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Devils' Dream

What is "German-made double reeded concertina" ?

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Hello all:

Listening to some old chestnuts, this one the vinyl "Irish Trad. Concertina Styles (TOPIC/FREE REED 12TRFS506 1977) there are several cuts by "Mrs. Ellen O'Dwyer" playing a concertina marked "House Brand" that is double reeded.  It's definitely anglo/diatonic, but what exactly is it?  Sounds great.  Played great.

Anyone point me in the right direction?  

Thanks, regards,

Steve

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Posted (edited)

I've had a few of these. Some were made by Scholer in East Germany, and were in CG, DA and GD tunings.  The button layout is the same as a 20 button anglo (sometimes with some variations on the lowest notes), but because all the levers for a row pivot on a single, long axle, there is no curve to the rows.  My Scholers used accordion style reeds mounted on wooden blocks accordion style.  Each button sounds 2 reeds an octave apart. (they also made single and triple reeded instruments) These come up for sale on eBay pretty frequently.  I bought one in unplayed condition a few years ago for around $70.  You get what you pay for.  They were cheaply made and fall apart pretty quickly, but are fun to fool around with.  I think better quality ones were once available, and were, and are, popular in South Africa.  I have a very nice modern South African copy of this style made to supply the market there.  It's a DA, double reeded box made with excellent materials and craftsmanship, and top quality accordion reeds and I like it very much.  It was built in 2014 by Danie Labushagne (see picture).

 

I also have a c. 1870 German concertina. (my avatar picture) 26 buttons, CG tuning (single reed).  The reeds for the C and G rows are each mounted on single long  brass plates.  The "accidentals" are on separate zinc plates.  It is a much better quality instrument than my East German concertinas.

IMG_0148.JPG

Edited by Bill N
add photo

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It is an anglo-german concertina without the "anglo"-part, that is, without the accidental-row, but with two reeds per note, tuned an octave apart. Inicidentally, it’s the concertina I am playing. You may take a look at it in my YT-clips, if you want to see it 'in action'.

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10 hours ago, Bill N said:

...Some were made by Scholer in East Germany, and were in CG, DA and GD tunings.  The button layout is the same as a 20 button anglo

(sometimes with some variations on the lowest notes), but because all the levers for a row pivot on a single, long axle, there is no curve

to the rows.  My Scholers used accordion style reeds mounted on wooden blocks accordion style.  Each button sounds 2 reeds an octave

apart. (they also made single and triple reeded instruments) These come up for sale on eBay pretty frequently.  I bought one in unplayed

condition a few years ago for around $70.  You get what you pay for...

 

I think the company which made the Scholers ceased trading about 12(?) years ago. There are 4 short videos on YouTube featuring these

Scholer instruments, in which the presenter opens the things up and illustrates the mechanisms - aimed at self-maintenance, I guess:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbPw0yR19zM&index=1&list=PL777D961E7BDD0215

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88yCVla_Djg&index=2&list=PL777D961E7BDD0215

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs4-ANFuq8&index=3&list=PL777D961E7BDD0215

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anBj1hibG0o&index=4&list=PL777D961E7BDD0215

 

 

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Thanks all, and Bill (for the note). Will follow your leads. Did not realized they were "relatively" common.  I like the sound, especially in the octave voicing.

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Sebastian--nice "Fighting Temeraire"!  Missed it the first time on Melnet. 

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Posted (edited)
Quote

 

Just FYI,

about Mrs. O'Dwyer (The Irish German concertina project by Dan Worrall (archive.org))

and review of the resulting project CD  ("Tripping to the Well" (mustrad.org.uk))

 

 

 

The Tripping to the Well CD is still available at Oidreacht an Chlair: http://oac.ie/site/node/2102

 

Here are a few snaps of the women involved with the project,  Mary MacNamara, Ann Kirrane-Droney, Dympna O'Sullivan, Jaqueline McCarthy, Josephine Marsh and Angela Crehan, during the launch of the CD, passing around the Dwyer concertina:

 

DSC-9125-small.jpgDSC-9105-small.jpgDSC-9120-small.jpg

Edited by Peter Laban

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Peter, do you happen to know what the tuning of that concertina is?

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On 10/8/2019 at 2:19 PM, Devils' Dream said:

Did not realized they were "relatively" common.

 

I think the only muscial culture they were able to put little mark on is the southafrican boremusik.

 

https://youtu.be/zeMfpcAkXA0

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Peter, do you happen to know what the tuning of that concertina is?

 

 

I can't think of it off the top of my head (not for certain anyway, I seem to recall it's a C/g)but I'll look into it (I suppose it's still in Arás Oidreacht an Chlair, I'll have a look)

 

Quote

I think the only muscial culture they were able to put little mark on is the southafrican boremusik.

 

 

They were common in Ireland  at one point and  they were also prominent in Zulu music:

 

zulus.jpg

Edited by Peter Laban

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3 hours ago, Peter Laban said:

I seem to recall it's a C/g

I couldn't find that information in any of the write-ups on-line, but I did order the CD and found one sample track which I was able to play along with.  I think you are right- C/G, although maybe not strictly A 440.

 

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I couldn't find that information in any of the write-ups on-line

 

 

In the interview with Mary Mac on Dan's page she gets asked about the key of C in Clare music. Which also suggests a C/g played on the rows, much like John Naughton's playing. Naughton's music obviously a big influence on her own.

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14 hours ago, Peter Laban said:

They were common in Ireland  at one point and  they were also prominent in Zulu music:

 

I am under the impression, that these were essencially two-row concertinas with only one reed per note (the instrument on the photograph most likely is). Those were easily replaceable by the more pricey anglo-german three-row conertinas, when people got a bit wealthier, because with these you could still play in the old way but had some new possibilities and still the thin sound of single-reeded instruments. For the irish playing style (= fiddle imitation, devoid of chord playing) the anglo-german concertinas with one reed per note may indeed have been a somewhat useful expansion. With regard to zulu music I lack enough knowledge and don’t know, whether the two-row concertina with two reeds per note could have made any impact. But until some information to the contrary comes up, I would be sceptical.

 

South african boer music is really the only music I know of where the "german double reeded concertina" with its typical rich sound could attain at least some sort of to some extend established position.

Edited by Sebastian

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I am under the impression, that these were essencially two-row concertinas with only one reed per note (the instrument on the photograph most likely is). Those were easily replaceable by the more pricey anglo-german three-row conertinas, when people got a bit wealthier, because with these you could still play in the old way but had some new possibilities and still the thin sound of single-reeded instruments.

 

 

Just listen to older recordings of Irish musicians playing the German concertinas, they're all double reeded: Mary Ann Carolan, Patrick Flanagan and indeed the instrument under discussion, that of Ella Mae O'Dwyer, all   spring to mind but there are plenty of other examples either in recordings or as surviving instruments from the period.

Edited by Peter Laban
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14 hours ago, Sebastian said:

typical rich sound

I think this is what gets my attention for the "German" concertina.  I guess it is kind of the concertina equivalent  of my CF Erica.

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For single-note playing, double-reeded instruments give you much more volume, especially needed if playing for dancers or in a noisy pub, similar to playing in octaves.

 

Now, if you play in octaves on a double-reeded instrument, would that be quadraphonic sound?!?

 

Gary

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