Jump to content

Variation on the ol' can of worms.


Recommended Posts

I am sorry to revisit this topic but I am hoping to find the concertina with the greatest strengths. This of course is the same old Anglo, English, Duet question. The question is which system offers the best change of playing the most types of music. The reason I am asking is that it seems that each type of system has some difficulties with fingering esp. with fast music. On the English the jump from e to b using the left side ring finger is a struggle. On the right side there are similar problems on say c# to g. Sometimes the problem can be fixed with holding ones hands differently and using different fingers but...That sometimes leads to transitional fingering difficulties as one moves to the next phrase in the tune. I'm sure the Anglo and the Hayden have similar problems with fingering in certain classes and types of tunes. So, when looking at the strengths of the various types of concertina, which one would offer the greatest range of music with the fewest problems with fingering. Should one be looking at a 65 button Hayden, or an extended tenor treble English or a 40 button Anglo. I picked the 40 button for this question because I am guessing that it would offer the largest number of reversals and should solve many fingering problems. Any advice would be great. Thank you so much!

Eric in Montana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry to revisit this topic but I am hoping to find the concertina with the greatest strengths. This of course is the same old Anglo, English, Duet question. The question is which system offers the best change of playing the most types of music. The reason I am asking is that it seems that each type of system has some difficulties with fingering esp. with fast music. On the English the jump from e to b using the left side ring finger is a struggle. On the right side there are similar problems on say c# to g. Sometimes the problem can be fixed with holding ones hands differently and using different fingers but...That sometimes leads to transitional fingering difficulties as one moves to the next phrase in the tune. I'm sure the Anglo and the Hayden have similar problems with fingering in certain classes and types of tunes. So, when looking at the strengths of the various types of concertina, which one would offer the greatest range of music with the fewest problems with fingering. Should one be looking at a 65 button Hayden, or an extended tenor treble English or a 40 button Anglo. I picked the 40 button for this question because I am guessing that it would offer the largest number of reversals and should solve many fingering problems. Any advice would be great. Thank you so much!

Eric in Montana.

Well, the first question you should answer is: Do you intend to play just the melody or other single-part line, or do you want to accompny yourself with chords, bass, and/or countermelody or other form of harmony?

 

If the former, then it's EC versus Anglo. But if the latter, go for a Duet. I won't get into the merits of the various Duet systems, but I do play a Hayden and am very satisfied with the system. --Mike K.

 

PS: Yes, occasional chords can be slipped in on an English, and some ANglo players can sound almost like a Duet. But if you want to play like a Duet, get one :-)

Edited by ragtimer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the quick response. Regarding the Hayden duet, have you identified any fingering problems that would make you want to avoid certain types of tunes? I have not yet played the duet but I can see some possible fingering difficulties solved by use of the octave overlap. And the system looks promising since I love to play pipe tunes and providing drone accompaniment with the English. The Hayden looks like it would offer more possibilities for drone type fills. Thank you, Eric B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the quick response. Regarding the Hayden duet, have you identified any fingering problems that would make you want to avoid certain types of tunes? I have not yet played the duet but I can see some possible fingering difficulties solved by use of the octave overlap. And the system looks promising since I love to play pipe tunes and providing drone accompaniment with the English. The Hayden looks like it would offer more possibilities for drone type fills. Thank you, Eric B.

 

I would be cautious about statements in your initial post. What seems to be a problem tends to solve itself with practice.

Your assumptions about English fingering "struggle" are incorrect, for example. E to B is not difficult at all. Changing hand position is normal. Not only "occasional" chords are possible on an English, etc. Anglo is great for uplifting stuff, but if you are going for reversals, you'll play it like an English, in zig-zagged patterns, alternating between left and right. Duet is great, but it doesn't have jumpy automatic phrasing, coming from push/pull. Judging by precedent, all professional concertina players of the past used Maccann duet. It has been discussed before, and thanks to Dirge the reason became clear. Only Macann offers the most compact design, which is essential for large Duet. and Duet must be large, it seems. All the rest are great substitutes for amateurs. Crane is naturally chromatic, offers easy logic, beating different fingerings in different keys, Hayden offers one fingering for all keys, but gravitates towards diatonic music, is rare and expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the quick response. Regarding the Hayden duet, have you identified any fingering problems that would make you want to avoid certain types of tunes? I have not yet played the duet but I can see some possible fingering difficulties solved by use of the octave overlap. And the system looks promising since I love to play pipe tunes and providing drone accompaniment with the English. The Hayden looks like it would offer more possibilities for drone type fills. Thank you, Eric B.

 

I would be cautious about statements in your initial post. What seems to be a problem tends to solve itself with practice.

Your assumptions about English fingering "struggle" are incorrect, for example. E to B is not difficult at all. Changing hand position is normal. Not only "occasional" chords are possible on an English, etc. Anglo is great for uplifting stuff, but if you are going for reversals, you'll play it like an English, in zig-zagged patterns, alternating between left and right. Duet is great, but it doesn't have jumpy automatic phrasing, coming from push/pull. Judging by precedent, all professional concertina players of the past used Maccann duet. It has been discussed before, and thanks to Dirge the reason became clear. Only Macann offers the most compact design, which is essential for large Duet. and Duet must be large, it seems. All the rest are great substitutes for amateurs. Crane is naturally chromatic, offers easy logic, beating different fingerings in different keys, Hayden offers one fingering for all keys, but gravitates towards diatonic music, is rare and expensive.

 

Is it not true to say that all musical instruments have their particular limitations and that there is probably no instrument that is universally appropriate for all styles of music ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any simple argument will have plenty of critics, but for what its worth; for Irish or English music get an Anglo. For anything else get a Duet. Why not an English? Happy to be corrected, but I think there is no style of music to which either a duet or English is intrinsic, and there are things a duet can do and an English can't, but not vice versa. To put this in perspective, I play neither.

 

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I started playing, I read up about the various merits of the English and Anglo. My musical tastes range from rock and roll and jazz through country and blues to folk. "Obviously" the fully chromatic English was the one for me.

 

Then I tried an English, and didn't find it enjoyable or "natural".

 

Then on consecutive nights I heard an English played well and an Anglo played well.

 

And suddenly I knew I wanted an Anglo, despite its limitations.

 

A 30 button Anglo is not fully chromatic, and is heavily biased towards one main key and one secondary key, although others are possible. The upper range is limited. Some of the bass/chord combinations are tricky, and the accidentals are in no obvious logical order.

 

But know waht? I love it. And instead of noticing its limitations, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from what I can achieve on it.

 

I still like to hear a nicely played English. I've also heard duets played since I bought my first Anglo, and enjoyed that too.

 

The point being that sitting down with men and paper and deciding which instrument suits you is like choosing a spouse on the basis of their advert on a dating site. You may be lucky, but it's not just a shopping list of features and capabilities; you have to choose one that suits you. (One that fits your hands nicely?)

 

As for limitations, there are plenty of people who can play Anglo, English or duet better than you or I will ever play anything. At the end of the day, it's the musician, how much talent, determination and passion they have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it not true to say that all musical instruments have their particular limitations and that there is probably no instrument that is universally appropriate for all styles of music ?

 

I think this is true.

However, we must remember that probably the most influential limiting factor is the skill - or lack of skill - of the player! I know for a fact, after listening to just a few YouTube clips, that both the Anglo and the Crane can do a lot more than I can. cool.gif

 

Of course each system has its more difficult points - with the Crane it's having to use the same finger in two different rows to play an interval of a fourth, and with the EC it's the fifth interval. So what do you do? Analyse your favourite music genre to ascertain the relative frequency of fourth and fifth intervals in the melodies, and choose your instrument accodingly?

Nonsense! mad.gif

 

You consider how important full chording capability and fluent melody are, and then choose your system. With practice, you can master that awkward interval, whichever one it is.

 

"Practice makes perfect" - ever heard that saying? tongue.gif

 

Cheers,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is so personal, and so subject to individual interests and determination to practice, that I couldn't offer any advice here. I find all the systems I've tried fascinating and full of possibilities (though I have the least time on duet). I want to take more time to explore my cheap English treble, which suggests very different solutions than my anglo does.

 

All instruments have limitations. I think it was Jim Lucas who wrote here once that part of the Art of Music is working with and within those limitations. My (French) horn does not play chords, is limited in range to a bit over 3 octaves, and has what some would call a limited tone palette. But I find I can (after several decades' study) make it sound very nice on a good day, fit in to many kinds of music, and express myself.

 

What is common to all these instruments is that you must study them (in every sense of the word). If one system were inherently superior the others would have disappeared by now (think ophicleide!).

 

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your comment "concertina with the greatest strengths" can be misleading. I am fascinated by the Duet system but find I can do much more and play a broader range and styles of music as well as be part of the accompaniment with the English. Any fingering or comfort difficulties come with practice and familiarity of your instrument. I also find a lot more range using an instrument that is chromatic versus diatonic. But for certain styles of music I find the diatonic system is better suited especially in the sound of the instrument.

The strength of the instrument is in the hands of the player.

rss

Edited by Randy Stein
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When choosing a system to start on (I chose English) I also posed myself the question of which has "the greatest strengths". But in pursuing this line of reasoning, I came to the conclusion that this is the wrong question. The strongest instrument is not a concertina at all, but probably a pipe organ or something. Maybe a piano, if you like. What you've got to choose is the instrument that offers you what you want from a concertina. First ask yourself "Why a concertina?" and then choose a system that is right for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask yourself, why do you want to play concertina? Presumably, something has inspired you. So, now something will have to inspire you as to which type to play.

 

Try to listen to some of the great players. Get copies of Anglo International and English International (Duet International is still under preparation). Listen to the great anglo players like John Kirkpatrick, Andy Turner, Noel Hill, etc. Then the English players like Alastair Anderson, Simon Thoumire, Keith Kendrick (who's also not bad on anglo). Try and hear duettists like Ralph Jordan, David Cornell (Maccann) and Tim Laycock (Crane).

 

Hopefully one day you will think, that's it! That's what I want to be playing!

 

Then having made your choice, don't lose heart when you come up against the inevitable difficulties and limitations. Be happy and keep practising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it not true to say that all musical instruments have their particular limitations and that there is probably no instrument that is universally appropriate for all styles of music ?

 

I think this is true.

However, we must remember that probably the most influential limiting factor is the skill of the player!

----------------------------------------

...ascertain the relative frequency of fourth and fifth intervals in the melodies, and choose your instrument accodingly?

Nonsense! mad.gif

-------------------------------------

 

"Practice makes perfect" - ever heard that saying? tongue.gif

 

Cheers,

John

 

I can't agree more.

I also agree with the question of "why concertina".

I have my reservations about listening to favorite players to choose the system.

Concertinas of all systems are just one instrument - they sound alike.

Niall Vallely is super fast with his Anglo, beats "English is better for fast melody". Guran's style is full of chords on the English, beats "Occasional chords on English" stereotype.

Let's see:

1. You love european folk music.

a. you just pick up most common instrument and join hordes of mediocre players or...

b. you pick up Anglo and you'll be the man. You'll get people jumping and talking about you.

2. You love all kinds of music.

a. you pick up most common instrument and join hordes of mediocre players or...

b. you pick up English and join some musicians for flavor. You'll be the man.

c. Pick up Duet of any style and be a One-Man-Band.

 

OK, so our deduction went to the direction of "are you going to play alone or with others?"

If alone, Duet and Anglo are naturally better, but not necessarily.

If with others, English will give you the most opportunities to join in any key and ergonomically you will not be "one handed". Duet will make you play melody with right hand only (in the ball park), Anglo will limit your keys.

 

With all of the above, I like the sound of accordion, naturally good with strings and whistles, but chose English and it's my solo instrument. I shot myself in a leg. blink.gif

All in all, it comes to choosing of music I learn to play.

Edited by m3838
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well as usual everybody is making astute observations about the primary concertina systems and their respective players. And everyone's advice is right on the money. I (we) all need to spend time with the instrument of our choice and allow it to teach us how to use it's full potential. I suppose when considering each systems strengths and weaknesses and compromises, I am wondering if the 65 button Hayden really solves the issues involved with the instrument with fewer buttons, I am wondering if the extended tenor range in the 56 key English offers the best chance of self accompaniment in that system, and finally, does the 40 key Anglo really offer useful solutions to finger tangles and key options. At some point (on the surface) the larger instrument ought to offer more possibilities but being heavier and slower is the larger instrument really a solution? Why do the 40 key Anglo players want 40 keys instead of the 30 that is so common?

 

Again, thank you for all the feedback. I currently play an extended treble English which has the super high notes that only dogs can hear. I am toying with the idea of exploring the other systems. I have already been enjoying the world of the diatonic melodeon which has major limitations compared to the concertinas, but, just like the concertina, it is loads of fun to play!

Thank you, Eric in Montana

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. I currently play an extended treble English which has the super high notes that only dogs can hear.

 

Ah, I see.

I found I am more concerned with lack of low notes on the treble English, not the high. Lots of guitar music is compromised and lots of classical compositions are unavailable to me because of this. My Jackie is very serviceable instrument, even despite lack of high C#, but the low range is a problem. A Tenor-treble would be the answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, a tenor-treble might be ideal. I've thought about the baritone but I'm not sure I want to stay in that low range. Plus so many pieces of music require some degree of quickness to play. The tenor-treble would give one more row of notes at the low end and should still preserve the quickness when so desired. I think the button box is still working on such a beast. Does anyone know for sure?

Eric B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was surprised to realise recently that a standard (48-key) baritone has a top range just as high as a 30- or 36-key Treble. I understand, though, that a baritone is larger, heavier, and has a slower reed response even on the high reeds.

 

I would be interested to know: to what extent might a tenor (or tenor-treble) concertina expect to be affected by these conditions (bulkiness, slowness)? Naturally I expect there's a degree of variation from instrument to instrument, but until I get a chance to try many instruments for myself, what has been your experience, fellow concertinists?

 

Edit: Eric, it seems you and I are barking up the same tree. =)

Edited by Ransom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was surprised to realise recently that a standard (48-key) baritone has a top range just as high as a 30- or 36-key Treble. I understand, though, that a baritone is larger, heavier, and has a slower reed response even on the high reeds.

 

The high reeds will be just the same as on 30 button Treble, and just as quick. Why would they be slower?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...