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:huh: ''Interesting name.......'' In England 'fr***in' is also used instead of saying 'fu**ing' and 'jerk'= 'idiot' ........ not a name to call oneself lightly, although it may have a totaly different meaning across the pond :)



That was my thought on this side as well.



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I assume that from guitarist's point of view, music might sound strange without the chrods, and for this English is actually better in many ways, if you consider the various keys, inversions of the chords and possibility to play melody, while holding the chords as "drones", like playing one string melody on a guitar, while strumming.

Anglo will present a great deal of having to work around the push/pull.

But in the home keys of the anglo (or harmonica, or diatonic accordion) this 'may' be easier. It's easy to switch harmonicas for the keys, but concertinas are bulkier and more expencive, so if you are into key/style versatility - it's the English. But if you are into "folk" style of few keys, simpler music, but more "orchestral" sound with many notes - it's the Anglo (or diatonic accordion for that matter).


With the Anglo you'll find that you can play your harmonica tunes almost instantly, while with the English you'll be puzzled by it's incomprehencible ergonomics. ---------- at first.


Then you'll hit the wall with the Anglo, and reach hights with the English.

Then you'll find work arounds with the Anglo and it will force a style into you (push/pull and finding notes etc.), but you'll reach a plateau with the English, where melody playing will be boring, style will be too smooth, etc.

Then it will be repeated to the end of your life, let it be 120+ years.


Very well written, yet I disagree in some particulars. I don't play the Anglo at all, although I have had a few in my hands and can hack out a scale; I've also sat next to a few good players and payed attention, and also discussed with them. So WRT Anglos, YMMV. I have played the English for years, polishing an intermediate level of ability ever shinier, although I believe I have started to move ahead again as a side effect of taking up Appalachian old-time fiddle, by ear, 3 years ago. Here's what I think the deal is with the English:


For a guitarist, the English would be more like a flatpicker than a fingerpicker. This is because of the English concertina peculiarity of passing melodic lines back and forth from one hand to the other, like playing table tennis with yourself. It makes difficult the playing of pieces with completely separate parts, like the more complex fingerpicking-guitar or piano pieces. I *think this is called homophony and, at least in folk music, it can sometimes be characterized by a separate lead line and a boom-chuck/oom-pah chordal accompaniment. Anyway, any of the above is difficult on the English.


What the English shines at is the flipside of the melody lines passing between the hands: because the notes are all made by not only other fingers but entirely different hands, you can make those lines everything from staccato, to so legato that they overlap. When you consider that what I just said can also apply to whole chords, chord melody akin to flatpicked jazz guitar becomes possible, or pedal steel music, or anything that might be able to make use of swooping flourishes of chords. In other words, the English is good at doing chordal things in which it is best characterized by multiple voices traveling in parallel.


So far I have not developed this very far. I do work on chordal things and have done a few easy things of the sort. For instance, simple ornaments such as one- or two-note cuts and trills are very easy to do as quickly-flickering double stops or chords, and it is very fun to do.


When it gets to some styles, who knows? I think the English sounds just great on American old-time fiddle tunes. I'm sure there are some good players trying old-time on the Anglo, and I can't imagine it would be bad at it. (I *am socially aware enough not to take a concertina of any sort to an old-time jam, where it would be as welcome as a trombone at an Irish session). I would bet that Aran Olwell is good at it.


Richard Morse mentioned that duet concertinas are worth a look. My understanding is that they are very good for starting out playing the chords to songs.


Anyway, that's my take on it.


Eric Root

Floyd, VA, USA

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