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concertinas, a beginners view

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sledge 09 Mar 02 - 02:35 AM
pavane 09 Mar 02 - 04:07 AM
Ralphie 09 Mar 02 - 05:12 AM
Jock Morris 09 Mar 02 - 05:18 AM
Jock Morris 09 Mar 02 - 06:01 AM
sledge 09 Mar 02 - 09:44 AM
Crane Driver 09 Mar 02 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Dave Weeks 09 Mar 02 - 11:43 AM
pavane 09 Mar 02 - 01:35 PM
curmudgeon 09 Mar 02 - 05:55 PM
michaelr 10 Mar 02 - 01:19 AM
sledge 10 Mar 02 - 01:38 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 02 - 01:43 AM
Mr Red 10 Mar 02 - 06:09 AM
sledge 10 Mar 02 - 07:57 AM
Crane Driver 10 Mar 02 - 09:21 AM
Ralphie 10 Mar 02 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Dave Weeks 10 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM
alanww 10 Mar 02 - 03:43 PM
pavane 10 Mar 02 - 04:13 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 02 - 07:03 PM
Chip2447 04 Apr 05 - 12:08 AM
Desert Dancer 04 Apr 05 - 12:43 AM
pavane 04 Apr 05 - 03:17 AM
treewind 04 Apr 05 - 04:51 AM
Chip2447 05 Apr 05 - 01:33 AM
treewind 05 Apr 05 - 03:33 AM
jonm 05 Apr 05 - 04:00 AM
pavane 05 Apr 05 - 04:27 AM
ConcertinaChap 05 Apr 05 - 08:07 AM
Mary Humphreys 05 Apr 05 - 08:42 AM
squeezeldy 05 Apr 05 - 02:33 PM
Chip2447 05 Apr 05 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 06 Apr 05 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Polska 07 Apr 05 - 08:53 PM
treewind 08 Apr 05 - 02:54 AM
Ralphie 08 Apr 05 - 03:07 AM
Bob Bolton 08 Apr 05 - 03:24 AM
Jos 08 Apr 05 - 05:35 AM
Jos 08 Apr 05 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,jdaly@palmnet.net 14 Apr 05 - 10:10 AM
ConcertinaChap 14 Apr 05 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Polska 06 May 05 - 10:25 PM
Bob Bolton 07 May 05 - 01:07 AM
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Subject: concertinas, a beginners view
From: sledge
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 02:35 AM

Ok, so I may have misled some folks, I'm not even a beginner yet but I am giving serious consideration to trying to learn to play this beastie. I like the sound of them and they seem to me to be easily portable which as I taravel a lot would be a boon, I could annoy my collegues with constant pracice.

In many previous threads the maxim of buy the best you can afford has been passed round, well I wpon't be doing that, I intend going for a budget model for now probably from Hobgoblin music in the UK, the basic 20 key c/g anglo looks like it might do the job for now.

Hey, if all else fails it will make one hell of a paper weight.

Cheers

Stuart


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: pavane
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 04:07 AM

As in all things, the best costs more (and is EASIER to play), but yes, to learn the fundamentals a cheap one will do.

The main problem with anglos, and also melodeons and harmonicas, is getting the hang of the different notes on push and pull (and trying not to breathe in time with the bellows!)

Good luck


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Ralphie
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 05:12 AM

Sledge...
I agree with Pavane, and I think you'll find a 20 key Anglo very limiting, very quickly...Come and join the exclusive McCann Duet club. IMO easier to learn...!!
Whatever you choose....The best of luck to you
Regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Jock Morris
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 05:18 AM

Hobgoblin sell a tutor book for anglo concertina written by Roger Watson; I found it very helpful when I was learning to play the anglo. The really cheap 20 button anglos can be quite nasty. Having had a look at the hobgoblin catalogue I'd suggest you go for their 'roman budget' model rather than the very cheap one.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Jock Morris
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 06:01 AM

Sorry, should have said why: the roman budget model has its buttons arranged in a slight curve, as do the better 30 button anglos. Unless you have very strange hands that have fingers all the same length then this makes for far easier playing.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: sledge
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 09:44 AM

Many thanks for the above, all will be taken on board.

Cheers

Sledge


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Crane Driver
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 11:01 AM

The different types of concertina are really VERY different. At one time or another, I've owned a two-row anglo, an english, a McCann and a Crane Duet - you only have to read my name to know what I settled on. You may find that the anglo isn't for you, that doesn't mean that the concertina isn't for you. You're right, it sounds great, is very versatile and a damn sight more portable than a piano. The hardest thing about learning, actually, is finding a decent instrument that suits you. Keep playing, and never mind the neighbours!

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,Dave Weeks
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 11:43 AM

I've just bought a used gremlin miniature English Concertina from Hobgoblin to see if I have any potential ability on this type of instrument. However i am finding it impossible to get hold of a fingering/note guide -- can anyone out there help?


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: pavane
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 01:35 PM

English Concertinas have the notes on the LINES of the staff on one side, and in the SPACES on the other! That only helps if you can read the dots though...


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: curmudgeon
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 05:55 PM

To be more specific, the Emglish plays the notes on the lines with the right hand, the spaces are on the left. Before buying any concertina, Sledge, go first to concertina.net and read the extensive notes and essays on buying one. Check out the links to the many purveyors of new and used instruments. Ask questions in the forum.

While the folks at concertina.net are not as verbose as Mudcatters, and are more inclined toward anglos, they are a good lot who will advise you well.

Happy squeezing -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 01:19 AM

Saw Karan Casey in concert Thursday night. Great show! She was accompanied by concertina player Niall Vallely, who also appears to be the father of her child. This man wrung sounds from that little squeezebox I never knew were in there. Heck, he even played a blues solo on it!

Karan's other accompanist was a guitar player named Robbie Overson. A very funny man, and a very good guitarist. Anyone know aught about him?

Michael


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: sledge
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 01:38 AM

Incredible resouce, many thanks

Stuart


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 01:43 AM

G'day Crane Driver,

Mr Butterworth's lovely concertina system (often called 'Crane', for the inroducer to the Salvation Army, by those who, at least, know better that to call it 'Triumph' ... the Salvation Army 'house' brand name) is really pretty. The problem is that you have to wait for a player to die before you get to buy one.

The system is so good that owners would probably prefer to take them with them and forgo the harp!

(That said, I've ended up playing Anglo for authenticity in my particular context and style.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 06:09 AM

sledge
go for it
It is Wheatstone's bicentenial this year


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: sledge
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 07:57 AM

Thanks again for the info and encouragement, I hope I can do it justice.

Cheers

Sledge


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Crane Driver
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 09:21 AM

G'day Bob - we're slightly off thread here, but my Crane actually is a Crane. It's obviously made by Lachenal, but on the end is a little metal badge, which looks like it was an original fitting, saying

CRANE & SONS Ltd.,
Patent Concertinas
No 21730
LONDON & LIVERPOOL

Crane & Sons still exist, but they make pianos these days. Still, Mr Crane obviously did a bit more than just introduce the system to the Sally Ann, and if they were sold as Cranes, its hardly surprising that people call them that.

I could never think of myself as Butterworth Driver ...


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Ralphie
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 02:27 PM

Mr Red
I had no idea that it was Mr W's Bicentenary...A much more worthy thing to celebrate, than this Jubilee Malarkey!
I must place a bunch of Daffs at the site of his blue plaque (Just behind Regents Park underground station, for any visiting tourists!)
Happy Birthday Charlie...
Regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,Dave Weeks
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM

So, re my earlier cry for help -- can no-one out there help me ? Guess I'm going to have to sit down with a chromatic tuner and work out each note. Please don't put me through that!


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: alanww
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 03:43 PM

At the risk of being called a pedant, tush, I would just like to point out to curmudgeon that my 1875 Lachenal Excelcior extended treble English concertina has the lines on my left hand and the spaced on the right !

Seriously though, sledge, you need to decide what you want it for first. I like to play along at sessions. But I also accompany myself when singing (well I'm learning to do so anyway!), which is more suited to the generally softer tone of the English. However, if you want it to join the band of a morris side the anglo would be more robust.

It may also depend on how much you are willing to play, as English concertinas are generally cheaper than the anglos and the duets.

Finally, have a good look round before buying - Hobgoblin aren't very cheap. Try what I did in 2000, see what Chris Algar has to offer; he acts as a wholesaler, supplying most of the retail outlets - its got to be 25+% cheaper and you get a better selection to choose from. His site is at www.concertina.co.uk.

Singing and playing [|||||]
"I went down to Sammy's Bar ..."
Alan


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: pavane
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 04:13 PM

I did hear stories of bonfires of concertinas when the Salvation Army stopped using them. Any truth in that?


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 02 - 07:03 PM

G'day Crane Driver,

Afraid I was just stirring my old "The bloke that invents anything never gets the credit" line. It's certainly not limited to concertinas.

I am aware that Crane sold duets of this system under his own brand and I have handled a few In fact, I nearly mentioned one as an exception to my sweeping generalisation that you have to wait for some old SA officer to die if you want one ... but I wasn't letting inconvenient facts spoil a good story! (And this one was in Sydney, Australia, so it wasn't much help to Sledge.) They were also made by Lachenal and Wheatstone (and, probably, other London makers like Jeffreys and Crabb) - and sold under their own brands or the SA's Triumph name.

Pavane: I can't speak for anywhere other than Australia, but I doubt the 'bonfire' story. Salvationists paid for their own instruments and I spent a wonderful afternoon in the early '80s listening to retired SA officers from the SA retirement home up the road from the Bush Music Club play on their newly restored instruments ... after a very keen Anglican concertina virtuoso, the Rev. Alex Richards, had got together with concertina restorer Frank O'Gallagher to get some of Alex's SA friends playing again.

It was a great session (unfortunately, I have not been able to find if anyone recorded it) and I was astonished at what these elderly blokes could play ... and how well! One effect was that I shortly afterwards sold my Wheatstone System Duet and invested the takings into a new 3-row ADG button accordion and a 20 key Anglo ... so I could concentrate on what I did best ... and let the virtuoso instrument go to an appropriately skilled player!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Chip2447
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:08 AM

Hello all,
    I've been wanting to learn to play concertina for a long time and
have finally decided to make the attempt. I've done some research on
the subject and have decided that the "Anglo" style is where I want to go, or at least start. Which brings me to the crux of the message.

    Can the learned members of the court suggest a good make and model for a rank beginner. The only requirements are: I'm on a limited budget (would love to jump into a new Wheatstone...but...) and it has to be conducive to playing by "ear" as I have trouble with the "dots" but have a natural aptitude with music.

Thanks in advance,
Chip2447


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:43 AM

www.concertina.net

All you need to know, and more.


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: pavane
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:17 AM

Just a reminder: My (shareware) program HARMONY can do tablature for the Anglo concertina, from existing tunes including abc files.

Download from here


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: treewind
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 04:51 AM

There's going to be a "concertinas!" session at this year's National Folk Festival (this coming weekend) - should be fun.

I'm expecting delivery in the next month of a brand new Wheatstone Anglo from Steve Dickinson, who owns the Wheatstone company now. I must ask him what's being done for the bicentenary. I think he'll be at the National too.

I'm starting to feel guilty about not playing my Crane enough to have learnt it properly. Better start practicing!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Chip2447
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 01:33 AM

Hmmmm, I ask for advice from players and I get a link for a Session in England 3 days away. (a session thatis a bit over my head at this stage, being that I dont how to play or even have an instrument to play. As well as being a bit out of reach, being on a limited budget and across the pond)

I get a link to a site that I've already explored and found quite useful, thanks. However, I was asking members of mudcat for their personal advice.

And a promotional message for software.

Thanks folks.
On second thought, don't bother.
Chip2447


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: treewind
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 03:33 AM

You posted way down a thread that was started by someone else with a different question. Don't assume that every post that followed yours was a personal reply to yours.

The concertinas event at the National would be a great way to hear many different systems being played so you could get an idea of how they sound and help your choice of instruments. This was relevanto the original question.

And this is the Mudcat, not a reference library. Staffed by human beings, not salespersons trained to thell you what you want to hear... advice worth what you paid for it, and all that.

I could post links to other concertina sites, but I don't think I'll bother, in case I get criticised becasue you've seen it already or it turns out not to tell you what you want to know. You'll find them on plenty of other Mudcat concertina threads anyway.

I'd recommend getting a good instrument second hand over a cheap new one, for what it's worth. E.g. a 30 key Lachenal in playable condition over a Stagi or a Gremlin.

Somebody mentioned Chris Algar - I'll second that. He's not particularly cheap but he is trustworthy and reputable.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: jonm
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:00 AM

I started by going to a concertina workshop at a festival. Everyone was very helpful and let me try instruments of various types before I settled on an English.

I got a very cheap Wheatstone tutor model in mediocre condition and learned my basic scales and chords. Roger Watson did both English and Anglo tutor books BTW, which are excellent for beginners and stocked by Hobgoblin or the Music Room.

When I visited Chris Algar, he was happy for me to try a wide range of instruments before I settled on a 1912 Wheatstone English, which I have now had for donkey's years. Chris offered to buy it back at the same price, assuming condition OK, at any time. It is a vastly superior instrument, both easier to play and easier to develop technique on almost immediately.

My advice? Talk to concertina owners (probably for hours on end!)until you decide on the system for you, then spend as much as you can afford on the best second-hand concertina you can find. Playability is the key - some vendors will charge the earth for cr@p big-name makes, so try before you buy.

Buying an instrument you cannot already play is always a problem. Check how little pressure on the bellows will generate a clear sound with one button depressed, this will give an indication of reed quality. Check the mechanicals by seeing how fast you can repeat a single note and for how long you need to hold a button to get that note. If, as a beginner, you can outrun the instrument, there's a problem with springs or buttons.

If you buy from a reputable dealer like Chris Algar (my recommendation), the instrument will be in tune and will have the work he claims done on it. He will also be able to have additional work done before you buy if required.

Don't think of the concertina as a musical instrument like a guitar, where there are millions of them, from many different factories and builders, at all price points. The concertina is more like a vintage car - (a) the best were made several generations ago and will cost a fortune for a fully restored usable example, (b) there are affordable usable models out there from lesser known makers, but the key to their usability is condition, (c) there is a very small number of makers of high-quality replicas to the same standard as restored originals, priced several times above those originals and (d) there are some new models which look the part but which lack the quality and craftsmanship of the originals and you can certainly tell that easily.


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: pavane
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:27 AM

Just a suggestion - If you want to learn Anglo Concertina, it may be cheaper to try to learn harmonica first, before buying an expensive instrument. If you ALREADY play harmonica or melodeon, you probably won't have a problem. The keys are laid out in a similar manner.(though not identical, of course).


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:07 AM

> My advice? Talk to concertina owners (probably for hours on end!)
> until you decide on the system for you, then spend as much as you
> can afford on the best second-hand concertina you can find.

This is the same advice I give. No-one can tell you what system is right for you, though many will try. Try the Clubs and Organisations section of my own site www.concertina.info for links to groups all over the world.

It's also worht remembering that cheap concertinas don't keep their value, but more expensive ones do, and may even gain. They can work out cheaper in the long run.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:42 AM

Hi Chip - You don't say why you have plumped for an Anglo. As an English player myself, I really cannot imagine why anyone would want to go down that route!
The English can play in any key, so if you get fiddle payers who insist on playing in A and even E, you can still join in. Any tune playable on an Anglo is playable on an English, though if you want to do some bass chords it becomes very tricky. Irish players - (squeezeboxes of any sort) tend not to play anything other than the tune, so it should not matter.Any tune playable on a fiddle is playable on an English, though not on an Anglo which does not have all the notes unless it is a VERY expensive instrument.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: squeezeldy
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:33 PM

I started with a Stagi Gremlin, which by any other name would still be a mistake. It was still hundreds of dollars, I wore it out in a few months, and the poor response of the instrument affected my playing for years. My second instrument was a Norman, and I liked it very much. A word to the wise--change the reeds so your upper c# (above A 440) has a "push." That way, you won't have to re-learn your tunes. I am a klutz and a mechanical idiot, and I changed my reed in less than 15 minutes, 12 of which were spent doing and undoing the screws. I now have a beautiful Wheatstone which I bought sight unseen from a man in Australia.

As for concertina players not playing anything but the melody--well, be careful of generalizations, please.

I play Irish tunes, and so the Anglo fits my needs. If I were doing another style of music, I'd have to re-think things. One really pleasant aspect of the fingering/bellows combination is the nice lift the music gets from changing the bellows directions.

Happy hunting, and best wishes. And remember, no matter how much you can afford--it's not enough. Sigh.

Some day, I will write a book about how the concertina changed my life. Enter this door with great caution. I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Chip2447
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 11:17 PM

Thank you all for the responses. I apologize for my earlier outburst.

Chip2447


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 05:54 AM

You may want to consider requesting a free Catalogue from COSNSTIGLION"S

http://www.castiglioneaccordions.com/concertinas.html

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,Polska
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:53 PM

Thank you Mudcat for this forum. So Jeez-Louise, where do I start?
My wife and I have been taking Scandanavian dance lessons and the music with the dance is marvelous. The social dances always feature musician groups which have at least two violenists carrying melody with accompanying guitar, flute, or even recorder. There are some free reed tunes I've heard on recordings but no mention made as to what the instrument was. I'm looking to purchase a free reed instrument that will be able to give me that'sound' and have decided that it must be either an English or Duet. There's down time at work some days so to practise an instrument would be a great use of time. I also have a new grandson who just loves music...he rocks to almost any tune and he's only a year old and I want to play for him as well! Any advice?
regards
Polska


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: treewind
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 02:54 AM

If it's a genuine scandinavian band the free reed instruments are more likely to be accordions.

If it is a concertina... if it's playing the melody line only it's likely to be an English; if it's playing a lot of rich harmony too it's more likely a duet of some sort.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Ralphie
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 03:07 AM

Agree with Anahata (Hi Mate!)

Try seeking out CD's by "Orsa Spelman" (A fiddle band from Darlana) featuring Benny Andersson (ABBA) on Accordeon!!
Also Mats Eden (Groupa) apart from being a mean Viola player also uses a 2 row melodeon to great effect when playing for dances.

Personally, I'd go for the Duet. (Well, I would say that!)

It would certainly be better suited for dance music, as it can provide incredibly interesting accompaniments as well as the tune.

Be prepared for lots of practice though!! And. you've got to find one first.
Hope this helps a bit
Good Luck with your quest.

Regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 03:24 AM

G'day Polska,

Further to Treewind/Anahata's answer above, if the free reed line includes very rapid melody work, the most likely accordion type would be one of the Scandinavian types of Chromatica / European Chromatic [button] accordion. These are usually built in the same bodies as piano accordions - and usually have the same full set of 'Stradella' basses with or without additional "free bass" notes.

The top Scandinavian types would have 5 rows of 15 to 17 buttons - giving a chromatic range of (~) 4 octaves ... in a pattern such that any scale can be shifted up or down to any other key, without altering the pattern, just by starting from the appropriate button!

Many would argue that one of these, with 80+ treble keys and a full 180 bass (120 "Stradella" bass/chord keys + 60 "Free Bass) keys) is the "ultimate accordion". I don't play this system at all - but they can produce wondrous music!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Jos
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 05:35 AM

To Polska

Yorkshire Dales Workshops have produced a book of Swedish tunes with notes on the dances and an accompanyinf CD of the music being played.

e-mail


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Jos
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 05:37 AM

Sorry Polska, I hit the wrong button there . . .

e-mail   office@ydw.org.uk

It might be useful for you when you have found an instrument.

Jos


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,jdaly@palmnet.net
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 10:10 AM

For Polska,

We enjoy Scandi dancing, and we were listening to some wonderful music, I think by Jonsonlinjen, in which the free reed instrument was an antique reed organ. The cover has a photo of them carrying the instrument around. Very nice sound, and very different from the various accordion flavors. Also, at the Buffalo Gap dance workshop one of the musicians had a very nice Wheatstone English concertina which she used to wonderful effect. So there are all sorts of possibilities for free reeds in Scandinavian dance music.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 12:45 PM

You could always come to the Scandinavian Squeeze In in a couple of weeks time nedar Lund in Southern Sweden. You'll hear plenty of polskas on concertina there. Go here and click on SSI on the left hand menu. I'm told there are still a couple of places going. We've been the last 4 years and wouldn't miss it for worlds. The web site also has quite a bit of information about concertinas - if you can read Swedish!

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: concertinas, a beginners view
From: GUEST,Polska
Date: 06 May 05 - 10:25 PM

Ja Hej!
I do thank all of you for your responses to my inquiry on the free reed sol'n to Scandie music. We are blessed in the Northwest USA with some exraordinary violen and hardanger players, play on! There's a violen player of the Seattle Symphony just a couple houses down the way whom I might be able to convert...but seriously. My free reed instrument needs to be portable as I plan to practise at work..between 'calls' for an ambulance company at a rest station with the ability to carry it to the next call. So, I've heard neither the English nor the Duet played in real life so I cannot really judge which instrument would best suit my needs. Gosh, the popular accordian shop in town, Petosas, sold their last Wheatstone (type?)years ago.Hm.m...any leads to comparative tunes between the two and their sounds? I believe the sound of tomorrow will be in a very portable instrument, concertina not excluded.
regards
Polska


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Subject: RE: concertinas, a beginners view
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 May 05 - 01:07 AM

G'day again Polska,

If you are comparing the capabilities/strengths of the English System and the various Duet System concertinas, well:

The forte of the English is definitely melodic ... fast melody line is probably easier on the English than on any other portable instrument. Chords are also easy ... on their own ... but extremely difficult at the same time, as the melody flows from side to side - at the same time as many chords also needing both hands! The traditional answer was to run various parallel harmonies: fourths, fifths ... octaves ... even tenths and greater in virtuoso stage music, but this takes a lot of knowledge as well as practice.

The various Duets have a good, chromatic scale on the right hand and the same arrangement on the left hand - the bass - usually with something from 1 to 2 octaves overlap (generally 1˝ octaves) so you can play as good chordal accompaniment (or counter line) as your skill allows. The logic of the layout ranges from really weird (Jeffries Duet!), through rather odd (Maccann Duet) to friendly ... but not fast (Triumph [aka "Crane" ... or - rarely - by the inventor's actual name "Butterworth"] Duet). The modern Hayden Duet (actually a re-invention of a 19th century scheme) has a great logic ... I don't know if it isn't too logical for some folk musicians ... and I haven't heard anyone play one, so I can't really evaluate it.

There are some great players in every one of these systems - but I don't know the good players in Scandinavian styles ... it's the other side of the world to me ... down here in Australia!

Good luck anyway. I will remark that I usually suggest that the best capability-for-money ratio, in older instruments, is found in the Maccann System Duets. I think this is because they haven't been associated with any of the fashionable musics, the way that the Anglo-chromatic concertina has been, totally illogically, welded to fast stage Irish, fast melodic styles ... which the English could handle far better - if it wasn't totally politically unacceptable!

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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