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Fingering System For Henry Harley


Bill N
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Hi Folks,

 

I have a square Henry Harley(London) concertina which has been handed down in my family since c.1880. It's in the shop now being tuned, having a couple of missing buttons and reed leathers replaced, and some minor belows repair done. Except for some cosmetic damage to one of the ends, it's in remarkable shape, and has a beautiful mellow sound. From the archives here, I gather it is a German instrument that was modified for the English market between 1874-1888. It made its way with my Great-Grandfather from Yorkshire to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan early in the 20th century.

 

I can pick out a tune on it (I play harmonica by ear, and have found some similarities), but would like to become a "two-handed" player, and have been looking for instructions and music. I haven't found anything for the particular arrangement of buttons.

 

It's a diatonic instrument, with 13 buttons on each end. The vertical row closest to the wrist comprises 5 buttons, there are 6 in the second vertical row, then 2 "outriggers" in the top and bottom far corner. I'll confirm this when I pick it up, but have been told it is a B flat instrument.

 

Can anyone point me in the direction of more information on how to play this cool old concertina?

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It made its way with my Great-Grandfather from Yorkshire to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan early in the 20th century.

Whereabouts in Yorkshire, if you don't mind my asking? (And did your great-grandfather's surname begin with a "D"?).

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It made its way with my Great-Grandfather from Yorkshire to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan early in the 20th century.

Whereabouts in Yorkshire, if you don't mind my asking? (And did your great-grandfather's surname begin with a "D"?).

His name was Charles Shaw, and he came from the vicinity of Booths Bank. He received the concertina as a boy from his father, who traded it to him for a rifle (which he didn't want his son to have). That would have been about 1890, when he was around 10 years old.

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[

Whereabouts in Yorkshire, if you don't mind my asking? (And did your great-grandfather's surname begin with a "D"?).

 

Additional info: Booths Bank is near Huddersfield and Marsden. Most of the family worked in a woolen mill. To veer back ever so slightly towards the topic of concertinas, the maternal side of the family were named Bolton, and were the Publicans of the Rose & Crown in Marsden, which I understand is still in operation. From the pictures I've seen, it looks like it might have hosted a few sessions over the years!

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