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My old wooden German square concertina-like bandoneon (3 row, 32 buttons) is the smallest size bandoneon, so I have been told by a bandoneon maker.

The two outer rows are basically a G/A concertina whereas a 20B anglo concertina would have G/D.

The 2 inner rows are comparable to a "normal" 20b E/A concertina.

 

And I always thought my old German Bandoneon with 51 buttons was a small one! I suppose I can now regard it as middle-sized! :D

 

Its inner 3 rows are also in G, A and E. Playing on the A and E rows feels like playing an Anglo. One of my favourite fully harmonised tunes is "Linden Lea", and I can play it in C on the C/G Anglo and in A on the Bandoneon with exactly the same fingering, except for one note. (And I could use that fingering on the Anglo if I wanted).

 

Playing on the G and A rows feels very different, but still lets you modulate up a fifth easily. The added capability is playing scale passages in one bellows direction, which of course means greater freedom in what chords you can play with what melody note.

Nevertheless, if I'm only allowed two rows, I'd prefer the fifth interval between them, like the C/G Anglo, or A/E like some old German 20-button concertinas.

 

Cheers,

John

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I've been poking around on here, and in a few minutes I found two players who play EC! (Geoff Wooff and spindizzy)....
I think there's some confusion here. EC = English Concertina, not an Anglo concertina in the keys of E and C.

Well spotted, Johanna!

I, too, was puzzled by his "comparison", but it hadn't occurred to me that he thought EC meant E/C anglo. B)

 

I'm pretty sure there are at least hundreds of us EC players here on Concertina.net, and odd keys aren't a problem, at least if we practice them. (I could also say that practicing helps us avoid accidentals, but that's just my love of puns. ;))

 

I do wonder, Chris_L, if you've ever tried an English or a duet. Since your questioning seems not to consider the in-out of the bellows for the individual notes to be an important factor, it seems to me that those other systems would give you much "more bang for the buck" (American idiom; improvised translation: "more punch for the pound"). In particular, small duets have ranges similar to a 20- or 30- button anglo, but with all the accidentals and every note available on both push and pull. And they have more than 20 buttons, to be sure, but a I believe the price of a 46-button Maccann is similar to that of a comparable 20-button anglo.

 

An advantage of the little Maccann is that the right hand goes down to G-above-middle-C, rather than just the B above on a C/G anglo, yet it goes all the way up to the top G of the C/G anglo. Misses the even-higher B (is that ever used?), but has the F-natural just below (as well as the F#) and all the accidentals below that. (A 35-button Crane goes all the way down to middle C in the right hand, but doesn't reach as high.) The left hand of the Maccann-46 goes up to C-above-middle-C, slightly shy of the just-higher E in the G row of a C/G anglo, and like the anglo it's missing the D and D# in the bass octave (pity!), but it has the low E, F, A, and Bb of the 30-button C/G (not found in the 20-button, except that some have a pull A in the G row), plus the C#, F#, and G# that even the 30-button doesn't have, and all the accidentals from there on up.

 

Edited to correct an error regarding the lower range of the Maccann.

Edited by JimLucas
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The idea of something like the C/C# button accordion (or its relatives, C#/D, etc.) has come up repeatedly, but so far hasn't caught on.
It's interesting that nobody seems to have tried the C/C# option....

I didn't say no one had tried it, I said that it hasn't caught on.

 

I seem to recall reports that at least a couple such instruments -- also a C/G/G# 3-row? -- were made as special requests, but there hasn't been a rush of orders for more, nor do I even know where those are. Sightings, if any, seem to have been very infrequent, so I don't even know if those who had them built still play them.

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Another point to consider is that while the core 20 buttons tend to be fairly standard, on instruments with more than this the extra buttons can be quite varied. In addition to the Wheatstone and Jeffries "standard layout", individual notes are often customised by players to suit their preferred music and style of playing.

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The idea of something like the C/C# button accordion (or its relatives, C#/D, etc.) has come up repeatedly, but so far hasn't caught on.
It's interesting that nobody seems to have tried the C/C# option....

I didn't say no one had tried it, I said that it hasn't caught on.

 

Hardly surprising, seeing that C/C# is an accordion idea, and diatonic concertinas and diatonic accordions are fundamentally different!

 

The accordion has the chords in the left hand, so the right hand only has to play the melody. The C row gives you all the naturals and the C# row gives you all the sharps, so theoretically you have great freedom of melodic expression.

 

However, the concertinas have no chord buttons - the left-hand and right hand buttons form a continuous series with which you have to play the melody and the harmonies. In the case of the diatonic concertinas (Anglos, etc.) this means that the choice of keys for the two main rows has to take harmonisation into account. The possible chords and the standard modulations are more important than the available accidentals.

 

Cheers,

John

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And to follow on Jim's comments, I recall long ago a discussion (back in the 1990s, on the old newsgroup, maybe?) of an early Suttner ordered with a B/C/G layout. Haven't heard of it since.

 

I too share the impression that this question comes up periodically. But the old systems persist.

 

Ken

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I do wonder, Chris_L, if you've ever tried an English or a duet. Since your questioning seems not to consider the in-out of the bellows for the individual notes to be an important factor, it seems to me that those other systems would give you much "more bang for the buck" (American idiom; improvised translation: "more punch for the pound"). In particular, small duets have ranges similar to a 20- or 30- button anglo, but with all the accidentals and every note available on both push and pull. And they have more than 20 buttons, to be sure, but a I believe the price of a 46-button Maccann is similar to that of a comparable 20-button anglo.

 

JimLucas- I wasn't planning a full biography on here just yet, but since you ask, I did play the "EC" back in the Sixties...I played EC and a little melodeon back then as well as guitar...I only ever learnt a couple of tunes on the EC but I do have an idea of how it works. I don't think I had ever seen an Anglo then- they were killed off like the red sqirrels by melodeons- but if I had I would have realised that the Anglo is a better choice for a melodeon player. Growing up in Suffolk, I could hear traditional melodeon players in the pubs and Bob Roberts was around to set the example for singing with melodeon. I was looking for a way to accompany myself and I was influenced by Alf Edwards on the A.L.Lloyd records. (I'm delighted to discover that my C/G Anglo can play "Lovely Joan" in D minor and it sounds just as good as it used to on the EC.) Later on I discovered that the Anglo was preferred by working class musicians like Scan Tester and William Kimber, just as the melodeon was preferred to the piano accordian, possibly for economic reasons- I think they were cheaper. The Anglo was better as a solo instrument for Morris dance, I think. As far as bellows direction is concerned, it's not the case that I think it unimportant. In fact I think that's exactly what I like about the Anglo- the bouncy rhythm that flows naturally from it, the way it seems to play you. However, I can see that for fast runs in the Irish style the EC would be better than my 2-row Anglo. What you say about the Maccann is very interesting. I haven't had a chance to try one yet and as always the problem is getting hold of a decent instrument on a limited budget, but I'll certainly look out for one.

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I'm new here and pretty much a beginner to the Anglo so forgive me if this sounds like a really dumb question! I'm not ready to buy a three row instrument yet so I'm playing a 2 row Lachenal C/G which is great for simple modal tunes or major tunes in the home keys but very restricted otherwise. Before I commit to a more expensive instrument, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of playing a 2 row Anglo that is not in the key relationship 1/5? (This possibility is not mentioned in the notes "If It's Not A C/G, What Is It?" by Ken Coles) I recently saw a Lachenal advertised for sale as a D/Bb. Perhaps this is an Eb/Bb that has been retuned? But on a purely conceptual level the choice of D/Bb seems to me far more flexible as it makes available 4 out of the 5 accidentals compared to only one on a C/G. Or am I missing the point?

 

 

Hi Chris -I don't know if you would be interested but there is a Beginners One-Day workshop for Anglo Concertina C/G at Gleanings in Shropshire on Sunday, 24th June with Rees Wesson. Take a look at the website: www.gleanings.co.uk

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Thought you might like to know that Gleanings Centre in Shropshire has 3 concertina workshops with top musicians:

 

Sat. 14th April - Concertina Song Accompaniment Workshop with STEVE TURNER (for all systems of concertina)

 

Sun. 24th June - REES WESSON will be running an Anglo Concertina Beginner's Workshop

 

Fri. 31st Aug - Sun. 2nd Sept - JOHN KIRKPATRICK will be running an Anglo Concertina Workshop for the more experienced players.

 

Take a look at www.gleanings.co.uk for more information.

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Regarding 2 row Anglos set a semitone apart: "did anyone try them ?".

Many years ago Stinson Belen (that may not be the correct spelling) from Texas wrote extensively in the now defunct CONCERTINA MAGAZINE under the title "Balin Wire". I gather he rather liked them and produced and sold several. I had a bit of correspondance with him at the time but this must be over 30 years ago now.

Unfortunately Stinson died a few years ago, however I believe "Tall Ship" of this parish had a connection with CONCERTINA MAGAZINE and might be able to tell you more.

Inventor.

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After my gaff about EC's above, Geoff Wooff replied in a personal conversation. What he said was interesting enough for me to reproduce here:

 

I play the English and am learning the Maccann Duet. I would agree with several of your responders that the Anglo is fine in its 'home keys' but can get increasingly weird when moving away from them.

The English has a similar problem in that it would appear to be almost an Isomorphic keyboard.

This means that a fingering pattern for one key can be transposed through fifths with just one button change per octave. However one would quickly run out of range... it's like this;

You start say in key of C, move all the fingering up one row of buttons and change the F for an F# and you are now in G... again up a row and change the C for a C# and you are in D... ad infinitum.

In practice this might work for learning fingering shapes for playing in C,G,D,A but then within the range of the keyboard one needs often to play a tune in a different key in an octave that is not in this pre-learned shape.. it will then be fingering in Mirror Image.

Then there is all the Flat keys which can be learned also with a default fingering approach and with the same problems.

The Duets, and I can speak here for the Maccann, you have to learn the fingerings for every key (especially the Chord shapes and positions) except the Hayden Duet which is a real Isomorphic keyboard... so every key and chord shape can be repeated with the same fingering you just have to move position of starting a pattern.

To be Key versatile on the Anglo many people have several different Anglos in different keys and have just learned to play comfortably in the home keys and transfer that from box to box... which is quick but expensive.

If I were starting out again I would choose the Hayden Duet... but after 40 years on the EC I am quite at home and even, I hope, getting better at it.

 

After what Geoff said about the isomorphic Hayden system I read up a bit on the two Duet systems and had a look at the keyboard maps. From where I'm coming from the Hayden looks better as it is fully isomorthic- you can play in different keys while using the same fingering patterns, which is ideal for a singer or accompanist. How affordable or easy these are to come by is another matter but I think I'll pass on the MacCann.

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A basic form of the Hayden Duet, "Elise" is available from many specialist Music Shops around the globe, see Wim Wakker's web site for a full list. These cost around £300 new. They are made in China, but Wim oversees the quality control, and they are considerably better than the avarage concertinas from this source. I have seen second hand ones occasionally on ebay.

The Elise can be played in only 4 different keys F, C, G & D, however that is twice as many as a C/G Anglo, and may also be played in two different Harmonic Minors which is not possible on the C/G Anglo.

Inventor.

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The Elise can be played in only 4 different keys F, C, G & D, however that is twice as many as a C/G Anglo, and may also be played in two different Harmonic Minors which is not possible on the C/G Anglo.

Inventor.

 

??? C and G are (obviously) available on a C/G anglo, D is manageable, and F is possible although I find it easier playing chording song accompaniments in F rather than actual melodies.

 

I'm not entirely sure about harmonic minors but I'm sure there'a a few in there somewhere if I hunt around!

 

However each key requires entirely different fingering patterns, unlike the Hayden.

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The Elise can be played in only 4 different keys F, C, G & D, however that is twice as many as a C/G Anglo, and may also be played in two different Harmonic Minors which is not possible on the C/G Anglo.

??? C and G are (obviously) available on a C/G anglo, D is manageable, and F is possible although I find it easier playing chording song accompaniments in F rather than actual melodies.

 

I'm not entirely sure about harmonic minors but I'm sure there'a a few in there somewhere if I hunt around!

On a
20-button
C/G anglo?

That's what this thread is all about.

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As a related notion, John Hazlehurst, Ulverston, UK plays a 38 button Anglo concertina tuned C/G/D. This thread http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=4765&hl=Hazelhurst has a discussion and on my site you can hear him play it at http://jodykruskal.com/player_profile/hazlehurst.html

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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On a
20-button
C/G anglo?

That's what this thread is all about.

 

You're quite right of course, I'd lost sight of that point. It seems to have opened out since then. However comparing a 20-button instrument with one with 34 buttons hardly seems fair!

 

A 20-button instrument is inevitably going to be limited. Having 2 notes per button is one way of getting around this. Whilst other tuning options might open up some possibilities I suspect they'd just close off others. Having the two rows a fifth apart seems to be a compromise which offers both melodic and harmonic possibilities.

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...comparing a 20-button instrument with one with 34 buttons hardly seems fair!

The basis of my comparison was price, which I thought/think was one reason -- though apparently not the only one, considering later comments -- for the OP not wanting to pursue the 30-button solution.

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Yes, sorry if I've muddled the issue here- there are so many things to think about and I can't reply to everybody but thanks, it's all much appreciated.

Hi Jody. You may remember me as the guy with the wheezy Lachenal last year at Byfleet Folk Club. (I have a better one now) D/G/C sounds like a good idea. D,G,C and F seem to be the best singing keys for me.

Yes, cost is an issue of course (I didn't want to spend that kind of money without being sure I was serious about this) but it's also about ease of fingering and key choices. I'll look out for one of those Haydens but I think I need to get a three row Anglo now. Should be able to pick up a reasonable C/G for about £2000?

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