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So-called anglo concertinas without English style action, are they anglos ?


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As I understand it, Anglo-German concertina is a German fingering system concertina with traditional English style action. It has been shortened to the so-called Anglo concertina.
However, some of the recent low-priced concertinas do not have English style action. Is it appropriate to call them Anglo concertinas as well ?
Of course, I understand that their fingering system is the same as the so-called Anglo concertina.

 

Edited by Takayuki YAGI
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  • Takayuki YAGI changed the title to So-called anglo concertinas without English style action, are they anglos ?

Logically they should not be called Anglos. Those that were made in Germany should be called German concertinas. But a colleague of mine often said to me (in various contexts)  "The trouble is, Richard, you're trying to apply logic to it". Human beings are often illogical, not least in our languages.

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6 hours ago, Takayuki YAGI said:

.......
However, some of the recent low-priced concertinas do not have English style action.

..…...

What kind of action do you mean?

If they have the wooden parallel kind of action I would call it a German concertina.

 

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46 minutes ago, Leonard said:

What kind of action do you mean?

If they have the wooden parallel kind of action I would call it a German concertina.

 

Same here. I use the name Anglo-German concertina and the name German concertina separately.

I meant parallel kind of action made from metal in this topic.

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You can have reeds in separate frames in dovetail slots arranged radially or in rows., reeds in separate frames held in place by screws, or frames held in place by wax, each carrying multiple reeds. You can have each lever with a separate pivot in a complicated layout or a row of levers sharing a single axle. There are more possible combinations than obvious names for them. However we ought to avoid "Anglo" for any combination that has none of the traditional features of English construction.

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28 minutes ago, Richard Mellish said:

However we ought to avoid "Anglo" for any combination that has none of the traditional features of English construction.

Thank you for answering my question. I couldn't agree more.

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So you're referring to internals.  Are we then supposed to take them apart to properly designate them?  My illogical take is that "Anglo" or "Anglo German" is an acceptable,  adequate and conventional usage to in a general sense visually differentiate between types.  

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31 minutes ago, wunks said:

My illogical take is that "Anglo" or "Anglo German" is an acceptable,  adequate and conventional usage to in a general sense visually differentiate between types.  

This is another understandable concept. I think there is no proper name for non-English construction right now.

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Strictly, as I understand it:

 

The standard 20 row 20 button is an Anglo German concertina.  It is the tuning of an earlier style of German squeeze box in the shape of a concertina.

 

The version with 3 rows (typically 30 or more buttons) is an Anglo chromatic concertina.

 

In my mind, the definition of concertina includes the general shape and layout, but does not dictate how the reeds are held in place, or whether the action is riveted etc.

 

To my mind, the definition of Anglo relates to the keyboard layout: the "system".  An Anglo has a keyboard based on 2 Richter tuned rows, a 5th apart, with or without supplementary buttons.  if I could pick it up and play it with my usual technique, it is an Anglo.

 

The popular definition of the Anglo is "An instrument with implausibly long bellows which sounds suspiciously like a piano accordion, invented in the 19th century but nevertheless popular with pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries."

Edited by Mikefule
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3 hours ago, Mikefule said:

In my mind, the definition of concertina includes the general shape and layout, but does not dictate how the reeds are held in place, or whether the action is riveted etc.

Yes, shape (and size), layout, reeds and action are the points to note. In each category, there are a "German" and an "English" variant. Taking the earliest examples of "German" (e.g. Uhlig) and "English" (e.g. Wheatetone):

Shape: German rectangular, English polygonal (mostly hexagonal)

Layout: German two Richter rows, English L-R-L-R chromatic scale

Reeds: German several reeds on one plate, English each reed on a separate shoe

Reed-plate attachment: German spiked (hooks hammered into the reed-pan), English dovetailed

Action: German parallel levers on a common shaft, English individual radial levers.

 

It seems that "intermarriage" started up fairly early on. When the English makers started using the German fingering system with radial levers, the German makers started making hexagonal instruments with parallel levers. Each nationality continued to use its form of reeds (large plate or single shoe). However, the early hexagonal German concertinas had the (straight) button rows arranged parallel to two of the sides, whereas the anglo-German ones had the (curved) button rows at right angles to two of the sides. The German makers have since "reorientated" their button rows.

 

Nowadays, of course, the lower-priced German and Anglo-German concertinas both have accordion reeds, two to a plate - a feature that is neither traditional German nor traditional English!

Cheers,

John

 

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To me an "Anglo" means a concertina with different notes in the two directions, based around the Richter scale (no, not that one), irrespective of how or where they are constructed. You than have English style Anglos and German style anglos, and English style anglos made in Germany (Sutner), and English style English concertinas made in both England and Germany (Sutner again). etc etc. You can probably get German style English concertinas as well.

 

To me the basic fingering is the crucial fact.

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I agree, mostly, with Clive Thorne. An Anglo is an Anglo because of its button layout. 20/30/40 buttons in that layout, with two notes per, defines Anglo.

The same applies to EC and the various Duets. It's the layout that determines the system.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all for your replies. Yes the keyboard layout is yet another understandable concept.

I believe that the meaning of words changes with the times.

 

According to the Dan Worrall's book "The Anglo-German concertina a social history volume 1":

Quote

Middle-class afficionados of the German keyboard began to ask English producers of they could make a quality English-made concertina with a German keyboard. Three makers of English concertinas began producing concertinas with the popular German keyboard in the 1850s. These were soon called "Anglo-German" concertinas, the hyphen indicating this shared origin.

(pp. 19 in the section "Development of the Anglo-German Concertina")

 

I think that was the beginning, in the mid 19th century.

But these days, keyboard layout is probably more important to distinguish between systems.

 

Talking about accordion reeds, personally I think it could be called Anglo-German concertina until Mayfair Anglo(the first hybrid by Wheatstone) and later hybrids.

 

Edited by Takayuki YAGI
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I think the statement "Anglo-German concertina is a German fingering system concertina" is not exactly accurate. It's surely true all of the Anglo systems have, or partially have the two rows of Richter bisonoric scale that introduced from early concertinas made in Germany, or "Konzertina," but some of them are have more buttons that can be considered English inventions (by G. Jones, and later other makes.) 
 
Later, the Anglo system was further improved into instruments that could play at least one full chromatic scale. At this point, the name Anglo-Chromatic Concertina was created by some dealers.
 
According to Dan Worrall's book, we know that the "German" from "Anglo-German" was cut off due to the war, but I rather believe before the war people were already using the shorter, more convenient name "Anglo" to refer to all the instruments that have English style action and German-based button layouts.
 
The hybrid systems like May Fair, Clover, Mores, etc. just substituted the reeds, they don't have anything to do with German concertinas to me, either the action and the way of reed mounted.

 

On 8/2/2022 at 5:15 PM, Takayuki YAGI said:

Same here. I use the name Anglo-German concertina and the name German concertina separately.

I meant parallel kind of action made from metal in this topic.

 

The cheaper hybrid instrument like Stagi/Bastari/Concertine Italia and some China-made concertinas are more questionable these can be described as Anglo, but I still don't think they are related to German concertinas. Because the construction with assembling all the metal levers onto one metal unit has more similarity to the left-hand side of accordions, and I assume this level of concertina was by-products of accordion manufacturers at the very beginning, but not grabbed from German concertinas' action. The same goes for those very cheap Duets (probably only Hayden, by Stagi and Concertina Connection) and Englishes.
 
By the way, there is a kind of 20-button concertina was made by DDR maker Scholar, and still actively making by Stagi/Bastari/Concertine Italia, which the hand rest and buttons are horizontal to the long diameter but not short diameter to the hexagonal ends, and with huge buttons, can these instruments considered German concertina?

Edited by LazyNetter
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I don't suppose there is ever  really, on the face of it, ever one  definite definition of what a concertina should or can be.  There is such a huge family of free reed instruments all over the world; some called concertina when they look cross between accordion or melodion, and others undefinable in themselves. This is what surprises the layman when they begin taking interest in the subject, or consider starting out - the variety available of these instruments outside the usual they may have expected.

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5 hours ago, LazyNetter said:

I think the statement "Anglo-German concertina is a German fingering system concertina" is not exactly accurate. It's surely true all of the Anglo system have, or partially have the two rows of Richter bisonoric scale that introduced from early concertinas made in Germany, or "Konzertina," but some of them are actually have more buttons that can be considered English invention (by G. Jones, and later other makes.)

 

This is why I said "based around" the Richter scale. To me this is still the defining difference between and "Anglo" and any other variant of concertina (i.e. English or Duet). I nevere hear anyone refering to an ""Anglo German" concertina these days except in esoteric threads like this one.

 

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2 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

. I never hear anyone referring to an ""Anglo German" concertina these days except in esoteric threads like this one.

 

Absolutely.  It would be like insisting on calling the cello a "violoncello", or a piano a "pianoforte".

 

It might be useful when making fine distinctions in an historical context, but today it is an "Anglo" if it is a double decker pump action mouth organ, regardless of how many bonus buttons it has.

 

We don't normally give different names to a bass because it has 4, 5, 6, or more strings, we just call it an N-stringed bass, or a bass.  We don't give different names to Anglos, we just refer to them by key and number of buttons.

 

if the pioneers had chosen to use accordion style reeds, the history of the instrument would have been broadly the same.  I have played a Rochelle, a Marcus, various Normans and Lachenals, Jeffries, Dippers, and many others, and they have been built differently, but they have been recognisably the same type of instrument.

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The name "Anglo" (originally "Anglo-German, subsequently shortened) came about because one variety of concertina combined the German arrangement of the notes (or an expansion thereof) with the English form of construction. If the form of construction is purely German, with nothing "Anglo" about it (as with the German-made one that I started on many many years ago) then that instrument has no claim to be called "Anglo". Give the Germans their due.

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