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Concertina as a 'means to an end in itself'.

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There's guitar's, pianos, Organs, and so on; all have been and are still used on which to not only hear musical sounds, but also on which to write new ideas with the aid of.. [ to create music with in other words].

I often think when a less standard instrument is then used to play or write with,  it gives a different approach to creative expression as a result;  because it is less 'mainstream' in a way

 Centuries of development has allowed violins, and keyboard, to develop into standard repertoire; whereas free reed has always just remained on the outskirts of general  acceptance into mainstream music.  In a way this is a good thing because it has not quite frightened off potential new students by frighteningly over the top pieces, or characters [for example  a Lizt, or other such demanding personality..  [ as far as piano goes].  Of course not to say there has been Regondi, and modern ,masters to boot;.

Sometimes I often feel that people can forget the potential neutral approach to playing free reed family, particularly concertinas; and they can become to fixated on the number of buttons, on then tradition, the key it may be made in, or the makers name, and I feel they can forget to get on with playing the instruments ; fretting instead over whose is conceived as being better than there one is! Or how to do this or that better.. There's many valid opinions of course, as many as buttons on English concertina!  But See the instruments also as needing playing; get on with enjoying your music, it is after all notes in a conveniently made portable box; a miniature reed organ.  A means to an end; to express yourself or [in my case also]  - something to write new music with and then try it out on [ often for the first time]; which is very rewardingly different sound than piano, guitar, or [much more similar to organ] for that matter. Play concertos, solo pieces, transcriptions from other instrumental books; but at the end of the day do one thing.....and that is simply fret no more - Get on and play your tunes; enjoy it !..



Teeny weeny keyboard!
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9 hours ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:


Sometimes I often feel that people can forget the potential neutral approach.......

and they can become to fixated..... and I feel they can forget to get on with playing the instruments.....

fretting instead over......

But See the instruments also as needing playing; get on with enjoying your music.....

 .......fret no more - Get on and play your tunes; enjoy it !..



Who are you talking about?

I'm not pleased with the contradistinction (is this the right word in English?) you suggest.

I love my instrument for the music it let me play. That's what I do at home, with and without people around me.

But I also love my tina for its looks, for its history, for its construction, for its place in its family of instruments.

And I am fond of this community of experts and enthusiasts who share their love for and their knowledge of our concertinas in all its aspects. That's not fretting!

And now I turn off my computer and go and play me a tune.



Edited by Leonard
Correcting changing font sizes
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All concertinas become part of your personality, as much as any musician's other instruments.. even more so because they are almost machine like in their appearance; with their buttons, and shape...

They are all lovely in their own way of course; that is why if someone were to criticise a particular make which is favourite of one's self.. it can be quite concerning. My own one and only concertina has been criticised, but I carry on with playing it regardless. The fretting word is not so much a criticism, but more to encourage people who can tend to worry over the does or don'ts as to music, to let go and get on also with playing..

We all should enjoy playing them, whichever kind we use, and whether they cost ( British pounds!); £300 or over £3000 plus. They all have value! I do not myself have favour over one to another, and like the look of the historical ones; many featured on this net site.. and have as someone who rarely had chance to share my interest in playing "alternative instruments".. found it very rewarding to share that great interest with others.

A tune a day cheers everyone up!😃



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An interesting nest of questions.


The first thing is that there is no such thing as the concertina.   At the very least, there are the English, Anglo, and duet: 3 very different instruments, linked only by name, general shape, and some aspects of construction.  The English, Anglo, and duet are as different as the guitar, banjo, and ukulele.  (And, yes, a guitarist or banjoist would say that there is no such thing as "the" guitar or "the banjo" for similar reasons.)


The next step is that many would argue that if you have a significantly different number of buttons, you essentially have a different instrument.  I play Anglo, and have to use different techniques and to some extent choose a different repertoire, if I play my 20 button or my 30 button.  The fundamental difference between my 20 and my old 38 was even more striking.


However, the more general point is that concertinas are now niche instruments, which fall outside the usual scope of pop, rock, blues, country, jazz, or classical music.  They seem to have found a home within folk and traditional music, but even there, they are quite niche.


Because concertinas are not widely known outside of the concertina community, there is very little expectation of what they "should" be playing.  That means that it is a pleasant surprise when a concertinist plays a fine piece of violin or flute music, or does a good job of approximating a piano piece.  I have witnessed the same effect when a melodeonist has played a medley of Chuck Berry songs in the pub: it is not so much that it is done well, as that it is done at all!


However, the English concertina was created to enable someone with a reasonable level of musical knowledge to play things such as violin or flute music.  The duet was created to give the musician a "portable piano".  The original 20 b Anglo was very much a simple instrument to play the simple tunes of the simple working man, but versions with more buttons were quickly developed so that it could play a wider repertoire.


When playing your chosen type of concertina, you will find that certain patterns of notes fall readily to hand, and that will tend to encourage you to compose and play in some styles more than others.


So at bottom, what are we saying?  Concertinas are quirky and surprisingly versatile instruments.  It's fun to talk about them, but even more fun to play them.



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A word about „fretting”. From my personal experience of my various hobbies and interests, „fretting” about one’s passion is as important as following said passion. It is so, because bouncing your enthusiasm, ideas and achievements off of someone with similar interests is an additional source of both motivation and knowledge. When I bought my first concertina, a no-name 20b DDR Anglo, I knew nothing about concertinas and very little about music itself outside of natural singing an whistling. After just a year of „fretting” I knew enough about concertinas and music to build my first instrument - a MIDI Hayden, and then, after another couple of years, to start a very long, bumpy but rewarding journey of building my very own acoustic concertina. It would’t have happened if I had no community to „fret” about concertinas.

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Hmmm ....

Though a concertina often has elaborate fretwork, it is not a fretted instrument as such. Perhaps that's why some of us fret over it. 😄

A Shakespeare quote comes to mind: When Hamlet's friends Rosenkranz and Guildenstern were getting on the Prince's nerves to try and influence his actions, Hamlet said: "Though ye may fret me, ye may not play on me!"

(If you think Elizabethan music, the the significance of "fretting" my become apparent!)



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