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Paul Groff

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  1. Another way to go is to take regular lessons with the right teacher. Especially if you can find one who has a few other students with whom you might play the same beginner's tunes at a suitable tempo, and who may lead a session or two. A lot of adults overestimate the success rate of DIY music learning. The right teacher can guide students to solve problems such as you are having, and can help students integrate into group playing, by noticing and assigning a practice routine to correct all the issues you have mentioned (and maybe others of which you are unaware). This kind of help -- sort of like teaching someone a language -- is a lot of work and takes a lot of experience on the part of the teacher. Similarly, integrating newcomers (although very rewarding) can demand a lot of patience on the part of more experienced players in a session, which can be one reason that pro musicians and teachers and session anchors earn their modest pay. There's nothing wrong with a bunch of friends having fun together, but when it isn't working for the group, or for a newcomer, or for the audience or the proprietor of the place where the session happens, then sometimes professional help may be needed. PG
  2. Hi Dan, Well it figures that a historian would have the documentary evidence. Great to see Tommy senior looking so young (even if possibly feeling the effects of a night's rambling, may he rest in peace), yourself, Jim, Sandra, and Amanda Lacy who first loaned me a concertina to play. I remember the first day of the class was taken by Tony Crehan (R.I.P.) because Tommy had not yet arrived. I had been playing concertina just since January that year (1985), which is now more than half my life ago. I was a Fulbright fellow in North Wales that year so Ireland was close; unfortunately I was never able to make it back to Ireland for Willie Clancy week but that one was memorable. I did meet Tommy often in Boston in later years, and Tony too on his one trip to the US. As I alluded in the post above, I remember both Tony and Tommy teaching mostly tunes in lovely old style that sit comfortably on only 2 rows of the anglo. Of course, both did also use the C# in other tunes. Thanks again Dan and keep up the good work. PG
  3. Dan, Thanks. I really admire this project. I love what you wrote here. I'm not Irish myself and even if I were, I wouldn't want to pass judgment on where the living tradition of Irish concertina music is going. But as someone drawn into the music for decades now and sometimes asked by members of that community to teach beginners on the concertina, I have loved the older tradition of the german concertina music (and of the early players of the anglo-german instruments who only used 2 rows). It's brilliant music in its own right, it forms a core that informs the more modern 3-row anglo styles, and IMO success in that older style may be more accessible to many beginners, especially adult beginners -- in part because a much less expensive instrument can be used (with proper guidance in choosing it and in learning the style). Taking further your point about different styles of music for home dancing versus a session of fast reels, I often compare the german-concertina music, and the basically "2-row concertina styles" (though often played on 3-row anglos) of musicians like Mrs. Crotty and John Kelly, to the 1-row melodeon styles that have made such a resurgence in recent years (2 row concertinas and 1-row melodeons are alike in having their own Irish repertoire that accommodates their "missing notes"- compared to more "complete" 3 row concertinas and 2-row button accordions ). Sure the modern styles of anglo playing are wonderful and they inspire and challenge me, too. But the 2-row concertina styles deserve great respect -- and with a little accommodation from other players (and a relaxing of the compulsion some players feel to play every tune), a 20 key concertina of good quality can work great even in a session, just as we see with 1-row melodeons. Of course Dan, our teachers Tony Crehan and Tommy McCarthy senior (may they rest in peace), and our classmate Jim McArdle from the long-ago year that I met you knew all this very well. :-) PG
  4. Hi Mike, Congratulations! Most here would hope this beautiful concertina can be kept in your family and that one of you will learn to play it. However, many here might also like to own it themselves if it does come up for sale. This is potentially a very valuable instrument, although I think the market has been down from its peak in the past couple years. A proper restoration may not be cheap, depending on the condition of hundreds of internal parts. Interesting that I don't see a lever for the right-hand air button, looking through the hole for it -- that may just be the angle or lighting, but could indicate that the button is not merely missing or dislodged. Also, some small screws for the button-bushing-board are gone so someone has been inside this. If each button gives (more or less) the same note whether expanding or compressing the bellows, this is a "duet" concertina. If the pitch of the notes changes when changing bellows direction, it is an "anglo chromatic" or "anglo" concertina and maybe more valuable in that case. Greg Jowaisas, the Button Box, or (ahem) I would be able to give this instrument a full appraisal and restoration estimate here in the US. You can see a couple of Jeffries listed for sale on the Button Box website, but bear in mind 1) those are retail "asking" prices; those instruments have not found buyers at those prices, so far, after being offered for some time; 2) instruments sold by private parties usually command lower prices; 3) instruments sold before restoration often sell at a very great discount, reflecting the large cost, uncertainty, hassle, and substantial waiting time to restore them. However, that doesn't mean you necessarily want to get this restored yourself before offering it for sale, because different buyers can have different preferences about who restores a concertina, and how. In fact, some potential buyers have a special interest in seeing and studying these instruments before they are restored. Some details of their original construction and subsequent history can only be learned by seeing them before a typical restoration. Good luck with this adventure! I have a feeling you are about to learn a lot about concertinas, whether or not you plan to play yourself. Paul Groff
  5. Hi John and all, I remember seeing this episode years ago, and I think that's the meaning of the two values given at the end -- one for 1998 and one for 2013. PG
  6. In his own right, from 1860 to his death in December 1903. Previously he undertook work for Lachenal then joined Nickolds (Nickolds,Crabb & Co.) He was joined by his son, Henry Thomas Crabb, in 1870. The stamp, 'J Crabb, Maker' was still used on some concertinas upto 1908 (circa Instrument No. 8750) when the business name changed to 'H Crabb, Concertina Maker' and new stamps made.' (H Crabb, may appear in hand engraved form on some instruments during the period 1903-1908). Geoffrey Thanks Geoffrey, It's always very interesting to hear your most current understanding of concertina history! I appreciate it. When attributing a concertina to "John Crabb," to me that means it has his maker's stamp and that tends to correlate with the other characteristics I mentioned (at least for the metal-ended anglos). . . unfortunately, not always with a serial number. But it's good to keep in mind that we might best be agnostic about the actual person or people who crafted the instrument, since Henry Thomas and others seem to have been involved from the second decade of John's independent workshop. PG
  7. Hi Ross, The Rushworth & Dreaper Crabb that I used for a number of years, and that was owned at various times by a few of my students and customers, was a very comfortable and great-sounding instrument (at least, when last I saw it). I don't have concertina records on my computer, or handy here, but if memory serves it was not labeled John Crabb Maker, but had a Crabb serial number suggesting it was made by a later generation of the family. I did own and pass along a few John Crabb anglos over the years, recognizable by some details in the fretwork, reeds, woodwork, and action, and a somewhat concealed maker's stamp on the *underside* (action side) of the right-hand fretwork. All of them sounded exceptionally rich, warm, and full. Some of these were stamped "Ball Beavon & Co. London" on the outside woodwork. The one I still own, still on what I believe are the original thick-fold bellows, still in original pitch, and in my restored-estimate of its original temperament, is # 8075. PG
  8. Hi Geoff, Don, and all, Sorry if this is too technical, but as a biologist I can contribute some clarification here. Don himself is "on the right track but incorrect on the material" re: horns and related structures made of protein, vs. bone. The protein in horn is one of the keratins. Chitin is not a protein, although it is also a very tough structural / protective polymer that is made by certain living things. See for example these general explanations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitin PG
  9. Happy New Year, Geoff, Roger, and all. John Crabb anglos are treasures, especially when they retain as much as possible of their original character after over a century of use, storage, and repairs. Such a warm and musical tone quality and so natural under the fingers. PG
  10. Hi Des, Thanks for such kind words. The truth is I don't play much concertina these days, and since I was asked to participate in this festival on fairly short notice I figured there would be more local interest in guitar and/or piano workshops. Jim Higgins will maybe work with the piano backers though, since he plays piano as well as being a brilliant bodhran player. But just in case there are any Tennesseans with an interest in working on the concertina, I thought I would put out the offer here on c.net that we can offer a concertina class at the festival. Eilis asked me to bring up the concertina and as I mentioned, the East Galway style and tunes really suit that instrument. PG
  11. Hi all, I haven't played much concertina in recent years but I was asked to come up to the Nashville TN area this month to join a small festival that celebrates the East Galway musical tradition. I believe this festival was largely organized by Éilís Crean, a very nice fiddler who I knew in Boston and who learned her lovely music from the fiddler and composer Eddie Kelly. I expect to be playing some guitar and piano, but will have a concertina along and if any of the attendees would like a concertina workshop I'm available to teach. I'm not Irish myself but have spent some time listening and playing traditional music, and as Éilís knows I especially love the beautiful tradition associated with East Galway. . . the early 78s of the Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players, the wonderful flute music that came out of that band and their heirs, other fluters such as Jack Coughlin, Gabe O'Sullivan, Jack Coen, Mike Rafferty . . . the soulfull fiddling tradition of Paddy Kelly, Paddy Fahey, Eddie Kelly and more who composed their own beautiful tunes and reworked traditional tunes to suit their ear . . . the genius of Paddy Carty on his fully-keyed Radcliff flute . . . the tunes brought into that tradition from among the compositions of Ed Reavy, Sean Ryan, and others . . . This should be a wonderful weekend for listening and soaking up a great tradition within Irish music. Many of these tunes are beautifully suited to the anglo concertina; I know a few myself and will be hoping to learn a few more over the weekend. Here's the festival website: http://www.aicegaelic.com/tcaif.html Here's a little more on Eddie Kelly: http://irishtunecomposers.weebly.com/eddie-kelly.html I can be contacted here if you have any questions. Please be patient as I work fulltime outside of music these days: groffco@gmail.com PG
  12. Hi Frank, Another musician using a D/A for Irish traditional music is Ted McGraw (well known Comhaltas archivist, DJ, and researcher on the Irish-American accordions), who I believe has another one of the deluxe pre-war Wheatstone treble D/As. Have you run across the 1950s Wheatstone baritone D/A I mentioned earlier? It was also in Canada, last I heard. Very nice instrument although with laminated soundboards, late action, and aluminum-framed reeds. PG
  13. Well Mike, I guess not too many players before WW2, or since, had D/A concertinas. But many were playing *some* of their tunes in "D/A fingering style" as I defined it -- however their "pitch" (that is, the pitch of a whistle that would be in tune with them) was all over the map depending on whether they were playing a C/G, G/D, B/F#, Bb/F, Eb/Bb, or D/A concertina. I'll go get some work done now, email me if you have more questions, PG
  14. Is that D/A with the A row a fifth higher in pitch ( a converted C/G) or like Ken mentions in his compendium with the A a fourth lower? I'm considering what Alex has I think and Paul seems to indicate it can be achievd by doing a lot of reed swaps etc with some retuning. Mike, Since I'm online here I'll answer part and then probably RP3 will answer more of your question to him. I have seen some of the Wheatstone D/As and all had the inside row tuned a fifth higher than the middle row. In other words, the whole instrument is basically an upward transposition of a C/G layout by a whole step (for the standard, "treble model" D/A *). All the old D/A's that I've seen were like that in fact. I think the other type of D/A may have originated as a factory mistake that led to Bob Tedrow adopting that system and then making more of them! With traditional, London-made concertinas (and those made in that style by some modern makers) it's not too hard to move reeds around if you insure that the fit of reed shoe to reedpan is OK. Going from C/G to D/A, some reeds will be moved into same-or-larger-sized slots in the reedpan and a few will have to be added in, where notes for the D/A layout are needed that are not present in that octave or in that number in the set for a C/G layout. A little shimming with paper or card might be needed here and there, and a small amount of fine re-tuning in some cases. But this is not a complicated project and is mostly reversible except for the very small amount of fine tuning. If you do this with a Lachenal, where lots of spare reeds are available, or with a modern-made instrument where the maker can supply extra reeds, it seems a reasonable project. I wouldn't recommend anyone do this to a fine vintage Linota, Crabb, or Jeffries without much thought and expert advice. PG * As I mentioned above, I've also seen a baritone D/A Wheatstone where both rows were pitched one whole tone higher than a baritone C/G anglo (or, 5 whole tones lower than a typical "treble" C/G). The "Tedrow type of D/A" where the inside A row is one fourth lower in pitch than the middle D row, would be unusual (if ever found) among London-made concertinas, based on my experience.
  15. Hi Mike, Well you have various options. Even a 20 -key D/A could have a non-standard layout allowing the presence of a C natural. But if no C natural, you can get around G tunes in the several ways that 1-row D melodeon players do :-) D/A concertinas with more than 20 keys will almost always have one or more C naturals available. IMO a very handy place for that C natural on a D/A instrument (though not one of the standard traditional anglo layouts) is an *extra* button at the top of the LH inside A row (above the button for e/f#) played with the LH index finger and allowing C natural in both bellows directions. This can sometimes be added to a 20 key instrument -- the Dippers rebuilt a Jones that way for me. PG
  16. Hi Mike, Yes the point about the D drone on Jackson's Thought was what made me think the instrument might be a D/A (see my post above, from 16 January 09). But then I got the feeling that we shouldn't spoil the news value of Mr. Small's research before it was published. Anyway, Mullaly's settings work on a D/A or a G/D quite well, or transposed down a step on a C/G instrument. PG
  17. Hi all, COuple of thoughts on this specific topic and the "D/A fingering style" more generally in Irish music, since Mike has posted on a few threads about that. First, I should say that I use the expression "D/A fingering style" to mean a way of playing the anglo concertina in which an actual D/A concertina would make the tunes come out in their "standard" (most common) keys as played today. Next, remembering that in those "older days" the actual pitch of the music was somewhat negotiable -- there wasn't quite as much pressure as some people seem to feel today to have big sessions with many instruments all matching in pitch. Thus a solo concertina player (or one that a fiddle could tune to) could play for a dance and it might not always matter whether they had a C/G, B/F#, D/A etc concertina. What would matter to them would be where they placed their fingers on the buttons to get the tune, and in decades past many players seem to have been using that "D/A fingering style" as defined above -- at least on *some* of their tunes. Now, to Mike's title question: I've seen quite a few D/A concertinas over the years, both 2-row and 3-row, and both London and continental European make. The London-made ones include pre-WW2 Wheatstones such as the series that includes Greg's, the 19th century J. Crabb that Alex mentioned, post-WW2 Wheatstones (including a nice baritone D/A from the 1950s), a small post-WW2 Crabb, and the occasional Jones and Lachenal. That's just to consider the ones that I think were originally made in D/A. Also I have reversibly converted a few rebuilt Lachenals to D/A over the years. As some of you know, before the flowering of new makers of accordion-reeded concertinas it was hard to find a good instrument for beginning anglo concertina students (with solid, quick returning action and 6 fold bellows) in the price range below the 3-row rosewood Lachenals. On the other hand, then as now there was a surplus of wrecked 20 key Lachenals barely worth repairing, so I would occasionally convince one of the good makers to rebuild one of those better than new. A 20-key Lachenal C/G has all of the notes needed to play thousands of classic Irish tunes from the repertoire of the some of the best players who learned in the early 20th century. When you rebuild those and improve the quality of action, bellows and reeds you have a useful student instrument (to say the least). Those instruments obviously have 40 reeds. It turns out that (depending on layout details) an additional 17 or so reeds is sufficient to put one of them into D/A, reversibly, with some moving reeds around and a little shimming and finish tuning, but no modifications to the reedpans or reed shoes. Such a 2-row D/A can be useful for students learning traditional settings of Irish tunes, because (as I have often tried to show people) many of the settings played by those early-to-mid 20th century Irish concertinists will come out in today's standard keys and pitch when played on a D/A. In fact I've taught a couple of workshops and classes based around those settings and styles, which are often closely related to contemporaneous styles on the one-row melodeon. Learning to play the concertina that way (even if you also play in other fingering styles) has many advantages for someone who likes Irish music. If you have a C/G instrument, playing in "D/A" fingering on that C/G concertina gives you the option of playing with "C" pipes, flutes, whistles, and fiddles tuned down a whole tone, without buying a Bb/F concertina. As we've discussed here, the late Kitty Hayes played *much* of her repertoire that way on the recordings I've heard, using (mostly) just the main two rows of a C/G concertina but in D/A style so the G tunes came out in F, the D tunes in C, etc. The key of G on a D/A concertina (or F on a C/G concertina) is a little tricky to some players, but mainly because they may not have practiced it. On a 2-row concertina in D/A there may not be a C natural, just as there's no C natural on a 10-key melodeon in the key of D .. . but the great repertoires and styles of the Irish melodeon players past and present show that this difficulty doesn't preclude lots of great music in many keys, including G. It seems to me that Kitty Hayes (RIP) didn't play much or at all in G minor -- when she played tunes that are normally played in A minor, she played them in A minor rather than transposing them down as she did with the D, G, and E minor tunes. Thus just having a D/A instrument wouldn't have solved all her transposition problems. This is consistent with other players such as Mrs. Crotty and John Kelly who played various tunes in different transpositions away from the "standard" keys. I remember corresponding with Peter Laban about Mrs Hayes' needs, when she was alive, and that there was a lot of confusion including claims that she needed a "D/G" (sic) or a G/D. Really, a local tuner should have been able to cheaply, easily, and reversibly swap in 17 reeds and move a few around to let her try out her own Lachenal with the main two rows in D/A. But then, unless she changed her fingering, she might have found she was playing her "A minor" tunes in B minor. The biggest impediment I've found to an appreciation of the traditional D/A styles in Irish music (and how they relate to melodeon styles, and also to Mullaly's music), no matter what key the actual instrument, is closed-mindedness. Some amateur players have seemed very contentious when I have answered questions about this subject; I got the feeling they were holding on doggedly to small bits of information that kept them from learning a new idea -- and thus missing the big picture of the diversity of ways concertinas have been played, are being played, and might be played. "But the C/G concertina is the standard instrument, and my famous teacher says . . . " PG
  18. Hello all, Maybe the original poster misunderstood something I wrote about a particular special concertina. Most Jeffries do not have stainless steel tongues, but I know of at least one Jeffries that did come to me with stainless tongues. It has the Praed St. address in the cartouche and some other features that may indicate it was a later instrument, but is labeled C. Jeffries, not Jeffries brothers. The stainless tongues appear to be original in this instrument which came to me unrestored except for an unusual, old, replacement bellows. A couple of the tongues were broken but the rest were in a typical Jeffries non-equal-tempered tuning in high pitch. THis instrument seems to have gone to Madras, India, based on a repairer's label added to the (original Jeffries square leather) case from a shop in Madras that may have made the replacement bellows. I suspect this instrument may have been fitted with the stainless tongues in anticipation of use in India. It's remarkable to see the rustfree stainless tongues mounted in typical Jeffries brass reed assemblies, with typical surface rust on the carbon steel reed-yoke retaining bolts. Colin and Rosalie Dipper made a new bellows for this instrument and arranged for replating the ends, and agreed with me that the tongues must be an early use of stainless steel. Alex West and many other members of this forum have also seen or heard this instrument played. The original stainless reeds have a uniquely rich tone, with more overtones but a little softer in volume and more consumptive of air than typical Jeffries reeds. The swedish carbon-steel replacements for the couple stainless tongues that were broken are just a little louder, less complex in tone, but with very slightly crisper and more immediate "attack" response than the stainless tongues -- exactly like typical Jeffries reeds I have in other similar concertinas. The original reeds do respond very well and are also quite loud, but they take slightly different handling (mainly *slightly* more air pressure) to sound as quickly as the replacements. When I have played this instrument for other players in a quiet room and drawn attention to the tone quality of the couple of notes that have more typical Jeffries reeds, other players have been able to hear the slight difference in tone, but it is pretty subtle -- not much more than the differences among various notes of a 38-key that are due to chamber/pallet positions. In general I prefer the typical carbon steel reeds for best playability and a very usable tone quality, but the timbre of this one concertina is so unique and beautiful in its own way that I have kept it as original as possible, including my attempted restoration of its original non-equal-tempered tuning at its original pitch. (I.e., since the concertina came to me with most of its original tuning intact, only a couple of reeds that had drifted slightly in pitch or were broken had to be tuned at all, to my best understanding of its original tuning.) It is possible the reeds or reed tongues of this instrument were replaced since the concertina was made, but everything about the reedwork *except the kind of steel used to make the tongues* screams original Jeffries shop work. PG
  19. Hi Peter, I'm entirely with you on Tom Keane's reel. I have listened a lot to the late John Kelly's music and tried to play his settings for many years. In the past few years I haven't played much concertina, but living near James Kelly and his daughter, and meeting John Kelly Jr. and his family on their visits here, I have had a chance to learn more about John sr's music. I know Jackie McCarthy also has been inspired by his music, and Shay Fogarty on this site has mentioned some other nice concertina players influenced by John Kelly, so maybe some of them would chime in to add to the discussion -- or maybe to correct me! But my thoughts FWTW... John Kelly sr. played concertina in a few different styles and different modes on the instrument. Some of the settings he probably learned very early on are up and down the middle row of a 3-row anglo (would have been the outside, lower-keyed, row of a 2-row german concertina). Some cross the middle and inside rows of a 3-row anglo (or both rows of a 2-row german concertina). I never heard or saw John use a button from the outside row of a 3 row concertina, but I think he probably did occasionally. John's tunes played up and down the middle row of a 3-row concertina (keys of C major, or D dorian, on a C/G instrument) obviously could be played in very similar settings by 1 -row melodeon players. But some of the tunes he played in the key of G (but often in modes that included an F natural) on a C/G concertina are also closely related to melodeon settings that were being played in the early 20th century. Tunes like Eddie Dunn's reel (a version of the bag of spuds) cross the rows so the seventh note of the scale (F in the key of G) can be played sometimes major (F#) and other times minor (F natural). So those settings are what some folks call "inflected." It's really just a simplification of the way a singer or fiddler or piper or flute player might color those notes, but that key on a 2-row concertina (the key of G on a C/G instrument, or F on a Bb/F, etc) is one of the most versatile and expressive because of those alternate notes available for the seventh note of the scale. If you didn't use that sharp seventh note (F# in the key of G), these settings could be played all on one row of a concertina, and then they would be very very similar to the versions of these tunes played by melodeon players. For Eddie Dunn's reel, compare the settings of the Bag of Potatoes by melodeon players P. J. Conlon or William Sullivan (in the key of A mixolydian on a 1-row box in D). And for Tom Keane's reel, compare the wonderful recording of Scotch Mary (paired with a great gutsy version of Green Groves of Erin) by Joe Flanagan (re-released on the Topic cd, "Irish Dance Music," edited by Reg Hall). Just more points of reference, not to diminish in any way the wonderful way the great John Kelly made music with these tunes, using 2 rows of a concertina to the fullest! PG
  20. Geoff, My congratulations also! My Ball Beavon (stamped J. Crabb Maker) is around 128 now, I think you said, and still one of the favorite concertinas I have ever played. Like many here I remember your helpful advice over the years and wish you continued success. Paul Groff
  21. I can agree with all of that. we are not having an argument. best wishes John :-) Thanks John, I feel the same way. Actually my initial reason for posting the cross-reference between Tommy's "SIB" and the Schneewalzer was to point Robin to the many manuscript, recorded, and video versions of the latter that are available on the web. Nothing I have heard though can compare for me to Tommy's own performance. The human touch, the "orchestra in a hatbox" miniaturism, the wonderful pulse and sweetness and humor. That's what I love about the best concertina music. PG
  22. Hi John, I have had a copy of those liner notes, and that recording, since the year I began playing concertina (1985), and nearly worn them out. So I am familiar with the claim that Tommy wrote the tune. It is another question whether that claim is true. BTW, I am afraid that the liner notes of Free Reed recordings cannot be taken as gospel truth (or any other kind of truth). The recordings, as I noted above, are a priceless legacy and were doubtless a labor of love. Thanks to Neil Wayne, his colleagues, and of course the artists for these recordings! I wouldn't want to be without a single note of that music. But as Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin and others have pointed out, there are many errors and irregularities in the notes to the Free Reed recordings. And even if Tommy's claims were faithfully transcribed, it might be a little gullible to believe the literal truth of everything he said. To me these problems do not diminish the accomplishment of the recordings, but I would be careful about relying on the accuracy of the notes themselves. They are not, and really never claimed to be, the result of careful scholarship, only a guide to understanding and appreciating the music. Dick, As I said, I don't really know if Koschat composed the music to the Schneewalzer or not. The German-speaking world seems to believe he did compose it. I don't have time to chase down a date for his composition, but as I noted above Koschat died before the Great War began. Best to all, Paul Groff
  23. That is the story I was told. I had no reason to disbelieve it. I am happy to stand corrected if that is the case. The English words of the snow waltz were I am sure a translation from the German. regards John Hi John, I am actually not in a position to correct you, since I really don't know the truth of the matter! I was just trying to make sure I got your meaning. I would be delighted if it turns out Tommy Williams was the true composer of the Schneewaltzer. As I said, I am a devoted fan of his musicianship as reflected on the priceless recording released by Free Reed records. I wish I had had the chance to meet him or hear him play in person. As an anglo player (as well as a guitar, piano, and organ player) I can appreciate the musicality and rough-hewn charm of his challenging arrangements, which have inspired some of my own modest attempts. But my long experience with many musicians, especially the self-taught players with a background comparable to Tommy's, and especially those who grew up in an earlier age when fact-checking was less convenient and powerful..... has led me to a good-humored skepticism about many of their claims of originality. In some of their traditions a certain amount of "telling lies," "spinning yarns," embellishing the truth etc. was not only tolerated, but enjoyed as part of the entertainment. PG
  24. Hi John, I was returning here after having looked into this tune and found your interesting reply. I'm not sure I fully understand you, but are you suggesting that Tommy composed the music and it was picked up in Germany? My quick research had come up with a minor self-correction; although the tune is popular with the "German" button-box crowd here in the US, the music is attributed to Austrian composer Thomas Koschat, who died May 19, 1914: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Koschat http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/k/o/koschat_t.htm Paul Groff
  25. Robin, I seem to remember an accordion student of mine, long ago, bringing to me a German tune called Schnee Waltzer. As I recall, Tommy's "composition" is a close relative if not a version. :-) That tune can be found on the internet also. -- A *devoted* fan of Tommy Williams, one of the best-sounding concertina players ever
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