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Wow. A 3 voice concertina (or accordeophone). I never would've guessed, short of a trip to Minnesota, where the Chemnitzer is what people imagine when they think of concertinas. I'm also looking forward to the sound sample of the one mentioned above.

 

Octaves on the English, as mentioned by Geoff, Wolf, Jody - this is an interval I haven't played with much yet, precisely because of the slightly awkward feeling of playing both sides simultaneously. The great sound makes it worth the effort though.

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Octaves on the English, as mentioned by Geoff, Wolf, Jody - this is an interval I haven't played with much yet, precisely because of the slightly awkward feeling of playing both sides simultaneously. The great sound makes it worth the effort though.

Playing in Octaves on the English is something I have been thinking to start a topic about because there is (or can be) a little more to this than just pressing two buttons at the same time however, like everything else, 'practice makes perfect'.... or perhaps just easier. As Ceemonster wrote, in another topic, it is very important to know where every note is on your keyboard. As the concertina keyboard is not visible whilst playing we need to memorise the positions and a good way to do this ( if playing scales becomes too boring) would be to take a tune and play it in your 'octave normal' then play it an octave higher and again an octave lower , if your keyboard range permits this in either direction. Then try playing two octaves at the same time.... I know... not easy..... and not always possible but sections of a melody can usually be managed.Look at it as a first venture into harmonizing using both hands without having to think of making correct chords.

 

If this sort of exercize only helps to ease any awkward feelings about playing both sides simultaneously then it is worth trying.

 

There are some interesting effects to be made when one has control of how many reeds are to be played together ( as opposed to having the blend pre set by couplers as in an accordeon).... a simple example is to play the notes staccato in one octave and legato in the other... not only is this good finger control practice but it adds something... a sort of different pronounciation to a phrase.

 

I have heard this sort of thing on Alexander Prince recordings but usually it is only possible to hear the Right hand side of his Duet as the Piano accompaniment covers up the left side notes. i have tried to copy another effect that Prince produces , I had to imagine what he was doing with his left hand though, and this is; he plays a note full length in the low octave whilst playing two half length staccato notes an octave higher, ok he does it on the MacCann duet but it is very possible on any keyboard.

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People play in octaves because it sounds good, that's all. It doesn't sound like a button with two reeds on it an octave apart, it sounds more like two concertinas being played together an octave apart. Of course, that fact that you are playing the melody and octave apart on each hand doesn't stop you putting decorations in on one hand or the other. Played by someone expert in the approach, like say Harry Scurfield or the recordings of Scan Tester, it sounds great!

 

And that's why people do it.

 

Chris

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Is 'playing in octaves' simply an attempt to create greater volume to a single note melody, or have I missed the point ?

 

No. That would be the effect if you played two notes the same rather than an octave apart. That can be done in the overlap range of a duet or on a certain few notes on an anglo. I believe the latter is sometimes used as a deliberate effect, though it's only possible for occasional notes and not for extended phrases.

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What's the point of having a recording studio if you can't respond to a request like this?

 

True..............

This is "Big Red", one of three double reeded English concertinas made in the 1960's by H.Crabb &Son; the other two were white and blue.

I can't remember the history ( I may not have known it anyway) but Mr.Harry Crabb made them for a family to perform at some show.....not sure.

It's great fun to play this concertina. It is not my 1st choice player...........it doesn't ( naturally ) have the Aeola sound I like but in sessions where there are 2 or more concertinas, and you can't tell who is doing what, it sounds sufficiently different for me to be able to hear myself.

In our Toronto English session we sometimes have 6 concertinas going and it's mayhem.

Thanks.....Robin

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9koDAOYs10A

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This is "Big Red", one of three double reeded English concertinas made in the 1960's by H.Crabb &Son....

In our Toronto English session we sometimes have 6 concertinas going and it's mayhem.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9koDAOYs10A

 

Interesting sound. Interesting that it doesn't sound like just a louder version of a single-reeded instrument, nor like two separate concertinas played simultaneously, even though I presume the reeds for each note are identical.

 

I'm curious. Have you and Ian Robb ever played together on your double-reeded Englishes? That would be interesting to hear, especially to hear each separately and then together. :)

 

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Interesting Jim..............I know Ian so I should suggest it.

He is a top player though and I am merely a scratch .

 

Interesting that it doesn't sound like just a louder version of a single-reeded instrument, nor like two separate concertinas played simultaneously, even though I presume the reeds for each note are identical.

 

 

Perfectly accurate description, Jim. I thought it might be loud but it really isn't.

It now needs tuning as the beats vary considerably across the scale and also on the press and the draw.

It's beyond my experience to tune something like this.......I might need to see if Theo is interested at some time.

There are beats on every note so I think it was originally tuned this way and not each one the same.

Wolf, yep, it's very "wet" . I like "wet" accordions so I'm fine with it.

Robin

 

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Robin I am really pleased that you are enjoying the RED DEVIL. I originally bought it to use as a note for our singing group. What a mistake, as it sort of toned in with my outrageous Aussie jumpers. Impossible to take a note from but Oh Boy did it get attention when it was played. Let me have your address and I will send you the tapes of the original owners playing at the Royal Albert Hall.

Mike French

It is not heavy at all but the sound most certainly is

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Let me have your address and I will send you the tapes of the original owners playing at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

Wow! I hope it works out that eventually we might all get a chance to hear that . (Copyright permission needed?)

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Interesting ...

FWIW, I just tried playing unison scales in the overlap range of my Crane. There was no "beating", i.e. the unison was perfectly "dry"., so it didn't sound as accordion-like as the recording of the double-reeded EC. I take this as an indication that my instrument is well in tune! I don't perceive the unison as really louder than the single notes, but the sound has more of what I would call "presence". Sort of like the difference between a stereo and mono playback of a recording.

 

I would therefore assume that the "wettish" tuning of the double-reeded instrument is more for sake of effect than for increased volume.

 

I'm familiar with unisons from my stringed instruments. The mandolin and the citterns (like the Waldzither I play) have double courses in unison, and they are tuned strictly in unison. Any "wetness" does not increase the volume; it merely sounds out of tune, and if anything weaker than a dry unison. There may be a differnce between strings and reeds in this respect. All accordions have "wet" registers, which a lot of people seem to like (although an accordion only starts to get my attention when a dry register is engaged!) so seemingly off-tuned reeds are not as offensive to the ear as off-tuned strings.

 

What really boosts volume in a stringed instrument is tuning each course to a dry octave. The 12-string guitar is an example. I also play a variant of the mandolin known as the mandriola: this has triple courses, with two strings in unison and one string an octave lower, all dry tuned. The volume is impressive compared to a normal mandolin of the same type, although the body is no larger. And I once boosted a mandolin that was rather weak in the bass by tuning one string of each pair an octave higher.

 

In free-reed terms, this is what happens in the Bandoneon. I believe that the dry octave tuning provides both increased volume and an interesting colour effect.

 

Cheers,

John

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