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Which Concertina for French mazurkas


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Dear All, this is my first topic and I am sincerely Ignorant. Love French mazurkas, the ones Eric Theze makes for instance (Which he plays on bandoneon by the way). Noted that majority of players use diatonic accordion but I would be more interested to learn a more compact and smaller instrument like the concertina seems. On top of this I never understood why I am always fascinated in exploring different path than others, therefore if they all use accordeon I might like a different instrument.

Questions now:

- can I obtain good sounding mazurkas with concertina?

- Diatonic or chromatic?

- English or Anglo?

- how many keys and which tune?

 

Thanx so much, I really appreciate your help

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Dear All, this is my first topic and I am sincerely Ignorant. Love French mazurkas, the ones Eric Theze makes for instance (Which he plays on bandoneon by the way). Noted that majority of players use diatonic accordion but I would be more interested to learn a more compact and smaller instrument like the concertina seems. On top of this I never understood why I am always fascinated in exploring different path than others, therefore if they all use accordeon I might like a different instrument.

Questions now:

- can I obtain good sounding mazurkas with concertina?

- Diatonic or chromatic?

- English or Anglo?

- how many keys and which tune?

 

Thanx so much, I really appreciate your help

 

I play a lot of traditional French dance music, incuding mazurkas, on a G/D anglo. C.net's Alan Day has been doing this for years. I think it works quite well.

 

 

 

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I play a lot of traditional French dance music, incuding mazurkas, on a G/D anglo. C.net's Alan Day has been doing this for years. I think it works quite well.

 

Something like this?

 

(it's a french canadian something in Russian)

 

 

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I use and English for playing French Mazurkas,scotishs, borrees etc., but I do not see why you could not use any concertina system. The key choice for and Anglo might depend where you live/ who you might play with.

I live, in France, on a border between a D/G area and a C/G area, therefore I am happy to play the English as it is happy in most keys. There are a lot of diatonic accordion players in the C/G area but I have not met a Bandoneonist yet. If you are going to play with accordionists then I would suggest getting a LOUD instrument.

good luck with you music,

Geoff.

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I think Concertina will be akin to fiddle or a flute. Playing it with self accompaniment will probably sound funny to people, accustomed to hearing accordion. Sounds like if you want to play French mazurkas, you need french mazurka instrument. Unless you want to play with your life and find out several years later that it doesn't work and the precious time is wasted. Sounds like you want to be in style, but original. Tough luck. There are very small two/half rows accordions. Why not try them? Concertina is very, VERY difficult instrument to master, it is not forgiving, has more stringent sound and is relatively quiet. Because of it's specific sound it can be annoying. If the size is deciding factor, look elsewhere. Flute, recorder, violin.

Anglo and English concertinas will also require re-arranging of music, changing the key.

May be if you pick up Duet.

Why nobody suggested Elise from Concertina Connection? If anything, of all concertinas, it may sound the best for French Mazurka.

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I use and English for playing French Mazurkas,scotishs, borrees etc., but I do not see why you could not use any concertina system. The key choice for and Anglo might depend where you live/ who you might play with.

I live, in France, on a border between a D/G area and a C/G area, therefore I am happy to play the English as it is happy in most keys. There are a lot of diatonic accordion players in the C/G area but I have not met a Bandoneonist yet. If you are going to play with accordionists then I would suggest getting a LOUD instrument.

good luck with you music,

Geoff.

I agree Geoff,I have some lovely recordings of Jean Megly and a few others playing French music on Duets.

I try and emulate the style of Central France with the Anglo where the Melodion is one of the dominant Instruments.

Usual line up, French pipes ,Hurdy Gurdy, Melodion, Fiddle. Main regions Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Berry and Limousin

I have not heard a really good English System player playing French music (full chords) but I am certain that the instrument can be equally as good as the others.

One day we shall meet again Geoff and have a go at some of these tunes.

Al

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One of the strands that lead to me taking up English concertina was Dave Collinge playing great French mazurkas on his EC at the late lamented Preston Eurojams.

 

I find mazurkas (and Central French music generally) sit very well on the EC, sound good, and the dancers certainly don't complain - yet Alan Day, as already mentioned, is le grand fromage when it comes to English bands playing French music on the concertina, and he plays an anglo. (Any progress on the Rosbif CD reissue Alan? :) )

 

So (IMNSHO at least) it's another one of those 'which concertina is best' questions where the answer is actually that it's the individual human being on the outside of the concertina that makes most of the difference, rather than the system of concertina ...

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Isn't it also worth mentioning that if there is no clear choice, no certain way to go, then Anglo is an expensive alternative; you get more for your money with English, (and more again with duets I think?)

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I have an extensive repertoire of French and Italian music including of the mazurkas and waltzes. If it is the musette sound you desire you may find it from a diatonic instrument or an accordion. I wonder if you are looking not only for an instrument that will give you the sound you want but also the feel and style of the music. I suggest looking for a good music shop where you can play several different instruments and see what fits.

rss

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I have an extensive repertoire of French and Italian music including of the mazurkas and waltzes. If it is the musette sound you desire you may find it from a diatonic instrument or an accordion. I wonder if you are looking not only for an instrument that will give you the sound you want but also the feel and style of the music. I suggest looking for a good music shop where you can play several different instruments and see what fits. rss
Well italy sounds romantic but the hard truth is not that easy to find concertina on shops.they do push diatonic accordion much more.when musicians play they all use accordion. This was main reason to look at some different flavour and having a bit more chance to partecipate making music with them in future when tecnique will improve. Lets look at a different perspective, which type will enable me to esier learn it also in terms of learning methods.? My music knowledge is
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I have an extensive repertoire of French and Italian music including of the mazurkas and waltzes. If it is the musette sound you desire you may find it from a diatonic instrument or an accordion. I wonder if you are looking not only for an instrument that will give you the sound you want but also the feel and style of the music. I suggest looking for a good music shop where you can play several different instruments and see what fits. rss
Well italy sounds romantic but the hard truth is not that easy to find concertina on shops.they do push diatonic accordion much more.when musicians play they all use accordion. This was main reason to look at some different flavour and having a bit more chance to partecipate making music with them in future when tecnique will improve. Lets look at a different perspective, which type will enable me to esier learn it also in terms of learning methods.? My music knowledge is

 

 

 

Sorry, wasnt able to finish using the small mobile phone. Now back. My music knowledge is decent having studied the piano for 2 years and acquired the capacity to use the 2 hands indipendently. I would like to choose the instrument that enable me to quickly have some results that will self motivate myself to carry on. I have posted the same question on Italian forum and you guess what....they discourage me to go for the concertina as they all play another instrument. When I referred to the master Eric Theze using the bandoneon for the mazurkas they told this is wrong as well. You figure out.

 

I like the bandoneon per se and the resemblance the concertina has makes additional appeal... At the end I need to identify the concertina that plays mazurka with good meat and bone without being too difficult. Also in terms of finding good methods to learn with. Thanx so much friends, you are helping me to focus on the matter. Cheers

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Well.... I have now done my bit of "homework" listening to some tracks of Eric Thézé playing his Bandoneon, I was not that aware of him and his music so thanks for opening another door for me Ubik . This music is stunning indeed!

I would now suggest that if you do not yet have a Concertina and you are really keen to play music like this, then some model of Duet would be my choice. In fact it made me want to start learning a Duet or a Bandoneon, but at 60 maybe I should just try to improve what I have.

Checking one of the "small advertisment" web sites here in France I found many many Bandoneons for sale, ranging in price from 500 to 4500 Euros. Not many Concertinas though, so it is Country specific for specific instruments.

This website www.leboncoin.fr usually has more items for sale than French ebay and as it is not an auction site, one needs to be able to speak French to phone or email the vendor, but it is the best place I have found for anything on sale in France.

 

Al,

yes it will be fun to try out some tunes when we do meet. At present I am just developing my techniques of EC playing of Centre France music, with the local band, which has the usual mix of diatonic C/G accordions, Cornemuses and Hurdy Gurdies. With these we now have Electric Bass Guitar, Viola and Clarinet and me...... it can be quite a crowd, of 14+ musicians, to play for a Bal.

 

But as Steve points out , no matter what instrument, it is down to who is playing and how their head works.

salut,

Geoff.

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Well.... I have now done my bit of "homework" listening to some tracks of Eric Thézé playing his Bandoneon, I was not that aware of him and his music so thanks for opening another door for me Ubik . This music is stunning indeed!

I would now suggest that if you do not yet have a Concertina and you are really keen to play music like this, then some model of Duet would be my choice. In fact it made me want to start learning a Duet or a Bandoneon, but at 60 maybe I should just try to improve what I have.

Checking one of the "small advertisment" web sites here in France I found many many Bandoneons for sale, ranging in price from 500 to 4500 Euros. Not many Concertinas though, so it is Country specific for specific instruments.

This website www.leboncoin.fr usually has more items for sale than French ebay and as it is not an auction site, one needs to be able to speak French to phone or email the vendor, but it is the best place I have found for anything on sale in France.

 

Al,

yes it will be fun to try out some tunes when we do meet. At present I am just developing my techniques of EC playing of Centre France music, with the local band, which has the usual mix of diatonic C/G accordions, Cornemuses and Hurdy Gurdies. With these we now have Electric Bass Guitar, Viola and Clarinet and me...... it can be quite a crowd, of 14+ musicians, to play for a Bal.

 

But as Steve points out , no matter what instrument, it is down to who is playing and how their head works.

salut,

Geoff.

 

 

Geoff, happy you enjoy Eric and bandoneon as well. If I understood your advise correctly as you advised the duet, being easier, lighter and smaller than a bandoneon? And please do the extra mile in helping me...how will be exactly named the Duet type....diatonic, chromatic? which tune would be the best? I am not interested in high speed music, just slow mazurkas.......Why do I prefer something different from the standard accordeon is because all folk musicians here use accordeon and in case I can manage properly with a different instrument will dig a place for myself as well...THANXXXXX

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Ah now, Ubik,

you are asking the big question. There are several Bandoneon keyboard layouts, but I do not know much about them or which type Eric Thézé uses. If you could find that out it might help in choosing a Duet Concertina.

However, on Duet concertina keyboards I am not an expert, but,I think, all the different types are "double action" (play the same note on push and pull) and are usually Chromatic. It is the fact that on a Duet there are two seperate keyboards, so you can play a melody line on one side and a second melody, counter melody,appegios or chords on the other side. This is the way I hear Eric Thézé playing his instrument.

My instrument, the English, has only one keyboard, divided equally on each side of the instrument, which surely makes it the most bizare of all, the Anglo has also one keyboard, extended over the two sides.

 

One point you made earlier (or two); that you wanted something small/light and then that you also wanted to have some sound strength, robustness...... well, for me to be able to hear myself play with the band, I am the only accoustic instrument that is "personally" amplified. So I carry a small Guitar amplifier and have a microphone attatched to each end of my concertina, and the amplifier box sitting behind me facing my good ear. I can then adjust the volume as needed, just to balance my sound against several Castagnaris.

So, I have to carry more weight around (amplifier/cables/concertina) than if I used a Bandoneon. Just a point.

It is a fact that you would get more concertina for your money if you buy a Duet, but will it be easier to play than the other types? I doubt that. For advise on types of Duet systems you would need to ask the Duet players what they think.

Best of luck,

Geoff.

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Ah now, Ubik,

you are asking the big question. There are several Bandoneon keyboard layouts, but I do not know much about them or which type Eric Thézé uses. If you could find that out it might help in choosing a Duet Concertina.

However, on Duet concertina keyboards I am not an expert, but,I think, all the different types are "double action" (play the same note on push and pull) and are usually Chromatic. It is the fact that on a Duet there are two seperate keyboards, so you can play a melody line on one side and a second melody, counter melody,appegios or chords on the other side. This is the way I hear Eric Thézé playing his instrument.

My instrument, the English, has only one keyboard, divided equally on each side of the instrument, which surely makes it the most bizare of all, the Anglo has also one keyboard, extended over the two sides.

 

One point you made earlier (or two); that you wanted something small/light and then that you also wanted to have some sound strength, robustness...... well, for me to be able to hear myself play with the band, I am the only accoustic instrument that is "personally" amplified. So I carry a small Guitar amplifier and have a microphone attatched to each end of my concertina, and the amplifier box sitting behind me facing my good ear. I can then adjust the volume as needed, just to balance my sound against several Castagnaris.

So, I have to carry more weight around (amplifier/cables/concertina) than if I used a Bandoneon. Just a point.

It is a fact that you would get more concertina for your money if you buy a Duet, but will it be easier to play than the other types? I doubt that. For advise on types of Duet systems you would need to ask the Duet players what they think.

Best of luck,

Geoff.

Geoff, amplifing is not an issue. In general we have dancers in small places and when places are just slightly bigger (50 people audience) they bring themself amplifiers. So that would not be a issue for me. I understood one of the difficulties of the bandoneon is the diatonic plus the tremendous amount of keys displaced in strange almost casual position. If a Duet has the chords or bass on left and melody on right and has maybe 40 Keys only seems simpler than a bandoneon right? I am very much tempted by the bandoneon but I believe it should be a challange too big for me. This evening will see a couple of accordion musicians specialized in mazurkas and eventually will ask them. Where is the place to ask to duet players?

 

By the way....go here for scores of Eric http://eric.theze.free.fr/index2.html and hear mp3 files like Gabriel, Arthur or EAB vals. Amazing for my taste

Edited by Ubik
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...listening to some tracks of Eric Thézé playing his Bandoneon

 

Yes, I like this music.

 

Last month this clip was posted on mel.net

...which compelled me to learn a few of these on DBA. Tunes like Satie's Gnossiennes sound good on musette DBA. Perhaps the music you're interested in could be done on two-row?...a relatively inexpensive solution.

 

One reason I started playing DBA is for its volume and robust sound (easier than fiddling for three-hour dances)-- a pretty potent sound in a small and lightweight box.

Edited by catty
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I've attended a workshop by Eric Thesé last year. He plays a chromatic bandoneon as far as I can recall. And I played EC with him. He plays and composes in the 'modern' French style of mazurka... I prefer the old style mazurkas as we played them some 30 years ago though. Since I play tango with double bass, I know a lot of bandoneon players. If you combine concertina with bandoneon or accordeon: this sounds very nice, but I tend to see the concertina as a melody instrument then and play stuff a violin would do. If you don't see them playing, I find it hard to tell the difference between a good Anglo player and an English one... Most folk tunes are with two sharps or flats at most, so equally accessible for Anglo.

 

Compared with concertina, the bandoneon has a 'rougher' sound while the concertina sounds purer, more angel-like. Concertina and bandoneon: the beauty and the beast ;-)

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