This claim crops up at regular intervals.
Sorry, but what gives you the idea that the EC has to be indistinguishable from the Anglo when playing ITM?
Of course, it's possible to play ITM on an English concertina. But why would you invest in one instrument with the goal to emulate another one? Why not go with the second one in the first place? At any Irish concertina workshop (particularly in Ireland), you'd be the odd one out with an English and you'd be pretty much left to your own devices on particular technical issues.
And although it is possible to play Irish traditional music on an English concertina, in most cases it still will sound like an English concertina - just compare the aforementioned Simone Thoumire's playing with that of well known players of the Anglo concertina such as Noel Hill, Edel Fox, Kate McNamara, Micheal O Raghallaigh, etc. A lot of the differences comes from the pulse and bounce, which is so important for ITM. Also, the Anglo concertina in ITM has its own set of ornamentation, which makes the Anglo playing very characteristic. If it's the Anglo concertina that attracted you to Irish traditional music, go with an Anglo.
I've never said it "has to be indistinguishable", but just that in most cases it will be clearly distinguishable
. That is, since Hyp got interested in the concertina in ITM by listening to players such as Noel Hill, s/he might end up being disappointed because s/he won't be able to reproduce the typical sound/style/rhythm/ornamentation which attracted him/her in the first place. On the contrary, it is the many well-meant repetitions of advice to go with an English concertina that incorrectly imply that ITM on the English concertina is indistinguishable
from ITM played on an Anglo.
So how does the oh-so-important-for-ITM Anglo "pulse and bounce" fit into this last paragraph? Or did you just contradict yourself?
You should be able to emphasize or "de-emphasize" whatever individual note you want on either Anglo or English. A necessary change of bellows direction on the Anglo doesn't always coincide with a down beat but can occur at any place in the tune. It's the tune (or your interpretation thereof) that tells you which notes to emphasize and which not, not the instrument.
I am aware, that the pushing and pulling of the bellow might result in bad emphasis (i.e. emphasizing down beats).
Where do you see a contradiction? You can theoretically get the pulse and bounce on the English concertina, although almost all players that I've heard play ITM on the English don't. Maybe it's because the "convenience" of being able just to keep pulling or pushing in one direction until you run out of bellow folds is too tempting. From the Anglo perspective: Maybe because the Anglo player has to learn to implement bellows changes at odd places right from the start it is easier and more natural to learn to integrate the bellows into one's playing than with the English. Hyp just seemed under the impression that the Anglo provides some automatic mechanism for emphasizing down beats.
But although pulse and bounce is very important, there are other elements of the Anglo style, particularly the ornamentation, crans, octaving, etc.
My main point is: If you're attracted to a particular style played on a particular instrument, it doesn't make much sense to pick up a different variety of that instrument which most likely will not result in the style that attracted you in the first place. I also think that, if you have been playing ITM on other instruments for a while, playing ITM on EC might come easier as well since you can transfer many aspects to the new instrument. Starting out in ITM on an EC will most likely increase the difficulties.
By now there have been some additional views regarding the difficulty of playing ITM convincingly on an EC, but I thought this pretty much unanimous support of the EC was just a bit misleading and might create the wrong expectations.
The only reason that the Anglo became the most common concertina in Irish, English and Scottish folk music is the fact
that it was cheap. It had fewer reeds, pads and buttons so it was cheap to make and cheap to buy. The fact that it can't
play in every key or play all the chords didn't really matter to poor musicians, they couldn't afford anything better.
Sure, it was pretty much a coincidence that the Anglo is nowadays the instrument of choice for ITM. But all the restrictions of the AC have contributed to its particular style.
If you are really serious about playing jazz then you won't be able to do this on an Anglo. However as some people have
pointed out if you want to go to ITM workshops you will find that the Anglo is the common instrument. On the other
hand if you can read music you don't need to go to these workshops and it you want to play jazz standards then
you will have to read music because there are no jazz workshops and on the whole good jazz musicians all read music.
Sure, if you are really serious about playing ITM
on concertina, you can play it on either English or Anlgo, no doubt, but if you are really serious about playing ITM in a particular style
close to that of Noel Hill, Edel Fox, Micheal O Raghallaigh etc., you'd be better off with an Anglo. That's what Hyp has to find out and decide for him/herself.
If you can read music you don't need to go to these workshops? Pardon me!? You seem to imply that playing ITM is just playing the notes of tunes commonly played in ITM. But you need more than just the notes, you need the style. And for the style, the Anglo is by default better suited because its peculiarities have shaped that style. And in order to learn that style, you need to be exposed as much as possible to that style by listening to recordings and, if possible, by instruction as in workshops.
Of course ITM on an Anglo will sound different to ITM on an EC or ITM on a Duet but they are all playing ITM
and one is not more valid than the other.
It's not a question of validity. EC is
just as valid as AC, but if you're after a specific style than you should look more closely into that instrument that plays that specific style.
Now the Anglo is no longer cheap, in fact a good Anglo can cost more than a good EC. If you can afford it you
could buy both. If you can't then buying the wrong one could be an expensive mistake.
Exactly. That's why I think the many voices in support of the EC might be just a tad misleading!