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What is the best concertina for polka music?

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I play Irish, Newfoundland and English polkas on my Anglo, but if you are thinking of the Eastern European variety a Chemnitzer concertina is the traditional type to play.  There are a few people on this forum that know about that type of instrument, but most of the discussion here is about Anglo, English and the various types of Duett concertinas.


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It may be possible with any concertina….. but, I would look really hard at what most polka bands use. Their standard set lists. Keys the songs are in. And also, what part(s) you want to play.


For example… if your intention would be to take the tuna role, you might look at a baritone English. For trumpet, sax, clarinet, possibly an English. If you plan to take the role of accordion, with melody on the right and oom pan on the left.. maybe an Anglo, depending on keys and chords. Or possibly a duet. 


but if that is the role you intend to take you may best off with a piano accordion. even if you are able to play the parts on whatever concertina you pick. It is very possible that polka bands may be turned off, or resistant to add “non traditional” instruments.

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There is a lot to consider here. And a lot of variables.


But, one thing to seriously consider is tradition. look, feel, history, etc.. If the aim is to play polka music at your house. or a solo busker gig. Or, assemble your own polka band. Then all is open and you can do what ever you want. 


But, if the intent is to learn a bunch of tunes and then join an existing band a concertina may very well be a non starter.


Hypothetically.. If an existing polka band were looking for a "bass". A PhD and professor of Polka history and performance applies for the gig. but, he plays only a synth and expects to dress in a space suit? Even though he may be perfectly capable of nailing every sound, nuance, grace note and expound on the derivation of every song.


Or, a bass guitar player is 100% capable, knows all the material has good gear and a fantastic sound.


But the gig goes top a guy that has been playing a short time shows up with a beat up Upright that has holes in it. But arrives at the gig in lederhosen  a feathered cap and his own liter beer mug.


Presentation, Look and feel, can be as important if not more important than ability and sound. 




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