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CesarPim

Is C/G Anglo actually better than G/D for ITM?

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By the way i'll be interested to see what is said abut William Mullaly's concertina when the CD is issued. He was the first Irishman recorded in the 1920s

Let's just say he wasn't doing what people (including Paddy Murphy) imagined...

MELLIFLUON-MELLIFLUODEON - GO see unaccompanied violin discussion......

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Guest Peter Laban

From what she said to me, I think (like many of the older Irish players, including 94-year old Paddy Frawley in Kilrush) she might have been happier with the sound of a good German concertina, and if it had a D row she could have played in "concert pitch" - but the pitch wouldn't have been such an issue when she was younger.

 

Well, yes, that is what she said. It was more an idea than a reality though. I have seen her around a lot of concertinas and the ones she liked weren't exactly the German sound-a-likes. For sound she was very taken by my son's Crabb, she wouldn't put that down. For two rows the one she liked best was a very nice two row Lachenal, I am not quite sure it was a G/D or a D/A though. She was actually a lot pickier about concertinas than she let on. But that's a bit of an aside to the discussion, she didn't get on with the D/G she had though.Jackie Daly also asked me why they sold her the D/G as he too thought a D/A would have been more suitable for her.

Edited by Peter Laban

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I believe that the C/G was adopted by Irish players because that is what was available originally. Since then people have done what Peter says and copied what was common practice. Because of the limitations of this way of playing on the particular instrument, some very stylized techniques have been developed (...)

 

That's exactly what I think. If the available instrument at the time would have been a G/D instead of C/G, likewise, Irish players would have adopted D/G and developed techniques that they would now call ITM. My point being that there doesn't seem to be any particular advantage of C/G for ITM, it's just "the chosen one" for historical reasons and habit.

 

Yep, there are lots of instruments that could have been mainstays of ITM except for history and the habit of modern ITM players... but then again that is what makes it Traditional.

 

If I would now start using a G/D to play ITM, using only the bottom row, the most advanced players (perhaps not so many) would eventually notice that it doesn't sound as they expected. It doesn't sound like what they got used to call ITM. But:

a) It doesn't mean it sounds worse;

B) It doesn't mean i will not be able to evolve as quickly (perhaps i'll evolve even more quickly).

 

Do you also think like this?

 

It may not sound worse, but it doesn't mean it will necessarily sound Irish either.

 

Its easy to play what if games regarding instruments. We have had discussions on here about B/C concertinas, and others about using English or Duet concertinas in Irish Music. All of them are fun (at least as long as they stay civilized), but lets remember that Tradition is kind of the opposite of innovation. This is not saying that innovation has no place in Irish Traditional Music, but there is a necessary resistance to innovation. Thats why Irish Music from the 1920s and 30s is still recognizably ITM to our ears. In contrast, The popular music of the 1970s is very different than the popular music of the 2000s.

 

In my personal opinion, if one is going to "innovate" in Irish Music, one should do so from a position of knowledge. I.e., if you are going to replace C/G Anglo with a G/D, you probably should be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of mastery over the C/G first, otherwise, you can never really appreciate what you are giving up or gaining by making the switch.

 

--

Bill

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Guest Peter Laban
That's exactly what I think. If the available instrument at the time would have been a G/D instead of C/G, likewise, Irish players would have adopted D/G and developed techniques that they would now call ITM. My point being that there doesn't seem to be any particular advantage of C/G for ITM, it's just "the chosen one" for historical reasons and habit.

 

That statement assumes a lot. For example nobody ever had a go on a G/D. (What about the old German concertinas?). That once a system was established everybody put the blinkers on and resisted change (the fact the German concertinas were dumped en masse in favour of the three row Anglo would suggest a different attitude).

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Fairly sure i have this story straight: At concertina Camp we asked Noel Hill about playing ITM on a G/D.

I believe Noel said he spent 5-6 years playing mostly G/D to see where it would take him. I don't remember exactly why he stopped. I recall him saying some of the tunes lay very nicely on a G/D but in the end there was really no clear advantage to it.

 

I'll welcome corroboration or correction of this memory.

 

Greg

I vaguely recall a similar answer from Noel at a one of his schools in 2006. At that school we also had at least one beginner who brought a G-D. As we began to learn each tune, Noel took time to show this student how best to play it on the G-D instrument.

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That's exactly what I think. If the available instrument at the time would have been a G/D instead of C/G, likewise, Irish players would have adopted D/G and developed techniques that they would now call ITM. My point being that there doesn't seem to be any particular advantage of C/G for ITM, it's just "the chosen one" for historical reasons and habit.

 

That statement assumes a lot. For example nobody ever had a go on a G/D. (What about the old German concertinas?). That once a system was established everybody put the blinkers on and resisted change (the fact the German concertinas were dumped en masse in favour of the three row Anglo would suggest a different attitude).

 

Yes, I see your point Peter. But there's also no evidence saying that the G/D would NOT have achieved a similar success...

Is there any concrete advantage for playing cross row C/G instead of D row G/D, for ITM tunes?

 

I've seen your videos on YouTube where you play with Kitty Hayes; Is she playing on the D row of a D/G? If yes, did you find anything "bad" in her music that could be attributed to her method of playing? Do you think her choice of method made it more difficult for her to evolve? Or perhaps more easy?

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Guest Peter Laban

Yes, I see your point Peter. But there's also no evidence saying that the G/D would NOT have achieved a similar success...

Is there any concrete advantage for playing cross row C/G instead of D row G/D, for ITM tunes?

 

I've seen your videos on YouTube where you play with Kitty Hayes; Is she playing on the D row of a D/G? If yes, did you find anything "bad" in her music that could be attributed to her method of playing? Do you think her choice of method made it more difficult for her to evolve? Or perhaps more easy?

 

The German concertinas were D/G weren't they? They got ditched in a flash.

 

Kitty played a regular C/G and if needed she could play across the rows a bit if needed (listen to her playing Kitty's gone a milking and The Maid of mt Cisco with Dympna on the last CD) but it didn't come natural to her and she didn't want to waste good playing time trying to master a new style/method of playing.

 

 

Below is a snap of a very rare outing of the G/D and I don't think it gelled very well (she sold it soon after that) :

 

 

normal_file0001.jpgnormal_file0001.jpg

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Hi Cesar,

I'm not irish and probably as isolated as you from other concertina players.

When starting I asked myself the same question... Eventually I purchased both

a C/G and a G/D.

I think both are perfectly suitable for irish music but will result in a different style.

 

With the C/G you are able to play most of the melody with the left hand, leaving your

right hand free for playing complicated ornementation. This has lead to the very ornemented

style currently favorised by most players. I also beleive this is one of the reasons Noel Hill

eventually returned to C/G.

 

With the G/D you will be playing essentially along the row, resulting in a more "vintage" style

(like Kitty Hayes, Mary McNamara, etc..). As someone has pointed out those "elder" players took

the habit to play in C instead of D because the most availible instruments were C/G 20b.

with a G/D when playing this style along the inner row you will end up playing in D which

is the standart session key in most places.

 

As for the difficulty, I actually think it is simpler to play in D "along the row" on

a G/D that with a cross-row "system" on a C/G. The main reason is that you have a "natural"

fingering that will work in ALL situations. On the other hand with cross-row systems

there are always cases where you will have to depart from the "system" to avoid playing

two consecutive buttons with the same finger.

 

Finally, if you consider playing other things than Irish and you are interested by chorded

style, a G/D could be a good choice as well.

 

Having said that, at the moment I play much more the C/G than the G/D for the main reason

that my C/G is a MUCH BETTER instrument (linota versus stagi)

 

David

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A last thought : "Re-inventing the weel" may take more time than "following thousands of players",

but you can find some satisfaction in finding your own way of playing...

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A last thought : "Re-inventing the weel" may take more time than "following thousands of players",

but you can find some satisfaction in finding your own way of playing...

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A last thought : "Re-inventing the weel" may take more time than "following thousands of players",

but you can find some satisfaction in finding your own way of playing...

 

I second that (especially as I try to play ITM on a EC....... :o ).

This said I am not a AC player but find it somewhat strange that ''real'' ITM can only be played on a C/G instrument. At least that is the impression some of the posts here leave me.

The essence of the music is in your head not in the instrument. So if you know ITM, and you have well mastered your instrument, and exploited its possibilities surely ITM can be played on it. But of course it is easier to follow the mainstream and play C/G (all these hundreds - thousands perhaps - concertina players can''t be wrong :D ).

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Ok, I am a UK based G/D player with no contact with true ITM players. My approach is to keep as much of the tune in the right hand as possible. I am playing in D on the G row on the pull for the bottom of the range. I find trying to add decoration around the top G most difficult. Please make comments.

 

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10612

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10611

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10610

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10608

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10607

 

These are from a recorded practise where I left the recorder (H4) going and then kept the best

 

Graham

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Hi Cesar,

I'm not irish and probably as isolated as you from other concertina players.

When starting I asked myself the same question... Eventually I purchased both

a C/G and a G/D.

I think both are perfectly suitable for irish music but will result in a different style.

 

With the C/G you are able to play most of the melody with the left hand, leaving your

right hand free for playing complicated ornementation. This has lead to the very ornemented

style currently favorised by most players. I also beleive this is one of the reasons Noel Hill

eventually returned to C/G.

 

With the G/D you will be playing essentially along the row, resulting in a more "vintage" style

(like Kitty Hayes, Mary McNamara, etc..). As someone has pointed out those "elder" players took

the habit to play in C instead of D because the most availible instruments were C/G 20b.

with a G/D when playing this style along the inner row you will end up playing in D which

is the standart session key in most places.

 

As for the difficulty, I actually think it is simpler to play in D "along the row" on

a G/D that with a cross-row "system" on a C/G. The main reason is that you have a "natural"

fingering that will work in ALL situations. On the other hand with cross-row systems

there are always cases where you will have to depart from the "system" to avoid playing

two consecutive buttons with the same finger.

 

Finally, if you consider playing other things than Irish and you are interested by chorded

style, a G/D could be a good choice as well.

 

Having said that, at the moment I play much more the C/G than the G/D for the main reason

that my C/G is a MUCH BETTER instrument (linota versus stagi)

 

David

 

Thanks David. It's exactly this kind of info that I wanted to know.

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And I'm US-based, in contact with lots of serious ITM players though they're mostly not Irish people. I play both C/G and G/D. I play lots of Irish tunes but don't use the "official" fingering system.

 

I think that it's quite possible to play ITM outside the "system" in a way that sounds perfectly acceptable to ITM players who play non-concertina instruments. It's only the concertina players (especially the disciples of Noel Hill) who think that other approaches don't sound like true ITM, though they'll usually make exceptions for players like Kitty Hayes and Mary McNamara who are too solidly grounded in the tradition to dismiss. I don't know if this rather constricted approach to the "right" way to play applies to any other ITM instruments -- certainly Irish fiddle players, for example, use a huge variety of approaches to their instrument and so far as I know this is not seen as a problem.

 

On the issue of C/G vs. G/D, there's no intrinsic reason why a G/D won't work for ITM. It's even possible to play a G/D using the "system" -- it's comparable to just playing a tune in a different key on a C/G. (A D tune, for example, could be fingered on a G/D exactly as it would be if it were played on a C/G and transposed up a fourth to the key of G.) There's a fine ITM concertina player in my area, Sabra Daly, who plays a 26-button G/D and sounds great, though I don't know whether she uses the "system".

 

I mainly play my Irish tunes on a C/G, because I only played C/G during the decades that I was learning most of the Irish tunes that I know. I have tried playing some Irish tunes on my G/D too and I enjoy it, especially for the easier left-hand chording possibilities. The main problem I've run into is the one that Graham mentions below -- there are some limitations at the high end, both because one uses the weaker fingers up there and because the high A on a 30-button G/D is only available on the push.

 

Daniel

 

Ok, I am a UK based G/D player with no contact with true ITM players. My approach is to keep as much of the tune in the right hand as possible. I am playing in D on the G row on the pull for the bottom of the range. I find trying to add decoration around the top G most difficult. Please make comments.

 

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10612

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10611

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10610

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10608

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=10607

 

These are from a recorded practise where I left the recorder (H4) going and then kept the best

 

Graham

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And I'm US-based, in contact with lots of serious ITM players though they're mostly not Irish people. I play both C/G and G/D. I play lots of Irish tunes but don't use the "official" fingering system.

 

I think that it's quite possible to play ITM outside the "system" in a way that sounds perfectly acceptable to ITM players who play non-concertina instruments. It's only the concertina players (especially the disciples of Noel Hill) who think that other approaches don't sound like true ITM, though they'll usually make exceptions for players like Kitty Hayes and Mary McNamara who are too solidly grounded in the tradition to dismiss. I don't know if this rather constricted approach to the "right" way to play applies to any other ITM instruments -- certainly Irish fiddle players, for example, use a huge variety of approaches to their instrument and so far as I know this is not seen as a problem.

 

On the issue of C/G vs. G/D, there's no intrinsic reason why a G/D won't work for ITM. It's even possible to play a G/D using the "system" -- it's comparable to just playing a tune in a different key on a C/G. (A D tune, for example, could be fingered on a G/D exactly as it would be if it were played on a C/G and transposed up a fourth to the key of G.) There's a fine ITM concertina player in my area, Sabra Daly, who plays a 26-button G/D and sounds great, though I don't know whether she uses the "system".

 

I mainly play my Irish tunes on a C/G, because I only played C/G during the decades that I was learning most of the Irish tunes that I know. I have tried playing some Irish tunes on my G/D too and I enjoy it, especially for the easier left-hand chording possibilities. The main problem I've run into is the one that Graham mentions below -- there are some limitations at the high end, both because one uses the weaker fingers up there and because the high A on a 30-button G/D is only available on the push.

 

Daniel

 

Thanks for your input Daniel. My decision is becoming difficult :)

This "strong fingers" thing might be an issue... but on the other hand we have our fingers in a fixed place (almost) all the time.

True about that high A. But instead we would have the low E on the pull... which we don't have in the C/G, do we?

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True -- and the G/D, unlike the 30-button C/G, also has the low F# in both directions.

 

I think that you will probably do ok with either a C/G or a G/D. Your best bet in making a decision might be to try to get the opportunity to try both out, though I realize that geography may make that difficult for you.

 

Thanks for your input Daniel. My decision is becoming difficult :)

This "strong fingers" thing might be an issue... but on the other hand we have our fingers in a fixed place (almost) all the time.

True about that high A. But instead we would have the low E on the pull... which we don't have in the C/G, do we?

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I play ITM on a G/D concertina. I'm very much the learner, but I chose G/D because of some physical limitations I have with the left hand; it's an advantage to me to put more work on the right hand.

 

I find I go to the middle and outside rows a lot on D tunes. I can't help it; it gives me more options for phrasing, air management, and "punch."

 

Oddly, I find that when I borrow a friend's C/G concertina, a lot of work falls on the weak fingers of my LEFT hand, especially the pinkie; maybe I'm doing it wrong? Or perhaps C/G players are so used to it they don't notice, anymore? I certainly don't notice the work my right pinkie does on a G/D anymore, not like when I first started.

 

I find tunes in A and A minor a snap on the G/D; you wouldn't think so, but that's the way it works out.

 

I don't find the tone of my G/D "deeper" or "more sonorous" than that of a C/G, providing I'm playing in the same octave as everyone else. A440 is A440, in my experience. I can see, of course, if a C/G player picks up a G/D concertina and uses the same fingering he or she is accustomed to, the tone will be deeper; he or she will also be in the wrong key, but transposing has it's benefits.

 

If Irish players had originally started with G/D concertinas, I agree that Irish concertina music would sound different than it does today on the C/G. It would still sound "Irish," I think, because a lot of different instruments are used in ITM, and they all sound Irish. That particular "concertina" sound would just be a little different. For G/D to become a standard (like the B/C accordion), or even a secondary standard (like the C#/D accordion), some brilliant player will have to come along (the Joe Cooley of the concertina) and make his or her music on the G/D concertina, and then a lot of new players will ask "what's that sound" and rush out and buy G/D concertinas. That's what happened with the banjo, guitar, and bouzouki, and it could happen to the G/D concertina, but it's not necessary, in my opinion, since the C/G is doing so nicely for so many.

 

If you want to play ITM, I recommend getting a C/G concertina. You'll have more resources available to you for learning, as others have mentioned. If you have a physical limitation, like me, or a G/D is the best instrument available to you, go for it. In the end, I believe music is in the head and heart, not the equipment.

 

If you want to play ITM on a G/D concertina, you certainly can. Whether you can play it brilliantly it totally up to you.

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