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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

    button layout and accompaniment on 20b Anglo

    Wolf, I'm a great fan of the Dominant Seventh myself. For me, the chords that you have to learn to accompany songs in C major are C, F, G7, Am, Dm and Em, whereby I'll admit that there are some situations in which G major is preferable to G7. I really started thinking about chords when I took up the Autoharp seriously, and joined the Cyberlpuckers Internet forum. The Autoharp is basically a chording machine, and it is very easy to reconfigure. With a strip of self-adhesive felt and a sharp knife, you can set up a chord bar to play any chord you can think of. However, the number of chords is limited to the number of chord bars on your instrument, which may be 12, 15 or 21. So there is much debate among Autoharpers about what chords are really essential, and which can be omitted to make room for more supported keys. A lot of forum members - mainly those into American folk music - regarded the dominant sevenths as superfluous. For them, the tonic, dominant and subdominant triads were sufficient for any major-key tune. Since then I have come across many instances in which American folk musicians (e.g. Bob Dylan) use a dominant major triad where most Europeans (and certainly I) would choose a dominant 7th tetrachord. Could well be that that's a German thing - European classical music is, after all, heavily influenced by German and German-speaking composers (e.g. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and some others not starting with "B"). And the classical harmonisation has percolated down to English popular songs, art songs, hymns, etc., so that the environment that I grew up in was well accustomed to the dominant seventh. With the increasing influence of American music in the wake of the Great Folk Scare, this may have changed. I've no idea how young English folkies harmonise their tunes nowadays. BTW, whenever I'm asked what notes I would choose if I could add one button to a 20-b Anglo in C/G, I always say middle-octave Bb and low F. That would give me a resounding C7 chord on the press, resolving to a powerful F major on the draw. (The 30-b Anglo has the low draw F, but not the press Bb, for some reason.) Liebe Grüße, John
  2. Anglo-Irishman

    Beginner looking for cheap concertina

    Same here! My "apprenticeship" was on a Hohner Echo Harp, a 2-sided harmonica in C and G, which also gives you the feeling of having two rows of buttons available. I also have a Hohner Marine Band 12-hole. I can even play "The Londonderry Air" in the upper octave on both of them, which you can't on a blues-harp with its 10 holes! Cheers, John
  3. Hello, natevw, And welcome to the Forum! Just to complete your picture of the free-reed cosmos, there are actually three types of reed: German concertina style, English concertina style, and accordion style. German concertina reeds (as still familiar to Bandonoen aficionados - the Bandoneon is one of several types of German concertina) are arranged on large zinc plates, ten reeds to a plate with five on each side, so each plate serves a row of five buttons on the press and the draw. The plates are nailed in place, and can be mounted either on reed-banks that protrude into the bellows space, or (for single-voiced instruments) on chambers that are flat against the ends. Accordion reeds are mounted in pairs, one on either side of a rectangular plate, and are usually waxed into reed-banks in accordions, but may be screwed to the reed-pan of a hybrid concertina. As has been mentioned, later German and Italian hybrid concertinas also have accordion reeds in reed-banks . English concertina reeds are fitted one to a plate (which is called the "shoe" in this case). The shoe is slightly tapered, so that it fits snugly in a housing milled into the edge of the reed-pan. Wax or screws are not necessary. There are, of course, differences in quality in all types, and in the English type, various materials are used for both reeds and shoes. Also, Bandoneonistas, English/Anglo concertinists and accordionists each prefer a different timbre. So not every accordion reed will be suitable for a hybrid concertina or Bandoneon. In the course of the 20th century, the demand for both traditional English and traditional German concertinas declined, and manufacturing reeds for them was no longer profitable. But the accordion remained popular, and reeds for it are still (almost) a mass-produced commodity. Traditional concertina reeds now have to be made by hand or in small series, so they are more expensive. The modern Hybrid - an English-style concertina with accordion reeds - is a way to produce a decent-sounding concertina at a more moderate price. Basically, apart from the reeds, modern Hybrid concertinas differ no more from traditional concertinas than these do from each other. There still are concertina-makers producing new Anglos and ECs with traditional reeds, but these are priced accordingly. Cheers, John
  4. Anglo-Irishman

    Lachenal & Co maccann Duet

    Hello, JFB, and welcome to the Forum! Congratulations - that's just the kind of legacy that all of us dream of. Given your emotional involvement with the instrument, I'm sure you'll make progress learning to play it. Cheers, John
  5. Just to confuse the issue a bit, one genre of traditonal music in which the concertina figures prominently is the South African Boeremuziek. And from what one reads and sees on YouTube, the concertinas used may be German, Anglo, English or Duet. Which one the concertinist in a group uses doesn't seem to affect the character of the music to any great extent. Cheers, John
  6. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina Bow Arm

    You'd be surprised - don't knock until you've tried it!😎 Banjoists, like concertinists, also have thighs, and these come into play when performing seated. For many, many years, I propped my banjo in my lap - i.e. between my thighs - where it didn't roll about or slip off. I became relatively proficient this way. But when I seriously started playing classic finger-style, i came across a tutorial video that started by showing you how to hold a banjo: on the right thigh, tipped back against the chest, and with the right forearm firmly on the armrest. I tried this, and it was amazing how stable the banjo suddenly became. My left hand no longer had to do anything to stabilise the neck - it could focus on just fretting the strings. This change did, in fact, make my playing better by making it easier. Why wait until Christmas to change your anchor end? Try it now, and see if it works. Cheers, John
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    20-Year Anniversary of Concertina.net

    Thanks from me, too! I've learned a lot in the forum, widened my free-reed horizons, and hopefully given a few useful tips in return. Cheers, John
  8. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina Bow Arm

    In a previous post, I tried to relate this to the Anglo, pointing out that the pressing of buttons is demanded of both hands, whereas the bellows control - which has to do with artistic expression - is the domain of one hand. And in this, I follow the same logic that you attribute to Noel. Cheers, John
  9. Anglo-Irishman

    Fun Tunes. What's your favorite C/G anglo

    One tune that always creeps into my fingers when I pick up the Anglo is the French waltz "Plaisir d'amour." Another is the Scottish Psalm tune "Crimond," which is the tune most frequently sung to the metrical version of Psalm 23 (The Lord's my shepherd; I'll not want ...). Yet another is the homeward-bound forebitter "Rolling Home." The drawing-room ballads "Linden Lea" (English) and "Down by the Salley Gardens" (Irish) also go well on the Anglo. The above are fully harmonised instrumentals. On the purely melodic side, "Kesh Jig" goes quite well without too much effort - back-to-back with "Lark in the Morning," if I'm feeling enterprising. Quite a spectrum - just goes to show that the Anglo is quite an all-rounder! Cheers, John
  10. Anglo-Irishman

    been away for a while

    Quite correct, Wolf! At the core of all the bisonoric concertinas, whether German or English, you'll find the two rows of a 20-button German or Anglo-German. Each row is based on the Richter scale, i.e." press, draw, press, draw, press, draw, draw, press" gives you the diatonic scale. The two rows are a fifth apart e.g. C/G, A/E, G/D, F/C, Ab/Eb ... The Anglos, Chemnitzers, Carlsfelders and Bandoneons differ widely in the arrangement of the notes outside this basic core. Cheers, John
  11. Anglo-Irishman

    Concertina Bow Arm

    Having discussed the question of "handedness" with players of other instruments, I would say that dexterity has nothing to do with which way round you hold your instrument. A pianist's hands are equally dextrous, and it is arguable that a (right-handed) guitarist's left hand has to be a good deal more dextrous than his right. And yes, I know that "dextrous" comes from "dexter", which is Latin for "right." To take the example of the "English" style you describe: does it really require less dexterity to form chords than to play a single melody line? The truth of the matter seems to be that the right hand of a right-handed person always takes on the tasks that are in some way dominant, the left hand those that are more subservient. With stringed instruments, the dominant task is to actually produce the sounds, shaping them and making them loud or soft. The left hand assists by preparing the strings for the use of the bow, plectrum or RH fingers. We get this in two-handed, non-musical activities, too. The left hand supports the rifle barrel, but the right hand decides when to press the trigger. The smith's left hand wields the tongs that hold the iron for forging, but his right hand wields the hammer that actually shapes the iron. There are other activities that call for equal strength and skill in both hands - weight-lifting is one, sculling is another. Playing the piano or the English concertina are musical examples. In the Anglo, we have both types of joint activity: the left and right hand have to be equally deft at pressing buttons, whereas one hand determines the volume and rhythm, and shapes the notes, by working the bellows, while the other hand (often together with the corresponding knee) merely provides a stable basis for the bellows work. I believe this is why the air button is on the right - to put the air under the control of the dominant hand of the majority of players, who are right-handed. I personally, before it occurred to me to think about "handedness", instinctively rested the left end of my first Anglo on my left knee and worked the bellows with my right arm. (Well, that was a long time ago. Perhaps, at the start, I did hold the concertina in front of me and work both ends of the bellows in and out. But I very soon found out that resting the left end and moving the right end worked better.) Cheers, John
  12. Anglo-Irishman


    I just googled "lachenal", and most of the hits that came up were in French, with Swiss connections. There was even a Louis Lachenal among them, apparently a French-Swiss alpinist of the 1950s. So the circumstantial evidence would tend to suggest French pronunciation: "lash-NAL". However, the Schwyzer often stress German words strangely - so perhaps the French Swiss do the same with French words. I wouldn't know. I just pronounce it as it's written: "LACH-en-al" (the CH being the guttural CH used in Gaelic). But then I'm an Irishman who speaks German almost all of the time😎 Cheers, John
  13. Anglo-Irishman

    been away for a while

    Welcome back, Marcus! I've never played an Anglo other than in C/G. However, I do have a small Bandoneon whose main rows are A/E, the row adjacent to the A row being in G. My Bandoneon, dating from around 1900, is in the old continental concert pitch of A=435 Hz, so I seldom get to play it with other instruments. Most of my solo Anglo arrangements work well - or even better - on the Bandoneon, so I just finger them the same way (as near as the layouts allow, which is sometimes very close) and enjoy the deeper, more mellow sounds that come out of the Bandoneon. So a piece that's arranged in C on the Anglo comes out in A on the Bandoneon; a piece in G on the Anglo comes out as E on the Bandoneon. Of course, the Bandoneon has a G row, too, so if it must be in the key of G, I can do that - only the alternate fingerings and accidentals will be different from those on the Anglo's G row. So, yes, if you're playing for yourself, and don't have to sing to it, my advice is just go ahead and use the C/G fingering on the G/D. But if you do get into an ensemble situation, remember that you'll have to transpose! Cheers, John
  14. Anglo-Irishman

    C# within 20 button CG Anglo.

    If the Good Fairy came to me and said I could wish for a 21st button on a C/G concertina, I'd choose a press Bb/draw F at the top end of the LH C row. The Bandoneon has a corresponding one on its G row, and it's very useful, even with the plethora of "accidentals" that the Bandoneon has. I suppose, if the Fairy was in a generous mood, I'd wish for a press C# on the bottom button of the RH C row as the 22nd button. Don't know what I'd wish for on the draw, though. Cheers, John
  15. Anglo-Irishman

    28 BUTTON - KEYS - E / B

    HI, Bill, I read somewhere that early German 20-button concertinas were often in A/E.This is the key combination of two of the main rows of the modern Bandoneon (main rows are G/A/E), and of course the Bandoneon is a development of the German Concertina. It also has straight, wooden levers and the reeds mounted ten (or more) to a plate. The appearance of your instrument - especially the fretwork on the ends - looks very English-inspired, though the buttons are big and white, like on German concertinas. So I would guess that this was a German concertina made for the English market. Just guesswork, FWIW! Cheers, John