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What Brought You To The Concertina World?

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2) Chromatic (I like to modulate)

 

Steven,just wondering how you go singing with the anglo? Of course it's often used for song accompaniment but can be a bit tricky managing the push/pull aspect. And you didn't quite end up with a chromatic instrument.

 

Steve,

I agree with StuartEstell that the push-pull thing is no hindrance to singing to the Anglo. I think "The change of bellows direction [is] part of the fingering" puts it very well.

I must admit that, at the very start, my lungs were directly coupled to the Anglo's bellows - but that was because I had learned on the mouth organ, where "Press" is "Blow" and "Pull" is "Suck", and old habits die hard. However, I got over that after a few weeks of Anglo, and was able to breathe normally, and later to sing, while playing. As with all things musical, practice is the key.

 

And as to cromaticity: Steven wanted this because he likes modulating. And modulating normally goes in fifths, e.g. from C major up to G major or down to F major. And even the basic, 20-k Anglo has this 5th modulation built in. It's part of the Anglo-German architecture! The additional keys on the 30-k Anglo start with D major (up a 5th from G) and F major (down a 5th from C). So modulating tunes like "The Ash Grove" are no problem!

 

Cheers,

John

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I'm a bit different from most, I believe, as my interest in learning concertina wasn't particularly influenced by anyone's concertina playing. Only partial exception being seeing Australian singer-songwriter Danny Spooner back himself up on an Wheatstone English on his ballads at a show in Newfoundland.

For me it was more the specific capabilities of the concertina, being basically a portable polyphonic keyboard. Not to much any particular concertina-playing tradition.

 

I've always been pretty melodically strong but not great on chords and harmonies, and I wanted to challenge myself with an instrument that could do more complex harmonies. The style of music I want to play was more exemplified by things like multi-part singing, organ/harmonium pieces, etc. I wanted to play some nice droney low-end stuff, basso continuo, etc. underneath a higher part.

 

I debated Anglo though the bisonoric thing wasn't quite what I wanted. I considered English as being more capable of playing any given note combination (weird dissonant chords, etc) but was concerned about having to juggle between hands, or what happens when all the notes I want happen to be on one side and I run out of fingers. But right when I was shopping for a concertina while working in Afghanistan, I saw that Wim Wakker had his imported "Elise" model Duet concertinas, and those seemed the most organ-like in terms of low left hand and high right, unisonoric, capable of any kind of note combination. I got one of those, played it just casually a couple years, then brought my Elise to a house-party once and ended up jamming the whole late evening with the host's guitarist boyfriend, and thereafter played their parties and others for the rest of the year, upgraded to a Morse Beaumont, and currently working in South America with a little 35-button Crane Duet concertina since it's smaller and cheaper than my nice Hayden.

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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Steven,just wondering how you go singing with the anglo? Of course it's often used for song accompaniment but can be a bit tricky managing the push/pull aspect. And you didn't quite end up with a chromatic instrument.

 

 

My entry came when I saw someone playing concer and singing. I knew instantly it was for me, much more portable than a guitar and could be used for song accompaniment. I made inquires and was advised english was best for singing...the rest is history.

 

 

Hi Steve,

 

Like Stuart, I also found that the bellows directions eventually became part of the fingering. As for the Anglo being "not quite" chromatic---that really did bother me! This year, I finally switched over to a "Peacock" Hayden duet from Concertina Connection. There are still a couple of holes in its 42-button chromatic scale, but it is a huge improvement for my playing style, and I've very much enjoyed it. Interestingly, possibly a side-effect from being an Anglo player for many years, I still am very strict about bellows direction changes with the duet. I program them into the piece as I learn it, and almost never deviate!

 

-steven

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[[[Father Charlie Coen
Care to elaborate? I suspect a great story in there.]]]

 

I don't know the poster's particular story, but Father Charlie Coen has taught and mentored many young and beginning players for decades in New York City and elsewhere in NY state. In the Catskills alone, he ran a classic session for years, at which some of the finest young Irish-American musicos on the East Coast learned their music. Additionally, he has taught beginning concertina at the annual Catskills Irish Arts Week for many years, judged and taught at Comhaltas conventions or fleadhs, is himself a multiple Senior AA champion, and with his brother Jack Coen, recorded the essential and irreplaceable record of lovely East Galway-style playing, "The Branch Line." He's also a lovely flute player and has a wicked sense of humor.

Edited by ceemonster

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2) Chromatic (I like to modulate)

 

Steven,just wondering how you go singing with the anglo? Of course it's often used for song accompaniment but can be a bit tricky managing the push/pull aspect. And you didn't quite end up with a chromatic instrument.

 

And as to cromaticity: Steven wanted this because he likes modulating. And modulating normally goes in fifths, e.g. from C major up to G major or down to F major. And even the basic, 20-k Anglo has this 5th modulation built in. It's part of the Anglo-German architecture! The additional keys on the 30-k Anglo start with D major (up a 5th from G) and F major (down a 5th from C). So modulating tunes like "The Ash Grove" are no problem.

 

Modulating would rather mean going through the circle of fifths to a wider extent IMO, such as with a secondary dominant, i. E. D major in your example (which would require a 30b Anglo as you say). Expanding this concept to, say, stronger modulations, would exceed the range of a basic 30b Anglo then... (I would in fact need the C# for an A major, or even more).

 

If it's accompanying a singing voice, you will need at least the choice of two keys to fit your range, and in one if them (G major on a CG Anglo like yours) there will be no modulating at all, just three chords and there relative minors.

 

OTOH, ITM doesn't seem to require that much modulating (but ambiguous tonality with its own requirements, but that's just another topic) and harmony playing on the 'tina at all...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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I went to a concert at Cecil Sharpe House in 1962 and saw the Northwest Folk Four who had a concertina ( to my shame I have forgotten the players name)

but I did sit next to Maud Karpeles, Wow. I went out and bought a Concertina not an English but a Macann Duet. I did not know the difference. The problem was the left hand was in old pitch and the right in new pitch. I struggled for about 20 years not knowing another player who could put me on the right track. I then found an English a Rock Chidley, I now have 6 Chidleys and prompted Chris to do the research, much better , I could get a tune and play chords. The problem was this was the start of C A S. Eventually I sold the Macann to help fund one of Hamish's Tinas. Much better. Like Singing the Tina has been a major part of my life for the last 50 odd years.

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Over 30 years ago, I was very involved in contra and English country dancing. One of the musicians playing regularly had an English concertina. I was attracted by its aesthetics, small size, shiny metal ends, and that it played melody. I was given a gift of the only concertina carried by the local music store - an anglo with stiff red and white bellows, buttons I couldn't reach and that stuck when depressed. So it sat for 30 years.

 

Fast forward, last winter I went to a concert. The musician was playing that same kind of shiny English concertina. It suddenly occurred to me that the internet had been invented in the intervening years, so I did some research. I decided that since I was going to be depending on online tutorials, and playing dance type music, the anglo would work for me. So in July, I got a Morse Ceili, which has supple bellows, buttons I can reach, but no shiny.

Edited by Sleet

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with his brother Jack Coen, recorded the essential and irreplaceable record of lovely East Galway-style playing, "The Branch Line."

 

And don't forget:

 

FrCharlie_zps7dd47a11.jpg

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Lovely stories everyone. Thanks for sharing!

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Several years ago, I got the itch to pick up an instrument. For a while I considered piano accordion; but they seemed expensive given that I wasn't sure how committed I'd be; I ended up getting an electric guitar, it was much less expensive (at least in the short term), and a much more obvious fit with the music I listen too. One year the people I was playing with started talking about playing Fairytale of New York (we never did end up doing it); I had a sense that it involved one of those "small accordion things" -- so Iooked around the net, realized that I had concertina in mind (even if the Pogues use a accordion). I fell in love. It took years to convince my partner that this wasn't an idle fling, but could turn into a long term commitment. It was just under a year ago that she relented, and I got a hexagonal package from Santa.

Edited by DaveM

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Nearly twenty years ago I was playing the part of Dixon (the drover) in a community theatre production of "Reedy River" (by Dick Diamond). I was also playing the mouth organ in that play. The director (who was also my wife) said that it would be better if I played the concertina, and why didn't we just get one from a second hand shop and learn to play. So simple!

Anyway, all the junk shops said "we usually have one or two, but none at the moment", but at the same time I found out that an anglo was just a couple of mouth organs with bellows attached, so we persevered.

Eventually we found a beat up old Scholler, and I got it playing. I was very pleased to be able to play "The Springtime it Brings on the Shearing" almost immediately, but unfortunately by then the play was well and truly over.

I have been playing ever since.

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Like Matthew I fell for the idea of the instrument rather that a particular musician or style. A late starter fiddle player, I wanted a similar range for single melody lines with the odd chord (a substitute for singing which I love but have learned to do only when alone), with no intonation issues! I thought I wanted a melodeon until I saw a concertina and totally fell in love. First try was a loaner dumpster (literally) Anglo. The push- pull thing made absolutely no sense to me and the bellows were a nightmare (though I didn't know that at the time), so I did some research and plunged in with a Jackie.

 

Still pick up the fiddle now and again -- the concertina has improved my ear -- but after a few tunes and the thought that I really should spend more time with the poor neglected thing, I always turn with relief and renewed delight to my concertina. The ergonomics alone allow me to play for hours, and now that I have the bliss of a model 21 ( such sensitive buttons, such responsive bellows AND shine metal ends!), stopping is even harder. As for style -- well my concertina and I like to try everything... And now that my husband has taken up the piano to accompany me and ONLY wants to play chords, I'm awfully content.

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I started playing concertina just this year. In general, I'm learning for my one year old son, because we want to raise him in a musical household. My husband has played violin (and several other instruments) since childhood, and until the end of my schooling days I played piano and organ. I wanted to get back into playing music, but with something more portable and compatible with the violin. I'd tried electronic keyboard a few times, but while it was fun, it never stuck. I think I wanted something analog because most of the rest of my life is in the digital world. I'm not sure how I came across the concertina, but I knew that's what I was looking for as soon as I saw it.

I'm in the same camp as Matthew and Sarah - prior to finding players on YouTube I think my only exposure was incidentially in movies, but I have heard a lot of accordion music, mostly folk and pop. So far I play American folk, children's songs, parts of the beginner Suzuki repertoire, and a smattering of traditional European music.

post-11131-0-03340400-1414133637_thumb.jpg

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Thanks everyone for the Father Coen references, I'll have to find his

recordings.

 

@Sleet.. Welcome and hello.

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I'll have to find his

recordings.

 

I seem to remember the album I referenced above used to be downloadable from the Ceol Álainn blog.

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I wrote this in another forum: I owe my concertina life to the late Michael Reid, an early concertina.net stalwart. He played English concertina in my contra dance band. I loved the sound, and when he moved out of town, I became more serious about the crappy garage sale Italian Anglo I had puttered with for years. Since I already knew the rudiments of Anglo, I stuck with that and began moving up to better instruments.

 

Interestingly, Michael turned to Irish traditional music after he left our area and my band, and switched from English to Anglo. He achieved excellence on both systems, an unusual accomplishment.

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I had got into folk music via guitar. One of the first albums I bought included the late Tony Rose accompanying himself on concertina. I liked the sound and it seemed like a proper folky instrument, and my local music shop had a bright red one in the window. I saved up and bought it. Much later I discovered that there are different systems and that mine was an anglo whereas Tony played English.

 

I took me a while to get to grips with it and I put it aside for a while. Then I met someone who played, and that revived my interest. I persevered and it began to make some sort of sense.

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I went to my first folk club at the age of 16 and quickly fell in love with concertinas after listening to players like John Watcham on anglo and Sandra Kerr and Peggy Seeger, as far as I can remember, on English. I disregarded the cheap and cheerful ones and concentrated on playing the more affordable appalachian dulcimer through my student years. When I finally started earning full-time, I invested in a basic Lachenal English (from Tony Bingham at the Sign of the Serpent in London) and a Lachenal anglo I picked up from an ad in Exchange and Mart. The English had been restored by Mr Dipper and played well. The anglo had been tuned down to Bb/F and a friend put it back up to C/G for me. By then the reeds were fairly knackered. I learned English from the Ali Anderson book and record, then worked through the Northumbrian Pipers' Tune Book. The anglo was reserved for morris. Not surprisingly, I got a lot better on the English.

Then I started playing Crane, both in a ceilidh band and to accompany singing. I sold the Crane many years ago but have recently returned to this, despite some problems getting the new one tuned. Since taking up Irish music (on flute), I've had a couple of flirtations with Irish style anglo but have now decided to give this up and work at achieving a credible Irish sound on EC.

I can't help thinking that, if only I'd stuck to one thing, I might have been quite good by now! Ah well, I'm enjoying myself.

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