Elizabeth Crotty was a widely renowned concertina player in the 1950s. Such was her prominence at that time that Robbie McMahon once dedicated his song Fleadh in Ennis to the reverence and abilities exhibited by Elizabeth.
In the early years of Elizabeth and the 20th century itself, the concertina was still budding in its prominence. An instruments originated by a certain Charles Wheatstone in the late 19th century, the concertina was first appreciated in England, particularly by its middle to upper echelon. Later on, the lower classes also began to appreciate the instrument; soon after, many bands came to play it in style.
However, the original concertina was not really appreciated by Irish musicians because of the similar notes that it plays in whichever direction. As such, when the newer, Anglo style of concertina came, it became more ingrained among the Irish.
From this Anglo style of the concertina, Elizabeth Crotty became more familiar with. They appeared as much larger but more budget-friendly. The horns are more ornate and the button appear larger too. When the buttons are played a different note is played depending on the direction of the horns. Later on, the more intricate English style concertina came into existence, which Crotty came into familiarisation with her brand of music.
At this juncture, the concertina gained immense prominence to the masses especially among the females. Such was the popularity that house gatherings are not complete without it. Later on, the concertina became a needed staple at home and are regarded with extreme care and handling. The unique quality of the instrument can be attributed to its loud resonance that can be heard favuorably, as well as being rhythmic and budget-friendly.
For this, the versatility of the concertina has been realised, with emphasis on those attributed to dancing beats. Various playing styles have emerged such as synchronised dual octaves and applying harmony to an increased volume of the sound. The evolution of piped instruments also influenced the concertina in a way, adapting the versions involving the use of ornaments such as cuts and crans.
With the musical intricacy enveloping the whole of Ireland, the talents involved quickly emerged in particular with using the concertina. This is evidenced by dated records as early as in 20s decade as supported by staunch proponents. The affinity among these proponents coincidentally paved the way to the affinity of the concertina as well.
Eventually, the concertina, particularly the Anglo style, became entrenched into the veins of the colourful musical history of Ireland. The instrument can be played whether solo, duo, or as a group. The Anglo concertina can already produce various tones even in utilising one portion or reed. The eminence of the instrument became more established as more Irish players gain more affinity with it. In fact, an annual gathering prioritising the concertina continues to flourish. Also an attribute to the healthy future of the concertina is the emergence of experienced crafters of the concertina. Definitely, the pioneers could not have been happier with the long history that the concertina has treaded.