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The Trouble With Anglo Concertina Availability


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Hi Missing Song,

 

Welcome to concertina.net and great to see you contributing so soon.

 

I was just thinking the other day that just about all this post was 'missing' was a 'song' :)

 

So how about it folks ?

 

' Where have all the 'tinas gone........perhaps

 

Irreverently yours

 

Dave

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Sure, there are a few hoarders around, and jealousy can rise, and you can wonder what can be "done." But the impetus behind these hoarders is the same one that's led to an explosion of new makers over the last few years. You have to take the good with the bad, surely it's not too hard to suffer a few happy hoarders.

Maybe you don't see the effect on the ground as often as some of us do: the really good twelve to fifteen year old struggling with Gremlins and Marcus etc instruments at classes and summerschools while the middleaged guys arrive with three top class instruments under their arm, barely able to hammer out an off rhythm version of the Breeches full of Stitches. It's easy to get a feeling something has gone lopsided when you see that, that there's a certain injustice in it and that things ideally should be different. There's no point though, things being what they are. So no point complaining until the cows come home. ;)

No, I'm sure I don't see it as often as some, and it's good to hear those first-hand accounts. But my point is: if it weren't for those middle-aged Breeches-bobblers, would there be nearly as many makers as there are today? Would there be traditionally-reeded Wakkers and Kensingtons around, which have just started being built in the last year or so? Would there be nearly as many decent-playing mid-range concertinas around? I don't think so. So my point is it's easy to see only the "bad" side of the issue, while taking for granted the recent advances that have been touched off by the very same "bobblers." For whatever reason, very few people will ever play at a really proficient level (probably by definition -- the best will always be defined as what only the very few achieve). Yet it takes a good-sized concertina "community" to support makers and repairers. I think seeing the whole picture makes it a lot easier to forgive a few over-enthusiastic people with a lot more money than talent. If there is ever a low-cost, mass-produced, professional-grade concertina, we'll have the masses of dilettante amateur players to thank. Perhaps we should encourage them?

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Guest Peter Laban
No, I'm sure I don't see it as often as some, and it's good to hear those first-hand accounts. But my point is: if it weren't for those middle-aged Breeches-bobblers, would there be nearly as many makers as there are today? Would there be traditionally-reeded Wakkers and Kensingtons around, which have just started being built in the last year or so? Would there be nearly as many decent-playing mid-range concertinas around? I don't think so. So my point is it's easy to see only the "bad" side of the issue, while taking for granted the recent advances that have been touched off by the very same "bobblers." For whatever reason, very few people will ever play at a really proficient level (probably by definition -- the best will always be defined as what only the very few achieve). Yet it takes a good-sized concertina "community" to support makers and repairers. I think seeing the whole picture makes it a lot easier to forgive a few over-enthusiastic people with a lot more money than talent. If there is ever a low-cost, mass-produced, professional-grade concertina, we'll have the masses of dilettante amateur players to thank. Perhaps we should encourage them?

 

I do't think there are numbers available that would show how many concertinaplayers are working away out there. I do think you may be underestimating the surge of young concertinaplayers that are raring to go in Ireland at the moment and how high the standard of playing is among them.

 

Looking at the situation at summerschools like the Willie Clancy week or Mrs Crotty you'll find the overwhelming majority of concertinaplayers taking lessons at the moment is under 15 and there are literally hundreds of them turning up for classes. Noel Hill is only one of many teaching the concertina in Clare at the moment but his two weekly classes in Ennis attract between 60 and 80 pupils with many many more teachers working away in small communities all around catering for dozens and dozens more young players. Dympna O Sullivan, Edel Fox, High Healy, Tim Collins, Katie O Sullivan, Una Grogan, Mary McNamara are only a few from that highly active local teaching community.

And that is only one county.

Call me silly but to my eyes these young players are where the future of the concertina lies (at least in this county) and they are the ones that deserve the encouragement and the best possible instruments because they are part of a living and vibrant musical tradition and they will carry concertina music for another generation.

 

Mind you I am not begrudging anyone his or her instruments but on the internet and in real life you come across just a few too many people who decide to take up an instrument and without ever getting very far seem to hoard high quality instruments and in doing so clog up waiting lists of the few makers available (I am taking the broad view so I am including flutes and pipes especially in this) create a high demand and drive up prices which in the short and medium term has a very negative effect: you don't want to tell an enthusiastic and talented 12 year old to wait two, three or more years for an instrument, they'll loose interest. That's the angle I look at it anyway and sometimes there's a bit of a twitch at the injustice of it.

Edited by Peter Laban
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..................I could say something silly like "I'm glad that we live in a free society". However, I'm far too sensible to say such things.............

 

See I'm not clever enough to argue with Mr McCabe and appear to win but I reckon I deserve what ever I work for whether that's pushing bits of paper around or pushing buttons. Now what does this button do....

Missing Song

Unfortunately I'm not sensible at all. You're doing a fine job. Keep up the good work. Like Boney let me echo "well said"

Thanks

Leo

 

Hello Leo and all, thank you for the warm welcome. I was, I'm sure you've realised, being politically 'lite' in my remarks. I do know something though, and it is a fairly serious point; our grandparents and parents went to war to allow us the freedom of choice and speech. We are exercising our freedom of speech here, and sadly our Chinese manufacturers of concertinas (good or bad) are unable to join us because they lack that simple pleasure in life. As for freedom of choice, well, yes it does create some inequalities but let's look at the alternatives, then again, let's not.

 

In the world of concertinas and guitars perhabs it is correct.

But in the world of above mentioned violins how whould you feel about top notch musicians playing low end chinese fiddles, while eager amateurs squeak top notch violins? Kind of ridiculous, isn't it? Who knows, may be in some short while, you wan't be able to buy top notch concertinas with your hard earned money?....I think little too much was implied and not read careful enough from McCaby's posts. He is incorrect with his impressions of reality, but his argument also contained wider spectrum of ideas, going beyond "It's my money, I want to spend it as I please".

But it's becoming boring.

 

I read 11 pages of Mr McCabe's ideas and views and all the responses to the same before I posted. I'm not sure I read implications that weren't actually there. All in all some people were more reasonable than others. If Mr McCabe had said to us "wouldn't it be nice if people who felt they weren't doing justice to an instrument sold it on to a needy but frustrated super talent" and we could say "yes, wouldn't that be nice, that would indeed be generous" and "it's must be very frustrating being a super talent without a suitable instrument, would you like a cup of tea mr McCabe?".

 

...Because that was a joke. Making fun of the idea that concertinas should be distributed by some "master plan." Obviously they can't be.

 

...and thank heavens for that! I believe someone else once had a 'master plan', now, who was it....

 

Sure, there are a few hoarders around, and jealousy can rise, and you can wonder what can be "done." But the impetus behind these hoarders is the same one that's led to an explosion of new makers over the last few years. You have to take the good with the bad, surely it's not too hard to suffer a few happy hoarders.

 

I agree, there are hoarders of all things and that is their nature, they are not going against reasonable behaviour, in fact, to not hoard would go against their own nature. I kind of like people who travel their own paths, I even admire Mr McCabe for that ( I don't like to call you McCabe, yet I feel I'm being standoffish, sorry). And yes, if I was ever a top notch player of anything I would feel frustrated if gran'pa jo wouldn't lend me his soussaphone for my important gigs, but I'd have to live with it because it's just not mine to take. Hmm.

 

As for new makers: craftsmen are like musicians, regardless of any other reasons, they mostly do it for the love of the craft. Regardless of set up costs etc talent will always out and craftsmen will always be crafty and I think the concertina and violin have been around long enough to not become extinct from production

 

 

 

...Maybe you don't see the effect on the ground as often as some of us do: the really good twelve to fifteen year old struggling with Gremlins and Marcus etc instruments at classes and summerschools while the middleaged guys arrive with three top class instruments under their arm, barely able to hammer out an off rhythm version of the Breeches full of Stitches. It's easy to get a feeling something has gone lopsided when you see that, that there's a certain injustice in it and that things ideally should be different. There's no point though, things being what they are. So no point complaining until the cows come home. ;)

 

It's a natural injustice though Peter, caused by the natural behaviour of people who are free to enjoy the fruits of their labour. As a rock musician I have long enough turned up at rallies and festivals cradling my precious equipment and rolling my eyes at the 18 year olds with their 'mrs robinson' parent/managers handing them the most expensive of guitars and microphones. But that is all we can do, unless we really do want to start a masterplan, we can roll our eyes and we can get on with it. And before I'm told off I am not a 'pull the ladder up' kind of person, I give my dues and look after people less fortunate than myself and I never kick dogs.

 

 

Hi Missing Song,

 

Welcome to concertina.net and great to see you contributing so soon.

 

I was just thinking the other day that just about all this post was 'missing' was a 'song' :)

 

So how about it folks ?

 

' Where have all the 'tinas gone........perhaps

 

Irreverently yours

 

Dave

 

:o You search for my credit, you'll find I have none, with my bottle and friends you will find me at home...

 

come on now, all join in :o

 

 

If there is ever a low-cost, mass-produced, professional-grade concertina, we'll have the masses of dilettante amateur players to thank. Perhaps we should encourage them?

 

I'll take my hat off to that, don't ask me to part with my handbag though.

 

(edited to alter a word to the opposite of what it was, and exactly what it should be,like any woman I reserve the right to change my mind.)

Edited by Missing Song
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Greetings,

This is my first post here.

 

I am strictly an amateur musician. I play many diferent instruments,( guitar, banjo, french horn, harp, etc...) some better than others, and have only played the anglo concertina for about 2 years now; but one thing I have found in my life. More people are discouraged from learning to play an instrument by lousy instruments than for any other reason! Hard to play guitars, concertinas, etc.. make it frustrating to learn and progress slow. I have for years advised anyone who asks me about learning any instrument, BUY THE BEST ONE YOU CAN AFFORD ! At worst, you can sell it later as good stuff keeps it's value well.

 

So I say HIP, HIP, HURRAY! for any tyro who buys a top ender. The goal, it seams to me, is to populate the world with concertina players, and anything that helps is a good thing.

 

YMOS :D

 

Neal

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Yes pay as much as you can and a little bit more.As for populating the world with concertina players, the time will come when we will need concertinamatosis. Hey rabbits are good but hell they have to be kept in check. Geoff.

 

Sounds like someone got up on the wrong side of the billybong this morning. Only an Aussie would have an issue with rabbits. Sorry to hear you don't want more concertina players, cobber. I suspect a lot of folks on this board think concertinas are great, and the more the merrier. :D

 

Neal

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Yes pay as much as you can and a little bit more.As for populating the world with concertina players, the time will come when we will need concertinamatosis. Hey rabbits are good but hell they have to be kept in check. Geoff.

 

Sounds like someone got up on the wrong side of the billybong this morning. Only an Aussie would have an issue with rabbits. Sorry to hear you don't want more concertina players, cobber. I suspect a lot of folks on this board think concertinas are great, and the more the merrier. :D

 

Neal

 

Hey message from Yorkshire....Rabbits are lovely.......... but only when in a nice crusty pie

 

The problems will start when concertinas start to breed like rabbits

 

As for concertinamatosis, I can play blind.... been doing that for years :lol:

 

Dave

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I, in common with many of the above correspondents, find DPM's ideas on this subject a little baffling.

 

I started with a little red plywood 20key machine and it was sufficient for about two weeks. I got hold of a 26key lach and was told when I took this along to morris, that it was already limiting my ability to play - something I felt myself. A linota followed and I got the same advice " If you really want to play find yourself a Jeffries"

 

When I eventually did so, the upturn in my playing ability was remarkable and immediate. Moreover, the instrument itself made demands on me to improve. My playing of the Linota also improved.

 

There is no doubt at all that I did not deserve my Jeffries when I first got it nor that without it my playing would not have improved as it did. DPM would probably not have allowed it me in the first place and would probably want it confiscated in the second.

 

I have played for about thirty years or so both professionally and as an amateur and I know that apart from pleasing me, my music has given pleasure to others. I may not be the finest player of an anglo in the world but my playing, such as it is, is made all the better for having the instruments I love and appreciate.

 

I suspect that DPM's assertion about older beginners or "casual fans of the concertina" (what? who are these?) buying and not using quality boxes - for which they have had to pay very good money - is largely twaddle. Where I have some sympathy for him and others is when I hear of collectors who are not players. I believe that instruments are there to be played and, speaking as a restorer for a moment, they quite definitely deteriorate if they are not!

 

I am now in my early fifties and still improving. I have a G/D, a Bb/F and a C/G Jeffries, all of which I play regularly. My other half has my instructions to make sure, on my death, that my boxes go to someone who really wants to play. I think I'll tell her to make an exception in DPM's case!

 

Oh, and in case anyone's interested as to the source of my advice all those year ago.... John Watcham was that man and it would have been churlish - not to say stupid - of me to ignore the wise words of such an exponent as he!

 

Simon Rosser

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Hello, It ain't Bill Y bong, it's billabong. And I was born and dragged up in a little village in North Yorkshire.Whose only recent claim to fame is as the chosen home of an interloper who wasn't a bad cricketer in his time. Incidently ,Ravensworth derives from the Viking Hrafen's Wath.But I digress.I ate and enjoyed many of my grandmothers rabbit pies and far from wishing their complete demise{not my grandmothers, too late.],I hope the rabbit family will continue to laugh and sing for ever.Geoff Lowes.

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Hello

 

It seems to me that the misbasis for this passionette argument is concerning all the abstract concertina players out there whose quiver of concertinas is consitent in size to their lack of ablility. I am not sure that really is a large enough group, to sit at home in the parlor stewing and sizzling .

 

It sounds paranoid to me, and I am not even a mental health professional!!

 

Let's not forget to mention the "collectors"

 

Has any one suggested the notion of

 

DEACCESSIONING THE HORINIMAN MUSEUM?

 

 

 

Richard

Edited by richard
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It seems to me that the misbasis for this passionette argrument is concerning all the abstract concertina players out there whose quiver of concertinas is consitent in size to their lack of ablility. I am not sure that really is a large enough group to sit at home in the parlor stewing and sizzling over.

 

It sounds parnoid to me, and I am not even a mental health professional!!

Richard

 

Paranoid?

 

No, not at all, I just know there are hordes of collectors camped out just around the corner from my house waiting to snatch my instruments off me... B)

 

To offer another angle to this discussion, I do sometimes wonder if the cheaper instruments aren't overly maligned. I met another anglo player (Irish-style, as it happens) at a party last weekend who has a good Lachenal and a cheap 30b Stagi (the sort with the frame-thing in the middle of the bellows) - and I was amazed by how good that Stagi sounded in her hands.

 

I can't comment on how good or authentic her ornamentation is as I don't really understand the style, but it did seem to be coping fine with pretty fast grace-notes. When I picked it up and played a couple of Morris tunes on it, I thought it responded pretty well.

 

I'm not claiming that they're brilliant - the sound isn't ideal, and doesn't resemble that of traditionally-made concertina reeds, and the construction isn't necessarily very good either, but I don't think that these low-end instruments are anywhere near as worthless as is sometimes made out. You can certainly make good music with them.

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Has any one suggested the notion of

 

DEACCESSIONING THE HORINIMAN MUSEUM?

 

Deaccession: (1) an object that has been removed permanently from the museum collection; (2) formal removal of accessioned objects from the muse urn's permanent collection. Objects removed from the unaccessioned collections of the museum are not considered deaccessions, but need to go through a formal removal process. See also: disposal.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what you're proposing doesn't sound very formal to me!

 

Chris

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Has any one suggested the notion of

 

DEACCESSIONING THE HORINIMAN MUSEUM?

 

Deaccession: (1) an object that has been removed permanently from the museum collection; (2) formal removal of accessioned objects from the muse urn's permanent collection. Objects removed from the unaccessioned collections of the museum are not considered deaccessions, but need to go through a formal removal process. See also: disposal.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what you're proposing doesn't sound very formal to me!

 

Chris

 

Where do they dig up these words from ?

 

Nice idea though. Lets ' Liberate ' them all from the Horniman and send them all on a worldwide tour amongst C.net members.

 

..... second thoughts.... the arguments about pecking order for position on the list would be interminable.... Scrub this post !

 

:lol:

Dave Prebble

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Guest Old Leaky

Well! This topic has certainly got us all typing away ... what number are we up to now?

Edited by Old Leaky
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