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Concertina v violin on thesession.org


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There's an interesting debate going on over on thesession.org, precipitated by a member asking the panel to decide whether they should concentrate on fiddle or on concertina.

 

Some interesting points being made (alongside some more, er, robust contributions) ... I should warn that they've just veered off into whether you can play Irish music on EC, so things might get very nasty fairly soon ....

 

I won't spoil the surprise by giving away the original poster's decision!

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Had a look.

Well I started to learn the fiddle 9 months ago....and I would say they are about equal on difficulty but fiddle just pips concertina to the post as my inotation is rubbish ;)

I still sound like a cat in a mangle...but at least not as much as I used to when I started. lol

Edited by LDT
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There's an interesting debate going on over on thesession.org, precipitated by a member asking the panel to decide whether they should concentrate on fiddle or on concertina.

 

Thanks for the link - interesting debate indeed!

 

I always say that if I'd wanted to play traditional Irish dance music, I'd have used the money I spent on my concertina to get my old hand-me-down fiddle repaired!

As I remember from the time before my fiddle went defunct, jigs and reels, and especially the typical decorations, lie much more naturally on the fiddle. No wonder - the fiddle has been instrumental (groan!) in forming Irish dance music for generations, and has imposed its idiosyncrasies on it.

 

Cheers,

John

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As I remember from the time before my fiddle went defunct, jigs and reels, and especially the typical decorations, lie much more naturally on the fiddle. No wonder - the fiddle has been instrumental (groan!) in forming Irish dance music for generations, and has imposed its idiosyncrasies on it.

Cheers,

John

 

A funny thing is that while the Anglo mostly is regarded as the only concertina for Irish dance music you will probably find that a great deal of those 'fiddle idiosynchrasies' you say have been imposed on this music would be more naturally performed with the English than the Anglo, which again in some generations has imposed its own idiosynchrasies into the "trad" Irish music we find today. The real purists may have to return to the pre-fiddle days of harps, flutes and drumsticks...

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Don't forget the pipes. Isn't it interesting how many instruments are played in a particular way because they're trying to get the "natural" ornaments available to another instrument. The roll ... either the fiddle or the pipes are responsible for that one. A concertina player didn't come up with that! I remember an interview with Joe Burke saying that the B/C accordion was adopted because, bizarrely, it was easy to play pipe and fiddle style ornaments in D and G on the B/C box.

 

Even in French music, I find myself listening to pipes and hurdy gurdy to figure out a melodeon approach.

 

Maybe it's just my OCD ...

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Interesting, and rather ties up with a long-held belief of mine that fiddlers were largely responsible for the distinctive, rhythmic and somewhat staccato styles of English music. Not so much with decoration, though, English music being much less decorated than Irish I guess we never felt the need to go looking for instruments to imitate ...

 

Chris

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Interesting debate... :)

 

My best friends play the violin/fiddle while I play the concertina... we all reckon' they go together excellently actually. Another good combo is the flute and ?bohran.

Rather as my conclusion I'd say all instruments are pretty fun though some are easier than others... and the concertina is a good challenge. :lol:

Perhaps rather another interesting discussion on TheSession is a bit of a questionnaire of what instruments do people play. We'd then have a bit of research showing what are the most commonly played instruments in trad music.

I must say at our local music group the 4 most common are guitars, concertinas, flutes and tin whistles. Most tunes go down well but I sometimes loathe the occasional high pitched note (or rather noise sometimes) coming from the tin whistles... ouch :blink:.

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Interesting, and rather ties up with a long-held belief of mine that fiddlers were largely responsible for the distinctive, rhythmic and somewhat staccato styles of English music. Not so much with decoration, though, English music being much less decorated than Irish I guess we never felt the need to go looking for instruments to imitate ...

Chris

 

Do I get you right? I rather feel another way concerning "less decorated rhythmic and staccato style" which mostly is not typical for violin playing.

It is an interesting question what actually characterizes certain regional or ethnical "folk music".You may analyse the musical "language" itself of course - like tonal content, use of particular scales,special melodic phrases and so on - or as is discussed here - the traditional use of various instruments.

 

Roughly in my view the dominating differences between British and Irish today are - as you said Chris - that British "folk" is more rhythmic/staccato (or I might say bouncing) and less decorated while the Irish is faster, more fluent and more decorated.Comparing the Anglo concertina styles I believe that the British is much influenced by the Morris idiom.

I guess that the regional dancing and ceremonial habits have developed differently and contributed to the idiosynchrasy we find today.

 

I doubt that many concertina players will change to violin in order to pick up another style of playing. The choice of an individual instrument may be just accidental of course but I think very much is a personality matter and for concertina players the everlasting question remains what sort of concertina is most suited for a certain kind of music. Judging from the said differences between British and Irish contrary to tradition and common opinion the English might be musically more suited for Irish than the Anglo which seems to be more perfect for the Morris style.

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