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A Concertina For A Pennywhistler? (key Of D)


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Hey folks -

 

I've searched around the forum here, but haven't found a conclusive answer to a concern I have. If, in our group, we have pennywhistle players, and they're in the key of D, wouldn't that pretty much require a concertina in the same key? Most of them seem to be in G. I've seen few conertina's in D for sale.

 

The background of this project is, I'm in a shanty band, and we're looking to add some instruments to our lineup, and while I'm pretty good at pennywhistle, you can't whistle and sing at the same time. I'm more than happy to spend a few hundred on a nice concertina and begin learning it, but if it sounds goofy with the whistle, why bother?

 

(and, so your forum advocates, I may go find a nice new Rochelle, unless some excellent wooden oldie shows up on eBay soon)

 

((and, who's to say we have to play the whistle and concertina at once. I certainly don't have enough hands for both! Maybe key is irrelevant))

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Hi and welcome.

 

There's a lot more to concertinas than you probably know. For instance, it's clear from what you say that you may not know that there is more than one type of concertina. What you are describing is the anglo concertina, but there are English and duet concertinas as well, and you might find you prefer one of them. Have a look at the Concertina FAQ for a lot more info. The section "types of concertina" will not only tell you about all the different types, it will tell you that anglos come in two home keys. For instance, the Rochelle you mention has two home keys, C and G, but it also has an extra row of "accidentals" including lots of C#'s, so that it is relatively easy to play in D, Of course it is easier still on a G/D anglo.

 

Chris

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There's a lot more to concertinas than you probably know.

There's a lot more to pennywhistles than you probably know too - the D whistle may be the commonest type these days, through its use in Irish music, but not so very long ago the only whistle that one of the makers (Clarke's) made was in the key of C, and English music (and sometimes Irish!) was commonly played in C.

 

Inexpensive pennywhistles in Bb, C. D, Eb, F and G are made by the Generation firm in England, and available from many music shops or online.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Hey folks -

 

I've searched around the forum here, but haven't found a conclusive answer to a concern I have. If, in our group, we have pennywhistle players, and they're in the key of D, wouldn't that pretty much require a concertina in the same key? Most of them seem to be in G. I've seen few conertina's in D for sale.

 

The background of this project is, I'm in a shanty band, and we're looking to add some instruments to our lineup, and while I'm pretty good at pennywhistle, you can't whistle and sing at the same time. I'm more than happy to spend a few hundred on a nice concertina and begin learning it, but if it sounds goofy with the whistle, why bother?

 

(and, so your forum advocates, I may go find a nice new Rochelle, unless some excellent wooden oldie shows up on eBay soon)

 

((and, who's to say we have to play the whistle and concertina at once. I certainly don't have enough hands for both! Maybe key is irrelevant))

 

well, wooden oldies will go for thousands, and rochelle for hundreds. if you got the thousands, we could probably help you track one down.

 

i agree. c/g is the way to go, if you want anglo. i have a c/g, and i play in d and g constantly--i only have 3 tunes in my repertoire that are in c. i also play in A and Bb, too. i can play in any key if you give me a few minutes, but i usually dont... not yet!

 

whistle and concertina would sound fine together.

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i agree. c/g is the way to go, if you want anglo. i have a c/g, and i play in d and g constantly--

Sorry, I can't agree with that. I play G/D anglo in preference to C/G for tunes. This is, of course, personal opinion, but I think the G/D just sounds a lot better than the C/G - less squeaky and certainly more comfortable if what you want to do is put a left hand acompaniment to a tune played on the right hand.

 

As I say, this is an opinion, but then so is your preference for C/G. I would never make a categorical statement like "X is the way to go if you want Y". You need to work out for yourself what suits you. We BOFs can advise you on what works for us but we shouldn't lay down the law. That's why I directed the original poster to the Concertina FAQ. The concertina world is a lot larger than just the C/G anglo. The best way is to find a way of trying some of the different systems and keys and finding what suits you. If you select something based on what someone else said then the chances are even you won't like it, won't put the effort into learning it and will eventually chalk it up as a waste of money. And none of us want that.

 

Chris

 

PS BOF: English acronym meaning Boring Old Fart.

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Yes, but it could cheaper (and easier!) to use a different pennywhistle... ;)

 

while I'm pretty good at pennywhistle, you can't whistle and sing at the same time.

I rest my case, m'lud.

 

Chris

Whilst I base my case on the witness' earlier testimony that the group has pennywhistle players (plural ;) ), m'lud, not just himself:

 

If, in our group, we have pennywhistle players, and they're in the key of D, wouldn't that pretty much require a concertina in the same key? Most of them seem to be in G. I've seen few conertina's in D for sale.

 

whistle.gif

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Ah yes, good replies, one and all...

 

After reading (more of) that faq, and general browsing around the internet, it looks like I'll be after just a plain ol' Anglo in G/C's. The Rochelle looks to be in my price range, and some places offer a trade in when you're ready to upgrade, so why spend $700 on one with a key in D, when I can spend $350 on a G/C and learn the damn thing. So, yeah, a Rochelle G/C Anglo? Sound good for a first timer? The offerings on eBay aren't all that interesting yet.

 

We don't have to do everything in D, and if you ever heard a shanty band, you know that keys aren't really all that important anyways.

Our little troupe of singers varies greatly in members, so having me poorly play a concertina occasionally may be independent of the fact that there is someone playing the pennywhistle (or main pennywhistler has now got some sort of lung disease now whereby his doc said he should cut back on singing and whistling, yet apparently, Marlborros are still OK).

 

http://sendthebastardouttosea.com/

 

edit:

Well, this one is on eBay. No idea about the brand or key, so .... eh....

http://cgi.ebay.com/Anglo-Concertina-Accor...id=p3286.c0.m14

Edited by mainstreetmark
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Unfortunately there are Chinese knock-offs out there that look like Rochelles but aren't; they're cheaper but nowhere as near as good. (Lord knows the Rochelle is already very cheap for what it is). Are you in the US? If so get one direct from Concertina Connection, or from Button Box. I think Bob Tedrow carries them as well. If in the UK then the Music Room would be your best bet.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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Be leery of eBay, at least where cheap concertinas are concerned. You'll see things there that look like Rochelles but ain't.

I think a Rochelle is a great starter, and I'm a huge fan of it, but an improved Stagi in G/D could work for you, too.

 

One thing that I think no-one has explained yet, is that one of the differences between the C/G and the G/D is that the G/D has a lower range. On a C/G, the left hand middle row plays the scale of C in the following pattern (push/pull): c/g g/b C/d e/f g/a. The big C is middle C.

On a G/D the pattern is: g/d d/f# g/a b/C d/e.

So all of the buttons are playing about a fourth lower. For the D scale, though, you're pretty much going to be playing the same range regardless -- with one exception, there's no low D below middle C on a C/G anglo. Don't know if that affects your decision.

 

I will agree with those who point out that a Rochelle can handily play in D -- heck, I manage it and I'm a klutz. The Rochelle is also quite a bit cheaper, and comparable in quality.

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Ah, but concertinas are more fun. I have about a dozen whistles and several concertinas. I play the concertinas, but never really made much use of the whistles. Only the tabor pipe got much use: I used to play while driving when I had a car with no radio before I started paying fuller attention to my driving and the state of my hearing! You can't do that with a concertina (and you shouldn't with a tabor pipe either).

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