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English Style Anglo Playing, Morris Types?


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I know nothing about English style Anglo playihg, and first heard about it in a different thread about Stagis. I mentioned that I like to play chords on the left side of my Anglo, while melodies on the right, and got this response:

It sounds like you play English style rather than Irish style. Have you considered getting a G/D instead of a C/G? Not only would the G/D have the right hand more in the range of the tunes you play (so you don't have to cross over to the left so much), but those "home" keys fit more traditional dance tunes (played in the English manner) better than the C/G.

 

Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

 

So, I thought it would be best to start a separate topic thread about this, so anyone here who knows about this can share their knowledge about it. Here's a few things I want to know:

  • Names of recordings of this style
  • People who play this style and what region they live in ( like Chicago USA area, Melbourne, Australia area, etc)
  • References and resources about this style
  • Of course, the musical characteristics that distinguish this style
  • Whatever else you want to tell about it!

- Alex

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Anything from John Roberts & Tony Barrand (John is the Anglo player) also including the Nowell Sing We Clear series. John plays Morris, English Music Hall, and English Ballads. He lives in Schenectady, NY and performs all over the Northeast.

 

Anything with either of the Kruskal borthers on it (Tom or Jody). Jody plays in Grand Picnic, and I think they've recorded. Tom is featured on "Round Pond Relics" (only in vinyl) and "Over The Water," both from Cottey Light records. Tom's in Boston (area) and Jody's in New York. The recordings of Tom are mostly Morris. If Jody's recorded, it's probably mostly contradance stuff.

 

The playing style is particularly suited to Morris Dancing because the dance requires the kind of articulation that frequent bellows direction changes encourages. I play for Morris on a duet, but I try to imitate (or at least be inspired by) the sound of an Anglo playing chords and melody.

 

Many of these recordings are likely to be available through the Country Dance and Song Society (http://www.cdss.org). Find the links for sales of recordings. If you don't find what you're looking for, get in touch with them (all the info is on the site) and they'll know where to look. Another likely source is the Button Box (http://www.buttonbox.com).

 

=> 9/9/03 Fixed typo.

Edited by David Barnert
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[Anything with either of the Kruskal borthers on it (Tom or Jody). Jody plays in Grand Picnic, and I think they've recorded. Tom is featured on "Round Pond Relics" (only in vinyl) and "Over The Water," both from Cottey Light records. Tom's in Boston (area) and Jody's in New York. The recordings of Tom are mostly Morris. If Jody's recorded, it's probably mostly contradance stuff.]

 

Round Pond Relics is a classic; I've spent a lot of time over the years trying to learn those tunes the way Tom plays them. Highly recommended, if you can find it.

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Thanks guys, for the info so far! I got a look at the Country Dance and Song Society site too.

 

Now from this :

Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

I got the idea that there were actually some Concertina.net members who actually play this way. If any of you do, then it would be great to hear from you.

 

Also, if anyone knows if there are folks in the Chicago area that play this way, it would be nice to hear about them.

 

- Alex

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Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

Um, maybe it's time I stuck my head up above the parapet (though with people in other threads claiming to collect firearms, perhaps that isn't a safe thing to do...). Also I would hope that Roger Digby would write something here, since as well as being a *much* better player than me he has thought deeply on the whole topic of English anglo style.

 

Despite the number of anglos that were sold in the 19th century it remains the fact that only two "traditional" players were ever recorded: William Kimber and Scan Tester, so if you're looking for an English perspective on the anglo, this is where you start. Scan tester's music is available on "I Never Played To Many Posh Dances", which I have on vinyl but I understand is still available as a cassette. A splendid CD, "Absolutely Classic" of William Kimber has been produced by EFDSS. Both of these are based on recordings that are 50 or more years old, but they both well worth listening to.

 

Scan Tester played basically in parallel octaves, with twiddly bits and grace notes as the fancy took him, while William Kimber played melody on the right hand, putting a series of brisk chords on the left hand. Both played with verve and rhythmic drive. I guess if you press most English players they will own up to being heavily influenced by one or both men.

 

Of modern players I particularly listen to John Kirkpatrick and Brian Peters, who both play right hand melody, left hand chords, but with a greater range of chords than Kimber used. Both have had a lot of influence due to the fact that they are regularly booked at concertina events to run anglo workshops. JK is particularly good at teaching how to get lift and drive into the music to make it good to dance to.

 

Which brings me to another perhaps more contentious thought. I think this applies to English traditional music in general, not just anglo players. At a typical English session it is amazing the proportion of people present are involved in playing for dance in some way, whether for Morris or social dance or whatever. I think that English music and musicians have a connection with dance that is almost entirely missing from Irish music, which is now perhaps best described as concert music. I think that English music shares this characteristic with French music. The result is music that has strong drive and rhythm, not played fast (the dancers wouldn't like it..) and this in turn influences the way musicians play their instrments:- fiddlers change the direction of the bow with pretty well every note, button accordion players play D/G boxes, vamp chords on the left hands and tend not to play across the rows, English and duet concertina players too put a lot of welly into their playing, horn players just have a field dayand so of course do anglo players.

 

Chris

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Okay, I *have* to ask:

 

What in the *world* does "put a lot of welly in their playing" mean???

 

I have a pair of genuine British Wellies, but am unsure how to incorporate them into my playing ;)

 

I want to play for Morris (gotta find a team, first) and song accompaniment most of all, then Irish just for the increase in general skill. I also recommend John Roberts, especially as a fine example of song accompaniment.

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Okay, I *have* to ask:

 

What in the *world* does "put a lot of welly in their playing" mean???

 

I have a pair of genuine British Wellies, but am unsure how to incorporate them into my playing ;)

It means "to play with a great deal of enthusiasm"!.

Samantha

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that was what I thought "putting welly into it" meant, but yanno, I didn't want to assume!

 

Speaking of playing for morris, I have gleaned from various comments that Anglo morris players tend to finger "on the row." Is that accurate (mostly) or does putting welly into it also mean fingering any way that works?

 

Rhomylly

Ex-morris dancer, aspiring morris musician

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I am musician for the Toronto Morris men,so I guess that makes me a "Morris type".

I've really tried to model my playing on Kimber.As someone who also dances , he seems to give all the "information" I need and the drive he imparts to the music comes from really punchy left hand chords.

The EFDSS CD mentioned above is also good to play along to if you have a C/G anglo....helps get the crispness.

Regards Robin

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Hallo Alex,

I am sorry it has taken me a long time to respond to your notice.

I have recently done a tape for a friend in tutor format.It is not a professional tape and not done with proper recording equipement.It covers the English style and the way I learnt it.It is played on a CG box and I have only used a twenty button format.I must admit the drone key is hit a few times so if you have no drone you can ignore it.I have picked out simple tunes and explained how they are played.

It is purely for beginners.

If you or any other beginner would like a free copy, please send me your address and I will post one on.I am going on holiday on Friday for a week and I will send them on my return.

If I get inundated with requests I may ask for a donation towards costs,but I will let you know if that is the case.

alan-jenny @ decoverly.fsnet.co.uk

Regards

Alan

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Hallo David,

When I get back from my holiday I will try and add a few more things to click onto,the example was a little bit duet style .I will try and do some of the English style which is of interest here.

I am having problems with my previous posting ,this site will only allow one Email sending,I have put my address on the post if anybody wants the tape(including Helen)please contact me direct.

I am not taking my concertina with me much to my wife`s relief.

Be good

Alan

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I've really tried to model my playing on Kimber.As someone who also dances , he seems to give all the "information" I need and the drive he imparts to the music comes from really punchy left hand chords.

"English"-style anglo is the only style I play, and I learned by imitating (well, trying to, anyway ;) ) Kimber and Kirkpatrick in roughly equal measures.

 

The only thing I find with Kimber - wonderful though he undoubtedly is - is that his voicing of chords is "wrong" (the inverted commas are deliberate) from a conventional harmonic standpoint: often he will finish a cadence in C major with a second inversion of the chord of C (i.e. with G at the bottom). This isn't always that noticeable when listening to him because of the briskness his style. I wouldn't, however, apply his harmonic "logic" to Border Morris as our dances are much, much slower, so it would be more noticeable, and I prefer the more robust sound that generally using the root of the chord produces.

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My aplogies to Chris and others for not contributing on this one. I have no time at present. This brief note is being typed with a sandwich in the other hand in a fifteen minute lunch break between meetings! I haven't played a tune for 10 days! There's something in my ECM article on this site which is pertinent. I'll be back when time and other deadlines allow!

Best wishes to you all

Roger

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Hallo Alex,

I am sorry it has taken me a long time to respond to your notice.

I have recently done a tape for a friend in tutor format.It is not a professional tape and not done with proper recording equipement.It covers the English style and the way I learnt it.It is played on a CG box and I have only used a twenty button format.I must admit the drone key is hit a few times so if you have no drone you can ignore it.I have picked out simple tunes and explained how they are played.

It is purely for beginners.

If you or any other beginner would like a free copy, please send me your address and I will post one on.I am going on holiday on Friday for a week and I will send them on my return.

If I get inundated with requests I may ask for a donation towards costs,but I will let you know if that is the case.

alan-jenny @ decoverly.fsnet.co.uk

Regards

Alan

Hello Alex and others,

 

 

As I am the friend who received Alan's tape, I can tell you that it is very well organized and presented, with a number of interesting tunes, starting with the very basics and progressing from there. I have enjoyed it very much.

 

A public thanks, Alan, for this nice tutor. And thank you Concertina.net for linking the world of concertina players together in such a way as Alan and I have become friends who are able to share our concertina explorations with each other.

 

regards,

 

Dan

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