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simonlewin

Should I buy an English?

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Hello there,

 

I wondered if you could help?

 

I'm looking to purchase my first concertina.

 

My main interest for this will be to play Scottish tunes.

 

But... I'm also trying to re-learn the double bass and I'm spending a lot of time looking at general music theory and notation.

 

So - I wondered if it might be most logical for me to get an English concertina?

 

And if so, with a budget of £500-£750, are there any makers that you would recommend?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Best wishes,

 

Simon

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Here's my opinion, for what it's worth, based on my experience of the music you want to play and having played EC, some Anglo and BCC# accordion (the Jimmy Shand jobby) for many years.

While you can sucessfully play Scottish music on any system of concertina I think you are right that the EC is probably the most suited. The fingering system is logical and potentially fast; Scottish style gracing is not difficult because of the placement of the buttons; it's easy to hold a drone in the bass to emulate pipes; and the keys of A, D, G and Bb (a Scott Skinner favourite) are well within a learner's reach. Your budget is modest for any kind of concertina, but it is possible to get a decent used instrument for that money if you search carefully, particularly with help if you can get it. Maybe other members might have more knowledge of models in current production - I've seen some advertised but have no experience of them. Good luck, Tony.

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yes.why not? it is a good all purpose system.

try a 48 key second hand lachenal, check it has steel reeds.

have you considered the Duet system.

both systems are unisonic,55 keys is ideal, but in your price range you should be able to get a 46 key or a 48 key Crane Duet

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Anglos are well suited for dance music - especially Irish and Scottish jigs, reels and hornpipes. But for exploring the wider world of music, the English concertina is more versatile.

 

There are several ECs currently being manufactured which might fit within your budget, but I haven't been impressed with the ones I've tried. Personally, I'd put my money into a decent older instrument - even if it needed some restoration. Still, any concertina is better than no concertina! B)

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Anglos are well suited for dance music - especially Irish and Scottish jigs, reels and hornpipes.

they are not suited for Scottish music,or English hornpipes.

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Anglos are well suited for dance music - especially Irish and Scottish jigs, reels and hornpipes.

they are not suited for Scottish music,or English hornpipes.

 

I find this to be an absurd statement. What exactly makes an Anglo unsuited to an English Hornpipe? Honestly...that's just silly.

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I find this to be an absurd statement. What exactly makes an Anglo unsuited to an English Hornpipe? Honestly...that's just silly.

Completely agree. A somewhat daffy statement, but maybe not intended to sound the way it did. It does give me a lead in to what I wanted to say, though, which is this. I have a personal bee in my bonnet that starts buzzing like mad whenever anyone makes a statement like concertina system A is ideal for [insert traditional idiom here] while you shouldn't even think of playing [insert different traditional idiom here] on system B else the Gods will smite you mightily.

 

The choice of a concertina system is a very personal one and has much more to do with how your brain works than it does the style of music. I, for instance, play anglos and find the English fairly baffling. My partner plays English and considers the anglo totally illogical and unattractive. We both play English dance music with a certain amount of success (including hornpipes!). I have long advocated that you find the concertina that you want to play and then work out how to play the music you want to play. If you don't get on with the system (which you chose because others said it was the right one to play) then you'll never hold to practicing and may even go off the concertina completely.

 

OK, so how do you decide which is right for you? Well, nothing beats getting your hands on one. If you look at the Concertina FAQ you will find lists of concertina clubs, shops and dealers, any of whom will help. You may find people off this forum who are nearby who can help. Either way you have an exciting (if expensive) time ahead of you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Chris

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Interesting - I had expected my opinion to stir up more controversy!

The mention of English hornpipes is apt - Scottish music having the strathspey as a reasonably similar form. Again, I find the EC suited very well to strathspey (and hornpipes for that matter - changing the bellows for the triplets at the start of "the Trumpet" is a prime example). Best wishes, Tony.

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I find this to be an absurd statement. What exactly makes an Anglo unsuited to an English Hornpipe? Honestly...that's just silly.

Completely agree. A somewhat daffy statement, but maybe not intended to sound the way it did. It does give me a lead in to what I wanted to say, though, which is this. I have a personal bee in my bonnet that starts buzzing like mad whenever anyone makes a statement like concertina system A is ideal for [insert traditional idiom here] while you shouldn't even think of playing [insert different traditional idiom here] on system B else the Gods will smite you mightily.

 

The choice of a concertina system is a very personal one and has much more to do with how your brain works than it does the style of music. I, for instance, play anglos and find the English fairly baffling. My partner plays English and considers the anglo totally illogical and unattractive. We both play English dance music with a certain amount of success (including hornpipes!). I have long advocated that you find the concertina that you want to play and then work out how to play the music you want to play. If you don't get on with the system (which you chose because others said it was the right one to play) then you'll never hold to practicing and may even go off the concertina completely.

 

OK, so how do you decide which is right for you? Well, nothing beats getting your hands on one. If you look at the Concertina FAQ you will find lists of concertina clubs, shops and dealers, any of whom will help. You may find people off this forum who are nearby who can help. Either way you have an exciting (if expensive) time ahead of you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Chris

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Silly? maybe its the silly season.

is it any sillier than saying unisonic concertinas can not play Irish diddley twiddley.

 

Nope, that's pretty much a provably false and ridiculous statement also.

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Silly? maybe its the silly season.

is it any sillier than saying unisonic concertinas can not play Irish diddley twiddley.

 

Nope, that's pretty much a provably false and ridiculous statement also.

Anything can play diddley Scwot!

 

On a lighter note - do, do go and have a go first as earlier recommended - BEFORE you buy.

As a useless player I can assure you that there are so many ifs and buttons and scales and notes to which different tinas are tuned that you need to find out in the simplest terms what the tina does.

 

And the only way is get your hands on one and there will be someone to show you ifyou go to a session or club. You also need to go to a session (take a triangle if you want to join in and feel at home) so you can see all the different types of tinas which people turn up with and watch them play.

 

Have a look at the calendar - and if you go somewhere nobble a tina player and tell em u were asking questions about what to start on and they will give you some tips. :P

 

In which country and in which part of it do you live?! That may help bring u some assistance.

If its London then go to the George Inn London Bridge on Jan 4 2000 to 2300 and ask the tina players (and there is occasionally a double bass player turns up)

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,3223.0.html

or there will probably be some at the Melodeon (all other instruments welcome) Walthamstow squueze on second tuesday in Jan and all months.

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,1355.0.html

see calendar B)

Edited by Kautilya

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The choice of a concertina system is a very personal one and has much more to do with how your brain works than it does the style of music. I, for instance, play anglos and find the English fairly baffling. My partner plays English and considers the anglo totally illogical and unattractive. We both play English dance music with a certain amount of success (including hornpipes!). I have long advocated that you find the concertina that you want to play and then work out how to play the music you want to play. If you don't get on with the system (which you chose because others said it was the right one to play) then you'll never hold to practicing and may even go off the concertina completely.

 

OK, so how do you decide which is right for you? Well, nothing beats getting your hands on one. If you look at the Concertina FAQ you will find lists of concertina clubs, shops and dealers, any of whom will help. You may find people off this forum who are nearby who can help. Either way you have an exciting (if expensive) time ahead of you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Chris

 

I agree with this. I tried the English and found it a struggle to get a hang of the system.

 

I later picked up an Anglo and felt at home with it straight away, so I went for the Anglo.

 

My EC playing friends tell me the Anglo isn't logical which isn't true, it simply based on a different logic than the EC.

 

If you can get your hands on examples of the two systems to try out, then that should help you make your choice.

 

Geoff

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go to a session (take a triangle if you want to join in and feel at home)

 

Please don't take a triangle, or any other percussion instrument, to a session unless you can actually play it.

 

There seems to be a view that percussion is a suitable option for people who want to join in but who can't play a "proper" instrument. It isn't. Good percussion requires technique and a deep understanding of the music. Bad percussion can just wreck a session.

 

End of thread drift.

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The choice of a concertina system is a very personal one and has much more to do with how your brain works than it does the style of music. I, for instance, play anglos and find the English fairly baffling. My partner plays English and considers the anglo totally illogical and unattractive. We both play English dance music with a certain amount of success (including hornpipes!). I have long advocated that you find the concertina that you want to play and then work out how to play the music you want to play. If you don't get on with the system (which you chose because others said it was the right one to play) then you'll never hold to practicing and may even go off the concertina completely.

 

OK, so how do you decide which is right for you? Well, nothing beats getting your hands on one. If you look at the Concertina FAQ you will find lists of concertina clubs, shops and dealers, any of whom will help. You may find people off this forum who are nearby who can help. Either way you have an exciting (if expensive) time ahead of you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Chris

 

I agree with this. I tried the English and found it a struggle to get a hang of the system.

 

Just for the sake of balance, I pretty much instantly clicked with the basic principles of EC and have loved it from day one, whereas the anglo left me completely and utterly brain-fuddled, so it does work both ways round.

 

Mind you I'm completely baffled by any instrument where the push note is different from the pull note, as the various people who have confidently reckoned that they are the one who would be able to teach me melodeon will all testify!

 

Another thought on trying before you buy is to see if there's an organisation (Folkworks in NE England, or the Scottish music school in Plockton, for example) that run taster sessions. They'll often have an instrument they can lend you for the day / session, and at the end of that you should have an inkling as to whether the English system is going to work for you or not.

 

Good luck

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Hear Hear! I saw an advert on a stall at a festival that said 'Bodhran, requires no previous musical knowledge'

 

Ahh! The Perfectionisti!

 

Howard and MSW: we should all remember that Confuce-us say: "For those who would begin, encouragement, from those who have begun, should be the beginning of a great adventure. :P :P

 

So rather than 'don't', here is : 'HOW :P :P '

 

For those who want to tackle the triangle, you may start with finger tapping on the table along with the beat (unless session-masters have banned it) then foot-tapping along with the beat (unless session-masters have banned it), and you can also turn to Honourable Master Yu Teub Ping to hear and see how the young do it..... see urls below.

 

As for the bodhran (or the tambourine. or the Morris dancer's leggy bells) the same principles apply (unless session-masters have banned them too :P ), you can learn the basic beat a lot faster than you might succeed with Jingle bells on a 56 button tina. instrument. I have seen a simple beat on such instruments bring a disordered, out-of-time mixture of session instruments into a semblance of order which helps advancing -players who like to run ahead, and also slow-to-keep up learners.

 

And just to be seasonal before the new belt of snow sweeps across the music scene you could indeed start with Jingle Bells, or Good King Con-fucius Pinged Out:

 

Beginning Band - Concerto for Triangle

 

BTW it's all about fun and here is a triangle supremo at work, whom any beginner should be proud to copy....and have no trouble at all doing so:

 

And experts tell us you can learn the bodhran basics with a dish-cloth in the kitchen (u learn something new everyday :ph34r: )

 

 

:lol: :lol:

Edited by Kautilya

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I'm looking to purchase my first concertina.

My main interest for this will be to play Scottish tunes.

But... I'm also trying to re-learn the double bass and I'm spending a lot of time looking at general music theory and notation.

So - I wondered if it might be most logical for me to get an English concertina?

I've been playing Scottish music on English concertina for a number of years, and I would definately recommend choosing the English system.

You have all the semitones available, so that pipe tunes in D or A, and fiddle slow airs in Bb are no problem.

Since you have some knowledge of music notation, you will find it relatively easy to find your way around the system

(all the notes on the bar lines are on the left hand, all the notes between the lines are on the right hand)

Anglo concertinas are based on two keys, usually C and G, with another row to fill in the semitones, and although all the notes are there, you require a lot of practise to play tunes away from the main keys.

Duet concertinas give you all the notes on the right hand, with a copy an octave lower on the left hand, so you can play melody and accompaniment.

In general, the Scottish tradition, until the rise of accordions, was to play a single melody line, and many traditional fiddlers played with piano accompaniment.

 

So, English concertina is a good choice.

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