Jump to content

Questions From A Prospective Player


Recommended Posts

This conversation is not going as expected :( ! Where are the forceful salvos of intolerence? Some good may come of it this time 'round. I like that bit from Paulines site. I'm at odds with tenor of Bills comments but am ever so grateful for a new word for banjo. "Bango" discribes my instrument and playing style to a tee. I shall refer to it as such mixed in with the still favorite 'bleepin' loud banjer. :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..."if you want to play Irish, get a C/G anglo", ... has always made exactly the same sense to me as the statement, "if you want to play Irish, get a flute".
Makes more sense than, "If you want to play Irish Music, get a trumpet" ;).

Well, yeah, but the majority of Irish tunes go higher than the usual range of a trumpet -- especially a Bb trumpet, -- so you need a really good lip to even consider it. I find that it's much easier to do most Irish tunes on a soprano sax. :)

 

The correct answer has always been, get the system you want to play. You will work out afterwards how to play the music you want to play on it.
I am not sure I completely agree with that. If one simply wants to play the concertina, that might be the best way to go, but if one knows the style of music one wants to play, then it makes sense to see what resources are out there. As much as some players love the Duet and the English and alternate tunings for the Anglo, when it comes down to it, if you play one of those instruments you will probably not find many resources to keep you going if you are mainly interested in playing Irish music.

But did Jeremy say that he was "mainly interested in playing Irish music", especially Irish tunes in a session? That is where you seem to be leading, Bill. For song accompaniment or backup chording you'll have to go outside the "Irish" tradition to find resources, and even then I think they're pretty sparse even for anglos. (Alan Day's tutor for playing the anglo strikes me as good starting point, though.)

 

There is potentially another factor... the social factor. If you simply want to play music -- Irish or otherwise -- in a way that's acceptable to yourself, the kind of instrument you choose is entirely up to you. If you want to become a member of "the fraternity of 'Irish' concertina players", then you will need to be able to speak "anglo" talk, and if you have an English or duet, it will be looked on as something alien...

 

... which it is! The English concertina is no more a strange anglo than the fiddle is a strange banjo. Which brings me to the point I find myself having to emphasize over and over again: Just because they look similar doesn't mean they're the same instrument or that there should be some requirement that one imitate the sound of another... for any kind of music. As it happens, there are people who can make the English sound like an anglo played in the Irish style. The opposite is also possible, except maybe for the details of some ornaments.

 

Remember playing a particular genre of music is more than just playing the tunes...

Some people -- you, for instance, Bill -- feel that way. Others don't. If Jeremy wants to join your circle of "Irish" musicians, he may need to learn to do it your way, but if he doesn't care to, then it may not matter... to him. And to him -- or to those he wants to associate with -- is all that should matter.

 

...there is a way that different musical traditions phrase the tunes and accompany them, etc.

Which can vary from county to county, town to town, pub to pub, and even individual to individual. And certainly from instrument to instrument. The fact is that those attributes which are frequently advanced as making the anglo "characteristically" Irish are attributes that are widely despised if they appear in the playing of Irish music by fiddles and flutes.

 

The English concertina isn't an anglo. If someone wants to exclude it because it doesn't have a long tradition, they're welcome to their prejudice, but trying to exclude it because it doesn't sound exactly like an anglo should require that they also exclude fiddles, flutes, pipes, harps... in fact, every other possible instrument. Well, maybe excepting Chris T.'s anglodeon. I wonder how that would sound if played in the Irish anglo style. :unsure:

 

But this little skirmish seems to have little or nothing to do with Jeremy's request. As I understand it, he wants to find an instrument on which to play a few chords and simple melodies, not to become a standard Irish session tune player. (Jeremy, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

 

Learning to play classical on the English is probably not the best approach if you want to ultimately play Irish music.

I don't believe anyone said that it was. Nor even that learning to play classical is necessary to learning to play the English, which you seem to be implying.

 

...I don't consider it heresy to prefer the flute. I am glad that people prefer the flute, the fiddle, the bango and the accordion.

But then why not the English? Not in place of the anglo, but in addition? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been here before, or at least that's how it feels.

 

Advice to the effect that a certain type of concertina is the appropriate type for some genre of music always niggles me badly. This is usually (but not always) expressed as "if you want to play Irish, get a C/G anglo", which has always made exactly the same sense to me as the statement, "if you want to play Irish, get a flute".

 

The correct answer has always been, get the system you want to play. You will work out afterwards how to play the music you want to play on it.

 

i doagree with you, play the system you want to play. however, i chose to play the silver flute, as opposed to the wooden flute. now, i dont regret my choice, but it seems just about everyone else regrets it. some of the comments: "when are you going to start playing the wooden flute?", "you know... you should start the wooden flute before its too late", "oh, i thought you meant you played the irish flute", "oh... is that your BAND instrument, from school?"

 

i dont resent the comments, because i respect most of the people who said those things, and no one has been mean to me about it. i am getting tired of it though. its just that everyone kind of thinks that i settled for my flute, that i didnt chose it, and that i should agree with them that it is a horrible situation. my uncle, who has been playing for 25 years, still gets people asking, "so when are you gettin a wooden flute?"

 

i am not dissing wooden flutes, as i just put myself on the waiting list for a cochran flute today. after i get my 2 angloes on order, i'm thinking of putting myself on the list for an english concertina. i dont regret chosing the silver flute first, because it taught me a lot of things, but there is something to be said about not having to deal with people looking down at you or telling you that you shouldnt play the instrument you love.

 

i think if a choice fits, chose the one that works for you; after all, the only person you have to make happy is yourself. but when you do it, its important to know that you are going against the grain.

 

i dont think the concertina world is as hostile as the flute world, though. any opinions? if you play irish on an english concertina, do people come up to you and ask, "so when are you getting your anglo?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i doagree with you, play the system you want to play. however, i chose to play the silver flute, as opposed to the wooden flute. now, i dont regret my choice, but it seems just about everyone else regrets it. some of the comments: "when are you going to start playing the wooden flute?", "you know... you should start the wooden flute before its too late", "oh, i thought you meant you played the irish flute", "oh... is that your BAND instrument, from school?"

Really? That's a bit severe! That sort of thing just doesn't seem to happen in English music, I'm glad to say. Reminds me of the chap with a square Herrington who got so fed up with being the butt of Noel Hill's jokes at a summer school that he decided he would have to get a six-sided box for his own self-preservation. Admittedly that annoyed me more than it apparently did him, but as you may have gathered those sorts of intolerance and "thou shalts" are somewhat red rags to a bull for me.

 

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Concertinas with different keyboards not only look the same, they also sound the same, so essentially they ARE same instruments with small unimportant differences. Just like a PA, CBA and DBB are basically the same thing.

Generally if one wants to play only european folk and only in home keys - Anglo can't be beaten. if anything else - EC, and if one is brave and wants to explore the unknown - duets. Sure a pro can make Anglo sound like EC and vice versa, but it takes:

a. a pro

b. acknowledgement of the inherent style

 

I'd be more concerned about learning to play well, that alone will take you through life, and the success is far from guaranteed. Anyone for a gamble?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i dont resent the comments, because i respect most of the people who said those things, and no one has been mean to me about it.

I might respect their music, but if they said something like that more than once, I would consider them bigoted, disrespectful, and obnoxious.

 

i dont think the concertina world is as hostile as the flute world, though.

Would they dare show that sort of "hostility" to someone like Seamus Tansey? Or Joanie Madden?

 

if you play irish on an english concertina, do people come up to you and ask, "so when are you getting your anglo?"

It's been known to happen, albeit rarely, and never from a really good musician. But those who do say such things tend to shut up when I reply that I already have more than one anglo -- in fact, more than one Jeffries anglo, -- but in general I prefer the English. :ph34r:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok... I apoligize for the mess below.. I can't get the quoting to work right. I am sorry abou that.

 

..."if you want to play Irish, get a C/G anglo", ... has always made exactly the same sense to me as the statement, "if you want to play Irish, get a flute".

Makes more sense than, "If you want to play Irish Music, get a trumpet" ;).

 

Well, yeah, but the majority of Irish tunes go higher than the usual range of a trumpet -- especially a Bb trumpet, -- so you need a really good lip to even consider it. I find that it's much easier to do most Irish tunes on a soprano sax. :)

 

 

Well there was a period when the saxaphone was used in Celi and show bands. Not saying I would be crazy about them making a resurgance :).

 

The correct answer has always been, get the system you want to play. You will work out afterwards how to play the music you want to play on it.

I am not sure I completely agree with that. If one simply wants to play the concertina, that might be the best way to go, but if one knows the style of music one wants to play, then it makes sense to see what resources are out there. As much as some players love the Duet and the English and alternate tunings for the Anglo, when it comes down to it, if you play one of those instruments you will probably not find many resources to keep you going if you are mainly interested in playing Irish music.

 

But did Jeremy say that he was "mainly interested in playing Irish music", especially Irish tunes in a session? That is where you seem to be leading, Bill. For song accompaniment or backup chording you'll have to go outside the "Irish" tradition to find resources, and even then I think they're pretty sparse even for anglos. (Alan Day's tutor for playing the anglo strikes me as good starting point, though.)

 

 

This is granted. Most of what I am saying should not be taken too specifically. I am mainly stressing that it makes more sense to know what you want to play first and then decide what instruments make the most sense.

 

There is potentially another factor... the social factor. If you simply want to play music -- Irish or otherwise -- in a way that's acceptable to yourself, the kind of instrument you choose is entirely up to you. If you want to become a member of "the fraternity of 'Irish' concertina players", then you will need to be able to speak "anglo" talk, and if you have an English or duet, it will be looked on as something alien...

 

Well in my experience, Irish Anglo players are a relatively accepting bunch; we are rare enough at sessions that any concertina plauer is welcomed by us... at least until they start playing. Its unfortunate but true that some times players of any instrument come to a session and just start playing stuff that doesn't fit into the session. There is one guy who plays English that is well accepted in our session. There is another person who comes in and tries to play Civil War Tunes.

 

... which it is! The English concertina is no more a strange anglo than the fiddle is a strange banjo. Which brings me to the point I find myself having to emphasize over and over again: Just because they look similar doesn't mean they're the same instrument or that there should be some requirement that one imitate the sound of another... for any kind of music. As it happens, there are people who can make the English sound like an anglo played in the Irish style. The opposite is also possible, except maybe for the details of some ornaments.

 

This is a good point. On the flip side though, I often find that players can do worse than trying to emulate the style of an accepted instrument in the tradition. Perhaps I am wrong to emphasize playing like an Anglo. Certainly, if it is possible (and it should be since the English was designed to play violin parts), playing an English like a fiddle should also work very well.

 

Remember playing a particular genre of music is more than just playing the tunes...

Some people -- you, for instance, Bill -- feel that way. Others don't. If Jeremy wants to join your circle of "Irish" musicians, he may need to learn to do it your way, but if he doesn't care to, then it may not matter... to him. And to him -- or to those he wants to associate with -- is all that should matter.

 

Well yes and no. Lets remember that there are alot of tunes that are shared across traditions. One tune might be played one way by old time players, another way by Irish players and a third in English folk music. Each is a valid way of playing the tune, but they don't necessarily go well together.

 

...there is a way that different musical traditions phrase the tunes and accompany them, etc.

 

Which can vary from county to county, town to town, pub to pub, and even individual to individual. And certainly from instrument to instrument. The fact is that those attributes which are frequently advanced as making the anglo "characteristically" Irish are attributes that are widely despised if they appear in the playing of Irish music by fiddles and flutes.

 

 

I will grant all of this.. but still I would argue that the way someone playing Sligo style plays a tune probably has alot more in common with someone from Kerry playing the same tune than it has with an old time player playing the same tune.

 

I agree that every instrument is unique and ultimately must find its own voice in a tradition, but when it is first entering the tradition, it is probably better to start with a style close to an existing instrument. Once an instrument is established, then the musicians can start figuring out ways to express the instrument's unique voice. Just as a thought, Billy McComiskey once recommended to me that I listen to east Galway flute players to help improve my B/C box playing. Essentially the idea was that if I played it as close as possible to the flute players that it would be a good start.

 

The English concertina isn't an anglo. If someone wants to exclude it because it doesn't have a long tradition, they're welcome to their prejudice, but trying to exclude it because it doesn't sound exactly like an anglo should require that they also exclude fiddles, flutes, pipes, harps... in fact, every other possible instrument. Well, maybe excepting Chris T.'s anglodeon. I wonder how that would sound if played in the Irish anglo style. :unsure:

 

But this little skirmish seems to have little or nothing to do with Jeremy's request. As I understand it, he wants to find an instrument on which to play a few chords and simple melodies, not to become a standard Irish session tune player. (Jeremy, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

 

Well I hope we are being fairly friendly here... certainly as a box player I recognize that there is room for introducing new instruments to the Tradition. After all half step accordions have really only been around since the end of WWII. It is also true though that new instruments often have alot of prejudice against them when they are first introduced. I can't be sure, but I suspect that how the instrument is introduced often plays a big factor in determining whether it is ultimately accepted in the Tradition.

 

Learning to play classical on the English is probably not the best approach if you want to ultimately play Irish music.

 

I don't believe anyone said that it was. Nor even that learning to play classical is necessary to learning to play the English, which you seem to be implying.

 

 

I am sorry, I think I left the wrong impression there. I never meant to imply that the English was only suited for playing classical music. What I really meant was that with limited learning resources available, one might be forced to start learning from sources that are not from the particular musical tradition you are interested in. Classical could easily be replaced by 19th century English Parlor Music and it would be just as true. I

 

...I don't consider it heresy to prefer the flute. I am glad that people prefer the flute, the fiddle, the bango and the accordion.

But then why not the English? Not in place of the anglo, but in addition? :)

 

I have no objections to it at all. I hope I didn't necessarily imply that I did. I really just wanted to make it clear that choosing to play Irish on the English does leave one a bit more in the desert compared to choosing the Anglo for the same task. It might be different in 10 years, but that is the way it is right now.

 

--

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Jeremy,

 

You don't need to know music theory if you've got a good ear for music, a good memory for note positions on the instrument you're playing, and the time, willingness and patience to explore for more than one way to play a note, a phrase or a tune. Some people's hand mechanic's work better with the button layouts of the anglo and duet than the English, and vice versa. As far as anglo keys are concerned, I support Peter T's observations.

 

If I were you, but I'm not although nobody can really be sure except you and if I'm actually you masquerading as me then it doesn't really matter :), I'd go with bill mchale's idea of renting, but I would rent both an anglo and an English at the same time for a little experimental fun. I'd then sit down with a simple tune I wanted to learn and see which instrument was the first I could get the tune from. After the results of that contest were in, I'd send em' back and listen to recordings of players on anglo, English, and duet. Then I'd make the decision.

 

If you're just looking for a concertina that you can have a casual affair with, any of them will do, if you can get your fingers to give them a workout.;) Get it from someone who'll stand behind the quality so you don't get burned.

Edited by Laitch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok... I apoligize for the mess below.. I can't get the quoting to work right. I am sorry abou that.

........ [the rest elided].........

I don't think it's your fault, Bill.

 

It's happened to me twice, but I discovered that I could fix it by splitting my post into two parts, without changing so much as a single letter of text. I.e., there seems to be a length limit on a post, beyond which the software refuses to interpret correctly quoting which is actually correct. I have just checked your quoting, and it is correct.

 

You might try the following:

... 1) Use the Edit button on your post to get it into the composition window.

... 2) Cut (not copy) all the text beyond a certain point -- e.g., from "[ quote ] The English concertina isn't an anglo" onward, -- and paste it temporarily into a text editor. (The paste is just a security measure.)

... 3) Add a "to be continued" comment at the bottom of the remaining text and then save/post the result. It should now have the quotes formatted correctly.

... 4) Use the Add Reply button at the bottom of the thread to open a new composition window.

... 5) Paste in the text that you cut from the first post. (It should still be active in the buffer, but if you've done something in the meantime which loses it, you can copy it again from where you pasted it into your text editor.)

... 6) Save that "new" post. Your original post should now be in two parts, but formatted correctly.

... 7) Delete what you put into the text editor. You no longer need it.

 

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The correct answer has always been, get the system you want to play. You will work out afterwards how to play the music you want to play on it.

 

I would add that it is not just the system you want to play, but the system best suited to the way your brain works and assimilates information. I have always played a selection of irish tunes on my English system concertinas, and it suits me just fine. I know that my brain patterns inhibit my successful application of the push/pull anglo action.

 

John Wild

Link to comment
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...