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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone,

 

I was looking at Regondi's compositions for the english concertina (notably at the music available on Ivano Paterno's excellent website (click here if the previous link doesn't work) and on Danny Chapman's page ) and started to wonder : Regondi was considered as one of the best composers and arrangers for the EC. Considering that he set a good example of what was technically doable on the EC (and that he did compose some lovely music - the 1st and 4th parts of his Hexameron come to mind), did anybody try to attain a similar level of virtuosity on the duet?

 

For instance,

- are you aware of any player who tried to play Regondi's music on the duet - as written or in an arranged form (which would often be necessary I guess, since most duets surprisingly don't seem to have a range at least as large as the one of a basic EC)?

- Did some duet players try to use Regondi's EC arranging techniques - his use of a fast counter-melody played simultaneously with the melody, as in the Hexameron (1st and 4th part) or his arrangement of Home sweet home (from his Recollections from Home)? Do you know of such duets arrangements that were ever published?

- In a broader way, who in your opinion is the Regondi of the duet (regardless of the duet type)? Are there any methods available for instance that go as far in the exploration of what is feasible with the instrument as Regondi's New Method and his Rudimenti del Concertinista? I have seen some tutors that were quite good, such as Rutterford's one for the Maccann system , yet I wouldn't consider it as elaborate as Regondi's.

 

Curious to hear about your thoughts on the subject!

 

Best,

RM

Edited by ritonmousquetaire

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are you aware of any player who tried to play Regondi's music on the duet - as written or in an arranged form (which would often be necessary I guess, since most duets surprisingly don't seem to have a range at least as large as the one of a basic EC)?

An 88-key Maccann  has all the range of the standard EC on its right hand :-), so range should not be a problem.  I have sat down with my 88-key Chidley-Maccann and read through some Regondi (the Hexameron, I think) and it seemed perfectly doable, but I never persevered on the project.

 

Not a concertina but Helmut C. Jacobs plays Regondi on a CBA (I believe on a one-reed per side instrument, with single notes on the left hand):

 

https://www.amazon.com/Giulio-Regondi-Souvenir-Compositions-Concertina/dp/B000I2IPMK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1528116562&sr=8-2&keywords=jacobs+regondi

 

Azurra Clementoni plays one the waltzes on the piano accordion on youtube:

 

 

It seems perfectly feasible. Just make sure you have the right duet.

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ocd > Thanks for your answer! A 88-keys Maccann, wow, that must be quite a beast! I wasn't even aware that such instruments had been built in the past. May I ask you out of curiosity what its total range is?

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The left hand side spans 37 notes starting on the C two octaves below middle C.  The right hand side spans 42 notes starting on the G below middle C.  (I miscounted, it has 89 keys).  That is,  it spans 5 octaves plus one note.  This is a Chidley-Maccann: differently from the standard Maccann each octave has the same layout.

 

The Button Box had an 88- key Maccann for sale until recently.  They currently have a 72-key one.

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Posted (edited)

or here 😊 (just slightly „smaller“)

 

(apparently five buttons "missing" on the RH side)

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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On 6/6/2018 at 3:57 AM, ocd said:

The left hand side spans 37 notes starting on the C two octaves below middle C.  The right hand side spans 42 notes starting on the G below middle C.  (I miscounted, it has 89 keys).  That is,  it spans 5 octaves plus one note.  This is a Chidley-Maccann: differently from the standard Maccann each octave has the same layout.

 

The Button Box had an 88- key Maccann for sale until recently.  They currently have a 72-key one.

 

5 octaves - that's as much as a reed-organ or a spinet; the ideal range to me. I guess you don't ever feel any limit when playing this instrument! The only thing is, these duets, judging from the photos in the thread that Wolf posted - thanks Wolf! -, seem to be huge! You lose - sort of - the "small instrument" vibe that you can get with a 56 keys (four octaves) EC... I wish there were more small-sized, four-octaves duets available. The only ones I know of are the ones built by Wim Wakker, but they are very expensive.

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7 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

 

5 octaves - that's as much as a reed-organ or a spinet; the ideal range to me. I guess you don't ever feel any limit when playing this instrument! The only thing is, these duets, judging from the photos in the thread that Wolf posted - thanks Wolf! -, seem to be huge! You lose - sort of - the "small instrument" vibe that you can get with a 56 keys (four octaves) EC... I wish there were more small-sized, four-octaves duets available. The only ones I know of are the ones built by Wim Wakker, but they are very expensive.

 

There are good reasons for that. An EC is more balanced in terms of reed pan space because the low and high reeds are evenly distributed across both hands, whereas with a duet you have to fit all the lowest/biggest chambers on the left hand. I believe some vintage makers attempted to solve the problem with 'double decker' reed pans.

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14 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

 

5 octaves - that's as much as a reed-organ or a spinet; the ideal range to me. I guess you don't ever feel any limit when playing this instrument! The only thing is, these duets, judging from the photos in the thread that Wolf posted - thanks Wolf! -, seem to be huge! You lose - sort of - the "small instrument" vibe that you can get with a 56 keys (four octaves) EC... I wish there were more small-sized, four-octaves duets available. The only ones I know of are the ones built by Wim Wakker, but they are very expensive.

A duet concertina typically provides an overlap between left and right hands.  Oftentimes, the middle-C octave appears on both hands.  (Sometimes the overlap is larger.)  So, to cover 4 octaves plus one note, with one octave overlap, one would have 61 notes and reeds. An EC has its own overhead: each octave has 14 reeds and buttons. So, for the same span of 61 notes, one would have 57 keys and reeds.  Though the difference is only four notes/reeds, as Alex pointed out, the balance is different.

 

My brain is happier with a duet. 

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On 6/9/2018 at 8:26 AM, alex_holden said:

 

There are good reasons for that. An EC is more balanced in terms of reed pan space because the low and high reeds are evenly distributed across both hands, whereas with a duet you have to fit all the lowest/biggest chambers on the left hand. I believe some vintage makers attempted to solve the problem with 'double decker' reed pans.

 

Right, I hadn't really thought about that. I didn't know about these "double decker" reed pans, do you have any pictures of such instruments available on the internet to look at?

 

On 6/9/2018 at 3:28 PM, ocd said:

A duet concertina typically provides an overlap between left and right hands.  Oftentimes, the middle-C octave appears on both hands.  (Sometimes the overlap is larger.)  So, to cover 4 octaves plus one note, with one octave overlap, one would have 61 notes and reeds. An EC has its own overhead: each octave has 14 reeds and buttons. So, for the same span of 61 notes, one would have 57 keys and reeds.  Though the difference is only four notes/reeds, as Alex pointed out, the balance is different.

 

My brain is happier with a duet. 

Only 4 reeds - I don't know why, but I thought the difference would have been bigger! Yet without any overlap, such an instrument could theoretically only use 49 keys... but the lack of an overlap might be a problem for the player. Did anybody ever try to create a layout that would keep the notes on both sides like the english, but in a manner that would make "duet-style" playing easier?

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4 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

Only 4 reeds - I don't know why, but I thought the difference would have been bigger! Yet without any overlap, such an instrument could theoretically only use 49 keys... but the lack of an overlap might be a problem for the player. Did anybody ever try to create a layout that would keep the notes on both sides like the english, but in a manner that would make "duet-style" playing easier?

All the implementations I know of duet systems (Maccann, Crane, Hayden) have an overlap of typically one octave.  I suppose one could eliminate the overlap.   It would be the equivalent of placing a hard boundary at some point of a piano keyboard and restrict the hands to stay on their side.  A nice feature of a duet with some overlap is that one can often play directly from piano scores with minor modifications; you lose this without the overlap.

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9 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

 

Right, I hadn't really thought about that. I didn't know about these "double decker" reed pans, do you have any pictures of such instruments available on the internet to look at?

 

I could be misremembering that. I searched the site and the only example I found is a post by Lofty halfway down this page:

 

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I have a single-action English bass concertina with double-decker reeds. It makes space for huge low reeds without the instrument becoming unwieldy. Really, really responsive!

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Alex Holden > Thanks for the link! So with this mention and Little John's post here, it seems that this double-decker technique was definitely used, though it was probably rare.

 

Little John > Interesting! Do you have any pictures of that instruments? How does the double-decker reeds impact the sound - if they do?

 

ocd > Yeah, on a small instrument I guess it's either the range or the overlap - both have their utility I guess... It seems that most duets favored the overlap, while the opposite way was chosen for the anglo (the overlap - on the 20-keys version of the anglo at least - is present but very limited in range; on the other side the extreme notes of the instrument are almost 4 octaves apart).

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