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Stephen Selby

Drunken Mccann Layout

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A most unusual custom instrument! I am wondering if the key layout is in fact true Maccann or some sort of hybrid/different system? I have a vaugue gfeeling of having seen this before (perhaps an earlier Ebay listing of the instrument). Might the differing proximites of the buttons be to ease some chordal based playing style(?) or a particular approach to playing (e.g. arpeggio based - although I can't quite make sense of this).

 

Other custom elements would seem to be the gilded keys, the monitor fretwork in the side and the metal on the hand rails (more usually bone and wood on aeolas(?)). The case, if original to the instrument on leaving the factory, is also different to the usual brown leather cube shaped boxes that aeolas seem to come with in this period.

 

A most odd beastie. A successful buyer might find themselves the only player of this particular system, unless it is drunkenly arranged Maccann as suggested. It would be challenging, to say the least, to switch between this instrument and a standard layout Maccann.

Edited by Myrtle's cook

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I've seen this 'monitor fretwork' on a couple of other concertinas, a friend's Lachenal 'New Model' Maccann and a Victorian EC by one of the smaller makers (I can't remember which, off hand) although it was a high end model.

 

I remember this feature being discussed previously on Cnet. I can see the logic in it if it is to let the player hear their instrument more clearly - or give a wider broadcast to the sound being produced. Others on this forum with more knowledge will doubtless be able to comment as to their effectiveness.

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I have seen this "drunken" layout on the fourth column of a couple of Wheatstone Maccanns before. The explanation is quite simple. On column 4 you get the D=s immediately below the Ds in the lower octaves. Fingering in very sharp keys where a D# replaces a D is no problem. However in flat keys, where the D# becomes an Eb , playing a run which includes D - Eb may cause an awkward fingering or jump. Offsetting these two buttons enables a player to do these runs with adjacent fingers easily. And similarly the Bbs at the top.

The two Maccann duets that I saw (many years ago) both originated from North Country concertina bands who played frequently along with Brass Bands. These mostly played music in flat keys. Possibly this instrument is one of those that I saw some 40 years ago, they were both ebony ended.

 

Inventor.

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