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Hyp
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... if english concertinas would have been in irish houses instead of anglos, people would still have learned to push and pull a bit more to emulate bowing on the fiddle a bit more.

 

This is the reply I started writing a few minutes ago: "I think this is a bit of a red herring. There is such a huge variation in the way Irish trad. fiddlers use the bow, after all. Whose bowing patterns are you going to try to emulate? You find whatever way you can to get the lift and swing you want out of your instrument. I mean, flute players have a way (many ways, actually) of doing it, and I don't think they worry much about bowing patterns. Pipers have a huge box of tricks that they use to make the music come alive that have nothing to do with fiddling (in fact fiddlers tend to emulate piping techniques far more than the other way around). Button box players do what they can to overcome and exploit the limitations of their instrument."

 

As I was writing that, a little nagging voice in my head reminded of a few things noticed over the years. I learned ITM on tin whistle after playing fiddle for years. At some point I started teaching tin whistle, which forced me to pay a bit more attention to how I did things, and I noticed there were many parallels between the way I articulated certain passages on the whistle (by tonguing) and how I would bow them on fiddle. And that many whistle and flute players did things in exactly this manner. Slurring across beats and bar lines, and isolating the middle note of a group of 3 in jigs, for example. (Mostly I picked up these methods of articulation on whistle unconsciously, by osmosis, but one was shown to me nearly 30 years ago by a certain Geoff W while driving through the Australian back country... (I was driving, he was playing whistle in the passenger seat :D ).)

 

So there were some parallels between fiddle bowing and articulation on another trad. instrument. (Which came first would be a good subject for a doctorate in ethnomusicology.)

 

With regard to the concertina, I have been struck by how Gearoid O in particular manages to make certain "rocking pedal" passages sound very much like a fiddler would, with a slippy-slidy slurring across the beat feeling. Presumably he exploits cross-rowing to get the bellows changes in the right place to produce this effect. So maybe Azalin's argument isn't so much of a red herring after all, at least not on the micro level of certain distinctive figures, rather than fiddle bowing as a whole. And I can surmise that, were I to attempt Irish music on EC, I would naturally attempt to develop the same kind of swing and articulation as I could on the fiddle. (Whether I would succeed or not is another matter, of course.)

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So maybe Azalin's argument isn't so much of a red herring after all

 

I'll buy some Champagne! My first argument that makes some sense! What m3838 said is interesting though. The english concertina isn't really adapted to frequent push and pull... maybe the instrument is truly not made for ITM? HAHA! Just kidding, just kidding... B)

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Here's my entry in the "stating the blooming obvious" competition, (is the prize a red herring?)

 

Reading the above posts made me think of an excellent EC player from N Oxfordshire. OK, he mainly plays English music. Why is this relevant? He's also a morris dancer and plays melodeon. Why is that relevant?

 

When he plays EC he often uses the bellows very much like an Anglo player, holds the instrument above elbow height etc, and he's probably the most rhythmic and punchy EC player I know. Why does he play EC like that? Presumably because that's part of the tradition he's playing in, but also surely because as a melodeon player as well, he's used to using the bellows to drive the rhythm.

No criticism intended, but I suspect that many EC players are simply not used to doing that.

It would be quite possible(-ish) to play fiddle playing one bar on the down bow, one bar on the up. Most fiddlers don't do that, it's not part of most fiddle traditions, (but it could be!)

 

Getting out of my depth here, but what do EC players actually think about bellows articulation, (that the Anglo folks are mostly forced into.)

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I'm both a fiddler and an EC player and I was just rereading the section in Alan Atlas's Contemplating the Concertina on bellows control. There is a weak analogy between bowing and bellows articulation-- I'd change bow direction more often than bellows direction, but I would think about the bellows changes. More than that, though, I get punch by coordinating a staccato fingering with bellows pressure increased just before the keystroke. Atlas also talks about articulating repeated notes by stopping the bellows and then continuing in the same direction.

 

I'll admit that my concentration on bellows has more to do with shaping the notes than changing the direction. I want to be able to punctuate in either direction and at any point in the bellows movement--- something you can do on an EC but which is much harder to do within a single bow stroke on a fiddle.

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If anyone here is from germany and owns both tell me. I'd probably manage to come by if it isn't to far.

 

 

Hyp,

 

Whereabouts in Germany do you live?

 

I live just south of Stuttgart, and have a 30-key Anglo in C/G, a Crane Duet, and a small Bandonoen.

 

I've been playing the Anglo for years, but just recently started with the Crane Duet. The Bandoneon was never more than a rather bigger Anglo for me.

 

If you're near me, I could let you get the feel of my small selection.

If not, there are a couple of concertina weekends in Germany each year, where you will meet people with all concertina systems (so I'm told - I've never been to one). The best place for information on the German concertina scene is the German-language forum Konzertina.org. The concertina weekends are advertised there.

 

I'm an Irishman and amateur musician, but I'm not into the world-music genre ITM. My repertoire is mostly ballads and songs. The Anglo is one of my accompaniment instruments, the main one being the 5-string banjo (which is NOT the ITM variety, but was used by several ballad singers of the older generation!)

If I had wanted to get into ITM, or even just normal Irish folk dance music, I'd have kept to the fiddle, which I played a little as a schoolboy. But as a solo singer, I concentrated on accompaniment instruments.

 

Speaking of which, why don't you forget the concertina and take up the violin? Classical, folk from many countries, ITM, jazz - the violin can do anything that the violinist can!

 

Cheers,

John

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I appears to me that the EC is unlikely be suitable for "ITM", because that is a genre which defines itself in terms of playing only in recognised traditional styles and on recognised "traditional" instruments. EC could only be considered for acceptance into this genre if it were to be played in a style which exactly mimics accepted anglo styles, and even then would perhaps be rejected on the grounds that it's "not traditional". It certainly appears to me from this discussion that any attempts to play Irish music in an "EC style" could not in any circumstances be considered "ITM".

 

On the one hand I can understand the appeal of the "pure drop" approach. On the other hand it puts me in mind of those communities such as the Amish who have decided that human progress reached its peak in the early 19th century and that any subsequent developments are not to be trusted. It is perhaps fortunate for concertina players that the notion of "ITM" wasn't defined 150 years ago, or anglos would be equally unacceptable. Or even earlier, when those damned Italian fiddles supplanted the harp.

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On the one hand I can understand the appeal of the "pure drop" approach. On the other hand it puts me in mind of those communities such as the Amish who have decided that human progress reached its peak in the early 19th century and that any subsequent developments are not to be trusted. It is perhaps fortunate for concertina players that the notion of "ITM" wasn't defined 150 years ago, or anglos would be equally unacceptable. Or even earlier, when those damned Italian fiddles supplanted the harp.

 

Well done Howard, that's precisely the point I've been trying to write for a couple of days and haven't managed to put into words.

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Simon Thoumire has already been mentioned, Scottish player of course,

 

 

Wot say, Anglo players all?

 

(Replies that include a link to your own playing will be particularly honoured, of course.)

 

Ah, great stuff. But it's nothing like ITM. Is there a few ITM albums that's been recorded on an english?

 

 

Well, that settles it for me!

 

If that's nothing like ITM, then ITM can't be much fun to listen to! tongue.gif

 

Cheers,

John

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I tried to taunt people who play ITM on english to send clips to no avail.

 

OK, I'll try to work out how to make videos and put them on Youtube, but I've never done it yet, so please be patient.

 

Meanwhile, I'll have to admit I was wrong thinking english concertinas could be technically limited to play irish music. In perspective, I'd even say it's stupid to think so! My new theory is that many english concertina players who play ITM don't apply themselves enough to play irish music in an interesting way. This is my new extremist point of view, yeah! :lol:

 

Now that I agree with that completely. As mentioned before, this topic pops up time and time again, and this is what I think about it. The topic was "Should I Switch From English To Anglo?"

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On the one hand I can understand the appeal of the "pure drop" approach. On the other hand it puts me in mind of those communities such as the Amish who have decided that human progress reached its peak in the early 19th century and that any subsequent developments are not to be trusted. It is perhaps fortunate for concertina players that the notion of "ITM" wasn't defined 150 years ago, or anglos would be equally unacceptable. Or even earlier, when those damned Italian fiddles supplanted the harp.

 

The Amish analogy is quite misleading. New instruments have always made their way into the Irish traditional tradition, and styles of playing are changing all the time. But it's an incremental process: for a new instrument to be accepted, somebody has to establish a way of playing it that a significant proportion of the community likes or gradually accepts. And new styles of playing an established instrument will be accepted, provided that people in the tradition like it and a sufficient number of younger players seek to emulate it. (And provided that the person introducing the new style comes from within the tradition as it were, understands the existing musical language. Tommy Peoples could change the face of, or at least introduce a new strand into, Irish fiddle playing; Nigel Kennedy, were he to try, could not. Brian Finnegan is a very gifted musician from inside the tradition who has developed a new style of playing the whistle. You hear some younger players trying to emulate him, but I feel there's a strong chance that most of his innovations will fall by the wayside rather than be absorbed into the tradition.)

 

It would be entirely possible for someone who understands the traditional musical language of ITM to develop a playing style on EC that would be judged acceptable and, if the player's skill were sufficient, admired and emulated. Whether a significant numnber of younger players would get on the bandwagon is another matter, of course. David B mentioned Joanie Madden: her playing and that of quite a few other players of the Boehm flute are considered irreproachable, but that doesn't mean that legions of youngsters are choosing the Boehm flute over the simple-system flute. Tradition is a slow ship to turn, for one thing, and for another people would have to be convinced that the alternative system had sufficient distinct advantages to be a good choice. Rather than being a system that people can succeed in making work despite its inherent disadvantages - like the keyed flute and very possibly the EC.

 

On YouTube you can find a young lad playing Irish reels on a sheng. He pulls it off remarkably well - great rhythm and lift, and I'm sure few traditional players would object to having this young man in a session with them. But this doesn't mean that we can expect to see hordes of young sheng players invading sessions any time soon.

Edited by ZiziAllaire
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When he plays EC he often uses the bellows very much like an Anglo player, holds the instrument above elbow height etc, and he's probably the most rhythmic and punchy EC player I know. Why does he play EC like that? Presumably because that's part of the tradition he's playing in, but also surely because as a melodeon player as well, he's used to using the bellows to drive the rhythm.

No criticism intended, but I suspect that many EC players are simply not used to doing that.

It would be quite possible(-ish) to play fiddle playing one bar on the down bow, one bar on the up. Most fiddlers don't do that, it's not part of most fiddle traditions, (but it could be!)

 

Getting out of my depth here, but what do EC players actually think about bellows articulation, (that the Anglo folks are mostly forced into.)

 

I play the english concertina and the melodeon. I've often seen it suggested that if EC players would just 'learn to use the bellows' they would be able to get the 'bounce' of an anglo. In my opnion an EC cannot be made to sound like an anglo no matter what you do with the bellows. A bisonoric (different note push/pull) instrument can make a particular sound of changing from one note to another by holding down a button and changing the bellows. This has, in my opinion, a unique sound and energy to it that cannot be duplicated on any unisonoric (same note push pull) instrument. The suggestion that EC players just don't know how to use their bellows properly to get the 'right sound' out of their instruments is offensive. The bellows of EC's and anglos are also constructed differently reflecting the different way they are used. The anglo bellows is built a bit stiffer to better accomodate rapid pressure changes.

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It would be entirely possible for someone who understands the traditional musical language of ITM to develop a playing style on EC that would be judged acceptable and, if the player's skill were sufficient, admired and emulated.

 

That's what I would have expected. However some earlier posts to this thread appeared to give the impression (at least to me) that the EC was inherently unsuitable for ITM, although mainly on the grounds that it isn't an anglo.

 

My point was that "ITM" seems to define itself quite narrowly. I take your point about innovation and development taking place within the tradition, but I get the impression that innovations which are disapproved of, no matter how popular or widespread, are dismissed as "folk music". The different opinions of you and Azalin over the Simon Thoumire clip are an illustration of this. The widespread use of guitar accompaniment is another.

 

This is of course the perception of an outsider - I enjoy both traditional Irish music and Irish Traditional Music, but I'm not part of an Irish music scene, and the way I play it and the instruments I play it on would probably not meet Azalin's exacting standards :rolleyes:.

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This is of course the perception of an outsider - I enjoy both traditional Irish music and Irish Traditional Music, but I'm not part of an Irish music scene, and the way I play it and the instruments I play it on would probably not meet Azalin's exacting standards :rolleyes:.

 

But why does it matter? If tommorow I wanted to play Scottish music for some reason, I would start playing some tunes knowing fully that I wasn't devoted enough to the style, so far, to sound anything like tradiotional scottish music. I would gladly accept criticism of not being 'pure scottish' music, because I know that it takes time and effort to assimilate a style. I would probably visit Scotland quite a bit, and take workhops there and listen a lot to their music. I don't understand why people are so upset when told that what they do isn't "pure tradiotional style". What do you expect? I'm not sure why it's such a big deal to english players and why they get so irritated when being told that what they do isn't 'pure' ITM.

 

There's a great irish box player, Damien Connolly, who's one of my favorite musicians. I heard him play quebecois/french canadian music last year, and let me tell you that I couldn't tell the difference between his playing and anyone here. How do you think he's achieved this? By simply taking some sheet music and playing the tune? Nope. He studied quebecois style, visited Quebec a few times, and actually worked hard on trying to emulate the style. There's a reason why some musicians want to actually infuse themselves with a style when they learn a type of music, why do you think they do so?

Edited by Azalin
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I tried to taunt people who play ITM on english to send clips to no avail. Geoff, you're my only hope. If you have time, could I get a sample of your music, here or by private email? Pretty please!

Quote.

 

Azalin,

I would willingly send you some clips, but, firstly I have to get "My own" recording gadget, I would not dare use 'hers', might upset it, like when I play her fiddle and she can tell because someone has displaced the rosin on the bow! She is away at present, at a french music summer school, I wonder if I should chance turning on the washing machine? well I have managed the dishwasher without breaking it, I think.

Secondly, I do have a "Zoom" thing here, on loan for a couple of days, and have made some recordings but have not figured how to post them on this forum, for one thing, and thirdly I am extremely FUSSY and so I can hardly bare to listen to my own playing.

 

I have another friend dropping in for a holiday next week, he is a wizard on these computer things, so maybe I will be able to send or up load a few tunes. And now to practice some more.

Geoff.

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I appears to me that the EC is unlikely be suitable for "ITM", because that is a genre which defines itself in terms of playing only in recognised traditional styles and on recognised "traditional" instruments. EC could only be considered for acceptance into this genre if it were to be played in a style which exactly mimics accepted anglo styles, and even then would perhaps be rejected on the grounds that it's "not traditional". It certainly appears to me from this discussion that any attempts to play Irish music in an "EC style" could not in any circumstances be considered "ITM".

 

On the one hand I can understand the appeal of the "pure drop" approach. On the other hand it puts me in mind of those communities such as the Amish who have decided that human progress reached its peak in the early 19th century and that any subsequent developments are not to be trusted. It is perhaps fortunate for concertina players that the notion of "ITM" wasn't defined 150 years ago, or anglos would be equally unacceptable. Or even earlier, when those damned Italian fiddles supplanted the harp.

 

You are 100 percent correct. Anglos only came into Irish music because they were cheap, much cheaper than a fiddle

and much much cheaper than an EC. At the time many prominent Irish musicians disapproved of them and deplored their use

in ITM. In the 1850s an Anglo could be obtained for 2 shillings and 6 pence while an EC in Dublin still cost 3 guineas.

However there always were Irish players of the EC and being Irish they had as much right to play traditional tunes as

anyone else.

 

Every Irish person playing traditional tunes on any ordinary instrument has the right to be considered part of ITM.

Who are these Anglo players who are attempting to take over ITM with their bizarre and arbitrary fascist definitions.

Has the ITM scene been invaded by English folk musicians because these fascist purity type movements are just what is

so typical of the English folk scene.

 

ITM is not a genre it is a living music which can still be added to, it is not a dead historical thing like English

folk. Irish people should stand firm against all these fascist attempts to exclude people from the music. I know

Irish EC players who have been playing ITM for years. Perhaps we are now all expected excommunicate these EC players

and to take them outside and stone them to death.

 

This is probably what this narrow minded group of people would like. Irish people should stand firm against

this attempted fascist takeover of their music. I would ask all ITM musicians including Irish Anglo players

to reject this sort of petty minded fascism.

 

I had always thought that Irish people had avoided the exclusive nastiness that sometimes ruins the English

folk music scene, I see now that they have not. ITM belongs to the Irish people not to small unrepresentative

groups who think they have the right to say what ITM is and what it is not.

Edited by shaunw
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I tried to taunt people who play ITM on english to send clips to no avail. Geoff, you're my only hope. If you have time, could I get a sample of your music, here or by private email? Pretty please!

Quote.

 

Azalin,

Why do you want clips of ITM on an EC? Is it so that you can decide if it sounds Irish enough. Who appointed

you an official judge in these matters? Was it the Irish Music Council? Why should anyone pay any attention

to what you say?

 

Can I taunt you to send me some clips of your music on an Anglo. I'm Irish, I have been listening to Irish

music all my life, so I will tell you if your music sounds authentically Irish to me. It won't be easy

because most ITM I hear played on an Anglo sounds too English or too German to my ears. It has an unnatural

bounce that has nothing to do with the tune being played.

 

Hoping to receive clips from you soon.

 

Any Irish person playing a traditional tune on an EC is part of ITM and you do not have the right to say that they

are or are not part of ITM or that their music doesn't sound traditional since there is no generally accepted

definition of traditional.

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Well, that came across as pretty over-the-top to me, Shaun...maybe you're just blowing off steam? This thread has had some interesting thoughts posted lately, and it seems clear that even Azalin is prepared to be convinced that an English concertina can play Irish traditional dance tunes to a high standard.

 

People will play with whom they want to. That's necessarily selective. Yes, I've seen some long-time players suspicious of newcomers, especially if they play "certain" instruments. But I've always seen the newcomers welcomed if they were respectful, could play well, and fit in with the session. You can't force it, if others don't want to play with you, you can always start your own group.

 

In every endeavor you will have to struggle with ego, ignorance, entitlement and the like...I really don't think traditional music is worse than others in that respect.

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Azalin,

Why do you want clips of ITM on an EC? Is it so that you can decide if it sounds Irish enough. Who appointed

you an official judge in these matters? Was it the Irish Music Council? Why should anyone pay any attention

to what you say?

 

I think no one should/does pay attention to what we are both saying, and it's the way it should be. The difference between us is that I'm aware of it ;-)

 

To be clear, it would be an honnor to get my hands on some of Geoff's english recordings, not to try to judge if it sounds irish or not, but to give me an idea how someone who has deep knowledge of irish music might want to sound like on an english. Also, some of the clips that's been posted have been quite enlightening.

 

A clip? Why not! Let's spice up the thread a bit. I recorded these jigs as a test a few days ago. I don't do these tunes justice yet, but it's a work in progress. I hope it doesn't sound German or English, or I've been listening to the wrong people!

 

Tunes

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