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Muck .. Or Hen's Teeth?


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That very interesting thread on the lovely old Wheatstone 64 key Baritone Treble, which ended last night with such an exciting eBay auction, has now left me wondering just how common these wonderful old instruments, the Baritones, really are?

 

Are they as common as muck, but just not suitable for sessions, so that's why we don't see so many of them out & about, or are they really as rare as Hen's Teeth?

 

Cheers

Dick

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A Baritone Treble is tuned as a treble but is extended down another octave to about the G one and a half octaves below middle C, but a Baritone is tuned an octave lower than a treble so is normally played as a transposing instrument from the treble clef. I've seen one or two Baritone trebles, but they were not very impressive - a bit wheezy and slow, and with 64 buttons, heavy.

 

There seem to be more real Baritones about - quite a few people in the concertina band world have a baritone as well as a treble, and many are very nice instruments, often 56 key (so extended up), and nicely decorated. (Although Chris Algar had none at all at Witney this year - a friend of mine was looking for one).

 

I have a theory that in the past people played baritones as solo instruments reading directly on to the baritone, and thus played trebles as transposing instruments - up an octave, which may explain the popularity then of the extended trebles (up from the normal 48 to 56 buttons in the dog-whistle direction).

 

For real rarity try the bass - (tuned two octaves below the treble) - mostly missing the bottom 6 buttons, so the bottom note is the C two octaves below middle C, two ledger lines below the bass clef - although there seems to be about two dozen or more in captivity at the moment, mostly single action. There are a few which go down to the G - this is hen's teeth country! and these are sometimes called contra-basses.

 

Are there any real contra-basses? - by which I mean instruments tuned three octaves below a treble. Is this what Bernard Wrigley plays? I've never seen one.

 

Nick Oliver

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That very interesting thread on the lovely old Wheatstone 64 key Baritone Treble, which ended last night with such an exciting eBay auction, has now left me wondering just how common these wonderful old instruments, the Baritones, really are?

 

Are they as common as muck, but just not suitable for sessions, so that's why we don't see so many of them out & about, or are they really as rare as Hen's Teeth?

 

Cheers

Dick

For those wishing to play detective:

 

http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/wheat...t-Eng-c1920.pdf

 

http://www.horniman.info/

 

Check the Dickinson Archive, and you are looking for model Nos.20/20a.

 

Peter.

 

Edited due to my inability to read English!

Edited by PeterT
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For those wishing to play detective:

 

http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/wheat...t-Eng-c1920.pdf

 

http://www.horniman.info/

 

Check the Dickinson Archive, and you are looking for model No.16.

 

Peter.

 

That would miss mine-- it has a very early serial number (2037) and appears first in the ledgers as a second hand instrument in October 1860, when it was probably about 11 years old, judging from its construction. There is no indication in the listing that it is a baritone.

 

The early ones seem to have been parlor instruments while the later ones were band instruments.

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That very interesting thread on the lovely old Wheatstone 64 key Baritone Treble, which ended last night with such an exciting eBay auction, has now left me wondering just how common these wonderful old instruments, the Baritones, really are?

 

Are they as common as muck, but just not suitable for sessions, so that's why we don't see so many of them out & about, or are they really as rare as Hen's Teeth?

 

Cheers

Dick

Dick,

The transposing baritone is not common but you can find one if you are patient. They're often used as band instruments, playing the euphonium line in brass band music. Mine's a metal ended Wheatstone that I acquired a couple of years ago from Chris Algar. Because of its pitch it tends to get lost when played in unison with other instruments which are playing an octave higher, but it's great for putting chords behind a melody line or song. I just love the lower pitch, especially for slow airs.

 

At the October Kilve meeting, just over a week ago, Colin Dipper was selling, on behalf of someone else, a lovely wooden ended Aeola baritone of the transposing type, as well as a wooden ended Aeola tenor baritone where the range progressed downwards fron the tenor, C below middle C, range into the baritone range (I think it ended on the F). The transposing layout means you just read straight from the treble clef as if you were playing a treble, whilst on the latter instrument you have to rejig your reading, if that's what you're doing, and your brain 'cos you're well into bass clef territory and the lower keys are on the opposite side of the instrument to where they'd be on a transposing intrument. Having said that though, it too was a great instrument with a gorgeous mellow tone.

John

P.S. But that 64 key instrument is, with such a range and in such condition, the proverbial hen's teeth!

Edited by John Adey
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  • 2 months later...
Dick,

The transposing baritone is not common but you can find one if you are patient. They're often used as band instruments, playing the euphonium line in brass band music. Mine's a metal ended Wheatstone that I acquired a couple of years ago from Chris Algar. Because of its pitch it tends to get lost when played in unison with other instruments which are playing an octave higher, but it's great for putting chords behind a melody line or song. I just love the lower pitch, especially for slow airs.

 

At the October Kilve meeting, just over a week ago, Colin Dipper was selling, on behalf of someone else, a lovely wooden ended Aeola baritone of the transposing type, as well as a wooden ended Aeola tenor baritone where the range progressed downwards fron the tenor, C below middle C, range into the baritone range (I think it ended on the F). The transposing layout means you just read straight from the treble clef as if you were playing a treble, whilst on the latter instrument you have to rejig your reading, if that's what you're doing, and your brain 'cos you're well into bass clef territory and the lower keys are on the opposite side of the instrument to where they'd be on a transposing intrument. Having said that though, it too was a great instrument with a gorgeous mellow tone.

John

P.S. But that 64 key instrument is, with such a range and in such condition, the proverbial hen's teeth!

 

John, I just thought you'd like to know that a large box arrived today from Colin, with that very same "transposing type" inside! ;)

 

As you probably know by now, the Hen's Teeth version went elsewhere, before I had reached the Dippers, but I'm absolutely delighted I got there in time to acquire this big beauty.

To be honest, I doubt if I'm anywhere near ready for the extra brainwork I'd need, to be able to do justice to the bigger 64 key instrument.

 

I have heard the 64 key played in a short video & it does sound absolutely wonderful, but this littler Baritone suits me just fine.

 

Colin actually dropped the low G#s to F for me, so that low F chord I can now get on it, is to die for! :)

 

Anyway, if you will excuse me, I must dash off & play it some more .........................

 

Cheers

Dick

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Dick

 

When do we get to see pictures and hear this 'tina?

 

Steve

 

Give me a chance, it only arrived this afternoon & I've hardly put it down since. :rolleyes:

 

:lol:

 

All in good time.

 

Besides, anyone who was at the October Kilve meeting that John mentioned above, will probably already have had a go on it. ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

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