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What Is This Wheatstone?


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#19 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:24 AM

My father can confirm it was the Myer who died in Malvern in 1978 and he was a 'frock manufacturer' designed cloths.

 

I suspected the two were linked because there were various traces of Myer Sutherland living around Melbourne, and there's nobody else of that name. It looks like the clothing business may still exist, unless the directory listings are out of date - there's a Myer Sutherland - Ladies Clothing Manufacturers & Wholesalers at 49, Merton St., Albert Park, VIC showing up, and a shop at 10, Cremorne St., Richmond, VIC.

 

I also found a record of himself and Ethel flying with Pan American from Frankfurt to London on 20th September 1949, giving the luxurious (and very expensive!) Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, Mayfair, London, as their address.

 

It's not a lot, but it does suggest that he had money - enough to buy such an expensive luxury novelty as a semi-miniature tortoiseshell aeola...


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 16 November 2014 - 02:31 AM.


#20 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:07 AM

Stephen - do you have any concerns about transporting tortoise shell across international lines?

That begs the billion-dollar question these days Daniel, one that's been debated many times in the past but now needs definitively answering - but I've always been very sceptical about any of them being made of real tortoiseshell anyway, especially when you consider that these instruments followed-on from the advent of celluloid for covering accordions in the 1920s, and that celluloid was originally used to manufacture imitation ivory and tortoiseshell items...

 

Well, I knew that was an issue, and what you say certainly sounds plausible - but what do the Customs people think about it?



#21 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:19 AM

... but what do the Customs people think about it?

 

NOBODY knows the definitive answer to that one I suspect, including themselves...  :unsure: 

 

This is still all very recent, and evolving, but it would certainly be very prudent to establish if the material is real tortoiseshell, or not, and to have appropriate documentation for that (either way!), though documented proof of age could obviate difficulties too.



#22 Dowright

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 08:39 AM

Johansson1991,

For more information see my article: "Miniature and Semi-miniature Concertinas," Papers of the International Concertina Association, Vol. 9 (2012), pp. 8-39. The article was recently posted at the website of the International Concertina Association (www.concertina.org). Click on the PICA tab on the left side of the home page and go to PICA Vol. 9 - 2012.

Wheatstone did make a few miniature duet concertinas but, as pointed out in earlier responses to your post, your semi-miniature has an English system layout. By having few keys, it is a far-cry easier to learn to play than a full-size 48-key English concertina. So "Go For It" whether or not you get into playing a full-size instrument. 



#23 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 09:20 AM

Wheatstone did make a few miniature duet concertinas but, as pointed out in earlier responses to your post, your semi-miniature has an English system layout.

 

The first miniature that I ever had was a 12-key duet Randy, and the second was an Anglo (I think Noel Hill has that one now), but as you know, the vast majority (and the tiny 8-key one that I have now) are English system.

 

 

By having few keys, it is a far-cry easier to learn to play than a full-size 48-key English concertina.

 

I'd think totally the opposite on that score and that a full-size 48-key English concertina is much easier - seeing that you then have ALL the notes and can play any piece of music as written, whilst on a miniature you're always finding notes/semitones missing from the range, so that music often has to be re-arranged or transposed into another key. I'd think of miniatures more in terms of luxuries, or "gimmicks", for people who can already play concertinas of full compass...



#24 alex_holden

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:36 PM

Johansson1991,
For more information see my article: "Miniature and Semi-miniature Concertinas," Papers of the International Concertina Association, Vol. 9 (2012), pp. 8-39. The article was recently posted at the website of the International Concertina Association (www.concertina.org). Click on the PICA tab on the left side of the home page and go to PICA Vol. 9 - 2012.


Cool, I'm glad to hear the ICA have finally put them online. I joined too late to get them in paper format.
 

By having few keys, it is a far-cry easier to learn to play than a full-size 48-key English concertina. So "Go For It" whether or not you get into playing a full-size instrument.


I can't see it making a big difference either way in terms of difficulty for a beginner. One normally starts out by learning to play melodies in C and Am, completely ignoring the accidental columns. Keys with more accidentals are gradually introduced later on. The extra accidentals buttons on a 48 key may as well not exist in the very beginning, and if you start out playing an instrument like this and later find that you want to play music in a wider range of keys, you can step up to a bigger instrument without having to unlearn anything you've already mastered (though you may need to build up the strength in your thumbs a little!).

It's not difficult to transpose music to a different key using free software like EasyABC or MuseScore.

#25 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:54 PM

I can't see it making a big difference either way in terms of difficulty for a beginner. One normally starts out by learning to play melodies in C and Am, completely ignoring the accidental columns. Keys with more accidentals are gradually introduced later on. The extra accidentals buttons on a 48 key may as well not exist in the very beginning, and if you start out playing an instrument like this and later find that you want to play music in a wider range of keys, you can step up to a bigger instrument without having to unlearn anything you've already mastered (though you may need to build up the strength in your thumbs a little!).

It's not difficult to transpose music to a different key using free software like EasyABC or MuseScore.

 

D'you know, I think the only English concertina I've ever played in C or Am is my miniature, and that's because it can't play in anything else but those keys... :huh:

 

I jumped right in and played the 48-key in the right keys (mostly in D and G) from the very beginning - I don't see any point in learning to play things in the "wrong" key when learning, because then you won't be able to play them with anybody else, and playing in the "rght" key is no harder than any other one on an English.


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 16 November 2014 - 12:07 AM.


#26 conzertino

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:09 PM

Don't forget that a miniature starts on G two octaves above a normal 48-key treble and one octave above the normal range. You may well drive away your pets and attract bats;-)

 

On a miniature you can just play one full octave in the key of G using an F# - and in the key of Am... 



#27 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:35 PM

On a miniature you can just play one full octave in the key of G using an F#... 

 

Not on my mini-miniature you can't, it's got one straight octave and no accidentals... :(

 

Apparently "Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas" used to play "Scottish airs" on it - so bagpipe tunes!



#28 JimLucas

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:41 PM

By having few keys, it is a far-cry easier to learn to play than a full-size 48-key English concertina.

 
I'd think totally the opposite on that score and that a full-size 48-key English concertina is much easier - seeing that you then have ALL the notes and can play any piece of music as written, whilst on a miniature you're always finding notes/semitones missing from the range, so that music often has to be re-arranged or transposed into another key. I'd think of miniatures more in terms of luxuries, or "gimmicks", for people who can already play concertinas of full compass...

Stephen, I'd agree with you as a matter of general advice, but I think you're missing a point regarding Mr. Johansson. That point is that he actually has this miniature.

 

It's very limited, but that does mean that it's easy to learn where all its notes are. It can give him an opportunity to work out a few simple tunes and to see if the English keyboard layout makes sense to him... without first having to purchase a standard instrument. If he then wants to continue and to work on a repertoire that goes beyond the few notes of his mini, he could still buy a regular concertina.  It  might take him as little as a week to reach that point, or much longer (if at all).  But in the meantime, what he has should do him more good than harm, at no cost.

 

If he wants to sell his little gem, I suspect he could get more than enough to pay for a decent regular concertina... if he decides he wants one.  But if he doesn't need the cash, he may well want to keep it for its sentimental value and/or the fact that it really is something special.  He might even decide that it's really rather fun, in and of itself.  :)



#29 JimLucas

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:44 PM

On a miniature you can just play one full octave in the key of G using an F#... 

 

Not on my mini-miniature you can't, it's got one straight octave and no accidentals... :(

 

Apparently "Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas" used to play "Scottish airs" on it - so bagpipe tunes!

 

Scottish bagpipe tunes?  Without a flat seventh (i.e., mixolydian scale)?



#30 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:40 PM

Stephen, I'd agree with you as a matter of general advice, but I think you're missing a point regarding Mr. Johansson. That point is that he actually has this miniature.

 

It's very limited, but that does mean that it's easy to learn where all its notes are. It can give him an opportunity to work out a few simple tunes and to see if the English keyboard layout makes sense to him... without first having to purchase a standard instrument. If he then wants to continue and to work on a repertoire that goes beyond the few notes of his mini, he could still buy a regular concertina.  It  might take him as little as a week to reach that point, or much longer (if at all).  But in the meantime, what he has should do him more good than harm, at no cost.

 

Have I told him not to try that Jim? :unsure: But he's been asking us to point him at instructional material, which nobody can because this is such a non-standard instrument and instructional material doesn't/cannot exist for it - which is why I think these are much easier to comprehend when you already have a working knowledge of a more "normal" English concertina. In fact probably none of us can even say exactly what the notes, or the range, are on it - whilst it's obviously not the same fingering layout as the new Stagi semi-miniature ones...

 

If he wants to sell his little gem, I suspect he could get more than enough to pay for a decent regular concertina... if he decides he wants one.

 

Or lots of other things for that matter - that's what I've been telling him! ;)

 

But it's his choice...


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 14 November 2014 - 09:11 PM.


#31 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:51 PM

Apparently "Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas" used to play "Scottish airs" on it - so bagpipe tunes!

 

Scottish bagpipe tunes?  Without a flat seventh (i.e., mixolydian scale)?

 

It's a bit late to be querying that with her now Jim! :blink: According to the receipt she bought it on 25th January 1930, though the date in the ledger is 18th February 1929, and a January 1937 review of her act says:

"She appears as Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas. She performs extremely well on these instruments, one being the size of two tea cups placed together - her smallest [now mine] being only 1 1/2 inches [sic] across - on which she plays Scottish airs."



#32 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 02:29 AM

 

Apparently "Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas" used to play "Scottish airs" on it - so bagpipe tunes!

 

Scottish bagpipe tunes?  Without a flat seventh (i.e., mixolydian scale)?

 

It's a bit late to be querying that with her now Jim! :blink: According to the receipt she bought it on 25th January 1930, though the date in the ledger is 18th February 1929, and a January 1937 review of her act says:

"She appears as Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas. She performs extremely well on these instruments, one being the size of two tea cups placed together - her smallest [now mine] being only 1 1/2 inches [sic] across - on which she plays Scottish airs."

 

Maybe in Gmix then...



#33 conzertino

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 04:21 AM

Steve, so the lowest note on your 8-note miniature must be a C ( if you can play a major scale without accidentals! )?



#34 Geoffrey Crabb

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 06:29 AM

Has it been established that it is an English?

 

Geoffrey



#35 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 07:02 AM

Has it been established that it is an English?

 

Thumb strap(s), pinky's rest(s), center rows shifted against each other, additional buttons for accidentals of some steps in the circle of fifths available then - these features combined are making that highly likely IMO.


Edited by blue eyed sailor, 15 November 2014 - 07:03 AM.


#36 Geoffrey Crabb

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:40 AM

Interestingly, the Ledger entry description (18 button) has an additional note added above, "extra button added Jan 3 1928". This would bring it in to line with OP description (19 buttons).   

If, it is an English, the position of the buttons on the right is more similar to the 20 button example in the attached than the more usual 18 button. 

 

Not knowing the core key, the top two notes (F# & G or equivalents) of the 20 button may not have have been provided originally. In the absence of a picture of the left end, it is not possible to identify where the later extra button was fitted.

 

Geoffrey

 

 

 

 

 






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