Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I maintain they are both different instruments, play differently, and if you possess both, you will probably play different tunes (or even traditions) on each.

 

I agree wholeheartedly, Geoff.

 

There is almost no cross-over between what I play on C/G and what I play on G/D. I have "C/G tunes" and "G/D tunes", and not always for reasons of expediency with key signature - playing in C on a G/D is great. I treat them as completely distinct instruments, though I don't go as far as to play different traditions on them.

 

For what it's worth, my G/D, like my C/G is an accordion-reeded Norman, and to be honest the only reed that is noticeably slow is the very bottom G which sounds fine unless you wallop it, in which case it takes a while to come to life. But the instrument as a whole never feels or sounds slow, and surely that's all that is important.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Most comments I make on this forum are from the perspective of Irish Traditional music. My comments on this topic are no different. There are different styles of music, and playing, where a G/D would be a preferred primary instrument, as Chris has said, English - Melody right, Chords Left. However, my comments are for Irish-style anglo playing.

Thanks for the clarification, Frank. Given the fact this forum is not limited to any particular musical style or tradition I thought it important to put in my tuppenyworth about English style as well.

 

Just to be contentious for a moment <_< while I love the G/D for English music there are many players of the C/G system to be found in English music sessions also. I would be hard pressed to say which were actually in the majority, and I would certainly never insist that one key or the other was in some fundamental way "right" for English music (despite my personal preference, which I accept may sometimes make it sound as if I am saying that very thing). Why therefore is Irish style so focussed on the C/G? Is there something about the music that compels that system? Or is it merely custom and [famous name deleted]-style let's make fun of the odd one out?

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
Most comments I make on this forum are from the perspective of Irish Traditional music. My comments on this topic are no different.

And I understood that. But relative newcomers to C.net might not be aware that comment-from-Frank = comment-on-Irish, and that there are other styles and traditions for which the things you say may not be true. Acknowledging that diversity could be helpful to them, and save you from criticism.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Most comments I make on this forum are from the perspective of Irish Traditional music. My comments on this topic are no different.

And I understood that. But relative newcomers to C.net might not be aware that comment-from-Frank = comment-on-Irish, and that there are other styles and traditions for which the things you say may not be true. Acknowledging that diversity could be helpful to them, and save you from criticism.

 

BTW, sorry I have been away the past few weeks, been busy getting started on a new job and haven't had much free time. Anyway, now onto my reply :)

 

Of course one should also keep in mind that Irish music was the only style of concertina music that was mentioned by the person who started the thread so I don't think it was too much of a stretch for most people to take Frank's comment in that context.

 

--

Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just to be contentious for a moment  <_<  while I love the G/D for English music there are many players of the C/G system to be found in English music sessions also. I would be hard pressed to say which were actually in the majority, and I would certainly never insist that one key or the other was in some fundamental way "right" for English music (despite my personal preference, which I accept may sometimes make it sound as if I am saying that very thing). Why therefore is Irish style so focussed on the C/G? Is there something about the music that compels that system? Or is it merely custom and [famous name deleted]-style let's make fun of the odd one out?

 

 

Well certainly tradition does have an impact, and the fact that most of the available instruments were C/Gs.

 

That being said, having never tried to play a G/D and only having 6 months real experience playing the C/G (though having made what I consider great progress in that time), I would say that there are some real nice advantages to the C/G; the most important being that most Irish tunes get divided pretty evenly between the right and

left hands (depending actually how you play them). On a G/D concertina one would

have to play mostly on the right side to stay in the same octave as most of the other players (on the other hand, there are advantages to playing an octave lower).

 

I think the biggest issue is that of course with a different tuning comes a necessary change in the style of play of the instrument. I have no doubt that a G/D could play great Irish music and I am sure there are some who can and do do it. But if one is going to play in the standard keys ones style is necessarily going to be different than on a C/G. This is not necessarily a bad thing; there are of course several styles of Irish Concertina Music anyway (indeed I think individual players are more distinctive in Irish Concertina music than in B/C Accordion or many other Irish Instruments). That being said introducing a new tuning and style takes time; for example even though the C#/D tuning for the button accordion was introduced in the 60s (I think), it took 20 years or more before it really took off.

 

--

Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the biggest issue is that of course with a different tuning comes a necessary change in the style of play of the instrument.  I have no doubt that a G/D could play great Irish music and I am sure there are some who can and do do it.  But if one is going to play in the standard keys ones style is necessarily going to be different than on a C/G.  This is not necessarily a bad thing; there are of course several styles of Irish Concertina Music anyway (indeed I think individual players are more distinctive in Irish Concertina music than in B/C Accordion or many other Irish Instruments).

Indeed there are several styles in Irish concertina playing, though the style of one prominent player seems to have become predominant, and you sometimes wouldn't think there was any other. However, there are still players who don't use "the system", and even some who still play tunes on the C row, including Mary MacNamara. Of course the old-style players of the German concertina do that a lot, and though it has been suggested that they should play the G/D, that doesn't work out for them, and I think that D/A would be a better option if it was more-readily available (and I intend to manufacture some).

 

That being said introducing a new tuning and style takes time; for example even though the C#/D tuning for the button accordion was introduced in the 60s (I think), it took 20 years or more before it really took off.

Ironically, the C#/D style of playing is the older one, but accordions in that tuning seem not to have become available until the mid 1950's, so that prior to that it was played on instruments in D/D#, C/C# or B/C and the fiddlers had to tune up, or down, to suit (indeed, I know of situations where they still have to !).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all,

 

I agree in general with what Stephen has said, including his suggestion that the D/A system is underutilized in Irish music. I wouldn't be too quick to write off the G/D 20 key german or anglo concertina though as another option, or even better the G/D 3 row. My comments here are with regard to some players of Irish music that I have heard.

 

There are some lovely players in the US who play very traditional sounding Irish music in the normal keys using G/D Jeffries - two of them in the San Francisco Bay area alone. And as has been noted recently, there are a number of players in the US who use the D/A anglo to play Irish music in the normal keys. Both work great - not better than the C/G, but great in their own right. Bill is right that all three of the types ("home-key" systems) of concertinas listed in this paragraph would require a different fingering system to play, for example, the "Silver Spear" in the same key of D. As it happens, that tune among others is and was played in all 3 fingering systems by different players (or even the same player at different times), and can be played in D on a 20 key example of any of the three types of anglo listed. Or in the keys of C, G, or D on a C/G 20 key.

 

But this diversity of fingering systems is not just something that developed recently this side of the Atlantic. When John Kelly, sr., or Mrs. Crotty, or Tony Crehan, (or some modern players) play(ed) "D tunes in C" or "Em tunes in Dm" on a C/G they are using "D/A fingering" (that is, the fingering that would cause these tunes to come out in the "normal keys" on a D/A instrument.

 

But also the "G/D fingering" was used by many Irish players that started on 2 row german concertinas, as when Mrs. Crotty played "The Wind that Shakes the Barley/ The Reel with the Beryl (sic, or Birl)," or the two hornpipes "Harvest Home/THe Liverpool." "The westmeath hunt," a G version of the "Dublin reel," played by Packy Russell among others, could also be considered a "G/D" fingering version since on a G/D instrument that setting of the tune would come out in the more familiar key of D. The same goes for Packy's high G setting of the "Fisher's Hornpipe." Some very well known Irish players have been known to use G/D fingering on an Ab/Eb instrument, which is one way to get a tune into "Eb pitch," a half-step high of concert, and which is especially suitable for the fiddle tunes in D, Em, Am, and G that go into a very low range.

 

I remember discussing this issue of "G/D fingering" (as well as "D/A fingering") being used by Mrs. Crotty with Michael O'Raghallaigh, and I believe his thought was that she might have had a G/D instrument at one point. I think this is possible (since it would have put those sets of hers in "G/D fingering" in tune with a fiddler) but also maybe she just liked playing them there and didn't mind playing them solo!

 

With any "home key version" of the 2-row anglo or german concertina you have to be selective with your tune, setting, key, and fingering, but on any of them a certain amount of "C/G," "D/A," AND "G/D" fingering is possible, giving a lot of options for fitting tunes in various modes and ranges onto the concertina. The older generation of players used this leeway very freely, transposing the keys of the tunes to suit themselves and their instruments.

 

Paul

Edited by Paul Groff
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Paul, for an absolutely fascinating reply. I have known people who to listen to would have you believing that the C/G anglo was not only the only possible concertina for Irish music, but the only possible instrument! I have a strong aversion, partly caused by the flame wars of the earlier history of this forum, to attempts to lay down the law as to what sort of music should be played on what sort of concertina (aside: I am not suggesting that was what Frank was trying to do), and I have have heard a lot of very good Irish music played on the English, for instance.

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
On a G/D concertina one would have to play mostly on the right side to stay in the same octave as most of the other players

As I said earlier, in England this is actually considered an advantage!

 

My favourite term for playing in parallel octaves, double-noting, is I believe Irish in origin, which implies that the supposedly English style of playing parallel octaves on a G/D must have had some adherents in the emerald Isle.

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
My favourite term for playing in parallel octaves, double-noting, is I believe Irish in origin, which implies that the supposedly English style of playing parallel octaves on a G/D must have had some adherents in the emerald Isle.

Certainly octave playing has been used by Irish players, especially on the old German concertinas in whatever key, in order to be heard by dancers, and I don't think it is particular to any one tradition. It is used a lot by Cajun accordion players for example.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On a G/D concertina one would have to play mostly on the right side to stay in the same octave as most of the other players

As I said earlier, in England this is actually considered an advantage!

 

Well not really knowing English folk music all that well, I can only speculate, but I do

know that you English folk music types use alot more chords than Irish music types; it would only make sense that it would be an advantage. For Irish music though, I find it makes things alot less frantic if I can divide the notes and ornaments between two hands ;).

 

My favourite term for playing in parallel octaves, double-noting, is I believe Irish in origin, which implies that the supposedly English style of playing parallel octaves on a G/D must have had some adherents in the emerald Isle.

 

Chris

 

Octave playing I know is down by several older players and I know of some younger players who are trying to keep that aspect of Traditional Irish Concertina alive. I have only experimented a little with it (I have enough trouble playing the right note in one octave :)), but my impression is that it seems better suited to the slower styles, not the frenetic pace that is all too often the norm in most pub sessions. I love Irish music fast, I just wish some people would realize it is really beautiful slow as well :).

Link to post
Share on other sites
That being said introducing a new tuning and style takes time; for example even though the C#/D tuning for the button accordion was introduced in the 60s (I think), it took 20 years or more before it really took off.

Ironically, the C#/D style of playing is the older one, but accordions in that tuning seem not to have become available until the mid 1950's, so that prior to that it was played on instruments in D/D#, C/C# or B/C and the fiddlers had to tune up, or down, to suit (indeed, I know of situations where they still have to !).

 

Well, there were certainly D melodeon players prior to the emergence of the half-step Paolos that (IIRC) established the modern style of Irish box playing in the 1950s. I believe Billy McComiskey told me that the late great Paddy O'Brien (As opposed to one great box player of the same name who is still very much alive) played a large role in the current dominance of the B/C and that other players like Joe Burke have kept it popular. On the flip side players like Jackie Daley are definitely responsible for making the C#/D popular again.

 

As for tuning, I know some people who play the C/C# and D/D# a half step up because they like the brighter tone; but I think for a while it was traditional to play those boxes from the outside in. This was also the style with the Irish-American D/C# system that was played by Joe Derrane and others.

 

--

Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, there were certainly D melodeon players prior to the emergence of the half-step Paolos that (IIRC) established the modern style of Irish box playing in the 1950s.

Bill,

 

Trying to avoid the dreaded "thread creep" :o , I have opened this new topic : Irish Button Boxes, from Scotland.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 10 months later...
I also firmly believe that G/D is the perfect key for the anglo, the ideal marriage of key and system, but I don't necessarily expect others to agree with me (people being contrary at times) :)

 

Chris

 

Hi Chris,

 

Well the original thread asked C/G or G/D Anglo?

 

As always, I guess that it depends in which context you use the instrument (i.e. solo, band, or session) and the keys in which the instrument is normally played.

 

Of the two, I favour the C/G, but, if played "English" style, can be very shrill in G up near the top end. I think that the G/D can sound muddy lower down, and can leave you playing in the same octave as other "box" players. For solo playing, I guess that it is down to the preference of the individual player.

 

Here's where I go 100% off topic, and vote for the B'/F. Rather less usefull in sessions, but the best compromise for a lovely sound. Even better if you've ever heard one which has been left in "old pitch".

 

Regards,

Peter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...