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Concertina With Chords?


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#1 conzertino

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 04:34 PM

Discussing the possibilities of Hayden-MIDI-concertinas, someone suggested accordion-basses/ chords for the left side.

 

That wouldn't be a problem at all with MIDI.

 

A while ago I suggested this layout for a Hayden:

 

Hayden.jpg

 

It would be ideally suited for accordion-bass-chords....

 

Now the question:

 

Has anybody seen real concertinas ( preferably English made ;-) with basses and chords.

 

 

 

 



#2 Don Taylor

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 06:49 PM

How would you assign notes and chords to your layout?



#3 conzertino

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 04:19 AM

Right hand standard Hayden, left hand Accordion-basses diagonally: third, bass, major chord, minor chord, seventh chord.

That gives only a few complete keys, but first of all it is possible to transpose - and worst case one would habe to come up with a different arrangement...



#4 BW77

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 04:24 AM

Discussing the possibilities of Hayden-MIDI-concertinas, someone suggested accordion-basses/ chords for the left side.

 

That wouldn't be a problem at all with MIDI.

 

A while ago I suggested this layout for a Hayden:

 

attachicon.gifHayden.jpg

 

It would be ideally suited for accordion-bass-chords....

 

Now the question:

 

Has anybody seen real concertinas ( preferably English made ;-) with basses and chords.

One variant is the Colin Dipper "Franglo" which you can see here

http://www.concertin...images/dipp.htm

 

Probably other similar unique instruments exist, made to suit some individual demands. Generally speaking it is rather difficult to see the point with chord buttons however particularly with the Wicki-Hayden systems which are so efficient already for layout of chords. Concerning concertinas it is somewhat paradoxical that the full capacity of these systems can only be achieved with a much larger keyboard than the common concertinas offer. Brian Hayden himself has suggested the application with an organ type instrument and you likely need at least 70 buttons to make the best of it. You can always discuss if not the 5 row button accordion system ( or the Wheatstone "Double" - if expanded) are even more efficient for large keyboards than the Wicki-Hayden since they are tighter when looking at chord patterns as they are based on semitone intervals between buttons.



#5 wayman

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 05:27 AM

This is the point at which I'd suggest looking for a name other than 'concertina' for the instrument! It's a fascinating idea, reminiscent of John K's melodeon with stradella bass, but for me the fundamental defining characteristic which ties (anglo, english, duet) (hexagonal, other shapes) (traditional reedpans, hybrid reeds parallel to the ends, reeds on blocks) concertinas into a single family of instruments -- a single family that is distinct from other bellowed free-reed instruments -- is that each button plays a single melody note only.

 

Change that, and you've now got something that's shaped like a concertina, that shares a keyboard layout with a type of concertina, but is not a concertina. That doesn't diminish it in the slightest, it just changes what it is.



#6 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:00 AM

Has anybody seen real concertinas ( preferably English made ;-) with basses and chords.
 
The only English-made one that I know of is the "Franglo" from Colin Dipper, and then (of course) there's the German Bandonika (though the latter is really a diatonic accordion masquerading as a concertina), and they have diatonic (bi-sonor) basses...


#7 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:28 AM

 

Discussing the possibilities of Hayden-MIDI-concertinas, someone suggested accordion-basses/ chords for the left side.

 

That wouldn't be a problem at all with MIDI.

 

A while ago I suggested this layout for a Hayden:

 

attachicon.gifHayden.jpg

 

It would be ideally suited for accordion-bass-chords....

 

Now the question:

 

Has anybody seen real concertinas ( preferably English made ;-) with basses and chords.

One variant is the Colin Dipper "Franglo" which you can see here

http://www.concertin...images/dipp.htm

 

Probably other similar unique instruments exist, made to suit some individual demands. Generally speaking it is rather difficult to see the point with chord buttons however particularly with the Wicki-Hayden systems which are so efficient already for layout of chords. 

Colin's Franglo is exactly what I suggested on the "b/c concertina" thread. 

I saw it as an instrument with a concertina sound, that a b/c button accordion player could pick up and play without learning a new instrument. I presume that was the logic of the Franglo also.

Colin didn't just think of it, he made it. I'd love to hear it played.

Of course, his might have been a D/G or A/D/G or something similar. It was brave making a 3 row right from the off.

 

If I was to make something similar, (not that I could) I would try it with accordion reeds for the left hand, and concertina reeds for the right. Just to separate the melody in tone from the chords. 



#8 alex_holden

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:11 AM

Colin's Franglo is exactly what I suggested on the "b/c concertina" thread. 
I saw it as an instrument with a concertina sound, that a b/c button accordion player could pick up and play without learning a new instrument. I presume that was the logic of the Franglo also.
Colin didn't just think of it, he made it. I'd love to hear it played.
Of course, his might have been a D/G or A/D/G or something similar. It was brave making a 3 row right from the off.


I read that Emmanuel Pariselle (a French melodeon maker, hence the 'Fr' part of the name) first suggested the idea to Colin Dipper. Here he is playing one of his Franglos:
https://www.youtube....h?v=4GWOwRjE2SM
And another, with Liam Robinson:
https://www.youtube....h?v=VzSClrQMlNc

#9 BW77

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:26 AM

... for me the fundamental defining characteristic which ties concertinas into a single family of instruments -- a single family that is distinct from other bellowed free-reed instruments -- is that each button plays a single melody note only.

 

If you look into various textbooks or encyclopedias on musical instruments there is no established definition of "concertinas" but the subject has probably been discussed here before. Since - as you say - there are so many solutions involved regarding buttons, keyboards, reed types, reed arrangements etc I would prefer classifying bellows driven free reed instruments according to the way you hold them, something like:

- organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table....  one or two flying hands used for button work 

- accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s)  or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work

- concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands



#10 wayman

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 08:49 AM

 

... for me the fundamental defining characteristic which ties concertinas into a single family of instruments -- a single family that is distinct from other bellowed free-reed instruments -- is that each button plays a single melody note only.

 

If you look into various textbooks or encyclopedias on musical instruments there is no established definition of "concertinas" but the subject has probably been discussed here before. Since - as you say - there are so many solutions involved regarding buttons, keyboards, reed types, reed arrangements etc I would prefer classifying bellows driven free reed instruments according to the way you hold them, something like:

- organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table....  one or two flying hands used for button work 

- accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s)  or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work

- concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands

 

 

'symmetrical construction' is, for me, another way of saying 'every button [on both sides of the instrument] does the same thing, that is, plays a note instead of a chord'. When the left and right sides of the instrument are constructed in fundamentally different ways (like, each button on the left plays multiple simultaneous notes, each button on the right plays a single note), the instrument has asymmetrical construction.

 

If the left and right sides are used in different ways sometimes -- eg, an anglo or duet player may happen to use the left side to play chords and the right side to play melody -- that doesn't matter. I base classification on construction, the instrument itself, not use (since any given instrument can be used many different ways).


Edited by wayman, 10 January 2017 - 08:52 AM.


#11 inventor

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:40 AM

There is no reason why a stradella bass should not be coupled with a Hayden Keyboard. Indeed I suggested this idea in my 1986 patent for an accordion with a Hayden system on the right hand side. However on a concertina there would be problems with both the width of the button array, and the weight of the mechanism to make this work,

 

Whilst I was waiting for my first Hayden system concertina to be made; I converted part of the right hand side of a 34 button treble, 80 (stradella) bass accordion to a Hayden system. If you are already familiar with the stradella bass system (which I was long before I discovered my easy system for a duet concertina), then you will find playing a left hand accompaniment very easy. When my Hayden system duet concertina finally arrived it took me only a couple of weeks or so to play a good um-pah style accompaniment to folk tunes that I had learned on the experimental accordion.

 

Inventor.


Edited by inventor, 10 January 2017 - 10:46 AM.


#12 BW77

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 11:29 AM

 

 

... for me the fundamental defining characteristic which ties concertinas into a single family of instruments -- a single family that is distinct from other bellowed free-reed instruments -- is that each button plays a single melody note only.

 

If you look into various textbooks or encyclopedias on musical instruments there is no established definition of "concertinas" but the subject has probably been discussed here before. Since - as you say - there are so many solutions involved regarding buttons, keyboards, reed types, reed arrangements etc I would prefer classifying bellows driven free reed instruments according to the way you hold them, something like:

- organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table....  one or two flying hands used for button work 

- accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s)  or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work

- concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands

 

 

'symmetrical construction' is, for me, another way of saying 'every button [on both sides of the instrument] does the same thing, that is, plays a note instead of a chord'. When the left and right sides of the instrument are constructed in fundamentally different ways (like, each button on the left plays multiple simultaneous notes, each button on the right plays a single note), the instrument has asymmetrical construction.

 

If the left and right sides are used in different ways sometimes -- eg, an anglo or duet player may happen to use the left side to play chords and the right side to play melody -- that doesn't matter. I base classification on construction, the instrument itself, not use (since any given instrument can be used many different ways).

 

Wayman, of course we can discuss at length how we interprete the term "symmetrical construction"  but if you look at the main *box construction* of a) common Magdeburg style bisonoric accordions/melodeons B) modern style unisonoric piano/button accordions c) Chemnitz style German Bandoneons/Konzertinas d) British style Anglo/German/English/Duet concertinas you will find that a) and B) by long tradition are called *accordions* ( or something alike )  and c) and d) are called *concertinas* by squeezeboxers in general.

 

There are hundreds of different layouts of keyboards and buttons for them all which are more or less "symmetrical" according to your own meaning of this. I'm afraid you have to fight an energetic opposition if you want to change that type of "consensus".

For example, with your own view on symmetry above - do you mean that if you link the buttons on the left side of a common Maccann or Hayden "Duet" so that one button "plays" more than one reed or if you make the left side double-reeded it will no more be a "concertina" ?

 

What I mean separates the ( already established) groups a/b and c/d respectively is that the *box* construction is asymmetrical with the first ( a/b) and symmetrical with the later (c/d) whatever buttons and keyboards you put at either side and independently of being bisonoric or unisonoric and independently of sounding 1,2,3, 4 or more reeds at the same time.  This kind of symmetry of the *box* construction is by tradition ( and by simple mechanics) intimitely united with how you hold the instrument. 

 

So called "concertinas" are to my knowledge generally held between the arms and hands`likewise, by both hands simultaneously, and both hands may manipulate the keyboards under basically the same "symmetrical" conditions. The arrangements for holding the instruments ( the "concertinas" ) are also identical on both sides which they never are in the group a/b.

 

The initial question for the topic:

"Has anybody seen real concertinas ( preferably English made ;-) with basses and chords?"

 

...thus may be answered "Yes" and one known example is the described "Franglo" and according to the above - if accepting that as some kind of "definition" -  the Franglo no doubt ought to be called a "concertina"



#13 BW77

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 11:41 AM

There is no reason why a stradella bass should not be coupled with a Hayden Keyboard. Indeed I suggested this idea in my 1986 patent for an accordion with a Hayden system on the right hand side. However on a concertina there would be problems with both the width of the button array, and the weight of the mechanism to make this work,

 

Whilst I was waiting for my first Hayden system concertina to be made; I converted part of the right hand side of a 34 button treble, 80 (stradella) bass accordion to a Hayden system. If you are already familiar with the stradella bass system (which I was long before I discovered my easy system for a duet concertina), then you will find playing a left hand accompaniment very easy. When my Hayden system duet concertina finally arrived it took me only a couple of weeks or so to play a good um-pah style accompaniment to folk tunes that I had learned on the experimental accordion.

 

Inventor.

Brian, very interesting indeed! and very glad that you arrived here ! Did you also follow the "Wicki-Hayden" nomenclature thread?

There are surely a number of riddles to sort out...

I hope you don't mind this question: 

You do suggest several applications of the system in the patent paper...combinations as you say above...and also the organ variant. As far as I see it your system has (like the Janko piano keyboard) its greatest advantages with an "infinite" or at least quite large keyboard and the concertina application ( with say less than 50 keys) inevitably uses a rather limited fraction of the possibilities.

So - is the system really most useful for an organ/piano type of instrument ? or an accordion type maybe?



#14 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 05:51 PM

 

something like:

- organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table....  one or two flying hands used for button work 

- accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s)  or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work

- concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands

 

Try just looking at the etymology of the names - that says more about the instruments in question.

 

"Concertina" has the Italian diminutive ending "-ina". So its defining characteristic is its small size.

"Accordeon" has the German word "Akkord" in it. This means "chord", so its defining characteristic is the presence of ready-made chords.

 

The essence of all concertina button layouts is the fitting of as large a range of notes as possible into the small space available, which is limited by the reach of the fingers of a hand that also has to hold the instrument and pump the bellows.This is achieved partly by utilising both the width and the depth of the keyboard to accommodate as many buttons as possible, and partly by including both ends of the instrument in the melodic range. In the Anglos and Germans the idea of one button for two notes is also used to achieve this.

 

So saying that a certain button arrangement only works well when the keyboard is of unrestricted length is basically to say that this arrangement is not concertina-compatible.

 

I go with wayman's distinction that a concertina - from the simple 20-button German to the English to the big Bandoneon - has one note per button (even though, on bisonorics, this note is usually different depending on bellows direction). And I would add that both ends of a concertina share the tonal space of the instrument (whether it's low notes left, high notes right, as in the Anglos and duets, or the notes of the scale alternately left/right as in the EC). But, as I said, I believe this stems from the need to economise with the limited space available for the buttons.

 

Cheers,

John



#15 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:21 PM

You can call things whatever you like though. Most people think the concertina is the bellows. You often hear people mentioning the "concertina bit" of an accordion when they mean the bellows.

Looking at the video of Emmanuel Pariselle playing his Franglo, he's playing a concertina to me. A rather odd one but still a concertina. I couldn't call it a button accordion or melodeon, even if it had the same notes for the buttons.

 

Maybe it's a Meltina?



#16 BW77

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 03:56 AM

 

 

something like:

- organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table....  one or two flying hands used for button work 

- accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s)  or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work

- concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands

 

A.Try just looking at the etymology of the names - that says more about the instruments in question.

"Concertina" has the Italian diminutive ending "-ina". So its defining characteristic is its small size.

"Accordeon" has the German word "Akkord" in it. This means "chord", so its defining characteristic is the presence of ready-made chords.

 

B. The essence of all concertina button layouts is the fitting of as large a range of notes as possible into the small space available, which is limited by the reach of the fingers of a hand that also has to hold the instrument and pump the bellows.This is achieved partly by utilising both the width and the depth of the keyboard to accommodate as many buttons as possible, and partly by including both ends of the instrument in the melodic range. In the Anglos and Germans the idea of one button for two notes is also used to achieve this.

 

C. So saying that a certain button arrangement only works well when the keyboard is of unrestricted length is basically to say that this arrangement is not concertina-compatible.

 

D. I go with wayman's distinction that a concertina - ... has one note per button

 

Cheers,

John

 

I have put in A-D in John's reply above.

A. As far as I understand it is NOT known where the term "concertina" originally came from so we can not say much about that...and 220 tone German "Konzertinas" surely are not particularly small...

"Akkordeon" came from Demian´s patent and that instrument had a chord for every button, not used later on....a bit tricky also

 

B. Mainly agreeable...but as I said before...the essence seems to be that you have NO "flying hand" at all with "concertinas"

 

C. Well...yes...my point was that a uniform keyboard, like Janko, Wicki or Hayden, can be used with its full capacity only with a larger keyboard than *small* concertinas offer. A Hayden fconcertina for example with 108 buttons ( one of the examples in the Hayden patent paper) will work pretty fine while the common 46 key models may be regarded as tough compromises

 

D. I'm afraid you come into a major conflict with the whole "Accordeon World" by this view. For more than 50 years the "Free Bass" accordeon is an established term for *accordeons* with one note per button on the left/bass side,  instead of the "Stradella"  bass system or other similar chord ones. According ( !! ) to You the Free Bass Accordeon then would be a "concertina"...is this what you mean? You can always test it on some Accordeon chat site and report back...



#17 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:34 AM


 

B. Mainly agreeable...but as I said before...the essence seems to be that you have NO "flying hand" at all with "concertinas"

 


D. I'm afraid you come into a major conflict with the whole "Accordeon World" by this view. For more than 50 years the "Free Bass" accordeon is an established term for *accordeons* with one note per button on the left/bass side,  instead of the "Stradella"  bass system or other similar chord ones. According ( !! ) to You the Free Bass Accordeon then would be a "concertina"...is this what you mean? You can always test it on some Accordeon chat site and report back...

 

As to B: The reason why the concertinas have no "flying hand" is that they are too small to strap on, therefore the hands must support the instrument while the fingers press the buttons. And the "non-linear" (i.e. 2-dimensional) button layouts of the concertinas also stem from the small size. The small size, in turn, is dictated by portability. Victorian amateur musicians visiting each other for a musical soirée, or jolly Jack Tars humping their kit aboard ship, wouldn't want to lug a full-size accordeon about. As to the Bandoneon: its square format would also be awkward to strap on, so although it's invariably played on the lap, it retains the concertina-style handstraps. Let's say, it's as big as the "small" bellows instruments can get.

 

As to D: Free bass, as i understand it, is an enhancement to the traditional accordeon. My Russian friend's bayan is a "convertible" - he can switch from Stradella to free-bass on the left side.

 

Let's be Darwinistic about this: Genetic variations do occur; some of them prove useful, and catch on, others don't. The free-bass on the accordeon has become established; at least in its "convertible" form, it is produced in series. The Franglo seems to have remained a prototype for which there is not enough demand to warrant series production.

 

But to go back to terminology: The uninitiated (in any area of expertise) more often than not use terminoligy incorrectly. But if you show any accordeonist (be he diatonic or chromatic) the workings of your concertina (whatever system it may be), he will say, "That's not an accordeon!" Similarly, show a concerinist of any ilk a melodion, CBA or PA, and he will say, "That's not a concertina!"

 

It's all so simple, really, if we don't get sidetracked by anomalies that can and do occur. The exception proves the rule. Franglo and free-bass accordeon are exceptions to a pretty consistent rule!

 

Cheers,

John



#18 BW77

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 12:49 PM

 


 

B. Mainly agreeable...but as I said before...the essence seems to be that you have NO "flying hand" at all with "concertinas"

 


D. I'm afraid you come into a major conflict with the whole "Accordeon World" by this view. For more than 50 years the "Free Bass" accordeon is an established term for *accordeons* with one note per button on the left/bass side,  instead of the "Stradella"  bass system or other similar chord ones. According ( !! ) to You the Free Bass Accordeon then would be a "concertina"...is this what you mean? You can always test it on some Accordeon chat site and report back...

 

As to B: The reason why the concertinas have no "flying hand" is that they are too small to strap on, therefore the hands must support the instrument while the fingers press the buttons. And the "non-linear" (i.e. 2-dimensional) button layouts of the concertinas also stem from the small size. The small size, in turn, is dictated by portability. Victorian amateur musicians visiting each other for a musical soirée, or jolly Jack Tars humping their kit aboard ship, wouldn't want to lug a full-size accordeon about. As to the Bandoneon: its square format would also be awkward to strap on, so although it's invariably played on the lap, it retains the concertina-style handstraps. Let's say, it's as big as the "small" bellows instruments can get.

 

As to D: Free bass, as i understand it, is an enhancement to the traditional accordeon. My Russian friend's bayan is a "convertible" - he can switch from Stradella to free-bass on the left side.

 

Let's be Darwinistic about this: Genetic variations do occur; some of them prove useful, and catch on, others don't. The free-bass on the accordeon has become established; at least in its "convertible" form, it is produced in series. The Franglo seems to have remained a prototype for which there is not enough demand to warrant series production.

 

But to go back to terminology: The uninitiated (in any area of expertise) more often than not use terminoligy incorrectly. But if you show any accordeonist (be he diatonic or chromatic) the workings of your concertina (whatever system it may be), he will say, "That's not an accordeon!" Similarly, show a concerinist of any ilk a melodion, CBA or PA, and he will say, "That's not a concertina!"

 

It's all so simple, really, if we don't get sidetracked by anomalies that can and do occur. The exception proves the rule. Franglo and free-bass accordeon are exceptions to a pretty consistent rule!

 

Cheers,

John

 

B. As you know quite well there are "concertinas" even larger than common size "accordeons/melodeons" and they are made the same - no flying hand. Some big concertinas, used for band work for instance, still have the same kind of handles, you hiold them with both arms/hands, and the general construction is *symmetrical' ( even if Wayman doesn't agree...) 

If you pick an elongated rectangular Maccann duet with the same general format and size as an accordion ( such instruments exist) I guess you will accept it as a "concertina" still ?

Talking about seafaring squeezeboxers what you say is a pure British experience - there have been many times more accordeons than concertinas around the world in the hands of "Jack Tars"

 

D. No way !..Free Bass Accordions usually are just *that* with a left side keyboard ( there are several variants) with *only* single note buttons. Convertibles are something else. *True* Free Bass Accordeons by the way is dominating in the whole academic world of accordeon tuition and performance, and accordeon tuition is represented in several musical academies while concertina as far as I know is not established in anyone. So - if we ask for "definitions" of various squeezeboxes and want some kind of scholar approach to the issue maybe we better turn to some accordeon "academy" for the answers regarding these classification matters...

 

Concerning the Franglo... to me it seems at least (!!) as useful as the Anglo and if so deserves becoming much more than a prototype. It likely is a matter of cost as always concerning novelties but as soon as some kind of massfabrication comes by things change completely. I also think there seems to be some kind of obsession regarding the demand for small size  concertinas today

( and maybe historically too, but you did have prominent performers with large concertinas 100 years ago. Maybe even the majority of proficient solo artists used quite big instruments.)

 

John: "The exception proves the rule. Franglo and free-bass accordeon are exceptions to a pretty consistent rule! "

 

But we haven´t found that "rule" yet have we...??  It obviously can not be as simple as ..." a concertina - ... has one note per button"






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