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Rod Thompson

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Everything posted by Rod Thompson

  1. Sorry if this is off-thread Chris, perhaps I misinterpreted your first post as implying that using the concertina for shanties is in some way "cashing in" on the ignorance of the public. My position is that experts tell us that concertinas were not used by sailors (or very rarely). This, if true, would need some explanation, and none of the explanations I've heard hold water, so to speak. For example: . Brass reads dont rust, and steel reeds seem to have been a later improvement (is this statement correct?) . Concertinas may be more fragile than claw hammers, but it was just their robustness and lack of maintenance requirements that made them so popular in outback Australia during the same era (late 19th century). I must admit to having dropped a concertina (which survived). I also recieved a concer by Aust. Post (equivalent to a Cape Horn passage?) which had had a knock sufficient to dislodge two reeds. I was able to fix it using only a small screwdriver. (Also - sailors never leave anything on a table at sea after their first trip - my experience in leaving a dozen bottles of wine on a table certainly cured me of that habit). . They were not really very expensive - at least compared to the violins that were recorded as having been used. My radical suggestion is that perhaps the experts are wrong. So - it is no point doing a "g" on this (I suppose you know what I mean). I would like instead to do some research of my own on the subject. This will be easier if I have a starting reference, so can anyone help me with that? Most of the texts I've seen are conspicuous in not dealing at all with what the sailors did in their spare time, and those that do don't have a lot to say about shanties and forebitters. Since I am very busy with other unrelated research at the moment, I can't guarantee any results in the near future, but any help would be appreciated. Thanks Rod
  2. Mine is a minute figurine in environmently-acceptable fake ivory. I don't know the artist's name, but it was given to me by a friend from Newport, Rhode Island. He is playing in the Irish style, because his foot is busily tapping out the timing.
  3. I don't see the cost factor being significant. In researching another subject, I spotted a Palings ad in the "Moreton Bay Courier" newspaper about 1912. (Palings was a Brisbane music shop right through until fairly recently). It advertised concertinas and violins - here is part of it: Concertinas: German 3/6 Organ toned 9/- Anglo-German 1/3/- (pound sign omitted) Lachenal's English 3/10/- Lachenal's newly improved steel reeds 4 guinies. .... Solo violin 3/7/6 Artist's violin 7 guinies .... Double row accordian 1/3/- For comparison, in the same paper, another ad promised Scotch whiskey at 5/- a quart. Note that the cheapest concertinas were much cheaper than the cheapest violins, or the button accordian. (Of course, the whiskey may have been deemed better value by many sailors of the period). Surely if, some sailors used the violin (and there is no doubt about that), the cost argument cannot be used against the concertina. Sailors, just home at the end of a long trip were (briefly) quite wealthy. It is easy to imagine someone starting with a mouth organ, on subsequent trips going on the the 3/6 German concertina, and then investing in a 2 row Lachenal. Rod (Edited because I accidently submitted it before finished).
  4. No one seems to have mentioned it before, but there is a concertina in "The Admirable Crichton". My copy of the script even has an illustration. (Hopefully attached as a jpeg). It appears after they have been wrecked on the desert island, and have been there for two years. The italics describe Lord Loam (now known as "Daddy") as a "jolly-looking labouring man", playing an "island-made concertina". (So concertinas can't be difficult to make at all). Rod (Edited to reflect the fact that the attachment worked this time. On the previous two attempts, it was on a network drive, so that may have been the problem).
  5. Thanks for the encouragement - I think I might be improving. I had thought about recording the second and third time only, so that you could add extra instruments on each repeat - had you considered that? Rod
  6. The major link in the public mind is the evidence - what more do we need? There never was any "official" instrument, but why on earth wouldn't the concertina be the sailor's first choice as an instrument. It is tough and portable - we look after our classic instruments as if they were fragile, but they are not. It is more "moisture-friendly" than most instruments, apart from the metal ends and steel reeds (and why else would so many wood-ended, brass reeded 20 button Lachenals have been made?) In its hexagonal case, and wrapped in an oiled cloth, it could stand very bad conditions - that would destroy a fiddle, guitar etc. I have seen the suggestion that the button accordian would have been chosen since it was cheaper, and in fact there is evidence of accordians being used, but sailors are not notorious for their thrift, & I think that the convenience of the concertina would outweigh the cost factor. On the issue of accompanying shanties - shanties were almost never accompanied, for the simple reason that that would put a pair of hands out of action. They were almost never sung in harmony, and were sung far slower than we usually hear them now. They were also not recorded, so all these statements are second hand and unverifiable. Forebitters were accompanied, as were dances, and shanties were often used as forebitters, and probably to dance to as well. Putting this together, none of the recordings of shanties we hear today are in any way "authentic" - in that they don't sound the way a person aboard a sailing ship at the time would have heard them. On the other hand they do sound good, and deserve to be heard. Many shanties do sound better unaccompanied and sung in unison, but not necessarily all. If they are to be accompanied by any instrument - why not use the best available, the ----------? Rod
  7. Misfortune: I'm working on the pieces, but does anyone else have the problem I have? By the time I'm into the third time through "Banish Misfortune", my arms are too tired to continue. No tendon troubles, just plain tired. Does it get easier? Normally I can play on all day, but this piece stops me.
  8. The concer ia a wonderful instrument for shanty singing IMHO. It is portable, pitched at voice range, loud enough. It is also possible to play and sing (unlike mouth organ, whistle etc.), but not necessarily easy. I find it easier to play for other singers, and just join in the choruses. A 20 button will give you a huge range of shanties to play - most don't need any accidentals. As to how hard to learn - how long is a piece of string? If you already play an instrument you have a head start. If it is a mouth organ, go for an anglo - you are a long way ahead. And then - of course - no one ever finishes learning any instrument. So keep the shanties alive!
  9. Oh well! that's the media, I wondered why there was no warning that it was coming on the air. Still, it was an interesting broadcast.
  10. Did anyone else hear Richard Evans being interviewed and playing the concer on ABC radio (Australia) on Saturday night? The program was "Music Deli", and it was an excellent interview. He also played several tunes to illustrate his points. I really liked one of the later tunes, which I suspect he played on the duet. I was in the car at the time, and didn't know about it beforehand, so didn't record it. Just wondered if anyone else did.
  11. Thanks for the welcome, but it's not really my first post - I just took a long time to get started in this new format.
  12. Perhaps not literature, but how about sport? Did anyone see the finish of yesterday's "Tour de France"? It must have been a magnificent sight. According to the radio here "The group of leaders concertinaed together towards the finish". Even to play the concertina while riding a bicycle is remarkable, but in unison!! Pity they didn't broadcast the sound.
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