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Classical on English vs Duet


Selah
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My small Jackie has melodic range of pretty large Duet.

As Dirge said, playing melody in the left hand is common and easy on a duet. I can't see why anyone would consider its melodic range as limited to the right side. A simple example is in the fourth measure of "

," where the melody goes down to a low G, which I play on the left hand, keeping the chords going with other fingers on that hand. I feel like it's hardly noticable or notable.
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I don't find (as a listener) that many of the supposed advantages of a duet are advantages, because the naturally loud bass of all concertinas tends to mean that too much complexity (i.e. more than about what you can do with a tenor treble English) doesn't actually sound very good, whatever concertina it's played on.

 

Obviously there are limitations with the English too. It's a lot harder to play simple oom-pah type arrangements, for example. However... oom-pah arrangements are generally pretty boring, in my opinion, so that doesn't bother me!

 

Another thing that may be important (and my only direct experience of duet is looking after Jim Lucas's Crane for a couple of weeks) is that with the English the bellow pressure is worked with the thumbs (the way I play), completely separate from the fingers that are used to press the buttons. On the duet the way the instrument is balanced means that when pressing, the button-pressing fingers are used to work the bellows. My impression is that this makes it easier/possible to play with more fine control on the English system - and that _is_ really important for classical music, especially.

 

The Bach lute suite in Em (that Dave Townsend plays on his Portrait of a (n English) Concertina) is really interesting - for some odd reason it all fits pretty much perfectly on a tenor treble English, with hardly any significant changes needed. It mixes 1, 2 and 3 part music, with the parts intermingling... if you can play it on the English, it actually fits amazingly well. I would be surprised if it fits on the/a duet, due to the need to play multiple lines on one side. My guess is that would tie fingers in impossible knots on a duet, whilst they are merely difficult knots on an English! Anyone care to try?! (Gavin Atkin plays the Bouree from it on YouTube - that is actually the movement from the suite that should fit perfectly on the duet because it's in exactly two parts. However... at the risk of making unfair comparisons... it is nowhere near as well played as on Dave Townsend's recording [but I don't think that's anything to do with the systems being played]).

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My small Jackie has melodic range of pretty large Duet
<br>As Dirge said, playing melody in the left hand is common and easy on a duet. I can't see why anyone would consider its melodic range as limited to the right side. A simple example is in the fourth measure of "A Palerno" where the melody goes down to a low G, which I play on the left hand, keeping the chords going with other fingers on that hand. I feel like it's hardly noticable or notable.
<br><br><br>Oh, I didn't say it's impossible. I'm saying when you do it, you lose advantage of Duet and start playing it like an English.<br>I understand benefits of Duet system, when such system has 3 octaves on the right and some 2.5 on the left IF it's high quality instrument, and its' high reeds have good volume and it's low reeds are quick and efficient. In all other cases Duet Concertina is workable, but compromised. Sound quality of Duet is often inferior, it is not helped by Anglo's push/pull rhythm nor English system's arrangement ingenuity. I listened to Alexander Prince' recordings - very good player and outstanding quality of instrument. As I understand he played 80 button Macann with the range of a piano, high quality reeds in top notch condition. Until a person gets hold of such an instrument, playing classical music is easier on English. Macann is more difficult to read with, and gain control of two hands doing different parts is not for week minded. Don't get me wrong, my first real concertina was Crane Duet.  It all comes to availability and price. Availability of high end instruments, tutors, teachers, written materials. The dilemma is that with English one may be fine with Jackie for a L-o-n-g time. Upgrading will not present any problems. With Macann one has to start with the top notch or face inferiority. Upgrading will mean re-learning of at least good portion of music.I started with 20 button Anglo, loved it, hit the wall, tried Crane, loved it, hit the wall, tried English, hated it, abandoned, came back and kind of sticking with it. Because it gives me a chance to "communicate" with the geniuses, who created masterpieces I can touch, actively participate in "conversation" without any pretense or make belief. Reading is easy and convenient, multi-part music is within reach. Not difficult to become "proficient" as you noted before. As for folk music, Accordion and Violin sound better to me. Edited by m3838
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My impression is that this makes it easier/possible to play with more fine control on the English system - and that is really important for classical music, especially.

That seems to match the differences I tend to hear as a listener. But the duet handle/strap arrangement seems to allow a more physical style of playing, like an Anglo. Maybe I could add to my list:

 

Fine control and gentle dynamics: English

Drive and strong accents: Duet

 

Remember that's not meant to be black and white...just tendencies.

 

The Bach lute suite in Em (that Dave Townsend plays on his Portrait of a (n English) Concertina) is really interesting - for some odd reason it all fits pretty much perfectly on a tenor treble English, with hardly any significant changes needed. It mixes 1, 2 and 3 part music, with the parts intermingling... if you can play it on the English, it actually fits amazingly well. I would be surprised if it fits on the/a duet, due to the need to play multiple lines on one side.

Which movement do you think would give the duet most trouble? I'd like to try it. Although I'm no Dave Townsend. I'm no Danny Chapman either. But it would probably be very instructive as to the different capabilities of duet and English.

 

It sounds like the strengths of the English match your tastes...and the strengths of the duet match mine. Which is how it should be!

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Yes let's have the music. Then I can decide it's too hard and there are other things going on, but I like the option...

 

Actually I just tried to find it on the net. Are you talking about the bourree (which seems far and away the most popular part, and easy to find) or the whole thing which i failed at? Or another part?

Edited by Dirge
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Which movement do you think would give the duet most trouble?

 

Probably the last (it follows the bourree). It certainly gives the most trouble on the English! If you don't find it online (I don't expect you will) then I'll scan and mail it to you (remind me if I haven't done it by the end of this weekend!).

 

It sounds like the strengths of the English match your tastes...and the strengths of the duet match mine. Which is how it should be!

 

Yes!

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OK here's the music I noticed as I went that I know the bourree it's one of the std guitar classics. It's also written with huge amounts of ledgers instead of using a civilized bass clef. Might be an interesting site for the English players, but for me the 'treble line only' is enough to mean I cba. I haven't bookmarked it.

 

(The search produced a couple of sites promising me that AT THIS MOMENT the lyrics for BWV996 were being uploaded for me, interestingly. It also threw up the curious titbit that there is a theory that it was written for a 'keyboard lute' for Bach to play himself. So keyboard music then? The internet was split on this, some said possibly, some said 'almost certainly'. Knowing that when Bach saw the newfangled piano he came up with something along the lines of 'It'll never catch on' I have my doubts. I also found some pukka lute music. Now that was weird. Looked like arabic on a stave.)

 

It looks a bit sparse for my tastes, which are minority in this regard, I know, so again we're all happy with our different instruments I suppose.

 

It struck me earlier that everyone had defined 'playing classical music' to suit their own instruments, and that a lot of the talk was as much concerned with definitions as anything else.

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I have several Bach pieces arranged and adapted for the EC. One of which I just tried to send as an attachment but the site will not let me :angry: . It is from the unaccompanied violin Partita and is a very good example of what is possible for classical concertina on the English.

Anyone want to give me advise as to why I can no longer add pdf attachments?

rss

 

OK here is where you can get the music:

http://api.ning.com/files/GZRcdq-9ZGYxMjh1sx9yIV39whLKXIeBMafyKfEgk8x5CYYyvJPLbuLQxTap9tWykIsFjuLAQjOxACEGNU*ja5j2jPrXSF74/BoureebyBach.pdf

Edited by Randy Stein
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Lots of good thoughts being aired in this thread! I hope the OP finds it informative and useful for their decision making :)

 

I just wanted to post to disagree with the assertion that's been made that classical guitar music played unadapted on the concertina sounded bad. I play a lot of guitar music - the majority of the classical music I play is unadapted guitar music (well, I'm playing a treble EC so I'm adapting in the sense of ignoring the occasional bass note) - and it seems to work fine to me. In fact the relatively "thin" style of music written for the guitar - two or three note chords or a single melody line with a single bass accompaniment - seems perfectly suited to the concertina. It would be nice to be able to play oom-pah waltzes etc. as well - but I actually find the bass notes of any concertina a bit too overwhelming to want to play lots at once. They seem to me to overwhelm the melody line. So I'm not too bothered by that difficulty, and remain quite happy with my guitar music. Pianos - with a much louder, more even range all the way up - and accordions - with reinforced treble notes - are well suited to very heavy chordal stuff, and I greatly enjoy playing heavy chordal piano music on the piano.

 

Also, although it's true that playing very complex chords on the EC is very hard to do fast - it's perfectly possible slowly, and actually the only time I want to do this is when accompanying voice, when I generally am playing slowly. And looking at Regondi's concertina works (which remain way beyond my ability for now) I think it would be possible for a more talented player to play very complex works at speed. Most of what we're talking about shouldn't be thought of in terms of "the EC can't do this and the duet can't do this" - I reckon it's more about comparative difficulty and so comparative skill needed.

 

Fiinally (sorry, longer post than I intended!), here's some classical music which I play and think is appropriate for the EC: Minuets from Bach's 2nd Cello Suite, Batti Batti O Bel Masetto from Mozart's Don Giovanni, C.P.E. Bach's Solfegietto for violin in Cm.

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Another thing that may be important (and my only direct experience of duet is looking after Jim Lucas's Crane for a couple of weeks) is that with the English the bellow pressure is worked with the thumbs (the way I play), completely separate from the fingers that are used to press the buttons. On the duet the way the instrument is balanced means that when pressing, the button-pressing fingers are used to work the bellows. My impression is that this makes it easier/possible to play with more fine control on the English system - and that _is_ really important for classical music, especially.

 

Danny,

 

I am not sure about your ideas about your Duet experiences. I think it is not the fingers that press the bellows on a Duet but the hand palm. This does not withhold the fingers too much from moving freely. But there is a constraint on the duet and it is related to the position of the buttons and the position of the hand rest (and the form of your hand and the length of your fingers). It can make it difficult to put the fingers on certain buttons. A typical constraint which is absent on an english concertina.

 

But don´t forget you are used to the english system. The english concertina has the constraint that your thumbs are bound to the leathers. This constraint is absent on the Duet concertinas.

 

I think that a Duet is very suitable for classical music, just as is the english concertina. In both cases it needs a skilled player on the specific instrument - one who knows how to deal with the limitations and constraints of the instrument.

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<div>

I think that a Duet is very suitable for classical music, just as is the english concertina. In both cases it needs a skilled player on the specific instrument - one who knows how to deal with the limitations and constraints of the instrument.
</div><br>It sounds so correct, it can be applied to anything. Of course you are right, and of course it doesn't answer a question whether EC or DC are better to start with for playing classical music. In fact, above statement avoids any answer whatsoever.<div>What is better for surgery, scalpel or laser? </div><div>Well, it really depends on the skill of a doctor, isn't it?</div><div>There are, however, strong factors one has to consider before making a decision:</div><div><b>Range of the instrument, available quality vs. price, natural tendency to type of music, left-right brain thingy, favorite player whose style is inspirational, age and talent of a beginner, intended proficiency and time frame.</b></div><div>So far comparison was done more or less incorrectly, with strange emphasis on chordal vs. melody styles. </div><div>Whether you play with Oompa or without, makes no difference.  </div><div>Alexander Price played mostly what? - popular music of the day? Some classical pieces, but mostly Oompa-ed  "music hall" easy listening. His Macann was monstrous.</div><div>He chose Macann because it's the most compact of Duet systems, allowing more buttons in smaller body, not because of button arrangement preference.</div><div>Regondi played the only concertina available, English system, and used it, it seems, to the very fullest. Who else that we know of?</div><div>EC is easy to reed with, but Crane is easy too. </div><div>EC sometimes entangles your fingers, but Crane does too.</div><div>Hayden is easy to transpose with, but it has no use in Classical repertore, and it leans towards diatonic music.</div><div>Standard EC gives sizable range at all times, and standard DC cuts this range in half, something to deal with.</div><div>It was actually very good question, <b>but it needs further detailing.</b></div><div>But before anything, are you really into concertina sound and it's suitability to classical music?

 

</div><div>Check <a href="

out first.</div><div>And <a href="
guy's work</a> second.</div><div>And this is <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnC44vsqliU&feature=related">outstanding</a>, if you ask me.</div>

 

Sorry guys, by some reason quotation and links stopped working for me.

I hope you will figure out which links to highlight, thanks.

Edited by m3838
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But before anything, are you really into concertina sound and it's suitability to classical music?

 

 

Yes, absolutely. It works beautifully for me.

 

I think this is all a bit circular. I aim to play keyboard or 'keyboard style' stuff; I can put up a decent argument why this seems a logical choice to me, and, more to the point, I like it and people I play for seem impressed. For that a big duet is a must; I'm sure of this because as my playing has improved I have steadily progressed to bigger and bigger instruments, (more for the bass notes and a bit more overlap than for high register). I did not want the bulk, indeed put off taking each upward step, but it seemed worth it.

 

The EC contingent go more for sparse lighter stuff, often string music, but again that is what you lot think sounds best and makes most sense. Right? You don't want to play big chords or 3 part fugues because you don't like the effect anyway.

 

I think we're all talking from completely different perspectives about making quite different styles of music. Keeps us out of trouble I suppose.

 

(Oh! A catalina just buzzed the house)

 

(sorry to talk across you Randy)

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Lots of good thoughts being aired in this thread! I hope the OP finds it informative and useful for their decision making :)

 

I just wanted to post to disagree with the assertion that's been made that classical guitar music played unadapted on the concertina sounded bad. I play a lot of guitar music - the majority of the classical music I play is unadapted guitar music (well, I'm playing a treble EC so I'm adapting in the sense of ignoring the occasional bass note) - and it seems to work fine to me. In fact the relatively "thin" style of music written for the guitar - two or three note chords or a single melody line with a single bass accompaniment - seems perfectly suited to the concertina. It would be nice to be able to play oom-pah waltzes etc. as well - but I actually find the bass notes of any concertina a bit too overwhelming to want to play lots at once. They seem to me to overwhelm the melody line. So I'm not too bothered by that difficulty, and remain quite happy with my guitar music. Pianos - with a much louder, more even range all the way up - and accordions - with reinforced treble notes - are well suited to very heavy chordal stuff, and I greatly enjoy playing heavy chordal piano music on the piano.

 

Also, although it's true that playing very complex chords on the EC is very hard to do fast - it's perfectly possible slowly, and actually the only time I want to do this is when accompanying voice, when I generally am playing slowly. And looking at Regondi's concertina works (which remain way beyond my ability for now) I think it would be possible for a more talented player to play very complex works at speed. Most of what we're talking about shouldn't be thought of in terms of "the EC can't do this and the duet can't do this" - I reckon it's more about comparative difficulty and so comparative skill needed.

 

Fiinally (sorry, longer post than I intended!), here's some classical music which I play and think is appropriate for the EC: Minuets from Bach's 2nd Cello Suite, Batti Batti O Bel Masetto from Mozart's Don Giovanni, C.P.E. Bach's Solfegietto for violin in Cm.

 

 

The response to my wonderings has been awesome (thank you) though often quite a bit over my newbie head. It shows the diversity amongst you! It has led me to take another look at the English system. Which leads to the one question no English player has offered advise on: How many buttons would be most optimal for classical music with an EC?

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The response to my wonderings has been awesome (thank you) though often quite a bit over my newbie head. It shows the diversity amongst you! It has led me to take another look at the English system. Which leads to the one question no English player has offered advise on: How many buttons would be most optimal for classical music with an EC?

 

It's another question of the sort that opens cans of different kinds.

Standard is what, 48 buttons? With the range of what, violin?

The problem with middle quality Englishes is the squeakiness of high reeds. They are so un-serviceable, one begins to wonder what the inventor was thinking. On the other hand, high end instruments (rarely) have all reeds producing sound of full volume and body. These instruments justify use of 48 buttons, but often have extended range. I think most of them extend up, but some extend down. Looks like professional players use tenor-treble, 48 buttons plus extended down.

Out of inexpensive entry level models there is only one (no variety here), made in China, but with the quality control - Jackie. It has 30 buttons, kind of 2.5 octaves, going from low G to high C. It misses doubled accidentals, but has fully chromatic scale, except for high C# (badly missing). The tone is very acceptable, reeds' response is surprisingly good, button action is agreeable. From my experience it's range is enough for 90% of the classical pieces that gets in my hands.

I played with Jack for almost a year, but even after much tweaking of reeds gapping and valves it's still very slow and often chocks.

Stagi, another entry level, is two-three times more expensive, has better sound but worse response and it's bellows are not even close in quality to Jackie's.

In $350 range there is no other choice than Jackie from Concertina Connection.

If money is not the issue, then the sky is the limit.

In $2000 range you can get so called "hybrid" - concertina with "accordion" reeds, from the Button Box.

Edited by m3838
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<div>

I think that a Duet is very suitable for classical music, just as is the english concertina. In both cases it needs a skilled player on the specific instrument - one who knows how to deal with the limitations and constraints of the instrument.
</div><br>It sounds so correct, it can be applied to anything. Of course you are right, and of course it doesn't answer a question whether EC or DC are better to start with for playing classical music. In fact, above statement avoids any answer whatsoever.<div>What is better for surgery, scalpel or laser? </div><div>Well, it really depends on the skill of a doctor, isn't it?</div><div>There are, however, strong factors one has to consider before making a decision:</div><div><b>Range of the instrument, available quality vs. price, natural tendency to type of music, left-right brain thingy, favorite player whose style is inspirational, age and talent of a beginner, intended proficiency and time frame.</b></div><div>So far comparison was done more or less incorrectly, with strange emphasis on chordal vs. melody styles. </div><div>Whether you play with Oompa or without, makes no difference.  </div><div>Alexander Price played mostly what? - popular music of the day? Some classical pieces, but mostly Oompa-ed  "music hall" easy listening. His Macann was monstrous.</div><div>He chose Macann because it's the most compact of Duet systems, allowing more buttons in smaller body, not because of button arrangement preference.</div><div>Regondi played the only concertina available, English system, and used it, it seems, to the very fullest. Who else that we know of?</div><div>EC is easy to reed with, but Crane is easy too. </div><div>EC sometimes entangles your fingers, but Crane does too.</div><div>Hayden is easy to transpose with, but it has no use in Classical repertore, and it leans towards diatonic music.</div><div>Standard EC gives sizable range at all times, and standard DC cuts this range in half, something to deal with.</div><div>It was actually very good question, <b>but it needs further detailing.</b></div><div>But before anything, are you really into concertina sound and it's suitability to classical music?

 

 

iv><div>Check <a href="

out first.</div><div>And <a href="
guy's work</a> second.</div><div>And this is <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnC44vsqliU&feature=related">outstanding</a>, if you ask me.</div>

 

Sorry guys, by some reason quotation and links stopped working for me.

I hope you will figure out which links to highlight, thanks.

 

 

"...are you really into concertina sound and it's suitability to classical music?"

 

Great question to help clarify what I'm looking for. For me, the goal of re-learning to play music is to reach the ability to play classical, AND experience it as a player, not only as a listener. That feels like the end goal which will be years away. YET, I don't want to buy multiple instruments or learn 2 systems, just want the right one for the progression of simple to difficult. I don't need to be the orchestra or necessarily sound like "multiple instruments" (an earlier thread mentioned a duet could sound like 2-4 instruments...). Both EC and DC have a certain logic, though different, to me after playing PA for many years.

 

The most important factors in my decision: 1-Smallest size/wt for minimalist travel. 2- Greatest flexibility of range for folk, hymns, singing accompaniment, and potential classical. 3- Personally resonate with low ranges through octave above middle C. Not a baritone concertina I haven't liked... hmm, loved!

 

I love hearing different perspectives, so feel free in offering me advice re: THE concertina in YOUR expertise(s) that comes to mind!

 

As a newbie listening YouTube, the concertina library archives, and your many links for more listening have been great.

I hope the bantering thread of EC vs DC continues. More educational with every re-read!!

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Selah, I have only just picked up on the fact that you have played piano accordian for some years. I too came to the concertina from the piano accordian, and have always thought that is one reason why I took to the supposedly 'difficult' Maccann more easily than many others seem to do.

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