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Concertinas In Scottish Music


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#1 raymy

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 06:33 AM

Scottish and Irish traditional music is recognisably similar, but can anyone explain why the concertina is so lacking in Scottish music, but prevalent in Irish.Did Scots at some point adopt the accordion en masse -maybe cos of stronger historical links to continental Europe - but the Irish stuck with the concertina? It seems odd, given the traffic between the 2 countries over the centuries, that the concertina is not more visible in Scottish music.(Thoumire excepted).I know this, cos i've only ever seen a handful of concertina players in Scotland in my lifetime.

#2 wes williams

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 08:28 AM

One player you don't seem to have come across is Stuart Eydmann, see here. You should find most of the answers to your questions if you manage to get a chat with him, or get hold of a copy of his thesis. And no, I don't have a copy yet!

Edited by wes williams, 21 January 2004 - 08:30 AM.


#3 JimLucas

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 09:43 AM

Scottish and Irish traditional music is recognisably similar,...

They are also recognizably different. And I don't know of any reason why one similarity should require another. Even the whistle is, in my experience, less prominent in Scottish music than in Irish, and their dance forms are quite different.

Besides, though the concertina (the English, in this case) was first heard in Ireland in 1834 (Regondi's performing tour), I don't believe it really played a significant role in Irish traditional music -- except maybe in West Clare -- until Noel Hill started actively promoting it. Its "prevalence", still far less than that of the fiddle or even accordion, is a very recent thing.

So maybe it just hasn't yet caught on in Scotland. Then again, maybe it never will. I won't venture to predict.

#4 duckln

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 11:58 AM

[quote name='raymy' date='Jan 21 2004, 06:33 AM']Scottish and Irish traditional music is recognisably similar, but can anyone explain why the concertina is so lacking in Scottish music, but prevalent in Irish


Early Scottish traditional music was based on the pentonic scale and the Anglo doesn't
fill the bill for that type of music.

Joe

#5 JimLucas

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 02:40 PM

Early Scottish traditional music was based on the pentonic scale and the Anglo doesn't fill the bill for that type of music.

Huh? Why not? All the notes necessary for pentatonic melody playing are within the diatonic scale, aren't they? And I'd be surprised if couldn't also get all of the appropriate harmonies on a 30-button, at least in some keys.

Besides, raymy didn't specify "early", and there have been loads of non-pentatonic tunes in Scottish music since at least 1800, or well before the concertina was even invented.

#6 Mark Davies

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 05:46 AM

I can confirm that Stuart Eydmann is the person to contact re concertinas and Scottish music.He gave a fascinating account of his research and played some vintage recordings of Scottish concertina players at the "Mouthies and Button Boxes"weekend held in Aberdeen in 2003.There clearly was a very strong tradition of concertina playing,particularly in Central Scotland with some very fine professional and semi professional musicians,some of whom were alive and playing up until recent times,although not in folk or traditional music circles.I am attaching a photograph I have of Jack Easy, originally from Scotland,who was a variety artist.I got to know him in the 1970's.

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#7 wes williams

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 08:11 AM

If we are including non-traditional music, Alexander Prince, real name Sutherland, probably the most well known Duet player who recorded numerous cylinders and 78rpm records from 1900 onwards, came from Aberdeen. In more recent times, Alf Edwards, perhaps the best known player in the 1940s/50s/60s, was also a Scot.

#8 raymy

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 10:29 AM

thanks for your wisdom, folks. I've e-mailed Stuart to ask if his thesis is available anywhere.

#9 bellowbelle

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 10:38 AM

http://www.almanac.c...r.0104/rl25.php

Maybe...if Robert Burns had been a concertina player, it would be Scotland that had the stronger association with the concertina? Just wondering....

(I just happened to discover that 'Burns Day' is coming up soon, while reading my e-mail from the Old Farmer's Almanac.)

If the link won't work.....go to http://almanac.com
and click on January 25th in the 'Red Letter Days' section!

Edited by bellowbelle, 22 January 2004 - 10:40 AM.


#10 raymy

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 06:05 AM

Bellowbelle: yes it's Burns night tonight...hope you'll be wiring into the haggis neeps & tatties washed down with copious amounts of Scottish "wine"(malt whisky that is)

#11 Samantha

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 04:07 PM

Haggis neeps and tatties were on my menu tonight, unfortunately there was no whisky in the house so I've had to make do with appalling :blink: Co-op Buck's Fizz!
Samantha

#12 bellowbelle

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 11:02 AM

:huh: Um...well, I'm really just all talk...about the closest I can come to anything that sounds like haggis, neeps and tatties would be...maybe a needlework group of old hags doing some tatting? (I'm even part Scottish, but...totally Americanized, I fear).

I did think of Robert Burns on his birthday, and read up a little about him. However, I ate at Subway and Dunkin Donuts. (Fattening, yes, I know...)

I had an Italian BMT and a Boston Cream Donut. Other stuff, too. A very fattening day.

But, I no longer consume any alcohol or stuff that makes me silly, so...it's good coffee for me. I do drink the world's greatest coffee, though! Organic and all that, and very yummy! :)

#13 Eric Root

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 09:36 AM

Hamish Bayne plays and builds English concertinas and doesn't the band Jock Tamson's Bairns have a concertina player?

#14 allan atlas

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 02:03 PM

FOLKS: Stuary Eydmann also has a very nice article in a journal called BRITISH JOURNAL OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY. . . . .it think it's volume 4. . . . .somewhere around the year 2000 or so............Allan

#15 John Wild

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 01:28 PM

Hamish Bayne plays and builds English concertinas and doesn't the band Jock Tamson's Bairns have a concertina player?

That is Norman Chalmers.

#16 Chris Timson

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 07:42 AM

And John Wild himself is, of course, a Scot.

Chris

#17 John Wild

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 02:19 PM

And John Wild himself is, of course, a Scot.

Chris

Well part of me is. Other parts of me are English and Welsh. That is a long story - I assume you don't have the time

- John

#18 JimLucas

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 02:52 PM

John Wild himself is, of course, a Scot.

Well part of me is. Other parts of me are English and Welsh. That is a long story....

I'm just curious... who did the surgery? ;)




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