The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

Threads here with queries on whistle or fiddle always get a large response with proponents of this make or that of whistle in particular putting forward their case. Queries on other instruments get fewer replies which leads me to assume the obvious: people who look up this site are probably fairly representative of the ITM community as a whole.
We have had arguments (sorry Discussions) before over the hierarchy of instruments in the tradition. But what would you estimate is the ranking in terms of actual instruments played for ITM? For simplicity, I suppose stick to the main instrument that a person chooses to express themselves on:
My guess would be:
(1) whistle
(2) fiddle
(3) flute
(4) guitar?
(5) button box
(6) banjo
(7) bodhrán? - could even be no.1, as thousands are sold every year but do they ever get used!
(8) piano box
(9) pipes
(10) harp

A poll of readers here would be interesting but lord knows you’d set it up. And what use is this? Don’t ask me but if you follow the idea of the ‘wisdom of crowds’, then the wind players probably have it 🙂

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Well, I’ll start it off then.
Main instrument: Banjo

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

Main: Whistle

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

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Main: fiddle

Mary

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I’m not even on the bottom rung 🙁

Posted by .

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Was guitar. had to change in order to accomodate my massive head……

fiddle

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Flute

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Sorry Bren!, how could I forget the mando’s when I’ve played beside one many a week. Sure, you stick it in!
I don’t even know how to answer this as I might say flute but in terms of actual playing time, I play the whistle more as there are several knocking about and it’s so simple to pick up and knock out a tune on.
Can it be that those quintessential Irish instruments, pipes and harp are the least commonly played?

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er ……….guess

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Fiddle, mandola, whistle, viola, octave mandolin, cello, bass, cuatro, laouta, djembe, bodhran, and banjo in roughly that order of frequency. It’s kind of crowded around here.

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flute

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Fiddle; Table-Drumming . .

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ah Jaysus, are not bazoukis and mandos all the same thing!! them strange things that came in little ‘ol Ireland when we started getting fancy and going foreign on our holiers?

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On a completely unscientific basis so far, that makes it 8 ‘stringers’ and 4 ‘blowers’. Hmm, maybe the hands have it …

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which neglects the fact of course, that us ‘windies’ use both hands and breath and arms and ….. brains.

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Mandolin and Tenor Guitar. Would love to add banjo, and octave mandolin, but money doesn’t allow at the moment.

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Banjo - tenor and 5-string, both fighting for the No 1 spot at the moment.

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fiddle

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my voice and humour

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Trust the crooners to try and get in🙂 Don’t give them too much space, lads or they’ll get the wrong idea and warble on with endless verses whilst yous fidget!!

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Play tenor banjo and love it!

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

Whistle and melodeon. When trying to learn or compose a tune, I nearly always pick up the whistle first.

Banjoes may get comparatively few questions asked about them because tenor banjoes vary less / are more standardised than some other instruments. Shoot me down, banjoists, if I’m wrong here.

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so far ..
fiddlers - 6
fluters - 3
banjos - 3
mand/ baz - 3
whistlers - 2
crooner - 1
where’s all them whistlers gone - so much for my half baked theory.
Anyway, I’m knocking off work now .. I’m sure yous can figure it out as you go along!

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Mandolin here

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Bang! That was nicholas getting shot down!

Banjo

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Box, but where are the concertinas ? (I’m getting one).

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button accordion🙂

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The sessions I have been to seem to have whistle, fiddle, button box, and maybe a guitar. The latest one has an excellent bazouki player.

Typically, the really solid player is either the fiddle or the box.

for what it is worth.

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Fiddle for me.

No concertina on the original list, and I see them fairly frequently. Wish I could play one!

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Fiddle. Also ocarina, but not at my session (at this point). No real interest in learning to play anything else; I reckon the fiddle’ll keep me plenty busy for the next 50 years…

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I’m not sayin’

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I’ll speak for my household. Currently in residence is one fiddler, one box player and one 7 year old whistle player.

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Flute.

Occasionally spoons. (Tastefully occasionally…or perhaps occasionally tastefully.)

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Fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar

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Can I vote for my favorite concertina player? She never posts here, but she’s great. I play with her once a month plus whenever else I can.

Also, I play with a great flautist too weekly, a dear older lady who is terrified of computers and wouldn’t know a BBS from the USPS.

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Flute, whistle, bodhran, in that order.

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Harmonica (followed by jew’s harp and shakey egg, but I’m only just starting to learn them!).

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Flute is the main one.

Why leave out Concertinas, Mandolins, Bouzoukis, and Harmonicas?

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Fiddle

and (sorry hussar…I try to contain myself with the super-long ones:-p…) voice

And some shaky egg on the side, or sometimes a shaky banana…

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Fiddle for me.

Then Whistle, Flute, Banjo, Guitar, Concertina, and let’s throw in a hammered dulcimer.

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Oops - had to duck to avoid the hammered thingy.

fiddle.

BTW What made you think whistle would come 1st ?

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Harmonica.

(and occasional duck call, which is surprisingly melodic, though rather unremitting as to expression.)

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The whistle is cheap and like the bodhran seems to have a sort of "how difficult can it really be?" appeal, so I think there are an awful lot of whistle players.

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Mostly flute, often whistle

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fiddle and box

Posted by .

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Umm…in order from most often played to least I’d say: flute, guitar, and a tie between fiddle and whistle.😛

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my drum

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a summary of this great scientific quest so far …. I’m only counting the first instrument listed and you can’t vote for other people ‘cos that would be agin the rules!
so far ..
fiddlers - 14
fluters - 7
banjos - 4
mand/ baz - 4
whistlers - 3
box - 4
harmonica - 2
concertina (oops, sorry forget them also) - 1
pipes - 1
crooner (sorry singers) - 1
bodhrán - 1

So the fiddlers still have it in this ‘first past the post’ vote. I suppose if we wanted to be super scientific, we could go down the PR route - you know proportional respresentation. Vote in order of use of instrument and then I could figure out some formula to rationalise the answers and come up with the result that suits best!! But I’m sure there’s a few more votes in it yet.
But I wonder again where are all the whistlers? Can it be, that the numerous people here who contribute to whistle threads don’t actually play it as their ‘main’ choice. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

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Here now, Saint voted twice.. bold boy!! Which do you really prefer now … singing in the shower or bashing that ‘ol goat?

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Main- fiddle

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I can only assume that Saint’s for the goat bashing as he was fairly banging on in that thread about the Br****h Isles! But here, I also see there he plays the bouzouki!! Me thinks he speaks with forked tongue…..

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Strange to say I have never seen anyone playing a harmonica at a session in my life, certainly not as a main instrument. And my early "professional" playing was done on a harmonica, my mate played the whistle, but it was on stage, not at sessions. There was not a lot of Irish music about then.

Loads of people start on a whistle, which is why so many feel qualified to contribute to whistle threads. Even I play the odd tune on a whistle.

To answer the question, my instrument at a purely trad session would be, and this may come as a surprise to many, the bodhran.

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Tenor banjo. (Staying succinct.)

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Ok I can’t sing but i’d love to be able its the bodhran
If you have a second personailty can you have a second vote

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flute

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Bazouki

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I will echo what BBliss said — many people start on whistle but won’t claim it as their "main" instrument. I submit that you are either asking a silly question or else using a silly methodology to answer it. Heck, I forgot to mention, I play tin whistle too.

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Fiddle (1st) and heaven forbid sometimes whistle (even worser) but I’ve just picked up an old classical geetar from the tip shop that I’m trying to get in tune and a new bodhran. Very occasionally I’ve been known to jangle tambourine and clap sticks. So watch out if I ever get to a session near you, you’re in fer some squeaking, crashing, banging, thumps and yelps. Sorry!

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Pipes and flute mainly, working on fiddle and tenor banjo, whistle when necessary.

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————Whistle——>

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b/c button accordion & concertina. i love uillean pipes and fantasize about undertaking them after a few more years of devotion to my current instruments, but i also would love to learn bandoneon (for musette, tango, non-itm musical genres), and both are formidable enough that it would probably have to be one or the other….

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harp & flute

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Whistle is what keeps me goin’…
t’would be flute were it not for the pain.

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Pipes and whistle.

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53 ‘votes’ so far - sorry Crazyfingers, you’re down for fiddle. We even have a harp now! Practically one third of us are fiddlers! But that’s only 53 out of 30,000 plus members here. Wouldn’t it be mildly interesting to see a larger sample? So, please add your weapon of choice if you haven’t already done so.

A summary to date: Sat morning 12.20
fiddlers - 17
fluters - 8
banjos - 5
mand/ baz - 5
whistlers - 5
box - 5
pipes - 3
harmonica - 2
bodhrán - 2
concertina - 1
harp - 1

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Main: Pipes

also play the kitchin sink

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The pipes are catching up on the box players! Well, I suppose they both share certain characteristics - a lot of ‘noise’, sorry wonderful driving, pulsating rhythm 🙂 Doesn’t sound like reality though to me … obviously far more box players or are there? Perhaps there’s loads of pipers out there playing for themselves who don’t session with the pipes…. hmm

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If I listed my last session, starting with myself;
‘zouk/english concertina/bodrhan;
SO ( otherwise known as ‘Er Indoors);flute/whistle/washboard/jews harp/spoons/ukelele;and then, going round the table;
Jan; mandolin/whistle;
Neil; guitar/whistle/bodrhan/vocals;
Nigel;guitar ( DADGAD) /vocals;
Peter; harmonicas;
Richard; fiddle/mandolin;
Dave; octave mando ( sometimes slide OM )/vocals;
Mary; whistle/vocals/percussion.
And people we sometimes see include a hurdy-gurdy/lowland pipes player, a uillean piper and low whistler, and an english-style box-player.
Not to mention The Racker, purveyor of poetry to the people.

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

flute and whistle

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Flute for me; whistle and low whistle for a bit of a break.

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Thanks Guernsey Pete, sounds like a good crowd there but lots of stringed instruments? Anyway, can’t really add them in - just you on ‘zouk. Otherwise where would you stop - I could think of several fluters, add them in and ignore some other group. Not that this is any more valid, but you need some rule.

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My main is flute.

I reckon that the reaon you’re not finding so many whistlers is because, like me, you start on the whistle then progress to something else like flute or pipes. My whistle always comes to session with me along with my flute!

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Main - GUITAR!!!!

Yippee - I am the first "guitar player" to post on the thread (although others list it as another instrument).

I am plodding on on the whistle and need to start playing it in sessions more or I will never get to a reasonable standard. My bouzouki is a mere 3 ft to my right but it is in the case and has been for the 5 weeks I have been home. My guitars meanwhile are on the bed right behind me. There, just given them a strum!

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Flute and Whistle

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A summary to date: Sat even. 9.30
fiddlers - 17
fluters - 12
banjos - 5
mand/ baz - 6
whistlers - 5
box - 5
pipes - 4
harmonica - 2
bodhrán - 2
concertina - 1
harp - 1
guitar - 1

the fluters are catching up!

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It’s seems that there are a lot of whistle players out there but they don’t often consider it to be their first instrument! I play the whistle and though I moved on to the pipes after a few years I am definitely a whistle player first. Like yourself, it’s so much easier to practice the whistle. Five minutes have passed by the time I’d be strapped into the pipes.

I’d say whislte and fiddle would be the most popular instruments being learned but whistle is more difficult to play well than most people think. Also it’s tough enough to be heard among the rest of you!!

I play a few tunes on the piano too. Would love to be better at it. I have a tune on fiddle, banjo and can play in time on the bodhrán.

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

1) Flute

2) Whistle

?) Hopefully harp, by the end of this year.

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Fiddle
Guitar is my ‘first’ instrument but I play more fiddle in sessions

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Flute
Whistle
Pipes

…in that order. But mainly flute.

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Yay go flutes!

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(we’re catching up coz we’re obviously the coolest gang on the block hehe)

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flute but there are lots of fidlle players round here

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never seen a fidlle, make that fiddle players

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1: Fiddle
2: Mandolin
3: Whistle (sometimes low D, dunno if that counts as a separate instrument)
4: Bodhrán

Also, outside of the folk world (it does exist):
1: Trumpet
2: Electric guitar
3: Bass guitar
4: Kazoo


So fiddle, in other words.

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to date: sun even: 67 replies
hmm. that’s roughly proportioned: 30% bowed - fiddle, 30% wind - flute& whistle, 15% pluckers/ strummers, 8% button pushers + others.

fiddlers - 19
fluters - 15
banjos - 5
mand/ baz - 6
whistlers - 6
box - 5
pipes - 4
harmonica - 2
bodhrán - 2
concertina - 1
harp - 1
guitar - 1

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Re your earlier comment, Hussar, I would like more fiddlers in my session too - if you know any going free, send ‘em along. Next session Maddens’ on Monday 11th.
But what I wrote was what we had last Thursday. Don’t discount the pluckers, sometimes they’re a mainstay ! And did you notice we had a harmonica-player ?
Brian McNeill has one as a catalyst for a good session in one of his books.

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All this thread has achieved is to drive bodhran players underground, where they will form a guerilla movement, to wreck revenge on YOUR session.

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Mostly whistle and harp at the moment.
Guitar and psaltery in a previous life.
Dick S.

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Mandolin here, but not very good at it! Working on it though.

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That’s OK Bliss, there’s always one and sometimes two bodhrans where I play 🙂

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i seem to encounter this bodhran guerilla movement at a lot of sessions these days. You’ll be pleased to know they’re executing their mission very effectively bbliss.

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Bass guitar, Flute (boehm), Flute (keyless).

Re: The wisdom of crowds - What instrument do you play?

Fiddle.