ARE a few things would enjoy making a bit clearer. To this I can only say: not really. I was as clear as I could be (which is not to say that I expect everyone to agree with everything I said). I was not trying to lay down "laws" or establish anything that smacks of a definitive method (for I don't believe such things exist). I wish simply to challenge players to think about what they're doing and why they're doing it, though the "why" can sometimes be difficult to answer, since the best playing is, to my way of thinking, intuitive. In the end, I think G. and I come to these problems from very different vantage points: G. from that of seeking "scientific" answers to things, I from that of someone who simply goes out on the stage and plays the likes of Molique, Macfarren, Regondi, Blagrove, some pieces from the music halls, a hornpipe or three, and an occasional "sean nos" air. Morever, I play these things a bit differently each time, as David Cannata (my accompanist) and I can, by now, read each others minds. We listen to one another as we play, and we adjust right there and then. Such "improvisation" (to use the term in a very general sense, though we really do improvise -- in the more specific sense of the term -- at times) results in performance that, I hope, are spontaneous and "alive." And that -- not the literal reproduction of the flyspecks on the page -- is what music making is all about.

Edited by allan atlas

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OK. . . .i give up.........how does one get rid of that yellow guy. . . . .i edited the post. . . .deleting something. . . .and that yellow guy came on and won't go away...............allan

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OK. . . .i give up.........how does one get rid of that yellow guy. . . . .i edited the post. . . .deleting something. . . .and that yellow guy came on and won't go away...............allan

 

 

Hi Allan,

Maybe the yellow guy wearing shades is the kid from Brooklyn?

If you really want to get rid of him, just "uncheck" the "enable emoticons" option when you send a message.

Andy

(Brooklyn)

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ANDY: which part of brooklyn is he from. . . . .i grew up on east 3rd street, between Avenue P and Quentin Road............he looks a bit more Park Slope-ish..............allan

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OK. . . .i give up.........how does one get rid of that yellow guy. . . . .i edited the post. . . .deleting something. . . .and that yellow guy came on and won't go away...............allan

As I pointed out last time this came up, the yellow guy will appear whenever you type any of several sequences of colons, parentheses, and/or other signs. Watch what happens when I type a colon and a paren: :)

 

Here's a colon and a D: :D

 

Here's a B and a paren: B)

 

So when you typed a B in parentheses, it comes out like this: (B)

 

Yes, you can turn off "Enable emoticons?" but in the long run it might be worthwhile to get out of the habit of typing the "triggers" here.

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flyspecks on the page

 

I like it :D

 

Never heard that one before, but I think I'll use it from now on.

 

Sharron

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flyspecks on the page

 

Never heard that one before,...

Wasn't it Pete Seeger who wrote a book on reading musical notation, titled Flyspecks and Henscratches?

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As I pointed out last time this came up, the yellow guy will appear whenever you type any of several sequences of colons, parentheses, and/or other signs. Watch what happens when I type a colon and a paren:  :)

 

Here's a colon and a D:  :D

 

Here's a B and a paren:  B)

 

So when you typed a B in parentheses, it comes out like this: (B)

 

Yes, you can turn off "Enable emoticons?" but in the long run it might be worthwhile to get out of the habit of typing the "triggers" here.

Unfortunately, these smilies cripple what has long been a standard way of labelling liists. Another example of a "bright" idea implemented without regard for side effects, or what these days we might call "collateral damage". And the use of B ) for smilies disables the use of the entire alphabet (since there's no point in using only A) ).

 

At the very least, there should be some escape-character which could disable it in particular instances, though I think a better design would be to have the escape character required to enable each individual smiley.

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[i am] someone who simply goes out on the stage and plays the likes of Molique, Macfarren, Regondi, Blagrove, some pieces from the music halls, a hornpipe or three, and an occasional "sean nos" air.  Morever, I play these things a bit differently each time, as David Cannata (my accompanist) and I can, by now, read each others minds.  We listen to one another as we play, and we adjust right there and then.  Such "improvisation" (to use the term in a very general sense, though we really do improvise -- in the more specific sense of the term -- at times) results in performance that, I hope, are spontaneous and "alive."  And that -- not the literal reproduction of the flyspecks on the page -- is what music making is all about.

Allan, your approach sounds "dangerously" like that of the best "traditional" musicians. As my Irish friends would say, "Good on ya!" :)

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Thanks a lot Allan, hope you find time to continue...Firstly let's agree to skip the s.c. 'scientific approach' despite I agree that our 'vantage points' are different. If I may tease you a little I spot however minor conflicts in your outlook (it IS the same for me of course...there is an unavoidable dualism here....) when you refer to "contemplating" as in "The agenda" p1 and when you often speak about the importance of "intuition"....the 'discursive' vs 'intuitive' method...

In the extreme the intuitive student does not ask for a tutor....:-)....so when you ask us to 'contemplate' things like these come up:

 

(1) G. gets the impression that I "aim for sparse changes of bellows directions." I aim for NOTHING. But why change the direction of the bellows when (a) it serves no musical purpose, and ( one doesn't have to? I don't equate many or few changes with being good or bad. One simply changes directions where the MUSIC dictates a change.

 

Goran now:Agreeable...but you DO take a standpoint though.... the Ex.4.9 illustrates some possible differences and one is the matter of changes for *phrasing* firstly or also for *detached* articulation...something you argue against (IV 3 p34)

Personally I find it hard to escape the tonal difference between playing detached notes in one direction compared to by using 'bellows articulation'...

It will become a matter of 'taste' or 'style' maybe but the *difference* remains and

the next comment by Allan makes us more concordant:

 

(2) G. "cannot accept the idea that 'legato' playing is possible. . .except in one direction at a time." As he often does, G. is seeing things in terms of black and white. Obviously, it's better, I think, to sustain a legato line with the bellows moving in one direction. No less obviously, this can't always be done, in which case one simply changes directions. In the end, it's a matter of degree.

 

(3) G. writes that "Mechanically speaking. . .[one] get a better attack, precision and force on the 'draw' [that is, bellows going out]."

I agree.......As I stated a number of times in the tutor, we want to build up our technique to the point where we can do more than we normally have to do.

 

Goran now:What I hinted at was that since 'intuition' seemingly in this case often leads players 'wrong' (=strong beat on push) it could be meaningful to present a "rule" here...:-).... I basically share Allan's view on rules when they are dogmatic and in practise liminating BUT....NOT obeying 'laws of nature' mostly causes trouble one way or other....

 

(4) G. asks if I "discussed the reasons. . .for playing with the bellows as much 'closed' as possible. . ." Simply put, one has greater control over the bellows when they are less extended.

 

Goran now: one part of it..another being the ways to compensate the instability of the bellows by keeping *one part* of the bellows closed...by 'fanning'. This technique - as I have pointed out many times - has been traditionally banned in concertina tutors (prescribing:"working the bellows in a straight line") but is an established element in accordion tuition and something I mean needs "emulation"....after some contemplation of course....

 

(5) G. states that the concertina "invite. . .symmetrical management" of the bellows, and that that is the "most natural" way to handle the instrument. To be frank, I don't watch the bellows as I play. I think, however, that I do handle them more or less symmetrically, though if I favor one direction over the other, I suppose I pull out to the left.

 

Goran now:One example of our "vantage points" respectively....here You Allan evidently are walking on the intuitive path and maybe the reason is this you have not considered the effect of playing 'in the air' even while sitting. On the other hand my own intuition says that the concertina rather should be played symmetrically....Anglo and Duet usually are,I have not come across the recommendation in any tutor for those 'to rest one end of the instrument on one knee and work the bellows with the other end/hand". This is an idiosynchrasi for the English concertina and likely based on the insufficient means to hold the instrument....something that can be corrected. The chapter II however deserves another days work....:-)

 

(6) As for being confrontational and "offensive" in assigning that "pseudo-scientific" approach to the Central European/German milieu: let's call a spade a spade. ......I am what I am!

 

Goran now:Hm...let us not dissect the word 'science' here but if we limit it to the terms 'finger articulation' and 'bellows articulation' respectively is there anything you find "pseudo-scientific" in that??? Just simple practical systematics to me....

I am not particularly fond of the terms myself however.....I would rather say 'initiation' instead of 'articulation' in this case since 'articulation' mostly is used for so much else.

 

(7) G. seems to harp on the way in which accordionists do things. Now, while both the accordion and the concertina have bellows, the two instruments are NOT the same. One doesn't handle the bow on a double bass as one handles it on the violin.

 

Goran now:I can see no absolute differences between management of the bellows and its implications for articulation with any squeezebox and it would be interesting to know WHY you here seem to even ridicule the 'accordion establishment' despite some of your (positive) comments in the Postscript p41.

The 'mingle' with accordionists IS a tricky matter....many of them really have a demeaning view on concertinas....and there are many more of them.....:-)...but there are also those with a double 'citizenship'...like Wim Wakker... who may be go-betweens....

 

(8) G. ends by saying that he hopes "there ARE a few things would enjoy making a bit clearer. To this I can only say: not really. I was as clear as I could be (which is not to say that I expect everyone to agree with everything I said). I was not trying to lay down "laws" or establish anything that smacks of a definitive method (for I don't believe such things exist). I wish simply to challenge players to think about what they're doing and why they're doing it, though the "why" can sometimes be difficult to answer, since the best playing is, to my way of thinking, intuitive.

 

Goran now:Focusing on what you say about "challenge players to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it" I find it sad if you don't wish to continue a discussion on the matters since the same 'thoughts' are expected to cause more questions aiming for clarifications and also questioning of some of your own standpoints.....not to say: 'have you challenged your own routines the same way that you expect others to challenge theirs'.....?

 

One of your aims seems to be something like 'bringing history of concertina tuition up to the present'. The 'present' in that sense ...what is that? ...the concertina players we 'know' who are dominantly to be found within an 'anglo-american "folk music" segment? ...the ambitious english-players with some taste for 'the classical concertina' ?....the young population vaguely seeeking 'some' instrument to perform 'today's music' on (=pop, rock....)?

 

Well you DO inform what the 'target group' for the tutor is and I DO think it is an excellent product in the intended segment but I also DO see many issues that could be used as initiators for constructive discussions regarding the present and the future for the concertina.....after contemplating for a while you wish to DO something in practise (You DO focus on practise yourself Allan....) but I do not believe that 'intuition' always is a good guide for learning....in a mocking way:

'I do like this and I don't know why.... there are many other ways of doing it..

YOU do as you please and be comfortable with it' ....

 

Dogmatic and prejudiced "rules" are a nuisance... but like I said above you can't escape 'laws of nature' and you certainly can use the knowledge about them

for rational structuring of methods and decisionmaking regarding the choice between methods for different purposes in performance keeping the 'truth' in mind

that there is no method/technique that is generally superior.

 

Allan:" In the end, I think G. and I come to these problems from very different vantage points: G. from that of seeking "scientific" answers to things, I from that of someone who simply goes out on the stage and plays the likes of Molique, Macfarren, Regondi, Blagrove, some pieces from the music halls, a hornpipe or three, and an occasional "sean nos" air."

 

Goran now: An evident conflict for you Allan....The musician in you is pulling the leg of the pedagogue....I can't blame you and very obviously you do present lots of didactive and useful knowledge at the same time as you escape from some issues that come intuitive for yourself despite they may be ever so rational for others. This is not meant as critics of the product but to awaken the minds for

creativity....you didn't expect you had covered it all...did you?:-)

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ANDY:  which part of brooklyn is he from. . . . .i grew up on east 3rd street, between Avenue P and Quentin Road............he looks a bit more Park Slope-ish..............allan

Ahh... I knew I recognized him from somewhere! (I'm in Park Slope)

 

Someone mentioned to me once that Park Slope has the highest number of free-reed players in NYC, but I don't know where that information comes from... as CDFRI director, do you think there is any truth to that?

 

So far I know there's Jody Kruskal, a couple people with PAs on my block and the parallel block, the luthier Nathaniel Rowan (cajun accordion), and me. There are 2 guys with beards, both playing English concertinas, whom I saw with a Morris team, practicing at the edge of Prospect Park, but I can't confirm whether they are Park Slopers (I'm guessing that you might know who they are?)... and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Perhaps it's time for a free-reed event on this side of the East River?

Well, this is all terribly off-topic, sorry.

Andy

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Göran: I wish I had as much time for this as you do. I don't, so I think this will have to be my last response (at least for a while).

 

(1) Of course there is a difference between playing detached notes by (a) changing fingers, (B) changing direction of the bellows while keeping the button depressed, and © stopping the bellows and starting them moving again in the same direction, all while keeping the button depressed. My point is this: a good concertinist should be able to do all three equally well. (I remember that when Wim did a workshop at our INCREDIBLE CONCERTINA concert two years ago, he mentioned the technique stopping the bellows and then keeping them moving in the same direction; that seemed new to most of those attending.) In the end (and at the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record): the music and the player's idea of what the music should sound like must dictate which method one uses at any given time.

 

(2) It is not "wrong" to accent with the bellows going in. As for your "laws of nature": please, have a heart. We're dealing with a concertina that weighs a few pounds, not something that weighs a ton. As I said, a player should have sufficient technique to play anything in any direction. Yes, I too find most things are more comfortable in one direction or another. And yes, I generally try to work out the directions in which the bellows will go so that the accents do fall with the bellows going out. But should we think of this in terms of right and wrong? No.

 

(3) You talk about "fanning". Dear G.: all i can say is this: work up a veritable breeze! Of course the bellows fan a bit. Would you have them sag?

 

(4) Though it seems like two lifetimes ago, I always played standing up when I used to go out on the midwest college circuit during the 1960s. Why did I do so: two reasons, perhaps: (a) that's how Boris Matusewitch played, and I was obviously very much influenced by him; (B) the then far-more-"uptight" sense of recital decor more or less dictated it. I now play sitting: (a) it's more comfortable, and (B) I think it contributes to a greater sense of intimacy between performer and audience. Indeed, this last item is of paramount importance to me. I drive David Cannata (my accompanist) and the other two members of the New York Victorian Consort (a mezzo-soprano and another pianist) crazy in this respect. I am the one who opens the program (when we played at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Saturday, David and I opened with three of the pieces from the Molique Six Characteristic Pieces). And what drives them crazy is this: I do not make an "entrance" on the stage after the audience is seated. Rather I sit there and doodle as they come in. This serves two purposes to my way of thinking: (a) let's me continue to warm up right until the moment we start, and (B) breaks down the sense of suffocating formality that I find at so many concerts. In fact, I think I shall work out a little arrangement of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance, which is the music that always accompanies the entrance at academic commencement exercises hear in the USA.

 

But I have strayed from the topic. If your own intuition says that you should play with the bellows manipulated in symmetrical fashion, by all means do so. What worries me, though, is the following statement that you make: "I have not come across the recommendation in any tutor. . ." I fear that it is this very statement that leads us to talk at cross purposes throughout this and other exchanges. It is as if you are saying: if a tutor recommends something, it is correct; if I cannot find evidence for such a recommendation in a tutor, it must be incorrect. I'm afraid that we have very different notions of what a tutor should and should not do. And I was very careful, I hope, about the way I handled the "evidence" in the Victorian tutors. We should not see them as laying down "laws" for all eternity. Rather, they show how one group of players -- and very good ones, I would say -- thought about the instrument at that time. One takes from them what one feels comfortable with and leaves the rest behind.

 

(5) I am not ridiculing the accordion establishment. If I'm poking fun at anyone, it's at those who would take one of the most glorious things that some of the greatest minds have given us: MUSIC, and would turn it into an anatomy book. I am against such pedagogical methods whether they deal with how to play an instrument or how to analyze a piece of music or present set-theory analyses of the music of Tin Pan Alley. The analysis of music should talk about things in terms that the ear can hear; a tutor that deals with how to play an instrument should not require the player to sit there with a ruler calibrated in millimeters.

 

(6) You talk of the "concertina world" and the "accordion world." Yes, I suppose I do have two legs in the former, though I really prefer to think of myself (and I certainly hope that audiences will think of me) as a musician who happens to play the concertina (not as someone belonging to some arbitrarily circumscribed world of one type or another).

 

(7) You question whether I challenge my own routines. I will only say that I challenge them every time I sit down to practice or go out on the stage. Indeed, as I look through the tutor from time to time, I say to myself: I wish I could rewrite this or that, or why didn't I think of this other possibility, or whatever. In other words, whereas you look to fix things in stone, I look to change all the time, to keep both the music that I play and the my own playing living and breathing new air every day.

 

(8) I have absolutely no idea what you mean by: "bringing the history of concertina tuition up to the present." As for the audience to whom I addressed the tutor: I spelled that out clearly.

 

(9) You conclude with a "somewhat" interesting point: that the musician in me is pulling against the pedagogue. And I would reply to that as follows: THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD BE. For what am I (or anyone else who would write such a tutor teaching): how to hold the instrument? No! How to change the bellows? No! How to play with "1 over 2" or "2 over 1"? No! Rather, the aim is to "help" people MAKE MUSIC. And that, dear G., is something that you simply refuse to understand.

 

In the end, I really do fear that our vantage points prevent us from talking to one another in a constructive manner. Your are looking for "truth"; I say there is no "truth". You think in terms of right and wrong; I say there is no such thing. You see a tutor as something that should lay down prescriptive recommendations; I see a tutor as place in which to make suggestions and lay out possibilities. You think of the concertina in terms of anatomical this or that and "laws of nature"; I think of it as something on which to make music.

 

As I said, I simply cannot do not have the time to reply to your long postings. I do not say this to be impolite. But I simply can't do it.

 

Best, Allan

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ANDY: a free-reed event on your side of the river. . . .not at all a bad idea. . . . .are you volunteering to organize it. . . . .please note that the brothers Kruskal will be perrorming at our INCREDIBLE CONCERTINA 2 concert on friday, march 26th. . . .wim wakker will also be there. . . . . as will i, with mezzo-soprano and pianist at my side. . . . . . the Kruskals are bring the Half Moon Sword Dancers. . . .Wim brings with him the Queens College String Orchestra. . . . .and Jody brings the dulcimer player Bill Ruyle. . . . .a grand time it will be. . . . keep an eye out for announcements. . . . . are you volunteering to organize a brooklyn gala.........why not............allan

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ANDY:  a free-reed event on your side of the river. . . .not at all a bad idea. . . . .are you volunteering to organize it. . . . .please note that the brothers Kruskal will be perrorming at our INCREDIBLE CONCERTINA 2 concert on friday, march 26th. . . .wim wakker will also be there. . . . . as will i, with mezzo-soprano and pianist at my side. . . . . . the Kruskals are bring the Half Moon Sword Dancers. . . .Wim brings with him the Queens College String Orchestra. . . . .and Jody brings the dulcimer player Bill Ruyle. . . . .a grand time it will be. . . . keep an eye out for announcements. . . . . are you volunteering to organize a brooklyn gala.........why not............allan

Hi Allan,

I'd love to organize a Brooklyn event, and have some ideas about it, so let's discuss that soon.

Do you need any volunteer assistance for the INCREDIBLE CONCERTINA 2 event? (What a great line-up of performers!)

You can contact me off-list:

adh16@columbia.edu

Andy

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Göran: I wish I had as much time for this as you do. I don't, so I think this will have to be my last response (at least for a while).

 

Goran now:Thanks anyway...tricky business...hobbies do tend to keep you off 'real work'....I make some comments to see if anybody else follows it up...

 

(1) Of course there is a difference between playing detached notes by (a) changing fingers, (B) changing direction of the bellows while keeping the button depressed, and © stopping the bellows and starting them moving again in the same direction, all while keeping the button depressed. My point is this: a good concertinist should be able to do all three equally well

 

Goran now:My point is that the three are not 'equal' so they can't be done "equally well" (maybe you actually mean that too but it does not say so on p34...)...you can use the difference for various expression but to me the 'natural' detaché is performed by changing bellows direction..not least because for me (seemingly different from you) the rhythm and balance between push and pull makes *me* change direction as often as possible as long as the *music* allows it...not as seldom as possible as long as the *music* demands it....Different approach...

 

(2) It is not "wrong" to accent with the bellows going in.

 

Goran now:I said "wrong" to mark the symbolic meaning of it ...I was not meaning it literally either. But it is less efficient ..a fact that may be told as an information...you don't have to be scared it is looked upon as one of these frightening "rules"....just *knowledge*.

 

Allan:As for your "laws of nature": please, have a heart. We're dealing with a concertina that weighs a few pounds, not something that weighs a ton. As I said, a player should have sufficient technique to play anything in any direction..... But should we think of this in terms of right and wrong? No.

 

Goran now:In this particular case it IS relative but otherwise I say YES! and here I am afraid maybe we really disagree....Whatever you think of your *musical* performance in the end it is no different from other kinds of *work* involving not only mental qualities (responsible for your "intuition"...) but physical and physiological conditions decisive for the quality of your doings and disregarding the possible knowledge about these facts may lead you far astray from the intended path...

 

(3) You talk about "fanning". Dear G.: all i can say is this: work up a veritable breeze! Of course the bellows fan a bit. Would you have them sag?

 

Goran now:Do you misunderstand me? maybe poorly expressed...the point with the 'fanning' is creating more stable action on the bellows....Wim talks about "bellows support" as far as I remember....accordionists mostly of 'lower bellows support' or similar since the point is not to open the lower bellows folds and letting the gravity assist in keeping the bellows steady.

 

(4) Though it seems like two lifetimes ago, I always played standing up when I used to go out on the midwest college circuit during the 1960s. Why did I do so: two reasons, perhaps: (a) that's how Boris Matusewitch played, and I was obviously very much influenced by him; (B) the then far-more-"uptight" sense of recital decor more or less dictated it.

 

Goran now:Sounds as if you haven't considered 1) the greater freedom of arm movements 2) possibilities for more natural,relaxed arm positions 3) better sound distribution at least if playing 'acoustically' 4) options for expressive 'stunts' ...maybe of little interest within your repertoire...

 

Allan:I now play sitting: (a) it's more comfortable, and (B) I think it contributes to a greater sense of intimacy between performer and audience.

 

Goran now:That is doubtful is it not....mostly the opinion among musicians AND audiences is the opposite...it is not by accident stage performances are done standing so often even when not 'necessary'......in order to address the audience more intensively....

 

Allan:I do not make an "entrance" on the stage after the audience is seated. Rather I sit there and doodle as they come in. This serves two purposes to my way of thinking: (a) let's me continue to warm up right until the moment we start, and (B) breaks down the sense of suffocating formality that I find at so many concerts.

 

Goran now: Could be fine for a change quite sure....why not lying in a sofa....William Cawdell style ?......Frankly I mean the concertina is best performed standing CONDITIONALLY that you have arrangements that still admit good enough means for carrying the instrument (some kind of support) and for controlling the instrument (a better way holding it that the usual...)

 

Allan:What worries me, though, is the following statement that you make: "I have not come across the recommendation in any tutor. . ." I fear that it is this very statement that leads us to talk at cross purposes throughout this and other exchanges. It is as if you are saying: if a tutor recommends something, it is correct; if I cannot find evidence for such a recommendation in a tutor, it must be incorrect.

 

Goran now: Completely wrong Allan....If you have/had read my 'usual' postings you would find that I have opposed against almost everything in tutors which is not well founded...

The point here was that ONLY tutors for the English prescribe the assymetrical bellows work....there is no need for doing so for the Anglo or Duet BECAUSE the problems related to insufficient means to carry and control the instrument are not at all as prominent as with the English!!!

Of course you could search for some idiomatic explanation too....but that really seems unnecessary....Players can testify for themselves....

 

Allan:I'm afraid that we have very different notions of what a tutor should and should not do. And I was very careful, I hope, about the way I handled the "evidence" in the Victorian tutors. We should not see them as laying down "laws" for all eternity. Rather, they show how one group of players -- and very good ones, I would say -- thought about the instrument at that time. One takes from them what one feels comfortable with and leaves the rest behind.

 

Goran now:In this case we have no "different notions" at all!! Did you read "The fingerplate...." article?

 

(5) ...a tutor that deals with how to play an instrument should not require the player to sit there with a ruler calibrated in millimeters.

 

Goran now:I really have not indicated that have I..? "contemplating" does imply active thinking though does it not....intuition is not enough....nor is listening....

 

(6) You talk of the "concertina world" and the "accordion world." Yes, I suppose I do have two legs in the former, though I really prefer to think of myself (and I certainly hope that audiences will think of me) as a musician who happens to play the concertina (not as someone belonging to some arbitrarily circumscribed world of one type or another).

 

Goran:Hm...if you don't do it yourself the 'world' does it for you.....

 

(7) You question whether I challenge my own routines. I will only say that I challenge them every time I sit down to practice or go out on the stage. Indeed, as I look through the tutor from time to time, I say to myself: I wish I could rewrite this or that, or why didn't I think of this other possibility, or whatever. In other words, whereas you look to fix things in stone, I look to change all the time, to keep both the music that I play and the my own playing living and breathing new air every day.

 

Goran: If you would write for a beginner you said somewhere you might consider suggesting four finger method instead of three finger method...where is the breakline? what about the 25 year old advanced player unfortunate enough having started with three fingers??? Would you have switched over yourself if you were 40? I regret I didn't...at 40.....

 

(8) I have absolutely no idea what you mean by: "bringing the history of concertina tuition up to the present." As for the audience to whom I addressed the tutor: I spelled that out clearly.

 

Goran:You have been honest in that respect no doubt.

From my viewpoint however the concertina itself ( firstly the english as it is from tradition) is obsolete and with todays knowledge 'we' should not recommend it to be used by anyone and ultimately it should not be taught either...:-) ...but that of course would be contraproductive as we don't have the alternatives....

 

(9) You conclude with a "somewhat" interesting point: that the musician in me is pulling against the pedagogue. And I would reply to that as follows: THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD BE. For what am I (or anyone else who would write such a tutor teaching): how to hold the instrument? No! How to change the bellows? No! How to play with "1 over 2" or "2 over 1"? No! Rather, the aim is to "help" people MAKE MUSIC. And that, dear G., is something that you simply refuse to understand.

 

Goran:You are right..I don't....I do not understand the carpenter who does not sharpen his knife prior to work...You don't go ahead *making music* without tuning your instrument or without ideas how to physically handle it ....but of course you may choose to exclude it from the pedagogic task....the questions/problems

still remain....objects for contemplation.....? :-)

 

Allan:In the end, I really do fear that our vantage points prevent us from talking to one another in a constructive manner. Your are looking for "truth"; I say there is no "truth". You think in terms of right and wrong; I say there is no such thing. You see a tutor as something that should lay down prescriptive recommendations; I see a tutor as place in which to make suggestions and lay out possibilities. You think of the concertina in terms of anatomical this or that and "laws of nature"; I think of it as something on which to make music.

 

Goran:I can't really say that I need to object....despite YOU are making it black and white now not *I*....I have always underlined the need to consider individual and circumstantial factors but nevertheless there is *knowledge* to seek and find and the choices and possibilities you speak of to be meaningful have to rely on factual knowledge...

"Do what's comfortable"....you hardly deny that this is a "rule"...you even call it "Moral I-V" ! Maybe even you are unintentially presenting a hateful "truth"...or is it just a joke? Everyone 'knows' however that it is not the simple truth....

The slippers that are comfortable strolling to the bath may be a disaster on the dancefloor and a threat to life on the mountain and the swimmer, dancer and climber respectively will get different messages when you say: "come over, and put on or bring with you *comfortable* shoes".....

 

Goran Rahm

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While we're talking about Brooklyn, I just got this e-mail from Jody Kruskal:

 

Subject: JAYBIRD & THE KLEZMER MOUNTAIN BOYS, 11/14, 8 pm

 

Friends,

 

What a line up! Our concert this Friday will surely bring a smile to your lips and a spring to your step... two original takes on traditional music.

 

 

~~ JAYBIRD ~~ Hot Fiddle tunes and wistful Original Songs

SAM ZYGMUNTOWICZ =Fiddle

JODY KRUSKAL =Concertina, Vocals

BOB JONES =Guitar, Vocals

JASON SYPHER =Bass

 

Appearing with the amazing

 

~~ KLEZMER MOUNTAIN BOYS ~~ Klezmer meets country!

MARGOT LEVERITT =Clarinet

KENNY KOSEK =Fiddle

BARRY MITTERHOFF =Mandolin

MARTY CONFURIOUS =Bass

 

AT >>> THE GOOD COFFEEHOUSE >>> Ethical Culture Society

53 Prospect Park West Park Slope, Brooklyn NY -- At 2nd street

$8 at the door

 

By subway: F train to 7th Avenue stop---Q train to 7th Avenue stop---

2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza

 

For info call the Ethical Culture Society--(718) 768-2973

 

Cheers -- Jody

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