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Irish On The English

English concertina Irish style Ornamentation

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#1 chas

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 05:26 PM

Can anyone suggest a good source of advice on playing Irish music on the English?  I've been playing for almost 40 years now but only a handful of Irish tunes and never with much decoration.  I've preferred to play Irish music on wooden flute for the last 15 years.  Although I play a bit of anglo, I'm much more comfortable on English so I've set myself the task of developing a decent Irish style on EC. 

Predictably, most of what's available focuses on the anglo, including online tuition.  Who should I be listening to? (I'm familiar players like Anderson and Thoumire, of course).

One particular goal is a convincing roll (no rhyme intended!).  As a flute player, I know that an A roll, for example, is not best described as a 5 note sequence of ABAGA.  A concertina ain't a flute but that 5 note sequence doesn't work for me.   I achieve the best rhythm with a simple ABGA.  Or maybe it's safer to stick to triplets and rapidly repeated notes?

Any thoughts or useful sources gratefully received.



#2 ceemonster

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:51 PM

presently, the best signposts IMHO for playing traditional irish music on EC are the numerous air-driven instruments already deeply rooted in the irish tradition which are not "bisonoric" but are rather the same note both "in" and "out" (i.e., "unisonoric.")  these include: flute, whistle, and pipes. 

 

you are in a very nice position given your 15 years playing irish music on flute, provided you have thusly gained a firm grasp of the  phrasing choices and staccato-versus-legato choices you can make while still remaining within the parameters of an authentic traditional irish sound; and provided you have gained a firm grasp of the kinds of phrasing or staccato-versus-legato options which might be doable, but wouldn't sound like itm.  if you have gained a good feel for these principles through gobs of listening and playing,  you can transfer much of that "feel" from flute right over to EC.

 

irish pipers, and whistle and flute players (and fiddle players as well) have to learn where the point is on the spectrum beyond which they're so "smooth" or legato they're outside the  parameters of the irish idiom.  they have to learn where to stop the air, or come off the fiddle strings, or to break up the line enough; or to lean ever so slightly into a note, to give the music the irish sense of lift and movement.   same for an EC player.

 

there are always going to be purists who insist that free reed instruments shouldn't be allowed to play itm unless they are bisonoric. ignore them---this mentality is akin to penalizing the flute for not expressing the air like a harmonica, or expecting all fiddlers to phrase short-bow "sawstroke" style rather than the smooth,  fluid, slurry "long-bow" sound which also is a genuine authentic fiddle style in itm.

 

unfortunately, heretofore many of the examples out there of attempts to play irish music on EC are efforts by people who have not gotten the irish style into their bones.  i'm not saying you have to be born to it, but you have to have listened to it by the boatload for years to express it authentically on any instrument, and for whatever reason, lots of people attempting it on EC aren't that familiar with traditional irish phrasing "rules."  you'll get it from the flute players, the whistlers, the pipers, and the authentic-sounding master irish PA players such as Alan Kelly, Mirella Murray, or Jimmy Keane. 

 

regarding rolls:  i use the "slap triplet" aka, the "Phantom Button" caper,  along with so-called "half rolls" (same-note triplet with a cut inserted into it).  to my ear, both of these maneuvers sound indistinguishable on EC from the way they sound on Anglo.

 

 

 

 

 

.


Edited by ceemonster, 29 January 2014 - 09:52 PM.


#3 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:27 AM

You might look for recordings from our member Henrik Müller from Sweden - he's playing a mean EC in the Irish style ...

 

(edited to erase the "d" in the Christian name)


Edited by blue eyed sailor, 30 January 2014 - 07:16 AM.


#4 Defra

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 04:15 AM

Interesting topic and I've been wondering about the same issues. 

As one of the rare examples I've come across, I think this guy - George Meanwell - does a lovely job on the Geordie Tenor EC.



#5 ceemonster

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:59 AM

[our member Hendrik Müller from Sweden - he's playing a mean EC in the Irish style ...]

 

yes, that's right, he is...i'd love to have a 37-key EC laid out and held like the one he designed & put together...

 

there used to be a clip or two of that Dow character playing irish on EC, also sounding great...


Edited by ceemonster, 30 January 2014 - 06:01 AM.


#6 Alan Day

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:06 AM

I did a lot of research, when putting together English International, on English Concertina players playing Irish Traditional music and found very few. Hendrick I knew of and he is included in the collection.I contacted an Irish Lady who won the ITM concertina playing championships years ago ,but she no longer plays and sadly no recordings of her exists that i could find. I remembered back to my old folk club days and thought that Geoff on this site played it at the Black Horse, but I thought (wrongly) that he was hidden away in deepest Australia.He was in fact not that far away in France.

Hendrick did not let me down and at least the instrument playing style is included.

Al



#7 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:14 AM

Despite the title, I believe that's it (can't listen to the clip right now).

 

And he's named Henrik (which I hadn't right previously).



#8 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:25 AM

You might also want to check this out.

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=0tHR8VXPwsw

 

Chris



#9 Alan Day

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:53 AM

I was going to double check the name spelling but copied the previous posting.

Sorry about that.

Al



#10 Alan Day

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:55 AM

You might also want to check this out.

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=0tHR8VXPwsw

 

Chris

Very nice

Al



#11 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 11:04 AM

I was going to double check the name spelling but copied the previous posting.

Not quite... :D

#12 tony

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:05 PM

Despite the title, I believe that's it (can't listen to the clip right now).

 

And he's named Henrik (which I hadn't right previously).

 

Now that's a strange looking EC. It only seems to have three columns of button plus an odd one at the top and it has a full hand strap as opposed to thumb straps.



#13 chas

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:05 PM

Thanks all for the names and clips.  That’s all really useful, not to say inspiring.

 

Yes, ceemonster, it was the purist anti-EC-for-ITM attitude that discouraged me in the past from devoting more time to this.  Some of what you say confirms my own impressions, I suppose, which gives me a lot of confidence.  I shall keep on listening to my flute and other Irish CDs. Your reference to PA players is interesting.  I’m a big fan of Shona Kipling’s playing.  Thanks for those names.  I’ll have a listen.

 

I’ve been trying what you call “half rolls” for a week or two.  They can actually sound at least as crisp as my usual flute roll, which falls a little short of Mr Crawford’s performance.  I’ve seen the slap technique done on an anglo but never managed to work out how it was achieved.  Your reference to it led me to the discussion you took part in on thesession.org some years ago, where it’s all explained.  I guess that a lot of those anglo techniques are equally doable on the English.  The example I gave initially seems to be what you refer to elsewhere as a “sandwich roll”.

 

Thanks again, all.  That should keep me busy for the foreseeable!”



#14 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:53 PM


Despite the title, I believe that's it (can't listen to the clip right now).
 
And he's named Henrik (which I hadn't right previously).

 
Now that's a strange looking EC. It only seems to have three columns of button plus an odd one at the top and it has a full hand strap as opposed to thumb straps.
As to my understanding his self-built English Concertina has, of course, all the "white keys" of Cmaj/Amin and the likes (making up the two middle rows) plus the accidentals be it to the left or to the right which appear with an Anglo of (at least) three rows, i.e. the F# from the G row of a D (C/G) Anglo and the notes from (at least; I'm not sure where he drew the line) the third row.

Hope that helps...

#15 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:02 PM

Just adding: Regarding the button layout his is included in the usual one. Apart from that, I can't judge on the use of wrist straps instead of thumb straps with the EC. Pinky rests I don't need anyway...

#16 ceemonster

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:33 PM

[...English Concertina players playing Irish Traditional music and found very few.]

 

i have a theory that that is going to change...



#17 ceemonster

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:36 PM

[Your reference to PA players is interesting.]

 

the ec will actually give you a hair more of the sound of "movement" than PA due to its small and compact size--it doesn't switch directions like a one-row melodeon, but it does switch directions with ease a bit more often than PA, and i think PA in the hands of an itm-adept player expresses the style very well...



#18 Alan Day

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 04:40 AM

It is difficult to see why the Anglo is a proffered concertina for ITM

When you hear Irish music played well on an English and as Ceemonster states ,on a piano accordion,it is a wonder why the English system is not used more often. It can only be the lack of attack on each note that loses the bounce of the music.It is so easy to slur notes even going across the rows on an Anglo and many fall into this trap of playing.The bellows movement on an anglo separates one note from the next,but separating each note on an English, or cross rowing on the Anglo needs practice.Henrik (right this time I hope)clearly demonstrates that it can be done.

These lovely instruments whatever the system are treasures.





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