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Wheatstone v Jeffries and how many buttons?


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I searched for a thread about Wheatstone relative to Jeffries, but none was coming up. Am I missing something, I would have expected it to be done to death? What do you prefer and why? Does one play certain types of music better than another. In other places, I have seen people get quite adamant, if not downright uppity about what they think is best, I have a Rochelle 2 Wheatstone, and would love to see a rational discussion before I get too indoctrinated into one version.

Also, how many buttons do you have? Would you want more or less? Does it depend on the type of music?

I have set myself the challenge to play some classical music. My weapon of choice being a 30 button Wheatstone. I have seen some classical music being done, I would like to do more. Does more buttons mean more confusion?

Yes I know English or Duet might be better,¬† but I want to do it the hard way. ūüôā

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I started out the same way on a Rochelle with a Wheatstone layout, but eventually made my way to a Jeffries layout.  At the end of the day, it really only changed up the way I play my C# as I don't use the other notes much that the layout change affects.  So it was not all that terrible to switch up the C# push from my right index to my right middle finger; even my B C# D triplets weren't all that affected by the shift.  In addition it's nice to have that extra C# on the pull now too with the Jeffries layout.

 

BUT I think if the right concertina crossed my path I wouldn't mind switching back to Wheatstone.  A Wheatstone layout could handle any tune I threw at it, but so can a Jeffries layout.  At this point I do prefer the Jeffries layout, but I'm also not trying to play much outside of the trad tunes, so if you're trying to do the classical music, that'll be a different animal.

 

As far as button numbers go, well, there are numerous discussions out there on that.  Personally, I don't use all the buttons on my 30 so I can't really advocate for more.

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Although I don't own a Jeffries or Wheatstone; and use Anglo system, (my one and only 30 key instrument bought in 1999).

As far as button numbers goes, I agree with previous comment; I do not feel I am missing out on button numbers at all. And I  have built up a huge collection of classical pieces of music over the years; and, apart from my own mortal limitations, I have yet to find a limit to the possibilities of any concertina for the academic stuff! In fact classics can sound surprisingly good on concertina, which lends itself to that lyrical often bigger sound world. 

( Just my opinion). The fingering can be a challenge playing music not written directly for concertina, but you have to learn in a more adaptive way, which can be very rewarding.

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If your are looking for play classical on Anglo, then my suggestion would be 40button Wheatstone or 38b Jeffries. One of the major way to play on Anglo is in the bouncy style like English dance musics, but for 30b instruments, for many cases the melody can be only played in the seesawing bouncy style although the sheet says there should be an even accompaniment with a fluent melody. A 40b or 38b have many alternate buttons for the notes that 30b already have but on another bellow direction, it's very helpful to move the melodies to right hand side as much as possible and sometimes make the whole bar or phrase can be played on one same bellow direction. I'm not saying the issue would be totally ceased on 30+button instruments, but it surely will reduced.

 

Anyway, for myself, more button doesn't mean more confusion but more simplicity.

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I would agree with everything LazyNetter says above and will just add the following comment about the 30 button layouts. Having adapted many of my arrangements for the Wheatstone 30 button layout in my book, A Garden of Dainty Delights, I found the biggest problem was the lack of a high draw d. This complicated the fingering considerably and meant a less than ideal LH accompaniment in many of the pieces. However the flexibility 38, or 40 buttons will give you is really worth the investment if you want to play legato passages, or impose your own press/draw sequences to give certain rhythmical emphasis. 

 

Another consideration is that while Jeffries Anglos were made in many different keys, the 40 button Wheatstones are mostly found in CG - I don't think I have ever seen one in say FC, although I guess they must exist? What I want to point out is that if you think you might like to play the deeper sounding Anglos one day, and not have to change fingering, it might be worth starting with the Jeffries system.

I hope this helps,

 

Adrian

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If you don't already know the playing of Cohen Braithewaite-Kilcoyne then here is an example 

 

He plays a Jeffries CG with I think 44 keys.  There is also a video of his Degree recital at Leeds university in about 2017 which I can't locate at the moment.

 

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I play Wheatstone, for no better reason than that is what I started with. When I began playing there was very little information about concertinas and I didn't know that the Jeffries layout is different.  As I didn't know where to obtain a Jeffries, and couldn't have afforded it if I had, that played no part in my choice.

 

For a long time I have played a 40-button, which addresses most of the issues of duplicated notes (including the pull high D which Adrian mentions), although I only recently discovered it is not the standard Wheatstone 40 layout.

 

You get used to what you know. Jeffries players seem to like their push C# on the second button, but I would miss the push A, which allows a very satisfying G-A-B run across the rows, and also facilitates playing in A minor (which my non-standard layout seems to favour).

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Theo said:

There is also a video of his Degree recital at Leeds university in about 2017 which I can't locate at the moment.

 

Here it is:

 

https://livestream.com/uol/final-recitals-17/videos/157705262

 

It was discussed here:

https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/topic/19964-a-remarkable-young-anglo-player/

 

It includes his version of Matheson's Gigue, based on that by John Kirkpatrick, who plays 40-button Wheatstone system.

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On 5/2/2022 at 11:08 AM, Theo said:

If you don't already know the playing of Cohen Braithewaite-Kilcoyne then here is an example 

 

He plays a Jeffries CG with I think 44 keys.  There is also a video of his Degree recital at Leeds university in about 2017 which I can't locate at the moment.

 

Yes, fantastic performance, and his recital, very inspiring ‚̧ԳŹ

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Thank you so much for your replies ‚̧ԳŹ It does seem that more buttons would be the way to go, which is either waiting for an antique to turn up, or to have a custom one made, both of which will have to wait some time for finances. For the moment, I am stuck with what I have, a 30 button Wheatstone.

As a test piece, I have started working on Bach's Cello Suite 2, Prelude, which is going remarkably well, and is a good exercise to teach me the layout. I have looked at the Jeffries arrangement, and while it has some advantages, for this piece, it is also missing some notes.

The process I am following is to mentally mark all notes that can only be played on one button, then find the most fluent path between them where there are options. I have read it is bad form to 'hop' within a row, but sometimes unavoidable. I have not seen it mentioned, but I guess, normally, twisting the hand so that more than one finger can play on the same row, would not be recommended, but sometimes it seems to be the only solution, as in playing b flat to F, middle row RH.

All work in progress.Looks like I will be starting a youtube channel to chrt my progress ūüôā

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On 5/2/2022 at 10:49 AM, adrian brown said:

I would agree with everything LazyNetter says above and will just add the following comment about the 30 button layouts. Having adapted many of my arrangements for the Wheatstone 30 button layout in my book, A Garden of Dainty Delights, I found the biggest problem was the lack of a high draw d. This complicated the fingering considerably and meant a less than ideal LH accompaniment in many of the pieces. However the flexibility 38, or 40 buttons will give you is really worth the investment if you want to play legato passages, or impose your own press/draw sequences to give certain rhythmical emphasis. 

 

Another consideration is that while Jeffries Anglos were made in many different keys, the 40 button Wheatstones are mostly found in CG - I don't think I have ever seen one in say FC, although I guess they must exist? What I want to point out is that if you think you might like to play the deeper sounding Anglos one day, and not have to change fingering, it might be worth starting with the Jeffries system.

I hope this helps,

 

Adrian

 

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I've played some arrangements from Adrain's book he mentioned in his reply, and that's probably my starting point to realize how those extra buttons featured. I'd like to add more information about 30 button+ instruments. There are various number of buttons for both Jeffries and Wheatstone, but 38 for Jeffries and 40 for Wheatstone are the most common. I don't know the reason about this, except the hybrid 30 buttons newly built, any kinds of Jeffries are antique, hard to find one and usually super expensive. But the same level Wheatstones 40 buttons are less rare and slightly cheaper, plus some fine makers and massive producers are still actively building those nowadays. I'm currently playing a Bastari/Stagi 40b Wheatstone Anglo, a massive produced budget instrument, which is absolutely playable!

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All anglo keyboard layouts are compromises, Wheatstone and Jeffries just make different compromises.  Having more buttons helps, although even those really only offer another range of compromises. Whichever system you play, sooner or later you will find you don't have all the notes you need and will have to find a work-around.  But that's part of the fun!

 

 

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The difference between Wheatstone and Jeffries is not just in the number of buttons and the keyboard layouts.  IMHO, the sound quality and feel is quite different (and I'm not making a judgement here as to which is better).

 

Crabb concertinas (and others) are available in Wheatstone or Jeffries layout as well and again, the tone quality may suit some people better than others.

 

Alex West

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On 4/30/2022 at 9:02 PM, Martin Essery said:

I searched for a thread about Wheatstone relative to Jeffries, but none was coming up.

44 minutes ago, Alex West said:

The difference between Wheatstone and Jeffries is not just in the number of buttons and the keyboard layouts.  IMHO, the sound quality and feel is quite different (and I'm not making a judgement here as to which is better).

 

All through this thread there seems to be a lack of clarity about the meaning of the opening post (and, indeed, the title of the thread). ‚ÄúWheatstone‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúJeffries‚ÄĚ are the names of two different historic concertina manufacturers (with Wheatstone ‚Äústill‚ÄĚ in business) and also are specifications for the layout of the accidentals in the 3rd row of 30-key anglo concertinas made by any manufacturer.

 

I think the words ‚ÄúI have a Rochelle 2 Wheatstone‚ÄĚ in the¬†opening post make it clear that we‚Äôre not talking about¬†Wheatstone concertinas vs.¬†Jeffries¬†concertinas, but 30-key anglo¬†concertinas with¬†Wheatstone vs.¬†Jeffries layouts.

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Posted (edited)

I realize this may be borderline heresy..

 

but, if the focus is classical. Would an English or Duet maybe be a better long term fit?


 

not at all saying it can not be done on an Anglo.


But, having a fully chromatic instrument, relatively agnostic regarding key and not having to plan out a note on a push /pull be a little better fit?

Edited by seanc
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10 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

All through this thread there seems to be a lack of clarity about the meaning of the opening post (and, indeed, the title of the thread). ‚ÄúWheatstone‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúJeffries‚ÄĚ are the names of two different historic concertina manufacturers (with Wheatstone ‚Äústill‚ÄĚ in business) and also are specifications for the layout of the accidentals in the 3rd row of 30-key anglo concertinas made by any manufacturer.

 

I think the words ‚ÄúI have a Rochelle 2 Wheatstone‚ÄĚ in the¬†opening post make it clear that we‚Äôre not talking about¬†Wheatstone concertinas vs.¬†Jeffries¬†concertinas, but 30-key anglo¬†concertinas with¬†Wheatstone vs.¬†Jeffries layouts.

Yes, I was referring to the layout, not the manufacturer, please forgive a novice in the field for creating confusion. But then confusion is often the source of inspiration, as in the confused layout of the Anglo, and the reason I love it. Now when I hear an English or Duet, to me they sound too even, flowing too smoothly, whereas the Anglo is more like a gushing river breaking over rocks, which, to me gives it life and vitality ūüôā

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12 hours ago, hjcjones said:

All anglo keyboard layouts are compromises, Wheatstone and Jeffries just make different compromises.  Having more buttons helps, although even those really only offer another range of compromises. Whichever system you play, sooner or later you will find you don't have all the notes you need and will have to find a work-around.  But that's part of the fun!

 

 

Part of the fun indeed, and the brain stretch trying to work out if playing in a different key would help is even more fun.

One of my first instrument was a trombone, and they are written for in 4 different clefs, so I got used to transcription, but, compared to the concertina, a trombone is relatively even and not that difficult to shift keys. I started a series of images to show how different the octave pattern is when changing from C to G.

ConcertinaOctaves.png

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