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Concertinas A "women's Instrument"?


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I've either read or heard somewhere that concertinas were at one time or another considered to be a "women's instrument". I was just wondering if anyone else had perhaps come across anything like this. I'm always interested in how these things come along and to what degree people care about them... though obviously this idea has probably lost all currency at this point in time, it's still sort of intriguing. Anyway, I'd love to learn more about this.

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I think that, according to the book The Wheatstone Concertina in Victorian England, the concertina virtuosos at the time were all male, but a lot of genteel Victorian ladies took up the instrument.

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I think that, according to the book The Wheatstone Concertina in Victorian England, the concertina virtuosos at the time were all male, but a lot of genteel Victorian ladies took up the instrument.

 

 

I do not claim any specific knowledge, but I think that it may have worked in a negative way. Some instruments were seen, according to the standards of the time, as definitely unsuitable for women, and as a consequence, the concertina was accepted as one of those instruments which were considered acceptable.

 

- John Wild

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Yes that seems to be so John. I wonder and may be wrong but nowadays it seems that more men play it than women. To every concertina event I go I seem to see more male players than female. Or do the women stay away from these events for all sorts of reasons. No time (children, work etc?)?? I wonder.

Pauline

PS An afterthought. For those (women) who do not get to concertina weekends like Swaledale where often new music is handed out. Have a look under "teaching and learning". :)

Edited by Pauline de Snoo
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I posted a reply last night but must have forgotten to press Submit. Or something.

 

:lol: Alan, I think you should go right back to Oxfam and get the dress back!

 

Gretchen, I also remember reading about the concertina as a woman's instrument. I remember reading a biography or memoir about growing up in Ireland; there was a reference there about going into the villages and seeing women sitting in the doorway, playing concertina. But I have no memory as to the author or title, or anything else!

 

My brain is now full; any new information pushes out old stuff. :blink:

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Guest Peter Laban

In (the West of) Ireland there has always been a tendency towards women playing the concertina more than men. Even today most of the nicer (to my mind anyway) concertinaplayers are women.

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In (the West of) Ireland there has always been a tendency towards women playing the concertina more than men. Even today most of the nicer  (to my mind anyway) concertinaplayers are women.

From my visits to Clare, I can confirm that. To show it, I'll link below to pictures that were made by Peter himself ;)

 

yvonne_griffin.jpg

 

 

collins_droney_tmacnamara.jpg

 

fox.jpg

 

student_of_brid.jpg

 

B.T.W.: These a great pictures Peter! The last one is my favourite.

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Not only is concertina playing a strong tradition for women in county Clare, but the younger folks are aware of it. The year I was at Willie Clancy School I remember Noel Hill's class was a majority of girls over boys (they were all young), and he told me this was not unusual. Men also played (e.g. Noel's uncle, John Kelly etc.) but for women it was more proper than some other instruments in the old days.

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This is starting to remind me of those stupid internet IQ tests.

 

You know, the "If some borks are snorks, and all snorks are dorks, then some borks are definetely dorks."

 

Now turned into: "If some concertina players are women, and some women are beautiful, then all women concertina players are beautiful."

 

I hope nobody's head explodes reading that.

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Apparently the mandolin was seen as acceptable for women to play in Victorian times, too; I've seen a few references in some of the novels from the time.

One wonders what criterion was used to decide which instruments were OK for women and which were not?

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Apparently, only beautiful women play concertina! (Or else Peter prefers to photograph only beautiful women B) )

Maybe he's really only interested in photographing beautiful women...

Just to correct your ideas about Peter, have a look at the picture below:

 

carey.jpg

 

In fact you can admire a nice collection of Peter's pictures on the C.Net site at this page and also this one!

 

They are all nice, but some are a bit nicer :)

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Just to correct your ideas about Peter, have a look at the picture below:

 

carey.jpg

 

In fact you can admire a nice collection of Peter's pictures on the C.Net site at this page and also this one!

 

They are all nice, but some are a bit nicer :)

 

And to think, I've been resting the 'end' of my concertina on my knee...

 

 

Weren't most of the Salvation Army players women?

 

Kimberly

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Guest Peter Laban
:rolleyes: Beautiful women aside, you can't argue with the likes of Dympna Sullivan, Brid Meaney, Kitty hayes, Lourda and Yvonne Griffin, Jaqueline McCarthy, Edel Fox, Miriam Collins, Michelle Sullivan, Claire Keville, Mary Mac and from older generations Mary Haren, Elisabeth Crotty, mrs Dineen, Mary Ann Carolan, Mrs Dwyer etc etc (just to take the wellknown ones) that women are under represented in Irish concertinamusic. Edited by Peter Laban
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