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Is The Concertina Historicly A....

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I mean throughout history has it been played by mainly guys or gals? Who have been the famous players?

*Wonders if she's going to start a ' heated discussion again*

;)

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Hi

in Victorian times it was one of the few instruments that were available and 'socially' acceptable for women to play. Have a look at Allan Atlas's papers on concertina.com

chris

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My general impression from the histories available at www.concertina.com and www.angloconcertina.org is that the concertina is pretty gender neutral. There were the Fayre Four Sisters (I think I have the name right) who were famous concertina players in the early 20th century. And there's quite a few recognized Irish female players.

 

There's no cooties in concertinas.

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There's no cooties in concertinas.

what's a cootie? ;)

 

in Victorian times it was one of the few instruments that were available and 'socially' acceptable for women to play. Have a look at Allan Atlas's papers on concertina.com

I'll go take a look :)

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There's no cooties in concertinas.

what's a cootie? ;)

 

in Victorian times it was one of the few instruments that were available and 'socially' acceptable for women to play. Have a look at Allan Atlas's papers on concertina.com

I'll go take a look :)

 

In Irish trad. the anglo concertina was generally for the women - it was called ‘Bean chairdin’, a female accordion.

Nowadays i don't see any bias though.

 

(aren't cooties nits!)

Edited by spindizzy

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in Victorian times it was one of the few instruments that were available and 'socially' acceptable for women to play. Have a look at Allan Atlas's papers on concertina.com

That would have been more the case in early Victorian times (1840s/'50s) when the only instruments deemed "seemly" for a genteel woman to play were the pianoforte, the harp or the guitar, but by the end of that era women were playing the violin, and even the cello, as well as (shudder! :rolleyes: ) wind instruments. The concertina and the accordion were the first instruments capable of "expression", and the sustaining of notes, that were available to ladies - hence all the titled ones in Allan's article.

 

In Irish trad. the anglo concertina was generally for the women - it was called ‘Bean chairdin’, a female accordion.

You know, I'm only aware of that claim from one writer, but in the nearly 40 years that I've been involved in Irish music, and the 20 years that I've been living in Ireland, I've never, ever, heard anybody call it that... :huh:

 

But certainly German concertinas were cheaply and freely available, and not difficult to maintain, or taboo like the concert flute would have been (you'd always want to be careful to add the word "concert" when speaking to Irish country people, "flute" meaning the male appendage :blink: ).

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I heard female accordionists were called Ladies in Pain.

 

"Cooties" were lice in WWI, but in elementary schools when I was a kid they were imaginary things girls would get from boys or boys would get from girls unless you did a "circle, circle, dot, dot everlasting cootie shot."

Then puberty hit and we found out that the everlasting cootie shot was powerless in the face of the various real nasties boys and girls can swap.

Which was disappointing.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooties

They got the shot rhyme wrong in that, though.

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In Irish trad. the anglo concertina was generally for the women - it was called ‘Bean chairdin’, a female accordion.

You know, I'm only aware of that claim from one writer, but in the nearly 40 years that I've been involved in Irish music, and the 20 years that I've been living in Ireland, I've never, ever, heard anybody call it that... :huh:

 

 

That is my understanding, too. For what it is worth, my informal count of ancestors and other older relatives of current prominent Irish music folks showed a dead heat, a 50-50 female-male ratio, which is amazingly high vs male-dominated instruments like the flute and pipes. Counts of period press 'sightings' heavily favor men, but most likely that reflects the fact that men were much more likely to be found out and about doing the sorts of things it took to get into the papers in those days (protests, crimes, hosting competitions, etc.). All this is discussed in my 'Irish' article at www.angloconcertina.org .

 

Which brings me to a caution about looking too much for the 'famous players' in the nineteenth century and very early twentieth century (ie, pre-Mullaly and Crotty)....they're aren't any known for the concertina, male or female, despite the fact that this was the instrument's heyday in Ireland. There are just no (well, at least I cannot think of any) descriptions that mention prominent players then by name. Its beginnings were very humble and not oriented toward fan followings.....the instrument was considered rather low in status and technique, and was heavily domestic (unlike piping, for example, which was known for professional traveling players who honed their techniques in a commercial way). Even if had been more 'famous' an instrument, such a list would tilt toward males, because women at that time did not seem to play extensively outside of the home. Fame back then would be a local village thing for the concertina.

 

Cheers,

Dan

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Wouldn't fame back then also mainly involve dance halls, theatres, and bars where few women of good repute would be found (and then only with serious chaperonage if that's a word)?

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Wouldn't fame back then also mainly involve dance halls, theatres, and bars where few women of good repute would be found (and then only with serious chaperonage if that's a word)?

My comments (although not the thread) were oriented toward rural Ireland, as was Stephen's last post , to which I was addressing my comments.

 

England and, for that matter, the Anglicised part of Ireland at the time (Dublin etc.) were a bit different. Early anglo tutors targeted middle class women (see picture below, 1860s), and of the studio photographs I have thus far collected of 1850s and 1860s players in England (when the anglo was still considered midle brow enough to inspire photographs with them), about a third feature women....which suggests a high overall percentage of women players.

 

Then there was the Sally Army, where the anglo players were largely women, as seen in period photos...starting of course with Eva Booth herself; she clearly inspored many women to follow her, anglos and all. Most of the anglo-playing (and for that matter, EC-playing) Sally Army concertina bands were staffed primarily with women. I think this strong inclination toward women anglo players reflected the anglo's popularity in the domestic setting, just as in rural Ireland....but I cannot prove that. The SA's mission was a logical extension of the nineteenth century woman's domestic role, in a way....so a good early bridge to playing outside of the home.

 

I'll leave it to others to comment on women English system players...there are the Fayre Four and the Elliots in the halls, for example...but I cannot think of many anglo players in the halls who were women. Certainly there were lots of upper crust women playing ECs at home, as Allan Atlas has reported. In my opinion, EC numbers were, overall, relatively small compared with the much larger numbers of german and anglo german players, regardless of how more fully documented the EC folks are at present.

 

Dan

 

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I'll leave it to others to comment on women English system players...there are the Fayre Four and the Elliots in the halls, for example...but I cannot think of many anglo players in the halls who were women. Certainly there were lots of upper crust women playing ECs at home, as Allan Atlas has reported. In my opinion, EC numbers were, overall, relatively small compared with the much larger numbers of german and anglo german players, regardless of how more fully documented the EC folks are at present.

 

Dan

She seems to be holding the concertina up rather than resting it on her knee. (When I was playing wearing a skirt it kept geting caught in the folds so maybe that's why)

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DAN: that's an absolutely wonderful illustration. . . . .especially since it places the Anglo in the same kind of cultured setting that -- given the period depicted -- one associates with the english...................Allan

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Allan,

 

Glad you like it. I copied the original some years back in the NYC Public Library, not too far from where you are.

 

Cultured? Perhaps, as long as you don't mean classically inclined. As I remember, the tutor and others like it had a bit of light classical music but much more of music hall songs, Civil War sentimental songs, and lots of good lively minstrel stuff like Old Zip Coon, Camptown Races, and the Darkies' Christmas Day. Like middle class women today, the woman on the cover liked to rock and roll!

 

As I continue to notice in my wanderings thru the past, Anglo-German players ALWAYS had more fun than their EC brethren. :P

 

Dan

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Dan, are you sure it is anglo in the illustration? Could it be a duet ? The illustrator may have just been drawing what he though a concertina ought to look like .

I wonder whether duets were played more than anglos in these social circles.........most educated girls would probably play the piano,so if you already read sheet music picking up a duet seems a more logical instrument than an anglo.

I believe Allan's article refers mainly to the English...........is there info. on the duet ?

Regards Robin

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The buttons are along the flat edge, not tucked in the corner so it's a 20 button German, not even an Anglo. Assuming the artist got that detail right, of course.

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Assuming the artist got that detail right, of course.

...................that was really the thrust of my question.Did he draw what he saw or draw what he thought a concertina should look like.Robin

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