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South East Tionol

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I will be there. Well, I guess I should be, I am helping to organize the event. We have been doing this event for at least 7 years, and this is our second run at having concertina. I currently have 7 registered for the concertina class, and we would like to have more. Although a piping event by nature, we have been including at least two other instruments each year.

If I look back to two years ago when we had a concertina tutor( Tim Collins) we had a class of 6. All adults, and with one exception all considered concertina their second instrument. We learned an awful lot of technique, and about 6 tunes in the course of Saturday and Sunday. Our concert was a wonderful event, and I still listen to some of the tracks of Tim playing in duet with Michael Cooney.


This year we have the advantage of having Paul Groff as our tutor. Paul has informed me that we will be exploring the relationship between the concertina, and the one row melodeon. Many have seen threads regarding Mullally's recordings, as possible on a D/A, and playing "in the rows". Many players such as the late Kitty Hayes,and others found it more appropriate to play melodies in a native row, as opposed to across the rows as we do now. Paul is also a wealth of knowledge with many older recordings of melodeon, as is being joined by a friend of his from Boston on the Melodeon for our class.

We will have an excellent fiddle instructor named Willie Kelly( featured on Dympa O'Sullivan's debut recording, and Mike Rafferty CDs), as well as two internationally known uilleann pipers. Michael Cooney is back this year, and joined by Ivan Goff.

Please feel free to contact me about any questions for the Tionól.

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If anyone gets any recordings of the one-row and concertina duet playing, could you pleeeaase send them this way? My girlfriend plays a one-row Hohner and I play concertina, and I've never heard any recordings of this combination. Thanks! I can trade for some rare old field recordings as well, if you'd like.



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I am very pleased to welcome you to the event. I don't think you will need much in the way of what to bring, except maybe a portable recording device, pen and paper, and possibly coffee( just kidding). Many of my past experiences for workshops the teachers either write on a blackboard out basic ABC type notation, or some use hand outs that we can copy. In some "advanced" classes I have attended, it was solely played and learned by ear. I usually find the instructor or director asks for a show of hands for those who prefer to learn by ear. I am happy either way, and I do some of each with my own students. If it is a short workshop, I find that jotting down notes plus recording is very helpful. I have never attended a workshop taught by Paul Groff, but he and I discussed his game plan, and I am in love with it. He also is planning on bringing a few rare cds to sell( mostly melodeon playing) a few tune books to accompany the cd( not as many as the disc itself). This is a learning experience, and I find that everyone takes away a little something different from the experience. I might learn a variation on a tune that I already play, or a way of changing which button or row I currently use. They are all useful techniques for how to approach "similar" tunes in the future. I have been guilty myself of being the "one" who said I "know" that tune, having the tutor decide not to teach it, and then me and the rest of the class losing out on a valuable insight to a part of the music.

Food nearby the event varies from Oriental, Mexican,and fast food. We have a nice "pot luck" dinner planned for Friday night, a lot of nice things already planned, but bring something( even chips and dip) if you can.

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I'll be there! This will be my first time at the South East Tionol. I attended the Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp last year, and really enjoyed being amongst other concertina playes. I'm looking forward to this gathering.

Edited by MadCelt
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Thanks, Larre,


This should be a lot of fun. I do have some ideas on playing the concertina, and some tunes, that may be new to some of you, but those of you who are more expert can share your different ideas too. It would be great for everyone to play a little and to listen and try to learn some things by ear ... if you need it I can give some guidance about which buttons and which bellows directions to try. Learning by ear is a crucial skill that only develops if you practice it. But later I will make some written music available to those who like that for reference (keeping in mind that traditional notation doesn't encode all that is communicated when we play). A tape recorder might be helpful and/or pencils and paper for notes. Some other student in the class may play something you would want to hear again. If there is a blackboard I will use it; otherwise I'll pass out some handouts.


BTW, although if demanded I can keep some of you busy using all 3 or 4 rows of a fancy anglo-chromatic concertina, much of the music I have in mind will fit on a 20 key concertina and could be played on a decent German instrument.* You don't have to have an expensive english-made concertina to join us. I may even bring a couple extras of these 20-key instruments along for last-minute recruits. It has always impressed me that some concertinists (especially in the older generation) could create music of very high quality on just the main two rows of a Lachenal or Crabb anglo, or even on a brass-reeded German 20 key, just like the fine melodeon players of yesterday and today with their 10 key, 1-row boxes.... The names Mrs. Crotty, John Kelly Sr., P.J. Conlon, and many more come to mind. Willie Mullally was mentioned by Larre and elsewhere recently. Although I'm sure he used at least 2 rows (plus the LH thumb button?), the style is heavily colored by certain effects of "along the row" playing, common to melodeon players. The version of "Green Groves of Erin" played by Paddy Murphy (and available on the wonderful Celtic Crossings cd, "In Good Hands") is interesting to compare with Mullally's, and also with the more "A minor" version played by Sonny Murray and others. There are some important differences between concertina and melodeon settings of tunes but also many points in common and I thought it would be interesting to discuss and show them. Some lovely traditional "concertina settings" of tunes are not too far from the "melodeon settings" -- and though accessible to beginners and the owners of very inexpensive concertinas, it is still a challenge to get the most music out of these settings even for players like me who have been at it a while.


I presented a couple of these settings as part of a short workshop on "unusual keys and settings" a few years ago and some of the participants seemed to enjoy them.


Best of all may be the opportunity to hear some of Jack Conroy's superb box playing on his 1 1/2 row and 1 row accordions, if he is able to come down to join us as planned.


Anyone with further questions is welcome to email me directly: groff (at) bio (dot) miami (dot) edu.


See you in Gainesville,




* Yes, I mean a Scholer or similar, not necessarily a Suttner! Nice as they are.

Edited by Paul Groff
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