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#19 Mark Evans

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 08:49 AM

Surely, unless competition rules specify otherwise, we are talking about the ability to play music, and it should be irrespective of the concertina system used. All agreed? :unsure:

Regards,
Peter.



One would think so Peter. I recall a member here stating that they were not allowed to compete in one such event because EC's were not allowed. Since I hate competitons coming from my former life as a classical singer, it has no validity one way or the other for me personally when it comes to concertinas in TIM. But many people put great stock in such tataouinage and use these results in my opinion to limit creativity.

I was lured into being a judge at a NATS singing competiton at Boston University a few years back and found my self wanting to take a swing at the other judges with the nearest folding chair before things were over. Not good, for in the end the people offering their talent and souls were left on the cutting room floor. :angry:

I was truely ashamed to stand with the other judges while the results were announced.

Edited by Mark Evans, 13 September 2006 - 08:50 AM.


#20 Michael Reid

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:58 AM

A champion in a contest? Well, if one is into that as validation...okay.

I don't need no stinkin' validation from a contest. :D Anyway, since I play both English and Anglo, I've hedged my bets. :lol:

I'm interested in this issue only because I'm intrigued by the role of the EC in Irish music culture.

I've heard Jackie Daly, the great C#/D accordion player, describe how he took up the B/C box solely to improve his chances in the All-Ireland competition (which he won). That's a fascinating bit of modern music history.

The story of Ms. O Dowd would present a more nuanced picture of the All-Ireland (and the EC in Ireland) than has been presented up to now on concertina.net or elsewhere on the Internet, I believe.

Stephen Chambers wrote

You might have seen her on RTE, performing with her sisters on fiddle and harp?

and Dick Miles wrote

I will continue to listen to Madeline ...

suggesting that there might be video or audio records of Ms. O Dowd. I'd enjoy the opportunity to see/hear her, should it be possible to make these publicly available.

#21 Trilby

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:08 AM

I have to say I'm a little disheartened by all this. I am a few months into playing the EC and having a fantastic time particularly with a few jigs and reels which are ( slowly !) getting up to speed. Is the instument really that unsuited? I'm not sure I could cope as well with anglo as I never did well on the harmonica. The EC system seems to suit my head. Am I on a hiding to nothing ?
Is this why Anglo seems so much more popular? Am I right thinking it is more widespread and is there there a reason.
It won't change my instrument but I'd be interested in what people thought.

Trilby

#22 Mark Evans

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:27 AM

I have to say I'm a little disheartened by all this. I am a few months into playing the EC and having a fantastic time particularly with a few jigs and reels which are ( slowly !) getting up to speed. Is the instument really that unsuited?
Trilby


Please don't be diheartened. The EC is well suited to Irish music. The diatonic instruments showed up in Ireland first. That's it, book and verse. I don't want to go any further with this, for it's sure to start a dust-up.

Play your instrument and enjoy. I play at a session most weeks with some very fine musicians. No one feels the need to throw holy water on me or pray for my soul. In my experience, it seems concertinists are the ones all bothered about it. Most other musicians think we're mad as hatters for gettin' our knickers in a knot. Their solution for everything seems to be, 'nother pint if you've the time ;) .

Edited by Mark Evans, 13 September 2006 - 10:29 AM.


#23 Michael Reid

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:35 AM

Trilby,

Many, many people here will affirm that you should play what you like and what suits you.

As for why Anglo dominates in Ireland, it probably happened that way for economic reasons.

In researching the role of the EC in Ireland, I came across an entertaining and well-written post on Irtrad-L that was written by Joel Cowan, who at the time edited Concertina & Squeezebox Magazine. You can read it here.

#24 Alan Day

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:40 PM

Whilst trying to hunt down Tony Canniffe I came across his family
"The Canniffe Family" and see that they have recently released a CD it seems to be a mixture of Scottish and Irish music.I have not heard this CD but it looks interesting.
I will report back if I hear from Tony and Madeline ODowd
Al B)
PS Trilby I agree with Michael,after listening to most of the Worlds greatest ever English players there is not anything you cannot achieve on the English and I will do my best to prove it to you.

Edited by Alan Day, 13 September 2006 - 01:45 PM.


#25 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:27 PM

I've seen nothing to suggest one can't play "Irish" on an English, though I suspect many would argue that Trad is more at home on an Anglo in a historical sense. I suspect that many of the common sounds and ornaments of Trad on Anglo may not be as intuitive on an English, but I don't have the EC perspective to know - perhaps Michael would care to comment since he plays both?

While I don't play EC myself, I know a couple of English players that attend Irish sessions regularly and both do very well with the music. I also know a couple of English-only players that have attended multiple Noel Hill classes and both did very well there. Noel doesn't teach the basics of EC but he is very effective at coaching folks that can already play EC to achieve the same sort of sound and flavor of ornamentation that his Anglo students learn.

#26 Mark Evans

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:47 PM

I suspect that many of the common sounds and ornaments of Trad on Anglo may not be as intuitive on an English, but I don't have the EC perspective to know -


Henrik certainly has reproduced anglo-type ornaments on his little Stagi. I have chosen to be inspired by the variety in ornamentation of other instruments used in TIM. Although my instrument has reeds, there its similarity to the Anglo ends from my perspective.

My years of anglo playing are useless for comparison as I was unaware of Irish music. When encountered for the first time, it was a chap playing the beezeesus out of an English at a street fair in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and there lies my road to ruin.

#27 Michael Reid

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:28 PM

I suspect that many of the common sounds and ornaments of Trad on Anglo may not be as intuitive on an English, but I don't have the EC perspective to know - perhaps Michael would care to comment since he plays both?

The types of ornaments I use in playing Irish trad on Anglo are:
  • Cuts, mostly from the note in the scale immediately above
  • "Graces," at least that's what Noel Hill calls them, where you quickly play the main note followed by a note above, then the main note again -- the first two notes being very fast.
  • Rolls, similar to rolls on a flute or fiddle except omitting the note below the main note
  • Triplet runs up to or down to the main note
  • Crans
  • Octaves and other notes in harmony with, but lower in pitch than, the melody note
Cuts, graces, and rolls are all readily executed on EC. I find these to be easier on Anglo, however, because in most cases you're using adjacent fingers on the same hand, and because you're moving sideways along the rows (horizontally) rather than vertically. (I hope that last part makes sense. :))

On English, cuts, graces, and rolls nearly always require that you use fingers on two hands. I find it harder to make the ornament clean and crisp when it involves both hands.

Triplet runs are about equivalent in difficulty for me on AC and EC.

I love doing crans on Anglo but I haven't tried them on EC (no particular reason).

Octaves and other harmony notes are easy to do on EC as long as you're not trying to play several in succession, like Kitty Hayes often does.

Overall, I find ornaments somewhat more intuitive on Anglo, but not hugely so. It's hard to separate that opinion, though, from the fact that I've practiced Anglo ornaments intensively at NHICS and Irish Arts Week, and I've never had a comparable intensive practice period on English.

At NHICS I remember Noel telling the sole English student that, wherever possible, he should try to keep his ornaments on one side (hand) because they sounded better that way. I'm not sure if Noel said this because he disliked the sound flipping from one side to the other or because he thought it's easier to play them cleanly if you're only using one hand. In any case, I thought this a very tough goal to shoot for, unless you're willing to accept some fairly unconventional -- or at least un-Anglo -- notes in your graces, cuts, etc.

Henrik certainly has reproduced anglo-type ornaments on his little Stagi.

I've just listened again to all of Henrik's Irish tunes on the recorded links page. Henrik has a lot of lift in his playing, which is why it makes for such enjoyable listening. But his posted tunes are nearly devoid of the kind of ornaments I've listed above, with the exception of triplet runs and octaves on the last note of the tune. Therefore, and with no disrespect to Henrik, I don't think his posted tunes fully represent the potential for Anglo-style ornamentation on EC.

#28 Mark Evans

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 09:48 AM

I don't think his posted tunes fully represent the potential for Anglo-style ornamentation on EC.


Hmm, guess I didn't think that was the point, but I live and learn.

#29 Trilby

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 10:03 AM

There was some interesting stuff there, especially your list Michael.
I'm sure I will never scale the heights of abject mediocrity but I shall enjoy the trip. As Chairman Mao said "The Longest journey begins with the first step." The Cultural Revolution could have been much more pleasant and effective if he had been thinking of playing musical instruments!

Now here is a thought for a topic famous people who played the concertina!

#30 m3838

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:32 AM

I didn't understand why emulate Anglo with the English and vice versa.
English can do what Anglo can't, and EC player should fully exploit this aspect without worrying too much. Ornaments are not required, they are nice voluntary additions, and AC and EC both have their own sets of tricks.
Ofcourse an Anglo Concertina teacher in specifically Irish folk style, Noel Hill, will have difficulties teaching EC player. Same goes for EC teacher facing AC student. They both must have mutual will to cooperate. I once had correspondence lessons with Piano Accordion teacher, but I had Cromatic Button B system, a small one. He kept on asking me to switch to lower register and take the low bass notes off the bass. I kept telling him I have no switches whatsoever. I had to wrap the arpeggios on both ends, because of limited range. It worked somehow. All because his course was harmony application, not centered on particular instrument. But If I would teach Russian Folk - I would "require" a russian type instrument: no pianos, bazookas or harmonicas.

#31 m3838

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:46 AM

I'm sure I will never scale the heights of abject mediocrity but I shall enjoy the trip. As Chairman Mao said "The Longest journey begins with the first step." The Cultural Revolution could have been much more pleasant and effective if he had been thinking of playing musical instruments!


Hi.
I don't know, but it touched me. I'm sure you know yourself well enough, but there is something to say about setting the goal. If you set the goal of never scale the heights of mediocrity, you can bet, it will happen. May be instead to set your goal to finding a niche, where you can be One and Only, disregard of acheavements of others, or technique learned.
Then you have a chance. A slim one, perhabs, but a chance and a much better "trip", as you say. And a one tool to arrive there, is to use crosspolination: not worrying about becoming authentic in the eyes (or ears, rather) of others, try to apply your instrument to unusual musical fields: balalaika in Blues, concertina in jazz, accordion in Rock-n-Roll etc.
I'm eager to apply concertina to Russian folk and hope to enjoy a fruits of success without enduring years of study. :unsure:

Oh, yes. Comerade Mao didn't say it, it's an ancient Oriental proverb.
(Ah, I feel so much better now) :D

#32 Susi

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:55 PM

Isn't it time that we EC players start proving that you can play good Irish music on the EC?

Isn't that what Henrik and Jonathan Taylor (to name but two) have been doing for some time? Although I shouldn't have thought they are thinking in terms of proving anything, they are just playing the music they want to play to the best of their not inconsiderable abilities.

Chris



Obviously there are still people who think that the EC doesn't belong to ITM, according to some of the previous posts in this thread. That's why I'm talking about proving that it can be played well and that it shouldn't matter what concertina system you use. I know that many people play ITM on the EC but it doesn't seem to be officially "accepted". That's what I would like to see - that people stop bashing the playing of ITM on the English system.

#33 Alan Day

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:17 PM

Isn't it time that we EC players start proving that you can play good Irish music on the EC?

Isn't that what Henrik and Jonathan Taylor (to name but two) have been doing for some time? Although I shouldn't have thought they are thinking in terms of proving anything, they are just playing the music they want to play to the best of their not inconsiderable abilities.

Chris



Obviously there are still people who think that the EC doesn't belong to ITM, according to some of the previous posts in this thread. That's why I'm talking about proving that it can be played well and that it shouldn't matter what concertina system you use. I know that many people play ITM on the EC but it doesn't seem to be officially "accepted". That's what I would like to see - that people stop bashing the playing of ITM on the English system.


I do not think people are bashing the playing of Irish Traditional music on the English Concertina.
The major problem that I have found apart from the few names mentioned , is that very few players are
playing that music to any acceptable standard,so for that reason Ennistraveler ,I totaly agree with you.From the music I have heard played on the English there is no reason why this should be so,it is down to technique of playing that type of music on the English.
The real fact is that traditionally the Anglo has been the instrument to play Irish music on.Most who want to play Irish music buy an Anglo. 98% of all Irish Traditional music on record or CD is by Anglo players.One great English System player would change that.
The World is waiting for you Trilby,see what you can do about it.
Al

Edited by Alan Day, 14 September 2006 - 04:18 PM.


#34 JimLucas

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:41 PM

The types of ornaments I use in playing Irish trad on Anglo are:

  • Cuts, mostly from the note in the scale immediately above
Cuts, graces, and rolls are all readily executed on EC. I find these to be easier on Anglo, however, because in most cases you're using adjacent fingers on the same hand, and because you're moving sideways along the rows (horizontally) rather than vertically.

I think you're contradicting yourself, since on the anglo adjacent buttons in one hand are (almost) never adjacent notes of the scale. (The very few exceptions are in less common keys: A-G# or d#-c# in some layouts.) E.g., B cut on a G or d cut on a B are the buttons immediately above, but not the immediately above notes of the scale, which would be respectively A and c (or c#). It's fiddle and flute players who normally use the scale note above, rather than the second scale note above, which is what you usually get from the next button up on an anglo

On English, cuts, graces, and rolls nearly always require that you use fingers on two hands. I find it harder to make the ornament clean and crisp when it involves both hands.

And I find it easier, so that's what I most often do. I even do that frequently on the anglo where it's possible, e.g., pull A-B-A, and B-c-B or d-e-d in either direction.

But two-hand ornaments are not "required" on the English. In fact, doing an anglo-style cut on the English -- e.g., B-G or c-A -- uses (diagonally) adjacent buttons in the same hand. I suspect that is the reason why Noel advised -- as you report -- that an English player should keep his ornaments in one hand: because then they more often use the same notes that Noel himself plays.


Triplet runs are about equivalent in difficulty for me on AC and EC.

I find them difficult if they involve a bellows reversal, and much more difficult if they require two reversals. On the English I find them trivially easy, and nearly so on the anglo when they don't require any bellows reversals, but then they're also usually using both hands.

I love doing crans on Anglo but I haven't tried them on EC (no particular reason).

I've toyed with whistle-style crans on the English, but haven't really worked on them. I understand that what are called "crans" on the anglo are really a very different animal, but I've never tried them, so I have no basis for comment.

Octaves and other harmony notes are easy to do on EC as long as you're not trying to play several in succession, like Kitty Hayes often does.

They're not as intuitive on the English as on the anglo, but on some sequences, several in succession isn't difficult at all. In other cases they can be real finger-knotters. ;)

Overall, I find ornaments somewhat more intuitive on Anglo, but not hugely so. It's hard to separate that opinion, though, from the fact that I've practiced Anglo ornaments intensively at NHICS and Irish Arts Week, and I've never had a comparable intensive practice period on English.

And I have far more experience on the English than on the anglo.

In any case, I thought this a very tough goal to shoot for, unless you're willing to accept some fairly unconventional -- or at least un-Anglo -- notes in your graces, cuts, etc.

I think you're wrong there. While I personally find anglo-style ornaments on the English a bit awkward, it's clearly because I haven't practiced them, not something inherent. It's doing "English-style" -- really fiddle-style -- ornaments on the anglo that generally presents obstacles. As for equating "un-Anglo" with "unconventional", when compared to all the other common Irish instruments, it's the anglo (and button accordion) ornaments which are unusual. I'm not saying that's either good or bad, just a fact. :)

#35 Mark Evans

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 05:17 PM

One great English System player would change that.
Al


I wish I could agree with you on that Al. There are more than one of those bears in the woods at this moment. The war whoops from the AC only camp will continue to drown them out. In the end it is an interesting but non-productive topic. If the player does not attempt to attain an AC like "bounce" or "lift" with AC centered ornaments, it will not be accepted. If some poor bloak breaks his back playing an EC like an AC he is smacked or slighted as we have seen here.

I will tell you that Irish musicians have said to me that they often recoil at the arrival of an AC player with bounce, lift and volume to burn for it is feared that the possible onslaught of teeth cracking volume and bounce will overtake the session.

I will continue to play Irish music with musicians whose decernment I admire and require no offical recognition for my efforts.

Edited by Mark Evans, 14 September 2006 - 07:48 PM.


#36 Michael Reid

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 08:07 PM

The types of ornaments I use in playing Irish trad on Anglo are:

  • Cuts, mostly from the note in the scale immediately above
Cuts, graces, and rolls are all readily executed on EC. I find these to be easier on Anglo, however, because in most cases you're using adjacent fingers on the same hand, and because you're moving sideways along the rows (horizontally) rather than vertically.

I think you're contradicting yourself, since on the anglo adjacent buttons in one hand are (almost) never adjacent notes of the scale.

You're right, I should have written that on Anglo I do "Cuts, mostly from the button in the same row immediately above." Perhaps because I played English first and listened to a lot of fiddle players, on that instrument I mostly do them fiddle-style, from the scale note above.

For me, the horizontal aspect of Anglo ornaments (usually in the same row) makes them seem easier than diagonal or cross-side ornaments on English. Your mileage (your fingers) may vary.

The Anglo cuts and graces I play, by the way, aren't always from the adjacent button. A good example is a left-hand D-A-D grace sequence, which I like a lot and consider a characteristic Anglo ornament. For me, this fifth interval is slightly harder to play quickly on English, because the A is stacked above the D.

I've toyed with whistle-style crans on the English, but haven't really worked on them. I understand that what are called "crans" on the anglo are really a very different animal, but I've never tried them, so I have no basis for comment.

I think they're pretty similar, but I'm not much of a whistle player -- the main note followed by several descending notes from a higher pitch, back to the main note, which may be repeated. They're a lot of fun!

Let me try to summarize my own experience. I've played English a long time (>20 years) and Anglo a short time (<3 years). In playing EC I developed certain habits and favored certain ornaments when playing Irish tunes, but I never used a lot of ornaments. When I took up Anglo I took classes with people (Noel Hill, Micheal O Raghallaigh) who use and teach a lot of ornaments, and I've taken readily to them -- they seem "intuitive" to me, to tie back to Bruce's question.

To the limited extent I've tried to go back and use more ornamentation when playing English, I've found that some things work and some don't; some things are harder and some things aren't -- and some are probably easier. If I had had some quality intensive instruction on ornamenting on EC, I might have responded differently.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge there's little to no instruction on Irish-style playing on English. Over the years I've attended a few one-off, ad-hoc, 60 minute workshops on this topic given by Wendy Morrison and Ken Sweeney at the NE Squeeze-In, but that's it. I'd call that a market niche waiting to be filled.

Edited by Michael Reid, 14 September 2006 - 11:16 PM.





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