Jump to content

Irish Music on Duet Concertinas


Recommended Posts

I would be interested to know how many people are playing Irish music on their Duet Concertinas?

 

I do -

 

but only on my Crane 48key duet, I use my MacCaan only once in a long while, I switched over to playing the Crane system and haven't really looked back (though I do still believe MacCaan was ahead of his time).

 

I was going to post a sound clip but haven't had a chance to record one.

 

Most of the songs I play are ballads, not the mile-a-minute reels and jigs you often hear. I believe the instrument is capable of it, but I play Guitar and Mandolin, and that takes almost all my free music time as I use a variety of tunings (currently I'm focusing on bottle neck blues). Eventually I will get around to house stomping reels.

 

I have heard some very fast EC playing, such as the epic "Flight of the Bumble-bee": for the most part a Duet is just an EC with the buttons re-arranged.

 

I believe that has been stated before, the obvious lurks round every corner.

 

Liam Clancy was noted for playing the EC, and he was Irish. Also the Band "Horslips" while not exactly ITM, has an EC on the cover of one of their albums, and you can hear a track where the box is playing alternate left/right side notes. However its not at gut-busting reel speeds.

 

Sadly, the Salvation Army is a temperance outfit, not going to hear to many Irish drinking songs from these guys, so perhaps the Crane duet has not been used much for Irish music simply because it became associated with the SA and its later development in the evolution of concertinas.

 

The 46 key MacCaan was immediately cast aside as it lacks that proverbial low D and we all know how dear that single note is. Although bigger MacCaans have the precious note, most introductions to the system are via the 46 key, probably why the MacCaan duet did not gain much favor with Irish musicians.

 

(apparently Irish folks can live without C#, but not D)

 

The Hayden/Wiki system is a late comer, and the infamous Jefferies I have read is virtually unplayable, possible reasons for these systems not being adopted.

 

Then, there is the future...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the answer must lie in the bellows, it must be perfectly possible to copy any system of diatonic accordeon and reverse in the same place.

The player has a choice of DG, C#D, BC, or CC#, all sound bouncy.

is BC the most common, does anyone have a chart of which notes are in and out for the BC accordeon?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the answer must lie in the bellows, it must be perfectly possible to copy any system of diatonic accordeon and reverse in the same place.

 

"The answer"... but that assumes the question is of the form "how do I make the english/anglo/duet concertina sound like the xxxx", and trying to make one instrument sound like another is never going to be sensible.

 

It's not possible to just copy a melodeon/anglo's bellows movements and get the same effect because the sound of reversing the bellows on the same key is different to reversing the bellows whilst swapping keys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the answer must lie in the bellows, it must be perfectly possible to copy any system of diatonic accordeon and reverse in the same place.

 

"The answer"... but that assumes the question is of the form "how do I make the english/anglo/duet concertina sound like the xxxx", and trying to make one instrument sound like another is never going to be sensible.

 

It's not possible to just copy a melodeon/anglo's bellows movements and get the same effect because the sound of reversing the bellows on the same key is different to reversing the bellows whilst swapping keys.

 

Rat Face, I quite agree with you, yet I disagree too. Agreed - trying to copy a technique from one instrument and put it on another will never duplicate the sound exactly. However, that is precisely the best way to get to the spirit of a musical style on an instrument that is not central to that style. This is really off topic because I don't attempt to do this with Irish music but stick to American styles in my playing. Yet, I have been trying to emulate the sound of the violin in my Anglo playing. Other instruments I listen to for clues about how to play concertina are the guitar, banjo, piano and voice. Listening and emulating other instruments has helped me grow as an Anglo player. I can't recommend it enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always enjoyed the Alexander Prince recordings. He was from Scotland and I think the playing is often brilliant. Second cousin to ITM but gives an indication of what might be possible on the MacCann.

 

http://www.archive.org/details/ScotchReels

 

A few bouncy gems amidst the shmaltz:

 

http://www.archive.org/details/AlexanderPrince-MedleyOfIrishAirs1913

 

http://www.archive.org/details/WoodlandFlowers_528

 

So if Alexander Prince could get this out of a duet whose the next phenom?

 

Enjoy,

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the answer must lie in the bellows, it must be perfectly possible to copy any system of diatonic accordeon and reverse in the same place.

The player has a choice of DG, C#D, BC, or CC#, all sound bouncy.

is BC the most common, does anyone have a chart of which notes are in and out for the BC accordeon?

 

Melodeon.net does

http://info.melodeon.net/info/layouts/2row

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the answer must lie in the bellows, it must be perfectly possible to copy any system of diatonic accordeon and reverse in the same place.

 

"The answer"... but that assumes the question is of the form "how do I make the english/anglo/duet concertina sound like the xxxx", and trying to make one instrument sound like another is never going to be sensible.

 

It's not possible to just copy a melodeon/anglo's bellows movements and get the same effect because the sound of reversing the bellows on the same key is different to reversing the bellows whilst swapping keys.

 

Rat Face, I quite agree with you, yet I disagree too. Agreed - trying to copy a technique from one instrument and put it on another will never duplicate the sound exactly. However, that is precisely the best way to get to the spirit of a musical style on an instrument that is not central to that style. This is really off topic because I don't attempt to do this with Irish music but stick to American styles in my playing. Yet, I have been trying to emulate the sound of the violin in my Anglo playing. Other instruments I listen to for clues about how to play concertina are the guitar, banjo, piano and voice. Listening and emulating other instruments has helped me grow as an Anglo player. I can't recommend it enough.

Your Brother with Jan Elliott(English)on E.I. is a classic example of that

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always enjoyed the Alexander Prince recordings. He was from Scotland and I think the playing is often brilliant. Second cousin to ITM but gives an indication of what might be possible on the MacCann.

 

http://www.archive.org/details/ScotchReels

 

A few bouncy gems amidst the shmaltz:

 

http://www.archive.org/details/AlexanderPrince-MedleyOfIrishAirs1913

 

http://www.archive.org/details/WoodlandFlowers_528

 

So if Alexander Prince could get this out of a duet whose the next phenom?

 

Enjoy,

 

Greg

 

wow, great tunes! thanks for sharing greg. i never would have thought that was on a duet. it sounds almost more bouncy than it would on an anglo!

 

happy merry, and all that! hope you and yours have a wonderful christmas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those who try to introduce new instruments to a tradition have a lot of work to do, and they need to know the tradition extremely well. Most people pick up the duet to play more fully-orchestrated arrangements, and to play several different styles, since the instrument is so versatile. So it is unlikely that someone will choose the instrument to focus on Irish traditional dance music. There are good reasons why it's NOT done, that doesn't mean it CAN'T be done. It wouldn't even be difficult, in the right hands. If any high-level Irish anglo concertina player wanted to spend a month messing around with a duet, I'm positive they could knock out tunes that would pass muster with anybody.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

probably, because they would instinctively reverse bellows at the same points they would on an Anglo.

that is another option, always play certain notes in the scales of G or D in a particular direction.

 

It may be true that when you´re used to play anglo and move to the Duet in the beginning you will try to locate the air release button and move the bellows while you do not really need that. But once you know the Duet system then your option sounds to me like introducing a handicap you don´t need to get the Irish feel in the music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

logically, there is no other reason other than bellows reversals,that gives the Anglo bounce.

can you give me another?

few Anglo players that I have heard playing Irish music use much staccato that is generated by finger attack, though there is no reason why they should not, other than it has not been previously tried.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

logically, there is no other reason other than bellows reversals,that gives the Anglo bounce.

can you give me another?

few Anglo players that I have heard playing Irish music use much staccato that is generated by finger attack, though there is no reason why they should not, other than it has not been previously tried.

 

I think you can stop the bellows and go on the same way for a similar effect. Maybe the effect is more when you change direction. You can play a G in both directions on a duet so you can change the direction in both ways too. So I see no reason to play G on push only to get the bouncing effect.

 

Do you think that concertina music without bouncing bellows or finger attack doesn´t have the Irish feel? I think that the Irish feel is highly subjective. Some people say the Irish feel comes form the bagpipe origins of the music. How do you play a bellow bouncing effect on a bagpipe? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Bellows stop, when going the same direction is rather like a fiddlers broken slur.

The reversal of the bellows has about twice the effect, the other way of looking at it, is that the stop going in the same direction is more subtle.

There is no getting away from the different sound the Anglo produces, and this has logically got to be that it is not unisonic, thus it uses more bellows reversals, as do Diatonic Accordeons compared to unisonic Piano Accordeons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

logically...

What does "logic" have to do with either music or "tradition"?

 

...there is no other reason other than bellows reversals,that gives the Anglo bounce.

So you're claiming that the only aspect of the playing of Noel Hill, Niall Vallely, William Kimber, John Kirkpatrick, Jodie Kruskal, et al which contributes to the "bounce" of their playing is bellows reversals? (And by corollary, that when/if Simon Thoumire, Henrik Müller, and others get "bounce" from their non-anglos, it happens only when/if they reverse their bellows?) I think I'll spread a bit of that argument around my tomato plants. ;)

 

can you give me another?

few Anglo players that I have heard playing Irish music use much staccato that is generated by finger attack, though there is no reason why they should not, other than it has not been previously tried.

Looks like you're trying to give "another", yourself... except that you're claiming it's not used, at least not in "playing Irish music". But are you trying to claim that Noel Hill, Frank Edgley, et al never use their fingers to play staccato? Frank and others can answer for themselves, but my suspicion is that I can put the peppers alongside the tomatoes.

 

My impression is that staccato is indeed used by Irish anglo players -- along with various forms of ornamentation and techniques of bellows control other than simple reversals -- to provide "bounce".

 

However, as Danny (ratface) said, that's quite irrelevant to this Topic/thread, the title of which declares that it is specifically not about the anglo. Duets are no more anglos than fiddles are banjos. More relevant, I would think, is whether players of Irish music on instruments other than the anglo concertina emphasize "bounce" as a necessary component of the music? Not the fiddlers, whistlers, fluters, or even banjo players that I've spent time with. Uilleann pipers, yes, but they used the term to describe the use of the regulators, not the playing of the melody. Have I somehow been associating with the wrong Irish?

 

P.S.
My above comments regarding agricultural utility are not in any way to be construed as a
personal
attack. They do, however, indicate my strong opinion of the
claims
made in
billybunterr
's argument.

  • Downvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many reasons the Anglo is played physically differently from the duet. But I think the physical differences aren't really an issue -- every instrument used to play Irish music has different physical demands. The biggest issue is having the feel of the music in your head. The second biggest issue is having enough facility with your instrument to get it out. A creative musician will find a way to use the strengths of his instrument, and even turn the weaknesses into strengths. But it takes skill, dedication, and a deep feel for the music.

 

People attribute many properties to the different concertina systems based on how they see them played. I think those differences are at least as much the type of person each system attracts, and the way the instrument has been played in the past, than any physical necessity imposed by the instrument.

 

Quite possibly certain sounds may not fit in to Irish traditional dance music as it's played today, but the duet has the same "reed sound" as the Anglo, so all that's needed is for it to be played with proper style. I'm sure someone who can already play with the proper style, and who is motivated enough to learn duet, could do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

some Banjo players do believe they get more emphasis, by using a down pick rather than an up pick, which is why some Banjo players prefer to use DUD DUD for groups of six quavers in jig time, rather than DUD UDU,the latter gives a more lyrical less bouncy effect.

here are quotes from two tutors, Sullys Irish Banjo."The down stroke is stronger,therefore as a general rule the "on" beats should be picked with a downstroke, the "off" beats with an upstroke"

Enda Scahill Irish Banjo Tutor,"Rule 1: odd numbers are always plucked down, even numbers are always plucked up"

"The rules that apply to jigs are as follows, The first note of the bar should be down"

I have come across Fiddle players, who believe they get more oomph on a down bow, they slur a group of notes on an up bow in readiness for a note they wish to emphasize on a down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...