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Jeffries Duets


danersen
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Hello All,

 

Thanks for your replies to my inquiry. The perspectives expressed are very helpful and provide much needed context for my lack of direct experience with any duet system.

Dirge - I am in Colorado.

 

 

I realized after reading Larry's request for a music sample that an efficient, if not effective, way of garnering the benefit of your expertise and experience is to chart a typical melody and hope that some/many of you will play it and opine as to the relative ease/flow of fingering on the different duet systems. I realize the flaw in this in that you are all accomplished and I will just be starting. However, your collective voices of experience may be the best way to avoid traveling down a road that may be frustrating or less than likely to lead to success.

 

So, here is a quick handwritten chart of a typical melody.

Please note that amidst the three flats - Bb, Ab, and Db - sits an E-NATURAL.

Please also note that there is one measure of 5/4 time.

 

Ideally, I wish to know the ease/difficulty of the fingering patterns in all ranks where there is rotation of the note positions between the lower and upper registers.

e.g., the shift in the note locations on the Maccann 81 which are different in the higher registers than the lower ones.

 

Thanks to all who are willing to help.

 

Be Well,

Dan

 

 

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Speaking of Big Nick Robertshaw.... I have his 61 button Jeffries duet. I will be offering it for sale it this summer during Willie Week in Miltown Malbay. I will be selling some other concertinas as well, and some flutes and banjos. I'll be in a storefront next to Clancy's Pub, on the strip. Come say hello.

 

music.gif Picking_up_the_Meadows_Big_Nick.mp3

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Speaking of Big Nick Robertshaw.... I have his 61 button Jeffries duet. I will be offering it for sale it this summer during Willie Week in Miltown Malbay. I will be selling some other concertinas as well, and some flutes and banjos. I'll be in a storefront next to Clancy's Pub, on the strip. Come say hello.

There's a market for Jeffries duets in Ireland? Interesting!

Frankly, I think you would have better luck -- and do the instrument more justice -- by selling it through concertina.net.

 

In the meantime, could you do us the favor of telling us what its "home" key is? In light of the discussion above (especially this post), it would be interesting to see how the keys on that "Picking up the Meadows" recording relate to the instrument's home key. The tune seems to be based in the keys of G and D. It would be very interesting if his instrument is based in Bb, though even on a "C" Jeffries (not to be confused with a "C. Jeffries" ;)) it would require playing "across the rows".

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...here is a quick handwritten chart of a typical melody.

 

Hello Dan,

About the chart, did you make this up yourself or is this an existing Klezmer peace? Does it have a title? I would expect it to start with an A to keep to the typical klezmer scale of D minor, but I understand this is a sample to challenge the duet player(?)

Just curious,

Thanks

Marien

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Speaking of Big Nick Robertshaw.... I have his 61 button Jeffries duet. I will be offering it for sale it this summer during Willie Week in Miltown Malbay. I will be selling some other concertinas as well, and some flutes and banjos. I'll be in a storefront next to Clancy's Pub, on the strip. Come say hello.

There's a market for Jeffries duets in Ireland? Interesting!

Frankly, I think you would have better luck -- and do the instrument more justice -- by selling it through concertina.net.

 

In the meantime, could you do us the favor of telling us what its "home" key is? In light of the discussion above (especially this post), it would be interesting to see how the keys on that "Picking up the Meadows" recording relate to the instrument's home key. The tune seems to be based in the keys of G and D. It would be very interesting if his instrument is based in Bb, though even on a "C" Jeffries (not to be confused with a "C. Jeffries" ;) ) it would require playing "across the rows".

 

Hi- the home key is C. At least I had no problem working out the scale in C on the left hand- and it has a drone button on the right side in C. No air-button, same note push-pull.

 

I'd be delighted to sell it on this site. I paid $4,000 for it and would like to get as close to that as I could. It's hard to say what such a rare instrument is worth but I'd be open to any offers. I would also be open to trades.

 

It is in near-mint condition and has the original hard case, not quite in mint condition, but in very nice shape. I also have an article from Concertina & Squeezebox and something of a tutor. Astute anglo players know that the fingering of the Jeffries duet has much in common with the anglo. It was fairly easy for me, as an anglo player, to suss out the scale after a few minutes. And it does make its own kind of sense. It would harder to work it out if you're coming from an English concertiina background but not being diatonic would appeal to those players. As far as playing in D is concerned, the F# and C# are as easily accessible on the Jeffries duet as those notes are on my Jeffries anglo.

 

jeffriesduet.th.jpg Jeffries 61B Duet in C

Edited by David Levine
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...here is a quick handwritten chart of a typical melody.

About the chart, did you make this up yourself or is this an existing Klezmer peace? Does it have a title? I would expect it to start with an A to keep to the typical klezmer scale of D minor...

D minor, Marien? Looks like F minor (or a variant thereof, with the natural E) to me.

 

...but I understand this is a sample to challenge the duet player(?)

In any case, the melody alone isn't much of a challenge on any standard concertina, except anglos with fewer than 26 buttons.

  • It can be tricky on the 30-button anglo if you're not used to using the Bb and Ab.
  • On the English? Piece of cake!
  • On the Crane? Flows nicely, though a beginner might find the initial jump (C up to F) awkward, at first, because both notes are in the same column. (Of course, with different notes, that same "problem" exists on all concertinas.)
  • Maccann? Not quite as fluid as the Crane when I play it, but I'm a Craniac, not a Maccannic. I'm sure it's just as easy and fluid for a Maccann player (or would be for me if I'd spend more time with the Maccann).
  • Jeffries duet? Playing my "air Jeffries duet" in the key of C, it seems to flow very nicely. In spite of all the flats, it looks like playing it as written on a Bb Jeffries might be a little more difficult, because of the E-natural. (The E-F-G sequence is all in one diagonal line, so which fingers to use?)
  • It also flows nicely on my Pitt-Taylor duet.

Add chords? Well, they also seem to give no trouble on any of the duets mentioned above. Problems on the anglo, probably no matter what it's central keys, but that might be avoided by not playing them in full or by using inversions. (That's speculation. I don't promise that it's true, and I don't have time right now to try to figure out what might work.) On the English I'd be inclined to play some sort of parallel harmony, rather than a chordal accompaniment, but it could surely be made to sound traditional.

 

So what's my conclusion? (Those of you who know me should be able to guess.) No single concertina layout is "best", or even "better" for this particular kind of music. You may find that one or another is "best" or "better" for you, though, so work with that and learn to play the music you like on it.

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...here is a quick handwritten chart of a typical melody.

About the chart, did you make this up yourself or is this an existing Klezmer peace? Does it have a title? I would expect it to start with an A to keep to the typical klezmer scale of D minor...

D minor, Marien? Looks like F minor (or a variant thereof, with the natural E) to me.

 

 

Hello Jim,

I know my scales, thank you for your question mark ;) . and the tune can be played like on the chart on the Crane.

 

But maybe I didn't express myself clear. I was mainly asking the title of the tune and who wrote it... and I was wondering whether this is a Klezmer tune that may have been transposed from (the usual) D minor (with a C#) to F minor with (E natural). More in the sense that for Klezmer D minor is what D sharp is for Irish music.

 

In addition, I bet this will also be playable on a Hayden duet, is there a hayden duet player who can confim that? :ph34r:

 

Marien

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Hello All,

 

Jim - Thank you for your efforts. Your perspective/analysis is just the kind of help I'm seeking. Yes, it is a piece of cake on the English which is the extent of my experience. It's difficult to assess flow and fluidity from a chart. And there just aren't concertina shops to visit and have a go at a variety of instruments here in Colorado.

 

Marien - The initial sample includes two phrases typical of material that I've collected or composed over the years. Most of the work is Chassidic is character/form which is somewhat different than Klezmer. Most of the material that I play is in Am, Bm, Fm, and E with Cm and D as the alternates. This material is actually a subset of Yiddish music that is akin to, though different, from Klezmer. The scales are usually a semi-tone apart on the 5th or the 7th. Not really knowing if this is an accurate analogy, I will offer it. Klezmer, Chassid, Liturgy/Ritual melodies in Yiddish music might be like Irish, Scottish, and Morris melodies in Celtic music - ? The composite of melodies among Yiddish music is extensive - much of it being adaptations and derivatives from eastern European and Russian folk tunes as well as Middle Eastern and Byzantine sources. (An example: HaTikvah - the "national anthem" of Israel is based on a Czech folk melody). It seems to that that much of the klezmer "book" is somewhat more influenced by the Russian folk melodies. There is also a Sephardic (Spanish/North African) element that is distinct, yet similar in character. Klezmer has been the most popular expression of Yiddish music, by far; and reasonably is the term that is most often used to refer to Jewish music. It is, actually, just the tip of a beautiful and diverse iceberg replete with nuance and character.

 

Below is another snippet from a tune that I wrote titled "Almost Shabbos." I wrote it when we were in Jerusalem a few years ago as a way of recalling the excitement and anticipation of the Old City's preparation for the Sabbath. It's an extraordinary experience that I've observed no where else. Note the A-NATURAL among the other four flats and the E-NATURAL accidental in the 4th phrase. It is intended to be played at 1/4 note = 128.

 

Anyone willing to "test play" this sample with comments similar to Jim's related to the first sample will be greatly appreciated.

 

I welcome any/all additional perspectives and comments.

 

Be Well,

 

Dan

 

 

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Hello Dan,

 

Thanks for sharing the materials. In the jewish music I play here in several occasions there are many elements (songs and melodies) of Sephardic / middle east origin, but most of the materials we have seem to come from the Ukrain and we also do songs by Mordechai Gebirtig, which have a lot of the local jewish tradition in germany before 1940. Local traditions affect all music and that is what makes it interesting. All the time new differences appear. Jewish music is currently not played the same in USA and Europe. No problem to me.

 

Not wanting to frighten you, but the list of celtic traditions is dangerous. :blink: At least, it happened to me that somebody was ready to give me a punch on the nose when I asked for a book of Morris tunes in a Celtic shop. The reason was - according to this angry shop owner - that Morris music is not celtic, it is english.... Maybe better to strike out Morris and replace it by music from Brittany(?) ;)

 

Time for a tune now...

 

Best wishes,

Marien

 

 

Hello All,

 

Jim - Thank you for your efforts. Your perspective/analysis is just the kind of help I'm seeking. Yes, it is a piece of cake on the English which is the extent of my experience. It's difficult to assess flow and fluidity from a chart. And there just aren't concertina shops to visit and have a go at a variety of instruments here in Colorado.

 

Marien - The initial sample includes two phrases typical of material that I've collected or composed over the years. Most of the work is Chassidic is character/form which is somewhat different than Klezmer. Most of the material that I play is in Am, Bm, Fm, and E with Cm and D as the alternates. This material is actually a subset of Yiddish music that is akin to, though different, from Klezmer. The scales are usually a semi-tone apart on the 5th or the 7th. Not really knowing if this is an accurate analogy, I will offer it. Klezmer, Chassid, Liturgy/Ritual melodies in Yiddish music might be like Irish, Scottish, and Morris melodies in Celtic music - ? The composite of melodies among Yiddish music is extensive - much of it being adaptations and derivatives from eastern European and Russian folk tunes as well as Middle Eastern and Byzantine sources. (An example: HaTikvah - the "national anthem" of Israel is based on a Czech folk melody). It seems to that that much of the klezmer "book" is somewhat more influenced by the Russian folk melodies. There is also a Sephardic (Spanish/North African) element that is distinct, yet similar in character. Klezmer has been the most popular expression of Yiddish music, by far; and reasonably is the term that is most often used to refer to Jewish music. It is, actually, just the tip of a beautiful and diverse iceberg replete with nuance and character.

 

Below is another snippet from a tune that I wrote titled "Almost Shabbos." I wrote it when we were in Jerusalem a few years ago as a way of recalling the excitement and anticipation of the Old City's preparation for the Sabbath. It's an extraordinary experience that I've observed no where else. Note the A-NATURAL among the other four flats and the E-NATURAL accidental in the 4th phrase. It is intended to be played at 1/4 note = 128.

 

Anyone willing to "test play" this sample with comments similar to Jim's related to the first sample will be greatly appreciated.

 

I welcome any/all additional perspectives and comments.

 

Be Well,

 

Dan

 

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As for the Jeffries duet, there are few enough players, and I don't know any of them. Are there any here on C.net who could tell us whether they've tried playing in more than just a couple of keys, and if so, how difficult they found it?

 

My Jeffries Duet is in C, although that's a key I rarely play in.

I generally play in 'G' being primarily a Morris musician, though occasionally I need to play in 'D' and minor keys for some dances.

I have attended a couple of 'tina workshops which force me to play in 'strange' keys.

In answer to your question Jim, whilst I am most comfortable playing in G, I find that playing in another key isn't too difficult once you've run through the scale or a tune a couple of times - I try not to think too hard about the layout (maybe I'm a natural :) ) despite the key 'patterns' for a scale being totally different in each and every key :wacko:

Edited by wolosp
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  • 10 months later...
There's a market for Jeffries duets in Ireland? Interesting!

Sadly, the only ones I've seen here have been converted to Anglos! :(

 

I bought a Jeffries Duet on e bay last year. It was 55 key, old gold tooling and in C. Pretty well in tune too. Reeds in great condition. It was stamped C Jeffries, so they were being made before jeffries Bros started. Anyway I tried it a bit and figured out a bit of melody but there was no way I could play it even as an anglo never mind a Duet I thought of converting it but met with Michael Hebbert who was on a visit to Dublin and showed it to him. I decided to pass it on to him as it would have been a shame to alter such a fine box. Well it could not be in better hands now. Long may you continue to play great music on it Michael.

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I bought a Jeffries Duet on e bay last year. It was 55 key, old gold tooling and in C. Pretty well in tune too. Reeds in great condition. It was stamped C Jeffries, so they were being made before jeffries Bros started. Anyway I tried it a bit and figured out a bit of melody but there was no way I could play it even as an anglo never mind a Duet I thought of converting it but met with Michael Hebbert who was on a visit to Dublin and showed it to him. I decided to pass it on to him as it would have been a shame to alter such a fine box. Well it could not be in better hands now. Long may you continue to play great music on it Michael.

 

 

Yes, I had the pleasure of hearing Mike playing it at a session, in London, a couple of weeks ago. I think he said he'd given it to Colin Dipper to check it over and had recently got it back. It sounded a lovely instrument and is now in the hands of one of the world's finest Jeffries duet players. Wonderful. :) You may even get to hear it being played on the forthcoming CD compilation, Duet International.

 

Chris

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Yes, I had the pleasure of hearing Mike playing it at a session, in London, a couple of weeks ago. I think he said he'd given it to Colin Dipper to check it over and had recently got it back. It sounded a lovely instrument and is now in the hands of one of the world's finest Jeffries duet players. Wonderful. :) You may even get to hear it being played on the forthcoming CD compilation, Duet International.

 

Chris

 

It's good to hear it's gone to a good home.

 

At 55 buttons I imagine it's a small-sized box rather than the 58-62 button biggies you come across. I still have a 62 that I played for some time before I acquired my current 52-button box (with Nigel Chippendale's help - many, many thanks once again to Nigel!), and I have to say the few small ones I've played have beaten the big ones hands-down for playability.

 

Overlap is nice, but a bright and responsive lightweight box is more important, at least to this Jeffries duet player.

 

Gav

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I bought a Jeffries Duet on e bay last year. It was 55 key, old gold tooling and in C. Pretty well in tune too. Reeds in great condition. It was stamped C Jeffries, so they were being made before jeffries Bros started. Anyway I tried it a bit and figured out a bit of melody but there was no way I could play it even as an anglo never mind a Duet I thought of converting it but met with Michael Hebbert who was on a visit to Dublin and showed it to him. I decided to pass it on to him as it would have been a shame to alter such a fine box. Well it could not be in better hands now. Long may you continue to play great music on it Michael.

 

 

Yes, I had the pleasure of hearing Mike playing it at a session, in London, a couple of weeks ago. I think he said he'd given it to Colin Dipper to check it over and had recently got it back. It sounded a lovely instrument and is now in the hands of one of the world's finest Jeffries duet players. Wonderful. :) You may even get to hear it being played on the forthcoming CD compilation, Duet International.

 

Chris

 

I was at the same session with Chris in London, and had the pleasure of playing a Duet/Duet (Jefferies/MacCann) with Michael for the first time! Yes, indeed, It's definitely in safe, and talented hands.

Whether it appears on Duet International, I'm not sure. I think that Michael might have recorded his tracks last autumn. Tine will no doubt tell!

Ralphie

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