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Stephen Chambers

Russian Odessa Duet Concertina

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Whilst "boldly going" to the outer reaches of the eBay galaxy tonight, I stumbled upon (and clicked the Buy it Now on) a rather astonishing Russian concertina (or is it Klingon ?). :blink:

 

Apparently it is from Odessa, and has an interesting, seemingly "duet", fingering system. The naturals are white, except the C's which are red, and the accidentals are black, like an English (or Crane duet) concertina, which must surely have inspired this usage.

 

post-436-1111121153_thumb.jpg

 

But the buttons are mounted on the sides of the instrument, not the ends, like those of a "hybrid" Bandonion, so some might argue that it is really an accordion ?

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But the buttons are mounted on the sides of the instrument, not the ends, like those of a "hybrid" Bandonion, so some might argue that it is really an accordion ?
Certainly thumbs its nose at one of the convenient definitions. But I'll have to go with "I know a concertina when I see one" and that's a concertina.

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I'll go with you on that one, David. I wonder what it was like to play, ergonomically speaking? Those buttons do look close together.

 

Chris

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But the buttons are mounted on the sides of the instrument, not the ends, like those of a "hybrid" Bandonion, so some might argue that it is really an accordion ?
Certainly thumbs its nose at one of the convenient definitions. But I'll have to go with "I know a concertina when I see one" and that's a concertina.

I'll go with you on that one, David.

So it sounds like the consensus, at least so far, is :

 

"It's a concertina Jim, but not as we know it !" ;)

 

I wonder what it was like to play, ergonomically speaking? Those buttons do look close together.

The seller says it is 7" across, so a side should be 4" long, which should be plenty of room for 7 rows of buttons (an English has 4 rows in only 1 3/4").

 

Ergonomically it ought to be beneficial, as you can play with your wrists straight, not bent back.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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So it sounds like the consensus, at least so far, is :

 

"It's a concertina Jim, but not as we know it !"  ;)

Just so long as, when you get it, you don't find yourself saying:"It's worse than that, it's dead, Jim" ;) ;)

 

Chris

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"It's a concertina Jim, but not as we know it !"  ;)

I know a concertina when I see one, and that is most definitely a ......... waffle iron. :lol:

 

More seriously, while I would certainly not consider it an accordion, it is just as certainly pushing the envelope on the "concertina" classification. Maybe we need a new term. "Concordion"? "Accertina"? Or something completely different? "Yurt box"? "Geodescant"?

 

But if I had to pick one or the other, I guess "concertina" would be it.

 

I'm particularly intrigued by what appears to be the means of holding it. A strap across the wrist -- not the hand -- and a smaller, separate strap for the thumb?

 

...an interesting, seemingly "duet", fingering system. The naturals are white, except the C's which are red, and the accidentals are black, like an English (or Crane duet) concertina, which must surely have inspired this usage.

While those might have been the inspiration for the color pattern, I think you'll find that black and white don't color code naturals and accidentals. If the red ones are C's, then there aren't enough other buttons to make up a unisonoric chromatic scale, but just enough for a diatonic scale. (And if it's bisonoric, it doesn't add up either way.) The black-white alternation seems to be entirely visual, not musical, and I wonder if even the red buttons are musically significant. I look forward to your report, Stephen. :)

 

By the way, I think it has the appearance of something factory-produced. Is it possible there are more of those out there? :unsure:

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...an interesting, seemingly "duet", fingering system. The naturals are white, except the C's which are red, and the accidentals are black, like an English (or Crane duet) concertina, which must surely have inspired this usage.
While those might have been the inspiration for the color pattern, I think you'll find that black and white don't color code naturals and accidentals. If the red ones are C's, then there aren't enough other buttons to make up a unisonoric chromatic scale, but just enough for a diatonic scale. (And if it's bisonoric, it doesn't add up either way.) The black-white alternation seems to be entirely visual, not musical, and I wonder if even the red buttons are musically significant.

Ah, but what I didn't mention is that the natural notes are stamped into the metal, in German notation (H for B natural), and the black ones appear to be the semitones of the adjacent notes (like an English or Crane), but the detailed photographs would use up about 500K.

 

I look forward to your report, Stephen. :)

And I'm looking forward to getting the instrument, but I haven't even got the cost of mailing it yet, let alone paid for it ...

 

By the way, I think it has the appearance of something factory-produced.

There is some Cyrillic script on the end too, that appears to include the placename Odessa, but my suspicion is that it may have been made in Germany, for somebody there.

 

Is it possible there are more of those out there? :unsure:

There may still be a few left "in the wild", fancy a hunting trip ?

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Is it possible there are more of those out there? :unsure:
There may still be a few left "in the wild", fancy a hunting trip ?

Yes, I think that would be fun.

And with St. Paddy's Day over until next year, I think I might wear orange. B)

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Stephen, Look Out!!!

 

It is a Borg viral infilltrator!!! If you have touched the buttons you are already infected and are receiving commands from the mother hive: "Buy more concertinas Colonize the Galaxy!"

 

My sympathies and regards,

 

Greg

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Very interesting piece, ergonomically speaking...I'd like to try one laid out like that. I'll have to keep an eye out for one like it!

 

Greg

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There is some Cyrillic script on the end too, that appears to include the placename Odessa, but my suspicion is that it may have been made in Germany, for somebody there.

Well, it says "Ivan Blagin Odessa", on both ends.

I'll speculate that Ivan was the maker, not the player.

Also, its use of the "hard sign" (ъ) I think makes it Russian before the spelling reform. (Samantha, can you tell us when that was?)

 

Edited to add: How do I know that? Stephen pointed me to the eBay auction where he got it.

 

A very intriguing keyboard, as well, though I think I'll still prefer the Crane, Maccann, etc.

Edited by JimLucas

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Well, it says "Ivan Blagin  Odessa", on both ends.

I'll speculate that Ivan was the maker, not the player.

Also, its use of the "hard sign" (ъ) I think makes it Russian before the spelling reform.  (Samantha, can you tell us when that was?)

As far as I know there was a proposal for a spelling reform before the revolution. It was accepted after the revolution in 1918-1919.

Assuming that our Ivan was a loyal follower of this reform :unsure: , the instrument was made before 1920 :unsure:

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Personally, I think it's a mock-up for a Soviet sputnik prototype, those aren't keyboards but solar panels !  :huh:

That's almost right. But the buttons are clearly for programming the internal computer (considering when it was built, it must have been Boole's original mechanical one). The solar panels are what look like bellows papers, and the intricate design is their circuitry. The bellows, of course, allow the instrument to be compressed and enclosed during launching, then let it expand after launch to expose the solar panels. :)

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As far as I know there was a proposal for a spelling reform before the revolution. It was accepted after the revolution in 1918-1919.

Assuming that our Ivan was a loyal follower of this reform  :unsure: , the instrument was made before 1920  :unsure:

 

That seems about right to me.

Samantha

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