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20 Button Concertina

GUEST,concertina player 21 Mar 14 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler 21 Mar 14 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,anglo enquirer 21 Mar 14 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler 21 Mar 14 - 01:23 PM
GUEST, Mystified 21 Mar 14 - 09:36 AM
Howard Jones 21 Mar 14 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler 21 Mar 14 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Dick Miles 21 Mar 14 - 07:59 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Mar 14 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Guest Dick Miles 21 Mar 14 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Duelling Duet 21 Mar 14 - 06:58 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Mar 14 - 06:41 AM
Brian Peters 21 Mar 14 - 06:19 AM
Brian Peters 21 Mar 14 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,SqueezeMe 21 Mar 14 - 06:00 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Mar 14 - 05:52 AM
Brian Peters 21 Mar 14 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,guest doubting thomas 21 Mar 14 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,SqueezeMe 21 Mar 14 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Somewhere near East Cheam 20 Mar 14 - 04:51 PM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 03:17 PM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 02:23 PM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Guest Dick Miles 20 Mar 14 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Baffled of Basingstoke 20 Mar 14 - 01:27 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Mar 14 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Guest, Gus 20 Mar 14 - 12:54 PM
johncharles 20 Mar 14 - 12:25 PM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 09:53 AM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 09:45 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Mar 14 - 09:40 AM
Howard Jones 20 Mar 14 - 09:25 AM
Guran 20 Mar 14 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,SqueezeMe 20 Mar 14 - 07:28 AM
Brian Peters 20 Mar 14 - 06:53 AM
Guran 20 Mar 14 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,SqueezeMe (my cookie's gone awol) 20 Mar 14 - 05:18 AM
Howard Jones 20 Mar 14 - 04:50 AM
The Sandman 20 Mar 14 - 04:50 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Mar 14 - 04:36 AM
SqueezeMe 19 Mar 14 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,SqueezeMe 19 Mar 14 - 11:36 PM
Brian Peters 19 Mar 14 - 08:00 PM
The Sandman 19 Mar 14 - 07:27 PM
Guran 19 Mar 14 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 19 Mar 14 - 04:59 PM
GUEST 19 Mar 14 - 04:03 PM
The Sandman 19 Mar 14 - 03:09 PM
The Sandman 19 Mar 14 - 03:04 PM
Guran 19 Mar 14 - 02:47 PM
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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,concertina player
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 09:09 PM

Wheastones instructions, a book designed to put anyone off enjoying the concertina, talk about boring.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 02:31 PM

I started out by playing along the rows but have developed into a style that crosses the rows. As a result I play Irish music on the D/G rather than the C/G.
Part of the fun is finding odd chords!


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,anglo enquirer
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 02:12 PM

do you play straight up and down your G row and C row?


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 01:23 PM

It is not so easy to play a tune continually whilst playing two notes an octave apart on the Englich as it is on the Anglo because of the distance that the fingers have to move on both sides of the English between notes. Having said that please note that this is one of exercises in the original Wheatstone tutor book for the English.
Because I am nearly always playing two notes an octave apart It means that I tend to use other notes from a wider range to make up a chord of three or four notes, thus the tendency to have notes that are more distant in pitch from each other and less likely to generate beat frequencies between harmonics.
Returning to the computer analysis displays it is possible to have a harmonic on some notes that is actually louder than the fundamental note. You do not notice this as there are other harmonics, at the octaves, that override it.
Having spent some years doing the Tidal Predictions for the Hydrographic Office it all looks rather familiar!


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST, Mystified
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 09:36 AM

I have a friend who goes round collecting data from different concertinas as he is trying to make some scientific sense of why concertina reeds, accordion reeds and hydrid reeds act differently!      
A better use of ones time than train spotting.
are Octaves easy on Duet and English?, but Octaves are not chords, Black Belt could you clarify your comments.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 09:23 AM

As I recall there were two 'clips' on Peter Bellamy's concertina, but I'm not sure on which notes.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 08:43 AM

One of the reasons that I like playing in octaves is that it makes more sense of splitting the notes of the chords over a wider range. If you play three note chords on the concertina they sound better if you spread the three notes over two octaves rather than one. This is to do with the way that the harmonics of concertina reeds can clash with harmonics from another note. It is fascinating to look at a computer screen showing just how many different harmonics are in operation from a single note. I have a friend who goes round collecting data from different concertinas as he is trying to make some scientific sense of why concertina reeds, accordion reeds and hydrid reeds act differently!


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Dick Miles
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 07:59 AM

I think Bellamy understood about modes, he sang with young tradition, and was very experienced as regards hearing harmony.
here are some ec players Iwould recomend for song accompaniment, all different, killen, turner, barber, clinging, kendrick, alf edwards,lea nicholson, pete wood. also listen to anglo players like Brian, and peter bellamy, much can be learned from listening to other systems of concertinas, even if it cant always be used.
here is a tip, For playing tunes like morris tunes reverse bellows more frequently, and avoid running notes into one another


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 07:26 AM

Dick Miles? Never heard of him, I say I've NEVER HEARD OF HIM. ONLY kidding - I like Dick's playing & should probably listen to it more closely. I actually haven't listened much to anyone else since I took up the EC myself.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Guest Dick Miles
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 07:17 AM

duelling duet.
Much depends on the mode of the tune.I do use thirds sometimes, and sometimes I play two notes of a chord the first and fifth, without the third, sometimes i play the first note[for example if it is a whole beat crotchet and add a note a third below for half a beat].Sometimes, Sometimes.
I do not agree with GENERALLY for anything, my approach is entirely dependent on the tune, although ON OCCASIONS I leave out the third, dependent on mood, sometimes using the third can establish it as being minor is appropriate because it gives a sadder feel.
leaving out the third means it is unclear if it is major or minor, sometimes that is appropriate sometimes it is not.
Incidentally the third not is the most out of tune note on equal tempered instruments such as theEC, the interval of a fifth is the interval that is least out of tune.my song accompaniment books are available from my website.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Duelling Duet
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 06:58 AM

Phil, you should listen to Dick Miles, my impression is that he uses thirds, and also leaves them out, to my ears, he seems to use a lot of 2 note dyads.
       He is someone who uses a 48 key treble, I think he has written a book on song accompaniment on the EC.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 06:41 AM

As to Peter, while I suspect that some of his weird chords were developed by experiment rather than theory, I'm pretty sure he used them with a lot of discrimination.

Absolutely. 'Happy accident' wasn't meant to suggest that he stumbled on those chords on the morning of the recording session - I know that PB listened hard to what he was doing, & played what he played because it worked.

I usually leave out the thirds when chording on a concertina

That's really interesting. Perhaps it's because most of the triads are so easy on an EC, but it had never occurred to me to do this.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 06:19 AM

"Possibly because he didn't realise it was Fmix? It sounds as if there were a lot of happy accidents in PB's arrangements, and maybe this was another."

Some of those old modal ballad tunes are hard to pigeon-hole, even by a scholar like Bertrand Bronson. Different people hear them differently. As to Peter, while I suspect that some of his weird chords were developed by experiment rather than theory, I'm pretty sure he used them with a lot of discrimination.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 06:09 AM

Phil - yes, the drone is the same both ways.

Thanks for the chord explanations. The way PB used that sus4 was IMO purely to create tension, and I don't think he would normally have resolved it. On 'Streets of Derry' he ends each verse with a clash. Also, he would not have added a B to that GCD combo. I usually leave out the thirds when chording on a concertina, particularly on modal songs but in most folk stuff too, and that seems to have been PB's policy.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,SqueezeMe
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 06:00 AM

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Brian. I missed the reference in your first post, lost amongst....hmmm.

A good explanation, and much appreciated by me, if not by Guest doubting thomas, above.... :-(


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 05:52 AM

Just to clarify, Brian, was the home-key drone the same on push and pull?

in the key of C, you would be hearing G, D and C notes together, making an edgy, clashing sound (can Phil tell us what that's called?).

Thumbing through my I Spy Book of Chords... G/C/D is a Gsus4, which usually sounds 'edgy' - it's just asking to resolve back to G/B/D*. If he was playing the full G chord, OTOH, you'd have G/B/C/D, which is dissonant - although you could also think of it as an inverted C maj 9 (C/E/G/B/D) with the E missing...

he's accompanying a F mixolydian melody in the key of Bb, so none of the chords are the ones you'd normally expect

Possibly because he didn't realise it was Fmix? It sounds as if there were a lot of happy accidents in PB's arrangements, and maybe this was another.

*Not always. The refrain of Radiohead's No Surprises modulates from an A to an Asus4, with the kind of 'release' effect that you usually get from going the other way. Mind you, it then resolves onto the home key of D, so you could say that it's actually going from A to an inverted Dsus2 & from there back to D.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 05:18 AM

SqueezeMe - I did mention the drones in my first post, but, to elaborate a bit:

I remember Peter showing me one (or possibly even two - it was a long time ago) button in the middle of the LH third (top) row, which was tuned to a drone and had a small metal plate that could be swivelled over to hold it down for the duration of a song. A drone is more usually fitted under the left thumb, but holding that down for several minutes is hard work.

Peter's drone was simply that of the instrument's home key - a C on a C instrument, etc. The unusual chording came because he would add harmonies to it, usually but not always from the I, IV, V chord palette. The more unusual chording came about when he would sound a V chord against the drone so, in the key of C, you would be hearing G, D and C notes together, making an edgy, clashing sound (can Phil tell us what that's called?).

Some of the strangest sounding accompaniments were on songs that already had unusual melodies. 'Streets of Derry' is played against a simple, home key drone, but the nature of the melody is such that a lot of it ends up on the pull, with plenty of opportunity for clashes against the drone. Incidentally, listening to this track carefully, I'm struck by the number of little ornaments Peter puts into the accompaniment.

On 'Housecarpenter' (both these tracks are on 'Both Sides Then'), he's not only playing a drone, but he's accompanying a F mixolydian melody in the key of Bb, so none of the chords are the ones you'd normally expect. With the Bb drone added, it sounds incredibly eerie, fittingly for a ghostly story. Martin Carthy used to do the same kind of thing on guitar - he called it 'cross-tuning' - the two were good pals so perhaps they compared notes.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,guest doubting thomas
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 05:05 AM

no


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,SqueezeMe
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 02:25 AM

Absolutely agree.


Brian, you have made no mention of the drone levers that Peter used. There has been some discussion on concertina.net about this, but not a lot of explanation as to the notes sounded. This may also explain some of his unusual chording.

Would you, or anyone else care to comment???


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Somewhere near East Cheam
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 04:51 PM

Bellamy had a wonderful grasp of harmony,smashing track, Peters old chap


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 03:17 PM

Here's possibly my favourite Bellamy accompaniment (excepting possibly 'My Boy Jack'), from the magnificent 'Both Sides Then' album, which is still available from Topic. As far as I can make out he's playing in F on a Bb/F box (slightly above concert pitch) with the left hand crossing all three rows to get those chords and discords.

The Trees They Grow High


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 02:23 PM

Oh dear, that didn't work: the spacings are different when it uploads to the way they are in the composition window, so none of the chords line up. Use your imagination or paste it into Word and add some extra spaces.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 02:18 PM

OK Dick, I promise to stick to the anglo and say no more about the EC.

At the risk of boring any Bellamophobes out there, Phil's questions about 'Death is not the End' are actually very interesting (and, the more I listen to some of PB's music with a concertina in my hand, the more I realise I didn't understand his stuff as well as I thought).

I've just got my Crabb out and tried the song; D isn't a good key on my C/G (by no means impossible, but limited and thin-sounding), so let's put everything into C, including my analysis of PB's arrangement, which sounds as though it's in D, but isn't in concert pitch - could it be an old pitch C instrument?

Here's what PB does - I said the chords are following the tune because, every time the bellows reverse to accommodate his playing the melody on the right hand, a chord change is forced on him, so he chooses C on the push and either G or F on the pull (so, yes, he's using the three-chord trick):

C    G      C            F      C   G C
When you're sad and when you're lonely

C   G   C F   C    G C
And you cannot find a friend

C    F C G   C    F       C   G   C
Just remember that death is not the end


Here's what I would do, not trying to play the melody, but just changing chord within the I, IV and V when I feel like it:

C    G      C            F      C
When you're sad and when you're lonely

G       C      C    G C
And you cannot find a friend

C    [F]G          F       G       C
Just remember that death is not the end

I were trying to make it a bit more interesting, I would substitute an Am for the C on 'friend', and maybe do some other stuff. That's just my take on it - Peter's was different, and so would another musician's be. But does that make it any clearer?

As to playing a single sustained chord under the whole first line, this could work if the chord was a nice stark one without the third note, but I would probably only use that for the first verse of an arrangement that then built up to more varied chording over subsequent verses.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Guest Dick Miles
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 01:34 PM

Since I have been summoned, I could tell you, but why should i?
anyone who genuinely wants to know can contact me privately.
Brian Peters illustrates his complete non understanding of song accompaniment on the EC, he plays the Anglo well, but clearly knows freck all about the EC.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Baffled of Basingstoke
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 01:27 PM

Not such a problem for an EC system player, surely? You run out of air, you just reverse, and the chord stays the same.

The problem is that holding an A chord for four and a half bars would sound awful.
Too right, have a listen to Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 01:13 PM

Not such a problem for an EC system player, surely? You run out of air, you just reverse, and the chord stays the same.

The problem is that holding an A chord for four and a half bars would sound awful, particularly when you then switch to E for two bars before going straight back to A. When I first picked up a guitar*, learning chords didn't bothered me, but the stuff baffled me completely - all the extra stuff guitarists put in to stop it coming out as chung, chung, chung. Concertina stuff still baffles me - stuff on a single chord most of all.

Not wishing to nitpick, but PB's 'Death' arrangement is more a case of the chords following the melody than the other way round.

Nitpick away - my musical knowledge is about 90% theoretical and 10% intuitive, although I'm working on redressing the balance. What is the blighter playing on the LH, then, if it's not a three chord trick?

*I put it down soon afterwards.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Guest, Gus
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 12:54 PM

Not such a problem for an EC system player, surely? You run out of air, you just reverse.
You run out of air you have to reverse, or alternatively use an air button while playing.
Why not ask old grumpy GSS.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 12:25 PM

An interesting discussion. It may be worth mentioning, as Mathew seems to imply he wishes to accompany his singing, that more buttons may be helpful, but the real gain will be from practice and increased skill. I find poorly played concertina accompaniments (not uncommon) rather like nails scraping down a black/white/green/-board.
john


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 09:53 AM

"the whole first line is on one chord"

Not such a problem for an EC system player, surely? You run out of air, you just reverse, and the chord stays the same. As Alan Day said, this is much more of a problem with an anglo, where you either play lots of in-and-out chords like PB, or use duplicate buttons and other wheezes to keep the air supply going.

Not wishing to nitpick, but PB's 'Death' arrangement is more a case of the chords following the melody than the other way round.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 09:45 AM

Since Howard has mentioned Edgeley concertinas, can I remind our OP Matthew - if he's still watching and hasn't completely lost the will to live - that these instruments are made in his home town. Edgeley's website displays both hybrids and traditional concertina-reeded models. I played one of Frank's hybrids a few years ago, and it seemed very good.

I've also been impressed by Morses, but there might be import duty to pay in that case. Of course we still don't know Matthew's budget, and these instruments may be out of his reach. Which is why I suggested that he contact someone like Robin Harrison if he's thinking of buying second-hand.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 09:40 AM

Brian - it's getting off-topic, but this is fascinating stuff for me. Coming to this cold, it had never occurred to me that what PB was doing on that song was basically a I/IV/V job with added melody. I briefly tried to duplicate what his accompaniment sounded like on EC; I ended up with relative minors & added passing chords all over the place, & it still didn't sound nearly busy enough.

Time to stop trying to follow what a gifted but eccentric player of a different instrument came up with, I guess, & start from scratch. Although, in the case of that song, scratch is a rather forbidding place, given that the whole first line (which in up/down notation goes *UUDUUDDDUUUDDD) is on one chord.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 09:25 AM

Dick, your experience is very different from mine.   Most 26-keys I've come across (my own included) have been bog-standard middle-of-the-range Lachenals, which weren't built to the highest standards in the first place and inevitably show signs of wear and tear after a decades of use.

There has been extensive discussion on concertina.net and The Session of the differences between modern hybrids and vintage instruments, and the overwhelming body of opinion is that the hybrids are better value and better quality than equivalently-priced vintage instruments. There are also players who have reached a high standard of playing who are very happy with their hybrid instruments and see no need to upgrade to a traditionally-made one.

Here's just one example, from Gav Davenport in this discussion on c.net comparing Tedrow and Edgeley concertinas:

"In general either box would be better than a bog standard lachenal in terms of developing your own playing."

I find it speaks volumes that a professional player is happy to play hybrid instruments. He's not the only one - Jody Kruskal plays a Morse along with his Jeffries and Dipper concertinas.

The fact is that you get what you pay for. Even the highest quality vintage instruments show their age, even if expertly restored. You can probably get a bog-standard Lachenal for less than a new hybrid - it will have concertina reeds if that's what you value, but an inferior action. A modern hybrid will be in better shape than most vintage instruments you are likely to find in a similar price range, and the question is whether you are happy with the sound of accordion reeds. You will have to pay considerably more to find a traditionally-made instrument in comparable condition.

This doesn't make it easy to decide what to get. For a given price range there are many compromises to be made in terms of sound, playability and speed of response, and indeed the number of buttons. There is no right answer, it depends on the individual player's preferences and, importantly, what is available to buy.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Guran
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 09:17 AM

SqueezeMe, I did not oppose to your observation itself: "Most, if not all the hybrids have a riveted action" and you may have a better total view of those hybrids than I.
The superstitious hazards arise when drawing quality conclusions from the type of lever/post connection per se since there are so many factors involved determining how the whole action system from pad to button works firstly for music performance - but also mechanically and for processing/assemblage and for service requirements.

What is the advantage with a riveted action in your view, just curious to hear?


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,SqueezeMe
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 07:28 AM

Goran, my observation was made not from superstition, but from experience garnered from nearly 40 years of playing and repairing. But you are correct in that there is a lot of superstition surrounding concertinas, although the more common term for it is BS.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 06:53 AM

"the accompaniment Bellamy put to songs like Death is not the end..."

Thanks for posting that, Phil. You've found an arrangement that the OP could play on his existing instrument - in fact I don't think PB's fingers ever move from the home row. So, OK, you could play some (though not of all) of PB's accompaniments on 20 buttons.

Fan of Peter though I always was, that accompaniment demonstrates to me exactly the limitations of sticking to the home row. Assuming for the moment that you're in C (the recording seems to be in D so is presumably played on a D box, and who knows how many buttons it had), all the home buttons (CGCEG) give versions of a C chord on the push, whereas on the pull you have GBDFA. So the bottom three buttons on the pull give you a full and plummy G chord, the top two a lightweight F chord, the top three a Dm, and other combinations create varying degrees of unpleasantness. On 'Death' you can hear how thin the IV chord sounds compared to the V.

If I were accompanying that song, I'd not play the melody, I'd get rid of a lot of the bellows movement and chord changes (possibly using duplicated notes as Richard Mellish described early in the thread), and maybe try out an alternative chord or two. But that's what I would do. What Peter did was what Peter did (though 'Death' is one of his less sophisticated accompaniments) and, as Howard said, it shouldn't have worked but it did.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Guran
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 06:13 AM

SqueezeMe: "Most, if not all the hybrids have a riveted action, similar to your Wheatstone"

One little detail on actions must be commented. Among various kinds of superstition... the misunderstandings are common regarding possible differences between riveted lever/post connections and hook/saddle connections.There is no general superiority of riveted connections except making it easier to handle the parts when removing the ends and putting them back


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,SqueezeMe (my cookie's gone awol)
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 05:18 AM

Dick said "...in my experience 26 key lachenals[not jones]...have actions that are better than most accordion reeded concertinas."

I believe you are mistaken. Most, if not all the hybrids have a riveted action, similar to your Wheatstone. I would say that the Morse action in particular is as fast, accurate and quiet as any bone buttoned Jeffries.

You are correct though that mahogany ended concertinas were generally a cheaper grade than rosewood. However, most of the 26 button Lachenals I have seen (and that's quite a few) have mahogany ends and little fretting, so that speaks volumes doesn't it!


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 04:50 AM

Peter Bellamy's style was extraordinary. It really shouldn't work, but in his hands it was somehow amazingly effective as an accompaniment to his equally extraordinary but also amazingly effective singing. I know he wasn't to everyone's taste, but he was an incredibly talented interpreter and creator of songs.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 04:50 AM

squeeze me, I disagree ,in my experience 26 key lachenals[not jones] are of reasonably good quality and have actions that are better than most accordion reeded concertinas.
One indicator, apart from the use of ears and playing the instrument, is the detail in the fretwork, a good rule of thumb is this the more intricate the more likely it is to be better, mahogany concertinas were generally the cxheapest rosewood were the next up the ladder
Brian,it is not snobbery, the sound is different, the reasons were explained by steve dickinson, you are wrong but do not have the grace to admit your error.
I gave an example of Bellamys playing which on the occasion was a song that could have been played on the 20 key, the op seemed to express some sort of experience of Bellamys playing, the clip seemed appropriate.
much depends on how much money the op has to spend.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 04:36 AM

Before this thread went mad, Brian wrote:

The most basic way to work out tunes on an anglo (as GSS said above) is to stick to a given row and work your way up and down it, which inevitably means a lot of alternation between push and pull - sometimes changing with almost every note. The simplest way to accompany a tune played in this manner is to grab a handful of buttons on the left hand and more or less stick to them, which (because the LH buttons are push-pull as well) inevitably means changes of chord - and quite possibly involuntary discord - on every switch between push and pull. I discourage pupils from doing this since it gives very little control over the chords you're playing, can give quite unmusical accompaniments, and is the opposite of the kind of sustained chording that slow songs in particular often benefit from.

and I've been thinking about it, with particular reference to the choppy (in fact harmonica-like) accompaniment Bellamy put to songs like Death is not the end. It struck me that, if you're playing a tune in C on one hand, holding down C and G on the other hand is always going to give you something - it may be a sus chord (C/D/G), it may be a minor seventh with a note missing (A/C/G), but it'll sound "chordy". If, when you hold down C & G on the push, you're also holding down G & D on the pull, so much the better - again, you're always going to get something.

And I guess that is more or less what Bellamy was doing. (Incidentally, I hadn't realised the two sides of an Anglo were so close together tonally - I'd assumed the LH would be big, throaty baritones like the LH on a Duet.) Duplicating the effect on the EC, ironically, would take some very nifty fingerwork.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 11:43 PM

That should be http://www.concertina.net/forums/


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,SqueezeMe
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 11:36 PM

The OP doesn't say what make of concertina he currently has, but decent 20 and 26 button ones, be they made in the England, Europe or China, are rarely of good quality (though I have encountered 20 and 26 key metal ended Jeffries and a 20 key Wheatstone Linota which are exceptions).

Almost any English-made or hybrid 30 button concertina will be of a far better quality than a 20 or 26 button, irrespective of whether the "extra" keys are useful at this time. For that reason alone, and if finances allow, seriously consider an upgrade to a 30 key (unless you happen to be the lucky owner of the above mentioned Jeffries or Linota).

Good luck Mathew, and if you find some of the crap posted on this thread to be a bit daunting, can I suggest asking for some advice at www.concertina.net


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 08:00 PM

GSS, 19 March 2014, 07.27 pm:
"I have not said that anyones concertina was a glorified accordion"

GSS, 18 March 2014, 09,57 pm:
"MORSE CONCERTINAS, AND ALL ACCORDION REEDED INSTRUMENTS ARE NOTHING BUT GLORIFIED SINGLE REED ACCORDIONS PRETENDING TO BE CONCERTINAS"

Step away from the spade, sir.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 07:27 PM

I am not misleading nyone , the accompaniment peter bellamy played on the fox jumped over the parsons gate can be played on a 2 row anglo concertina.
I disagree, harry boardmans accompaniment to cob coaling was fine, he accompanied his singing perfectly.
I have not said that anyones concertina was a glorified accordion, I have talked about construction of concertinas ,i have praised the action of the morse,but nowhere on this thread have i said it was a glorified accordion. Brian Peters has mentioned snobbery about accordion reeded concertinas and seems to have taken exception, to me providing back up to my point by providing a video of Steve Dickinson,talking about the construction of concertinas and their related acoustics.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Guran
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 05:31 PM

DICK... I stayed quiet for a some time hoping that THIS world might get wiser meanwhile but if it hasn't I felt urged to interfere:-)
It is funny how quite experienced and knowledgable people sometimes are surprisingly blindfolded from obvious facts and even fooled by some kind of traditional confusion.Handmade musical instruments have always been subjects to much superstition ( like other handicraft in guild-spirit)even before Stradivarius and C Wheatstone is our example.
He was a notable inventor no doubt but it is known nowadays that he was not much involved in actual production of concertinas while many people in the "concertina world" still speak of him doing this or that when "making concertinas".

It would be very interesting to ask Steve directly from where he got this: "...the two combine and amplify the sound ...this gives very pure sound whithout any overtones...you don't get this in a melodeon or an accordion because the reed in those operates in a free space...they don't have this chambered arrangement"

Do you have any contact nowadays so you can ask him? I don't blame him at all - I have met experienced accordion makers believing that the accordion sound comes from the vibration of the reed and that the
pan on which the reed blocks are assembled operates like a resonance board of a piano...


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 04:59 PM

Dick / Schweik:

I have no argument with Steve Dickinson, an excellent builder, but then he's never told me that another manufacturer's concertina is NOTHING BUT A GLORIFIED ACCORDION.

Harry Boardman was a good friend who I heard perform every Saturday night for several years. I loved and respected his music, but concertina song accompaniments were not his strongest suit.

I've already explained that Peter Bellamy played up and down the rows, and why he couldn't have done what he did on 20 buttons.

Now please stop digging, and misleading the OP.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 04:03 PM

Dick, as so often appears to happen, you seem to be finding an argument where there is none.

No one has disputed that accordion reeds are different. I wouldn't even try to argue too hard that they are not inferior - they are certainly easier and cheaper to make, which is of course the point. The question is whether they are fit for purpose. As someone who plays melodeon as well as anglo (as does Brian Peters, of course) I can attest that I have had no more problems with durability or tuning from accordion reeds than I have with concertinas.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood your point, but for most of this thread your objection to hybrids has been that you believe they sound like accordions. I now understand it is lack of volume which you find the problem. I don't agree with you about volume - it depends on the reeds. My Castagnari Mignon single-reeded melodeon is a real screamer which is easily comparable in volume to my Crabb and Dipper concertinas, and louder than my Lachenal.

As for hybrids sounding like an accordion - I suspect I couldn't tell the difference between a single note played on an accordion and on a hybrid, but in practice they sound completely different because they are played differently. A hybrid sounds different from a traditional concertina, but it still sounds more like a concertina than an accordion. Individual accordions of course all sound different, as do individual concertinas.

Using accordion reeds makes 30-key instruments just about affordable, when the price of traditionally-made instruments has gone through the roof. The hybrids I've come across have all been of very high build quality, and the only compromise is in the reeds. Of course this affects the sound, and if you don't like the sound then there's no more to be said. For very many players it is a compromise they are prepared to make in order to have an affordable instrument which meets their requirements.

That last point is crucial. I have never disagreed that if you don't need the extra buttons then a traditionally-made 26-key might be the better choice. I'm glad you have now recognised the corollary point, which is that if you do need the extra buttons then a hybrid is really the only affordable option.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 03:09 PM

GURAN you have been remarkably quiet for a long time, I was concerned you may have passed on to another world.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 03:04 PM

Irem ember harry boardman po laying and singing cob coaling on his anglo sounded like he was playing straight uop and down the rows. heres peter bellamy playing straight up and down the rows,this can be played on a 20 key.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQMsONIwng
the answer is YES., as ilustrated above
Brian, you could at least have the grace to admit that Steve Dickinson, has made it clear why the concertinas were constructed as they were and that his explanation regarding acoustics, has nothing to do with snobbery.


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Subject: RE: 20 Button Concertina
From: Guran
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 02:47 PM

09:21 AM Soldier Dick said:
"Steve Dickinson, a noted concertina maker makes it very clear in the clip i provided.... he explains exactly why there is a difference in sound, between accordion reeds and concertina reeds and between the two different constructions of concertina".

Hello guys, despite probably annoying some of you this referrence can not stand un-opposed. With all due respect for Steve Dickinson and his unquestioned merits as a maker I am sorry to say that his description in the video really is not quite adequate. With excuses for minor swenglish misinterpretations on my behalf this is what he says:

"…concertinas have a different sound from accordions…what makes that uniqueness?…the sound of the actual reed
is modified within the instrument...the reed itself vibrates within an inclosed chamber…that can be approximated to
a simple harmonic motion by the reed and every space has got a resonance frequency..the (chamber) space is arranged so that its frequency is comparable with that of the reed...the two combine and amplify the sound ...this gives very pure sound whithout any overtones...you don't get this in a melodeon or an accordion because the reed in those operates in a free space...they don't have this chambered arrangement"

There are a some factual misunderstandings here and my guess is that he uncritically has adopted traditional hearsay. He is in good company however in such case...Neil Wayne in "The Wheatstone English concertina" in Galpin soc.March 1991 page 139:said:

"It was Charles Wheatstone's research on the acoustical linkage of tuned pipes and chambers with metal free reeds
in 1828 and 1830 that led to the introduction of tuned reed chambers into his firm's concertinas and as early as 1838
most of his concertinas had at least three or four of their smallest reed chambers fitted with a cork cross piece to
adjust the volume of the chamber and to tune it to the resonant frequency of the reed within the chamber…."

I have heard/read similar reports from others too so it is difficult to explore from where the ideas originate.

First in theory:
The matter of resonance in physics is a highly mathematical issue.The resonance frequencies in the lower octave chambers in a
treble concertina may be around 5000Hz if the chamber is around 50mm while the correspoonding reed frequency is around 200 Hz. The consecutive measures of chambers do not correlate to the sequence of reed frequencies either. You simply can not get the needed size of instrument to execute the assumed "frequency comparable with that of the reed" or "tuned reed chambers" .Even if you calculate with higher resoncance frequences it is impossible t achieve any consequent tuning of the chambers.

Secondly in practise:
The matters of resonance in accordions have been scientifically investigated and documented for example at the old "Institut für Musikinstrumentenbau in Zwota". I did some tonespectrometric studies myself in the 1980s with concertinas and did not manage to reveal any significant resonance phenomena at all, neither from the chambers nor the box..
The maybe most obvious proof that there is no amplification from the chamber or other coloring of the tone from the chamber acting on the individual reed comes from the Anglo as there is no major difference in sound between push and pull notes acting in the same chamber while the note frequencies may differ considerably.
The presence of the reed chambers IS the same with all squeezeboxes and the true technical function is to separate the air flow between the reeds and to offer efficient pressure and air flow conditions ! NO acoustical intention with them at all BUT they do modify the sound more or less still - seemingly primarily by absorption of higher (overtone) frequences.
It is of course obvious however that most "concertina reeds" sound differently from "accordion reeds". The influence from box factors may be considerable too. For instance does the exactly same reed produce a different sound in a common treble vs in a big baritone or baritone-treble.


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