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Concertina recording #1

posted Nov 13, 2009, 9:52 PM by Julie Birch
I started playing the English concertina about two months ago, and this piece is my first attempt to play two harmony lines simultaneously (a friend of mine is supposed to be supplying the melody eventually). So then, here you have it: the very first draft of the alto and tenor parts of Bergerette 1, "Dont vient cela," from Susato's collection of compositions for recorder quartet.

By the way, in case you don't know, English concertinas don't have low notes on the left hand and high notes on the right like a piano, accordion, etc., but alternate notes from side to side moving up the scale: so the left hand has C E G B D F corresponding to right-hand D F A C E G. This makes some things, like fluid melodies, very very easy, but complicated polyphony rather more challenging because any finger on any hand can end up playing any voice at any given time. Still, there's a long, proud history of multi-voice music being played on these amazing instruments, and I'm having a whole lot of fun trying to figure the whole thing out.

My favorite part: a series of 6 eighth notes starting in measure 22 (about two thirds of the way through) on the tenor line, as the alto voice does its own counter-harmony thing with half and quarter notes. It was principally due to this lovely section that it took me an hour to record this one-minute piece. :)
Julie Birch,
Nov 13, 2009, 10:06 PM