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Strange button arrangement on vintage concertina


Lilly
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I acquired a nice old concertina in excellent shape, but it needs tuning. I don't know how to play it YET. It's black with a mother-of-pearl (?) floral design, and has a plate on it that reads: F. Lange Vormals C.F. Uhlig Concertina Bandonion Fabrik Chemnitz Am Rosenplatz Germany. Strange thing is, the key arrangement is A-typical and I haven't been able to find anything like it on the Internet. It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other. Attached is a photo of the concertina at the antique shop where I got it. I wish I had a photo of the buttons, but I'm in MS and the concertina is at my Dad's home in IL (I made the purchase while visiting and left it for him to play). Does anyone know what this concertina is about - where I can find a button chart for it, music for it, etc.? Any information on it at all would be helpful. Also, does anyone know where I can get it tuned in the Chicago area? Thank you!

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Edited by Lilly
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Hi Lily,

You'll find more info about your instrument if you search for Bandonion, and there are sites specialising in this type of concertina. They normally quote sizes by the number of notes rather than buttons, so you'd be looking for info on a F.Lange made 80 note Bandonion.

 

The plate reads: F. Lange, formally C.F. Uhlig, Concertina & Bandonion Factory, Chemnitz (name of city), Am Rosenplatz (street name), Germany

 

Carl Uhlig was the inventor of the Bandonion, and I beleive Lange was his son-in-law.

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To check if it is a bandoneon you may compare the key layout with the center part of this one.

 

I think that a part on the middle row of your bandonion (left hand) behaves the same as on a 20 button concertina. Which chord does it produce when you push?

Edited by marien
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The plate reads: F. Lange, formally C.F. Uhlig, Concertina & Bandonion Factory, Chemnitz (name of city), Am Rosenplatz (street name), Germany

(emphasis mine)

 

I don't know whether that's a typo up there, but it's an error I've seen in similar contexts: it should be "formerly," as in "it used to be this way, but isn't any more." "Formally" would mean that C. F. Uhlig is still the name of the company, but they're calling it F. Lange when they're not trying to be as correct as possible. Not that such a thing is impossible, but "vormals" definitely refers to a previous time, not a level of, well, formality.

 

jdms

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Hi Lily,

You'll find more info about your instrument if you search for Bandonion, and there are sites specialising in this type of concertina. They normally quote sizes by the number of notes rather than buttons, so you'd be looking for info on a F.Lange made 80 note Bandonion.

 

The plate reads: F. Lange, formally C.F. Uhlig, Concertina & Bandonion Factory, Chemnitz (name of city), Am Rosenplatz (street name), Germany

 

Carl Uhlig was the inventor of the Bandonion, and I beleive Lange was his son-in-law.

Hi Wes, It sure looks like a Bandonion; however, my search results have not been successful. I checked out Father Scrough... sort of reminded me of Dead Can Dance. Thanks for your help!

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and has a plate on it that reads: F. Lange Vormals C.F. Uhlig Concertina Bandonion Fabrik Chemnitz Am Rosenplatz Germany.

 

Strange thing is, the key arrangement is A-typical and I haven't been able to find anything like it on the Internet. It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other.

 

Yes, "vormals" means "formerly", not "formally". The proffered translation of the label was otherwise correct.

And 3 rows of buttons is in no way atypical for a Large German Concertina. Probably a Chemnitzer (named after the city of Chemnitz, where Uhlig and Lange were located.

Bandoneons - the cousins of the Konzertinas - have more than three rows on each side.

 

Cheers,

John

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To check if it is a bandoneon you may compare the key layout with the center part of this one.

 

I think that a part on the middle row of your bandonion (left hand) behaves the same as on a 20 button concertina. Which chord does it produce when you push?

Thanks for the chart Marien! I have no idea what chord it produces though. Since some notes are out of tune, it's hard to tell what chord is playing, and then when it's pulled, a different sound comes out. But we're getting there...I'm working on it!

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To check if it is a bandoneon you may compare the key layout with the center part of this one.

 

I think that a part on the middle row of your bandonion (left hand) behaves the same as on a 20 button concertina. Which chord does it produce when you push?

Thanks for the chart Marien! I have no idea what chord it produces though. Since some notes are out of tune, it's hard to tell what chord is playing, and then when it's pulled, a different sound comes out. But we're getting there...I'm working on it!

It's supposed to be different notes on push and pull, so that's all right. :)

 

Your first post mentioned "Chicago area". That makes it pretty certain that it's a "Chemnitzer" concertina, where Chemnitzer is the name for a system of laying out the notes, as well as the name of the German city/town where it originated. Chemnitzers are popular in the area surrounding Chicago.

 

Bandoneons and Chemnitzers are similar in general appearance (and in internal construction), but their arrangements of buttons and notes are quite different. (There are also several versions of keyboard layout for the bandoneon, but you don't need to worry about that, if it's not what you have.)

 

Chemnitzers are also rather different from the types of concertina played by most of us here on Concertina.net, but we do have at least one member who is something of an expert: Theodore Kloba. If you click on his name there, it will take you to his profile, where if you scroll down to the bottom you can click on an option to send him .an email. (You could also send him a Personal Message, but he apparently hasn't logged in here for a few months, so I think he's likely to see an email sooner than a PM.) Ted is friendly and helpful... and he lives in Chicago. Just the ticket, I suspect.

 

You sound as if you want to learn to play your concertina, so I'll wish you good luck and hope that you'll let us know of your progress.

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and has a plate on it that reads: F. Lange Vormals C.F. Uhlig Concertina Bandonion Fabrik Chemnitz Am Rosenplatz Germany.

 

Strange thing is, the key arrangement is A-typical and I haven't been able to find anything like it on the Internet. It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other.

 

Yes, "vormals" means "formerly", not "formally". The proffered translation of the label was otherwise correct.

And 3 rows of buttons is in no way atypical for a Large German Concertina. Probably a Chemnitzer (named after the city of Chemnitz, where Uhlig and Lange were located.

Bandoneons - the cousins of the Konzertinas - have more than three rows on each side.

 

Cheers,

John

Hi John, I don't know what you mean by "Large". Mine fits comfortably in my lap and isn't heavy. What I find unusual is the 17/23 (6-6-5/8-8-7)) button arrangement, only because I can't find it anywhere on the Internet.

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Hi John, I don't know what you mean by "Large". Mine fits comfortably in my lap and isn't heavy.

As I mentioned in my above post, though they share the same name, our sorts of "concertinas" are rather different from yours. The "standard" has hexagonal ends that are 6-1/4 inches "across the flats", which is 7" between opposite points of the hexagon. Weight is generally between 1 and 2 kg (2.2 - 4.4 pounds). My "big, heavy" one is just over 2 kg (just under 4.5 lbs), and I tend to play it while standing, held just by my 2 hands, though most players would sit to play it, resting it on one knee, though not in their lap.

 

What I find unusual is the 17/23 (6-6-5/8-8-7)) button arrangement, only because I can't find it anywhere on the Internet.

I think here is one place to start. In particular, look at theirChemnitzer Keyboard Layout. You'll find that it shows a few more buttons than what you have, but I think (i'm not an expert) that if you cover up the "extras", the ones you do have should match (except for maybe being transposed to another key). Then if you want to learn more, you should look around other parts of the ConcertinaMusic.com web site.

 

Another web site you might want to check out is the Cicero Concertina Circle. They have a Chemnitzer FAQ. That'll probably keep you busy for a day or two. :D But don't neglect to contact Mr. Kloba. His web site is currently unavailable, but it directed me to the Cicero site.

Have fun.
:)

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Bandoneons - the cousins of the Konzertinas - have more than three rows on each side.

The basic models of Bandonion have only 3 rows, I guess you've only seen the larger, more-developed versions...

 

That's right, there are big and small bandoneons. My small bandoneon has 3 rows on both sides, it has 32 buttons only. When I once got it I expected to receive an anglo concertina but it really is a bandoneon.

 

Compared to a C-G concertina my bandoneon has basically an A-E layout, quite common for a bandoneon.

 

The first row is in E on push, but a part of the buttons is placed elsewhere (for example, compared to a cg anglo, the twin G (E on the bandoneon) you´ld expect on the 1st row left has moved to the middle row on the right hand side).

 

The middle row is quite what you could expect for an AE anglo with A on push. On the middle row only the highest 2 notes on the right hand side are quite different. The F# is not on this row. Where you expect it you'll find a G on pull and a high A on push.

 

In stead of the accidentals row - the 3d row - on the bandoneon you´ll find a G row on push (A minor on pull).

 

A typical Bandoneon feature is that F and F# notes are positioned on the first and the third row close to your nose, before the anglo system begins on a button row. There are some more `deviant notes`.

 

Obviously a bandonion with 32 or 40 butttons is quite limited compared to a 144b bandoneon. But if you take a 144b bandoneon, you will find exactly the same key layout in the heart of the system (eventually after transposing). If that is the case you have a real bandoneon.

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I acquired a nice old concertina in excellent shape, but it needs tuning. I don't know how to play it YET. It's black with a mother-of-pearl (?) floral design, and has a plate on it that reads: F. Lange Vormals C.F. Uhlig Concertina Bandonion Fabrik Chemnitz Am Rosenplatz Germany. Strange thing is, the key arrangement is A-typical and I haven't been able to find anything like it on the Internet. It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other. Attached is a photo of the concertina at the antique shop where I got it. I wish I had a photo of the buttons, but I'm in MS and the concertina is at my Dad's home in IL (I made the purchase while visiting and left it for him to play). Does anyone know what this concertina is about - where I can find a button chart for it, music for it, etc.? Any information on it at all would be helpful. Also, does anyone know where I can get it tuned in the Chicago area? Thank you!

I've just learned that I might be able to get this instrument tuned and/or repaired at Italo-American Accordian Company in Oak Lawn, IL. I am so glad to know that since Star Concertina and Accordian in Cicero closed in 2000. Some websites still have Star listed and need to update.

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Hi All!

It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other. Attached is a photo of the concertina at the antique shop where I got it.
That is a little bit odd. 38 or 39 buttons is very common on older Chemnitzers (and some modern child's models). I have an old bandonion with 44 buttons, but by the time they expanded to that point, they already had 4 rows on the right and left. (Here's a photo of mine that I've contributed to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Early-bandonion.jpg )Yours could be an earlier version of one of the other German systems (e.g. Karlsfelder)
Another web site you might want to check out is the Cicero Concertina Circle. They have a Chemnitzer FAQ. That'll probably keep you busy for a day or two. :D But don't neglect to contact Mr. Kloba. His web site is currently unavailable, but it directed me to the Cicero site.
The Cicero Concertina Circle website is mine too; since Yahoo is closing Geocities, I had to find a new free host, and I decided to do a revamp of the site with the move. I kept all the same content from the old site, but reformatted and changed the focus to the club events rather than the "static" content.
I've just learned that I might be able to get this instrument tuned and/or repaired at Italo-American Accordian Company in Oak Lawn, IL. I am so glad to know that since Star Concertina and Accordian in Cicero closed in 2000. Some websites still have Star listed and need to update.
I would also have sent you to Italo-American. They're all I know if in the area.

 

After John Bernhardt (last owner of Star) retired in 2000, his tuner and repair technician Lucio Lorenzetti kept the shop open for repairs (including warranties on new instruments). Lucio passed away in 2003 after a sudden illness. John technically took over warranty service (though I doubt he had to do much) and worked on instruments for personal friends. He wanted to stay retired otherwise; he passed away in suddenly 2006.

 

The technician at Italo-American is Pompilio Rosiani, who actually owned Star Concertina in the '70s and early '80s. (Bernhardt bought it from him and brought the brand back to its former glory.) I've only had Pompi work on one of my Star instruments that was made during that era. The quality of the repair was acceptable. I would recommend you get a clear written description of the repairs to be done along with a firm price and completion date. One disappointment about that place was the treatment from the owners: They seemed to have an anti-concertina attitude at first-- It only seemed to change when I played for them and it wasn't a Polish polka like they were expecting.

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Hi John, I don't know what you mean by "Large". Mine fits comfortably in my lap and isn't heavy.

As I mentioned in my above post, though they share the same name, our sorts of "concertinas" are rather different from yours. The "standard" has hexagonal ends that are 6-1/4 inches "across the flats", which is 7" between opposite points of the hexagon. Weight is generally between 1 and 2 kg (2.2 - 4.4 pounds). My "big, heavy" one is just over 2 kg (just under 4.5 lbs), and I tend to play it while standing, held just by my 2 hands, though most players would sit to play it, resting it on one knee, though not in their lap.

 

What I find unusual is the 17/23 (6-6-5/8-8-7)) button arrangement, only because I can't find it anywhere on the Internet.

I think here is one place to start. In particular, look at theirChemnitzer Keyboard Layout. You'll find that it shows a few more buttons than what you have, but I think (i'm not an expert) that if you cover up the "extras", the ones you do have should match (except for maybe being transposed to another key). Then if you want to learn more, you should look around other parts of the ConcertinaMusic.com web site.

 

Another web site you might want to check out is the Cicero Concertina Circle. They have a Chemnitzer FAQ. That'll probably keep you busy for a day or two. :D But don't neglect to contact Mr. Kloba. His web site is currently unavailable, but it directed me to the Cicero site.

Have fun.
:)

Hi Jim, I appreciate you taking the time to write and for sending me so much valuable information! I did contact Mr. Kloba and hope to meet him and hear him play the time I'm in Chicago (3-4 months from now). In the meantime, I'm going to have to buy another concertina that is in perfect conditon because I'm impatient and want to learn how to play NOW! I'll let you know what kind it is when I get one and keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again!

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and has a plate on it that reads: F. Lange Vormals C.F. Uhlig Concertina Bandonion Fabrik Chemnitz Am Rosenplatz Germany.

 

Strange thing is, the key arrangement is A-typical and I haven't been able to find anything like it on the Internet. It's got 3 rows of 17 buttons on one side and 23 on the other.

 

Yes, "vormals" means "formerly", not "formally". The proffered translation of the label was otherwise correct.

And 3 rows of buttons is in no way atypical for a Large German Concertina. Probably a Chemnitzer (named after the city of Chemnitz, where Uhlig and Lange were located.

Bandoneons - the cousins of the Konzertinas - have more than three rows on each side.

 

Cheers,

John

You're all quite right - it was 1.30am and I wasn't concentrating too well - or could it have been the phantom cnet speil chucker?

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