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harpomatic

It's Still A Konzertina!

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I'll I've got to say is that I find the whole thing fascinating. I enjoy reading about all kinds of squeeze boxes. I play an EC, but read the discussions about anglos and duets. I'm not so interested in other types of concertinas, but when they come up, as in this discussion, more joy to it.

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I'll I've got to say is that I find the whole thing fascinating. I enjoy reading about all kinds of squeeze boxes. I play an EC, but read the discussions about anglos and duets. I'm not so interested in other types of concertinas, but when they come up, as in this discussion, more joy to it.

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I find almost any concertina discussion fascinating. I play EC, but read most of the postings about anglos and duets. When the discussion broadens, as this one has, I read it, learn, and find my awareness and knowledge of the squeezebox community expanded. If it gets to technical or boring or whatever, I just stop reading. But I'd hate to miss a good discussion because it laps a bit beyond our usual boundaries.

 

Of course, because of our usual interests, players of some bellows instruments and of some genres will not find our site interesting and will hang out elsewhere in cyberspce. But if some distant musical cousin stops by for a visit, well welcome and sit for a bit and chat.

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I certainly don't think it's for taxonomic reasons. It's simply that this site is self-selecting from of people whose interest is in the "English" rather than "German" type of concertina. We are mostly English-speaking, and whilst this is not a folk-music forum, many of us have a background in folk music and a lot of discussion is about folk music styles. Discussion of types of music other than British/Irish/American/Australian folk, and classical, tends to be rather less and whilst we have a few members who are not native English speakers, there appear to be only a few who are practitioners of other styles.

 

For most of us, chemnitzers and bandoneons are obscure instruments which we seldom come across. I see more concertinas in a month than I've seen chemnitzers in my lifetime, and I can't recall ever seeing one played live. The musical traditions in which they are most commonly used are also foreign to many of us.

 

So I don't think it's that they're unwelcome, it's just that most of us here know very little about them.

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Interesting observations about our instruments, and language. That yahoo bando(reihneische)-only site is technically a two language format - english and spanish, but gradually became dominated by spanish speakers. As a result - not as accessible to english speakers/users, not as broad, and ultimately not as informative as it could have been. They are very polite, try to translate anything they post in both languages if you ask them, but it just does not work - too focused on tango and "reihneische" layout of bandoneon, and in 10 years they exhausted subjects to talk about. It all came down to posts like "where can I find a teacher, or sheet music & how much is my bandoneon worth." I find this site to be the only "live" concertina forum, which covers alot of varied concertina speciments already. While I suspect that about half of concertina.net members here are not english speakers, probably all are english users who can at least read in english. It is an international 'internet" language indeed, but I would not mistake that for a "national" sentiment or identifier of any kind. But I totally get Howard's point of how this forum is self-selecting for a certain "tilt", and there is nothing wrong with it - it is what it is, and why not. I also suspect that if we were to take some kind of count, we'd be surprised by how many members branch out into other forms, "german" specifically, and do not bring it up too often for whatever reason. For me part of the reason why I did not mention it in my 10 years of membership here is actually the SIMILARITY of "konzertina" to "Anglo". I feel that Anglo covers general points of interest in "germans" for me. Particularities, like a breather hole size, matter too, but much less often - but when they do, I really appreciate insights from fellow "concertina maniacs" (thank you Chris Ghent for a pointer - I will think about and utilize those finer points of the Anglo breather hole that you mentioned before I take a plunge). Howard, even people like me, who play "germans" know very little about them, compared to other concertinas. The tradition of playing them is not dead completely, as ceemonster's video links show, but it seems that it is dying, unlike the Anglo/English... I wonder how alive it is in Germany, birthplace of the Konzertina. Prices, lack of lively discussion - all point to a tradition that's declining in numbers, kind of like Anglo/English was somewhere in the middle of the 20th century... I think this forum can be credited with adding to concertina's growing popularity and revitalization, among other influential developments in the tradition of concertina playing. As to the timbre differences - they are there, but that is the beauty that is not a defining difference for me. Adjusting to perpendicular button travel, unequal hands (chords via small buttons on the left, melody keys or buttons of a different layout and size on the right) which defines all other forms of "squeeze boxes" - that to me is a difference indeed, besides a different tone. Different tone is not a problem if you play all non ITM/English folk styles, there is definitely a place for any free reed sound in all other kinds of folk and modern music, including classical where bandonion's dry octave tuned sound is often welcomed, albeit by a more experimental variety of musicians and composers. So, I get (and agree with) Howard's statement "

So I don't think it's that they're unwelcome, it's just that most of us here know very little about them" - true, but we (and you) are doing something about it by discussing them here.

 

PS. My ideal instrument (does not exist) would be Anglo with 30 buttons(I could live with that) but dry octave tuned, like bandoneon. Small size & big sound.

 

PPS. I find the dialog between conservationist(purist) and experimentalist trends of any artform interesting and eternally valid - there is a place for both. It all depends on personal temperaments and interests of a particular artist. But certainly, without the "experimentalists" no art would ever move forward...

Edited by harpomatic

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I always thought that the musical difference was that a concertina has one note per button (although not always one reed per button) whereas an accordion has some buttons, usually or always on the bass side, which make predetermined chords.

 

Except that chromatic button accordions often have a "free bass" system on the left, with one note per button.

 

 

I always though that the difference in construction was that the keys of a concertina move in and out parallel to the central axis of the bellows, whereas the treble keys of an accordion move at approximately right angles to this. That is, a concertina is always played with the palms facing each other, but an accordion is played with at least the right palm (and possibly both) facing the player's body.

 

Didn't I just say that?

 

 

...

 

... Other descriptions I've seen are that on a concertina the keys are pressed in the same direction as the axis of the bellows, rather than perpendicular to it (as in accordions, melodeons, etc), and...

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How are those free bass buttons arranged? Same as CBA right hand? Ialways wondered if I had 2 Free Bass accordions of the same model, I'd try to attach both bass ends to one(same) bellow... That would make one huge, wild concertinacordion... Pure flight of imagination, of course
& probably impractical. Too expensive, as well.

 

For me the best thing about all concertinas is the same kind of buttons on both sides, so hands have the same potential. Not all concertinas have the same mirror image layout, but all of them are much more "duet" than any accordion.

Edited by harpomatic

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i would hope and believe that bandos and chemnitzers, etc., are not "relegated to the role of visitors" here out of any silly taxonomic sophistry. ....

 

They never have been in the whole history of this site. We've just tended to point people to other sites where there are people who know more than we do. Joe Public only has two names for squeeze boxes, accordion or concertina, and not many know the difference between the two. So they often end up here. The only other reason they've tended to be vistors is that there isn't very much knowledge or discussion within the regular site membership.

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Well, here is an interesting one that just appeared on eBay.

 

 

i would hope and believe that bandos and chemnitzers, etc., are not "relegated to the role of visitors" here out of any silly taxonomic sophistry. ....

 

They never have been in the whole history of this site. We've just tended to point people to other sites where there are people who know more than we do. Joe Public only has two names for squeeze boxes, accordion or concertina, and not many know the difference between the two. So they often end up here. The only other reason they've tended to be vistors is that there isn't very much knowledge or discussion within the regular site membership.

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[there isn't very much knowledge or discussion within the regular site membership.]...hmmm...perhaps that will change over the next year or so...

 

[How are those free bass buttons arranged? Same as CBA right hand?] not eggzackly the same, but kind of c-system-ish. i'm not sure whether bayan freebass buttons are b-systemish or what.

 

[Well, here is an interesting one that just appeared on eBay.] i'm getting a chemnitzer feel about that one. the "chicago" tag, and the pearloid-esque look of it. but who knows...

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What's a "chemnitzer feel"? It's clearer not a Chemnitzer keyboard layout. I don't know the bandoneon layouts as well, but that's what it looks like to me. If it is an American-made bandoneon, that would be pretty unusual (though not unknown). I seem to remember another Chicago maker - don't recall the name offhand - who made some giant bandoneons. But it's also possible that it was made in Italy, or even Germany, and badged with the Chicago company's name.

 

[Well, here is an interesting one that just appeared on eBay.] i'm getting a chemnitzer feel about that one. the "chicago" tag, and the pearloid-esque look of it. but who knows...

Edited by Daniel Hersh

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That's a monster of a bandonion, approaching in size my bayan with two bass sides idea...I've never seen one like that. Italian -American indeed - Italian in design, American in size. Thank you (Dave, Ceemonster) for the pointers on free bass layout - not that I will do it tomorrow, but you can never know - at least my curiosity is satisfied.

Edited by harpomatic

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I've been scanning posts on the forums for mentions of my name or "chemnitzer" and I'm glad to see that this perennial discussion is still going around...

 

So I don't think it's that they're unwelcome, it's just that most of us here know very little about them.

 

Though we Chemnitzer players haven't been told we are unwelcome, there have been and still are users who clearly don't want discussion of Chemnitzers or Bandoneons here and say so in as many words.

 

And of course Chemnitzer players know very little about any of the other concertinas. I've never even seen an English, Duet or a fine (i.e. not a Stagi) Anglo in person.

 

Although I haven't been around here lately, in the past I've enjoyed reading about how music is made with the concertinas typically discussed here. I like many kinds of music. Of course since I didn't grow up close to a folk music tradition, I've never been one for orthodoxy... And I'm also the kind of person who will read an article about noun case markings in the Georgian language because it's interesting, even though I know no speakers of the language personnaly and have no plans to visit Georgia or learn the language any time soon.

 

The tradition of playing them is not dead completely, as ceemonster's video links show, but it seems that it is dying, unlike the Anglo/English... I wonder how alive it is in Germany, birthplace of the Konzertina. Prices, lack of lively discussion - all point to a tradition that's declining in numbers, kind of like Anglo/English was somewhere in the middle of the 20th century...

 

This is a very complex issue and I only see a tiny corner of it.

 

Most of the players are in fact elderly and don't seem too interested in online discussions, but have lots of time to go to in-person events.

 

In the club I belong to, I notice that the "tradition" appears to be built on a narrow subset of American popular and so-called "polka" music from about 1930 to 1970. People seem to perceive anything that was around at the time of their birth as if it were around for all eternity.

 

That's a monster of a bandonion, approaching in size my bayan with two bass sides idea...I've never seen one like that. Italian -American indeed - Italian in design, American in size. Thank you (Dave, Ceemonster) for the pointers on free bass layout - not that I will do it tomorrow, but you can never know - at least my curiosity is satisfied.

 

I wish I had seen this... The ebay link took me to a little cheapo (Chinese?) Anglo.

 

Was it actually made by Italo-American? If so, they still exist in suburban Chicago but are just a sales and repair shop now.

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Can't resist throwing a couple of cents into this conversation.

1. There are multiple free bass (single note left-hand) layouts – as many (and more) as there are CBA right-hand layouts, e.g., C, B, D, Russian, and Finnish that I know of.

Some differ in the orientation of the accidentals to naturals, others in the orientation of minor to major thirds, and still others whether the lower notes are oriented closer to the chin or to the floor.

2. There a a few youngsters in Minnesota who are committed to the Chemnitzer style concertina and what I would call the mid-century mid-America polka tradition to which Ted refers, above. Josh Selner, who maintains my own unisonoric bandonions for me, may be the most promising among them. He is developing and building his own Chemnitzer style concertina after apprenticing with Christy Hengel for some years. He a very interesting and remarkable twenty-something gentleman. An electrician by trade, I think. Mike Smeija is helping him along. Wouldn't trust my Schoma to anyone else unless it were Harry Geuns.

FWIW.

Be Well,

Dan

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I've been scanning posts on the forums for mentions of my name or "chemnitzer" and I'm glad to see that this perennial discussion is still going around...

 

That's a monster of a bandonion, approaching in size my bayan with two bass sides idea...I've never seen one like that. Italian -American indeed - Italian in design, American in size. Thank you (Dave, Ceemonster) for the pointers on free bass layout - not that I will do it tomorrow, but you can never know - at least my curiosity is satisfied.

 

I wish I had seen this... The ebay link took me to a little cheapo (Chinese?) Anglo.

 

Was it actually made by Italo-American? If so, they still exist in suburban Chicago but are just a sales and repair shop now.

 

Hi, Ted - welcome back! I don't remember any more if that one was marked "Italo American" or "Italian American". But I did remember the maker whose work it reminded me of, because another one of his instruments recently appeared on eBay (an actual Chemnitzer this time): Ruvoli .

Edited by Daniel Hersh

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I'll have to check to be sure, but I think Ruvolis were built by (or at least for) the same people who owned Star right before John Bernhardt bought the company and revamped the manufacturing completely. One of them was Pompilio Rosiani who (AFAIK) still does repairs at Italo-American.

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More on Ruvoli, from the eBay listing http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-A-Ruvoli-Chemnitzer-Concertina-in-Bb-STAR-Patek-/321675101524 . I have no idea if this is accurate, but it's a good story:

 

"The real Ruvoli story from a very helpful soul with the United States Concertina Association:


Tony Ruvoli started out as an accordion technician. When Paul Glass died (Glass Concertina), he went to work for Otto Glass, and made the last ten Glass Concertinas. When Otto Glass passed away, Glass Concertina closed (1951).

In 1967, Rudy Patek quit the concertina business, sold most of his parts inventory to Anton Wolfe (manufacturer of the Wolfe Concertina) and moved to a farm located in Wisconsin. After a couple of years he got bored and struck a deal with Ruvoli to manufacture concertinas for him, under Rudy's direction.

Ruvoli only made a few for Patek before their deal went sour. He went on to continue making a few more Ruvoli instruments that had the same Patek-inspired design. That would date this concertina to the late 1960s, well after Star Concertina had introduced their Streamlined model."

 

I'll have to check to be sure, but I think Ruvolis were built by (or at least for) the same people who owned Star right before John Bernhardt bought the company and revamped the manufacturing completely. One of them was Pompilio Rosiani who (AFAIK) still does repairs at Italo-American.

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