Jump to content

Early 28-Key Anglos: Have You Seen One?


Recommended Posts

Several Anglo concertina tutors--the earliest in the 1850s and the latest in 1905 showed an unusual key layout for 28-key Anglos. Later British-made 28-Key Anglos had the 4-key configuration in the top row (accidental-note row) on each side of an instrument. However, the unusual layout (see attachment) had the 4-key configuration on the bottom row on each side of the instrument. The F# that is usually in the left-side G row (bottom row) was moved to the index-finger position of the top row in the unusual 28-key layout. (Layouts for 20-key C/G Anglos in the early tutors had the F# in the usual little-finger position in the left-side G row.) The unusual 28-key layout also featured a Bb scale pattern (skipping the index-finger keys on each side) in the top row, making for a Bb/C/G instrument in which the top row doubled as a Bb row and an accidental-note row. Both the 4-key-bottom-row and Bb-scale-top-row ideas never took hold with later makers, but the unusual key layout continued to appear in tutors.

Presumably, an early tutor writer saw such a German-made instrument--one of the very few ever made--and described it in a tutor, and later tutor writers simply "borrowed" the layout for their tutors. The propensity for tutor writers' borrowing from others is well known. (See my "Back to the Future: DeVille's The Concertina and How to Play It and Other Tutors"; www.concertina.net/rm_backfuture.html or www.concertina.com/merris/back-to-future/index.htm.)

A second unusual 28-key layout was that of Rock Chidley, who described it in his Chidley's Instructions for the German Fingering Concertina (London: R. Chidley, 1858). The Chidley layout is shown in an attachment. In his layout, the 4-key configuration is in the top row on the left side and in the bottom row on the right side of the instrument. In his layout, the F# key is moved from the usual pinky-finger positon to the index-finger postion of the left-side G row.

It appears that the idea was that playing the F# would be easier with the index finger than with the little finger. (But the 20-key Anglo player still had to use the F# in the usual 4th-finger position and, to my mind, without a great deal of difficulty for most players.)

My questions:

1. Has anyone ever seen one of the 28-key Anglos with the 4-key-bottom-row layout?

2. Has anyone ever seen a 28-key Anglo with the Rock Chidley layout?

Those most likely would include Stephen Chambers--an expert on German-made (and English-made) concertinas--and Chris Algar (Barleycorn Concertinas), who has seen more concertinas than just about anyone. But, to my knowledge, neither Stephen or Chris, has seen either of them.

Maybe, a member from Germany or elsewhere on the Continent has seen one of the first type? post-8053-0-44709400-1347023058_thumb.jpg


Edited by Dowright
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

Hello, I wrote two articles about the concertina in Spain for the ICA newsletters. Both articles were very well received by the readers, but nobody quoted them in these forums. I think in a future to tell somethings about them, but not reproducing them entirely by now.


In the second one I inform about a concertina method that doesn't appear in the web site www.concertina.com "Método de Concertina" de Higinio Marín 1872.

The first person that told about this method was Javier Ramos Martínez, in "El acordeón en España hasta 1936", pages 153 and 154, but as usually happen, only musicians that play that particular instrument can understand many of the informations of the texts.


It is a tutor for the anglogerman concertina. Really for the german concertina as the image reproduced in the method is of a german concertina.

It is a nice method for the concertina of one, two, and three rows.


You can see the tutor in the following link:



The three row concertina, “de tres registros”, with 28 buttons, that adds a third row in B flat, its layout is on page 19 of the tutor.


Then it is a similar concertina than the concertina that you are saying.


The B flat row gives the notes that are the same as the C scale in the opposite direction of the bellows. The 28 buttons include 2 “0” buttons, one on the G row of the left hand and the other on the B flat row of the right hand. So the concertina has in fact 26 buttons, 8 buttons of the B flat row (4 on each side), 10 buttons of the C row, and 8 buttons of the G row, plus 2 “0” buttons, one beside the B flat row of the right hand, and the other one beside the G row of the left hand.


Félix Castro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, I noticed that the link perhaps doesn't work.

It is better to do the search directly in the National Spanish Library


or in english



And the word keys are "metodo" "concertina"


The score that you have attached to your text is very similar to the score at the page 19 of this tutor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...