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Lawrence Reeves

Multi Instrumentalists Among Our Ranks

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Listening to Dick's posting of the Maids of Feakle brings a point to mind. Many on this forum are fine musicians on several instruments. Many within the same tradition as their concertina choice of music, and several from different genres. I know many of you, but let's have the others chime in on their " back up choice of instrument", because if we are here we are only our super hero concertina persona. Please list dabbles as well as proficient instruments.

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Listening to Dick's posting of the Maids of Feakle brings a point to mind. Many on this forum are fine musicians on several instruments. Many within the same tradition as their concertina choice of music, and several from different genres. I know many of you, but let's have the others chime in on their " back up choice of instrument", because if we are here we are only our super hero concertina persona. Please list dabbles as well as proficient instruments.

Well, I consider my "first instrument" to be my voice.

English concertina comes second.
"Tin" whistle is third.

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I play classical piano and am currently learning Jazz piano. Also dabble on the guitar, dabble being the operative word! Another question I'd be curious to know is what drew people to learn the Concertina. Something that may have influenced my decision while looking at potential new instruments was when I read that the Concertina was apparently the only instrument ever invented by an Englishman!

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My draw to the concertina comes from a few sources. My grandmother played concertina and melodeon, so a somewhat family connection to the instrument. The other thing for me

would be that it is a reed instrument. Lastly the amount of flexibility in range and melody vs chordal options.

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I have played music my whole life, and many different types. I will list the instruments I play in the order of proficiency, including some I used to love playing but have set aside to pursue only Irish traditional music since my mid twenties.

 

Concert flute, whistle, anglo concertina, mandolin, uilleann pipes,bodhrán, saxophones, silver flute, fiddle,bassoon,clarinet, oboe,electric bass, english concertina.

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My draw to the concertina comes from a few sources. My grandmother played concertina and melodeon, so a somewhat family connection to the instrument. The other thing for me

would be that it is a reed instrument. Lastly the amount of flexibility in range and melody vs chordal options.

 

The chordal options did also play a factor in my choice too, I thought about taking up a monophonic instrument, but maybe due to my history with the piano I ended up opting for an instrument that could play chords as well as a melody. I think perhaps I should have got a duet, but will stick with the English now.

 

That's quite a list, I think I may start looking at another instrument soon!

Edited by gman

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Mines in order of proficiency is 1. [Tenor Treble 56 key Aeola] Concertina (a chromatic system - i.e. English Concertina (EC), not the Duet, although I'd like to try the duet to form an opinion), then 2. nylon string guitar, then 3. Ukulele within the last week, and finally vocal if you count that as an instrument.

 

In other words Concertina, Guitar, Ukulele, Vocal.

 

I can sight-read on guitar, and chording not a problem, but it comes 2nd in the scheme of things due to my focus on the Concertina.

 

My voice will develop as I didn't ever use it before, prior to when I decided to accompany my EC practise around a couple of years ago... - so early days yet. I use Vocal to really enjoy chording on both uke and guitar.

 

Kevin

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I started playing music at age 6 on the Recorder and 9 on the Piano. Trombone in the School band. Seriously went back to playing music in my early twenties when I bought my first EC. Started playing (and making) Uilleann Pipes at 27. Dabbled with Clarinet,Oboe, Flute and Saxaphone.There are probably some instruments I have forgotten in the list but that's enough!

 

I now play EC, Uilleann Pipes, Hurdy Gurdy and dabble, no, more than dabble with Maccann Duet. Would like to get a Harpsichord but I don't think there is enough room in our house because my wife also plays several instruments.

 

Musical genres; ITM, Early Clasical, French Dance musics from the 18th to the early 20th centuries and dabbling in Jazz, Ragtime etc.

 

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Flat-pick guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dabbled in claw hammer banjo and anglo concertina.

Fiddle Tune repertoire led me to IrTrad which led me to the Anglo.

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I came to English Concertina comparatively recently, having spent many years playing flute and fife, after I first picked up tin whistle seriously aged about 15.

 

Anyway. Along the way I also acquired a bouzouki which I play with great love and enthusiasm, but have never really progressed beyond chordal accompaniment - the melody skills of great bouzoukists like Donal & Manus Lunny, Niall Callanain and Ed Boyd etc. have always eluded me.

 

I'm also a great lover of Renaissance instruments, and (as a friend said about me just the other day) I own a rauschpfeife and am not afraid to use it.

 

As I play fife and rauschpfeife for the Morris, they're probably the instruments that get the most public playing time and are my 'work horses'.

 

The concertina is probably the instrument I'm most fascinated by, because I feel I'm still getting to grips with it compared with the winds - as I've said on here before, whenever I'm feeling smug about progress on the EC I whip through a few Handel sonatas on flute, then try them on EC just to remind myself how far I have to go just to catch up with myself!

 

But the Desert Island instrument, the one I'd always plump for if Kirsty Young would only let me take one, would be the low whistle. I bought my first one in 1984 pretty much purely because I used to live very close to the maker Brian Howard in Sheffield, saw one in a local music shop, and immediately bought it. So I suppose, entirely fortuitously, that makes me quite an 'early adopter' ...

 

Oh, and mouth organ. But they drive the dogs absolutely mad (down several generations), and with everything else I can cope with having lurchers rather than harmonicas!

Edited by Steve Mansfield

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I don't seem to do 'multi' I move on and leave the old one behind. So I learnt piano as a kid, was given an 80 bass piano accordion as a Xmas present when I was 18 and took to that, (bought a cheap banjo and played it badly in the comic folk group of the day to ring the changes with the PA but quickly sold it on). Wore out the PA and replaced it with a nice 120b but got fed up with the weight of the thing and was suffering a hankering to choose my own chords and play some classical so went looking at concertinas. Within a year of getting my first Maccan I'd sold the PA.

 

I can still get a rough tune out of piano and PA if required but I bought an electric keyboard recently and sold it on because I never touched it; so the duet is all I play, really.

 

Can't everybody claim 'voice' at a pinch?

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Can't everybody claim 'voice' at a pinch?

 

 

NO ! Dirge, definately not in my case... I used to sing in the school choir but since my voice broke... well let's just say you'd not want to hear that.

 

I guess we all tend to favour one instrument over the others.. a 'favorite at the moment' would be the approach I follow and that is at the moment... Concertinas.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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I started with voice, detoured into saxophone early on, then learned 10-hole diatonic harmonica (blues style) , played that for about 20 years. Still a beloved mode of making noise...

 

Bought a PA from a farmers' wife and didn't get on with it: too much instrument for a guy that never had to use his hands to play, so moved on to Anglo. I picked up a nice 2-row Erica that I noodle on but prefer my Anglo. Currently obsessed with it though there have been forays into dulcimer and a little "pocket clarinet".

 

Chromatic harmonica is a great way to practice the diatonic side of things, but Iv'e had a tough time getting them in a durable enough quality to take my abuse.

 

 

Now, I don't claim to play these well, except for Blues Harp. I don't read music, so have to hack into the wilds of music without a guide. Lots of fun that way, but it is slow.

 

Interesting thread; I'm surprised that there is not more variation amongst us, but maybe it is just those who have chosen to reply.

 

Cheers,

RB

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"If you count voice as an instrument" - absolutely and definitely. Singers are musicians just as much as those who use a mechanical device (and in fact it's a far more sensitive instrument that demands a lot of care and attention)

 

"Can't everybody count voice at a pinch" .. I'll agree with Geoff on that one Dirge! We've all got one, but not everybody knows how to use one!

 

In my case, I think I would have to say that my voice is my main instrument (well you can't do unaccompanied singing and not claim it as one of your panoply ...... can you?)

I'm learning to play Maccann, so at the moment it's second string; I played guitar to accompany myself for a good 20 years until I broke my elbow some years ago (and had reached my own level of incompetence and dissatisfaction on it) and maybe I should go back to using it again and redevelop the calluses. I learned to play piano to a basic level while at school, but am exceedingly rusty; dabbled with tin whistles in my twenties, and also played Appalachian dulcimer for a few years then. (I'll whisper the fact that I possess and have been known to use a shakey egg as well).

 

The one who really should be posting up (and I suspect he may not ) his panoply of instruments played to a decent level (and some of them indecent ) is Ralphie Jordan. (Listen to his CD Eloise for examples of some of the instruments he has under his belt ... or elsewhere upon his person .):rolleyes:

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Before the concertina, my prime instrument was the hammer dulcimer. But I transitioned to the concertina because I really liked Irish music AND the concertina weighs much less and doesn't have to be retuned every time you turn around!

 

And I still love them both -- with the concertina definitely taking first place!

 

Ross Schlabach

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Listening to Dick's posting of the Maids of Feakle brings a point to mind. Many on this forum are fine musicians on several instruments. Many within the same tradition as their concertina choice of music, and several from different genres. I know many of you, but let's have the others chime in on their " back up choice of instrument", because if we are here we are only our super hero concertina persona. Please list dabbles as well as proficient instruments.

 

I used to be a dabbler - guitar, hammered dulcimer, bass - but realized it's hard to get proficient with such a scattered focus. Now it's just concertina - with some melodeon thrown in for some Morris dance situations. And harmonicas for travel when I don't have a concertina with me!

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I started on violin (and fiddle) at about 6. When I was in high school I bought a guitar but never really mastered it. While in college I made a lap dulcimer, a theorbo, and a balalaika. In grad school I got a bowl-back mandolin and took up three holed pipe. I've made (and played) several Kits (the dancing master's tiny fiddle). I've tried (without much success) tin whistle, cornemuse, and folk transverse flute. With somewhat more success I've played octave mandolin, 10 course lute, and viola d'amore. At 55 I took up English concertina to stretch my brain. I also have a Crane duet.

 

So what do I really play now? Given some paralysis in my left hand I'm mostly limited to EC (I'm very happy to be able to play that-- I love the sound). If you go back 6 months fiddle was primary, then concertina, mandolin, octave mandolin, and viola d'amore. Wind instruments and I have never gotten on well. Variety is the spice of life, but it does look like I suffer (or enjoy?) instrument acquisition syndrome!

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When I was a kid I played the "txistu" for 13 years.

 

Then I started with the "alboka" and try with the guitar... I bought an electric guitar for left-handed (I am)but nowaday it's in the junk room, one day I'll try again with the guitar.

 

Then I started with the violin (for 4 years now) and continue with "alboka" nowadays.

 

Now I'm saving money for a hurdy-gurdy and for a concertina :P

Aldo would like to acquire any whistle or simple fife to try something.

 

And at home we have a piano, my mother used to play it and the guitar, my father years ago played the "txistu", clarinet and guitar... so we are musical family XD

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