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Anglo to English/English to Anglo/Anything to Duet/Duet to Anything, e


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I've recently treated myself to a Jackie, and -- after playing push-pull instruments for 20-odd years -- am trying to get my head around the English. Hard to believe that two instruments that look so similar could be so utterly different. :blink:


Anyway, I thought I'd start this thread so "switchers" could share their experiences of the differences. Not necessarily the obvious ones (like the fingering is completely different) but the things you find yourself doing, the unpredicted tricky bits, etc. Here's a few of mine: -


* on the English, I have to make a conscious effort to play with 'lift' and bounce, because "smooth" is the default setting (no forced changes of bellows direction).

* I find myself running out of air (particularly on the push) -- again, no forced changes of bellows direction.

* air button with index finger -- easy to make a squeak instead of letting air into the bellows. :lol:

* some "hard" tunes are easy; some "easy" tunes are hard. Like those tunes that have a major and minor version. I'd always steered clear of them on my anglo and melodeon.

* the way tunes in certain keys "sit" mostly on one hand -- e.g. C and G on the left hand; D & A on the right.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've recently treated myself to a Jackie, and -- after playing push-pull instruments for 20-odd years -- am trying to get my head around the English. Hard to believe that two instruments that look so similar could be so utterly different. :blink:


Anyway, I thought I'd start this thread so "switchers" could share their experiences of the differences.


Hi, Meltzer,

I recently took up the Crane Duet after 40 years of 20-k German concertina, bandoneon and 30-k Anglo, one after the other. I must add that I've been playing fretted string instruments (mandolin and 5-string banjo) for even longer!


The intention was to go chromatic, but to play the same kind of music - and that was hitherto "English-style" Anglo - along the rows with interesting harmonies. I quickly discarded the idea of the EC, because needing both hands to play a simple melody was just too much of a paradigm-shift :lol:

So I investigated the Duets, and decided that the Crane was the one for me, because its logic is very similar to that of the fretted strings. (The Maccann seems to use EC logic, involving the above paradigm shift, and the Hayden's logic is basically diatonic.)


Well, now I have the Crane, what do I do with it?


Melody with chords, like on the Anglo! Some full chords, some arpeggiated chords, some partial chords, some oom-pah chords, the occasional bass run. Sometimes a slow air with no accompaniment but a lot of expression.


Analysing my Crane technique, I'd say that it owes more to the mandolin and banjo than to the Anglo.

Obviously, the bellows control is from the Anglo, but the scales on the RH are akin to mandolin scales - along the row (string) until you run out of fingers, then skip to the start of the next row (string). In both cases, sharps and flats are adjacent to the corresponding naturals.

The LH is akin to the banjo - there are a few typical chord shapes that can be moved around the button area (like up and down the banjo neck), giving different chords at different positions.


The great advantage of the Crane over the Anglo, from my point of view, is the relative ease of playing fully harmonised music in more than 1 or 2 keys. Getting into the "flat" keys (F, Bb ...) is nice, and it's also easy to switch from major to minor on the same tonic (e.g. G major to G minor).

And with the Crane I'm much more aware of what note I'm playing. If our fiddler wants an A to tune to, for instance, I can just play it on the Crane, but have to work out where to find one on the Anglo - after all these years! :lol: Looks like sight-reading is not far off, now that I have the Crane.


In short, I still find the Anglo, with its semi-automatic chording, easier in its home keys, but the Crane is not so much more difficult in the Anglo's no-go keys. We'll see what it's like when I've been playing the Crane as long as I've been playing the Anglo! :lol:


BTW, I never get confused and try to push-pull the Crane or change bellows direction on the same note on the Anglo. With a wood-ended Lachenal in my hands, I'm in Crane Mode; with a metal-ended Stagi, I'm in Anglo Mode. :P

Could be that this is also a fretted-string legacy - I've been playing chords on banjo and guitar for years, so I have that Mode Switch mechanism installed.


Bottom line: glad I moved on to the Crane, but I'm holding on to my Anglo!




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  • 2 years later...


MacCann - logic = oxymoron :unsure:



I think the equation is; MacCann / counter-intuitive = Logic

It makes perfect sense to me, as long as I don't have to explain it to anyone.



Meanwhile I frankly don't care, because I KNOW that I would have great trouble finding a good quality Crane with the range to do what I can do with my Maccan, let alone have choices in the matter.


Furthermore I BELIEVE that the compactness of the Maccan keyboard makes it still 'original and best', although I also understand that many players have no intention of taking it to the point where this matters.


For me, Maccan is the only choice and I am eternally grateful that I didn't trip over a Crane when I was starting out and trying to work all this out largely unaided. Again I emphasise, for me, that would have been a grave error.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i play anglo and was until recently doing so all-consumingly, but i've gotten absorbed with CBA (had prior advanced PA years before launching into bisonoric projects,) which in turn has led to unforeseen fascination with unisonoric concertinas. i've been playing a cheap asian ec when on for a couple months on breaks from CBA, and find EC a blast. i'm teetering on the brink of ordering a serious player's EC; the only thing holding me back is a competing tug toward a hayden.....as with CBA, i find unisonoric concertina very amenable to playing irish and other folk styles; the trick is to train the ear to recognize, and the hands to reproduce, the traditional articulation and phrasing of a target folk genre by listening to how it is done by non-bisonoric instruments in the genre--(flute, whistle, pipes, etc) rather than trying to ape the literal movements of a bisonoric bellows....

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