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


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Usage changes.  A century or more ago it may have been useful to distinguish between Anglo/Anglo-German and German concertinas.  These days, when nearly all surviving vintage and modern concertinas are Anglos, and hardly any German concertinas have survived, the term is usually understood to refer to the keyboard layout and push-pull action, rather than the internal mechanism.  

 

I accept that some might want to make the distinction when referring to an actual German concertina or a modern reproduction, but most observers would probably regard it as an anglo until the difference was explained to them. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

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.

Which begs the question of what would you call an " English" concertina built in the old German style of contruction? "English-German"?

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On 8/3/2022 at 2:14 PM, LazyNetter said:

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.

I did not have this perspective. Thank you. I had assumed that was Dr. Bastari's original development.

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9 hours ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

I understood that at about the period of the great wars the term German concertina became less desirable; and assume also that Anglo became more favoured from then onwards.

I don't think there's any question about "Anglo-German" changing to "Anglo". The question that we've been discussing is how widely "Anglo" can be applied. On that, there are two opinions: that any instrument with a certain arrangement of the notes qualifies; or that the term should be restricted to those that have at least some features of the traditional English internal construction.

 

Shall we agree to differ on that?

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On 8/2/2022 at 7:18 AM, Richard Mellish said:

Logically they should not be called Anglos. Those that were made in Germany should be called German concertinas.

As a matter of fact, hexagonal concertinas with wooden ends, large buttons arranged in two Richter rows, and parallel levers leading to parallel reeds (often two reeds per note) are referred to here in Germany as "deutsche Concertinas"  - which translates as "German concertinas." The instruments that are referred to in English as Large German Concertinas are referred to in German by the names appropriate to their version of the Richter layout: Chemnitzer or Carlsfelder Konzertinas, or Bandoneons. (They all have the central 20 buttons - two Richter scales a fifth apart - but different "accidentals.")

BTW, the name of Jürgen Suttner has been mentioned. This gentleman, as a person, is indeed a German citizen, and his workshop is in Germany, but as a craftsman he works in the British/Irish tradition of concertina building. His products are therefore IMO correctly designated as English and Anglo concertinas.

Cheers,

John

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4 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

Yes of course I agree that Jürgen Suttner's concertinas do qualify and it would be confusing to call them German concertinas.

So that would be a German Anglo rather than an Anglo-German.

 

I think my head is about to explode.

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26 minutes ago, Clive Thorne said:

So that would be a German Anglo rather than an Anglo-German.

 

I think my head is about to explode.

Wait for  it.  Someone is sure to throw Italian made boxes into the mix.....oops...😏

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  • 2 weeks later...

A slight tangent, but related to this discussion.

 

I have been playing my 20 button piccolo Anglo a lot recently, not because of the high register, but because it is so small and portable.

 

I recently lost my father andI have been thinking of spending part of his bequest on a concertina.  I was looking at the Marcus Traveller which is piccolo-sized, but in the standard pitch range.  However, they only make them in CG and I would be looking for GD.

 

My search extended to "miniature Anglo concertina" and I found 2 very nice-looking models with 10 buttons (1 row, 1 major key).

 

I am aware of how much can be played on single row (harmonica was my first instrument) but I quickly realised how important the cross row fingering and alternative chords are to my style of playing.

 

Whilst I can translate most of my repertoire from 30 button to 20 button with only a few compromises, translating it to 10 button and playing solely along the one row available would be a very much bigger compromise.  It would allow more versatile accompaniment options than a harmonica, but would be fundamentally different from a 20 b Anglo.

 

This reinforces my feeling that the heart and soul of the Anglo is the 2 core rows a 5th apart.

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I wonder can the kind of 20 buttons concertina in this video be considered Anglo? I assume it's a German design based on Jones's Anglo (the hexagonal shape.)

 

I've opened up and see the inside of one of this kind of concertina (Scholer,) and it has no reason to make it hexagonal except to make it looks like concertinas from England, which makes it a huge thing. 

Edited by Yuxin Ding
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2 hours ago, Yuxin Ding said:

I've opened up and see the inside of one of this kind of concertina (Scholer,) and it has no reason to make it hexagonal except to make it looks like concertinas from England

Precisely! This is the kind of instrument that is called a "deutsche Concertina" (German concertina) in German free-reed circles. (The other types of German concertina are called by names: Chemnitzer, Carlsfelder or Bandoneon.)

When concertina  cross-pollination between England and Germany took place, the English adopted the Germans' button arrangement, and the Germans adopted the English hexagon. Each kept their own reeds, pads, levers and general construction. The English even kept their small buttons, and the Germans altered the orientation of the hexagon to better accommodate their levers and reeds, which were developed with a rectangular instrument in mind.

 

However ...

If someone who has learnt to play one of those East German Scholer instruments is given, say, a 20-button Lachenal, they will be able to play it immediately. (That's my personal experience!) The sound will be different, but the playability will be the same!

It's sometimes said that if you learn one instrument and can then play another instrument without further tuition, then they're the same instrument. For instance, bowl-backed mandolin and flat-top mandolin. Different appearance, same sound and playing technique (I have both!) But what about the banjo-mandolin? (I have one of those as well!) Same technique, but different sound - is that still the same instrument?

 

From a pragmatic player's - or would-be player's - point of view, the Scholer is as close to an Anglo as makes no difference. But from a musician's point of view, where sound texture may be important, there is a difference. And then there's the Italian accordion-reeded Anglo, and the American hybrid - so many different timbres, but only one fingering!

Cheers,

John

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As someone only familiar with contemporary "anglo" internals, can someone describe or point me to a site that explains the earlier German mechanisms and how they differ from the English style of buttons. levers, etc?

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3 hours ago, JackJ said:

As someone only familiar with contemporary "anglo" internals, can someone describe or point me to a site that explains the earlier German mechanisms and how they differ from the English style of buttons. levers, etc?

I believe the earlier ones had all the buttons, levers and pads for each row working on a common pivot in a straight line, a bit like a melodeon.  In a concertina, each button/lever has its own separate pivot.

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12 hours ago, Mikefule said:

I believe the earlier ones had all the buttons, levers and pads for each row working on a common pivot in a straight line, a bit like a melodeon.  In a concertina, each button/lever has its own separate pivot.

 

The reason this works is because the reeds are attached to separate blocks with their chambers arranged in straight lines (like in an accordion), rather than spread out all over the pan like on an English instrument.

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4 hours ago, alex_holden said:

 

The reason this works is because the reeds are attached to separate blocks with their chambers arranged in straight lines (like in an accordion), rather than spread out all over the pan like on an English instrument.

I agree. And one advantage of the concertina design, with separate pivots  is it makes it easier to produce an ergonomically curved row of buttons with a similar degree of leverage.

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