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Rich C R

Hayday years?

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Just having a few idle thoughts and wondered what were the heyday years of English Concertina playing in the UK?

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Posted (edited)

Some would say  the second half of the 19th century.    Certainly had  several  great players / composers  for the English Concertina.    Reasearch on www.concertina.com   will  give information  on people like  Regondi  and Blagrove.

 

From a  personal  view  I find the  developement of the instrument,  and the best  ones  were made   between  1890 and 1930.  From this  I  think one might look at players , and concertina bands, of the first half of the 20th Century.  Some fine  examples  on the CD collection   'English  International'.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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15 hours ago, Geoff Wooff said:

…...

From a  personal  view  I find the  developement of the instrument,  and the best  ones  were made   between  1890 and 1930.  From this  I  think one might look at players , and concertina bands, of the first half of the 20th Century.  Some fine  examples  on the CD collection   'English  International'.

 

Geoff,   With the Wheatstone Aeola, were their any beneficial changes (or otherwise) in construction between 1890 and 1930?  

Thanks for the info on the CD collection 'English International'.   I have ordered it and waiting on delivery, should be with me by Fri this week.

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Posted (edited)

Rich,  my sample  of  the Aeola  is  limited  , even though I have owned   a few  of them over the years.  A  real historian will tell you exactly when the 8 sided  Aeola  began  but sometime  in the very early 1900's.  The  earliest  I have  owned  was  from  1908.. the latest   were from 1927. All had  very similar  construction  but some were in better condition than others  which  eventually  led  me to  a belief  that  some periods  are  better than others.  Whether  my assumptions  are correct , or not , I find  each instrument must be judged  against  a personal standard  and the  work of the repairer  is to try to bring an  old instrument back to its best.  I recall  being at a loss to know why  two  almost identical instruments  could  produce  such different results  in playing.

 

As time went on, during this  1890-1930 period, model developements  were made;  different keyboard layouts  for instance  which  may have arrived in the catalogues  due to  a  'special'  order  that  was successfull  or  'as played by'  an influential  person.

 

But the Depression  of the 1930's  followed  by the war  and changes in musical /social  tastes and entertainments  pretty much killed  off the  manufacture of  fine concertinas.  It was not until  small numbers of young people  started to look at the concertina due to influences  from the Folk revival  late in the 1960's  that  grandparent's  old squeeze boxes  were   hunted  out  of the  attics.That  good instruments are still being discovered , 50 years on,  is  a testament  to  the quality  of their manufacture.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Thanks Geoff, its seems there are no easy answers as far as these instruments are concerned...

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Rich, IMO it should be considered that it's not about the best instrument, but the instrument that best suits you and your preferences, and will have been back then as well; regardless of we'd be talking about instruments of the same or a different period. A general consensus can't apply to the individuell instrument, and neither the individual player...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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2 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

Rich, IMO it should be considered that it's not about the best instrument, but the instrument that best suits you and your preferences, and will have been back then as well; regardless of we'd be talking about instruments of the same or a different period. A general consensus can't apply to the individuell instrument, and neither the individual player...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Thanks Wolf, I understand what you are saying.  However, I just wondered, from a technical point, when was the last upgrade that is generally accepted as being an improvement to the instrument?

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I don't have the dates. However, there's not much generally accepted anyway I'm afraid. Riveted action, which any player would appreciate I guess, had been standard already in the 19th century. Tapered reed pans may be considered an improvement by many of us; Geoff might be able to give you an idea as to when it had been introduced. Others may be able to add more details which had been subject to development and improvement.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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19 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

I don't have the dates. However, there's not much generally accepted anyway I'm afraid. Riveted action, which any player would appreciate I guess, had been standard already in the 19th century. Tapered reed pans may be considered an improvement by many of us; Geoff might be able to give you an idea as to when it had been introduced. Others may be able to add more details which had been subject to development and improvement.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Thanks Wolf.   I guess there wasn't any so called major improvements during the period 1890-1930

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Another suggestion for you  Rich, or anyone interested in  the older generation of concertina players:

 

Two  Vinyl  LP's  remastered  on to  CD  format:      Gordon Cutty  on  EC and   Tommy Williams  on   McCann duet.  Originally recorded  in the early 1970's  when the two  players were  in their 80's

 

These  I highly recommend,  comes on  one CD  from   Free Reed Music,  Belper DE56 1DD.  UK.   www.free-reed.co.uk   

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39 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Another suggestion for you  Rich, or anyone interested in  the older generation of concertina players:

 

Two  Vinyl  LP's  remastered  on to  CD  format:      Gordon Cutty  on  EC and   Tommy Williams  on   McCann duet.  Originally recorded  in the early 1970's  when the two  players were  in their 80's

 

These  I highly recommend,  comes on  one CD  from   Free Reed Music,  Belper DE56 1DD.  UK.   www.free-reed.co.uk   

 

Thanks Geoff, I already have this excellent CD, thoroughly recommended.

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On 3/18/2019 at 8:15 AM, Geoff Wooff said:

But the Depression  of the 1930's  followed  by the war  and changes in musical /social  tastes and entertainments  pretty much killed  off the  manufacture of  fine concertinas.  I

 

I wonder if it was the development of radio as much as the Great Depression that struck the blow to instruments like the concertina and the parlor piano. By 1930 radio was well entrenched as a source of musical entertainment with 12 million homes having radios. By 1940 that number had more than doubled.

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Indeed Frank,  the Radio,

it must have had  a huge   effect  on  home music  making.

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