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Similarities and differences between Melodeons and Concertinas


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I have played one-row melodeons (actually Louisiana made cajun style box) for many years now. Concertinas are a second free-reed instrument for me and while I realize an Anglo might be most similar, I found a vintage Wheatstone m21 English, so the choice is made.

The most obvious difference is different notes in/out on the melodeon and different notes right/left on the English. So, bellows direction is a factor. Most important to me is how it changes the way chords are played and how rhythms are changed as well.

My question is: What techniques are the most important to work on with the English. I also play the mandolin.

 

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Gosh, there’s a question.

 

in no particular order

- bellows control. The great temptation on EC is to pull out until you run out of air then push in again. Use the bellows to shape phrases and individual notes, use the attack of a change of direction to give a note an accent.

- work on 3rds, 5ths and octaves.

- learn chords and putting an extra harmony note in.

- learn to move away from the set idea of one finger one row of buttons, use cross-rowing to help get notes. 

- get used to playing in different keys. Scales, arpeggios, runs.

- learn some ornamentation to help bring tunes to life. I over-use bagpipe-style grace notes, but rolls and cuts are good tools.

- listen to all kinds of players and musics and try to work out how to play them on EC.

- and just play the thing for pleasure! 

 

If I’d done half of that I’d be a much better EC player than I am 🙂

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Great...more than enough to work on. I especially like the last item. Without pleasure, why would we do it at all?

The first item about bellows control is what I find objectionable about many piano accordion players. They don't use the bellows to shape phrases enough.

Edited by Everett
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On 9/2/2021 at 8:57 PM, Everett said:

Great...more than enough to work on. I especially like the last item. Without pleasure, why would we do it at all?

The first item about bellows control is what I find objectionable about many piano accordion players. They don't use the bellows to shape phrases enough.

 

Concertinas are way better suited for using bellows control than PAs IMO - you can do that with a rather smallish PA (with really good reeds), but easily with any quality concertina.

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Right. The bellows control on my Louisiana made Cajun box (4 voice, one row, high quality, great reeds, weighs 8 lbs) is very important and has response that is pretty much impossible on a large box (button or piano). I agree that is even easier on a concertina.

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