Exclusivity.

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Stephen Hawkins
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Exclusivity.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:19 pm

The accordion is a great instrument, a fact that few on here will take issue with. We have all come to the accordion in our own way, and with our many and diverse views regarding its current relevance.

It is very nice to feel part of a (largely) homogenous community such as this, and quite comforting to know that others share the mix of elation and frustration that our instrument is famed for. The same is true for other instruments, of course, but is perhaps magnified to some degree with the accordion.

Whether or not we like it, the accordion is not a popular instrument. What the average person knows about accordions could be written on the back of a cigarette packet, though I believe that those same people are willing to be persuaded.

When playing in local public parks and beauty spots, I am often approached by people who are keen to know a little about the accordion. Older people know what they are, but youngsters often ask me what the instrument is called. One young boy of about eight or nine asked me where I plugged it in, which allowed me to provide him with a few useful snippets for his consideration. As he was walking away, this boy asked his Dad if he could have an accordion.

It is easy to congregate together with other accordionists, but perhaps more satisfying to play along with other instruments. We run the risk of creating an Ivory Tower mentality if our only congress with other musicians is accordion related. Perhaps isolation is, at least in part, responsible for the unpopularity of our instrument.

It is not generally my practice to quote from Wikipedia, but I recently read about the origins of the accordion being in Folk and Popular Music. The instrument has obviously evolved over the years, but at what cost? Have we collectively put the accordion out of reach for most people?

I play only Folk and Popular Music, as those are the genres I played as a teenager and young adult. My public playing attracts a great deal of positive attention, and Brenda is always happiest when surrounded by young children and their parents.

The problem surrounding the lack of popular interest in the accordion is not insurmountable, or at least I don't think it is.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by losthobos » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm

There's nothing exclusive about ' the darling of the mob'....


Old pal! We'll never hit the trail again.


Oh I know you're cheap and vulgar, you're an instrumental crime.

In drawing-rooms you haven't got a show.

You're a musical abortion, you're the voice of grit and grime,
You're the spokesman of the lowly and the low.

You're a democratic devil, you're the darling of the mob;
You're a wheezy, breezy blasted bit of glee.

You're the headache of the high-bow, you're the horror of the snob,
but you're worth your weight in ruddy gold to me.


For you've chided me in weakness and you've cheered me in defeat;
You've been an anodyne in hours of pain;
And when the slugging jolts of life have jarred me off my feet,
You've ragged me back into the ring again.

I'll never go to Heaven, for I know I am not fit,
The golden harps of harmony to swell;
But with asbestos bellows, if the devil will permit,
I'll swing you to the fork-tailed imps of Hell.


Yes, I'll hank you, and I'll spank you,
And I'll everlasting yank you
To the cinder-swinging satellites of Hell


From Robert Services poem the accordion....the whole caboodadle can be found on google...enjoy
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:32 pm

Thank you for that ........... I like poetry.

Stephen.

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JerryPH
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by JerryPH » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:53 pm

Lovely!
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by debra » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:10 am

When I was young everyone knew what an accordion was, but it was exclusive in the sense of being excluded (i.e. banned) from official music education. An accordion belonged on the street and maybe in pubs, but not in music school or concert hall. I had to keep quiet about playing the accordion while learning the piano in music school because someone who played the accordion could never be any good at playing the piano or at taking music seriously in general.
Being "exclusive" also suggests that it must be expensive. Sadly it is expensive but so are other musical instruments. Music is becoming exclusive both because of cost (so parents may be afraid they cannot afford to let their children study music) and also because of the many other activities/distractions (like TV, computer games...) children can now engage in that were not prevalent 50 years ago.
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Anyanka » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:40 am

As I mostly move in folk circles, I see the piano accordion as a very common instrument! I've just acquired a Swedish bagpipe - now that is a minority pursuit; there are probably only a dozen players in this country, and even most Swedes don't know that it exists...

Even in pop & rock, the accordion has made a bit of a comeback. For example, Status Quo have done 'acoustic' performances with an accordionist, and the Foo Fighters played one in Glastonbury this year. My daughters' generation does not seem to have the prejudices against the instrument that I frequently encounter among people of my own age, and I think there is generally a trend towards greater musical diversity, after several decades of guitar domination ;)

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by JerryPH » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:00 pm

You know, man is an amazing animal in that they can take ANY instrument and make beautiful music from it.

In 2009 I was in Florida's Disneyworld where at the Canadian pavilion they had a group that played drums, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and the lead musician was man with bagpipes. Now, I was not a fan of the bagpipes, but they were SO GOOD that stayed for the entire set and loved it. At the end, I was a fan of the bagpipes, and even more, I was a fan of the band. All band members wore kilts and their name was "Off Kilter"... lol Oh and yeah, they played rock music and were GREAT.

Dang, I found a video from them! I hope no one minds if I share?



In this case, the exclusivity is not so much that as it is being a part of a minority. The accordion was popular once, but no longer is. Playing music as we seem to identify it here looks like it is going down that same road of exclusivity. I recently sold my 16 channel analog mixer to a young man that identified himself as a musician. He never studied music, could not read music, never play ANY instrument, but downloads sound clips from the internet, spends HOURS on the computer and runs them through the mixer out to an amp.

For some strange reason, he felt confident in calling himself a musician! :hb

Music itself is evolving in to what I like to call "the Apple culture". That is where instant gratification with minimal involvement or knowledge needed to accomplish a goal is prevalent. If that is what our future holds, I am happy that I will die one of those dinosaurs that could actually READ music and PLAY a real instrument and that it took me years of practice and dedication to make my music with. :)
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Anyanka » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:06 pm

Ah yes, those good old Canadian bagpipes & kilts ... ;)

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by JerryPH » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:44 pm

I heard the accent of the lead singer/bagpipe player... I can guarantee you he wasn't born here... lol
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:19 pm

Hi Kirsten,

I know that you move in Folk circles, particularly in regard to Morris. That is an area in which accordions still flourish, perhaps because they have stuck to their core purposes.

Jerry was right to point out the modern trend which requires instant gratification and minimum effort, but that is not the whole story. (though it is a massive part of it.)

There is no readily available and easily administered Panacea for the woes of accordions, though it is not beyond our wit to counter some of the negativity surrounding our instrument.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Anyanka » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:08 am

The accordion is also still used a lot on soundtracks - we watch the 'First Dates' reality show, and it frequently features squeezebox, or something made to sound like it (you never know). Any time a documentary - art or history - moves to a French scene, there's also accordion in the background!

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Hyacinthedera » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:34 pm

I started discovering the accordion and the vastness of this instrument when I saw an accordionist on Italia's Got Talent, which played Vivaldi's Estate. I totally felt in love with this instrument. Before that, I knew very little about the accordion.
When I told my parents and other persons that I wanted to play the accordion, the majority of them was confused, shocked; confirming that a great instrument like the accordion is, unfortunately, so underestimated. They thought I only wanted to play liscio, popular music, ignoring that with an accordion I can play a lot of other genres. Also, often they immediately associate the word "accordion" with the mendicants on the street.
Well, by playing it I will try to spread a bit more, at least in my italian surroundings, the value of this instrument. I will change this idea they have. The accordion must be knowed in all its beauty, in all its incredible expressiveness.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by donn » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:50 pm

Yes, I don't think many of us consider street mendicant as the focus of our accordion playing. But it doesn't hurt to have that to fall back on, I guess!

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:49 pm

Kirsten,

You certainly do hear the occasional refrain of an accordion on TV, but I wonder how many people would recognise it as such.

Arianna,

It is pleasing to know that you will be promoting the accordion in Italy. We must all try to do the same.

Kind Regards, Kirsten & Arianna,

Stephen.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Hyacinthedera » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:49 pm

Donn, what does the expression "to have that to fall back on" mean? I think it's a difficult expression, and I can't even find it on the web.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by JerryPH » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:56 pm

Hyacinthedera wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:49 pm
Donn, what does the expression "to have that to fall back on" mean? I think it's a difficult expression, and I can't even find it on the web.
It means we can use it in place of something else. For example, I can say something like "though I am an architect, my current career is making money as a musician and if this does not work, it is good to know that I can FALL BACK ON my experience as an architect..."

So in this example, currently someone is making money as a musician and if that does not work, they can find work as an architect.

Does that make sense?
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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Hyacinthedera » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:14 pm

Yes, now it's clear, thank you!

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by donn » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:54 pm

Google translate renders that as riprendere - does that convey the same sense?

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Hyacinthedera » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:24 pm

Not really; it's quite inaccurate.

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Re: Exclusivity.

Post by Pipemajor » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:51 pm

JerryPH wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:00 pm
You know, man is an amazing animal in that they can take ANY instrument and make beautiful music from it.

In 2009 I was in Florida's Disneyworld where at the Canadian pavilion they had a group that played drums, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and the lead musician was man with bagpipes. Now, I was not a fan of the bagpipes, but they were SO GOOD that stayed for the entire set and loved it. At the end, I was a fan of the bagpipes, and even more, I was a fan of the band. All band members wore kilts and their name was "Off Kilter"... lol Oh and yeah, they played rock music and were GREAT.

Dang, I found a video from them! I hope no one minds if I share?



In this case, the exclusivity is not so much that as it is being a part of a minority. The accordion was popular once, but no longer is. Playing music as we seem to identify it here looks like it is going down that same road of exclusivity. I recently sold my 16 channel analog mixer to a young man that identified himself as a musician. He never studied music, could not read music, never play ANY instrument, but downloads sound clips from the internet, spends HOURS on the computer and runs them through the mixer out to an amp.

For some strange reason, he felt confident in calling himself a musician! :hb

Music itself is evolving in to what I like to call "the Apple culture". That is where instant gratification with minimal involvement or knowledge needed to accomplish a goal is prevalent. If that is what our future holds, I am happy that I will die one of those dinosaurs that could actually READ music and PLAY a real instrument and that it took me years of practice and dedication to make my music with. :)
Can't say I was overly impressed with the piping. He played the same 8 bars three times and that was it. Perhaps it was better live. Now to see great rock piping You Tube " the red hot chilli pipers" and see the difference!!

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