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Question about duet concertina


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Whilst it is perfectly possible to play melody and accompaniment simultaneously on the English or the Anglo, the problem that the melody can be drowned out by the accompaniment is ever present due to having only the one bellows to power all the reeds. Carefull use of chords can go a long way to alieviating this problem but the compromises are ever present.

This problem exists also on any Duet but, if the accompaniment is kept to the left side only then experiments with "Baffles" for that side can produce a better balance. There are articles and topics about this here on Cnet. and Concertina.com. I have plenty of experience of these balance problems in my attempts to make my EC playing sound more like a Duet and I am about to discover how ,and if, I can improve the situation by taking the plunge into the MacCann system.

 

 

Baffles are an admission that you have no intention of of ever going beyond 'tune on the right and faked up chords on the left'. Fair enough if that's all you want I suppose, but it's awfully limiting.

 

I can imagine it must be difficult, for instance, doing little near-staccato chords under a smooth chorded melody with an English; having adjacent fingers on the same hand doing all this sounds alarming. On a duet the accompaniment is MOSTLY parted out, and if it isn't it's usually by the player's choice, and I think you'll find you have much more control over how individual notes are sounded. That will hopefully make the difference and you won't need to resort to butchers techniques that remove an important playing option.

 

(Prof Maccan spelt it as I have, apparently, to be pedantic.)

 

 

Dirge,

yes the problems of chording 'through' the melody make for a nice puzzle on the EC and as Vamping Om-Pah's take quite a bit of mental organisation on this keyboard,( whilst also playing the melody that is) I tend to keep them to a minimum.Two note chords held while the melody moves, staccato chords ,arpeggios and 'melody moving in chords' is how I would describe what I'm doing.

I re-read what you said, in a previous thread, concerning 'Baffles' and though having not yet tried to play a Duet I do get your point.Some melodies will need to cross to the left side, unless one has a very large range on the right hand, so the baffling ideas are out. GOOD!, because the Duet project is about to kick-off for me and changing keyboards (or more like 'adding a new keyboard')is going to be BAFFLING enough.So for only the second time I will be welcoming a 'Maccan' into my house, the first one was sold to Ralph J. in the early 1970's!

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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I can imagine it must be difficult, for instance, doing little near-staccato chords under a smooth chorded melody with an English; having adjacent fingers on the same hand doing all this sounds alarming. On a duet the accompaniment is MOSTLY parted out, and if it isn't it's usually by the player's choice, and I think you'll find you have much more control over how individual notes are sounded.

 

Rob Harbron is a master at playing chords and melody and chords on an English, for example the first track of the CD Kerr Fagan Harbron "Station House" makes it sound easy!

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I can imagine it must be difficult, for instance, doing little near-staccato chords under a smooth chorded melody with an English; having adjacent fingers on the same hand doing all this sounds alarming. On a duet the accompaniment is MOSTLY parted out, and if it isn't it's usually by the player's choice, and I think you'll find you have much more control over how individual notes are sounded.

 

Rob Harbron is a master at playing chords and melody and chords on an English, for example the first track of the CD Kerr Fagan Harbron "Station House" makes it sound easy!

 

Yes Theo,

that is how it sounds alright. I must try to record some of my EC pieces this week before the Maccann arrives and throws me into a tizzy.

Oh and thanks for the link,

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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...I do get your point.Some melodies will need to cross to the left side, unless one has a very large range on the right hand, so the baffling ideas are out. GOOD!

That's a part of it but it's more than that Geoff. Sometimes a complex passage which calls for awkward fingering is transformed magically, completely, by the realisation that if you take one note into the other hand, where you just happen to have a duplicate, then suddenly you have enough fingers after all and playing it smoothly and reliably is actually quite simple. Also where a melody is moving among held chords I often group most of the held notes to one hand and play the moving theme with the other, perhaps with one finger of that hand on the last held note, or whatever as the occasion demands.

 

After years of piano and accordion I found it needed positive effort on my part to get away from 'left hand here, right hand there' thinking, and I'm not sure I'm truly free of it even now. Perhaps this is one slight advantage you'll have coming to it from the English! I'm really glad you're taking the plunge; the things you've said on Cnet suggest you are exactly the right man to get the best out of it, and I sincerely hope you come to love the thing like I do.

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Geraldo,

I'm located just south of Cincinnati, OH. If you schedule a visit you are welcome to try examples of the MacCann, Crane and Jeffries duet concertina as well as the anglo and english system. I do not have a Hayden.

 

One of the biggest challenges aspiring players face in this part of the world is to find enough "hands on" experience with concertinas to make a decision. It can all be very confusing until you actually get your hands around a concertina.

 

Greg

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  • 2 weeks later...
So there are no forum members who love the Hayden system ?

To the contrary.

It's just that when you posted that statement, they hadn't yet responded.

(I see that Daniel Hersch and Jim Albea have since responded. Can it be long before David Barnert and others do the same?)

Of course I love the Hayden system. I just haven't had a look at concertina.net for a few weeks. But then again, my Hayden is a Wheatstone.

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So there are no forum members who love the Hayden system ?

To the contrary.

It's just that when you posted that statement, they hadn't yet responded.

(I see that Daniel Hersch and Jim Albea have since responded. Can it be long before David Barnert and others do the same?)

Of course I love the Hayden system. I just haven't had a look at concertina.net for a few weeks. But then again, my Hayden is a Wheatstone.

I certainly love the Hayden layout -- so much that I;'ve ben accused of proselytizing too enthusiastically on this Forum

So I lay back out of the last couple discussions, to see what others had to say. It fekt good to see a thread comparing two brands of Hayden Duets, instead of Hayden vs The World.

 

Anyway, while heavily chromatic (lots of sharps and flats) music does strain the pinky baby fingers on teh Hayden, I still think it's the greatest overall system. 'As for it being too easy to learn -- well, that just lets you concentrate on the MUSIC more expressively.

--mike k.

Edited by ragtimer
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  • 6 months later...

okay, continuing from the maccann head-count thread:

 

[As to the rise in prices of good Maccann's.... are they not still good value ?]....they may be good value for what they are, but i've been seeing nice metal-ended ones here and there priced in the six-grand range. (i'm one of the folks the other poster was alluding to, who would prefer 57 keys from the outset)...perhaps the sellers are not getting those asking prices. not sure. it may be time to do some research with barleycorn. but if the investment was at that level (not sure i could swing it, but, if it was), the train of thought turns to, would new be wiser, in which case that would mean hayden.....of course, the hayden i would prefer, would be over the 46-button range, 50 to 55/56 buttons. wakker offers two sizes--46 (too few buttons for me for a big investment, perhaps wouldn't mind 46 if buying an upgraded stagi), nothing in between 46 and 65, which is really more than i'd need and is priced at $8500, definitely out of my range. the tedrow 52-button layout sounds perfect for my needs. close to what you get with a 57-key maccann. again, a substantial investment for accordion reeds. though, if the accordion reeds were wonderful, perhaps the investment would be quite fair.

 

one can get a delightful single-reed CBA for between $1000 to $1500. it will do everything a duet will do and more. but they weigh just under 10 pounds, or 12/13 pounds for a single-reed Pigini Peter Pan (that one would be about 2 grand) with converter bass. the idea of a unisonoric concertina with the duet's bass-on-the-left, treble-on-the-right setup, weighing in at between 3-5 pounds is, well, intoxicating....

Edited by ceemonster
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