Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About Anglo-Irishman

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

Contact Methods

  • AIM
  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

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

Recent Profile Visitors

1164 profile views
  1. Do you think so? The general musicological consensus, and my family tradition (as an Irishman, in the British-English sense of the word, namely "a person born and bred in Ireland") agree that most Irish dance tunes are essentially fiddle tunes. This is confirmed by the predominance of the "violin keys" of G, D and A, and by the grace-notes that lie so readily under the violinist's fingers. It is not without reason that the tenor banjo in Ireland has been altered to have the "violin" tuning of GDAE. Had I wished to play Irish dance music, I would not have taken up the Anglo concertina, but retained the fiddle of my youth. Apart from that, I agree with you. The key to playing a tune on the Anglo concertina is being able to hum or whistle it. As to width vs. depth of repertoire, the way to go depends on your ambition. If you intend to perform a full gig - be it in the Carnegie Hall or in your neighbour's drawing-room - you'll need about 25 to 30 pieces. If , on the other hand, you intend to appear as a number in a variety show (again, either in the Carnegie Hall or at your neighbour's) you'll need only three or four pieces, but these should be really spectacular, or very funny, or cater to the audience's sentimentality. I personally find that some pieces are fairly easy to learn, while others take more time. If you start two pieces at the same time, and notice that one of them is taking shape easily, perfect it first, and then concentrate on the more difficult one. But. easy or difficult, choose pieces that you like! Don't just stick a knife between the pages of a song-book, and start learning the tune on that page. If you like the tune, probably others will like it, too. Cheers, John
  2. I improvise a lot - one has to when one is illiterate!😡 When a piece has been improvised for a while, the improvisation sort of solidifies, and becomes an "arrangement!" And when I'm working up an arrangement to accompany a song, I very often think to myself, "What would Franz Schubert have done in this situation?" To my mind, Schubert was THE master at making the piano serve the voice in such a way that the piano received due recognition, too. He knew when to make an accompaniment lush, and when to make it sparse,; when to keep it simple, and when to show off; when to use chords, when arpeggios, and when harmonising melody lines; when to be rhythmic, and when flowing. Not everything, but a lot of his ideas can be transferred from the piano to other accompanying instruments. I am at my most "Schubertesque" when accompanying songs on the finger-style 5-string banjo, because that's my most-used self-accompaniment instrument, but the idea works for the duet concertina, too. I find that the duet (a Crane, in my case) is more amenable to pianistic techniques than the Anglo, which has a character all its own when accompanying songs. I wouldn't know about the EC - a lot of people seem to play bare melodies on it, though there are exceptions, but it seems to me that it's less piano-like than the other concertinas. Cheers John
  3. It is no longer a question but an established fact that many aspects of any specific culture are determined more by the climate than by the ethnicity, religion or political structure of its people. And the concertina is very much a part of British Isles culture. Cheers, John
  4. I did rub all the turpentine off after it had done its job of softening up the gunk!
  5. On the contrary - it's the deposit of gunk that alters the frequency of the sound. Removing the deposit (which I have done successfully with turpentine) restores the reed to its original pitch. I had a reed that was muffled and flat, and getting more so at an alarming rate. A brown deposit was clearly to be seen, but was easily removed with a Q-tip dipped in turps. Cheers, John
  6. Same here! Just recently, I gave a friend a couple of tunes on the concertina as a birthday serenade. There were a group of eight of us sitting round a table in a restaurant in which a works Christmas dinner was taking place just round the corner. Right in the middle of a difficult passage in one of the tunes, the lady sitting next to me asked, "Doesn't the chattering at the other table put you off?" Fortunately, I had to concentrate very hard on the concertina to keep on playing, otherwise I might have been rather impolite and told her that background chatter was no problem - but addressing me directly was! I've also had the experience of playing on the street and people coming up to me and trying to start a conversation in the middle of a tune. Why can't they wait until the tune is finished? Do they think I'll dissolve into thin air after the last note, depriving them of the opportunity to speak to me? 😯 Cheers, John
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    German EC

    Hi, rcr27 I've read the text of your eBay offer, and I have one or two comments to make on it. You seem to be underselling your concertina.😮 You write: I wouldn't even hint at an association with the notoriously unreliable modern Italian or Chinese boxes. FYI my old German Bandonion, which Harry Geuns has dated to the decades around 1900, is also in this old European 435 Hz pitch. "Early 20th Century" would be a better dating than "much older". This is also the case with my above-mentioned Bandoneon. And what do you mean by "foldable structure"? You could just say, "The reed pan and action board are one piece, as in a Bandoneon/German Concertina." Again, avoid association with "cheap Chinese"! Several reeds on one plate is the traditional configuration for German concertinas (including Bandoneons). However, Bandoneon reeds are set parallel to one another. What we have here is obviously an innovative, radial arrangement. This is common in English-built concertinas, with their individual reed shoes; the maker of this instrument probably devised the "multiple, radial reed plates" to facilitate the installation of the English-style levers. (German levers invariably run parallel from button to pad.) I'd love to hear it! I imagine it could be something like my small, single-voiced Bandoneon. Hope this helps, Cheers, John PS. Just found a source in the Internet, which shows a Micklitz (chromatic) Bandonoen dated 1922, with the remark that in the "year of manufacture", Micklitz sold his Altenburg Bandoneon factory and became a partner of Wilhelm König in Berlin. So your instrument would date to 1922 or earlier.
  8. Fascinating! Sort of like an Anglo-German in reverse - not German button arrangement with English reeds, but English button arrangement with German reeds! I wonder what it sounds like. I've never heard of the maker, but Google brought up this item on eBay Germany, which went for €156.- not long ago. Looks very similar to the one in question here. Apparently, judging from photos in the Internet, Micklitz made standard, rectangular German Konzertinas, but also some with unconventional button layouts. Cheers, John
  9. Absolutely! Read through carefully - it gives you all you neeed for improvising accompaniments. John
  10. Yes, indeed! Not only the human voice, but also each instrument has a range of pitches (bottom note to top note), and the voice or instrument is at is best in the middle of that range. On the other hand, each piece of music centres around the mid-range of the intended singer or instrument. A bass aria will have a different range from a soprano aria; a cello concerto a different range from a violin concerto. The traditional dance music of Ireland is essentially violin music, and is played in keys that put the tunes in the violin's mid-range. Other instruments with a similar range, like the flute and (modified) tenor banjo have cemented these keys in the tradition. And the Anglo tuning that realy can play the jigs and reels in their traditional keys in its mid-range, is the C/G tuning. Irish dance tunes tend to lie under the strong fingers of both hands in this tuning. Cheers, John
  11. Ron, Since you mention the Jew's harp, you might also mention the African kalimba, pointing out that these are plucked reeds, as opposed to the more familiar blown reeds. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that you need one reed (or tongue) for each pitch, although the timbre of a single reed can be influenced by the form of the resonance chamber. Another distinction comes to mind: the blown reeds can be either bellows-driven (concertinas, accordions, harmoniums, etc.) or mouth-blown (sho/scheng, harmonicas, Melodica, etc.) You might also want to point out the essential difference between a free reed and a beating reed (as found in woodwing instruments). I wish you much success with your talk. Cheers, John
  12. Bob, I find it easiest to bridge the gap between two sung verses of a song by simply playing the melody of the last line of the verse. The next step up would be playing the melody of the last line with the same harmonies as you used to accompany the singer's (fiddler's or fluter's) last line. This is what I often do when accompanying myself on the concertina or the 5-string banjo. On the guitar, at which I'm not as proficient, I usually play just the chord sequence that I used to accompany the last line of the verse, using the same rhythmic structure (picking patttern). You can, of course, do this on the concertina, too. When you've mastered that, you can try and be inventive and compose your own bridges - but be sure you don't put the soloists off by messing too much with the harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece! Hope this helps, Cheers, John
  13. While I stand by my original statement that Cnet is good enough for me, I do see one advantage in a FB group: If some young concertina enthusist or concertina-inquisitive person lands on a concertina FB site, it would be helpful to them - and to us CNetters - if it contained a notice to the effect that many concertinists are older, conservative folks who don't frequent FB, and if you want a wealth of information from experienced players, makers, collectors, teachers and simply enthusiasts of the concertina, you should click on the link to CNet. Cheers, John
  14. Hi, I had a problem like that with my Crane, too. The fact that the "ghost" note occurs on the press but not on the draw would indicate that the pad is not seating properly. On the draw, the negative pressure inside the instrument sort of sucks the pad into the hole, but on the press the positive pressure lifts the pad enough for just a little air to escape. So replacing the spring, to pit more force against the internal pressure, was a logical thing to do. But since that didn't work, perhaps the problem lies in the pad having shifted from its original position, possibly through inadvertent bending or straightening of the lever. If this is so, the circular depression in the pad, which is caused by the edge of the hole, might be admitting air. Check that the impression on the pad matches the hole. Another possibility is interference from a neighbouring pad. My Crane has "only" 48 buttons, i.e. two less on the treble side than yours, but the pads are still pretty crowded round the perimeter. It could be that a slight change in the alignment of a lever has caused two pads to touch ever so slightly, so that the closing force of the spring is dissipated by the friction between them. Again, check the alignment of the levers. Hope this helps, Cheers, John
  • Create New...