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#37 Alan Day

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:34 AM

I have had an Email this morning from Stephen Chambers who is not well and I am sure you will all join me in wishing him a full and quick recovery.
Madeline ODowd DOES EXIST she won the Irish concertina championships in the seventies hence the reason why nothing can be found about her.She has subsequently had two children and has not played her concertina for some time.Stephen recently repaired her concertina, hence how this subject arose.
If Stephen can find her phone number or address I will follow this up and see if any archive recordings of her exist and if suitable will be on English International.I understand that she formed part of possibly a trio, which included a harp and possibly fiddle.If I get any more information or speak to Madeline I will let you all know.
Two mysteries solved in a week,now where is Maurice Harvey I wonder?
Al

#38 Mark Evans

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 04:52 AM

Unfortunately, to my knowledge there's little to no instruction on Irish-style playing on English.



Need there be?


Al, my thoughts are with Stehpen. I trust he'll bounce back. Good luck on your search.

#39 Ken_Coles

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 05:57 AM

Unfortunately, to my knowledge there's little to no instruction on Irish-style playing on English.

I'd call that a market niche waiting to be filled.


Need there be?


As one of the most visible persons to newcomers on this site, I get _tons_ of questions about instruction of all sorts. I don't know about Irish on EC specifically, though I would say there would be plenty of customers. Twenty-five years ago one could have asked, Why is instruction for Irish music on anglo needed? But the students are there in the U.S., and more than a few members here are alumni of such classes. I have never done well teaching myself an instrument entirely alone. That small push from a teacher makes a huge difference for me, and I'm sure for others.

As for EC in general, it is still poorly covered in the U.S. For years I have editorialized in the Summer School list that the market would support more instruction. We're starting to see classes at Lark camp and sometimes at Pinewoods and Ashokan. But a teacher who would work at developing systematic instruction in some style on EC would have plenty to do here, IMO. Ditto for English "chordal+melody style" (I don't know what to call it) on anglo, also still scarce in the U.S.

So I look forward to recorded examplars on all styles that Alan turns up!

#40 Mark Evans

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 07:06 AM

Need there be?


Twenty-five years ago one could have asked, Why is instruction for Irish music on anglo needed? But the students are there in the U.S., and more than a few members here are alumni of such classes. I have never done well teaching myself an instrument entirely alone. That small push from a teacher makes a huge difference for me, and I'm sure for others.


Point well taken Ken.

#41 DavidFR

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:35 AM

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 ;) .

Having been a couple times to the aforementioned session (and yes Mark, I am planning to come again, I was just off for a bit on vacation and now dealing with my friend's wedding), I can vouch for Mark's skill and ability when it comes to playing Irish tunes. You should play whatever music you like best on whatever instrument suits you the best. I play Anglo because that's what makes sense to me; I find English system very confusing. There is a reason we have different concertina systems - play the one that works for you.

#42 DavidFR

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:52 AM

Ditto for English "chordal+melody style" (I don't know what to call it) on anglo, also still scarce in the U.S.

There aren't a whole ton of people these days playing in this style to my knowledge, at least compared to the number of Irish music players. John Roberts and Tom Kruskal are both terrific exponents of English chord + melody style and both occasionally teach, Tom less so now than I think he used to. Not sure if there are any others out there.

#43 bill_mchale

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:40 AM

I have had an Email this morning from Stephen Chambers who is not well and I am sure you will all join me in wishing him a full and quick recovery.
Madeline ODowd DOES EXIST she won the Irish concertina championships in the seventies hence the reason why nothing can be found about her.She has subsequently had two children and has not played her concertina for some time.Stephen recently repaired her concertina, hence how this subject arose.
If Stephen can find her phone number or address I will follow this up and see if any archive recordings of her exist and if suitable will be on English International.I understand that she formed part of possibly a trio, which included a harp and possibly fiddle.If I get any more information or speak to Madeline I will let you all know.
Two mysteries solved in a week,now where is Maurice Harvey I wonder?
Al



Alan, Just curious, did she win it in the general concertina competition or in the miscellaneous instrument side (i.e., I know that the All Ireland sometimes groups instruments that are not common into a group, like when John Nolan won on the b/c/c# button accordion)?

BTW, I hope Stephen recovers quickly; whatever he has, I hope it is not too serious.

--
Bill

#44 bill_mchale

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:44 AM

Unfortunately, to my knowledge there's little to no instruction on Irish-style playing on English.



Need there be?


Al, my thoughts are with Stehpen. I trust he'll bounce back. Good luck on your search.



Yes, I think there does. I have talked to more than a few noted Trad Musicians, and most have them have talked about the person they took lessons from at one point or another. Yes maybe, some great players will emerge without instruction, but many more could never realize their potential without it.

--
Bill

#45 Michael Reid

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:04 AM

In my previous post I mentioned the lack of EC teachers. I thought I would reiterate, as Alan and others have mentioned in this thread and elsewhere, the relative scarcity of good recorded models for playing Irish music on EC.

If a few years ago I had had a recording of an EC player whose playing of Irish tunes really excited me, I might never have taken up Anglo. (Of course, in-person would be infinitely better.) As it happenened, when I heard Micheal O Raghallaigh, I said to myself, "I've got to try that!"

I'm not regretful about the way things developed -- these days, I often take both instruments to sessions and swap out when the mood or tune strikes me. So I feel I've got the best of both worlds. Not the solution for everyone, but it works for me.

On the CD of our local session, linked below, I think I played English on two tracks and Anglo on the rest. There was another concertinist, playing English, on many tracks. Our session welcomes both. Most people -- other musicians as well as listeners -- don't know or care about the difference.

#46 bill_mchale

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:18 AM

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.


Well there are alot of players of almost any instrument that an Irish Musician will recoil when they arrive. It doesn't really matter whether they are playing the accordion, concertina, whistle, pipes, fiddle etc. That being said, often times loud players don't realize how loud they are playing, so sometimes a friendly word is all it takes to reduce their volume (This was true of an Anglo player who was a regular at a Thursday Night Session.. as soon as he was told he made a serious effort to lower his volume and has fit in much better since then).

Now regarding, the one great musician for the English... I don't think that person has arrived on the scene yet. Yes there are some very talented musicians who play Irish on the English. But as thread has shown, none of them have recorded a CD. Let be honest, recording music is how a musician becomes known. There are 70 or 80 years worth of recordings of Irish Music on the Anglo from William Mullaly (sp?) up through the current crop of players. Nothing comperable yet exists for the English.

Now, regarding the English players, I am sorry that the English players feel slighted by what they perceive as a bias against them by Anglo Players or even other Trad Musicians, but that is because Traditional Music is justly suspicious of innovation. Those who want to bring in innovation have to prove themselves in the music. Ultimately, I don't think that is accomplished by trying sound exactly like another instrument in the tradition, its rather from finding a new unique niche in the music. There is no point in making the English sound like an Anglo... we already have the Anglo. Players of B/C accordions and C#/D accordions don't try to sound like each other.. and neither tried to sound like the G/Ds that preceded them in the Music. When the B/C emerged in the 1950s, guys like Sonny Brogan and the original Paddy O'Brien encountered every bit as much prejudice (actually probably quite a bit more) as the English does now... but you know what, with their development of their own style of playing and more importantly their recording of the music they ultimately won over the doubters. At the moment really, no one has emerged among English Players of ITM who really come close to fulfilling that role.

I know I am going to get accused of bashing the English again for this post, I am sorry, but that is just they way I feel.
I don't hate the English, I just haven't heard anything done on the instrument that to mind really attempts to carve a niche for itself. Playing like an Anglo really doesn't count... as I said, we have Anglos already, why try to make another instrument sound like it? Want the English to Break out, get a really talented English Player to release a CD of ITM that is authentic to the Music but played in a way that simply couldn't be done on the Anglo (My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go).

--
Bill

#47 Mark Evans

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:45 AM

(My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go).

--
Bill


On this I can argee. I listen to fiddlers and borrow from their work (Irish, Acadian, old time and bluegrass), but as of late it is the Irish style tenor banjo that has been of interest. Particularly the repeated notes. An English can really pull that off.

There will be no hits from me on your point of view. It has been reasoned, without any hint of incendiary intent or musical bigotry. Thank you.

#48 bill_mchale

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:51 AM

(My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go).

--
Bill


On this I can argee. I listen to fiddlers and borrow from their work (Irish, Acadian, old time and bluegrass), but as of late it is the Irish style tenor banjo that has been of interest. Particularly the repeated notes. An English can really pull that off.

There will be no hits from me on your point of view. It has been reasoned, without any hint of incendiary intent or musical bigotry. Thank you.



Thanks Mark, and I think if you can combine elements of both Banjo and Fiddle, then you really will start carving a niche for the instrument... Now get out there and start recording.

--
Bill

#49 Alan Day

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:53 AM

(My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go).

--
Bill


On this I can argee. I listen to fiddlers and borrow from their work (Irish, Acadian, old time and bluegrass), but as of late it is the Irish style tenor banjo that has been of interest. Particularly the repeated notes. An English can really pull that off.

There will be no hits from me on your point of view. It has been reasoned, without any hint of incendiary intent or musical bigotry. Thank you.



Thanks Mark, and I think if you can combine elements of both Banjo and Fiddle, then you really will start carving a niche for the instrument... Now get out there and start recording.

--
Bill


I have some nice recordings from Mark already playing Bluegrass with Obi's Boys.
Well worth stamping yer feet to.
AL

Edited by Alan Day, 15 September 2006 - 11:54 AM.


#50 JimLucas

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:50 PM

My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go.

Sigh! I know it's picking a nit, but I do get tired of seeing that misconception repeated, especially by folks here who should be aware of the evidence to the contrary.

The English concertina was not originally designed "to take violin parts in classical music". It's quite possible that the extension to 48 buttons was a deliberate attempt to expand the concertina's potential repertoire to include existing violin music, but the first concertinas had a range that matched a flute, not a violin, and even they were just a variation on the earlier symphonium, a mouth-blown instrument that bore no resemblance to a violin beyond the fact that both can be used to play musical notes.

I do agree that attempting to "emulate" various aspects of fiddle playing can be productive on the English concertina. But so can emulating flute, mandolin, banjo (both tenor and 5-string), and various other instruments... even the anglo. :)

Back to history, while I do suspect that the eventual extension of the standard keyboard to 48 buttons was so that it could play "violin" parts, I doubt that it was done specifically for "classical" music. My impression is that the majority of sales were to persons intending to play "parlor" music, only a fraction of which might be considered "classical", but most of which might be considered the "pop" music of the day.

In fact, I doubt that Sir Charles had any particular kind of music in mind when he extended the keyboard range. I suspect a scenario more like the following (admittedly speculative):

"Hey Charlie, I really like your 'concertina', but I'm frustrated that I can't go lower than middle C. I already play the violin, and I'd really like to play those parts on my concertina, too. Couldn't you make me one that goes down to the fiddle's low G... and maybe a little higher on the upper end, too?"

"Well. George, I might need to make it a little bigger than normal to fit the extra reeds in, but sure, I could do that. Let me work up the design, and then I'll quote you a price."

(Note that in this speculative scene, neither "George" nor "Charlie" seems concerned about whether the violin parts are in the style of Bach or Bacchus.)

Of course, when "George's" musical friends saw his new acquisition, some of them wanted the same, and demand snowballed. Then eventually the models with fewer than 48 buttons were discontinued as standard, not because everyone wanted to play only fiddle parts, but because the now-standard "48" didn't exclude them from playing parts written for flute, etc., and yet they could go beyond that range on occasion if they felt like it.

To repeat, playing of violin parts -- "classical" or otherwise -- came later; it is not what "the concertina" was "designed" for.

#51 BruceB

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:09 PM

Bill writes.....
>>Now regarding, the one great musician for the English... I don't think that person has arrived on the scene yet. Yes there are some very talented musicians who play Irish on the English. But as thread has shown, none of them have recorded a CD. Let be honest, recording music is how a musician becomes known. There are 70 or 80 years worth of recordings of Irish Music on the Anglo from William Mullaly (sp?) up through the current crop of players. Nothing comperable yet exists for the English.
.....snip.....
I know I am going to get accused of bashing the English again for this post, I am sorry, but that is just they way I feel.
I don't hate the English, I just haven't heard anything done on the instrument that to mind really attempts to carve a niche for itself. Playing like an Anglo really doesn't count... as I said, we have Anglos already, why try to make another instrument sound like it? Want the English to Break out, get a really talented English Player to release a CD of ITM that is authentic to the Music but played in a way that simply couldn't be done on the Anglo (My guess is that since the English was designed to take violin parts in classical music, that emulating the Fiddle might be a way to go). <<

Bill,
I don't think what you wrote sounds like bashing. I agree with it. There are great players of the EC that have recorded, but not any I know of that I'd call ITM players. I think Simon Thoumire could make the recording, but he's just so unique, Scottish, and while he has roots in traditional music his playing has branches in jazz and elsewhere. Again, it's not ITM, but if you listen to his recording, The Big Day In, a lot of it isn't that far removed from ITM to my ear. He clearly isn't trying to sound like an Anglo. It would be interesting to hear what Scottish trad players have to say about Simon. He's a huge talent with world class concertina chops with a totally unique style. The Big Day In has more of a trad approach than his other recordings.

Why is it that many EC players are all over the place in terms of the music they play? Some EC recordings as examples of this.

Simon Thoumire obviously is a perfect example. He goes from pretty traditional Scottish to full on jazz to???? His first recording is pretty wild stuff. I recall Joel Cowan reviewing it and wanting to have Simon turn it down a little. It apparently made Joel feel like he was slipping into "old fogeydom", or something like that. Heh, heh. This is who I want to be when I grow up.

Dave Townsend, "Portrait on an English Concertina". This is an amazing, exceptional recording. Totally different than Simon, and an example of what can be done on the EC if you have about 15 fingers. I need to dig this one out as it's been a while since I've played it. Straight classical, music hall and english folk music and maybe something else too.

Rachel Hall and Simple gifts. The CD I have is excellent. It's more a sampling of different traditions. Another perfect example of never staying within one tradition. I love hearing Rachel play when sitting ten feet away at NESI. She's another talent who can play excellent trad, lots of em.

I could keep going......

I'm not saying this is good or bad, more an observation and perhaps an explanation why there isn't more good EC ITM recordings. I know many anglo players probably play lots of styles too, but in general it seems like the Anglo players I know tend to stick much more within one tradition than EC players do.

I do the same thing. I play some ITM, music hall (Dancing With Ma Baby!), and other stuff too. I think I'd be a lot better if I'd just pick one thing and stick with it, but it ain't gonna happen. Even worse, now I have to choose between picking up my EC or Butterworth Duet (Crane).

As to Noel Hill telling EC players to play ornaments all in one hand......wow. I'm stunned. This seems so wrong to me, and it's not going to result in crisper ornaments, if anything the opposite. I'd have to start over to do this. I do cuts both ways depending on the note before the cut, but all my rolls are done with the cut and tap on the opposite hand. I love doing them this way and I can finally get them to sound how I wish. I can even do scales of rolls this way up and down the keyboard, great fun, but not something to put in a tune.....though it might be funny to do it once.

bruce boysen

#52 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:26 PM

All this cross-talk between English and Anglo is stimulating my interest to explore the unknown (in my case thatíd be an English).

I got started with concertinas on a whim; I was in a shop that had some Stagiís on a shelf and I gave one a try, found it novel and so purchased on the spot. I didnít know until several months later that they were made in different systems and Iíd purchased an Anglo.

Nor did I know what type of music was favored on either system, either by historical association or by functional practicality. I spent my first several months picking out old TV show theme songs and old American folk songs (Red River Valley, etc.) and had elected to upgrade to a new Tedrow before I ever had a notion to attend a class. I couldnít find local instruction, but stumbled onto c.net and found Noel Hill classes as a result. That started me on the road to Irish on the Anglo, and Iíve been there for three years now.

As I commented at the start, Iím finding myself more curious about English models now. I happen to know of a shop thatís (as of my last visit) had a Wheatstone English languishing for at least three years. Itís so out of character with their other (non-concertina) inventory that it seems to have little hope of finding a new home for want of an encounter with a suitably minded owner entering the premises. I tried it once after Iíd been with the Stagi a few months but found its layout confusing for the few minutes it was in my hands and so didnít consider purchasing it.

Iím reconsidering now though, and so I think Iíll plan a trip in the next day or two to see if itís still there and will examine it closer with an eye towards possible purchase.

#53 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:55 PM

As part of my efforts to get a little more familiar with the English, I ran across this Roger Digby article elsewhere on concertina.net titled "Time for an English?" It seems related to the theme of this thread and in a cursory review I didn't see that anyone else had flagged it. I'm not endorsing an opinion, but rather just trying to promote a fresh airing of one previously documented that seems directly related to this thread.

#54 Mark Evans

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 03:01 PM

I'm not saying this is good or bad, more an observation and perhaps an explanation why there isn't more good EC ITM recordings. I know many anglo players probably play lots of styles too, but in general it seems like the Anglo players I know tend to stick much more within one tradition than EC players do.

bruce boysen


This does seem to be the case with EC. I play a lot of different genre on the instrument, but Irish figures right at the center of my squeezing activities.

I'm going to suggest an artist I find excellent on EC/Irish (I mentioned him last year after fiddler Skip Gorman gave me his CD which I think is out of print) David Paton and his CD "Music from the Mountain". Well worth a listen. Excellent playing on ITM with some Breton and Scottish material as well. He doesn't try to sound like an AC but does his own thing. He happens to be quite the hammered dulcimer player as well.

Folks tend to forget that before Grey Larson switched to AC he recorded two albums with Malcom Daglish (sp?) on which he played the Aeola I later bought from him. Very smoothe and tasteful as is his work on that A/D Wheatsone he plays today. EC and dulcimer...now that's a nice combination.




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