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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. Remember that (according to Wim Wakker) Anglos have "stouter" bellows than ECs! Another point: On the Anglo, one often has the options to play the next note in the same or the opposite bellows direction. So you can put your "drone" note on a button where it's in the opposite direction, and just apply less force. I know that EC players are free to choose when to reverse the bellows and when not to - but don't the tenuous grip via thumb-strap and pinkie-rest and the softer bellows make the bellows changes less emphatic? And, BTW, I couldn't help noticing the circumference of Cormac's biceps. Muscles like an uillean piper! Cheers, John
  2. Anglo-Irishman

    Case for carrying 2 concertinas

    Mike, That's just what it is! The actual load-bearing component is a springy steel band, which has a leather cover for appearance and comfort. Cheers, John
  3. Anglo-Irishman

    Case for carrying 2 concertinas

    This is my solution - my Callas/Crabb Anglo and my Lachenal Crane/Triumph, each in its own (presumably) original case, but capable of being carried in one hand. I use a pair of webbing straps from an Army Surplus haversack. The width and the material make for a comfortable handle. Cheers, John
  4. Anglo-Irishman

    30 key anglo guides and tutorials

    Depends how you play the scale of D! The way I play it, the press-draw pattern that you use for C and G along the rows is simply reversed. Starting on Button 3 on the LH side, it goes: draw, press, draw, press, draw, press, press, draw. There are "illogical" ways of playing it - and the C and G scales, for that matter - which may be easier in certain situations. Cheers, John
  5. Anglo-Irishman

    445 Hz?

    Well, my road was hearing the concertina at the Salvation Army as a small child, then wanting one myself, as a teenager who'd had piano lessons but played the banjo. All I could find back then was a cheap East German 20-button, and it didn't sound quite like what I remembered from the S.A., but I had a lot of fun with it, and used it in a social context (parties and youth-fellowship meetings). Later, when my concertina had gone way out of tune, I stumbled over a Bandoneon in a junk shop, and started playing it. Again, I had a lot of fun, including social contexts. Encouraged by this, I found and bought a 30-button Anglo, which I was soon using on stage with my folk group. But I never asked myself (or anyone else) the question, "Which system should I choose?" I played what I got, and had fun, and gave fun to others. Not so long ago, I thought it would be a good idea to be able to play in more keys than on the Anglo, so (now well informed through this forum) I decided to try a Duet. This time, I did ask myself "Which system?" and did what Rüdiger (RAc) advised: I printed out the different keyboard layouts, and tried to finger scales and chords on them. And the winner was ... the Crane! It had a head start, because now I knew that the concertina I'd heard at the Salvation Army half a century earlier was most probably a Crane/Triumph, but I did find that the arrangement of the notes was reminiscent of the banjo and mandolin, two instruments that I've been playing for decades, and this was decisive. When I met Rüdiger, he was a guitarist looking for a concertina, and I recommended the Crane for that very reason: the fingering of the Crane involves pressing buttons along one row until you run out of fingers, then starting with the next row. And this is exactly what you do on a mandolin or guitar. The chords on the Crane are formed with a few basic "shapes" that alter their names when they're moved about the keyboard, like on a banjo or guitar. If some kind Salvationist had bequeathed me his Crane/Triumph back then, there's no doubt that the Crane would be my main instrument today. But as it happened, Fate gave me an Anglo, so that's my main squeeze. My main instrument overall is the 5-string banjo, and I only learned that because my father had a dilapidated one given to him, and repaired it. It happened to be there, and I happened to need a song accompaniment, so I took it up. So what I say is, accept your Fate, and learn whatever instrument she gives you. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you realise that this is not the concertina system for you, but by that time you'll have an idea of which system would be better! You'll have fun, at any rate! Cheers, John
  6. Anglo-Irishman

    Warning: Purchase Scam/fraud

    The very name "Western Union" makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise! The only instances I know personally, or have heard of, where transfer by WU is requested, are confidence tricks - a way of getting your money without giving you anything in return, and no way of getting the money back. WU probably have a lot to do with scams (and downright crimes), so it's hardly surprising that they feel they have to protect their payers. Cheers, John
  7. Anglo-Irishman

    Ear training

    mathhag, Another great resource is nursery rhymes, or popular tunes that everybody knows. The first two notes will let you hear what a particular interval sounds and feels like. For example, "Baa-baa, black sheep" gives you an interval of a fifth; and the first two notes of Loch Lomond ("By yon") gives you a fourth. I'm sure someone has compiled a list of useful tune first notes associated with intervals. I just happen to know those examples because I use "Baa-baa, black sheep" to tune my mandolin, and "Loch Lomond" to tune my guitar. 😎 As Don pointed out, it doesn't matter what note you start on - a fifth is a fifth. So the inerval between the 4th and 3rd strings, or the 3rd and 2nd strings, or the 2nd and 1st strings of the mandolin is always "baa, black". Cheers, John
  8. Anglo-Irishman

    Ear training

    Listen, listen, listen! Try to hum along. Listen some more. Really hum along. Listen some more. Try to hear the chord changes. Keep listening ... That's basically it! Cheers, John
  9. Anglo-Irishman

    Re-seating buttons on Renelli anglo

    I agree with Wolf - use any flexible tube of a diameter that will fit the button. Needn't be expensive model-aircraft fuel line! Cheers, John (Stagi owner and player of many years)
  10. Anglo-Irishman


    Calluses are normal for fretted-string players, so I've never had a problem with concertinas! (I started playing the mandolin when I was about 6 years old, the banjo when I was 10, and only learnt the concertina later on.) Cheers, John
  11. Anglo-Irishman

    The Ballad of the Button Box

    Don, David did mention that he has to "move around a bit when playing in other keys". Now, I'm not a Hayden player, but I did study the various duet layouts before deciding for the Crane. And what struck me as the difference was that, whereas the Crane has all the natural notes in the centre three columns and the sharps and flats in the outer columns, the Hayden provides a doh, re, mi ... scale starting on (theoretically) any note. That means that, to play in another key on the Crane, you have to take different notes from the outside columns; on the Hayden, you have to start on a different note, and employ the same fingering pattern. I remember thinking at the time that standard notation would be fine for the Crane: you look at the key signature to see how many sharps or flats there are, and you know when to move to the outer columns. The Hayden struck me as being more a case for tonic sol-fa notation: the intervals of the scale are always the same (like for a singer) and the instruction "Key C" or "Key Bb" that precedes the tonic sol-fa notation tells you where to start your scale. I would imagine that, for a Hayden player, "Key F" would be more meaningful than "one flat". On the Crane - as on the piano - "Key F (major)" and "one flat" are practically synonymous. Cheers, John
  12. Anglo-Irishman

    Minstrel Anglo

    Easy on there, Ted - don't overdo the Political Correctness bit! Historically correct would be to say that the minstrel shows were immensely popular for several decades, and not only in the U.S. but in the UK, too. By the way, the black-face troupes in England - where the term "minstrel" was already associated with mediaeval musicians - were quite officially termed "Nigger [sic] Minstrels" to clarify. (My source for this: as a boy, I stayed in a house that had a collection of the satirical magazine "Punch" from 1902 to 1914. According to the cartoons in those magazines, no English bathing beach was complete wthout its black-face minstrels.) Insulting? Well, no more insulting that the English music-hall comics who appeared as Scotsmen, Irishmen or Welshmen (or even Yorkshiremen), playing on the negative stereotypes of stinginess, lack of education, drunkenness and inability to speak English properly. Yet some of the so-called "comic songs" that were written for these performers have become folk songs in the target country: e.g. "A wee doch an doras" in Scotland or "The Mountains of Mourne" in Ireland. And the wonderful songs of Stephen Foster would not have been written, were it not for the black-face entertainers. Political Correctness is the death of Art! (IMHO, of course) Cheers, John
  13. Anglo-Irishman

    'Standard' fingerings for Ab, Db, Gb scales on EC?

    Carolan is certainly old enough to have been familiar with temperaments other than ET. He was 15 years older than J.S. Bach. But remember that he was a harper, and as far as I know, sharping levers were not used on harps in his day - and pedal harps certainly weren't. That means that, if he wanted to play in a different key signature, Carolan would have had to sharp or flat the appropriate strings manually. What then followed would have been the "tuning prelude", which some writers of the day describe as the most fascinating part of a harper's performance; he would have run scales, arpeggios and pinched chords up and down the strings, touching up the tuning until everything sounded right - and what sounds "right" on a diatonic instrument like a harp is Just Intonation. I use this tuning method on my old, diatonic autoharp, as did my mother before me - but it's obviously not feasible on a concertina! Cheers, John
  14. Anglo-Irishman

    Best duet system for SATB hymn playing?

    Yes, the Bannoneon is definitely a member of the German branch of the concertina family. The core of its button layout is the same pair of rows in Richter scale, a fifth apart, that was the "German" contribution to the "Anglo-German" concertina. As we know, the 20-button Anglo-German concertina in England was enhanced by adding buttons - some of them providing the missing sharps and flats, but others providing alternate fingerings, which allow phrases to be played in one bellows direction that on a strictly Richter instrument would require bellows changes. On the Anglo, this enhancement was taken a step farther by increasing the number of buttons up to 40. The development of the large, square German Konzertina into the Carlsfelder, Chemnitzer and Bandoneon (Rheinische) models took a similar route, but bear in mind that even the smallest Bandoneons have over 50 buttons, so more alternate fingerings are possible. The typical tango Bandoneon has 72 buttons (144 tones), so it's no wonder that Argentinian Bandoneonistas can, and often prefer to, play whole melody lines on the draw. The "Anglo-" contribution to the Anglo-German concertina was the physical construction of the small, hexagonal box, which limits the number of buttons to 50 at the most, which is the absolute lower limit for Bandoneon keyboards. To counterbalance this, the small, light Anglo lends itself to quick bellows reversals, whereas the sheer mass of the much larger Bandoneon makes it less agile in this respect, making alternate fingerings more necessary. Are unisonoric "Bandoneons" really Bandoneons? As a musician and a linguist, I would tend to say "No." The term "Bandoneon" originally implied a specific button arrangement, patented by a certain Herr Band from Krefeld in the Rhineland (hence the alternate term "rheinische Stimmlage"),.and differentiated the instrument from the Carlsfelder and Chemnitzer Konzertinas, which are practically identical in shape, size and construction. There's an analogy to the English unisonoric Duets, where "Maccann," "Crane" and "Hayden" are differentiated only by button arrangement, and share the same construction and musical capabilities. The Jeffries duet is an interesting case in point: from what I've read, it's an attempt to make the familiar Anglo layout unisonoric, so as to make any combination of notes playable in the same bellows direction. But we don't term this instrument a "unisonoric Anglo;" we call it a (Jeffries) Duet. For me, this is analogous to the "unisonoric Bandoneon;" it, too, reatains certain features of the traditional Bandoneon, while removing the "press/draw" dilemma. So, in analogy to the "Jeffries Duet," we should strictly speaking refer to it as a "large, German duet Konzertina." It has no more in common with the Bandoneon than it has with the Carlsfelder or Chemnitzer Konzertinas. So why don't we drop the word "Bandoneon" from its name? The linguist knows that a word has a definition - but that it also has a so-called "semantic aura." We define "concertina" as "a free-reed, hand-held, bellows-driven instrument whose left and right ends form a continuous (perhaps overlapping) range of single notes arranged according to a common system" (as opposed to the accordion, which typically has the right- and left-hand buttons arranged according to different systems, with notes on the right and chords on the left.) The "semantic aura" of the word "concertina," however, also includes small size, polygonal shape, and a thin, piercing, timbre from single reeds with no "beating". The semantic aura of the Bandoneon has come to include the dry-octave tuning of its double reeds, which is what gives the Argentinian tango its characteristic "sound." This evocative timbre is much sought-after by accordionists, and some accordions have an appropriate register built in. But for the tango, all that is needed is the dry-octave timbre, and the (concertina-style) single-note left hand, so someone hit on the idea of making this sound avaliable to musicians who are familiar with the CBA. This move is not new: in the banjo world, we have the guitar-banjo. At a time when the banjo was mega-cool (because it could hold its own acoustically against the brass of a jazz-band), guitarists wanted that volume and penetration, too, but didn't want to learn the totally different fingering of the traditional 5-string or plectrum banjo. So banjo bodies with six strings in guitar tuning were produced. To this day, serious Bluegrass, Old-Time, Jazz and Classic banjoists are reluctant to accept the guitar-banjo as a "real" banjo. It looks sort of banjo-ish, and the timber is similar, but the musical capabilities (and limitations) are different. As an Anglo concertinist and 5-string banjoist, I see the "unisonoric Bandoneon" in a similar light. Cheers, John
  15. Anglo-Irishman

    Player identification suggestions

    Possibly a male-voice choir with accompanist? Is such a choir known to exist on the I.o.M. at that period? Cheers, John