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1960s Popularity of the Concertina in the USA


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I was watching this video that has probably been posted here several times but one thing they mentioned really stuck out to me. The video seems to have been recorded in 1961 and shows a concertina factory in England. At one point they say:

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It is a sad fact that concertina has declined in popularity since the inception of the accordion. Only in America, it seems, is it still rarely regarded as a serious instrument.

 

I was wondering if anyone could tell me any more about this. I've heard of concertinas becoming less popular due to popularity of accordions in the post-WWII era but I don't know anything about concertinas really having any history in the USA. Is there a certain region or style of music in which they were still "regarded as a serious instrument" during that time?

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59 minutes ago, Sean M said:

I don't know anything about concertinas really having any history in the USA. Is there a certain region or style of music in which they were still "regarded as a serious instrument" during that time?

 

It was mainly in New York and centred on Boris Matusewitch.

 

Take a look at this post from Randy Stein (one of Boris' pupils) for a start: 

 

 

And here's Eric Matusewitch's article about his family: The Matusewitch Family: Concertina and Accordion Virtuosi-- Russia, Europe and the United States .

 

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Your post inspired me to search briefly through newspapers of a half dozen U.S. States for occurrences of the word "concertina".  The site for some reason stopped at 1963. As Stephen intimated, references declined 1910 to 1963.  I did not search New York.  Most were in classified ads (a used Wheatstone English seemed to go for 50-100 USD in 1960 in Texas or D.C.).  Three arbitrarily chosen images are attached for your amusement/bemusement/demusement.

 

 

c3.jpg

Edited by Stephen Mills
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1 hour ago, Squeezebox Of Delights said:

I always wondered if they were talking about Chemnitzer concertinas, which do seem to just be referred to as ‘concertinas’ in certain parts of America where Anglos, Englishes and Duets are less common.

 

No, though it seems Wheatstone's did make a handful of Chemnitzers (which they mis-described as "Bandonions") for export to the U.S. - see the Wheatstone Bandonion Found thread).

 

After WW2 there was very little interest in new concertinas (and especially with Purchase Tax at 100% on musical instruments!) at home, so most of Wheatstone's production went for export - Anglos to South Africa, and Englishes to Boris Matusewitch in New York.

 

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Back in the sands of time (mid or late 1960's) I was on 48th St. looking for an "accordion" (actually looking for a diatonic button box but didn't hardly know the difference).  Naturally no luck (in those days, as I remember, 70 or 80% guitar/drum shops, 10% band instruments and 10% sheet music). 

As luck would have it, some guy said hey, around the corner on B'way there is this guy Boris Matusevitch who will know about it.

So I look him up in the white pages and walk over (too cheap for a dime call!)  I ring the bell/buzzer, can't remember, and go on up.  Did not realize this was a famous guy--he spent near an hour 'splaining me the reed business and sent me downtown where I got my first Pokerwork.

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To carry on from Stephen's posting regarding Gregory Matusewitch success in American Music Hall .

It was due to this success that Raphael went to America to have a very successful career playing English Concertina in American Music Hall. 

Both of these artists playing are included in English International Collection.

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