Rod Thompson Posted January 13, 2005 Share Posted January 13, 2005 Some time ago, on another topic I said I would start some research onto the use or otherwise of concertinas by sailors. There is some controversy as to whether concertinas were used much if at all, despite the public impression of the concertina as a "sailors instrument". Certainly they were not used to accompany sea shantys, but no instrument ever was. It is difficult to find much at all to answer the question one way or the other, since there is very little written about the use of any instruments aboard ship, and indeed, very little is written about the lifestyle of the common sailors at all. In actual photos, I have counted: 3 concertinas, 2 banjos, 1 button accordian, guitar, mouth organ and bones. (I have seen another button accordian, but can't track it down again). In eye-witness accounts: 1 or more mouth organs, 2 or more concertinas, an accordian, and a violin. 1 Paddle organ – I’m not sure what this is – combination musical instrument and life-preserver? 1 Piano (in the trainees’ accommodation aboard the Richelieu) 1 Harmonium (temporarily hoisted aboard the Cutty Sark in Shanghai for the moral improvement of the apprentices). I haven't included pianos etc in the passenger's areas, or "military" type instruments - bugles, drums etc. I also haven't included anything from before about 1860, since the concertina wasn't available before then. Sources: “Windjammers The final Story” by Robert Carter (an excellent book of eyewitness stories, accompanied by reproductions of the author’s paintings of the big ships and barques of the later years of sail). This book has the quote “On fine nights the watch used to gather on the main hatch and spin yarns or sing songs. There was always someone with a mouth organ or concertina. . . .” Dudley Turner in the Monkbarns (British) 1925. “Shackleton and the Antarctic Explorers” by Gavin Mortimer. (which has a photo of Shackleton on the deck of the Endurance, with 4 sailors, one of whom is holding a 12 sided english concer - presumably it didn't make it home even though the crew did). The books by Basil Lubbock, while very good for descriptions of the ships, say very little about the sailors. So - has anyone else got any photos or eye witness accounts that would help with this? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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