Any Musical Instruments passed down in your Family?

Any Musical Instruments passed down in your Family?

I was just wondering how common family instruments are, amongst the members here?

Does anyone here have a Musical Instrument that has been passed down in their Family?

My Great Grandfather, was born in 1863 in Crichton, back in the days when they called it Edinburghshire!

He was a Fiddler & worked as a Ploughman & it’s kind of neat to think of him playing the Fiddle in the old Scottish Farm Bothies. Anyway, when my Grandad was born, in 1888, he was working at Ormiston Mains in the Parish of Borthwick, but he ended his days in Tranent.

Like his father before him, my Grandad played the Fiddle & he also played the Pipes. I have no idea what happened to his Pipes, but I do have & play my Great Grandfather’s Fiddle, which is a wonderful feeling. My Grandad gave the Fiddle to me when I was 23 & I’ve been scratching away at it, ever since!

As so often happens though, the music skipped a generation, for my own father showed absolutely no interest in music. However, my Mum was very musical & although she never had the opportunity to learn to play, it was she who spotted my interest in music & encouraged me.

Thankfully my son is also a full time musician & although he plays Jazz, he at least has a love of music & will, I am sure, pass the family Fiddle on down through the generations, till another Fiddler surfaces to make it sing!

In truth, it is not a brilliant instrument, but as you can imagine, I wouldn’t swop that Fiddle for any money, not even for a Stradivarius!

Despite what the Donald Trumps of this World might think ……. money CAN’T buy everything!

Cheers
Dick

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When my grandfather as a boy heard my great-grandfather play the pipes he asked if he could learn. He was given a set his cousin, who recognizing a bargain, had bought them from a second-hand shop. The pipes were always known as "the little pipes": despite being normal size, somehow they always felt smaller, and as a result, more comfortable to hold. My grandfather inherited them, and when he died, my father got them. These were the pipes I learned on and played for forty years until I left my home town. My father, being the way he was, wouldn’t formally hand over the pipes. He died unexpectedly, and I never got them, thereby ruining a good story.

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Re: Any Musical Instruments passed down in your Family?

A good few! Pipes and fiddle from a maternal great grandfather. Another set of pipes and and a flute from his son (my grandfather). A fiddle from my other grandfather. Then there’s my parent’s instruments that’ll one day pass on through the family.

For my part, I’m not so attached to the instruments themselves. It’s more the passing of tunes e.g. hearing a setting of Pigeon on the Gate that my grandfather used to play (one that I’ve only heard from one other person outside my own family) only to discover that I was listening to one of my daughters.

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I’m the only person in my family that can play an instrument. I just inherit guns mostly.

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Paper and comb only I am afraid

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A pair of rib bones that were old and well used when my father was given them by an old guy in the 20’s. A concertina that should have come my way went astray; that may have been a blessing in disguise but I do wonder what sort it was. I still have the bones; oh yes, also some drumsticks…

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I’ve seen this thread somewhere before, Ptarmigan. 🙂

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A grand piano which I have never learned to play (C.Bechstein, Berlin) stands in my parents’ living room. It was acquired on my mother’s side I don’t know when. The story goes that it was sent off to Germany to be repaired shortly before the outbreak of WW1, and came back perfectly repaired soon after the war ended. A minor puzzle is the appearance of ‘C’ as an initial in the name ‘C. Bernstein’ - I assumed C was never used in German.

Otherwise, one or more squeaky Dolmetsch recorders, a difficult little band fife whose key I can’t remember but is probably session-hostile, and a fairly useless toy concertina.

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I still have the threequarter fiddle me auld granny brought out from Scotland, all my uncle and aunts and me dad learned on it and it became mine when my fingers could reach the end of the fingerboard.
Then my dear mother informed me that I had to learn the piano first "so I would know where the notes are".
Soon thereafter I chucked in music and did footy, booze and sex.
I think I shall restore it (using appropriate glues of course) and then????????
I’ll find some little sucker and get him or her to keep reaching for the end of the fingerboard.

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I have a whistle my great-grandfather played. It´s made of brass and has a plug (fipple) of what looks like lead (though which might be pewter). Tuned in F

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I have a fiddle and a piano which both belonged to my mother, (although she played classical violin rather than fiddle).

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I have my Grandfather’s fiddle, now restored and played nearly every day.

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I have my grandmother’s piano and piano accordion, and my dad has her fiddle (and recently restored it to playing condition). The fiddle isn’t spectacular but it’s got a nice enough tone and it’s way better than the rental I’m learning on. I borrowed it for a bit and was sad to give it back.

You spark a good point about maintaining instruments and passing them on to children/grandchildren when the time comes.

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I have a harmonica that my grandfather played whilst a prisoner of war in WW2….

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My great grandfather was a blacksmith who made guns and fiddles. He was quite a character also doing song and dance routines on stage. He never married. My cousin Has a fiddle made by him. It was never taken care of after he died so as a musical instrument it’s not that special but it’s a nice heirloom.

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Sounds painful.

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My grandfather gave me his violin on his death bed.

Just minutes before he died.

For 1,000 bucks.

I wrote him a check.

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My grandad gave me wood worm…!!! Yep I was unfortunately handed down a old German melodian that didn’t sound quite right. So I plonked it on top of my lovely Welsh Dresser as an ornament. After a couple of years I thought maybe I should get the box sorted so I sent it off to a repairer. He immediately called me to say there we more holes in it than a bullet riddled swiss cheese due to wood worm. I’m now trying to save my Welsh Dresser….!!!

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The older of my two fiddles belonged to my mother, and was bequeathed to me a few years ago. It hadn’t been played since the start of WW-2, so needed quite a bit of work done on it to get it back into a playable condition. Mum inherited it from her grandfather sometime during WW-1, who in turn had inherited it from his father, a violinist, who had bought it from an Irish musician who had come over to West Wales about 1850. The quality of the instrument indicates that the Irishman was probably a professional classical musician - was he fleeing the Famine when he arrived in West Wales and desperately needed money, I wonder? Nobody knows. If so, it’s a sad story.

The instrument is 10% lighter than my modern session fiddle, and is late 18th century. The label inside, although apparently also 18th century, is the well-known lie 🙂. I stopped playing this old violin in sessions a couple of years ago and now only play it orchestrally and in workshops.

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Hi Dick an interesting thread

My Dad Sam’s old Hohner mouth organ that went with him in the Royal Navy and later through the Spanish Civil War and which he taught me in the late 40s. He fooled me for years by telling the story of how it was in his breast pocket aong with his pay book and saved his life when a bullet etc etc…

An old German 2 row Anglo in C/G which was played by my Dad’s Mum , my Grandmother Mary McGrail from Castlebar , Co Mayo and which she brought with her to Manchester in the 1890s. I played it a bit as a kid but went on to mouth organ , guitar and melodeon and at last the Anglo again

A red perloid cased (toilet seat ) button accordion/melodeon that smelt of ping pong balls! My Dad brought it back from a Trades Union Congress in East Germany (GDR) in the 50s after I’d asked him to look out for a decent concertina it was in C/F but got me going and sent me down a long detour till I got the Jeffries Anglo in 2000.


This could end up like an Annie Proulx novel! Are you writing one ?

Re: Any Musical Instruments passed down in your Family?

"I’ve seen this thread somewhere before …"
Quite possibly so. Bells ring faintly. But there has been water under the bridge since - new members, new bequests (for instance) - so it makes sense to revisit the topic with a new thread. This applies also to other topics ("choice of fiddle strings" is an old favourite) where it’s not really practicable to trawl back into history.

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Besides, we’re here mainly to chat, not to do research.

I have a fiddle that’s been in the family about 110 years, possibly longer. My maternal granddad and one of his brothers both played it, though not at the same time - one played while the other danced. My mother also played it a bit. I’m told that Grandad tried to get us little tykes to dance while he fiddled, but we just stared as if he’d asked us to swallow a live crawfish. When my aunt passed it on to me, there was an ancient and peculiar bow with it. It’s painted black and has an ivory frog. Looks much older than the fiddle. If Antiques Road Show ever comes to my neighborhood, maybe I’ll find out just how old it is. The bow is useless, but I still play the fiddle occasionally.

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"I’ve seen this thread somewhere before …"

I think what he was referring to is that an identical thread started yesterday on another forum.

Still an interesting topic though. 🙂

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My grandfather played the trumpet in the army and had this beautiful trumpet, engraved on the bell and along its side. My mother really hoped me or my brother would take up the trumpet so we could inherit this instrument. My brother plays the didjeridoo (seriously… he’s really good) and you all know what I play, so that didn’t go well.

We have some cousins who are quite a bit younger. Maybe one of them will become a trumpet player.

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Apparently my great-grandad used to make tin whistles. This is what my dad tells me, at least. The reason I’m not entirely sure is that about four years ago, my dad gave me an old, battered, but beautiful-sounding Clarke C whistle that apparently his grandad was the last person to play. Maybe my great-grandad worked for Clarke, or something? (This would have been early 20th C.) But that doesn’t seem plausible, as he was Irish, and Clarkes are made in England…
Either way, he definitely played it, whether or not he made it. And I was the next person in the family after him to play Irish music, so that’s very cool.

Another thing — not quite on-topic, but so cool it’s worth including — is that some time in the 70’s, my dad’s friend, a dustman, found a beaten-up old concertina in a dustbin he collected. Knowing that my dad would’ve been interested, he gave it to him. (My dad’s always been into Irish music, even though he doesn’t play an instrument.) So, not knowing what to do with it in its unusable condition, he put it in his attic.
Fast-forward to 2002. I was 12, just getting into fiddling in a big way, and Dad mentioned the old concertina in the attic. To cut a long story short, we sent it to an expert to get it restored.
It’s a f***in’ JEFFERIES! Amazing sound, and worth a fair penny too. And it was found in a dustbin.

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My own fiddle is just coming up for its 200th birthday. It belonged to my grandfather and great grandfather, I don’t know where it was before that, I’d like to think it had been in the family all its life, but I doubt it because it is by a London maker, and the family hails from Cupar, Fife.

My grandfather gave it to me just before he died when I was eleven, but he hadn’t played it since WW1 when a shrapnel wound wrecked his elbow, and it had been stored in a damp attic ever since. My parents had it restored for me (somewhat reluctantly - the work cost several times what they would have had to pay for a new violin) and I’ve played it more or less every day for the last 42 years.

I’m pretty sure that seeing that box of bits transformed into a beautiful instrument was what inspired me to train as an instrument maker later on.

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I’ve just lent my spare guitar to my brother, on the grounds that his daughter should grow up knowing that music is something that comes out of people, not out of boxes. He says he’s going to get around to learning to play it. I could easily imagine that the guitar winds up staying in that branch of the family for a while, and possibly ends up being passed on to the niece.
It’s a nice thought, anyway.

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My first guitar was my Dad’s first guitar. It is an old and battered nylon strung guitar with a huge split/hole down the side and bottom. I don’t play it these days but do have a bit of a fondness for it. Not sure that counts for the romantic image you were looking for but it is all I got!

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Not any that I play. I have my great grandfather’s clarinet. He came over to America from Krakow, Poland.

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Skreech is tight. I was just making a light hearted remark for Ptarmigan’s benefit.

Nothing more and I certainly wasn’t complaining……

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Not an instrument I’m afraid, but a record. In the late 1940s my mother inherited a windup gramophone from her grandmother. Among the records, all 78s of course, was a recording of Scottish Accordionist Peter Wyper playing The Cliff Hornpipe and The Harvest Home/Queen Mary Waltz on Regal G6986. Many years ago I managed to rescue that particular record and miraculously I still have it. Peter Wyper made his last recording in 1915 and I think he recorded this one in 1912.

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Oop, I meant to say "Skreech is RIGHT…." LOL

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When my great aunt emigrated to the States in the early 1900s she got a melodeon for herself and one for my Grandfather. I have my Grandfather’s box in my great aunt’s dresser here in Toronto and my brother has the other in Melbourne. My young lad will be starting on that melodeon soon enough.

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Like Free Reed, no instruments—just some 33-1/3 LP records.

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I got A beautiful dreadnought Martin from my Dad, I’ve played it in so much that it’s voice is so nice I can’t stand to play any other guitar. Gringo- "I just inherit guns mostly"

Are we related?

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I might have inherited a fiddle my uncle owned many many years ago. Trouble is when they (my uncle’s family) decided to sell their piano the fiddle which was kept on top of the piano was dropped on the floor when they were moving it and, of course, somebody stepped on it.

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I have the fiddle which my grannie’s grannie bought for her second hand around 1890 or so. She gave it to me in 1959 just after I started to learn. I’ve played it ever since.

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My mother’s uncle Dan was a renowned fiddler in the district, but nobody knows anything about what he played or where his fiddle is. Nobody in my mother’s or father’s generation played .

It just seemed to stop around the 1930s or 40s and there was nothing handed on.

I seem to be the only one of my 54 first cousins playing anything.

My kids play, as do some of my nephews and nieces.

My dad’s cousin played banjo in a Melbourne jazz band in the 40s and 50s.
Late in life, in the 1990s he told me he had taken to playing trad on tenor banjo and mandolin. He’s gone now.

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I have the fiddle my uncle played in the early 20th century for dances in the Irish community outside of Seattle. When my aunt died in 1978, the fiddle was found in several pieces in a plain brown paper bag in her attic. No one wanted it and, since I was the fiddle player in the family, it was passed to me. (There was also a melodeon in the bag that belonged to my grandmother, but it was/is beyond repair). I had the fiddle restored and it turns out to be a decent instrument. My uncle died in 1935 and I never met him. After I had the fiddle restored, my father told me about the dances that happened in the little community called O’Brien, which is where the Irish immigrants in the late 19th century settled. I play the fiddle once in a while but mostly I loan it out to people who want to learn to play but don’t have a fiddle and want to try one out before they buy one.

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Poppa was a rolling stone
Where ever he laid his hat was his home.
And when he died,
all he left us was alone.

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Nothing from earlier generations, but a banjo from granddad, and cornet and some fifes from my dad. Much beloved, although not terribly valuable from a commercial standpoint.

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What a wonderful story.

I have a great picture of my great grandmother with her children, including my gran (as a baby) standing outside their thatched cottage in Galway. It was taken a hundred years ago. I spent many happy days in the same cottage when I was a boy, I love that i have the photo.

I have no instruments passed down though. I dont even know if anybody played anything. Worth finding out! Mum always knew a lot about the trad but never played.

I met a fiddler from aroun d Comber, Co. Down at a workshop in Belfast a few years back. Not only did he have his great grandad’s fiddle, but also his handwritten collection of tunes in a manuscript. It was just incredible. Real, pure, living tradition right there.

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I play my father-in-law’s old fiddle. It is a German or Czech fiddle from perhaps 1900. nothing special but it sounds good to me. He was a German-Swiss (-American) who grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin. He played all classical stuff in his school orchestra and dropped it when he went in the US Navy during WW II.

I found it in his closet years later, after my kids had started Suzuki lessons. I also found his Wohlfahrt books with the dates in the 1920s when he was assigned each piece. My daughter was maybe 10 and doing the same book. She loved looking up when her Grandpa had done the same piece. He moved a little faster than she, but he was 5-6 years older at the time.

I had the fiddle touched up a bit and it is my one and only. The two of my kids who fiddle have better, newer fiddles, so I am not sure where it will go when I do. I hope not to have to deal with this in the near future!

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This is quite a curious topic, as I recently got an old family fiddle too.

It has been up in my Granny’s loft since 1977 when she inherited it from her Aunt Nellie (that’s her real name!). She’s not sure that it was her fiddle though as she doesn’t remember her playing it. There was a suggestion it could be another relation’s who emigrated to Canada at some point. Anyway, I found out this existed last year and my Granny gave me the fiddle.

Looking at the fiddle, there is no maker’s name. It’s in decent condition, but had a decent amount of playing in it’s life. I haven’t had a pro look at it, but we reckon it could be an old German made fiddle from around 1900, with perhaps the neck being made separately somewhere here in the North East (Scotland).

One of these days I’ll try and find out more about it but for now it’s strung up and I’m going to lessons to learn how to play it!

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My father in law (who plays whistle, flute, fiddle) has a tin whistle that his grandad took with him to the Somme.

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I have my grandfather’s flute which he gave me in the 1970’s It was a small bore small hole and quiet instrument, and had a makers name Dasque a Saintes. My best guess is probably French from late 1800s but I could never find any more info on it. It got me started until I knew enough to decide what I wanted to play myself, but I intend to keep the old flute.
Although I never got to play much music with my grandfather, one fiddler in the sessions I attend does remember playing with him regularly, so I feel there is a continuity even if it is only indirectly.

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Nicholas - I’m a bit late to answer but we too have a Bechstein Grand in the family. Does yours say "Königlicher Hoflieferant" as well (supplier to the royal household)? C. stands for Carl B. (1826 - 1900), piano maker in Berlin. At one time people called their sons Carl or Claus just to be a bit different.
Our Grand piano was damaged in the war at the bombing of Halberstadt in April 1945. My grandma brought it across the inner-German border with her when she came to live with us. This took a lot of effort in 1962! The hole in the wood was covered by a cloth. My parents had it repaired. My cousin has got it now, it plays very well and found a home in Halberstadt again after the wall fell.

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We had a few flutes and clarinets from the turn of the century by my dad’s family from Austria (Moravia, actually) although they seem to have somehow disappeared somehow over the last fifteen years. No one can figure out what happened to them, the consensus is that they were either thrown away accidentally or someone is not being honest..

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Oh, for an edit feature..

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My grandfather had an accordian which I played a few folk tunes on as a kid. The lack of access to folk music made me lose interest though, as learning pop songs on an accordian didn’t seem right. When I was in my twenties my mum told me she gave it to a museum. :(

I have a Generation Eb whistle which I found as a teen at my grandparents house I think. It was very worn at the finger holes and the whistle head was faded to pink but it played like a dream. Still does. I think my one of my uncles owned it as he was musical and played christian music in religious circles. I’ve heard whistles were often played like this. I’m not certain though.