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To Suck or Blow - That is the question

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Lil Dog Turpy 12 Feb 04 - 01:47 PM
Little Robyn 12 Feb 04 - 02:07 PM
Little Robyn 12 Feb 04 - 02:10 PM
Crane Driver 12 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM
s & r 12 Feb 04 - 03:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Feb 04 - 12:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Feb 04 - 12:58 AM
Bob Bolton 13 Feb 04 - 03:08 AM
Lil Dog Turpy 14 Feb 04 - 12:55 AM
McMusic 14 Feb 04 - 01:04 AM
Lil Dog Turpy 14 Feb 04 - 01:15 AM
Crane Driver 14 Feb 04 - 05:08 PM
Lil Dog Turpy 15 Feb 04 - 01:50 AM
jonm 15 Feb 04 - 03:26 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Feb 04 - 04:00 AM
Lil Dog Turpy 15 Feb 04 - 11:47 PM
Bob Bolton 16 Feb 04 - 07:38 AM
Lil Dog Turpy 16 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM
curmudgeon 16 Feb 04 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,noddy 17 Feb 04 - 04:32 AM
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Subject: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 01:47 PM

I posted this in a different thread which promptly died a death :-) I'm sure it was just a coincidence. Anyway, thought I'd create a new thread to see if I can get some ideas......

I bought my first concertina at Christmas (five weeks now and my fingers are getting much more muscular!) It's an English, as opposed to Anglo, so going in and out the notes are the same and it's chromatic as opposed to diatonic.

That leaves me with a dilemma. Since I know of no one else in Montreal who playes an English concertina I'm left with deciding when to suck and blow.

My strategy has been to "phrase" similar to blowing a whistle. I have also found that the notes for loud bouncy tunes sound best when sucking while the smooth transition between notes so they don't sound jerky works best when blowing. I've looked online for "how to" pages but most are for the Anglo concertina. Anyone care to add there tuppence worth?


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Little Robyn
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 02:07 PM

Stick with what you have found for yourself and listen to recordings of others playing the tunes you want to play. I play a piano accordion for Morris, and I find myself using the bellows for emphasis, almost as if I was using an Anglo. The sound is slightly jerky and similar to a melodeon. But when I'm in an Irish Diddley session I don't do that. Then for some things, songs mainly, I revert to the good old OOM PA, PA stuff. I guess it's a matter of find the sound you want and use it where you feel you need it.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Little Robyn
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 02:10 PM

And try swinging your 'tina around as you play - the sound is wonderful, especially when you're in the middle of it!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Crane Driver
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM

Since you know no-one else who plays one, there's no-one to tell you you're wrong (how does it feel to be the best English concertina player in Montreal?) Do what seems right for the music. With an English, or a duet like mine, all you really need is to keep enough pressure with the bellows to sound the notes, but you can emphasise phrases or notes by bellows movement when needed. Really, finding your own style is much better than copying someone else's from a book. But do listen to all the best players you can find on record, to broaden your mind about what these wonderful instruments can do.

Good luck!

Andrew


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: s & r
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 03:32 PM

What feels best for you and keeps the tune flowing - it's a lovely instrument to start with and very easy to play.


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Feb 04 - 12:41 AM

I saw a place on the web where an English player was faking Anglo style - I think it might be wendy from HMT...

Robin


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Feb 04 - 12:58 AM

You might like to read the Accordion thread I wrote -

Technique: Piano Accordion for The Recycled Muso

it discusses bellows techniques - some of which are able to be used on the concertina.


Robin


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Feb 04 - 03:08 AM

G'day Lil Dog Turpy,

In the early days of the Australian "folk Revival" (say, 1955 - 1965) many new enthusiasts learned tunes and songs from old players ... but were convinced by the local adherents of the International (English!) Concertina Association that they should only consider playing "English System" concertinas ... insyead of the traditional German and Anglo-German concertinas played by the traditional players.

Those that have kept at it, all achieve quite good traditional rhythm ... because they learned directly from good old players, and the rhythm came with it. Unfortunaely, later 'dot-readers' often have a lot of trouble, because they don't have the unwritten rhythms in their brains. Listen to the old players of the music you want to play ... and you will get it right - even if the instrument is "wrong"!

Regards,

Bob Bolton (OK - I do run a group that sticks religiously to "correct" instruments - but that is to really fine-tune our perceptions of the tradition ... then take it back out into more common professional stage playing!)


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 14 Feb 04 - 12:55 AM

Thanks for the support guys - I guess I must be headed in the right direction! I must confess I find the English to be very easy to pick up new tunes. Changing keys is no problem either - just go up a row of buttons lol. Since I got my 'tina my whistle playing has suffered since I spend all my time with the new toy! Just off to read the Accordian thread suggested ......


btw MudCat is an eerie place - my name is also Robin!


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: McMusic
Date: 14 Feb 04 - 01:04 AM

Of course, if you play really badly, you sort of do both.


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 14 Feb 04 - 01:15 AM

I was thinking along those lines myself McMusic lol


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Crane Driver
Date: 14 Feb 04 - 05:08 PM

The only way to be a good musician, is to be a bad musician. NO-ONE started off as a good musician. If you're not playing at all, you're not getting better. To play well, you have to have played badly for long enough, so if you can't play well yet, play badly some more.

That's my excuse!

Andrew


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 01:50 AM

As I was always told - if it's worth doing - it's worth doing badly!


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: jonm
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 03:26 AM

Can I suggest one thing to try practising?

If you can play bouncy stuff better on blow and smooth stuff better on suck, practice playing bouncily on the suck and smoothly on the blow, then you have ultimate versatility. Takes a while, but improves your playing dramatically.

Cheers          Jonm


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 04:00 AM

jonm

of course your useful suggestion is at the heart of practicing a musical instrument - if you just only keep doing what you find easy over and over again, and never work on the things that you are having difficulties with, you will end up in the same vein as the guitar player who has only played 3 chord (+ cappo) songs for 30 years - very good in only a limited field.

You have to work most on the parts that are difficult in order to make progress - they will sound worse than the parts you are finding easy, but all that work will play off in the end.

Robin


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 11:47 PM

Thanks for the suggestion jonm, I had unconciously been doing just that and it's coming along. I did meet a fellow concertina player tonight! He plays anglo and english and is planning to move to Montreal from nearby so I guess I will have someone to go over things with.

On the whole I think I've been lucky so far. I think my choice of the english system was the right one for me. I bought mine knowing almost nothing, on ebay from a company in Michigan I think. It was something like $250 US and has a loud clear sound that is in tune with itself and other instruments. It's a 30 button english which has been fine for all the tunes I've tried so far. This other player had a 45 button english made 20 years ago or so for $800 US and his only problem with it was it was quiet, and he wanted a louder one. Myself I could do with a second, quieter 'tina to accompany my singing. As for playing the diddly tunes with guitar and fiddles the one I have now is just fine.

Maybe I'm rambling a bit but I'm just having so much fun with it! .......


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 07:38 AM

G'day Lil Dog Turpy,

"It's a 30 button english" ... I take it this is one of those "filleted" English system instruments, with Italian "accordion" reeds (brands such as "Saga" ...) with all the repeated notes (say; G# / Ab) removed to reduce the number of keys and reeds (made originally by Bastari/Stagi in Italy ... after they made full 48-key models for Neil Wayne, back in the '70s "Concertina Revival" ... ?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM

Sounds about right although I'm still a newbie to this stuff. I didn't get a chance to fiddle with the 48 key version - maybe next time he comes back I'll have more time to play with it.


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 05:50 PM

Greetings LDT -- I had not come to thisthread before as it sounded like a harmonica discussion.

I've been playing English system for about 30 years now and still have a long way to go as ar as technique and style. For me, the bellows are a constant in-out with rare forays into forced pressure. That I don't need to worry about what the bellows are doing is one of the great advantages to the English.

For the time being, you need to go here.


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Subject: RE: To Suck or Blow - That is the question
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 04:32 AM

swallow


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