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Concertinists: Are We Stuck In Ruts?


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Just look upon the Concertina as a musical instrument theoretically suitable for absolutely any style of music you care to choose. You will soon discover the stuff that is impractical but this still leaves an enormous wealth of other music. If a tune is in your head and it can be satisfactorily adapted for the instrument the sky is the limit.

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[there is a lot going on with 'squeezed' music in many popular genres, but concertina misses this almost entirely by being, well, stuck in a rut of reconstructory folk, dance hall accompaniment and other traditional applications.] now we're back to the early points made on this thread....so i'll reiterate mine----there's no rut. this is all a product of concertina not being as visible, available, and viable an option for potential players, no more, no less. i've already fulminated at length RE the numberous factors i think contribute to this, so won't go over it again at this point....accordions are a "niche" instrument compared to, say, electric guitar at this moment in cultural history, but they are way, way, way more visible, available, and viable as an instrument option. that is all this is about. for every accordion/melodeon player doing avant-garde or experimental or exploratory things with their instrument, there are fifty at a minimum who are playing in established forms or genres. i doubt that the ratios are much different with concertina, it just seems less because of the visibility, availability, and viability issue. (for that matter, the vast majority of electric guitar jockeys are also playing their axe in established genres or forms.)

 

concertina players have no more duty than any other musicians to "get out of a rut." if concertina was more widespread, it would seem like more "exploration" was going on, but the ratios would be the same as with accordion/melodeon. it would just seem to have increased because of the increase in sheer numerosity.

 

i think what we really want to do is refocus on furnishing the world's children of all ages with expanded-layout jackies, jacks, elises and rochelles that respond, play, and sound as well as the $2700 hybrids.....then give it 5 to 10 years to take hold.......

 

i was looking at bob tedrow's cool pages of day-by-day photos and descriptions RE the process of building a concertina. am i right that the hexagonal shape adds weeks to that process? and then the fretwork adds another week or so? if you could set basic-model concertinas in a form for which square or squarish pieces for ends, frames, boards, could be acquired in standard pre-cut units and ends could be decorated in cool but preset and less intricate patterns---would that not seriously cut down on the production time and expense?

 

i think i read somewhere that square or squareish concertinas would be substantially less expensive and time-consuming to produce, but that the makers trying this couldn't get people to accept them---now, there's a "rut"....

Edited by ceemonster
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What you say is at least partially true - we are indeed vastly outnumbered and this indeed affects exposure. You are slightly missing my point though - as we may indeed have similiar ratios as melodeonists (not sure if I can agree on ratios of accordionists being the same) in terms of avant-garde, experimental or exploratory players - I was talking about different genre-coverage among average players. But I realise, that everything I say in this thread is more applicable to duets than to Anglos, which's natural point of reference is a melodeon or diatonic accordion and not CBA or PA. And that is a niche of a niche, with total number of duet players estimated at order of magnitude at least two digits smaller than Anglo players. So maybe I'll better leave this thread to Anglo players :)

 

***Side note on square concertinas and prices: I'm in the process of building my eight sided concertina (Tedrow's photo-essay is indeed a great source of knowledge) and from where I'm standing, the most time consuming process in building a hybrid - and greatly dependand on number of sides - is the traditional bellows. The woodwork is just two cuts difference between 4 and 6 sides, the fretwork could be lasercut or kept simple (there are fretless concertinas), but the bellows is a real pain. So I don't realy think that any mass produced cheap concertina will ever have a traditional bellows. But I agree, that we might need fully chromatic Elises (or cheap chineese 46 button Haydens), standard size Jackies/Jacks and Rochelles with bushed action. From those three only Rochelle isn't a significantly handicapped cousin of its kind.

When I was at the designing stage of by DIY project, I did considered a square box for a moment. And the reason why I have chosen octagon is that my playing style and habits realy do not support square box. I would have to have the buttons and handles at a strange angle (relative to sides) or I would have to play with the box balancing on the edge. Someone in the MIDI DIY thread pointed out, that he plays his 8-sided concertina turned one edge forward, to get desired angle of his keyboard. So IMHO a square concertinas didn't got atention because of ergonomics, not because of a "rut".

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