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Is concertina only for folk English or Irish music?


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5 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

'I only listen to Irish and English folk music'. In that case, that's all you'll hear. Try searching for other genres of music...

 

Actually, my sense is that this is a language issue, and that he meant “hear,” not “listen to.”

 

3 hours ago, Lakeman said:

Also, I would urge you to listen to the International Concertina Association's (ICA) worldwide  concert, broadcast recently  and still available on line.

 

Here’s the link: https://concertina.org/world-concertina-day-events/

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A concertina of any variety is, at the end of the day, a miniature Reed organ, providing the musician with the opportunity to make the music they wish; any kind that their imagination desires. It's up to you to play whatever you want. They're reeds inside a wooden box, and neutral as to expectation, as far as sound world is concerned.  Get going, play what you want, as it's amazing how well suited they are to ALL musical genre.

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No instrument can do everything. That's why there are lots of different instruments. Major categories of instruments include tuned/untuned, staccato/legato, melodic (monophonic)/harmonic (polyphonic). Any instrument will be unable to play some specific types of music, or only poorly. You can't play a piano piece (polyphonic) on a violin (monophonic), and if you play a violin piece (legato) on a piano (staccato) it will typically sound rubbish.

 

It also makes a difference if you are playing solo or as part of an ensemble. Some instruments are great solo instruments, others (especially rhythm) work best in an ensemble.

 

With that basis, a concertina can broadly play any Western music. Some individual pieces will be impossible, of course. Some styles will suit it better than others, but depending how rigidly that style is defined and guarded, it should usually be possible for a concertina to make an effective contribution. For example, you can't bend notes on a concertina, which is a major feature of blues; but that doesn't stop pianists playing the blues.

 

If you want to play a concertina in a particular musical style or genre, and it's physically possible, then go ahead and do it. If it's a genre which doesn't have many concertina players, it may take some effort to make the music work, but if you do, the genre will be richer for it.

 

And of course, if you're just playing for yourself and friends, anything goes.

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On 4/17/2022 at 10:52 AM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

A concertina of any variety is, at the end of the day, a miniature Reed organ, ...

 

A concertina has one major advantage over an organ - the air pressure can be varied to give dynamics to the sound that are not possible on a reed organ.

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2 hours ago, Little John said:

the air pressure can be varied to give dynamics to the sound that are not possible on a reed organ.

Careful!

There are reed organs and harmoniums, and few non-experts are aware of the difference. Some of them are pressure-driven, some are suction-driven. The harmonium that I had access to as a child was obviously the pressure type, because pedalling harder definitely made it louder - though not much. But what both types of reed organ/harmonium have is the knee-operated swell levers. These definitely give you adequate dynamics.

And remember also that reed organs and harmoniums have stops that produce different timbres, which can be used singly or combined as required. That's something no English-made concertina - and very few German Konzertinas - have.

 

The Anglo, EC or duet can be used expressively, but in a different way from the harmonium.

Cheers,

John

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Also, note that on neither instrument (concertina or organ) can you play two simultaneous notes (or passages) at different volumes, as you can on a piano or fiddle. At any given time, each speaking reed is exposed to the same pressure gradient.

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1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

Also, note that on neither instrument (concertina or organ) can you play two simultaneous notes (or passages) at different volumes, as you can on a piano or fiddle. At any given time, each speaking reed is exposed to the same pressure gradient.

I've often wondered about this.  With a concertina, It's possible to expand the bellows at the top while compressing them at the bottom.  I can't detect any discernible effect but I have trouble sustaining a note on the fiddle through a bowing change of direction.  Perhaps in more skillful Hands?

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6 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Also, note that on neither instrument (concertina or organ) can you play two simultaneous notes (or passages) at different volumes, as you can on a piano or fiddle. At any given time, each speaking reed is exposed to the same pressure gradient.

4 hours ago, wunks said:

I've often wondered about this.  With a concertina, It's possible to expand the bellows at the top while compressing them at the bottom.  I can't detect any discernible effect but I have trouble sustaining a note on the fiddle through a bowing change of direction.  Perhaps in more skillful Hands?

 

At any moment in time, all of the air inside the bellows is at the same pressure. If it weren’t, air would very quickly flow from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower pressure until it all equalized.

 

Whatever you’re doing with the bellows (“It's possible to expand the bellows at the top while compressing them at the bottom”), the pressure of the air inside the bellows is either greater than the ambient pressure (in which case, if a key is pressed, the “squeeze” reed will be activated), less than the ambient pressure (activating the “draw” reed) or equal to the ambient pressure (silence). But it will not present different pressures to different reeds at the same time.

 

This has nothing to do with fiddle bows. I have no trouble sustaining a note on the cello through changes of bow direction. The string is already vibrating, so as long as you don’t do anything that causes it to stop the sound continues.

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On 4/25/2022 at 1:08 PM, David Barnert said:

on neither instrument (concertina or organ) can you play two simultaneous notes (or passages) at different volumes

However, the harmomium has a circumvention: the Couplers. The bass coupler links each key on the LH side with the key an octave lower, and the treble coupler links each key on the RH side with the key an octave higher. (Where exactly the transition between LH and Rh takes place is part of the specification of the individual instrument.) These couplers have separate knobs, so you can play a louder melody over a softer bass, or vice versa.

A very nice example is this YouTube recording. Both the couplers are seen in action, as is the knee-operated swell lever. If you want to listen to a bit of "sacred free-reed," try Rodney Jantzi's channel.

There is a reason why the harmonium is called "orgue expressif" in French - it certainly is more expressive (in the sense of dynamics) than a piped organ blown by a soul-less machine!

Cheers,

John

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