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Another "chords in ITM" question.

Dan A

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Hmm...interesting. I hadn't even considered the harmonic clashing issue; I was really only thinking of volume, but good points.


MSW hit the nail on the head - I do play fiddle as well. My regular session usually involves a fiddle player, a piper, and at least one bouzouki player, and speaking for myself, I rarely hold back on the double-stops and drones. But I do feel as though there's a noteworthy difference between chords on the concertina (or regs on the pipes) and then double-stops on the fiddle, since the bow-and-string setup actually allows you to play different notes, simultaneously, at different volumes. I can, for example, play an open D below a c-natural by lightly touching the D string and letting it ring out, or by gently rocking the bow across the strings; it's a less obtrusive effect than playing both notes at the same volume, with the same attack. That's just not possible on the pipes - is it possible on the concertina? I have noticed that by squeezing the bellows in the center, at the top, or at the bottom, I can sometimes make sure certain reeds sound before others, or sound more loudly than others.


After all, the pipes often clash harmonically with themselves. And there are box players like Gene Kelly, who plays the bass on his box purely for rhythmic effect regardless of tonality...I guess it's a question of whether you personally find you get more lift from the action of the bellows, as driven by a chordal rhythm, or by playing very tight and in-sync with your session mates.

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  • 1 year later...

I know it's a year on from these discussions but I've had another interesting year exploring chords with Brian Peters on the C/G anglo, mainly to accompany songs and also because I have been playing with a guitarist as a duo and a piper in sessions. i've also explored octave playing a lot more and have gone back to older players and played Dan Worrall's CD Rom on House Dance music.


I am still not clear about the degree of chord use being developed by players. Some seem to want to emulate the pipes whilst others are very sparing. I would be grateful if anyone could indicate who they regard as tasteful solo players who use chords to enhance the melody line. On the melodeon people like Andy Cutting, Tim Edey and Luke Daniels have done much to bring about a new vision and I'm keen to find out who, outside the Englsh tradition, are doing the same with Irish music. I know that Jody Kruskal and Bertram levy are guiding a revival in American music which I find exciting.




I also wonder whether the increasing number of Duet concertina players is having an influence on previously more melodic styles.

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