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The Anglodeon


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Hi,

 

I've been having some thoughts recently based on the idea that it might be possible to implement a 30-button G/D anglo in the frame of a 3-row melodeon not dissimilar to the Saltarelle Cheviot I've just bought. Sort of going in the opposite direction to the Franglo system.

 

The right hand outer row would be the D row and the middle row would be the G row, but the G row would be lower in pitch than the D row by a fifth, as with an anglo and the reverse of a melodeon. The third inner row would correspond in the same way to the accidental row of an anglo.

 

For the left hand, I would keep the normal 8 basses found on a D/G melodeon, supplemented I think by the 4 basses from a C melodeon (Cmaj and Amaj on the push, Gmaj and Dmin on the pull - actually that Cmaj might be redundant, thinking about it).

 

What do people think? And if you're just revolted by the idea that anyone would do such a thing to a melodeon, consider it as an intellectual exercise - it's no more than a thought experiment at present.

 

Other questions: would it be better to get one built from scratch or convert an existing instrument? Who would do such work?

 

Chris

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Other questions: would it be better to get one built from scratch or convert an existing instrument?  Who would do such work?

 

 

 

Chris,

Overall, I think it's a fine idea.

If you order a new melodeon from a builder, you should be able to specify the reed layout. Certain builders will make the communication process easier. Peter Hyde and Van der Aa come to mind as two likely candidates. With Peter Hyde there is the additional advantage that he is actually a concertina player who happens to build melodeons.

 

Having the reeds changed is a different matter. Changing the outer row of your new box from C# to D is no problem, the new reeds are likely to fit in the existing block. However, the "low G" row is a different story, since this will require a new block with longer chambers, or an extensive modification of the existing block. The accidental row will probably not present a problem. You can specify which reeds you want and order them directly from a reed maker such as Binci, but you will need to be very specific in your communication, since your order will be somewhat unconventional (low octaves of G row).

 

Finding a technician who can competently do this work is another story -- and your best bet might be to have the work done in France! ;) Seriously, Manu Pariselle (owner of 2 Franglos) would be just the right person to ask about the conversion -- perhaps Colin Dipper can put you in touch with him?

Please let us know what happens!

Andy

 

Edited.

Edited by A.D. Homan
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Hi Chris,

 

I think it's a great idea. Of course there are a number of button accordeon systems that give 2 diatonic rows (based on major scales) plus a short row of accidentals. The "club system" is one; there is also a French system. Also there is the G/C/B system, found in many older Italian accordeons with PA-style basses and in some smaller accordions (here the G row is lower than the middle, C row in pitch, and the inside B row is also lower, but its "Doh" note is not in line with the other two rows). I really like this and have often thought it would be good for Zydeco. The relation between the middle C and inside (B) rows in the G/C/B system is like the relation between the D/C# rows in a "Joe Derrane" style Irish-American accordeon, allowing very comfortable chromaticism. G/C/C# would be another possibility, or even X/C/G (X/G/D).

 

But I like your idea of a D/G/X, where X could be like the anglo accidental row. If you wanted to try out X= an F# row, X= a G# row, etc., those would also serve to allow chromaticism.

 

If you find it is too expensive to have one made to order, here is a way to try out the idea for a relatively reasonable cost, with the option of changing the accordeon back to a more typical and saleable type if the experiment doessn't prove out to your satsifaction.

 

Hohner made some very nice 2 1/2 row, 8 bass club accordeons before WWII, that can sometimes be found in very good condition, PRE-OVERHAUL, for reasonable prices. You don't want one that's been tuned up because you will not be using the original reeds. Some of these have big 12/11/7 keyboards that allow a nice long inside row (and an extended lower melody range). A two voice (2 reeds sounding per button) in Bb/Eb (the lower of the common keys) is probably your best bet, to keep the cost of the work down and to have big enough reedblocks to fit the lower-pitched reeds you will be installing. You or your tech may still have to shave or build up the reedblocks to fit the D/G/X reeds on to the Bb/Eb/club blocks, but this should be feasiblle.

 

I suspect the larger "melodeon specialists" in England who deal both in new boxes (so have access to extra blocks, reeds, etc.) and used boxes could put this together for you. I have occasionally done that kind of custom work in the U. S. (I recently made a neat C#/D/G out of an old 12/11/7 Hohner club), but a local tech is always best. Alternatively, if you find the right old accordeon body with good bellows, action, pallets, but needing a reedwork overhaul (so cheap!), you might find a good accordion repairman to do the rest. Budget a good deal more for the work and the parts than for the initial accordeon!

 

"South Australian Accordions" have advertised accordeons with "the rows a fifth apart as per anglo concertina," so it seems that part of the experiment may have been tried; but I don't know if these were arranged as in your design. Have any contributors to this Forum tried one of theirs?

 

Hope this may be helpful,

 

Paul

 

edited because I initially misunderstood the relative position of the G and D rows you propose - sorry !

Edited by Paul Groff
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I would start with a Hohner Corona II or III, these come up fairly often on EBAY at a reasonable price. A GDA box will then give you all the reeds to do the outside rows and some for the accidental row. Its bass configuration is normal D/G plus A E F# and B.

 

You then need an adventurous tuner to fettle it, if you mail me off list I will let you into my tuner secret (if he's good enough for St John Kirkpatrick he's good enough for me).

 

Mind you I think you are stark staring mad ;)

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Peter Hyde and Van der Aa come to mind as two likely candidates.  With Peter Hyde there is the additional advantage that he is actually a concertina player who happens to build melodeons.

I am now talking to Pete Hyde, and you're completely right, he is the right person to be talking to as he has clearly thought long and hard about this. Here's an example of what I mean from a document he sent me. It's not quite what I want, but it's a very ingenious way of implementing an anglo as a melodeon - the accompanying picture shows a very pretty 2-row melodeon. He calls it a flutina, though, because he has fitted it with single accordion reeds in a concertina-style reed pan:-

The Shantym’n is the latest flutina to come out of the workshop.

As this instrument was in fact made for myself. I have made the two treble rows the same as the two tonic rows of my (G/D) C Jeffries concertina.

Notes from the 3rd row of the Jeffries has been placed on the inside row of the bass side,

With a stop that gives the equivalent to 6 buttons and makes the instrument

Fully chromatic over 2 octaves, with the D/E also in reverse.

The remaining 4 bass buttons has the usual accordion bass.

Thus the Shantym’n can be played in either the concertina or accordion styles.

 

Chris

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Chris,

Think it is an interesting idea, but I am not sure you can claim it is really a new instrument :) Just another melodeon/accordion :).

 

The specific thought that occurs to me is that do you have a specific type of music that you are looking to play on it or are you just curious. In a sense I am wondering if you are building a solution to a problem that has not yet presented itself :). Then again I suspect that is true of most musical instruments.

 

Just curious, do you have much experience with actual melodeon/button accordions as opposed to concertinas? While there are alot of similarities, the fingering challanges presented with being able to play with 1 hand makes it fun as well :).

 

--

Bill

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Chris,

Think it is an interesting idea, but I am not sure you can claim it is really a new instrument :)  Just another melodeon/accordion :).

Killjoy! I just think anglodeon is a nice word, so there :P

 

So far as familiarity is concerned, the melodeon was my first instrument, which 20 years back I played a lot as the longsword musician for the East Saxon Sword. Although I have not played the melodeon since then, I have recently bought (as I say above) a Saltarell Cheviot, which is a C#/D/G box, and a very fine instrument in its own right. I am working quite hard at this.

 

The driver for this is not particularly musical, but physical, stemming from the stroke that makes concertinas a bit fiddly for me to play nowadays, particularly on the left hand. A normal melodeon such as the Cheviot is one solution, but concertinas have their own idiosyncracies, and I want to see how much I can carry forward into a malodeon-style instrument.

 

Chris

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Killjoy! I just think anglodeon is a nice word, so there  :P

And I think "diatonic duet" sounds nice, so there!

 

Sorry, Chris. I just couldn't resist the dig. ;)

(Truth is, I don't much care, and if I did I would have to opt for "bisonoric duet", which loses the alliteration. Sigh!)

 

But I also misread your "Killjoy" at first as "Kilroy", and I'm wondering how you would convert that layout to a melodeon format. :unsure:

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(Truth is, I don't much care, and if I did I would have to opt for "bisonoric duet", which loses the alliteration.  Sigh!)

Life's like that, isn't it? :(

 

But I also misread your "Killjoy" at first as "Kilroy", and I'm wondering how you would convert that layout to a melodeon format.

Easy, a melodeon with an awful lot of buttons...

 

Chris

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