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concertinas vs. keyboard?

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JedMarum 17 Jul 00 - 08:57 AM
Jon Freeman 17 Jul 00 - 09:12 AM
Anglo 17 Jul 00 - 09:24 AM
GeorgeH 17 Jul 00 - 09:39 AM
Jed at Work 17 Jul 00 - 04:32 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jul 00 - 12:07 AM
alison 18 Jul 00 - 12:33 AM
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Subject: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: JedMarum
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 08:57 AM

Apologies up front if this is a foolish question but how close is the fingering of a concertina to that of a piano? My wife is a piano player, and wondered if she could adapt to the concertina comfortably.

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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 09:12 AM

Jed, there are severaly different types of concertina with different fingerings.

The ango has more in common with a harmonica than anything else as each button plays 2 notes depending on the direction of the bellows and if you substitute push for blow and pull for suck, the basic scale is identical.

The English (and as far as I know the duets) produce the same note regardless of the direction of the bellows but as far as I know, not of the fingerings resemble that of a piano.

As an alternative sugesstion, would a piano accordion be a better choice of instrument for your wife?


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: Anglo
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 09:24 AM

The thing about the English concertina is that to play a diatonic scale you alternate notes from one hand to the other - at least in "normal" keys with not too many sharps and flats notes written on a line are played with the left hand, notes in a space are played with the right hand. There are certainly pianists who have also played English concertina - the late Phil Merrill, longtime music director of the Country Dance and Song Society in New York, comes to mind.

There are several systems of Duet concertina where all notes occur on both hands, the right hand in a higher register than the left, with some overlap. Here at least the notes would be divided between hands the way they might be on a piano.

And as Jon said, the Anglo (short for Anglo-chromatic) is basically a refinement of a push-pull diatonic harmonica, divided down the middle with lower notes on the left and higher on the right.

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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 09:39 AM

Musically, a piano player is most likely to feel "at home" with a Duet (so my wife reckons, and she's a pianist who also plays McCann duet). But no, there's no similarity in fingerings . . .


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: Jed at Work
Date: 17 Jul 00 - 04:32 PM

thnka, y'all. this has been helpful.

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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:07 AM

G'day Jed,

When you look at the 7 or 8 systems of concertina, you find that none of them really relates to another and only the German / Anglo / Anglo-chromatic / (and the core of some bandoneons, which called concertinas in some countries) relate to any other instruments - the mouth organ and the button accordion.

I play Anglos, button accordion and mouthorgan and did own a Wheatstone System Duetb but I went to a presentation by retired Salvation Army officers on how they played the English and duet systems ... and decided that I was not going to live long enough to ever justify owning that duet - so I sold it and it paid for a very nice new three-row button accordion ... and a 100+ year old Lachenal Anglo.

I have found, in running a widely focussed instrument workshop over the years that music readers, such as trained pianists, will usually feel more at ease with the chromatic types ... even Wheatstone's original 'English' system with its (to me) incomprehensible left right structure. But then, players of other instruments cannot fathom how I happily play a bunch of instruments that play a different note in each direction!

It would be nice to say that you should try each type and make a decision, but, apart from a few handcrafted modern instruments that cost thousands and won't arrive for years, good concertinas are old and rare and you may end up with whatever you find (as did one enthusiast who runs a concertina site - he bought a Jeffries duet and I won't attempt to describe its layout ... he reckons thatere are about ten players in the world!) and work it out yourself.

All concertinas are products of British eccentricity!


Bob Bolton

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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas vs. keyboard?
From: alison
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:33 AM

I'm a piano player amongst other things... and it was easy to take up the piano accordion... all you have to do is negotiate the bellows.. but the right hand is exactly the same as the piano (still working on the left hand buttons)

I find the concertina a bit confusing... I'm sure it's rational when you get used to it....

what I'm saying is that if she'd like to be able to play a tune straight away.. it'd be easier with a piano accordian....



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