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About MJGray

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    Advanced Member

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  • Interests
    Anglo concertina, clawhammer banjo, baritone ukulele, guitar and (occasionally) tenor banjo.
  • Location
    Homewood, AL

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  1. If you look at the music in very early 19th C. Anglo tutors, they're about evenly split between dance tunes, music hall songs, and hymns. I think it was always meant to be able to play a wide range of "genres".
  2. In my experience, that happens on a regular 6-month cycle with no extra effort needed, but YMMV. ?
  3. To be honest, I've had something like this problem, and it was a big turnoff from getting into playing Irish music. Now, I'm not very technically accomplished, but I've definitely encountered folks with the attitude that if you don't know the locally "right" version of all the tunes and can't get it all by ear immediately, you're not welcome to play. That kind of gatekeeping just makes it less fun if you're not already at a very high technical level. Presumably there are Irish music scenes that are friendlier to new folks and have the kind of healthier attitude Gary describes above. (My personal solution was to stop going to Irish sessions and play other kinds of music, but I also mostly play solo for my own amusement. I don't have any particular emotional attachment to Irish music, and there's plenty of other things I can spend my time on. Depends on what you're trying to accomplish, I guess.)
  4. I have not played a Minstrel, but you can mark down another satisfied customer for the Clover!
  5. I started on a cheap (~$100) 20-button Anglo, and had a glorious time honking away at it for a year or so before I shelled out for a fancier instrument. It was a great way to figure out if I thought it was fun to play without a serious investment up front.
  6. Most of the 19th century instructionals have regular sheet music, although often also with tablature (of one sort or another). Most of them don't include accompaniment, though. And, of course, that does nothing for "showing" rather than "reading", but it may be useful regardless. A few examples: https://archive.org/details/merrillsharmonic00merr/page/18/mode/2up https://archive.org/details/imslp-for-the-german-concertina-sedgwick-alfred-blair/page/n27/mode/2up https://archive.org/details/winnerseasysyste00winn/page/12/mode/2up Mike
  7. Interesting. I'm no expert (quite the opposite!), but I definitely use both pinkies when I play anglo. I play mostly in a harmonic / octave style and am very very bad at Irish style, for what it's worth.
  8. Not sure what you mean by "Jones 26", exactly, unless it's an antique Jones 26-button. That being said, of the choices you've listed, the Swan looks like by far the most reliable choice. The others could be OK, but without playing them in person, I'd be skeptical.
  9. Another consideration is that there is much more instructional material available for the Anglo than for the other systems. (Personally, I typically play by myself, so I also really like the Anglo's capacity to play both melody and accompaniment at the same time. A single melody line always sounds kind of sparse in my hands, but then again, I'm no good at Irish music on any instrument.)
  10. Jim, You might be interested to read Dan Worrall's two-volume "The Anglo-German Concertina", available on archive.org at this link: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A"Worrall%2C+Dan+Michael" That would answer all your questions about the history of the Anglo, and has fascinating chapters on the use of the instrument throughout the world, including African Zulu and Boer musical traditions. Here's some great concertina music that certainly falls outside the traditions you list, anyway:
  11. William Kimber (foundational figure in modern Morris dancing) played a 20-button concertina, and there are plenty of old 78s and such that people have uploaded to YouTube. Here's a good one:
  12. Something to consider is that Gary Coover's "Pirate Songs for Concertina" exists, and is written for the 30-button Anglo. It's a very nice collection of sea shanties and related tunes.
  13. Anglo 1-2-3 is excellent, so here's another vote for that. I also got a lot out of the Australian Bush Music site. A lot of the historical concertina instructionals available are for 20 (or sometimes 10) button instruments, if you can manage the slog through the 19th-century style pedagogy. Here are a couple examples I found useful in one way or another: https://archive.org/details/merrillsharmonic00merr/page/18/mode/2up https://archive.org/details/imslp-book-for-the-use-of-learners-of-the-german-concertina-minasi-carlo/page/n1/mode/2up Finally, I found the last chapter of Dan Worrall's The Anglo-German Concertina immensely helpful for understanding how "cross-row" playing actually works and the value of playing in octaves: https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_JKZO1aevsiIC/page/n237/mode/2up Have fun! Mike
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