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Anglo Styles

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Stuart Estell wrote in a different thread:


I should add that I play in an "English" style pretty exclusively, so I may be more concerned with what chords are available than an Irish-style player might be.


In this quotation, he indicates that there area at least two major stylistic subgroups of anglo playing. I'm also aware, though haven't heard more than a smattering, of a South African Boer anglo tradition. There are also vague references to seaman style songs--sea chanties and the like.


Here's the question: How many anglo styles are there out there. I don't particularly mean regional stylistic differences as are found in, for example, Irish fiddling where the true afficianato can differentiate between Sligo and Clare. Let me say, that I do ealize that labelling musical styles is a fools game, but I have no doubt that I'm a fool. I've been married almost 30 years, and I'm frequently reminded of this.


Additionally, who are the major proponants of these differernt styles?


If this is another go at a previously exhausted topics, please except my apology and direct me to the earlier URL.


Have fun,


JIm Robertson

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If this is another go at a previously exhausted topics,...

Previously exercised, but I think it ran off the track before exhaustion set in. :)


I'm one who feels that more specificity is warranted. As commonly used, "Irish style" generally means melody-only, potentially including ornaments, but no chords or harmony beyond the occsional note or two, like sparse use of the regulators on the uilleann pipes. "English style" is everything else, i.e., anything (apparently including South African and German styles) where regular use is made of more than one note at a time. It is used as a blanket to cover such diverse styles as melody-in-the-right-and-chords-in-the left (many Morris musicians play this way) and parallel-octaves (Scan Tester is the usual example). But the styles of William Kimber, John Kirkpatrick, Brian Peters, Harry Scurfield (all English), Jody Kruskal (American), etc. are very distinct. (So, I feel, are various well-known performers in "the" Irish style.)


I think trying to enumerate the different styles is silly and futile, but I do think a fuller distinction of them from the beginning would be a big help to bewildered beginners.

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I think that you will find that with practice you can, on occasions, not only distinguish a style but identify the individual playing!

Several times I have spotted John Kirkpatrick backing someone and later had it confirmed that it was him.

At one workshop he took time to impersonate other players, to give a flavour of other styles.

I started out playing octaves apart and using what ever fingers were left over to form chords. Over the years I find that I play less full chords and also spread the chords over a greater range of pitch. So the way that the chord is formed can also have an effect on the style, by putting one note up by an octave for example.

Part of Alistair Anderson's distinctive style is the way he moves the concertina to get a dopler effect, and this can also be applied to the Anglo. I always have to "do the bells" on the B part of "Farewell Manchester/Ring of Bells Litchfield" when we are out with the morris men.



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