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About Anglo-Irishman

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Acoustic music of all kinds. Collecting playable instruments.
  • Location
    Near Stuttgart, Germany

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  1. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    In "vocal duet style," as you put it, the lower voice is usually the harmonic support for the more exposed, higher voice, so the higher voice has the more elaborate role. The lower voice can provide this harmonic support with a narrower range: if the optimal note would be too high, the note an octave lower can have a similar effect. The fact that most duet systems have a narrower range on the left-hand side than on the right reflects this. Cheers, John
  2. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    I fear I must disagree here! The button layout of the Anglo - that is, the aspect of it that makes it more suitable for certain types of music than others - was not designed, it was adopted from the German concertina.This is based on the Richter scale, the main virtue of which (apart from giving you twice as many notes as you have buttons) is the ease of harmonisation. Very nifty for parallel thirds, for example, which are played on adjacent buttons in the same bellows direction, but also for bass runs. Oom-pa is no easier on the Anglo than on the Duet, piano or guitar. On the Anglo and related German concertinas, the tonal space is not rigidly divided into a descant and a bass (like on the accordeon), it's a continuum. Lower melody notes frequently lie on the left-hand end, higher harmonies often on the right. So IMHO, what is silly is bounding oneself by ingoring the original intent, and regarding "oom-pa" or single-note melody with a few double stops as the be-all and end-all of Anglo playing. The accordion does "oom-pa" better, and if I'd wanted to play Irish dance music exclusively, I'd have kept my violin going. It's unrivalled for single-line melody - as fast as you like - with a few double stops. But for the odd jig now and again, I can use the same Anglo that I use to accompany my singing or to play instrumental solos. OTOH, I couldn't accompany myself on the fiddle. To me, the Anglo is a very open concept. It offers ease of harmonisation, which you can use whichever way you like - oom-pa, block chords, arpeggios, parallel thirds, bass runs, all in one piece, if you wish to. Or you can exploit the bisonority in melodic mode by having to move your fingers only half as often as a fiddler or fluter. The price of all this is the difficulty of handling different keys. You can't just transpose an arrangement, like you can on the Crane duet - you have to make a new arrangement for the new key. In certain genres of music, this is a major drawback - in other genres it's hardly perceptible. I find the Duet concept equally open. You can do a lot with it, but as with any instrument, there will always be things you can't do quite so well with it. Cheers, John
  3. Anglo-Irishman

    Duet concertinas - why such a large overlap?

    OK, here's my 2 cents ... 1. Philosphically speaking, much as I enjoy and admire Baroque keyboard music, especially that of J.S. Bach, I doubt whether that was the kind of music that Messrs. Maccann, Crane and Hayden had in mind when they developed their duet systems. Certainly the capability to play the entire Baroque keyboard repertoire is not a valid criterion for the success or failure of the systems. If you're looking for an instrument on which you can play that entire repertoire, try the harpsichord! If you can find pieces that fit on your duet concertina, more power to your elbow - I'd like to hear them! But you must always bear in mind that when you play music composed for instrument A on instrument B, though the result may be impressive, compromises and no-go situations will be inevitable. 2. Practically speaking, as I see it, the duet concertinas have something to do with the musical term "duet." Most people associate this term with two people singing in harmony, one with a high voice, one with a low voice: e,g, soprano and tenor, tenor and bass, soprano and alto. Consequently, a duet concertina has two "voices": a high voice on the right and a low voice on the left.The offset of an octave between the two has proved useful, and it is convenient (easier to read) to have the same notes an octave apart on the same buttons on each side. To continue the analogy with vocal duets: Given that an average, trained singer has a range of more or less two octaves, but their bottom notes are not usually an octave apart, a vocal duo will have a lot of overlap. This allows the voices to remain within the same octave, even when the higher voice is getting close to the upper limit of its range. Similarly, when my melody line lies in the upper octave of the right-hand end of my Crane, I like to have my chords or tenor notes in the upper octave on the left - i.e. in the overlap area. To sum up: the presence of the overlap on a duet concertina is not the result of a deliberate decision to provide an overlap. It is rather the consequence of the decisions to pitch the ends an octave apart, and to provide each end with an adequate range. Adequate, that is, for popular songs, SATB hymn-tune arrangements and the like. Cheers, John
  4. Anglo-Irishman

    What is this concertina?

    Hi, Dave, This is definitely a German concertina, and definitely "vintage". Your photo of the reed banks shows this quite clearly. The drilled sound-holes (as opposed to fretwork) and the chamfered corners are also typically German. The reeds are not, in fact, accordeon reeds, but traditional German concertina reeds, arranged ten to a plate (5 for the press, 5 for the draw of the bellows), the plates being held in place by hooks. You'll find the same arrangement in Bandoneons. It looks like there are two reeds to a note, so the concertina will have a full, rich tone, quite unlike a traditional English-built concertina. As to the value, this instrument will not have the market value of an English-built Anglo of similar vintage and condition, because the concertina world of today prefers the crisper sound of single, traditional English reeds. However, an aficionado of the older German concertina (of which there are not many, even in Germany) might fork out a couple of hundred Euros for it - if you're lucky! If it's in tune, with all reeds working, it would be far superior to the accordeon-reeded East German Scholer models that crop up on eBay quite frequently. A voice from the past, so to speak! Cheers, John
  5. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina as dominatrix ??

    Well, I did say, "a psychiatrist or something!" If one of them wants to analyse us, we can share his or her fee. Though I don't know which of us needs analysing more, Rüdiger, you or I. @maccannic: Does this answer your question? Cheers, John
  6. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina as dominatrix ??

    Yes, i know what you mean. The erotic aspect of musical instruments came home to me one time when I was in Ireland on business. I saw a rather neat acoustic-electric mandolin in a music shop, and thought it would be good for band gigs with a PA, so I bought it. When I told my cousin (with whom I was staying) of my purchase, she assumed a shocked tone of voice and said, "What? You've got a Madeline? Does your wife know about her?" I must admit I have a faible for older women instruments.They have a past, and contribute actively to the partnership between musician and instrument. For instance, my Windsor zither-banjo is a real Edwardian lady with a refined voice and fine but not gaudy adornments, and she leads me into her world of drawing-room ballads and - if she's feeling flighty - music-hall choruses. My duet concertina is a Crane-Triumph - a real Sally Army Lassie - and she takes me along the road of hymn tunes, gospel songs, and music-hall ditties that Gen. Booth wrote Christian words to (to keep the Devil from having all the good tunes!) However, neither of them is of a dominating disposition, soI get to play my favourite music, too! Just in case anyone (like a psychiatrist or something) is interested, here's a little song I wrote, based on my cousin's deliberate malapropism. It's about the time I was alone in Rome on business - and guess what ... Madeline Refrain: Madeline, Madeline, Cutest one you've ever seen, When I take her on my knee, Madeline, she sings for me. I was strolling down the street, When she stayed my wandering feet. Through the window I could see, Madeline was made for me. Refrain... Now, her neck was long and slim, And her curves were full, but trim, And her warm Italian flair Made me love her then and there. Refrain... Well, her voice was soft but clear, Really music in my ear. So I took her, there in Rome, And she followed me back home. Refrain... Here she sits, upon my knee, Large as life, for all to see; Here she is, my "Madeline" -- My Italian mandolin. Refrain...
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    making a jig for springs

    Don't worry, Chris! Even here in Germany, where the building trades have been metric for generations, carpenters still talk about four-inch nails (4-Zoll Nägel). Not a colloquialism - correct trade jargon! German organ builders also use the non-metric foot (Fuss) to denote the pipe registers. Old ways die hard! Cheers, John
  8. Anglo-Irishman

    Jody's next CD, TRAIN ON THE ISLAND

    Chromatic autoharp and Anglo concertina, eh? I must have a listen to that! Cheers, John
  9. Anglo-Irishman

    Is it just me?

    So how did you manage to post these questions! 😯 Puzzled,, John
  10. Well, I played the fiddle as a child, and I tend to think of the bellows on my Crane/Triumh as a bow, too. There are two aspects. One is that the bow or bellows is not infinitely long. You'll have to change direction some time in the near future, and you'd better look for a good opportunity to change voluntarily before you're forced to do so at the wrong moment. The other aspect is emphasis: Playing several notes one after the other in one bow or bellows stroke does not emphasise one note over the others. If a note should be emphasised, I would change bow or bellows direction to play it. This means that I'd usually start a phrase with a bellows reversal. When several notes in sequence are all equally emphasised (e.g. "God save our gra-cious Queen" or "My coun-try 'tis of thee") I'd mostly take a new bellows direction for each note. I don't think I really plan my bellows reversals - I think they just happen in the course of working up a new piece. But when the piece has been worked up to the point at which I can perform it, the bellows reversals - like the harmonies - are ingrained in the arrangement.Missing a bellows change feels like fluffing a chord. Cheers, John
  11. Anglo-Irishman

    Tricks To Cover Up Mistakes

    A friend of mine defines the difference between an amateur and a professional musician thus: When an amateur hits a wrong note, he blushes and cringes; when a professional hits a wrong note, he does what @hjcjones said. Cheers, John
  12. Anglo-Irishman


    Well, the Steyrische Handharmonika has sort of little trumpet bells on the bass side - see here. According to reliable reports, you can hear it for miles across an Alpine valley. Cheers, John
  13. Anglo-Irishman

    Upgrading My Duet

    Wayman wrote: (And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.) I wouldn't put that so categorically! While it's true that you don't have to manage the bellows direction on a duet as you have to on an Anglo, it is sometimes important to manage the bellows capacity. If I want to play a long, legato passsage without a bellows change, or to hold a fat chord for several beats, I want my bellows either fully closed or fully open at the start of it. And often the only way to ensure this is to bleed air through the air-valve during the phrase before it. Cheers, John
  14. Anglo-Irishman


    You are, in a way, correct; however, as a linguist, I would designate the traditional tango instrument as a Bandoneon (with a capital B ) - it's a German, bi-sonoric concertina in the so-called rheinische Tonlage (Rhineland tuning) that was developed my a Herr Band from Krefeld, hence the name. The chromatic version I would rather designate as a "bandoneon" (in quotes). It has nothing in common with the original Bandoneon except the dry-octave tuning. While many musicians can play tango music written for and with the original Bandoneon on the chromatic bandoneon, it is unlikely that music composed on the chromatic would have the character of music composed on the bisonoric original. Just my supposition, based on composing and arranging on several differnt instruments. Each instrument's limitations call for a differnt problem-solving strategy, and thus influence the music. Cheers, John
  15. Anglo-Irishman


    If you want an instrument that has all the chords under the left hand on both press and draw, get an accordeon! Oops! You've already got one! The Bandoneon is a type of concertina, and like all types of concertina (apart from a few extinct German experimental ones) it has single-note buttons, not chord buttons. This leaves you free to take your melodies down into the bass, or to play a melody with counter-melody, or to build chords out of the single notes, and to play them as arpeggios. In common with the Anglo concertina, the Bandoneon is bisonoric, with a core of button rows based on the diatonic Richter scale, like the 20 buttons of the early German concertina. The Bandoneon has 3 main rows (G, A and E), as opposed to the Anglo's 2, but again they have the common feature of a non-systematic range of accidentals and reversals scattered around the Richter core. These are hard to look for at first, but easy to reach once you know where they are. To answer you question: some chords are available in both bellows directions, but not on the same buttons. What the Bandoneon does have in common with the accordeon is the full, sonorous timbre (quite different from English-built concertinas of all types), but what it does not have is the "wet" tuning - instead, the double-reeded Bandoneons have the typical tango "dry-octave" tuning. Again unlike the accordeon, the Bandoneon does not have registers with varying effects. And there's a more subtle difference as well: accordions, as far as I know, are tuned in Equal Temperament (ET), whereas at least my old, single-reeded Bandoneon is not. Although all scales and harmonies sound in tune, some individual notes are a few cents sharp or flat on the electronic ET tuner. So any ET instrument - accordeon or "chromatic Bandoneon" - sounds differnt. My advice would be to keep your accordeon for the music that you already know, and, if you want to play the Bandoneon because of its "coolness factor", learn to exploit its unique features, and play Bandoneon music (doesn't have to be tango!) Music is a blend of instrument and player. Same instrument+different player=different music. Same player+differnt instrument=different music, is equally true. Cheers, John