English folk music
The folk music of England is tradition-based music, which has existed since the medieval period. It is contrasted with courtly and commercial music. Folk music has been preserved and transmitted orally, through print and through recordings; the term is used to refer to English traditional music and music composed, or delivered, in a traditional style. English folk music has produced or contributed to several important musical genres, including sea shanties, jigs and dance music, such as that used for Morris dancing, it can be seen as having distinct regional and local variations in content and style in areas more removed from the cultural and political centres of the English state, as in Northumbria, or the West Country. Cultural interchange and processes of migration mean that English folk music, although in many ways distinctive, has interacted with the music of Scotland, it has interacted with other musical traditions classical and rock music, influencing musical styles and producing musical fusions, such as British folk rock, folk punk and folk metal.
There remains a flourishing sub-culture of English folk music, which continues to influence other genres and gains mainstream attention. In the strictest sense, English folk music has existed since the arrival of the Anglo-Saxon people in Britain after 400 CE; the Venerable Bede's story of the cattleman and ecclesiastical musician Cædmon indicates that in the early medieval period it was normal at feasts to pass around the harp and sing'vain and idle songs'. Since this type of music was notated, we have little knowledge of its form or content; some tunes, like those used for Morris dance, may have their origins in this period, but it is impossible to be certain of these relationships. We know from a reference in William Langland's Piers Plowman, that ballads about Robin Hood were being sung from at least by the late 14th century and the oldest detailed material we have is Wynkyn de Worde's collection of Robin Hood ballads printed about 1495. While there was distinct court music, members of the social elite into the 16th century seem to have enjoyed, to have contributed to the music of the people, as Henry VIII did with the tavern song "Pastime with Good Company".
Peter Burke argued that late medieval social elites had their own culture, but were culturally ‘amphibious', able to participate in and affect popular traditions. In the 16th century the changes in the wealth and culture of the upper social orders caused tastes in music to diverge. There was an internationalisation of courtly music in terms of both instruments, such as the lute and early forms of the harpsichord, in form with the development of madrigals and galliards. For other social orders, instruments like the pipe, bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy, crumhorn accompanied traditional music and community dance; the fiddle, well established in England by the 1660s, was unusual in being a key element in both the art music that developed in the baroque, in popular song and dance. By the mid-17th century, the music of the lower social orders was sufficiently alien to the aristocracy and "middling sort" for a process of rediscovery to be needed in order to understand it, along with other aspects of popular culture such as festivals and dance.
This led to a number of early collections of printed material, including those published by John Playford as The English Dancing Master, the private collections of Samuel Pepys and the Roxburghe Ballads collected by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer. In the 18th century there were increasing numbers of collections of what was now beginning to be defined as "folk" music influenced by the Romantic movement, including Thomas D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy and Bishop Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry; the last of these contained some oral material and by the end of the 18th century this was becoming common, with collections including John Ritson's, The Bishopric Garland, which paralleled the work of figures like Robert Burns and Walter Scott in Scotland. It was in this period, that English folk music traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and became the foundation for and main ancestor of American traditional music. In the colonies, it mixed with styles of music brought by other immigrant groups to create a host of new genres.
For instance, English balladry combined with African banjo playing produced bluegrass and country music, which evolved, when combined with African-American blues, into rock and roll. With the Industrial Revolution the themes of the music of the labouring classes began to change from rural and agrarian life to include industrial work songs. Awareness that older kinds of song were being abandoned prompted renewed interest in collecting folk songs during the 1830s and 1840s, including the work of William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, William Chappell, A Collection of National English Airs and Robert Bell's Ancient Poems and Songs of the Peasantry of England. Technological change made new instruments available and led to the development of silver and brass bands in industrial centres in the north; the shift to urban centres began to create new types of music, including from the 1850s the Music hall, which developed from performances in ale houses into theatres and became the dominant locus of English popular music for over a century.
This combined with increased literacy and print to allow the creation of new songs that built on, but began to differ from traditional music as composers like Lionel Monckton and Sidney Jones c
The banjo is a four-, five-, or six-stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity as a resonator, called the head, circular. The membrane is made of plastic, although animal skin is still used. Early forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in the United States, adapted from African instruments of similar design; the banjo is associated with folk, Irish traditional, country music. Banjo can be used in some Rock Songs. Countless Rock bands, such as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, have used the five-string banjo in some of their songs; the banjo occupied a central place in African-American traditional music and the folk culture of rural whites before entering the mainstream via the minstrel shows of the 19th century. The banjo, along with the fiddle, is a mainstay of American old-time music, it is very used in traditional jazz. The modern banjo derives from instruments, used in the Caribbean since the 17th century by enslaved people taken from West Africa.
Written references to the banjo in North America appear in the 18th century, the instrument became available commercially from around the second quarter of the 19th century. Several claims as to the etymology of the name "banjo" have been made, it may derive from the Kimbundu word mbanza, an African string instrument modeled after the Portuguese banza: a vihuela with five two-string courses and a further two short strings. The Oxford English Dictionary states that it comes from a dialectal pronunciation of Portuguese bandore or from an early anglicisation of Spanish bandurria; the name may derive from a traditional Afro-Caribbean folk dance called "banya", which incorporates several cultural elements found throughout the African diaspora. Various instruments in Africa, chief among them the kora, feature a skin gourd body; the African instruments differ from early African American banjos in that the necks do not possess a Western-style fingerboard and tuning pegs, instead having stick necks, with strings attached to the neck with loops for tuning.
Banjos with fingerboards and tuning pegs are known from the Caribbean as early as the 17th century. Some 18th- and early 19th-century writers transcribed the name of these instruments variously as bangie, bonjaw and banjar. Instruments similar to the banjo have been played in many countries. Another relative of the banjo is the akonting, a spike folk lute played by the Jola tribe of Senegambia, the ubaw-akwala of the Igbo. Similar instruments include the xalam of Senegal and the ngoni of the Wassoulou region including parts of Mali and Ivory Coast, as well as a larger variation of the ngoni developed in Morocco by sub-Saharan Africans known as the gimbri. Early, African-influenced banjos were built around a wooden stick neck; these instruments had varying numbers of strings, though including some form of drone. The five-string banjo was popularized by Joel Walker Sweeney, an American minstrel performer from Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Although Robert McAlpin Williamson is the first documented white banjoist, in the 1830s, Sweeney became the first white performer to play the banjo on stage.
His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth string. This new banjo was at first tuned d'Gdf♯a, though by the 1890s, this had been transposed up to g'cgbd'. Banjos were introduced in Britain by Sweeney's group, the American Virginia Minstrels, in the 1840s, became popular in music halls. In the antebellum South, many black slaves taught their masters how to play. For example, in his memoir With Sabre and Scalpel: The Autobiography of a Soldier and Surgeon, the Confederate veteran and surgeon John Allan Wyeth recalls learning to play the banjo as a child from a slave on his family plantation. Two techniques associated with the five-string banjo are rolls and drones. Rolls are right hand accompanimental fingering pattern that consist of eight notes that subdivide each measure. Drone notes are quick little notes played on the 5th string to fill in around the melody notes; these techniques are both idiomatic to the banjo in all styles, their sound is characteristic of bluegrass.
The banjo was played in the clawhammer style by the Africans who brought their version of the banjo with them. Several other styles of play were developed from this. Clawhammer consists of downward striking of one or more of the four main strings with the index, middle or both fingerwhile the drone or fifth string is played with a'lifting' motion of the thumb; the notes sounded by the thumb in this fashion are on the off beat. Melodies can be quite intricate adding techniques such as double drop thumb. In old time Appalachian Mountain music, a style called two-finger up-pick is used, a three-finger version that Earl Scruggs developed into the famous "Scruggs" style picking was nationally aired in 1945 on the Grand Ole Opry. While five-string banjos are traditionally played with either fingerpicks or the fingers themselves, tenor banjos and plectrum banjos are played with a pick, either to strum full chords, or most in Irish traditional music, play single-note melodies; the modern banjo comes in a variety of forms, including four- and five-string versions.
A six-string version and played to a guitar, has gained popularity. In all of its forms, banjo playing is
Scottish folk music
Scottish folk music is music that uses forms that are identified as part of the Scottish musical tradition. There is evidence that there was a flourishing culture of popular music in Scotland during the late Middle Ages, but the only song with a melody to survive from this period is the "Pleugh Song". After the Reformation, the secular popular tradition of music continued, despite attempts by the Kirk in the Lowlands, to suppress dancing and events like penny weddings; the first clear reference to the use of the Highland bagpipes mentions their use at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547. The Highlands in the early seventeenth century saw the development of piping families including the MacCrimmons, MacArthurs, MacGregors and the Mackays of Gairloch. There is evidence of adoption of the fiddle in the Highlands. Well-known musicians included the piper Habbie Simpson; this tradition continued into the nineteenth century, with major figures such as the fiddlers Neil and his son Nathaniel Gow. There is evidence of ballads from this period.
Some may date back to the late Medieval era and deal with events and people that can be traced back as far as the thirteenth century. They remained an oral tradition; the earliest printed collection of secular music comes from the seventeenth century. Collection began to gain momentum in the early eighteenth century and, as the kirk's opposition to music waned, there were a flood of publications including Allan Ramsay's verse compendium The Tea Table Miscellany and The Scots Musical Museum by James Johnson and Robert Burns. From the late nineteenth century there was renewed interest in traditional music, more academic and political in intent. In Scotland collectors included Gavin Greig. Major performers included James Scott Skinner; this revival began to have a major impact on classical music, with the development of what was in effect a national school of orchestral and operatic music in Scotland, with composers such as included Alexander Mackenzie, William Wallace, Learmont Drysdale, Hamish MacCunn and John McEwen.
After World War II traditional music in Scotland remained a living tradition. This was changed by individuals including Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson and Peter Kennedy, through collecting, publications and radio programmes. Acts that were popularised included John Strachan, Jimmy MacBeath, Jeannie Robertson and Flora MacNeil. In the 1960s there was a flourishing folk club culture and Ewan MacColl emerged as a leading figure in the revival in Britain, they hosted traditional performers, including Donald Higgins and the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, beside English performers and new Scottish revivalists such as Robin Hall, Jimmie Macgregor, The Corries and the Ian Campbell Folk Group. There was a strand of popular Scottish music that benefited from the arrival of radio and television, which relied on images of Scottishness derived from tartanry and stereotypes employed in music hall and variety, exemplified by the TV programme The White Heather Club which ran from 1958 to 1967, hosted by Andy Stewart and starring Moira Anderson and Kenneth McKeller.
The fusing of various styles of American music with British folk created a distinctive form of fingerstyle guitar playing known as folk baroque, pioneered by figures including Davy Graham and Bert Jansch. Others abandoned the traditional element including Donovan and the Incredible String Band, who have been seen as developing psychedelic folk. Acoustic groups who continued to interpret traditional material through into the 1970s included Ossian, Silly Wizard, The Boys of the Lough, Battlefield Band, The Clutha and the Whistlebinkies. Celtic rock developed as a variant of British folk rock by Scottish groups including the JSD Band and Spencer's Feat. Five Hand Reel, who combined Irish and Scottish personnel, emerged as the most successful exponents of the style. From the late 1970s the attendance at, numbers of, folk clubs began to decrease, as new musical and social trends began to dominate. However, in Scotland the circuit of ceilidhs and festivals helped prop up traditional music. Two of the most successful groups of the 1980s that emerged from this dance band circuit were Runrig and Capercaillie.
A by-product of the Celtic Diaspora was the existence of large communities across the world that looked for their cultural roots and identity to their origins in the Celtic nations. From the United States this includes Scottish bands Seven Nations and Flatfoot 56. From Canada are bands such as Enter the Haggis, Great Big Sea, The Real Mckenzies and Spirit of the West. There is evidence that there was a flourishing culture of popular music in Scotland in the Late Middle Ages; this includes the long list of songs given in The Complaynt of Scotland. Many of the poems of this period were originally songs, but for none has a notation of their music survived. Melodies have survived separately in the post-Reformation publication of The Gude and Godlie Ballatis, which were spiritual satires on popular songs and published by the brothers James and Robert Wedderburn; the only song with a melody to survive from this period is the "Pleugh Song". After the Reformation, the secular popular tradition of music continued, despite attempts by the Kirk in the Lowlands, to suppress dancing and events like penny weddings at which tunes were played.
The first clear reference to the use of the Highland bagpipes is from a French history, which mentions their use at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547. George Buchanan claimed; this period saw the creation of the ceòl
Irish traditional music
Irish traditional music is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland. In A History of Irish Music, W. H. Grattan Flood wrote that, in Gaelic Ireland, there were at least ten instruments in general use; these were the cruit and clairseach, the timpan, the feadan, the buinne, the guthbuinne, the bennbuabhal and corn, the cuislenna, the stoc and sturgan, the cnamha. There is evidence of the fiddle being used in the 8th century. There are several collections of Irish folk music from the 18th century, but it was not until the 19th century that ballad printers became established in Dublin. Important collectors include Colm Ó Lochlainn, George Petrie, Edward Bunting, Francis O'Neill, James Goodman and many others. Though solo performance is preferred in the folk tradition, bands or at least small ensembles have been a part of Irish music since at least the mid-19th century, although this is a point of much contention among ethnomusicologists. Irish traditional music has endured more against the forces of cinema and the mass media than the indigenous folk music of most European countries.
This was because the country was not a geographical battleground in either of the two world wars. Another potential factor was that the economy was agricultural, where oral tradition thrives. From the end of the second world war until the late fifties folk music was held in low regard. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the popularity of the Fleadh Cheoil helped lead the revival of the music; the English Folk music scene encouraged and gave self-confidence to many Irish musicians. Following the success of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in the US in 1959, Irish folk music became fashionable again; the lush sentimental style of singers such as Delia Murphy was replaced by guitar-driven male groups such as The Dubliners. Irish showbands presented a mixture of pop music and folk dance tunes, though these died out during the seventies; the international success of The Chieftains and subsequent musicians and groups has made Irish folk music a global brand. Much old-time music of the USA grew out of the music of Ireland and Scotland, as a result of cultural diffusion.
By the 1970s Irish traditional music was again influencing music in the US and further afield in Australia and Europe. It has been fused with rock and roll, punk rock and other genres. Irish dance music is isometric and is built around patterns of bar-long melodic phrases akin to call and response. A common pattern is A Phrase, B Phrase, A Phrase, Partial Resolution, A Phrase, B Phrase, A Phrase, Final Resolution, though this is not universal. Many tunes have pickup notes which lead in to the beginning of the B parts. Mazurkas and hornpipes have a swing feel. Tunes are binary in form, divided into two parts, each with four to eight bars; the parts are referred to as the A-part, B-part, so on. Each part is played twice, the entire tune is played three times. Many tunes have similar ending phrases for both B parts. Additionally, hornpipes have three quavers or quarternotes at the end of each part, followed by pickup notes to lead back to the beginning of the A part of onto the B part. Many airs have an AABA form.
While airs are played singly, dance tunes are played in medleys of 2-4 tunes called sets. Irish music is modal, using ionian, aeolian and mixolydian modes, as well as hexatonic and pentatonic versions of those scales; some tunes do feature accidentals. Singers and instrumentalists embellish melodies through ornamentation, using grace notes, cuts, crans, or slides. While uilleann pipes may use their drones and chanters to provide harmonic backup, fiddlers use double stops in their playing, due to the importance placed on the melody in Irish music, harmony is kept simple or absent. Instruments are played in strict unison, always following the leading player. True counterpoint is unknown to traditional music, although a form of improvised "countermelody" is used in the accompaniments of bouzouki and guitar players. In contrast to many kinds of western folk music, there are no set chord progressions to tunes. Many guitarists use DADGAD tuning because it offers flexibility in using these approaches, as does the GDAD tuning for bouzouki.
Like all traditional music, Irish folk music has changed slowly. Most folk songs are less than 200 years old. One measure of its age is the language used. Modern Irish songs are written in Irish. Most of the oldest songs and tunes are rural in origin and come from the older Irish language tradition. Modern songs and tunes come from cities and towns, Irish songs went from the Irish language to the English language. Unaccompanied vocals are called sean nós and are considered the ultimate expression of traditional singing; this is performed solo. Sean-nós singing is ornamented and the voice is pl
The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter at a lively tempo, with "strong accents unsystematically placed on the second or third beat". The folk origins of the mazurek are two other Polish musical forms which are the slow kujawiak, the fast oberek; the mazurek is always found to have either a triplet, dotted eighth note pair, or an ordinary eighth note pair before two quarter notes. In the 19th century, the dance became popular in many ballrooms in different parts of Europe; the Polish national anthem is too slow to be considered a mazurek. In Polish, this musical form is called mazurek—a word derived from mazur, which—until the nineteenth century—denoted an inhabitant of Poland's Mazovia region, which became the root for Masuria. In Polish, mazurka is the genitive and accusative cases of mazurek. Several classical composers have written mazurkas, with the best known being the 59 composed by Frédéric Chopin for solo piano. In 1825 Maria Szymanowska wrote the largest collection of piano mazurkas published before Chopin.
Henryk Wieniawski wrote two for violin with piano, Julian Cochran composed a collection of five mazurkas for solo piano and orchestra, in the 1920s, Karol Szymanowski wrote a set of twenty for piano and finished his composing career with a final pair in 1934. Alexander Scriabin, at first conscious of being Chopin's follower, wrote 24 mazurkas. Chopin first started composing mazurkas in 1824, but his composing did not become serious until 1830, the year of the November Uprising, a Polish rebellion against the Russian Tsar. Chopin continued composing them until the year of his death; the stylistic and musical characteristics of Chopin's mazurkas differ from the traditional variety because Chopin in effect created a separate and new genre of mazurka all his own. For example, he used classical techniques including counterpoint and fugue. By including more chromaticism and harmony in the mazurkas, he made them more technically interesting than the traditional dances. Chopin tried to compose his mazurkas in such a way that they could not be used for dancing, so as to distance them from the original form.
However, while Chopin changed some aspects of the original mazurka, he maintained others. His mazurkas, like the traditional dances, contain a great deal of repetition: repetition of certain measures or groups of measures; the rhythm of his mazurkas remains similar to that of earlier mazurkas. However, Chopin incorporated the rhythmic elements of the two other Polish forms mentioned above, the kujawiak and oberek; this use of rhythm suggests that Chopin tried to create a genre that had ties to the original form, but was still something new and different. The mazurka began as a dance for either eight couples. Fokine created a female solo mazurka dance dominated by flying grandes jetés, alternating second and third arabesque positions, split-leg climactic postures; the dance was common as a popular dance in Europe and the United States in the mid- to late nineteenth century. In Cape Verde the mazurka is revered as an important cultural phenomenon played with acoustic bands led by a violinist and accompanied by guitarists.
It takes a variation of the mazurka dance form and is found in the north of the archipelago in São Nicolau, Santo Antão. In the south it finds popularity in the island of Brava. Czech composers Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Bohuslav Martinů all wrote mazurkas to at least some extent. For Smetana and Martinů, these are single pieces, whereas Dvořák composed a set of six mazurkas for piano, a mazurka for violin and orchestra, and in 1991 Albert Hyden performed a sonet for the president called "alpha Q". In France, Impressionistic composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel both wrote mazurkas. Jacques Offenbach included a mazurka in his ballet Gaîté Parisienne; the mazurka appears in French traditional folk music. In the French Antilles, the mazurka has become an important style of music. A creolised version of the mazurka is mazouk which—beginning around 1979 in Paris—morphed into the globally popular dance style “zouk” developed in France and popularised by Paris’s Island-creole supergroup Kassav’.
In the 21st century in Brazil and the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, zouk remains popular. In popular 20th century folk dancing in France, the Polish/classical-piano mazurka evolved into mazouk, a dance at a more gentle pace, fostering more-intimate dancing and associating mazouk with a “seduction” dance; this “sexy” style of mazurka has been imported to “balfolk" dancing in Belgium and the Netherlands, hence the name "Belgian Mazurka" or "Flemish Mazurka". The most enduring style of intimate dancing music of this origin moved zouk from the 1980s-2000s into its wildly popular slow-dancing variant called zouk love, which remains a staple of French-Caribbean dance venues in Paris and elsewhere. Mazurkas constitute a distinctive part of the traditional dance music of Cou
A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It consists of expanding and contracting bellows, with buttons on both ends, unlike accordion buttons, which are on the front; the concertina was developed in Germany. The English version was invented in 1829 by Sir Charles Wheatstone, while Carl Friedrich Uhlig announced the German version five years in 1834. Various forms of concertina are used for classical music, for the traditional musics of Ireland and South Africa, for tango and polka music; the word concertina refers to a family of hand-held bellows-driven free reed instruments constructed according to various systems, which differ in terms of keyboard layout, whether individual buttons produce the same or different notes with changes in the direction of air pressure. Because the concertina was developed nearly contemporaneously in England and Germany, systems can be broadly divided into English, Anglo-German, German types. To a player proficient in one of these systems, a concertina of a different system may be quite unfamiliar.
The English concertina and the Duet concertina bear similarities in construction. Both systems play a chromatic scale and are unisonoric, with each key producing the same note whether the bellows are being pushed or pulled. Both of these English instruments are smaller than German concertinas, are hexagonal in shape, though featuring 8, 10, or 12 sides; the English system alternates the notes of the scale between two hands. The duet system features the lower notes on the left, higher notes on the right, facilitating the playing of interlaced harmonies and melodies; the English concertina is credited to Sir Charles Wheatstone, who first patented such a design in 1829 in Great Britain. Wheatstone was the first to patent a duet concertina, in 1844. German concertinas, developed in Germany for its local market and diaspora, are larger than English concertinas, are bisonoric, using a different style of "long plate" reeds, are square, as opposed to hexagonal. German concertinas sometimes have more than one reed per note, which produces a vibrato effect if their tuning differs slightly.
Various German concertina systems share core keyboard layout. In the United States in the Midwest where there are many German and Central European descendants, the term concertina refers to the Chemnitzer concertina, bisonoric and related to the bandoneon, but features a different keyboard layout and decorative style, including a few mechanical innovations pioneered by German-American instrument builder and inventor Otto Schlicht. A related variant is the Carlsfelder concertina from C. F. Zimmerman, created in 1849 and shown at the 1851 London Industrial Exposition; the bandoneon is a German concertina system with an original bisonoric layout devised by Heinrich Band. Although intended as a substitute for the organ in small churches and chapels, it was soon secularized and is now associated with tango music, due to the instrument's popularity in Argentina in the late 19th century when tango developed from various dance styles in Argentina and Uruguay. Though the typical bandoneon is bisonoric, the 1920s saw the development of unisonoric variants such as the Ernst Kusserow and Charles Peguri systems, both introduced around 1925.
Bandoneons have more than one reed per button, dry-tuned with the reeds an octave apart. "Dry" means. Ástor Piazzolla was one of the most famous exponents of this instrument. The Anglo or Anglo-German concertina is a hybrid between the English and German concertinas; the button layouts are the same as the original 20-button German concertinas designed by Uhlig in 1834, in a bisonoric system. Within a few years of its invention, the German concertina was a popular import in England and North America, due to its ease of use and low price. English manufacturers responded to this popularity by offering their own versions using traditional English methods: concertina reeds instead of long-plate reeds, independent pivots for each button, hexagon-shaped ends, resulting in the modern Anglo concertina; the "Franglo" system concertina was developed by the luthiers C & R Dipper, in cooperation with Emmanuel Pariselle, known for his expertise as a professional player of the two-and-a-half row diatonic melodeon.
The system has the construction and reed-work of a concertina, with the buttons at the sides, but layout of the buttons is that of a melodeon. The name Franglo is a portmanteau of the words Anglo. In the mid-1830s concertinas were manufactured and sold in Germany and England, in two types specific to the country. Both systems continued to evolve into the current forms as the popularity of the instrument increased; the difference in prices and the common uses of the English and German systems led to something of a class distinction between the two. German or Anglo-German concertinas were regarded as a lower-class instrument while the English concertina had an air of bourgeois respectability. English concertinas were most popular as parlor instruments for classical music, while German concertinas were more associated with the popular dance music at that time. In the 1850s, the Anglo-German concertina's ability to play both melody and accompaniment led English manufacturers to start developing the various duet systems.
The popular Maccann system was developed towards the end of the century.
Fiddling refers to the act of playing the fiddle, fiddlers are musicians that play it. A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most a violin, it is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres including classical music. Although violins and fiddles are synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and classical violins. For example, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. To produce a "brighter" tone, compared to the deeper tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers use steel strings; the fiddle is part of many traditional styles, which are aural traditions—taught'by ear' rather than via written music. Among musical styles, fiddling tends to produce rhythms that focus on dancing, with associated quick note changes, whereas classical music tends to contain more vibrato and sustained notes.
Fiddling is open to improvisation and embellishment with ornamentation at the player's discretion—in contrast to orchestral performances, which adhere to the composer's notes to reproduce a work faithfully. It is less common for a classically trained violinist to play folk music, but today, many fiddlers have classical training; the medieval fiddle emerged in 10th-century Europe, deriving from the Byzantine lira, a bowed string instrument of the Byzantine Empire and ancestor of most European bowed instruments. The first recorded reference to the bowed lira was in the 9th century by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih. Lira spread westward to Europe. Over the centuries, Europe continued to have two distinct types of fiddles: one square-shaped, held in the arms, became known as the viola da braccio family and evolved into the violin. During the Renaissance the gambas were elegant instruments; the etymology of fiddle is uncertain: the Germanic fiddle may derive from the same early Romance word as does violin, or it may be natively Germanic.
The name appears to be related to Icelandic Fiðla and Old English fiðele. A native Germanic ancestor of fiddle might be the ancestor of the early Romance form of violin. In medieval times, fiddle referred to a predecessor of today's violin. Like the violin, it came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Another family of instruments that contributed to the development of the modern fiddle are the viols, which are held between the legs and played vertically, have fretted fingerboards. In performance, a solo fiddler, or one or two with a group of other instrumentalists, is the norm, though twin fiddling is represented in some North American, Scandinavian and Irish styles. Following the folk revivals of the second half of the 20th century, however, it has become common for less formal situations to find large groups of fiddlers playing together—see for example the Calgary Fiddlers, Swedish Spelmanslag folk-musician clubs, the worldwide phenomenon of Irish sessions. Orchestral violins, on the other hand, are grouped in sections, or "chairs".
These contrasting traditions may be vestiges of historical performance settings: large concert halls where violins were played required more instruments, before electronic amplification, than did more intimate dance halls and houses that fiddlers played in. The difference was compounded by the different sounds expected of violin music and fiddle music; the majority of fiddle music was dance music, while violin music had either grown out of dance music or was something else entirely. Violin music came to value a smoothness that fiddling, with its dance-driven clear beat, did not always follow. In situations that required greater volume, a fiddler could push their instrument harder than could a violinist. Various fiddle traditions have differing values. In the late 20th century, a few artists have attempted a reconstruction of the Scottish tradition of violin and "big fiddle," or cello. Notable recorded examples include Iain Fraser and Christine Hanson, Amelia Kaminski and Christine Hanson's Bonnie Lasses, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas' Fire and Grace. and Tim Macdonald and Jeremy Ward's The Wilds.
Hungarian and Romanian fiddle players are accompanied by a three-stringed variant of the viola—known as the kontra—and by double bass, with cimbalom and clarinet being less standard yet still common additions to a band. In Hungary, a three stringed viola variant with a flat bridge, called the kontra or háromhúros brácsa makes up part of a traditional rhythm section in Hungarian folk music; the flat bridge lets the musician play three-string chords. A three stringed double bass variant is used. To a greater extent than classical violin playing, fiddle playing is characterized by a huge variety of ethnic or folk music traditions, each of which has its own distinctive sound. English folk music fiddling, including The Northumbrian fiddle style, which features "seconding", an improvised harmo