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Messages - ubizmo

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Share your musical journey / Re: An Dro St. PatrickVe
« on: September 27, 2019, 07:11:34 pm »
I love this tune, and it really goes well with whatever the other Breton tune Mithril is playing here:

I like to play each one twice, then switch, and just keep cycling through. It feels like medieval trance music.

General Discussion / Re: Double holes?
« on: August 07, 2019, 05:09:38 pm »
I don't understand your explanation or the mention of "valves". I have many Ocarinas,of various sizes and shapes and nary a valve in sight. Also, not all fingering work for both octaves - of the sharps and flats only Bb is identical

That's correct, the fingerings in the two chambers are not identical. But on other double ocarinas, when you change chambers you must also move your right hand to an entirely different set of tone holes. Coda's bisected tone holes make that unnecessary. That's the key innovation. When you change chambers you must change windways but not hand position too.

Share your musical journey / Re: Carolan's Welcome
« on: June 24, 2019, 03:56:47 pm »
I wouldn’t mind if you redid some of your old recordings either.

I'm thinking about doing that. Many (most) of those older recordings are pretty bad, both technically and musically. Not only that, backing tracks are much improved since then. One of the first ones I did, about ten years ago now, was "When a Man Loves a Woman." The backing track was horrendous, but it was all I could find at the time. Today, there are some fairly decent tracks out there.

I also think I'm a better player. For one thing, I used to feel like I needed to be playing all the time, to fill the available time with notes. This is a bad musical idea when playing with accompaniment, although more necessary when unaccompanied. Since I wasn't really used to playing with accompaniment, I just didn't understand that. It's generally a good idea to step back and let the accompaniment roll from time to time. A lot of my recordings, especially the oldest ones, really need this.

Also, with Coda I can come closer to the key that a song was written in. Sometimes that helps. "When a Man Loves a Woman" was written in Db, and there's no way I'd play it in that key, but dropping it down a semitone to C doesn't do any damage.

Share your musical journey / Re: Carolan's Welcome
« on: June 19, 2019, 09:07:47 pm »
I bought a Zoom H1n recorder and experimented with it a bit today. It seems to work pretty well with Coda, so I'm going to see how that goes. I had used a different portable recorder on the past, but that seems to have failed over the years. But the Zoom should do the trick.

As for the video quality, I don't care so much about that. I have a basic camcorder. It's good enough. I'd just use still photos but I know that some viewers like to watch the fingering.

I don't know whether I'll go back to doing pop songs with backing tracks. Maybe a few, if I think of anything that moves me. At the moment I feel more like playing unaccompanied, so people can get ideas about how that goes

Share your musical journey / Carolan's Welcome
« on: June 18, 2019, 06:52:31 pm »
After much tinkering, I managed to get a very brief video out. I went outside, hoping for better audio, but it wasn't happening. I used Audacity to reduce the hot notes but it's still poor. Sync was a struggle, and I just about have up on it but decided poor was better than nothing.

Share your musical journey / Improv
« on: April 29, 2019, 12:36:05 pm »
It's been a while since I've posted, but I've been doing a lot of playing. As I mentioned in some other threads, I play in church a fair amount. Some of that music is, of course, hymns, which tend to be pretty straightforward (but not always easy) in terms of rhythm and chord structure, but some of the music is more contemporary, with syncopated rhythms and more interesting chord changes. In fact, I play some of this contemporary music on the tenor sax too, depending on what the particular piece sounds like.

Anyway, the church also does a monthly Friday night free dinner with music, for the community. In this setting, the music can be anything, not necessarily "church music." Sometimes the music director has sheet music for me, but sometimes it's just lead sheets. Lead sheets just have melody and chords. The chords are useful for improvising.

I've been playing a long time, so I'm pretty used to playing this way. I'm not a master of it by any means, but I'm comfortable with the general approach. Even so, I'm always looking for ways to improve, and I know that some people would like to try improvising but don't know how to get started. There's a lot of stuff about this on YouTube, but most of it gets pretty dense with music theory pretty quickly. But I've discovered one teacher, named Scott Paddock, who has a gift for breaking it down into bite-sized elements. He uses alto sax but the method works for any melody instrument.

Check out, for example,, after first looking at the other two videos he mentions. He walks you through some really basic material and gradually adds to it until it starts to get interesting. As I say, there are some other good channels for this, such as Jeff Antoniuk - Educator, but Scott Paddock really starts from square 1, which is what a lot of people want. I've used some of his exercises on Coda, just to get the same kinds of patterns under my fingers that I have on the sax. I think a lot of people here could find it useful as a way to start improvising on Coda, if that's something that appeals to you.

Suggestions / Re: A Consort of CODAs
« on: March 18, 2019, 10:51:05 pm »
Most instruments come in a group of different sizes, each good for a different part in an ensemble and for different purposes. My suggestion is to have the CODA be like this as well. We already have what is basically the "soprano" of the group, and although it's sound and range is nice, more options would open up numerous possibilities. I know there was talk before of maybe manufacturing an "alto" in G, but I would like to see a "tenor" or even a "bass" as well. Granted, the last two might be a bit on the big side to no longer be an EDC flute, but I'd think the option for low tones would be appreciated.

The big question is whether the bisected tone holes could be covered by normal fingers on a larger Coda, or would there have to be keys and pads?

Of course, keys and pads would change the basic character of the instrument, but it's fun to speculate. One of the main advantages of the Boehm concert flute over traditional flutes is that the use of keys and pads makes it possible to avoid most, or all, cross-fingerings. Cross-fingerings are not just awkward but also affect tone quality on a tubular open-end kind of flute. On an ocarina or vessel flute, I don't think cross-fingerings have any effect on tone quality but they are still more awkward than what's possible on keyed instruments.

I think you'd also need bisected tone holes, with keys and pads, for the sharps and flats. I'm picturing a tenor Coda, an octave lower than our Coda, with pads for the basic C scale, like the basic keys of a saxophone. Plus it would have keys for C#, D#, G#, and A#. You might be able to get away with no key for F#. It would have to be big, not only for the low pitch but also to support all that keywork.

General Discussion / Re: Best keys for CODA and MO?
« on: February 12, 2019, 07:21:21 pm »
Well, on any keyless wind instrument, more shape and flats means more gnarly fingerings. On a recorder it also means the notes are less clear, because forked fingerings have that effect in a tubular instrument, but not in Coda!

On a sax or clarinet, we're supposed to practice scales etc in all 12 keys. I've never been that disciplined but I do try to play songs in a number of different keys on the sax. And some songs really are good training for playing in all 12, like "The Rose."

On Coda, some keys are really a lot of work. I'm not a fan of playing in Eb, en though it's a fairly common key. It just feels clumsy under my fingers. But really it's all about getting the discipline to practice in all keys.

I've started practicing a drill I used to do on sax. Starting on middle C I play a major arpeggio up to high C, so c, e, g, c' then a semitone down and play the downward arpeggio in B major: b, f#, d#, B then down another semitone to Bb and arpeggio up, etc, until I've done every key and end on low C.

Like all drills, you have to start *slow*, like quarter note tempo. Or do a similar thing with scales instead of arpeggios. It's tedious but it helps. Even on a keyed instrument it's a challenge but on an instrument with no keys it's real work.

That's more than you asked for, but for me it all comes down to fingerings.

Share your musical journey / Re: Mist Covered Mountains
« on: January 16, 2019, 03:01:19 pm »
Many thanks Hoodsmon,
love this tune, it featured in a film called Local Hero (1980 I think) which has an amazing soundtrack including this given a few brilliant different arrangements.  Off now to give it a practice.

I loved that film. I don't remember the tune from it, but now I'll want to watch it again just for that.

Suggestions / Re: Business Card Fingering Charts
« on: January 08, 2019, 01:38:45 pm »
les cartes sont jolies, les doigtés sont très lisibles... parfait!!!  :)

Doigtés ! J'apprends toujours des nouveaux mots de votres messages!

General Discussion / Lower notes
« on: January 03, 2019, 07:28:25 pm »
I noticed a comment in another thread that low B (B4) can be played on Coda by "underblowing" low C. That is, if you play low C very gently, it will be a semitone flat and you'll get B. This works, but I think there's a better way.

Instead of reducing your breath pressure, tip Coda down you play low C with normal firm breath pressure. As the low chamber windway approaches your lower lip, the pitch will fall without your having to reduce breath pressure much, if any. It just takes some practice to home in on the bite you want.

On Christmas Eve I played with a small church choir and piano. One of the songs was, of course, "Silent Night." It was scored in Bb, so there was no possibility of playing it in a different key. In Bb it fits nicely on Coda--except for the very last note, the final "heavenly peace." That note is a low Bb, below C.

I knew beforehand that I'd be playing this, but I didn't know if it'd work, so I also brought along a Bb tin whistle, just in case. I was so busy that day I didn't have a chance to practice beforehand except in the car, before going in. So I just tried the low Bb and found I could hit it easily. In fact, I found I could get down to A, but that one did require some reduction in breath pressure, but Bb was fine. So I left the Bb whistle in the car and used Coda for the whole service, except for one song on tenor sax.

Tl;dr You can play down to Bb without much difficulty and without making it so quiet that no one can hear it.

PS On the MO I could and did play down to low A using the same technique, only tipping the instrument up, due to the placement of the windway on top. It's easier than it sounds to describe it.

General Discussion / Re: The Patents: Fascinating reading
« on: January 02, 2019, 07:52:55 am »
Ken deserves a statue next to Adolphe Sax.

Who is Ken? 🤔

Barbie's partner, and the true creator of Coda. All this time, Karl has simply been the front man while Ken (and Barbie) worked behind the scenes in their hidden laboratory to develop prototypes, funding the entire operation with Ken's well known salad dressings. I hope that clears up any confusion.

General Discussion / Re: Tips on playing the lower chamber C and C#?
« on: December 28, 2018, 07:50:44 am »
What's happening is you're also lifting another finger as you uncover RT, causing a leak and pitch rise. Karl will say you should simply work on dropping the thumb off that hole without reducing pressure with the other fingers. You have to feel the fingers hanging over the side, pulling Coda down a bit. It works.

Share your musical journey / Re: The Spacing Effect
« on: December 20, 2018, 04:12:53 pm »
It's so true and something I wish I'd understood when I was in school. And the reason is simple enough. The actual learning doesn't take place during practice; it happens afterwards. So short but more frequent practice sessions provide more "afters". This is another huge advantage of an instrument that you can always have with you. It's not so hard to carve out short practice sessions of ten minutes or so if I don't have to go home, take my sax out of the case, put it together, etc.

General Discussion / Re: Congratulations on the release!
« on: December 20, 2018, 03:18:48 pm »
Any advice on reaching the pinky holes with straight fingers?

If I may jump in here, there are two rules that I find helpful for reaching and sealing all the tone holes.

1. Check to see whether your fingers are pointing at an angle away from your body, at right angles to your body, or angles toward your body. If they're angled away you won't reach those pinky holes. You'll need to keep them at right angles or slightly pointed back towards your body. This will feel unnatural at first especially if you've ever played tube-like instruments such as recorder or whistle, and even some ocarina.

2. Keep your elbows down. That will keep your wrists down, which will help you to keep your fingers flat. You can't play Coda with your fingertips, so you have to watch your entire arm position.

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