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Bandoneons for concertinists?


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For the purist a TRUE tango bandoneon is bisonoric and tuned for tango which must be two reeds sounding simultaneously and tuned PRECISELY one octave apart - no exceptions, no deviations, no variations.

The essential system is the 142 Rheinische Lage.

The quintessential box is an AA (Alfred Arnold) built prior to the war.

This is not true of European bandonions which were often played by French CBA players who were more comfortable with various tunings and played chromatic instruments of various ranges produced particularly for them.

I think that you may be using the term "European bandonion" to refer to what is usually called a "unisonoric bandonion". Alfred Arnold was of course a European (German) maker and "Rheinische Lage" is of course a German phrase, not an Argentine one. The "tango bandoneons" are German-made instruments (called bandonion in German and bandoneon in Spanish) that became popular in Argentina as their popularity waned back in Germany. They're still European, though. Alfred Arnold and the other German bandoneon/bandonion makers also made bisonoric bandonion/bandoneons in other tunings that were not popular in Argentina. I don't have tuning diagrams at hand but it's my impression from earlier postings that the differences are only on a few buttons. And then there are the unisonoric bandonions, played mainly in France as you describe.

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Daniel,

Thank you for clarifying my post.

I will return and edit it.

My designations of Argentine and European are in reference to the location of play, not manufacture.

I did not intend to suggest by these designations that any bandoneon was made in Argentina.

To my recollection, nothing has indicated that any bandoneon was ever made in Argentina - quite the contrary, actually.

And certainly, as you note, AA bandoneons were made in Germany (as were most bandonions) and exported to South America.

My use of the term chromatic is intended to be synonymous with unisonic in parallel with diatonic/chromatic//bisonroic/unisonic.

My apology for the confusing use of terms.

Perhaps you have seen this, but here is a link to a rather interesting summary of the keyboard development and the citation of the text from which is it taken:

http://www.inorg.chem.ethz.ch/tango/band/band_node15.html

Another source is Dale Meyer, bandoneonist and the former leader of S.F.'s Strictly Tango, who wrote a masters dissertation on the instrument. He notes that the bandoneon was Johann Band's solution for rural churches that could not afford a pipe organ. The bandoneon was a "volk" (as in people's) instrument. As such, there were no bandoneon-makers who felt they must conform to any standards, because there were none. When someone requested a new tone, they would drill a hole wherever there was room and put in a new reed. This practice met the needs of isolated rural communities. Standarization of the keyboard layout came later when a global market for the bandoneon developed.

FWIW.

Be Well,

Dan

Edited by danersen
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There are reports in the literature that one of the motivations for the development of the bandonion may have been to provide "organ-like" accompaniment for churches who could not afford organs.

Perhaps yours could be one of those? In any case, if you can provide a sound clip, it would be great to hear it with that historical perspective and possibility in mind.

 

Dan,

 

Thy this. It's The Ash Grove followed by All Through the Night. Just an unedited minidisc recording done at home and converted to mp3 via Audacity.

 

(Whenever I play all through the night, I'm pretty tired the next morning ... rolleyes.gif )

 

Cheers,

John

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Perhaps you have seen this, but here is a link to a rather interesting summary of the keyboard development and the citation of the text from which is it taken:

http://www.inorg.che...and_node15.html

 

Dan,

 

It's a small world when you're a multi-instrumentalist. ph34r.gif

 

The above link contains a mention of Karl Zimmermann, who emigrated to America, "where his traces are lost."

 

No, they are not lost!

 

In America, Zimmermann became the Apostle of the Autoharp (my other push-button instrument). In fact, it was he who coined and originally patented the term "Autoharp" as a trade name. He also took out a patent on a form of chord bar, but didn't manufacture it. Instead, he used the chord bar patented by Carl Gütter, a luthier from Markneukirchen in Saxony, on the autoharps that he (Zimmermann) manufactured and marketed in the USA. This is the form of chord bar still used on autoharps to this day.

 

It is said that one of the inventions Zimmermann made while he was still at home was a system of notation for diatonic accordions. Apparently this notation didn't catch on with the intended target group, and Zimmermann thought that the autoharp would be a good application for it. So early American autoharps have their strings and chord bars labelled in his notation. (Based on numbers for the notes and shapes for the chord types major, minor and seventh.)

 

So my 1895 Zimmermann autoharp and my c. 1900 Bandoneon are not that unrelated! biggrin.gif

 

Cheers,

John

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I guess my ears were burning... Something gave me the urge to check Concertina.net today.

 

Morbidoni seems to have a good rep for piano accordions, and I figured I'd take the risk on this unknown quantity: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150448955532&ssPageName=ADME:B:EOIBSA:US:1123

That leads me to my most immediate question: how interchangeable are the big square Germanic concertinas (Chemnitzers, and other such things played in Wisconsin) with true bandoneons?

The short story is that nearly any Italian-made or post-WWII American-made Chemnitzer will have a keyboard layout that's a lot like a bandoneon, but a sound that's very little like it. If you get a double-reed German or pre-war American Chemnitzer with octave tuning (and no tuba reeds on the left-hand 1, 5, 10 buttons as was common), the timbre will be indistinguishable from a bandoneon though the compass is not quite as great. Unfortunately, instruments fitting that description and in good condition are rare.

 

I won't be able to lay hands on it until August, when I return from Afghanistan

My sister-in-law just returned from there and has got us fixed up with rugs and fighting kites, but can you bring me back a Rubab? :) I've been digging Ustad Mohammad Omar lately.

 

but am looking forward to trying it out, mainly to play slow, dark, organ-like sort of stuff.

Have you encountered 16 Horsepower? Check out the songs "Low Estate", "Neck on the New Blade" and "American Wheeze".

 

So, unless you want to work out your own tango arrangements, stick with the Chemnitzer. Regard it as three single-row melodeons for a start, if you like, and take it from there.

FWIW, none of the Chemnitzer players I know think of the individual rows as being "in a key" the way a melodeon player might, mostly because only about 15 of the 52 buttons are arranged that way. The layout is accepted dogmatically and memorized. The bellows changes direction for phrasing, but nowhere near as often as on a melodeon or Anglo. Check out some videos of bandoneon and chemnitzer players.

 

With this Morbidoni, other than general condition (and repairability of the air lever)

I have never fixed that kind of air lever, but they're typically not too hard.

 

my main concern is the tuning: I hope it's not too unduly wet; I'm not quite sure what the convention is for the "konzertina".

Italian chemnitzers tend to be wet (sometimes musette-wet). American instruments vary widely.

 

I'm also a bit puzzled in that it appears to be a 48-key, or at least has 24 buttons on the right side.

I saw 52 keys (28 & 24); I have some keyboard charts on my site here: http://ciceroconcertina.weebly.com/downloads.html

 

Chemnitzers developed as dance/polka boxes in Europe and were played extensively in the upper midwest of the US for decades.

Sadly, they were relegated to "bar boxes" over the years and today few really know how to play them.

All told, there may be a handful of old-timers who really know the Chemnitzer and could be considered masters of the instrument.

I really need to go "Alan Lomax" on some of my friends before any more of them die on me. Joe Stulga, Ed Bojan, Chuck Hoening are all 90+ now but were popular Chicago nightclub pros in their day. None plays polkas unless requested, preferring the popular dance music of their heyday. One "youngster" who's worth checking on Youtube is Chris Weiss. He does a lot of polkas to please the crowds, but he also does some "standards". I'm not a technical player so I'm at no risk of being called a master.

 

The same is true for those who can maintain or repair them.

I learned a lot from John Bernhardt (who owned Star Concertina before his death in 2006), but it's just so darn time consuming (c'mon-- 374 reeds?!?) that I'll only work on my own instruments.

 

There is a movement to teach the Chemnitzer genre to younger players, but it has yet to compete with a band instrument or a guitar.

My personal feeling is that we need a new living repertoire for the instrument before that will get anywhere.

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Have you encountered 16 Horsepower? Check out the songs "Low Estate", "Neck on the New Blade" and "American Wheeze".

 

I listened to them back in the '90s, and have one of their CDs somewhere in my collection back Statesides. Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks? I recall liking the band for that combination of dark old-time with a modern hardcore ethos; was introduced through their cover of "Wayfaring Stranger", but will have to go back through their tracks to listen for free reeds.

 

 

There is a movement to teach the Chemnitzer genre to younger players, but it has yet to compete with a band instrument or a guitar.

My personal feeling is that we need a new living repertoire for the instrument before that will get anywhere.

 

By "living repertoire" do you mean non/pre-polka Upper Midwest music, a revival of trad German music, or some new variant on the older traditions?

 

 

 

 

 

FWIW, none of the Chemnitzer players I know think of the individual rows as being "in a key" the way a melodeon player might, mostly because only about 15 of the 52 buttons are arranged that way. The layout is accepted dogmatically and memorized. The bellows changes direction for phrasing, but nowhere near as often as on a melodeon or Anglo. Check out some videos of bandoneon and chemnitzer players.

 

That's one of the things I'm becoming more and more perplexed by. In my novice's understanding, the virtue of bisonoric instruments is that you can fit more sounds into a smaller space by getting two tones from each button. If you have a bisonoric key layout that offers "push on button #34 for A#, or alternately pull on #47 to get A#", what have you gained over a unisonoric instrument except to physically separate the same note into two different buttons and strokes? If there were no duplication I could see the advantage of bisonoric (though I imagine it'd be pretty hard to constantly bounce back and forth Anglo-style on a big bandoneon), but if there's so much bi-directional duplication it seems you might as well go unisonoric in the first place.

 

In any case, I'll look forward to comparing the Morbidoni bisonoric with the Geuns unisonoric. Still thinking Hayden unisonoric would be cool on a bandoneon, as I've found it marvelously intuitive on my little Elise concertina. Are there any arguments (other than availability) for other unisonoric systems like the Peguri over the Hayden? I'll go take a glance at a Peguri chart and see if it speaks to me, but failing falling in love with that I'm still finding the Hayden system appealing.

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RE: BandonEon and BandonIon is the same. Just some spelling in German or Spanish, who cares.

 

Some clearly do care as the nuances are more than variations in spelling and warrant mentioning by those who do care for those who are genuinely and seriously interested.

 

There are hard core "purists", who are simply brainwashed uneducated idiots.

There is one comment under excellent Youtube clip of Geuns' Hybrid player: "good playing, but if you want to play Bandoneon, throw yours into a garbage can and get a real instrument". I'd like to hear that "maestro's" paying.

My Russian Bayan teacher still believes that bayans and "button accordions" are different instruments.

Many Russians (and Europens too) still believe that Hitler started WWII in 1939 and Stalin entered the war in 1941.

Many systems of concertinas are still concertinas, bandoneons and Chemnitzers included.

There are differences between 20, 30, and 50 button Anglos, but they are still Anglos and whatever music you can play on them is fair game. Same with various types of Englishes or Duets, of which Band-s and Chem-s are branches.

Bandoneons have octave tuning. So? Does it make them better for Tango than Chemnitzers or Bayans or PA's? Says who? Buenos Aires Bandoneon Professor? Could it be he simply defends his perch?

I've some musicians dismissed my system of music scoring right off hand, without even looking at it.

Those who looked said something incredible: "this is so simple, it makes me feel like all those years of study are wasted. No, I certainly will not encourage it". That was a revelation.

English in the beginning of WWII dismissed machine guns because they were "gangsters' weapons".

I really love these statements:

Bandoneon is Tango instrument (and there are scores of classical and jazz musicians)

Anglo is for Irish (and there is the whole layer of SA players)

English is for Classical melody line (and you know what to say, right?)

10 hole harmonica is for blues (Brendan Powers plays jazz and incredible Irish music)

 

 

 

 

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I really love these statements:

Bandoneon is Tango instrument (and there are scores of classical and jazz musicians)

Anglo is for Irish (and there is the whole layer of SA players)

English is for Classical melody line (and you know what to say, right?)

10 hole harmonica is for blues (Brendan Powers plays jazz and incredible Irish music)

 

Micha,

You can add the statement: Computers are for doing fast calculations (but here we all are, communicating verbally!)

 

You make a good point. There may be instruments that were made for a particular genre of music, and are of little use outside it, but these are the exceptions.

My philosophy is that instruments are made to play available music on, and music is composed to exploit the available instruments. They influence each other in a chicken-and-egg sort of way. Take the concertina, for instance:

 

In the beginning were the English concertina and the German concertina. The English was beautifully made and had a sophisticated timbre, but required tuition. The German was crudely built, but was incredibly easy to play convincingly.

So the 20-key Anglo-German emerged, in superior English technology and simple German layout. Simple, diatonic music could now be played with the same superior sound as sophisticated EC music. But now the two-key diatonic arrangement was the limiting factor, so 6 to 10 buttons were added, to form the Anglo-Chromatic concertina - our present Anglo.

Now, quite sophisticated music was playable with comparative ease and no knowledge of notation, but again there were limitations to what the 30 buttons could provide, and further alternate fingerings were added, producing the 40-, 50-key anglos.

 

At each point in this development, thre probably was some music genre that felt the limitations. The jolly Jack Tar might have been quite happy with a 20-button for his forebitters and hornpipes, but the Salvationist and the music-hall comic probably wished for more tonal variety for their songs. However, the seaman's repertoire does profit from the third row, too.

 

The whole thing is analogous to computers in the old days: if your applications are slow, you buy a faster CPU; now your applications run fast, and you have excess capacity, so you buy useful, new applications. But now all your applications slow down, so you buy a faster CPU, and again have free capacities, which you can use for new applications ...

 

Another aspect is that older instruments (like the violin and piano) have long outlived the music that they were developed for. In the early 17th century, the violin was intended for dance music. Look at it now!

The piano was developed from the harpsichord for classical-period music, and further developed for the Romantic style - in which state it has remained ever since. The piano builders of Chopin's day probably never dreamed of ragtime or jazz!

 

Certainly, the Bandoneon was not developed for tango. The legend has it that a German sailor pawned his instrument in Buenos Aires, and started a craze. Probably apocryphal, but the time-line is right. And the Anglo concertina was not imported into Ireland for the purpose of playing rural dance music - we already had fiddles and flutes for that (which, of course, were handed-down classical instruments, not local developments either)!

 

It is true that the Argentinian tango and modern ITM have developed distinctive playing styles on their respective borrowed free-reeders. But it has been pointed out that no Bandoneons are built in Argentina, and I believe it is true that Anglos built in Ireland have no features/improvements that the English makers hadn't thought of.

 

So when we talk about "tango Bandoneon" or "Irish concertina", what we mean is a style of playing an instrument in a particular musical environment at a particular time. Not the instrument itself, which has been, is, and probably will be played in different styles in other places and at other times.

 

Cheers,

John

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Have you encountered 16 Horsepower?

Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks?

On The album Sackcloth `n' Ashes, "bandoneon" is credited. "Concertina" is listed on later CDs. I have a theory that the "bandoneon" was really a chemnitzer, but David E. Edwards didn't know what he had. My reasoning is a discussion with the aforementioned John Bernhardt of Star Concertina about the time 16HP came into his shop and D.E.E. traded in an old German concertina for the Patek (brand Chemnitzer) he was using by the time I saw them in concert (the Patek is pictured in the above Wikipedia article). It could also be that he had a bandoneon and adjusted fingering once he switched to the Chemnitzer.

 

By "living repertoire" do you mean non/pre-polka Upper Midwest music, a revival of trad German music, or some new variant on the older traditions?

Not every musician has it in them to conserve or preserve a tradition. Not every musical idiom has room for every instrument. Players need to be composers of new material well suited to the instrument. I'm not really sure what the answer is. While I have a good ear for identifying musical idioms and can even adapt my playing to an extent, I have a hard time understanding other peoples' strict preferences for "genres". Seriously, I was listening to Afghan classical music when I wrote the last message; right now I'm listening to "Tempus Fugit" by Yes.

 

but if there's so much bi-directional duplication it seems you might as well go unisonoric in the first place.

Maybe. I guess the benefit on the Chemnitzer is that as bellows direction changes, the right hand fingering changes to better suit the context of the chords that are accessible to the left hand in that direction.

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but if there's so much bi-directional duplication it seems you might as well go unisonoric in the first place.

Maybe. I guess the benefit on the Chemnitzer is that as bellows direction changes, the right hand fingering changes to better suit the context of the chords that are accessible to the left hand in that direction.

 

I see a significant difference between "bisonoric with lots of duplication" and "unisonoric". As Theodore says, it has to do with accessibility of chords.

 

The purpose of bisonority is not only to make the keyboard more compact by having two notes per button. If that were the case, you could just go "press-draw-press-draw ..." from bass through to treble.

But making the top end of the major scale "press-draw-draw-press" means that only meaningful I, IV or V7 chords are available at any point in a simple tune (as long as you keep in the row). A lot of potential "wrong notes" in the melody are eradicated by having diatonic rows, and the bisonority further reduces the potential for error in harmonisation.

This is the philosophy behind the "easy-to-play" German 20-button concertina, which forms the core of the Bandoneon and Anglo layouts.

But it has the disadvantage that it precludes more colourful harmonies, like suspended and augmented chords, and that's why the Anglo and Bandoneon have so many alternative fingerings. They are, in fact, enhanced diatonic instruments rather than chromatic instruments.

 

Another aspect of bisonority is the necessity to phrase your music. Bellows changes are not arbitrary. Even on the Bandoneon, where it is possible and in some styles typical to play whole phrases on the draw, there comes a time when you have to close the bellows to start the next long draw. I believe that a lot of Piazzola's dramatic phrasing comes from this "limitation" imposed by the bisonority of the instrument. The much vaunted "bounce" in ITM concertina is also attributable to the necessity to reverse the bellows from note to note.

With unisonoric instruments, there's a danger of just playing one note after the other if you don't consciously think about phrasing - or copy the phrasing of a bisonoric player!

 

Cheers,

John

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This question was asked and answered multiple times before and will be in the future.

The simple answer is - tradition and habit.

First players of free reeds were harmonica players. 10 holes, tuned in the most useful way to play simple German folk music.

First accordions, flutinas, concertinas were obviously influenced by harmonica makers and players and marketed at them as well as at general public. But general public must have been persuaded, and who can persuade it better than harmonica player, who easily adapts to 10 button accordion and showcases it?

Then 2 row accordion added versatility to 10 button players.

....etc....

If you cosider 3 row accordion Tex-Mex players, who almost never play on the push, don't play chords (and actually remove the reeds from the left side, turning it into a GIANT air vent), you can easily remove all the push reeds, make it lighter and cheaper. The problem is they (and Argentinians) adapted an instrument, made elsewhere. Made for different style of playing and different music.

 

-------- use of bass buttons as air valve (reeds removed)

-------- youngster on Corona 3 row and guitar

--------- clear illustration to my post, no push playing, left reeds removed and buttons used as air valve.
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This is the philosophy behind the "easy-to-play" German 20-button concertina, which forms the core of the Bandoneon and Anglo layouts. But it has the disadvantage that it precludes more colourful harmonies, like suspended and augmented chords, and that's why the Anglo and Bandoneon have so many alternative fingerings. They are, in fact, enhanced diatonic instruments rather than chromatic instruments.

 

As the Chemnitzer keyboard developed, duplicate notes (i.e. alternative fingerings) were eliminated in favor of accidentals and extended range. On the right hand there are no duplicate notes in either direction. The left hand has only a few.

 

Another aspect of bisonority is the necessity to phrase your music. Bellows changes are not arbitrary. Even on the Bandoneon, where it is possible and in some styles typical to play whole phrases on the draw, there comes a time when you have to close the bellows to start the next long draw. I believe that a lot of Piazzola's dramatic phrasing comes from this "limitation" imposed by the bisonority of the instrument. The much vaunted "bounce" in ITM concertina is also attributable to the necessity to reverse the bellows from note to note.

 

With the big instruments, you're discouraged from too much "bouncing" by the weight. Even on music that doesn't have a lot of left hand chords, I find myself changing bellows direction with the main harmonic changes of the song.

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As the Chemnitzer keyboard developed, duplicate notes (i.e. alternative fingerings) were eliminated in favor of accidentals and extended range. On the right hand there are no duplicate notes in either direction. The left hand has only a few.

 

 

With the big instruments, you're discouraged from too much "bouncing" by the weight. Even on music that doesn't have a lot of left hand chords, I find myself changing bellows direction with the main harmonic changes of the song.

 

 

Theodore,

True, the sheer mass of a large instrument precludes the quick press-draw sequences that are typical of the Anglo, and induces you to play legato, with long phrases in one direction. I've always assumed that the Bandoneon has so many alternative fingerings to compensate for the lack of bellows agility (among other things).

 

But I'm having difficulty reconciling your two statements above. If you have no duplicate notes (alternative fingerings) on the Chemnitzer, how can you avoid changes of bellows direction between the "main harmonic changes of the song"?

 

Puzzled,

John

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But I'm having difficulty reconciling your two statements above. If you have no duplicate notes (alternative fingerings) on the Chemnitzer, how can you avoid changes of bellows direction between the "main harmonic changes of the song"?

 

I guess we first need to be clear on what is meant by duplicate notes/alternate fingerings. I'll use an example from a C/G anglo to explain what I thought was meant: On press of the bellows, the same G note is available on two buttons: In the G row as the root of the G chord, and in the C row as the 5th of the C chord.

 

This does not occur at all on the right hand of a Chemnitzer. There is never more than one button for any given note and bellows direction. Duplication occurs to a very limited degree on the left hand.

 

So, you avoid changes of bellows direction by having nearly every chromatic tone available in both directions. On the 28-button Chemnitzer right hand, there are only a handful tones not available in both directions: the lowest C and D# and highest F# are only on draw; the lowest C# and highest D# and F are only on press.

 

Incidentally, looking at the 71-button Bandoneón layout, it appears to be "in the same boat." I don't have one of these instruments; my only Bandonion is a 44-button model.

Edited by Theodore Kloba
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I guess we first need to be clear on what is meant by duplicate notes/alternate fingerings. I'll use an example from a C/G anglo to explain what I thought was meant: On press of the bellows, the same G note is available on two buttons: In the G row as the root of the G chord, and in the C row as the 5th of the C chord.

 

 

 

Theodore,

Thanks, that clears the matter up nicely!

 

I regard the same note in the same direction on a different button as merely a quirk of the system, rather than a useful feature; I'd call them "duplicates". The "alternatives" that I need for legato phrasing and suspended chords are the same notes in the opposite bellows direction. It's obvious that the Chemnitzer needs to have these, too!

 

Cheers,

John

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Have you encountered 16 Horsepower?

Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks?

On The album Sackcloth `n' Ashes, "bandoneon" is credited. "Concertina" is listed on later CDs. I have a theory that the "bandoneon" was really a chemnitzer, but David E. Edwards didn't know what he had. My reasoning is a discussion with the aforementioned John Bernhardt of Star Concertina about the time 16HP came into his shop and D.E.E. traded in an old German concertina for the Patek (brand Chemnitzer) he was using by the time I saw them in concert (the Patek is pictured in the above Wikipedia article). It could also be that he had a bandoneon and adjusted fingering once he switched to the Chemnitzer.

 

By happy chance, YouTube has a clip from a 2000 concert in the Netherlands of "American Wheeze", and it very clearly shows the instrument he's playing:

 

Definitely something you don't see every day.

 

I'm quite stoked about getting back and trying out both my Geuns and my Morbidoni now, just another 7 weeks or so until I get back from Afghanistan. Also picked up a Hohner 20-button Anglo on eBay for $100, but will probably give that away to a gigging musician in an attempt to get more concertinas up on stage, which is what I've done with several Appalachian dulcimers in the past.

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Have you encountered 16 Horsepower?

Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks?

On The album Sackcloth `n' Ashes, "bandoneon" is credited. "Concertina" is listed on later CDs. I have a theory that the "bandoneon" was really a chemnitzer, but David E. Edwards didn't know what he had. My reasoning is a discussion with the aforementioned John Bernhardt of Star Concertina about the time 16HP came into his shop and D.E.E. traded in an old German concertina for the Patek (brand Chemnitzer) he was using by the time I saw them in concert (the Patek is pictured in the above Wikipedia article). It could also be that he had a bandoneon and adjusted fingering once he switched to the Chemnitzer.

 

By happy chance, YouTube has a clip from a 2000 concert in the Netherlands of "American Wheeze", and it very clearly shows the instrument he's playing:

 

That's actually instructive: There's a studio version of "American Wheeze" on Sackcloth `n' Ashes, where the instrument used is most likely a "high triple" which means the right hand is voiced Mid-Mid-High (left is usually one less reed, so Mid-High). The one in the video (as well as the live recording on Hearse) is a low quad, voiced M-M-M-L on right, M-M-H on left.

 

Typical bandoneon voicing is M-H both sides.

 

From the size of it, I'm going to guess that your Morbidoni Echo II is a double or triple. You won't know how it's voiced until you hear it or open it.

 

Incidentally, I think these were made in Italy to the specifications of Stan Uhlir, who used to build the Echo concertina.

Edited by Theodore Kloba
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  • 1 month later...

UPDATE: Just got back to the US from Afghanistan (via Qatar) two nights ago, and had several large packages waiting for me... Among other odd gear, picked up a kora and a sackpipa, and had two big boxes for the Geuns Hybrid bandoneon, and the Morbidoni chemnitzer.

 

Initial reactions: I'm finding the c-griff less intuitive than I expected. It is an isometric keyboard (reliable intervals between keys), but it's hard keeping track of "do I jump two keys up, or am I already on the middle row and need to drop to the first key of the next column?" Tone isn't bad, but I like the Morbidoni tone better.

 

Given the (at first glance) spasticity of the Morbidoni's 52-key chemnitzer layout, I thought I'd probably tire of it quickly. However, it's actually been more accessible than I expected. Also really great tone for a rather small box; big for a concertina, but quite smaller than most melodeons.

 

In a few days I'll take some pics and do a bigger write-up of the Morbidoni. Will also have a lot of questions about the keyboard layout, and some minor maintenance questions. Also have to find a tiny brass hinge to fix the air button; it's just a curved piece of wood hinged to the body which presses on a wire lever, but the little brass hinge was broken off before I bought it. Should be an easy fix once I find the right size hinge; where does one find tiny hinges?

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