Ive been asked to make a score of the lovely Waltz #2 by Dimitri Shostakovich, https://www.youtube....h?v=mmCnQDUSO4I
arrangement for 48 button English Concertina.
To expand on my earlier response: Who is intended to play this arrangement? What is their experience with the English concertina? For that matter, is this arrangement being commissioned by an individual who intends to play it, or by someone who intends it as a "gift" for someone else to play? I might guess the latter, else the person intending to play it could be trying your successive versions and giving their own feedback.
Wolf - Yes, this is a bit high, but my thinking as for the Key... I have put it at Em because the following sections will then be in G and C... should I write them. Em, G and C all seem like likely easy keys for the 48 EC and with their available bass notes should access likely achievable and satisfactory harmonies. and accompaniment options.
So, this score is just the first of three sections all in different keys. Em would put the two remaining sections in G and C. Cm would put them in Eb and Ab. My guess is that these would not be friendly keys.
Once again, "friendly" depends on the competence and experience
of the player. I would hope that anyone capable of playing an arrangement as full (complex?) as this would be comfortable in any key from three flats to four sharps, though various posts here on concertina.net suggest that many otherwise-competent players of the English never try to go beyond one flat or two sharps due to prejudices inherited from other instruments.
In key signatures from three flats to four sharps, the physical pattern of the scale is almost identical, the only difference being that some of the notes (consistently in every octave) are in an outer column of buttons rather than an inner one... physically closer than on most anglos. In fact, the key of Eb (or Cm) may have advantages over C (or Am), because two notes of the scale are duplicated (Eb=D# and Ab=G#) in every octave, appearing on both ends of the instrument. Thus it's possible -- though not necessarily common -- that an awkward "default" fingering can be rendered less awkward by substituting an appropriate enharmonic. Conceptually, that's not much different from using an opposite-direction button for D, G, or A on the C/G anglo. On the English, there is no such option in the keys of C or G (though I often substitute Eb for the D# if an Em tune calls for a B7 chord).
Even the key of Ab shouldn't be particularly difficult, as only one note of the scale is "out of pattern". I.e., the Db needs to be played as C# (which is on the opposite end of the instrument from D). I personally don't find this very different from being forced to use the third row to play a C# on a C/G anglo... or a G# if we want to put it in the context of an "uncommon" key.
How about the first section in Dm? Then, the two remaining sections would be in F and Bb which would be more facile, right?
See my above comments.
The lower I go the harder it is to build satisfying inner parts as some of the bass notes would have to go up an octave and room for voicings will get squeezed.
And that leads me to another potential issue. I think it would be much more reasonable to arrange this piece for a standard (56-button) tenor-treble English. Same top note as a 48-button treble, but an extra fifth -- down to C below middle C -- for the "bass". In fact, if you left the piece (at least that first section) in the original key of Cm, then the lowest note on the instrument would be the tonic of that key, providing a sound (pun noticed) foundation.
However, I do recognize that if this arrangement is intended for a particular individual and that individual is unable to get their hands on a tenor-treble, then that isn't really an option.