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alex_holden

Half Maccann

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Hi Alex -

 

the keyboard layout to me looks more like a Crane than a McCann (which I'm sure you'll know... ;-)) I'll agree that a single fold bellow is a very curious detail.

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Speaking as someone who once managed to destroy one side of a concertina (try it, it is not as easy as you think) perhaps this is a reaction to a similar event. A person without the means, money or skills to fix it did what they could and one fold was all that could be retrieved..?

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I believe that this "modification" may have had a circus/music hall origin.

 

By dangling a concertina in a vertical position from the hand/wrist and producing sufficient bellows movement by shaking the instrument very quickly up and down to produce sufficient airflow for some vibrato effect playing. The shortened bellows would be ideal for this, as would the duet keyboard. I'm sure I've seen photos of clowns using this technique.

 

As an experiment yesterday, I fitted 2 large rubber bands to my Wheatstone 48 Crane to restrict bellows movement (no way was I going to cut the bellows up, though some might unkindly suggest that I should...) and managed to play a couple of simple slow tunes quite effectively. I also tried it without restricting the bellows movement, but didn't have sufficient control and consistently ran out of air.

 

(I don't think I'd want to make a career out of it, but a good party trick.... )

 

Could there be another one of these, consisting perhaps of the other (left hand) end and modified identically? So one in each hand? Alternatively, the other hand may have played a simple piano accompaniment, or perhaps held some other instrument that could be played one handed (a bugle? 3 holed pipe? snare drum?)

 

(Of course, I could be completely wrong, but few other suggestions have been forthcoming....)

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Can't see how it would work on an English though, Wolf

 

Unless maybe the Lachenal in one hand and the Wheatstone in the other..... :unsure:

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I guess you're right about that Malcolm - albeit different concepts spring to my mind, which I'm however inclined to hold back, as that would take the whole thing too far I guess

 

(edited to just add a missing "o")

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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