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Boney

Haden Concertina: Waltz Medley On Youtube

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As one who waltzes any chance he can get it always bothers me when waltzes are played at an undanceable tempo, either too fast or too slow. The sort of jazz versions sometimes played at my social dance class are almost too slow to dance to and it is common for old time musicisns to play waltzes at some contras so fast you need to break out into a hambo (though they have the wrong svict). That said, some contra bands--both Contratopia and the Old Sod band come to mind and both of them have English concertina as one of the lead instruments--have very nice waltzes for dancing. I recommend Contratopia's CD Ballroom Echoes.

 

I find that I like music which has ties to dancing best when it is played with a dancing pulse at a proper dancing speed. Though what that speed is will depend on what kind of dancing is being done. When we have step dancers at my local Irish session (a fairly rare event) they often want quite fast reels (or somewhat slower jigs and even slower hornpipes).

 

While I enjoyed Boney's playing, it was too fast to dance to. Thanks for posting the music-- I'm trying to play it on my Crane.

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Boney: Great playing on those waltzes. I am a beginning Crane Duet player and it was very instructive to me to see someone playing a waltz on a duet. I have been working on waltzes on the Crane, accompanying myself in an oompah pah style with the root note of the chord on the one beat and the third note on the second and third beats. I now see the and hear the advantage of playing fuller chords on the second and third beat. I liked seeing the keyboard on both sides of the concertina. I also admired your bass runs to connect the chords together. That instrument sounds great by the way. I would find it very helpful if you would post a video of you playing a reel and a jig on the Hayden. I have worked on a similar oompah accompanyment on reels but find it tiresome. Jigs so far have eluded me on any kind of system to play chords. Thanks for posting your video, All the best Charlie

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I have heard people comment that they never liked a particular tune until oneday, they heard someone playing it slowly

 

I think it's a bogus.

For it to be true, those players must have been learning tunes in their sleep, avoiding learning at slower tempos.

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I suppose how you conceive of a piece of music has a large part to do with your musical background. I've never danced, played, or even listened to much contradance-type music, so I don't have those connotations attached to tunes like this. I played around with the tune on my English a bit, and I personally much prefer it at a faster tempo. Different things about the tune will be emphasized if you play it fast or slow, and I don't think it ruins the rhythm to play it at 150 instead of 110 (the piece might get a little less meaningful of you played it at 300...). If, in your mind, the raison d'etre of this type of music is dancing, then I could see how it would lose some meaning for you as the tempo picked up. The same kind of thing happened with jazz in the late '40s.

 

I played the tunes on my english and I agree they sound better at a 'faster' tempo. But it still can be played slow enough to dance to and sound just fine. As a dancer I would like to emphasize that relatively small differences in tempo can make very large differences in danceability. Many musicians have little concept of what is an appropriate tempo range for a particular dance and are also very poor at judging how fast they are actually playing. So, If you are in fact playing for dancers it is very worth while to learn the tempo ranges for dances and work with a metronome until you get a feel for them. If you are just playing for listening then it doesn't matter.

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Thanks for all the replies! As far as the tempo goes, yes, I thought it was a bit more "fun" to play these somewhat in a somewhat faster and more rambunctious manner "for listening" than I would for dancers. For reference, the versions of the tunes I basically learned these two from were 200 BPM for "Two Babes in the Woods" (as I said in the YouTube "About This Video" section, it's really an old-time song, not a true waltz) and 163 for Elsey's Waltz by the Kathryn Tickell band. I play my medley around 177. I just listened to several waltzes from recordings I have on my computer, and I found several in the 160-180 range, including some by traditional dance bands, such as a waltz medley by the Kilfenora Ceili Band at 170 BPM, and "Canadian Waltz" by Grand Picnic at about 160. 90 to 100 seems very slow to me -- I do like to waltz slow as well as fast, but I do most of my waltzing to young old-time bands at square dances and shows in bars, not ballrooms. I've often danced to waltzes at 180 or even faster, and I'm not sure I've ever danced to one slower than 90.

 

I once danced a waltz to a solo accordion busker at the local farmer's market which was very fast, and was breathing hard by the end of it. I tried to get her to slow it down a bit, but she had a hard time slowing it down much. The version on her recording is at about 270 BPM! (No, she usually doesn't play for dancers, and the tune wasn't written for dancing to).

 

As for the "parallel octaves," I like the way the bass run in the B part of "Elsey's" morphs into the melody (the last two notes matching the melody but an octave down). I'm not sure what is objectionable about that. I don't do that variation every time through (usually about every other time), as I said, the sheet music isn't exactly what I play. I'm really still a beginner, so my "arrangements" are bound to be somewhat simplistic!

 

I'll post some more Hayden stuff, maybe in the next few weeks, but then I'm going to be travelling.

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What's the range of the 'box Jeff?
...to answer Dirge's question in light of that, the range of a Hayden 46 is: RH Middle C to D two octaves higher. LH same an octave lower, but only extending up to B. Completely chromatic except missing lowest C# & D#. Some notes in the overlap octave are only available on one side (C#, D# on left, Bb on right).
Or, to re-use a graphic:

Wakker46.gif

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I thought it was a bit more "fun" to play these somewhat in a somewhat faster and more rambunctious manner.

 

Rambunctious? Now, look that up in your Funk and Wagnells! Well, I've just been experimenting with playing Elsey's Waltz at a variety of speeds on my English and I find that if I play it around 100-120 bpm max., that speed conveys the essence of the tune for me and I like to think that that was the speed Archie Dagg had in mind when he composed it. Played quite a bit faster, it alters the tune so much in my opinion, that it is no longer the original tune as was written. There is nothing wrong with playing a tune fast or slow. It's all down to personal taste and suitability of the tempo for which purpose the tune is being played in the first instance, e.g. dance, floor spot, in a session, personal pleasure, etc. And in a session, if I start a tune at a certain tempo, I can be sure that someone else will try and take it over and speed it up. One of my session bugbears is that, often, session musicians don't listen to each other and play their version of a tune the way they like.

 

Chris

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I thought it was a bit more "fun" to play these somewhat in a somewhat faster and more rambunctious manner.

 

Rambunctious? Now, look that up in your Funk and Wagnells! Well, I've just been experimenting with playing Elsey's Waltz at a variety of speeds on my English and I find that if I play it around 100-120 bpm max., that speed conveys the essence of the tune for me and I like to think that that was the speed Archie Dagg had in mind when he composed it. Played quite a bit faster, it alters the tune so much in my opinion, that it is no longer the original tune as was written. There is nothing wrong with playing a tune fast or slow. It's all down to personal taste and suitability of the tempo for which purpose the tune is being played in the first instance, e.g. dance, floor spot, in a session, personal pleasure, etc. And in a session, if I start a tune at a certain tempo, I can be sure that someone else will try and take it over and speed it up. One of my session bugbears is that, often, session musicians don't listen to each other and play their version of a tune the way they like.

 

Chris

 

I assume, if you played it so quickly on your Englsh (like me), it was single line tune.

What if you play full arrangement with harmony, countermelody, ocasional oompa - will it still feel better, if you play fast? Is it even possible to play it faster that way and wouldn't it become mushy?

What if you have several instruments, wouldn't it be better if each be heard and appreciated, instead of driving wall of sound into the heads of listeners?

I think abstract talking about tempo is fruitless. Play it!

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First thanks for posting (here and on YouTube) something featuring Hayden Duet, my one and only concertina format.

 

Second, congrats on obtaining a Wakker 46-key so early in their production. And congrats on being able to pay for it <_< I'm still making do with my Stagi 46, which is easy to play, and my Bastari 67, which is more difficult to navigate. In Heaven I'll turn down the stock harp and take a Wakker 65 (if I go the other direction, I'll probably have to play a Maccann :lol: ) If I live long here on Earth I'll get a Morse Hayden.

 

As for the "parallel octaves," I like the way the bass run in the B part of "Elsey's" morphs into the melody (the last two notes matching the melody but an octave down). I'm not sure what is objectionable about that. I don't do that variation every time through (usually about every other time), as I said, the sheet music isn't exactly what I play. I'm really still a beginner, so my "arrangements" are bound to be somewhat simplistic!

Jeff, a good rule to follow in making up accompaniment chords is that the LH should play whatever notes of the chord are missing in the current melody note. So any duplication of notes in both hands is "wasting" a note. However, doubling octaves in bass runs (riffs) is a good practice too.

 

You are trying hard not to make repetitive oom-pah chords -- good. I usually make do with those, interrupted by moving bass riffs (such as your shift from F# to F in one of the waltzes).

 

And oh yes, thanks for posting the dots, especially the Bass Clef veresion, which is what I use for my own Hayden transcriptions, being a retreaded pianist. What notation software do you use? --Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer

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As for the "parallel octaves," I like the way the bass run in the B part of "Elsey's" morphs into the melody (the last two notes matching the melody but an octave down). I'm not sure what is objectionable about that.

The reason that parallel octaves (and fifths) are traditionally avoided in western music theory is that one of the things that makes music interesting is independence of the voices. Each voice (in this case, the melody and the bass) should tell a story. These lines should complement each other while maintaining their own identity. When two voices (particularly if they're the only two voices) become joined at the hip and move in tandem like that, it's like the bottom fell out of one of the stories. Parallel thirds are considered OK because they alternate between major and minor intervals.

 

Rambunctious? Now, look that up in your Funk and Wagnells!

Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!

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Rambunctious? Now, look that up in your Funk and Wagnells!

Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!

 

Ah, no wonder I couldn't find it. Thanks, David.

 

Chris

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That's an elegant explanation David. I knew parallel this-and-that was to be avoided except by those who knew exactly what they were doing but I didn't understand why.

 

It's easier to remember and consider this sort of thing if you are given a good reason, I reckon.

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