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First Hybrid--what About Mayfair? Bastari? Norman's Saxon? Marcus


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#1 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 11:38 AM

Spinning off another thread, was the Wheatstone Mayfair built the same way as today's hybrid concertinas? I know that it used accordion reeds, but I don't know whether they were mounted flat or on blocks.

And then there's the occasional Bastari with flat-mounted reeds, such as this one.

And Andrew Norman was making the Saxon around 1980.

And Marcus says on their web site that they've been building concertinas since 1982.

Cary,
I agree with Daniel and Ken; Harold Herrington seems to have been the first anglo maker here. He told me once that his first anglo was built in 1997. Also, and I'm not certain of this, he seems to have been the first builder anywhere of the modern hybrids...at least I don't know of anyone earlier. A very inventive guy.

Cheers,
Dan


Edited by Daniel Hersh, 03 September 2007 - 11:39 AM.


#2 Dan Worrall

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 09:48 PM

Spinning off another thread, was the Wheatstone Mayfair built the same way as today's hybrid concertinas? I know that it used accordion reeds, but I don't know whether they were mounted flat or on blocks.

And then there's the occasional Bastari with flat-mounted reeds, such as this one.

And Andrew Norman was making the Saxon around 1980.

And Marcus says on their web site that they've been building concertinas since 1982.

Cary,
I agree with Daniel and Ken; Harold Herrington seems to have been the first anglo maker here. He told me once that his first anglo was built in 1997. Also, and I'm not certain of this, he seems to have been the first builder anywhere of the modern hybrids...at least I don't know of anyone earlier. A very inventive guy.

Cheers,
Dan


Daniel,
I corrected myself in the earlier thread before I saw that you had changed the thread location...tricky! Mayfair seems to have been the first, indeed...Richard Carlin seems to have made that clear in a post earlier this year. As I had said, I wasn't sure (and certainly Harold never claimed that)....but now we know. Harold was the first builder over here in the States though, unless someone corrects that statement too! :huh:

#3 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 11:19 PM

Digging up that old Mayfair thread I see Stephen Chambers saying here that the Mayfair used reed blocks -- so it wasn't a hybrid as we use the term today, since it didn't have laid-flat reeds. So I guess that makes Bastari's occasional laid-flat instrument or Hobgoblin/Gremlin/Saxon/Norman the first hybrid--unless someone offers new information.

Daniel

Spinning off another thread, was the Wheatstone Mayfair built the same way as today's hybrid concertinas? I know that it used accordion reeds, but I don't know whether they were mounted flat or on blocks.

And then there's the occasional Bastari with flat-mounted reeds, such as this one.

And Andrew Norman was making the Saxon around 1980.

And Marcus says on their web site that they've been building concertinas since 1982.

Cary,
I agree with Daniel and Ken; Harold Herrington seems to have been the first anglo maker here. He told me once that his first anglo was built in 1997. Also, and I'm not certain of this, he seems to have been the first builder anywhere of the modern hybrids...at least I don't know of anyone earlier. A very inventive guy.

Cheers,
Dan

Daniel,
I corrected myself in the earlier thread before I saw that you had changed the thread location...tricky! Mayfair seems to have been the first, indeed...Richard Carlin seems to have made that clear in a post earlier this year. As I had said, I wasn't sure (and certainly Harold never claimed that)....but now we know. Harold was the first builder over here in the States though, unless someone corrects that statement too! :huh:



#4 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:17 AM

Harold was the first builder over here in the States though, unless someone corrects that statement too!

Depends on what you call a "concertina". I would think that Hengel, Patek, Glass, Kadlubowski, Uhlir, Wolfe, etc. would hotly contest that statement!

This probably brings up the old specter again: What is a concertina and what is an accordion... but this time it's trying to define a hybrid.

If having the direction of the button travel and the intent to be single note/button vs chord/button propensities are determinant, AND if the only the only thing making it a hybrid is the reed type, then chemnitzers and bandoneons are hybrid type concertinas - as well as all those German and Italian concertinas.

I don't think that the orientation of the reeds is going to be a determinant of anything as most of those guys had models where the reeds were installed flat as well as in banks.

It seems that the thing that sets OUR hybrids apart from them is that our design/construction is akin to concertinas rather than accordions. If one takes that into account then the Mayfair would be the first hybrid (?) and the first in the US would be Herrington who started a couple years before we did (the first Morse, #3, sold on 6/9/1999).

-- Rich --

#5 JimLucas

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 10:00 AM

...the first Morse, #3, sold on 6/9/1999...

Now where's my CD with Tom Lehrer singing "New Math"? :lol:

#6 JimLucas

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 10:57 AM

This probably brings up the old specter again: What is a concertina and what is an accordion... but this time it's trying to define a hybrid.

It seems that the thing that sets OUR hybrids apart from them is that our design/construction is akin to concertinas rather than accordions.

Rich, I think you're caught in your own trap. ;) Right there you seem to have used just the word "concertinas" to mean "concertinas built with the standard English engineering", tacitly excluding the myriads of 20-button "anglos" of "German" construction.

I think the concept shared here on Concertina.net is that "hybrid concertinas" means some sort of combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles. I think this would exclude Patek et al, but I also think -- as you apparently do -- that it still allows a lot of leeway, in particular that the Mayfair counts.

Digging up that old Mayfair thread I see Stephen Chambers saying here that the Mayfair used reed blocks -- so it wasn't a hybrid as we use the term today, since it didn't have laid-flat reeds.

"WE"?!! As I just indicated above, I don't think the consensus is anywhere near that specific. Many degrees of hybridization are possible, and many different mixtures of features. While I think all of what on C.net are currently called "hybrid concertinas" have accordion-style reeds in pairs on individual per-pair reed plates mounted flat on a board that parallels the fretted end, I don't see that either or even both defines the word "hybrid". In English, "hybrid" is a word essentially meaning a mixture of characters deriving from two groups normally considered distinct. It neither specifies nor depends upon the particular characters found in the resulting mixture.

Daniel, you seem to have developed your own very restricted idea of what "hybrid" means in concertinas, but I'm not convinced that it's shared by even a majority of those here on C.net. Nor that we've even discussed it deeply. These "hybrids" we talk about are also commonly referred to as "accordion-reeded" or as "mid-range" (in price, and possibly in quality). Now what if someone made a concertina with Wheatstone reeds but mounted them on banked wooden chambers set at right angles to the standard reed pan? Even more, what if they used wooden levers sharing a single rod as a pivot? ("Why" is a separate issue.) That would most certainly be a "hybrid" in the English sense. Should I not be allowed to use that word to describe it?

And thus my earlier remark that the Heatwole English concertina also qualifies as a "hybrid", though somewhat further from the standard English design than the Morse, Norman, etc. But the Mayfair still seems to be "the first" resembling the current crop. (Long before, Lachenal's Accordeophone was a hybrid of a very different sort, with Wheatstone-type reed construction and "English" keyboard layout but multiple reeds per note in a rectangular box, and I think I remember also reeds in banks.)

#7 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:59 PM

Jim--

""WE"?!!"? Boldface, italics, two exclamation points? No need to start shouting here, I hope....

I think that the term hybrid as generally used on c.net refers to the points in common of Herrington, Norman, Marcus, Tedrow, Morse, Edgley and Geuns concertinas:
  • Anglo or English key layout
  • British-style wire action
  • laid-flat accordion reeds
  • size and shape similar to traditional British concertinas
Of course the word "hybrid" in a generic sense can also be used to decribe other types of hybrid as well, including plants and animals as well as concertinas. I'm using the term as I believe it's generally used here and as I believed Dan intended when he first used it in the thread that started this discussion.

Good definitions reflect usage, not just logical possibilities.

Daniel

This probably brings up the old specter again: What is a concertina and what is an accordion... but this time it's trying to define a hybrid.

It seems that the thing that sets OUR hybrids apart from them is that our design/construction is akin to concertinas rather than accordions.

Rich, I think you're caught in your own trap. ;) Right there you seem to have used just the word "concertinas" to mean "concertinas built with the standard English engineering", tacitly excluding the myriads of 20-button "anglos" of "German" construction.

I think the concept shared here on Concertina.net is that "hybrid concertinas" means some sort of combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles. I think this would exclude Patek et al, but I also think -- as you apparently do -- that it still allows a lot of leeway, in particular that the Mayfair counts.

Digging up that old Mayfair thread I see Stephen Chambers saying here that the Mayfair used reed blocks -- so it wasn't a hybrid as we use the term today, since it didn't have laid-flat reeds.

"WE"?!! As I just indicated above, I don't think the consensus is anywhere near that specific. Many degrees of hybridization are possible, and many different mixtures of features. While I think all of what on C.net are currently called "hybrid concertinas" have accordion-style reeds in pairs on individual per-pair reed plates mounted flat on a board that parallels the fretted end, I don't see that either or even both defines the word "hybrid". In English, "hybrid" is a word essentially meaning a mixture of characters deriving from two groups normally considered distinct. It neither specifies nor depends upon the particular characters found in the resulting mixture.

Daniel, you seem to have developed your own very restricted idea of what "hybrid" means in concertinas, but I'm not convinced that it's shared by even a majority of those here on C.net. Nor that we've even discussed it deeply. These "hybrids" we talk about are also commonly referred to as "accordion-reeded" or as "mid-range" (in price, and possibly in quality). Now what if someone made a concertina with Wheatstone reeds but mounted them on banked wooden chambers set at right angles to the standard reed pan? Even more, what if they used wooden levers sharing a single rod as a pivot? ("Why" is a separate issue.) That would most certainly be a "hybrid" in the English sense. Should I not be allowed to use that word to describe it?

And thus my earlier remark that the Heatwole English concertina also qualifies as a "hybrid", though somewhat further from the standard English design than the Morse, Norman, etc. But the Mayfair still seems to be "the first" resembling the current crop. (Long before, Lachenal's Accordeophone was a hybrid of a very different sort, with Wheatstone-type reed construction and "English" keyboard layout but multiple reeds per note in a rectangular box, and I think I remember also reeds in banks.)



#8 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 04:21 PM

It seems that the thing that sets OUR hybrids apart from them is that our design/construction is akin to concertinas rather than accordions.

Rich, I think you're caught in your own trap. ;) Right there you seem to have used just the word "concertinas" to mean "concertinas built with the standard English engineering", tacitly excluding the myriads of 20-button "anglos" of "German" construction.

Actually I think I worded that correctly. My intent WAS to point out the difference between "our" hybrids and the myriads (therefore excluding the myriads).

I think the concept shared here on Concertina.net is that "hybrid concertinas" means some sort of combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles. I think this would exclude Patek et al, but I also think -- as you apparently do -- that it still allows a lot of leeway, in particular that the Mayfair counts.

I'm tempted to draw the line in that "our" hybrids *are* British-style (design/construction/quality) concertinas BUT with accordion reeds, and not a general combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles. The Mayfair would certainly count. The myriads would not. And the early Bastari Ken discovered would be a borderline case. Note that it has British style concertina type bellows, individual action, flat-on reeds, etc. The only real detraction is that it's overall quality isn't as high as "our" hybrids. If push came to shove, I'd consider it to be a hybrid as I think the clincher to be the design/construction aspects. Consider that the Mayfair isn't as high quality as most of our current crop of hybrids either.

OTOH, consider Harold's (Herrington) first concertinas. They were square, had accordion style bellows, accordion type action, accordion reeds.... Except for the keying arrangement (obviously anglo) there is little difference between that and a button accordion... yet the consensus here seems to be that those boxes are hybrid concertinas.

-- Rich --


-- Rich --

#9 JimLucas

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 04:55 PM

""WE"?!!"? Boldface, italics, two exclamation points? No need to start shouting here, I hope....

Touché! Yes, I guess that was a shout. In part, a shout of surprise, but also more, so I won't retract it.

By the use of the word "we" you have, however unintentionally, attributed to me a belief which I in fact oppose. I don't take that lightly.

I think that the term hybrid as generally used on c.net refers to the points in common of Herrington, Norman, Marcus, Tedrow, Morse, Edgley and Geuns concertinas:

  • Anglo or English key layout
  • British-style wire action
  • laid-flat accordion reeds
  • size and shape similar to traditional British concertinas

I disagree, so I hope that others will weigh in with their views. Or maybe we should start a poll?

I do agree that the term "hybrid" as commonly used here does include instruments which exhibit all those characteristics. What I don't accept is that it is restricted to only those instruments which exhibit all of those characteristics.

In particular, I feel that "laid-flat" is an unnecessary and artificial constraint. If one of the current makers of "hybrids" started using perpendicular reed blocks to accommodate more notes, while retaining all the other characteristics of their current instruments, are you claiming that "we" wouldn't consider the new instrument to be as much a "hybrid" as the current offerings?

And "wire" action is just plain wrong, since many of the best vintage English-made concertinas had actions that appear to be cut from metal sheet, not formed from wire. I suspect that with that point you were simply trying to exclude wooden actions, but that you were careless in your description.

Also, your first criterion declares that Bob Tedrow's duets are not "hybrids". I doubt that you really believe that, nor that you believe "we" believe it.

Of course the word "hybrid" in a generic sense can also be used to decribe other types of hybrid as well, including plants and animals as well as concertinas. I'm using the term as I believe it's generally used here and as I believed Dan intended when he first used it in the thread that started this discussion.

I think only he (Dan Worrall) can answer that last assumption, so I hope he'll respond. As for how the term "hybrid" is "generally used", as I've stated above I think that it's use is more inclusive than exclusive.

Good definitions reflect usage, not just logical possibilities.

Agreed. But I would add that most good definitions are flexible enough to include future possibilities, not just examples of prior usage.

#10 JimLucas

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 05:38 PM

It seems that the thing that sets OUR hybrids apart from them is that our design/construction is akin to concertinas rather than accordions.

Rich, I think you're caught in your own trap. ;) Right there you seem to have used just the word "concertinas" to mean "concertinas built with the standard English engineering", tacitly excluding the myriads of 20-button "anglos" of "German" construction.

Actually I think I worded that correctly. My intent WAS to point out the difference between "our" hybrids and the myriads (therefore excluding the myriads).

I understood you to mean that "the myriads" shouldn't be considered "hybrids" in the sense normally used here, but what I was trying to point out is that it appears to me that what you've said implies that "the myriads" shouldn't be considered "concertinas". I'm pretty certain that you do believe they are concertinas.

I'm tempted to draw the line in that "our" hybrids *are* British-style (design/construction/quality) concertinas BUT with accordion reeds, and not a general combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles.

And then I would point out that "accordion reeds" is a characteristic of German-style construction, but not of English-style. A hybrid which is 15/16 of one species and only 1/16 of another is still a hybrid; we don't have special names for the degrees of relative mixing.

The Mayfair would certainly count. The myriads would not.

As "hybrids"? I agree completely.

And the early Bastari Ken discovered would be a borderline case. Note that it has British style concertina type bellows, individual action, flat-on reeds, etc. The only real detraction is that it's overall quality isn't as high as "our" hybrids.

So now you're claiming that a concertina of mixed characteristics should only be called "hybrid" if its "overall quality" is equal to or better than a certain level (how does one measure "overall quality"?)? Then what should we call the others? Lowbrids?

If push came to shove, I'd consider it to be a hybrid as I think the clincher to be the design/construction aspects. Consider that the Mayfair isn't as high quality as most of our current crop of hybrids either.

OTOH, consider Harold's (Herrington) first concertinas. They were square, had accordion style bellows, accordion type action, accordion reeds.... Except for the keying arrangement (obviously anglo) there is little difference between that and a button accordion... yet the consensus here seems to be that those boxes are hybrid concertinas.

So are you disagreeing with the consensus, or does that last paragraph mean that you are now agreeing that the term "hybrid concertina" is broader than "basically a concertina of traditional English construction, except for having flat-mounted accordion-type reeds"?

#11 JimLucas

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 05:48 PM

Duplicate post caused by "Internal Server Error" has been removed (actually, replaced by this text :)).

Edited by JimLucas, 04 September 2007 - 05:51 PM.


#12 Dan Worrall

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 06:57 PM

Harold was the first builder over here in the States though, unless someone corrects that statement too!

Depends on what you call a "concertina". I would think that Hengel, Patek, Glass, Kadlubowski, Uhlir, Wolfe, etc. would hotly contest that statement!

Rich,
The original thread (pity it moved!) was clearly about anglos....Chemnitzers are a different beast! But if you go back to the original thread, I've just posted a bit about the first American maker of those types of beasts (1860s, Zimmerman's Carlsfelder system). Yes, the big boxes are concertinas, but they are not anglos. Interesting that the two big histories of American Chemnitzers give almost no mention of the little anglo-german models...they go from Uhlig's beginnings quickly to the multi-row makers. We need to reach out to them in order to put together a full story of the early years of the anglo...something I have begun to do, offline.

I'll keep my head low on the hybrid discussion! Since Jim asked, I'll say I had meant the term 'hybrid' to mean an anglo built by taking a handful or two of individually framed Italian reeds and affixing them to a nice (non-wooden) action to make them sound as truly (anglo- or English-) concertina-like as possible. Sounds like the consensus is that the Mayfair was not exactly that, as it is reported above to have been made of reed blocks a la German-made concertinas...but that some other folks in the UK got hybrid things going (Marcus, Norman), followed by Harold, and then you and others, in the US.
Dan

#13 Ken_Coles

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 07:44 PM

In particular, I feel that "laid-flat" is an unnecessary and artificial constraint. If one of the current makers of "hybrids" started using perpendicular reed blocks to accommodate more notes, while retaining all the other characteristics of their current instruments, are you claiming that "we" wouldn't consider the new instrument to be as much a "hybrid" as the current offerings?


That is a fair description of my Geuns-Wakker C/G baritone anglo. The lowest bass reeds are mounted on a wood block that extends into the left end (whose frames are deeper than other hybrid anglos) at an angle, though not quite perpendicular. Most folks call it a hybrid, and at least one expert who examined it agreed that the sound matched well, which is supposed to be hard to do when you have some but not all reeds mounted like that.

I suspect this is another endless topic, something we specialize in here at C.net!

Ken

#14 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:12 PM

I was trying to point out is that it appears to me that what you've said implies that "the myriads" shouldn't be considered "concertinas". I'm pretty certain that you do believe they are concertinas.

Yes, I consider the myriads to be concertinas.

I would point out that "accordion reeds" is a characteristic of German-style construction, but not of English-style.

Not necessarily. Morse/Edgley/Tedrow/etc. concertinas have accordion reeds and yet *are* of English-style construction.

A hybrid which is 15/16 of one species and only 1/16 of another is still a hybrid; we don't have special names for the degrees of relative mixing.

The word "hybrid" as a characteristic quality - yes, but as a class name, no. If you consider "our" hybrids to have the characteristic of being of English (though I prefer the word "British" to include other UK makers and not to be confusing of "English" system concertinas) style construction, then the myriads would be hybrids (in class name).

And the early Bastari Ken discovered would be a borderline case. Note that it has British style concertina type bellows, individual action, flat-on reeds, etc. The only real detraction is that it's overall quality isn't as high as "our" hybrids.

So now you're claiming that a concertina of mixed characteristics should only be called "hybrid" if its "overall quality" is equal to or better than a certain level (how does one measure "overall quality"?)?

I didn't say that, and indeed my next sentence includes Mayfairs as hybrids.

Then what should we call the others? Lowbrids?

The myriads? I think that's a great term for them! More accurate and less degrading than calling them CSO's (Concertina Shaped Objects).

OTOH, consider Harold's (Herrington) first concertinas. They were square, had accordion style bellows, accordion type action, accordion reeds.... Except for the keying arrangement (obviously anglo) there is little difference between that and a button accordion... yet the consensus here seems to be that those boxes are hybrid concertinas.

So are you disagreeing with the consensus, or does that last paragraph mean that you are now agreeing that the term "hybrid concertina" is broader than "basically a concertina of traditional English construction, except for having flat-mounted accordion-type reeds"?

Maybe I was hasty in saying "consensus" as there appears to be a direction of definition yet no definite resolution of determination. My last paragraph was simply an observation given as food for thought to show how much definition we need in order to peg things. Sometimes some things are so difficult to taxify (taxonify?) that it's easier to just call it an "anomaly".

-- Rich --

#15 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:23 PM

Since Jim asked, I'll say I had meant the term 'hybrid' to mean an anglo built by taking a handful or two of individually framed Italian reeds and affixing them to a nice (non-wooden) action to make them sound as truly (anglo- or English-) concertina-like as possible.

It would be more conclusive and accurate to say that you had meant the term "hybrid" to mean a British style concertina (which includes ENGLISHES and DUETS!) with accordion reeds (omit the number of reeds per plate as some have two per plate and some had many more yet I can't think of any with just single reeded plates) (and omit the action as there are a lot of concertinas you would consider excluding which have metal actions).

Sounds like the consensus is that the Mayfair was not exactly that, as it is reported above to have been made of reed blocks a la German-made concertinas

I'm pretty sure that I've seen Mayfairs with flat-on mounted reeds too.

-- Rich --

#16 David Barnert

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:38 PM

I think it's asking a bit much to expect us all to agree on what "hybrid" means in this context given that there isn't a foolproof workable definition of "concertina" that we can all agree on either.

I remember when I first heard (or read) the word "hybrid" to describe the new breed of concertinas and being unhappy with the term, although I don't remember why.

In any case, one important (to my way of seeing it) characteristic of the instruments we call hybrids that I don't see mentioned here is price intermediate between the cheapies and the real deals. It might be said that if we call it a concertina and it costs between $1200 and $3000 new then it's a hybrid, no matter how it's made.

#17 Dan Worrall

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:19 PM

I think it's asking a bit much to expect us all to agree on what "hybrid" means in this context given that there isn't a foolproof workable definition of "concertina" that we can all agree on either.

Maybe we should find one of those pro bono legal websites, and get some bonafide lawyers to write us out an ironclad definition of hybrid! Otherwise we shall continue to peck around, it seems....<_< :( :P

Anyone talking about Chemnitzers here is dealing in thread creep, though.....none of us would EVER wish to be guilty of that (he says as he retreats into the shadows, hoping beyond hope not to be called to justice on that himself)... :lol:

#18 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 11:31 PM

Well, I certainly seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest on this one...

What I was trying to say that I think that most of us (though perhaps not Jim!) agree that there is a particular type of concertina, made by a well-defined set of builders, that is often called a "hybrid" or "mid-range" concertina. I attempted to come with a set of characteristics to define that type of concertina so I could address Dan's implied query about who made the first one. Rich tried to do the same ("British-style (design/construction/quality) concertinas BUT with accordion reeds, and not a general combination of "English" and "German" concertina construction principles") and so did Dan ("an anglo built by taking a handful or two of individually framed Italian reeds and affixing them to a nice (non-wooden) action to make them sound as truly (anglo- or English-) concertina-like as possible"). None of our definitions were ideal (as Jim energetically points out) but I think that the three of us are all trying to do the same thing: capture the traits that make us (though again perhaps not Jim) recognize these concertinas as being of the same type, and of a different type than some other accordion-reeded concertinas such as the German-built, the standard Bastari, the Rochelle, or the "cheap Chinese".

I mentioned laid-flat reeds (piquing Jim's ire) because I remember that as one of the early "selling points" of these concertinas that differentiated them from the already existing Stagi/Bastaris. It was said that they would sound more like traditional concertinas because of it, as opposed to the less British-concertina-y sound that resulted from the reed-block construction of the Italian ones.

Of course, the lines between types aren't so clear once one starts looking more carefully at all the concertinas that are out there. In addition to the points already made, one could for example also mention the fact that the laid-flat design was used on many of the old German concertinas (though with long-plate ganged reeds). But distinguishing terminology is still of value even when circumstances don't allow for 100% precision.

And the word "hybrid" can be of course be used more generically too, as Jim would prefer, and I've used it that way myself in other contexts. But context affects meaning, and in this context I believe that a more specific meaning was intended by Dan, Rich and me.




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