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concertina and accordion


ido
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The Bach shows off the defects in the accordion sound nicely...

Yeah, I didn't like that one either. I would have picked Dmitriev to show off the accordion's Bach potential. My favorite part is probably when he starts dancing on the chin switches around 4:19.

I can't help but wonder if all that sound is really coming from reeds within the accordion itself, or whether it's being used as a midi interface to sound samples of a real pipe organ.

 

Either way, I doubt that his instrument is in a price range comparable to the Jackie.

Nor is the piece from a book of lessons for beginners.

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Good luck on that. =) I do seem to remember hearing that that piece was a hit on the English Concertina, back in the day.

 

By the Fayre Four Sisters. It's on Alan Day's "English International".

 

To me it's more a curiosity than music.

 

Yes, I have that compilation, & am also rather disappointed by the fidelity of the ancient recording. But I was speaking in a broader sense.

 

Either way, I doubt that his instrument is in a price range comparable to the Jackie.

Nor is the piece from a book of lessons for beginners.

 

Maybe the pages in your book are stuck together. It should be just between "The Major Scale" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

 

Anyhow, perhaps I'd better address the OP:

 

Hi, I'm going to buy a concertina (Jackie) but I'm also maybe interested in an accordion and I was thinking about the difrences and similarities.

1.If I learn to play the concertina will it be easier for me to play a button accordion?

2.Are the sounds both instrements make simmular? and in what way?

3.Are the type of songs played on both instrements same type?

4.Is there a point getting them both? is supirior to another?

thanks for the help.

 

1. Things you learn from picking up the Anglo-German concertina (like a Rochelle) are more likely to transfer to button accordions than things you learn playing a Jackie.

2. The Jackie has accordion reeds, and will sound more like an accordion than an expensive concertina will. Accordions vary in sound from one to the next more than most instruments, so it's hard to say.

3. Cajun music is famously played on a one-row button accordion, and German polkas are less likely to be heard on an English concertina, but in general, I would expect a significant overlap in the potential repertoires.

4. Maybe; maybe not.

5. If you ask in an accordion forum, you may get different answers.

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1. Things you learn from picking up the Anglo-German concertina (like a Rochelle) are more likely to transfer to button accordions than things you learn playing a Jackie.

Not
the button accordions in the links
ido
(and others) posted.

Each button on those sounds the same note in both directions, and any major or minor scale requires the use of three rows. Not at all like the button accordions which are so popular in Irish, English, Cajun, Tex Mex, Trikitixa, etc.

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As someone who plays English concertina, Chromatic Button Accordion (c-griff) and two different bandonion systems – Meisel and Chromatiphon, perhaps I can offer some perspective in addition to those already expressed. I don’t play anglo or other bisonoric reed instruments. Despite my best efforts, my dyslexia just won’t have it. So, my comments are based on unisonoric instruments only.

 

SOUND

 

The difference in sound is easily discernable among my following concertinas which I play regularly: 1861 Rock Chidley, 1923 Wheatstone Aeloa, 2007 Wakker Edeophone, and 2010 Morse Geordi. All have wooden ends. Hence, even among concertina-reeded instruments there are notable distinctions in tonal qualities and characteristics that do not require a particularly discriminating listener to distinguish. The differences in the sounds of concertinas extend far beyond the matter of proper concertina reeds and accordion reeds or whether they are parallel, radial, reed block or flat-on-the-pan/soundboard.

 

Accordions are somewhat similar. There is the matter of the reeds and the tuning – dry/American/Continental to wet/musette., the presence or absence of a tone chamber, and the wood species used in the casing surrounding the reeds onto which the pearloid is applied. The number of switches and the range of the reeds – LMH – and their combinations – LLM, LMM, LMH, MMH, MHH, etc – also influence the sound. On the bass side, there is also the matter of Helikon reeds.

 

Bandonions are similar depending on the materials used – especially in the plates – zinc or other; but also the reeds and the mechanisms – metal or wood – not to mention the wood species of the soundboard. Then there’s the tuning: perfect octaves characteristic of tango purists and very wet among chemnitzers. And is the box plastic or wood.

 

It doesn’t matter what the instrument is, acoustical properties do vary – and those variances are due to multiple variables – none of which are uniform in consequence or significance.

 

PLAYABILITY

 

Playability depends on so many things – size, weight, bellows, engineering, posture, key/button location and tension/resistance, technique, “oneness” with the instrument, familiarity over time – and that’s just for starters.

 

I prefer keyboard layouts with uniformity rather than random placement of notes and keys. A fully transposable instrument, it seems to me, has innumerable advantages and greater versatility. A fully transposable instrument offers greater range in a single instrument.

 

The CBA and the Meisel and Chromatiphon Bandonion keyboard layouts are fully chromatic and fully transposable. The English is fully chromatic, but not fully transposable. The Wiki/Hayden is fully chromatic, and while, technically, it is a fully transposable keyboard, it places all of the accidentals around the ends/outside edges of the keyboard rather than integrating them with the natural tones throughout the scale which makes the reach and task of playing in minor keys and some “flat” keys somewhat demanding, if not outright difficult, due to the stretch required to reach many buttons. For this same reason, many accordion players of classical music prefer the CBA – and often even the b-griff over the c-griff – to the piano accordion keyboard.

 

Regarding chordal capabilities of the stradella bass on an accordion, I think the best information resides here:

 

http://www.waldosworld.org/accordion/accordion_combinations_chart.pdf

 

Most accordions have two single-note bass rows: root and counterbass. With these single note rows, there are many single note bass tones available. If more are desired, a free-bass keyboard is available in a variety of configurations. If both chordal and single note bass tones are desired/required beyond the usual two rows of single tone bass notes, a converter model is available which allows the player to switch (convert the buttons) from one to the other.

 

MUSICAL GENRES

 

Depending on how discriminating you are, how much of a purist you are (dare one – or two – play the double violin concerto on mandolins?), or how adventurous you are (does music originally composed for a harpsichord played on a vibraphone sound appealing?),, all of these instruments can be applied to virtually any genre of music.

 

In the case of an accordion, the more reeds and reed combinations and switches present, the more variety of sounds are available. Add a tone chamber and the variety increases even more relative to the number of reeds in the tone chamber. For a concertina or bandonion with set tuning, the matter is quite different .

 

I play the variety of instruments that I play because I enjoy their subtle (concertinas) and not-so-subtle differences. That said, it is really seems to be no different than a vehicle. You can utilize a car to perform tasks for which a truck was designed. The job can get done, but the endeavor and the effort will not be the same. It’s often a matter of capacity and resources. If you have a truck, you use it. If you don’t, you make do with the car. And which one you do have typically comes down to which one is best suited for the things you use it for most.

Edited by danersen
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I didn't realy understand much what I understood is that some like accordions and some hate them. Basicly I just want to play music, I already asked which concertina I shuold buy and I'm convinced Jackieis the best concertina for me. The thing is I got to concertinas threw looking at accordions(becouse I was originaly interested in them) and I started reading about them and watching videos. I dont have expireance in music.

As I see the advantages & diadvantages of the accordion(the only accordion I'm interested in is a 120 button accordion like one seen here

) for me

Accordion Advantage:

1. It can play more types of music.

2. It's more impresive.

3. There is not much of a concertina comunity at all where I live (israel).

 

Concertina Advantage:

1. The kind of accordion I wan't is about 2000$ which is way way over my budget, where as a prety good concertina is 350$.

2. A concertina is more unique hence more original.

3. It seems simpler to learn and play a concertina.

4. It's lighter and more portable.

5. If I decide to switch to an accordion I can easely sell the concertina for almost the same price (at least that's what I was told on this site) hopefully in israel too.

 

Concedering I'm still young and I'm just begining maybe when I'll have more money I'll buy an accordion or another instrement

so if anyone knows anything about what I said please comment (I'm kind of in a hury about this).

Thank you.

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Hello Ido,

In direct response to your most recent post:

The accordion in the YouTube video that you specified is a 5-row chromatic button accordion - B-griff.

I did not see a maker's name, but I think your estimate of USD$2000 is likely quite low for an accordion of this complexity and quality - even as a resale instrument.

There are many B-system CBA accordions in the market for the amount that you suggested - and less - but they pale by comparison to the one in the YouTube video.

FYI, I'm confident that the subject accordion probably weighs at least 26 pounds/12 kilograms.

Accordions do seem to be more plentiful and available than concertinas.

In my experience, learning to play a concertina isn't necessarily simpler than learning to play CBA, but I might agree that they are easier to play.

I might agree that the accordion is more adaptable to a greeter range of musical genres, but I don't agree than an accordion is necessarily more impressive.

A concertina in the right hands can be VERY impressive, indeed. Perhaps not as "flashy," but certainly just as - if not more - impressive.

As one who plays both CBA and concertina, I think your choice of the Jackie is prudent given your stated Interest in the CBA - and especially given your comment that you lack experience in music.

But in no way do I think you should consider the concertina a compromise compared to an accordion.

Be Well,

Dan

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Thanks, Geoff,

I very much enjoyed watching this.

The right hand "stretches" between 1:35 and 1:57 are good illustrations of the relative compactness of the cba keyboard and why some - especially those of us with small hands - find them easier to play.

Be Well,

Dan

Edited by danersen
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This one shows what a PA is capable of, IMO.

 

Isn't there more to Bach than that church-organ juggernaut?

How about the sonatas for solo violin or solo flute? Or the Two Part Inventions? Or 4-part chorales?

 

Can someone please point us to some videos (or audios) showing what an accordion can do with something more subtle than a railroad train?

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hi all,

 

Richard Galliano has a new beautiful CD devoted to Bach Here is a link you can listen to samples and explanations (in french!...). I heard him on other interview he explained that accordion players who want to play Bach have often complex towards organists. So he decided to play music from Bach for violin and other...

 

Edited by tona
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And here:

 

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?xl=xl_blazer&v=L5BIeHhKjqo

 

for something out of the ordinary - and quite lovely, IMHO.

 

And here:

 

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?xl=xl_blazer&v=Wv7hI6t5t2M

 

for the iPad/iPhone version of Tona's link - really quite extra-ordinary - again, IMHO.

 

(notice the absence of any woodwind among the group).

 

BTW, Ido, the accordion Richard is playing In Tona's link is C-griff.

Edited by danersen
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Hi, I'm going to buy a concertina (Jackie) but I'm also maybe interested in an accordion and I was thinking about the difrences and similarities.

1.If I learn to play the concertina will it be easier for me to play a button accordion?

2.Are the sounds both instrements make simmular? and in what way?

3.Are the type of songs played on both instrements same type?

4.Is there a point getting them both? is supirior to another?

thanks for the help.

 

I am not giving a really scientific answer but just answering 'off the top of my head,' since I play both instruments (somewhat):

 

For the most part, an accordion can be much louder and deeper than a concertina.

 

Out of everything, that's the one main consideration that has sometimes affected my choice of which one to play. This is in spite of microphones -- because it's just not practical to always haul around and set up amplification and so on.

 

I don't always care about being loud, of course. There are WAY more considerations! But, since my husband has a difficult time hearing the concertina if he plays his harmonica (because he is a bit deaf), I play the accordion when we play together, since he can hear that, he says.

 

So, just a thought -- if perhaps you are part of a duo with a slightly-deaf person, or whatever!

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For the most part, an accordion can be much louder and deeper than a concertina.

 

...

 

So, just a thought -- if perhaps you are part of a duo with a slightly-deaf person, or whatever!

On the other hand, if nobody in the vicinity is already deaf, you would want to avoid the excessively loud noises that tend to cause deafness. Right? ;)

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For the most part, an accordion can be much louder and deeper than a concertina.

 

...

 

So, just a thought -- if perhaps you are part of a duo with a slightly-deaf person, or whatever!

On the other hand, if nobody in the vicinity is already deaf, you would want to avoid the excessively loud noises that tend to cause deafness. Right? ;)

 

Hmm... well, if my weapon is an accordion, perhaps what I want to be avoiding is something like... being tossed right out the nearest window. :lol:

 

Seriously, though...

 

I personally prefer my concertina, I'd say, and I like that it's small and easily mobile. The Morse Albion English I play is loud enough that I have a small battery-powered amp and a mic for my voice, if I want to balance the volumes of voice and instrument (...if I want to hear what I'm singing!).

 

I would say that I only play my accordion because of my husband being more able to hear and play along with that. But, I do also like my accordion, mainly because it gives me the options of playing the piano keyboard, and the unique circle-of-fifths-etc. bass buttons. I usually don't bother to sing when I play the accordion, because it drowns me out, anyway.

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[How about the sonatas for solo violin or solo flute? Or the Two Part Inventions? Or 4-part chorales?

 

Can someone please point us to some videos (or audios) showing what an accordion can do with something more subtle than a railroad train?]

 

the free-bass accordion can do any or all of these things, and more. now, it has the limitations of a fixed-pitch instrument, so there are sounds the violin will make that it won't, but that limitation is true of piano and flute as well. and some would say there are expressive sounds the piano can make that, say, the organ won't make, and by that gauge free-bass accordion probly would have similar "limitations" to the organ as compared to piano. but like the organ, it has the compensating feature of being able to use air pressure to make expressive sounds similar to a human lungs and voice, that the piano can not do. but within those tonal limitations, note-wise, and complexity-wise, free-bass accordion can play close to anything, of any contrapuntal, multi-voiced complexity, that piano or organ can do, and can do so with incredible subtlety. and obviously, it can play ravishingly any single-note-melody-line that violin or flute can play, which is actually one of my favorite ways to play and hear free-reed music.

 

free-bass accordion is a formidable classical musical instrument taught in many of the great conservatories in europe, both eastern and western. in the jazz sphere, the work of people like richard galliano or olivier manoury (unisonoric bandoneon) or numerous others speaks for itself. cliches like "more subtle than a railroad train" are indicative of ignorance, but not much else.

 

 

in terms of the concertina-versus-accordion thing, it depends on what genre(s) of music you are yearning to play. i play and love both concertina and accordion. the concertina is brilliant for travel. it is incredible how much complexity it will give you in such a portable and compact package. incredible.....but having said that....of the musical genres i love and play, it will only effectively work for me with one of these genres, namely, irish traditional music (i do not like "morris" and english concertina music, so irish is pretty much "it" for me on anglo concertina.) yes, you can play a charming single-melody line on it from any musical genre compatible with the keys in which the concertina has all notes in that key in both directions. niall vallely did that sweet cut of a thelonius monk tune on the anglo concertina anthology, and there are some nifty little ragtime-ish things on that cd, someone posted some musette here or someplace recently but they are very bare-bones arrangements.

 

it is a very limited instrument. an absolute marvel within those limits, but severely limited. it won't really do everything a violin will do because the 30 or even 39-button concertina does not have all notes in both directions, giving you full fluidity of phrasing in all keys. there are too many keys where you are forced to play "on the rows," and thus locked into that push-pull phrasing that can be so brilliant for folk dance but so stilted and heavy-handed sounding for many other types of music. plus, the notes for chords or even double-stops are not there in both directions. if it had every note in both directions and still had that compact size and mobile responsiveness, that would be different, i guess......

 

if you want or need to be able to play "anything and everything" on a free-reed instrument, including multi-voiced, contrapuntal music, that means accordion, not a bisonoric push-pull instrument, but a unisonoric accordion such as PA or CBA. along with irish, i am also heavily into the parisian "bal musette" music, argentine tango, and the modal-minor eastern european and scandinavian genres. to play those genres "for real," more than just a charming little snatch of a melody line, you need much more than a concertina....you wouldn't need the hugest PA or CBA, but you need at bare minimum 30 treble notes for folk music, preferably 34 or 37, and for complex classical you need the maxiumum keyboard....

Edited by ceemonster
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in the more-subtle-than-a-railroad-train department:

 

here is classical CBA player lidia kaminska playing astor piazzola....

 

 

here she is playing chopin

 

 

 

here is Kanako Kato of Tokyo playing a nice compact free-bass cba...

 

 

 

of course, this would be more my own kind of thing. you can hear her switch it from "wet" to "dry" in the middle of the waltz, you'd have your choice on a cba....if you insist..:rolleyes:

 

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it is a very limited instrument. an absolute marvel within those limits, but severely limited. it won't really do everything a violin will do because the 30 or even 39-button concertina does not have all notes in both directions, giving you full fluidity of phrasing in all keys. there are too many keys where you are forced to play "on the rows," and thus locked into that push-pull phrasing that can be so brilliant for folk dance but so stilted and heavy-handed sounding for many other types of music. plus, the notes for chords or even double-stops are not there in both directions.

I'm not sure about the relevance of all this to the original post, where ido said, "I'm going to buy a concertina (Jackie)....". The Jackie is English system, not an anglo, and every note available on an English is available in both directions of the bellows.

 

As for being able to "do everything a violin will do", I think that's a red herring. It's just as true that a violin can't do everything a concertina can do. E.g., a concertina can easily play more than 4 notes at a time, while on a violin more than 1 at a time is considered something special, more than 2 is highly unusual, and 4 is even the theoretical maximum, because one can't get more than one note at a time from each string.

 

if it had every note in both directions and still had that compact size and mobile responsiveness, that would be different, i guess......

Well, the English concertina and the various duet concertinas are indeed different, in precisely that way. I wonder why your post has repeatedly ignored their existence.

 

if you want or need to be able to play "anything and everything" on a free-reed instrument, including multi-voiced, contrapuntal music, that means accordion, not a bisonoric push-pull instrument, but a unisonoric accordion such as PA or CBA.

Or a unisonoric
concertina
, no?

And while there are indeed some note combinations that aren't available on any ordinary anglo, I don't believe even a 30-button anglo is nearly as limited you seem to be implying.

 

along with irish, i am also heavily into the parisian "bal musette" music, argentine tango, and the modal-minor eastern european and scandinavian genres. to play those genres "for real," more than just a charming little snatch of a melody line, you need much more than a concertina....

The central concept in much of Scandinavian traditional music is melody, with second -- in some genres virtually equal -- priority given to harmony. Chords are largely optional, or even undesirable (e.g., where the subtleties of particular 2- and 3-part harmonies may be diluted or drowned by a flood of chords).

 

As for whether one can reasonably interpret these musics on anglo concertina, I personally know at least two Swedes who demonstrate quite wonderfully how it can be done. (I regret that neither has made recordings.)

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