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Rich C R

Do many players play more than one system?

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I suppose its a little like 'the grass is greener'.   I play the EC but keep thinking about possibly taking up another system either Anglo or Duet - my head says its not a good idea, as it will detract perfecting the EC.   But nonetheless my mind still keeps wondering.    I'd be interested to hear from others who have taken the step out into more than one system, was it a good move or not?

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By chance, I did both very recently. See here re my Anglo move, which IMO has been successful and non-distracting so far - and here for the looks of my newly acquired Crabb Crane (which makes for a bit of a challenge only insofar I'm eager to do things with the Duet that wouldn't - if not couldn't - be done with either the Anglo or the EC; I expect and accept a slow progressing here).

 

Best wishes  - 🐺

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I cannot  see why you should not try  other keyboards.  The EC is  very specialised, different from anything else.  Having a single keyboard  divided  alternately  over both sides  it is  completely different  from  other keyboard types  and  I find  the only detraction is  the  playing  time  shared  with  whatever  else one wishes to  try.

 

I  have played the EC for nearly 50 years,  but  in   2010  I took up the  MacCann  and  in 2013  I  branched out to the Hayden.  I found that  this made no difference to my abilites  on the EC  but  I had to choose  to continue either  on the   MacCann or  the Hayden  because  these two keyboards  had  similarities  of hand movements  but  yet  confusingly different.

 

I wish I had  stayed  with the McCann  because  at one stage I had two superb  instruments  and although I did manage to find a  good Hayden  it had  limitations  (not enough  range)  and to get   what I wanted , the same quality as those McCanns, well  there just ain't hardly anybody  making stuff like that  and the only one who  might  did not appear interested... and who can  blame  him for that... making a  super instrument for some old duffer!

 

In the end  my wife , listening to me playing  in the next room  asked  which Duet  I'd been playing  and I  answered  the EC  " oh!  You should  stick to that"  she  said .Hmmmm.... I  took up the Chromatic  accordéon  instead  and  still nothing detracts from  the EC   except  time  spent  on each.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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I have played English for a very long time. I have played treble and bass instruments, depending on what was required of me by other musicians. I could be a much better concertina player, but I have also been required to play, at various times, guitar, bass guitar, melodeon and border bagpipes.

 

Recently, I felt a desire to add some accompaniment to melodies. The cost of a good tenor treble put me off that: I also wasn’t sure that my brain could cope with the concept of a finger playing a melody note, followed by an accompaniment note. I did feel, however, that I might be able to cope with my left and right hands working separately.

i thought about Anglo, but again the cost of a really good one is very high.

 

I tried a Crane duet and thought it was a possibility, but it seems that high quality Cranes are very rare, which put me off.

 

i then was lent a large (67 button) MacCann and I found it feasible to play a melody with my right hand and add some notes on the left. MacCanns seem much more widely available and I now have a very large, but beautiful, 69 button ebonised ended MacCann Aeola. I have also indulged in a 46 button Edeophone so that I can have a smaller, lighter instrument, even if it is a bit limited in its capabilities.

 

An important skill which is transferable between English and Duets is bellows control. In my opinion, this is almost as important as pressing the buttons in the correct sequence! Thus, even if I am only picking out a melody with my right hand, I can inject some life into it.

 

When I go back to playing English, it’s still there. The only disadvantage, as others have said, is that time spent on the duet could have been spent developing my English playing.

 

My opinion is to give it a go.

 

Steve

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1 hour ago, Rich C R said:

I'd be interested to hear from others who have taken the step out into more than one system, was it a good move or not?

When I started to play the concertina, I toyed a bit with an Anglo, too. But I quickly let it rest in its box, because it was boring (or too complicated for my brain) and not fun to play. It was a good move to try it, and an even better to let it go. 😊

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Actually, we had this discussion many times before.

 

The way I look at it is that different concertina layouts are a lot like different guitar tunings. You don't re-learn the guitar when you switch to  a different tuning, but you have to find your notes and chords in different places. Playing the instrument itself - sound generation, sustain limitations, groove options etc - does not change, and you can hardly expect completly new revelations, just opportunities to make certain things easier (or possible, but again, it won't be a completly different instrument).

 

On the guitar, there are many many examples of musicians who switch between many different tunings (in cases as many as 100) with seemingly no effort, but I'd estimate that 99% of all guitar players restrict themselves to at most 3 different tunings. To listeners that don't play the guitar, those many tuning guitarists tend to produce a less repetitive and more versatile sound space than those 99%, but even then it's essentially still but the sound of a guitar.

 

Thus, unless I'm completly off with the analogy, you can gain additional sound effects (which may sound spectacular at times), but from the outside it'll still be a concertina, no matter which type. So if your goal is to cover as wide a range of sound spheres as possible, I think you'd be better off picking up an instrument from a completly different line (winds, strings, percussion or whatever) than just another type of concertina. But that's just my $0,02...

 

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I have thought many times to play another system or an additional instrument .Then I thought better of it All the time I spend learning a new instrument could be better spent  improving my Anglo playing but then I need it.Bob

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2 hours ago, RAc said:

 

Actually, we had this discussion many times before.

 

You certainly have a point here, Rüdiger.

 

Nevertheless, I can‘t perfectly agree with the rest of your post. There’s no analogy to push/pull, and much less to left/right end buttons IMO.

 

Of course the sound remains the same, more or less, but switching between the systems is rather about not necessarily be confused than transferring skills (which surely can happen in certain respects but not on a wider basis I‘m afraid).

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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It's also a matter of different tools for different jobs, since the end result can sound very different depending on which system you are using and what you want that particular piece of music to sound like. I've played EC and Anglo for years and readily switch between the two and equally love both systems.

 

And there are even times when I'll prefer to play the (gasp!) melodeon because of it's fuller sound and awesome chords.

 

At one time I played a lot of Jeffries Duet, but I wouldn't recommend trying to play both JD and Anglo since they are about 1/2 the same and the other 1/2 completely different. Or, at least don't run the risk of trying to play the same tune on both instruments!

 

Gary

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1 hour ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

You certainly have a point here, Rüdiger.

 

Nevertheless, I can‘t perfectly agree with the rest of your post. There’s no analogy to push/pull, and much less to left/right end buttons IMO.

 

Of course the sound remains the same, more or less, but switching between the systems is rather about not necessarily be confused than transferring skills (which surely can happen in certain respects but not on a wider basis I‘m afraid).

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

 

we may be misunderstanding each other in at least one direction, Wolf -

 

Were you under the impression that I attempted to draw analogies between guitars and concertinas? I wasn't, at least not here (it's a discussion that can be led, but for the sake of this point, I may as well have used flutes instead of guitars).

 

The analogy is horizontal rather than vertical. My point is that switching from, say, Anglo to Duet is analogous to switching from a guitar tuned in "standard tuning" to one in, say, DADGAD.

 

I argue from the perspective of a listener, not of a musician. Geoff (or rather, his wife) nailed down the issue perfectly: A concertina will always sound like a concertina, and the differences between one system and the other will normally reveal themselves mostly to the ear of fellow concertinists. That is NOT to imply that all systems were interchangeable, of course they aren't. But if one strives for sound scapes that extend beyond the "concertina sound," I'd recommend learning different instruments instead of different types of concertinas.

 

Or did I misread your comment?

 

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35 minutes ago, RAc said:

The analogy is horizontal rather than vertical.

 

This had been my understanding I think. And as you say, for a listener I would agree; but I wouldn’t expect the player to make the switch as easily as between tunings (Joni Mitchell springs to mind), as the coordination of finger and hand action is so different regarding the Anglo, English and Duet concertina... (so even the ordinary guitarist might learn the different tabs, whereas switching between the concertina systems is perfectly manageable, just like learning to play guitar and banjo, or concertina and melodeon, all „new“ instruments).

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I started my concertina journey with EC but switched to Crane after a few months.  I've never regretted that move, except that i struggle with both hands at the same time.  I recently started on Anglo and (after much poking at Dirge before I knew better ...) Maccann.  It's probably just to see if I can learn multiple systems ... but it's easier now than when I started on EC and wanted to switch to Crane.

 

My Crabb Maccann is going to be a challenge, but how wonderful to have all those notes to use!

Edited by saguaro_squeezer

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I've played Anglo basically forever (for 35 or 40 years) and I've played Crane for about eight years.  I use Crane mainly for solo playing and Anglo mainly for playing with other musicians.  I'm glad that I play both.  I play piano accordion too (less often).  I don't have any real trouble switching back and forth, though I find it helpful to have a couple of minutes to warm up on each instrument if I play one right after another.

 

I also played Hayden before I took up Crane and I experimented with Chemnitzer for a while, but I don't actively play either of those now.  Two concertina systems and one accordion seems about right for me.

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1 hour ago, saguaro_squeezer said:

...and (after much poking at Dirge before I knew better ...) Maccann.  It's probably just to see if I can learn multiple systems ... but it's easier now than when I started on EC and wanted to switch to Crane.

 

My Crabb Maccann is going to be a challenge, but how wonderful to have all those notes to use!

 

So it's you who bought the huge instrument from Theo? I had been musing about the measurements before deciding to go for the Crane... (out of curiosity: would you care to give me the size across the flats?). Congrats in any event!

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Many thanks for the varied replies.   After considerable thought for the time being I will stay with the EC.

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I've tried a little EC, but only play Anglo these days. I also play guitar, banjo and fiddle. 

 

We are used to musicians who can play one type of instrument to able to play instruments of the same family- so violinists can usually play a decent viola, and a clarinetist can often play the saxophone.

 

But despite the fact that varieties concertina come in similar looking packages, and might initially seem to be part of a "family" of instruments in the same way, this is not the case. The Anglo for example, is far more similar to other diatonic instruments like the melodeon or harmonica than any other type of concertina, and though I'm less familiar with the other systems I would speculate that it might be easier to move between the duet and button accordion than between different types of concertina. 

 

So personally I find the idea of playing more than one type of concertina strange as there don't seem to be that many transferable skills between the systems. If I'm splitting my time between Anglo and other instruments would rather play either a more closely non-concertina instrument like a melodeon, where I can at least transfer some of the technique, or something totally seperate like the guitar where I won't get confused! Playing another type of concertina seems the worst of both worlds, and it also doesn't even sound that different so won't give you much more musical versatility. 

 

As a guitarist I can't agree that there is an equivalence in switching between concertina types and switching between playing a guitar in standard tuning and  DADGAD, unless perhaps you are comparing 2 different type of Duet system. You have to learn different chord shapes and intervals between the strings, but the guitar doesn't start playing different notes depending on whether you pick up or down!

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On 12/12/2018 at 2:33 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

So it's you who bought the huge instrument from Theo? I had been musing about the measurements before deciding to go for the Crane... (out of curiosity: would you care to give me the size across the flats?). Congrats in any event!

 

Best wishes - 🐺

It was me and thanks,  although those should go to Theo for having it avaiable.  I'll measure it but I'm sure that it's at least 10 inches.  The only real issue that I'm having with it at the moment is that with Crane, your 4th finger use is dependent on the key where on Maccann, it feels like it's going to be used much more often.  

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21 hours ago, saguaro_squeezer said:

 The only real issue that I'm having with it at the moment is that with Crane, your 4th finger use is dependent on the key... 

 

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Could you elaborate?

 

I'm using the 4th finger frequently, for example to overcome the Crane 4th problem. I play mostly in C,G and D and related keys, but I don't think there are other keys that imply other usages of the 4th finger.

 

I'm sure you are familiar with Kurt Braun's invaluable essay on inner and outer positions on the Crane. Whenever I use the inner position, naturally the 4th finger serves everything on the 4th column by default.

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