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Jeff Stallard

How Many English Players?

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Given that concertinists are rare, and that the majority of concertinists play anglo, does anyone have any estimates on the total number of concertinists versus those who play English versus those who play duet? I wouldn't even know where to start guessing, but I guess it's gotta be pretty small...right?

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Given that concertinists are rare, and that the majority of concertinists play anglo, does anyone have any estimates on the total number of concertinists versus those who play English versus those who play duet?  I wouldn't even know where to start guessing, but I guess it's gotta be pretty small...right?

Do I detect a new poll winging its way to this forum :)

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Yes, new poll!

 

A good while back Stephen Mills did this wonderful map with color coded dots for the different systems. He did mention that the C. Net profiles used to gather the data did not always list system (s) used. It was a pretty thing though.

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Given that concertinists are rare, and that the majority of concertinists play anglo, does anyone have any estimates on the total number of concertinists versus those who play English versus those who play duet?  I wouldn't even know where to start guessing, but I guess it's gotta be pretty small...right?

 

Jeff, you seem to have started your guessing already in assuming that anglo players outnumber English players! Among the people I know, and the ones I see at festivals etc there are many more English players than anglo! I suppose neither of us has a representative sample. Perhaps this poll that you are about to do should ask for some information about where the players are based?

 

Theo

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Given that concertinists are rare, and that the majority of concertinists play anglo, does anyone have any estimates on the total number of concertinists versus those who play English versus those who play duet?  I wouldn't even know where to start guessing, but I guess it's gotta be pretty small...right?

 

The International Concertina Association membership currently shows:

 

Anglo players 23.6%

English players 59.7%

Duet players 16.7%

 

Some members are double counted as they play more than one system.

 

- John Wild

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... the majority of concertinists play anglo ...

Probably the majority of those here play Anglo, as the site was originally intended for Irish-style players of that system, but not necessarily the case elsewhere.

 

... does anyone have any estimates on the total number of concertinists versus those who play English versus those who play duet?  I wouldn't even know where to start guessing, but I guess it's gotta be pretty small...right?

I think I may have misread you (in conjunction with the title of the thread) as saying that there aren't many English players, but I guess you mean the total number of concertina players "gotta be pretty small...right?".

 

Anyway, as regards English players, there are lots of us out there ! (And I'm not the only one in Co. Clare.)

 

Edited to correct misunderstanding.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Yes, new poll! 

 

A good while back Stephen Mills did this wonderful map with color coded dots for the different systems.

You will find it here. The results of his "poll" showed :

 

Anglo only mentioned: 158

English only: 84

Duet only: 19

Anglo+English: 25

Anglo+Duet: 7

English+Duet: 4

All three types: 5

type not given: 11

 

 

Among the people I know, and the ones I see at festivals etc  there are many more English players than anglo!  I suppose neither of us has a representative sample.  Perhaps this poll that you are about to do should ask for some information about where the players are based?

Some parts (even towns !) of Britain are historically Anglo-playing, and others English, and I'm not at all surprised at your observation as Scotland and the North-East of England have long been English concertina-playing.

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Huh. I was looking for a joke, actually, as in "how many English players does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

 

Although the statistics are interesting :)

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I know 2 other anglo players, one also plays melodian and cello, 1 duet player and at the last count, 7 english players.

I notice on the map, that east anglia is predominently anglo which I think is fair as there is a strong regional style to the playing of button boxes here.

Just noticed something odd though. I can cope with people playing more than one system but how do you get a player of half an english (in scotland)? :) Are they imigrants or just starting out? or do they secretly play occarina as well... :ph34r:

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Compare the following 3 estimates:

 

Combining the figures Stephen Chambers quotes, so that the A figure is the total of A only players, plus combined A and E players , plus A and D, plus all three systems, and so on for E and D numbers.

 

A 195

E 118

D 39, which break down as

Crane, 10; Maccann, 8; Hayden, 12; Jeffries, 7; and other/custom, 2

 

A survey by Allan Atlas http://web.gc.cuny.edu/freereed/concertina_survey.htm showed:

A 49 (with a 4:1 ratio of 30+buttons:20 buttons)

E 21

D 7

 

So the Atlas survey shows a 2.3 ratio of Anglo to English.

 

I think the c.net membership is probably a better estimate (1.65 A:E), though only about 1/3 of members have stated what they play, and Anglo-dominant Ireland and South Africa are underrepresented.

 

John’s sample of ICA members:

A 23.6%

E 59.7%

D 16.7%

 

A:E = 0.40

 

So what’s going on here? For one thing, I think the ICA membership skews English, due to its origins (as perceived by me) in classical and music hall players - this despite considerable effort to be inclusive and also some notable past leaders who played Anglo.

 

I’ve been thinking about Jeff’s question for a long time. How many concertina players are there in the world? Both the Atlas survey and the c.net membership are poor estimates - just consider there are only about 4 players listed in Ireland, none in Wales (Is there any concertina tradition in Wales?). I suspect the 2 players I know of in Israel represent a pretty fair proportion of actual players, while the 4 in Ireland are a small proportion of actual players, as are the 5 in South Africa and the 0 in the rest of Africa, where a decent tradition remains, especially squashbox.

 

How would you go about getting such information? The only thing I can think of is educated guessing, with members estimating the number of players in their region from their experience. A shabby methodology, no doubt, but what else could be done? Before the Southwest Concertina Workshop, I knew of a half dozen concertina players in Texas - now I believe there are probably more than 25 (the map shows 8). How many more is the really thorny question.

 

I say, for the sake of argument, that the number of actively playing concertina players (excluding Chemnitzers and bandoneons) is as follows:

 

US - 1400

UK - 3000

Australia - 200

Canada - 50

Ireland - 350

Africa - 200

rest of world - 75

(TOTAL) 5275 plus or minus oh, 3000.

 

Where did I get these numbers? Semi-educated guesswork based on crossreferences with independent databases, instincts, made them up if you will. You make your own guess and persuade me otherwise. Ebay is currently selling almost 4 concertinas/day (most best suited for concertina-tossing practice).

 

Note: The c.net ratio of US:UK is about 2:1, but I believe there are probably a much higher proportion of unregistered concertina players in the UK.

 

Conclusion: I think we can get a fair handle of relative percentages, though not within the subcategories of duets, but our grasp of absolute numbers is weak. I wonder what the relative percentage of instruments that come into Barleycorn Concertinas is, especially within the duet category?

 

Just noticed something odd though. I can cope with people playing more than one system but how do you get a player of half an english (in scotland)? :) Are they imigrants or just starting out? or do they secretly play occarina as well... :ph34r:

 

These are people who list two different residences, such as Ken Coles. Just call me Solomon.

Edited by Stephen Mills

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Compare the following 3 estimates:

 

Combining the figures Stephen Chambers quotes, so that the A figure is the total of A only players, plus combined A and E players , plus A and D, plus all three systems, and so on for E and D numbers.

 

A 195

E 118

D  39, which break down as

Crane, 10; Maccann, 8; Hayden, 12; Jeffries, 7; and other/custom, 2

 

John’s sample of ICA members:

A  23.6%

E  59.7%

D 16.7%

 

So what’s going on here?  For one thing, I think the ICA membership skews English, due to its origins (as perceived by me) in classical and music hall players - this despite considerable effort to be inclusive and also some notable past leaders who played Anglo. 

 

I think not just those categories but also concertina bands were predominantly but not totally English players. for duet players the ICA membership shows McCann 19, Crane 10, Hayden 8, Jeffries 2, and Unspecified duets 13. total 52.

 

- John Wild

Edited to correct typing - I did add up correctly.

Edited by John Wild

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I have a theory that may go some way to confusing the situation further.

 

I have always had the impression that most English players read from the dots and most Anglo players play by ear. This seems to be changing as more people seem to be able to do both nowadays.

 

Asuming that you read from the dots, you are more likely to play "band" music and get together in a formal situation which in turn means you are more likely to become a member of an organisation, such as the ICA or the West Country Concertina Players, where you can arrange such meetings.

 

I think this will mean that there will be more "independant" players of the Anglo, who never get counted by the usual data gathering exercises, as they are effectively invisible.

 

On several occasions people have come up to me after seeing me playing, saying that they have an old concertina at home that they can manage one or two tunes on but they don't consider themselves as players, and they are nearly always talking about an old 20 or 30 button Anglo.

 

Robin Madge

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How many concertina players does it take to change a lightbulb?

If it's a Jeffries lightbulb, there will be various ways of changing it.

If its a Duet lightbulb, you can change two at the same time.

And I suppose, if it's an English lightbulb, you have to keep moving from side to side.

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I have always had the impression that most English players read from the dots and most Anglo players play by ear.

Robin Madge

 

 

Robin, that theory is most likely spot on for the majority, but in my case and the few EC players I encountered in the late 70's when I switched, only played by ear. My early AC experience was with notation under the direction of a teacher that played PC. Poor dear was learning the AC as she instructed me. Thinking back on it, perhaps I got the cart before the horse. :blink:

 

Now that I'm playing concertina again I realize notation is a useful tool in collecting tunes faster and keeping them close to source material when I've gotten a bit fancy with the ornamentation. Still can't shake the idea that I'm somehow cheating.

 

I suspect that a large number of concertinists lurk like large carp at the bottom of a pond where they are safe, well feed and undetected. Sorry, a bright yellow koi turned up missing this morning. He was a flashy fellow and attracted the attention of one of our neighborhood racoons :( .

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I say, for the sake of argument, that the number of actively playing concertina players (excluding Chemnitzers and bandoneons) is as follows:

 

US - 1400

UK - 3000

Australia - 200

Canada - 50

Ireland - 350

Africa - 200

rest of world - 75

(TOTAL) 5275 plus or minus oh, 3000.

 

Assuming that's correct, that means:

 

* Concertinists make up 0.00008% of the world population.

* The ratio of concertinists vs. non-concertinists is 1:1,224,109.

 

I wonder how that compares with a more popular instrument, say...a guitar. Hmm...I'm going the guess that the ratio of guitarists to concertinists is around 3000:1 (remember to factor in non-folk music). That means:

 

* Guitarists make up 0.2% of the world's population.

* The ratio of guitarists to non-guitarists is 1:407.

 

What does this prove? Who knows...I just brought this up out of curiosity. Thanks for indulging me.

Edited by Jeff Stallard

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How many concertina players does it take to change a lightbulb?

i think that depends on how many watts.

... Y'know, how many people have looked at your concertina and asked "watts that?"

 

And I suppose, if it's an English lightbulb, you have to keep moving from side to side.

I thought that was a Belfast lightbulb.

A friend tells me that Belfast lightbulbs don't have screw-in sockets, but clip-in, where the bulb's base is inserted by rocking it from side to side. B)

 

[Edited to correct typo.]

Edited by JimLucas

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The International Concertina Association membership currently shows:

 

Anglo players              23.6%

English players            59.7%

Duet players                16.7%

 

Some members are double counted as they play more than one system.

.................. :unsure:

Double-counting should result in the percentages summing to more than 100. They sum to exactly 100%.

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I can cope with people playing more than one system but how do you get a player of half an english (in scotland)? :)

Dunno about half an English, but there is at least one duet in existence -- reported by Dave Elliott, I think, and also in the Wheatstone ledgers -- with a keyboard on only one end. I believe it was built for someone with only one hand.

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