Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Boney

What is this?

Recommended Posts

I stumbled upon an odd concertina on the stock photo site Yay Images. There are four photos of it if you search for "concertina." What system is this?

 

concertina-9f03a1.jpg

concertina-9f03bd.jpg

concertina-9f03af.jpg

concertina-9f0393.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was 2 instruments but it's an 'English on its side' keyboard on one end and a 'trimmed Anglo' on the other, isn't it? (even down to one having the buttons on a curve and one with them straight.)

 

If the air button is supposed to go under the thumb that makes the side with least buttons the Rh, and that seems odd too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could this be a photoshopertina? There's something rather unreal about the look of the images, as well as something very unreal about the tina itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could this be a photoshopertina? There's something rather unreal about the look of the images, as well as something very unreal about the tina itself.

 

"Photoshopertina" - beautiful word! Could well be one of those :)

 

The bellows definitely look German - many folds with intermediate frames. The orientation of the buttons on the "Anglo" end is also German - parallel to a straight side. The action boxes have a more English look to them, and metal ends are rare on German concertinas (I've never seen any, anyway). On the other hand, the fretwork of the metal ends looks stylistically unlike anything you'd find on an English-made concertina.

 

Musically speaking, an EC layout for the RH (melody) and an Anglo arrangement for the LH (chords) would make more sense.

 

Question is, did this thing emerge from Photoshop, or did the photographer glue bits of different concertinas together to produce a "generic" concertina?

 

I recently encountered something analogous in a painting by Edward Bourne-Jones, who predates the Photoshop era. The attached detail of his painting "The Lament" shows a fretless zither of unique type. The late 19th/early 29th centuries produced a plethora of fretless zithers, one more bizarre than the other, all claimed to be easy to play (google "ukelin" for a particularly bizarre, bowed and strummed example). But nowhere in the Net have I found any info about an actual instrument like the one in the painting. Yet there seems to have been one, because Bourne-Jones' colleague Strudwick, who shared a studio with him, also portrays it faithfully in a painting of his. Was this an actual Victorian novelty instrument that went out of fashion too fast to leave traces in the history books, or was it a sort of "generic, archaic stringed instrument" that some stage carpenter made as a prop for the artists?

 

Now here comes the concertina relevance:

I wondered if such a thing could be made, and how it might be played. As you can see, it has two groups of 5 strings, the group on the right being longer (i.e. lower) than that on the left, with the length decreasing (i.e. pitch ascending) from outside to inside in each group.

 

I pondered on this for a while, and then I thought: "Wheatstone!"

 

If I tune the strings to the diatonic scale of, say C, and put the low C on the outer string, right side, then the D on the outer string, left side, then the E on the second string in, right side, the F on the second string in, left side, and so on - analogous to the English concertina - the effect is that any group of three adjacent strings within either group yields a major or minor triad! Not only that, the triads are the tonic, subdominant and dominant and their respective relative minors - all you need to accompany simple songs. And easy to play, too, with no wrong notes to get in the way of your tidy chords.

I would try plucking the right-hand strings with my finger and the left-hand strings with my thumb, drawing them towards the middle to produce the chords, with scales going "finger, thumb, finger, thumb ...

I intend to make a simple prototype "real soon now", as soon as I get my Trossingen Lyre project completed.

 

I reckon the instrument shown would fulfil the claim of "easy accompaniment" that was made for these novelty instruments, but as I say, there seems to be no record of it having been built commercially. Maybe just a figment of an artist's imagination after all. Like the photoshopertina!

 

Cheers,

John

post-6581-0-68709300-1336659994_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Photoshopertina" - beautiful word! Could well be one of those :)

 

.....On the other hand, the fretwork of the metal ends looks stylistically unlike anything you'd find on an English-made concertina.....

 

And just look at those metal ends, 1/8th inch Aluminium!!

 

Jake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought it was 2 instruments but it's an 'English on its side' keyboard on one end and a 'trimmed Anglo' on the other, isn't it?

Only geometrically.

Though the button geometry for the (presumed) left hand may look "English", it would be virtually useless if it actually had the notes of one end of an English, since every other note of the scale would be missing. :o

 

Chemnitzer concertinas have three rows of buttons in the right hand and four rows in the left, so I suppose it could be something from that keyboard family, though the button layout is still a departure from any Chemnitzer layout I've seen. Also, normal Chemnitzers have square ends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently encountered something analogous in a painting by Edward Bourne-Jones, who predates the Photoshop era. The attached detail of his painting "The Lament" shows a fretless zither of unique type....

 

Cheers,

John

 

Perhaps a (non-bowed) psaltery, or a medieval dulcimer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though the button geometry for the (presumed) left hand may look "English", it would be virtually useless if it actually had the notes of one end of an English, since every other note of the scale would be missing. :o

The layout of the buttons on the "left" side is also consistent with a Wicki-Hayden arrangement, although the number of buttons per row is unusual, and looking more closely, although the bottom two rows (closer to the hand rest) are in the honeycomb geometry (one row offset from the other by half a unit) more suggestive of Wicki than English, the top two rows (further from the hand rest) appear to be in a rectangular geometry (one directly above the other) that would suggest the "English on its side."

 

I have no clue what's going on, here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The direction of the ornamentation on the top/bottom of the action box appears reversed, making me think of a flipped image/group for that section. The other sides appear consistent at each end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

photoshopped.png

 

Look at the speckles on the metal joints of the bellows-frames in the first and fourth image. That's not roughness of the surface; it's an artifact of undersampling the reflected rays.

 

I spent several years in the employ of the computer graphics research laboratory at my alma mater, and have no reservations in offering as my professional opinion that this "concertina" is the figment of a raytracing engine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Look at the speckles on the metal joints of the bellows-frames in the first and fourth image. That's not roughness of the surface; it's an artifact of undersampling the reflected rays.

 

I spent several years in the employ of the computer graphics research laboratory at my alma mater, and have no reservations in offering as my professional opinion that this "concertina" is the figment of a raytracing engine.

 

I'm inclined to agree. In addition, the 'aluminum' ends have too much 'applied distress' to them...some of the marks look like they were made when the aluminum ends were cast, some look like they were applied later, and some of it looks like dust, but if it were dust, it wouldn't be in the patterns shown in the picture.

 

Also, the pattern of the gold leaf on the wood on the left side of image 3 does not match the other images.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have no clue what's going on, here.
this "concertina" is the figment of a raytracing engine.
I'm inclined to agree.

The page where these images came from says:

This Royalty Free 'Concertina’ image for commercial use was taken by professional photographer AlexanderMorozov .

Clicking on the "photographer" name brings up a bunch of images that also look like they might be ray tracing renderings. Some of them are very highly reflective but don't reflect any image of the camera, for instance.

 

So I guess now the question is, what was whoever did this trying to accomplish? Did they know what the button layout of a concertina is supposed to look like?

 

Edited to add:

 

If you look through this artist's images, past the kitchen appliances and barber's chairs into the high 500s and 600s, you get to the musical instruments (including the concertina). I had a good look at the cello and the classical guitar and am convinced that they are not photographs. All the cello strings are the same weight, for instance, and there is not enough variation in the weight of the guitar strings. On both instruments, there is less extra string wound around the tuning pegs than you would expect with standard length strings.

Edited by David Barnert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, for all the reasons above and more, I'm also quite sure they're digital renderings. I didn't initially think of that (after all, it's a stock "photo" site, and I was mostly puzzling about the button layout). But once I looked with that in mind, it's pretty obvious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently encountered something analogous in a painting by Edward Burne-Jones, who predates the Photoshop era. The attached detail of his painting "The Lament" shows a fretless zither of unique type. ... was it a sort of "generic, archaic stringed instrument" that some stage carpenter made as a prop for the artists?

... there seems to be no record of it having been built commercially. Maybe just a figment of an artist's imagination after all.

 

No, it was a real (but obscure) instrument John - it was called the English harp, or Bell harp, and invented in the mid-18th century by a soldier (in the 11th Regiment of Dragoons) called John Simcock.

 

It seems it was named after Captain David Bell, who commanded Simcock's troop from 1755 until 1761.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

No, it was a real (but obscure) instrument John - it was called the English harp, or Bell harp, and invented in the mid-18th century by a soldier (in the 11th Regiment of Dragoons) called John Simcock.

 

It seems it was named after Captain David Bell, who commanded Simcock's troop from 1755 until 1761.

 

Stephen,

Thanks a lot for lifting the veil of mystery on the instrument in question! However did you find out about it?

 

Where but among the concertinists could one find such organological erudition!

 

I googled with the search arguments you gave me, and came up with several photos and descriptions. None of the ones I've read so far mention the tuning, and I notice that Bourne-Jones portrayed it with fewer strings. I may go ahead with the "Lament" project, but with the assurance that such a thing actually did exist, and apparently made music!

 

Thanks again,

Cheers,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen,

 

Thanks a lot for lifting the veil of mystery on the instrument in question! However did you find out about it?

 

The first time that I ever saw pictures of Bell harps, John, was in a library copy of Anthony Baines' "European & American Musical Instruments" in 1970, a book that I devoured at a time when there was hardly anything else to go on. Then there was one in the collection (now dispersed) of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and it's illustrated in their "Catalogue of Musical Instruments Volume II" which was possibly the first organological book that I bought, in the early '70s, for the (then) princely sum of 50s (£2.50 in decimals)... :rolleyes:

 

None of the ones I've read so far mention the tuning, and I notice that Burne-Jones portrayed it with fewer strings. I may go ahead with the "Lament" project, but with the assurance that such a thing actually did exist, and apparently made music!

 

There's a simpler, later Bell harp, probably from the early 20th century (by which time they were often described as "Fairy Bells") here that has the tuning indicated on it: "C D E F G" on the left hand side, and "E D C B A" on the right hand side...

Edited by Stephen Chambers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eureka! I thought I remembered seeing this somewhere...

 

So here's a concertina connection for you John, a detail from a Bros. Webb poster showing them in the act of playing the Fairy Bells/Bell harp:

 

webb%20brothers.jpg

Here's the full poster:

 

webb.jpg

Edited by Stephen Chambers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×