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How Many Concertina Players Are There?


CaryK
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There are at least 25 Maccann Duet players worldwide, and probably less than 50 in total.

 

I'd guess you could count the Jeffries Duet players on your fingers.

 

How about Crane players anyone?

Andy

 

9 cnetters have admitted to playing the Maccann system - besides yourself, there's Ivan Viehoff, Alex C. Jones, Old Squeezer, Stuart Estell, Wes Williams, Robert Gaskins, Jim, David Cornell and tony, if you're curious. Outside of cnet, John Morgan, Bob Webb, Sean Minnie and maybe Stephann van Zyl are some performers on Maccann. Listen to this beautiful tune on Maccann from John Morgan's band Megin. (Click on John Morgan's name here.)

 

Cnet members who play Anglo have to be a tiny fraction of Anglo players worldwide, almost certainly less than 5%. The cnet percentage of English players would also be low. It would be dangerous to assume similar percentages for Maccann, but I'm betting even 200 players is a low estimate. I suspect there may be more hidden Maccanns out there than any other duet system, unless it's Cranes.

 

Cranes? At least 12 on cnet. Performers include George Flink, Andrew MacKay and Dick Wolff.

 

Jeffries? I know of 2 players in the E. Texas/Arkansas area alone. There's at least 7 on cnet.

 

edited to remove a shocking case of grocer's apostrophe.

Edited by Stephen Mills
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I've read the discussions regarding how many concertina players there might be in the world. And it is apparent that a precise number cannot be known because of all the variables involved including number of players owning and using more than one playable concertina, number of owners who do not play, as well as absolute number of players in any given country.

 

It seems to me then that the only reliable estimates would need to use probabilities. I think the answer could lie in using a statistical technique called Monte Carlo simulation, where estimates of the minimum, most likely, and maximum occurrence of a characteristic are assumed and a frequency (i.e. probability) distribution is constructed showing the probability of all cases in between the 3 assumptions; from this a mean or average case is calculated or read off a graph. This is usually done with statistical software, but can also be reasonably done by hand on probabilty paper with some minor assumptions.

 

In this case the categories of concertina players, by country, could be set up as follows (numbers are made up):

 

Min Case Most Likely Case Max Case

#Concertina Owners 500 1000 8000

%Concertina Owners Who Play Regularly 50 60 80

 

You let the software multiply all possible numeric outcomes of the two variables (or do it graphically). The simulation can be set for thousands of trials. Then all the outcomes are counted, listed, compared, and their probablilty of occurrence are calculated including their mean or average occurrence. Add all the separate means together (one generated per country) and you have the best estimate of the number of concertinists that exist today in the world. The output will also show the probabilty of any other estimated number of concertinists that one wished to consider. I could try my hand at this if provided the Min (98% Chance of Occurrence) Case, the Most Likely (50% Chance of Occurence) Case, and the Max (2% Chance of Occurrence) for any one country. Further subdivisions between English, Anglo, and Duet could also be used, but I wouldn't recommend that on the first pass. In the example above there is in Country XYZ a 98% Chance that there are up to 500 concertina owners, a 50% Chance that there are at least 1000 concertina owners, and only a 2% Chance that there are at least 8000 owners. Anyone interested?

Edited by CaryK
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I'm not sure I follow all the ins and outs :-) of your post, but my understanding of the Monte Carlo method was that it depended upon a reasonably regular distribution of whatever it is you are trying to quantitate. That is, a dart thrown at a map has the same likelihood of hitting a concertina player no matter what region it lands in. This could be a problem...

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I'm not sure I follow all the ins and outs :-) of your post, but my understanding of the Monte Carlo method was that it depended upon a reasonably regular distribution of whatever it is you are trying to quantitate. That is, a dart thrown at a map has the same likelihood of hitting a concertina player no matter what region it lands in. This could be a problem...

I've used the method with normal and log normal (a frequency distribution skewed to either end) distributions. What really effects the reasonableness of the simulation is the accuracy of the min, max and most likely cases. Min and Max for many variables are often easy to estimate pretty closely. It is in the estimte of the Most Likely case that non-objective assumptions, prejudices, etc. come into play. I don't do statistics every day for a living and there may be better ways to get at the number, but given the unknowns the best that can likely be done will be though a probability method rather than a hard count.

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"but I'm betting even 200 players is a low estimate. I suspect there may be more hidden Maccanns out there than any other duet system, unless it's Cranes"

 

Jim, Stephen,

 

It's reassuring to hear you both agree my guesses at duet player numbers are low. I do wonder how many of the duets sold are effectively second instruments, bought by anglo/english/accordian players after hearing an inspiring duet performance.

Having just listened to John Williams' cd Steam I quite fancy a Dipper anglo :D

 

 

Andy

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I do wonder how many of the duets sold are effectively second instruments, bought by anglo/english/accordian players after hearing an inspiring duet performance.

On that basis, I'd say very few, considering how rarely even I have seen anyone perform on a duet. However, I think a number of people have been attracted by the idea of playing independently in the two hands -- "like a piano" -- combined with each note having one and only one location, regardless of bellows direction. :) I think that how many of those didn't get very far yet still kept the instruments is impossible to tell.

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That is, a dart thrown at a map has the same likelihood of hitting a concertina player no matter what region it lands in. This could be a problem...

 

Dave, not sure I want to play darts with you. Are you just a bad shot, or was the concertina player holding the map?

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It seems to me then that the only reliable estimates would need to use probabilities....

I probably know around 20-25 people who at least "tootle" concertinas in Somerset alone. I probably don't know at least another 5 to 10. Somerset is 1% of the population of England, therefore there are probably between 2000 and 3500 concertina 'tootlers' in England alone. What do other people think about their own areas?

 

No darts were thrown during this estimate!

Edited by wes williams
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...it is apparent that a precise number cannot be known because of all the variables involved including number of players owning and using more than one playable concertina, number of owners who do not play, as well as absolute number of players in any given country.

Nor do we know how many instruments exist or how many owners exist, never mind the other details. What we've been discussing is the degree of our uncertainty. The guesses -- I don't think there's enough underlying data available to call them estimates -- seem to vary from as low as a factor of 2 up to a factor of 100, maybe more.

 

It seems to me then that the only reliable estimates would need to use probabilities.

Using probabilities when supporting data aren't available is no more "reliable" than any other kind of guesswork.

 

I think the answer could lie in using a statistical technique called Monte Carlo simulation,...

No, it couldn't. The Monte Carlo method isn't applicable to this sort of question, nor to any other question without both solid underlying data and a valid model of how the desired results depend on the underlying data. It's not applicable to this question, because if we had the necessary underlying data to run the model, we would already have the desired answer, and without any statistical uncertainty. Furthermore, I believe we've demonstrated in this discussion that we don't have any real basis for establishing either the necessary data or a valid model. Even if we all pooled our personal knowledge to compile data on all those concertinas, owners, and players that we know about, we have no way of knowing about those we don't know about, not even how many they might be.

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I think there at least 50 players here in the greater San Francisco area who can play at least a few tunes. There were 20-25 of them at a one-hour workshop I led last summer, and there are a number of more advanced players who I know personally who weren't there. I've got about 50 names on the local concertina e-mail group that I maintain.

 

Daniel

 

It seems to me then that the only reliable estimates would need to use probabilities....

I probably know around 20-25 people who at least "tootle" concertinas in Somerset alone. I probably don't know at least another 5 to 10. Somerset is 1% of the population of England, therefore there are probably between 2000 and 3500 concertina 'tootlers' in England alone. What do other people think about their own areas?

 

No darts were thrown during this estimate!

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  • 2 years later...

I can't add anything definitive but to comment on Peter Laban's account above of a childrens concert in Clare - it has to be said that the concertina is an instrument much associated with Clare music. And Irish trad. is in general much stronger in Clare than many other parts of Ireland. If you took any local town of similar size in the south east where I live, there might be a small handful of kids playing ITM, let alone concertina. I can think of three/four concertina players who are teenagers within a range of 40 miles but could well be more.

 

Another way of looking at it, in terms of Irish trad. and Anglo playing .. is to think in terms of sessions. I would think that concertina players are relatively rare - your average session I've played in or seen has fiddles, flutes, whistles, accordions, bodhrans, guitars and the odd pipes or concertina.

Edited by tombilly
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Another way of looking at it, in terms of Irish trad. and Anglo playing .. is to think in terms of sessions. I would think that concertina players are relatively rare

Interesting thought. If you look at it in terms of English trad. and all systems of concertinas in sessions then they are all over the place. Last week at our local session, out of 14 musicians there were four who played English concertina, 1 MacCann and 1 anglo (me). Admittedly the West of England is a particularly strong area for concertinas, and even here we are only just keeping pace with the omnipresent fiddles and melodeons, but the concertina in sessions in England is definitely not rare.

 

Chris

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There are at least 25 Maccann Duet players worldwide, and probably less than 50 in total.

 

I'd guess you could count the Jeffries Duet players on your fingers.

 

How about Crane players anyone?

Andy

 

Cnet members who play Anglo have to be a tiny fraction of Anglo players worldwide, almost certainly less than 5%. The cnet percentage of English players would also be low. It would be dangerous to assume similar percentages for Maccann, but I'm betting even 200 players is a low estimate. I suspect there may be more hidden Maccanns out there than any other duet system, unless it's Cranes.

 

Cranes? At least 12 on cnet. Performers include George Flink, Andrew MacKay and Dick Wolff.

 

Not sure I can class myself as a Crane player, but definitely a Crane owner and learner. Going on the above 12 & counting (say 20 if a few more C.netters come out of the woodwork), and if this is less than 5% of the players worldwide, then 500+ Cranes seems a rough estimate, and maybe a reasonable one. But we will almost certainly never know, unless the UN introduce a concertina census.

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