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Novelty Buttons -- Whistles, Birdcalls, Baby Cries, Etc.


CrP
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A quick search of C-net discussion archive turned up only one thread on this topic, as best I can determine, namely, 21 August, 2004 : http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1444&hl=%2Bbird+%2Bcall&do=findComment&comment=13484

 

So, allow me to pique your curiosity, if I may -- does anyone nowadays still use the novelty buttons? I'd appreciate hearing some guesses -- or informed research, for that matter -- on how they were used in the past. My guess is it would have been in connexion with song accompaniment, probably in popular/folk/non-classical settings, e.g., music hall, comedy, dialect and folk culture [with a small "c"] genres.

 

Of the instruments I've seen & played, admittedly all anglo concertinas -- Jeffries, Lachenals, Jones -- many if not most of those from the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th seem to have the novelty buttons/sounds as standard on anything much more than 30-key anglos. So, comments. anyone?

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I'm presently tuning a Lachenal New Model Chidley system duet that has a bird call and baby cry on the RH side adjacent to the "normal" layout.

 

Greg

 

BTW I have a long term 40b anglo project on the workbench that has a "duck call". The novelty mechanism extends into the bellows and emits a satisfying "quack" when used.

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I don't recall ever seeing one of these 'novelty' buttons on an English or Duet..... though they are sure to exist.

As I recall Dirge actually bought a Maccann duet which had a couple of novelty buttons on it a couple of years ago.

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They exist Geoff, but they're extremely rare - I can only remember seeing one Edeophone English that was made with whistle and squeakers, and that was 40 years ago, and I've heard of a duet...

 

But I do have a 10-key melodeon that was made with bird whistle, squeakers, cuckoo AND a vox humana ("tremolodeon") stop, whilst a bell (or two) used to be a common feature on early melodeons!

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Yes, good question. I'd love to see a Video or learn of a recording that demonstrates the use of the novelty sounds. Surely there must be some old 78's of Vaudeville or (more likely) British music-hall comedy performers who used concertina as part of their "shtick".

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A few years ago I had a request for a 40 key C/G with bird call and baby cry. Rather than remake the actuating devices I reused a couple from a donor instrument, courtsy of Malcom Clapp. I don't know how much the owner uses them, she was doing work in schools at the time and planned to employ them there.

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So, allow me to pique your curiosity, if I may -- does anyone nowadays still use the novelty buttons? I'd appreciate hearing some guesses -- or informed research, for that matter -- on how they were used in the past. My guess is it would have been in connexion with song accompaniment, probably in popular/folk/non-classical settings, e.g., music hall, comedy, dialect and folk culture [with a small "c"] genres.

 

 

 

I have a high bird whistle on my 30 button Lachenal/Dipper. I use it very rarely.

 

In one gimmicky border dance set we do, I sometimes use it on one of the choruses to go with very quiet stick clashes. Gets a laugh from the audience.

 

The few times I've played for kids, they like the 'bird in the concertina.'

 

But honestly, one of these days I'll have it replaced with a useful note!

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