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Baritone definition, Middle C on RH side?

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What is the precise definition of a Baritone English concertina?  One octave lower with finger switched from left to right?  Middle C on the RH side?


48B Treble

Range similar to a violin, 3-1/2 octaves, G to C.  Middle C is on the LH side.


56 Tenor Treble

Same as the treble but a full four octaves C to C, going further down to one octave below middle C.  Middle C is on the LH side.

48B Baritone:

 I have a Lachenal 48B with the exact same fingering as a treble but transposed one octave lower and understand this is a typical “Baritone”.  It is great for playing low notes as you don’t have to learn any new fingering… just play it like you would a treble.  It’s tricky however if you want to play the regular treble range as you have to mirror image the fingering to go up an octave.  Middle C is changed to the RH side.  


Then there are the Wheatstone Baritone Trebles:

Model 14 - 56B, G to G

Model 15 - 62B, G to C

Model 16 - 64B, F to C

The price lists call these Baritone Trebles but I’m not sure what side the middle C is on.


I was just lent a newer 1955 model 12E with 64B, F to C for the weekend.  The fingering is not switch side to side on this one so it is exactly like playing a Tenor Treble but just continues down to a low F in the bass range.  Middle C is on the LH side.  Would this then be called a Treble Baritone?


I am also borrowing a 64B 6-sided Wheatstone stretched bass that only plays unidirectional on the push.  It goes further down all the way to a low bass C and all the way up to a high G, the range of a Tenor instrument.  This started the definition discussion again as the middle C is on the RH side just as a Baritone!  So would this instrument then be called a Baritone Bass? …an extended Baritone Bass?  Maybe a Baritone Bass Tenor?  Does the swapping of middle C to the other side define it as a Baritone and trump the other titles?  This instrument is in the missing ledger period so I don’t have a model number.

This has to have been discussed before but I can’t quickly find a specific discussion on it.  Unfortunately, the price lists give the instrument ranges but not which side middle C is on.


What is the precise definition of a Baritone concertina?

Edited by 4to5to6
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  • 4to5to6 changed the title to Baritone definition, Middle C on RH side?

The Wheatstone price list of 1915, defines a baritone as:


'Three octaves and three notes from the 'G' 1st line of the bass Clef. 48 keys'.  it then states: 'The disposition of the keys of the above being the same as the Treble concertina, but sounding an octave lower, those who are already acquainted with the latter can immediately play the Baritone. '


So yes middle 'C' is on the RH Side. This definition is consistent through all price lists I have seen. The Lachenal price list I have does not define the compass of the treble instruments, but does quote:  48 keys, down to 'G'. no octave is mentioned. 


It is interesting that my first Baritone, a new model ebony 'band model' went down to 'G' but only had 42 keys. saving weight and making space for the parallel chambers for the large reeds for the lower octave or so.

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Thanks Dave.  Good info.  I’ll download the 1915 price list.


Would you agree that even though an instrument goes down to the bass range (1-1/2 octaves below the treble range) and also up to G, the tenor range (1/2 octave lower than a treble’s highest note), because the middle C is on the RH side, it should be called a “Baritone Bass” and also with the extra high notes, possibly an “Extended Baritone Bass”?


Here’s the price list:




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The convention would be to call it a 'baritone extended', Or it might be one of those odd brass band tuned concertinas where some flats are in the place of their naturals and everything is twisted about. One that someone has re-set to make sense to a conventional player. 


Another useful tip is that on a treble the centreline of the RH side thumb strap matches the lowest D, and the centreline of the LH Thumb strap conforms to that of middle 'C'. On a baritone these notes drop 1 octave, of a full bass the notes drop an octave again. These are transposing instruments, however the hand falls onto the transposed equivalent keys.

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