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About Anglo-Irishman

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Acoustic music of all kinds. Collecting playable instruments.
  • Location
    Near Stuttgart, Germany

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793 profile views
  1. Exactly what Wolf said. But if you are a singer looking for a concertina, it doesn't mean you have to look for one that lacks all volume and brightness. The first criterion is a pleasant tone - however you define that. Most accompaniments are interspersed with intros, outros, bridges and instrumental breaks, so the accompanying instrument - in this case, the concertina - must be able to hold its own in the area of audibility and expressiveness. And while you're singing the verses, a good concertina can be played quietly. If you have a good voice, the concertina should be good enough to match it. And if you haven't got a good voice, at least the concertina should have, so that there'll be at least something worth hearing! Cheers, John
  2. Anglo-Irishman

    Minstrel Anglo

    @Peter Laban, I liked the photo of the three gents in the clawhammer coats. I've often wondered what concertina, banjo and penny whistle would sound like together. We had all three in my folk group - but unfortunately, I was the only member who could play them. Cheers, John
  3. Anglo-Irishman

    Minstrel Anglo

    Same here! As a banjoist, I associate the term "minstrel" with black-face entertainment. "Minstrel banjo" designates a particularly archaic form of the instrument, or an archaic playing style. I wonder what Wim was thinking of when he chose the name. Perhaps it was the knightly poets of the Middle ages. Or Moore's "Minstrel Boy," (who ""to the war is gone"). Cheers, John
  4. Anglo-Irishman

    Tips & Tricks for Contra

    Hi, LJ, That's the definiton of "vamping" that I'm familiar with. "Vamp till ready," is an instruction to the accompanying pianist to wait for the soloist to start. However , in the Banjo World, we have an additional meaning for "to vamp": there, it means to strum a chord (or chords) repeatedly, but lift the fingers of the left hand off the stopped strings immediately after each stroke of the right hand. This gives a rather percussive effect. It can be used during an actual accompaniment, if you wish. I think, if I were to transfer vamping, in this sense, from the banjo to the concertina, I'd play oom-pah, or boom-chuck or bass-chord, whatever you like to call it. BTW, IMHO, the most spectacular example of vamping in the dictionary sense was in the Johnny Cash biographical film "Walk the Line". He gave a concert in Folsom Prison, and in the film he sent his backing band out on stage, while he had a few words with his beloved June Carter. The band - guitars, bass, and possibly drums - vamped on one chord for what seemed like minutes, before Cash took the stage before the convicts and sang his song. The tension and suspense were unbelieveable! Cheers, John
  5. Anglo-Irishman

    The demise of the English concertina.

    I think this is a phenomenon that can be observed in areas that have a strong regional identity, paired with a distinct musical character. The instrument that has established itself as in some way characteristic of the region gets promoted by the Powers That Be, whether through encouragement of private teachers or organisation of regional music festivals. In Germany, we notice this most in the Alpine region, where the Steyrische Handharmonika - a regional form of the diatonic accordion - is part of the musical landscape, and is played really well by young people and children. The Anglo Concertina, along with fiddle, flute and pipes, has taken up this position in the West of Ireland. Often, the presence of children in niche music is accompanied by interest in regional costumes and folk dance. But of course, being located in Scotland, you don't have to look any farther than the Highlands for kilts, country dancing - and young bagpipers! Cheers, John
  6. Anglo-Irishman

    The Ballad of the Button Box

    Yes, or the QWERTZ keyboard that we have in German-speaking countries. It's just as crazy as the QWERTY, but the Z and Y are swapped. A bit analogous to the difference between the Wheatstone and Jeffries layouts for the 30-button Anglo! Cheers, John
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    The Ballad of the Button Box

    Not a concertina, exactly - but it has got free reeds: the Kalimba!
  8. Anglo-Irishman

    Desert island concertinas

    The choice between my two 30-b Anglos would be easy: I'd take the sweeter-sounding, easier-to-play Dallas/Crabb rather than the Stagi hybrid. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to be left alone with my Lachenal 48-b Crane. I' don't play it as well as I play the Anglo, but if it's a true desert island there'll be no natives to entertain, so that's no problem, and by the time I get rescued, I might be quite good on the Crane! Cheers, John
  9. Anglo-Irishman

    Tips & Tricks for Contra

    I've accompanied my fiddler on the Anglo quite often. It's not difficult, if you know the music well enough. I don't read the dots either - there's no need to, because all you need is "chord shapes" analogous to those that rhythm guitarists use. You say you've been making up chord charts - that's the way to go, but you can also google chords for the Anglo. I'm not familiar with the genre you're playing, but surely there are printed tunes or arrangements with chord symbols, or you can ask your pianist to write down what chords he plays when for each tune. When you've internalised the chord shapes on the Anglo, and written down the chord symbols for the tune, all you have to do is to get the rhythmic groove going - and @wunks has given a few hints on doing that. BTW it's well known that the Anglo gets rapidly more difficult as you move away from its home keys. However, this is most noticeable when you're trying to play melody and accompaniment together. When you're playing melody only, or harmony only, the range of accessible keys (on the 30-or-more-button Anglo) widens considerably. Cheers, John
  10. This is true, for me at least. When I'm playing the concertina, I don't think about moving the ends in and out, nor about increasing or decreasing the contained volume of air. I think about applying a force to the bellows. More force for loud playing, less force for soft playing. The movement, and the associated increase or decrease in the contained volume of air, are incidental, and a result of air escaping or entering via the activated reeds while the force remains the same. Given the same bellows area, a good, airtight bellows with well-set-up reeds will move less than a a leaky bellows with worn pads and ill-fitting reeds, when the same force is applied. Cheers, John
  11. Anglo-Irishman

    Beginning player, need purchase advice

    Hi, Pete, I'm a self-accompanied folk singer myself, so perhaps my experience with concertinas will interest you. At differnt stages in my life, I've sung more to the guitar or more to the 5-string banjo, and the autoharp has always been an option. But whichever instrument, folk-song accompaniment is always about chords. With the I, IV, V7 and vi chords of the key you're singing in, you can accompany 90% of your repertoire. With my baritone voice, I can sing most folk songs in C, and those that I can't, I can sing in G. For C, I need the chords of C, F, G7 and Am; for G, the chords of G, C (got that already!), D7 and Em. These are easy chords on the guitar and banjo (and the autoharp has no difficult chords) - and they're just as easy on the 20-button Anglo concertina! You play the harmonica, so you have the basic idea of the Anglo's Richter scale. All you have to do is to learn "chord shapes", analogue to those for the guitar, and you have all you need for simple accompaniments. If you need further keys, e.g. D or F, you'll need a 30-button Anglo, but you'll have got the idea by then. One advantage of th Anglo is that a melodic break in a song is easier to play convincingly than on a guitar - this will come naturally after a while. Go for the Anglo, say I! Cheers, John
  12. Anglo-Irishman

    Which is suitable for me?

    That's how I started, and I got off the mark with my first Anglo very quickly (in hours, rather than days, to the first tune!) This is true. I've just recently taken up the harmonica again, also with a Hohner Marine Band 12-hole. I also have a Hohner Echo Harp 12-hole, 2-sided tremolo harmonica in C/G. This not only allows you to play in two keys, but is also good for tunes that modulate (e.g. The Ash Grove), and also gets you prepared to change rows on the Anglo, which is much more convenient that flipping the harmonica over to play the other side. Cheers, John
  13. Steve, You're right - but Rod's posting makes the point that, of the two ways of increasing bellows volume, an increase in the cross-section area will affect the force needed to produce the same pressure on the reeds, whereas an increase in length (more folds) will not. Cheers, John
  14. Anglo-Irishman

    Do many players play more than one system?

    Well, if you'd found an instrument that was really "yours" earlier, you wouldn't have been looking for one, and wouldn't have discovered the new one, would you? Cheers, John
  15. Anglo-Irishman

    Do many players play more than one system?

    Normally, yes, Wolf. But in this case, I was replying to rlgph, who was talking about the "listening experience" as such. And in the examples that one can listen to on this forum, there seems to be somewhat of a correlation between concertina type and the perceptible character of the music it typically produces - although the timbres of all British types of concertina are very much alike. Of course, music is not made by musical instruments. It is made by people with musical instruments. Both player and instrument influence the result, to varying degrees. It's quite possible that a bumbustuous person might play rumbustuous music on the EC, for instance. But wouldn't it be more likely for a rumbustuous person to play a rumbustuous instrument, like the Anglo? Cheers, John