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Author Topic: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?  (Read 861 times)

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MatthewVanitas

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Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:42:29 PM »

I had a Silvertone/Stagi concertina with some buggered reeds, and I ended up sending it to Dancemaster to be re-reeded into C/C# (in melodeon terms, C#/C in concertina terms). While a concertina in body, it uses accordion reeds, and the half-step format is all but completely unused in the concertina world. It's less of a novel concertina for concertinists, and more of a "melodeonised" concertina for half-step squeezebox players.

I had it made as a proof of concept on whim, but I figure a wider audience would enjoy messing with it to feel out the idea. Maybe one or two melodeonists will try this one out, find it a compelling crossover, and end up ordering half-step concertinas of their own...


The actual box cost me almost nothing (though the labor to install reeds was more than forseen...) so I'm willing to risk it bouncing around. If there are a handful of folks in the US/Canada who are interested in trying it out, I'm down to mail it out if each person receiving agrees to mail it (with tracking#) to the next person on the list. Maybe each person holds it for 4-6 weeks, then passes it to the next. Shooting a YouTube demo optional but encouraged. I'm open to sending it to Europe, given enough interested members to justify shipping out there.

If you're interested in trying it, post here saying so, and roughly what part of the world you're in. If anyone reading this has buddies on MelNet who play half-step box, and/or like unusual boxes, clue them into the thread so we can get a quorum going.

A strange little device, so no reason for me to sit on it when others could be discovering its secrets, and/or discovering why concertinists never do half-step boxes. Either it's an evolutionary dead-end, or an overlooked clever idea.
 
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 11:15:53 PM »

....A strange little device, so no reason for me to sit on it when others could be discovering its secrets, and/or discovering why concertinists never do half-step boxes. Either it's an evolutionary dead-end, or an overlooked clever idea.
It sounds like you've nearly invented the Jedcertina;)
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triskel

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 12:40:54 PM »

I had a Silvertone/Stagi concertina ... re-reeded into C/C# (in melodeon terms, C#/C in concertina terms). While a concertina in body, it uses accordion reeds, and the half-step format is all but completely unused in the concertina world.

... Either it's an evolutionary dead-end, or an overlooked clever idea.


I've come across a mid-19th century tutor book for a semitone-tuned German concertina, but the idea seems to have "died the death" and been forgotten about and I've never seen an example of one - so it seems to have been a dead-end, first time around.

It sounds like you've nearly invented the Jedcertina;)

Except the Jedcertina (which harks back to Charles F. W. Rust's Patent of 1862) is unisonor and has piano fingering...

pikey

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 12:50:11 PM »

I have an old Lachenal 3row Anglo that is reeded from top row to bottom row Ab, Bb and C.

Ie all rows a whole tone apart.

We reckon it was done like that to play in Brass Band keys.

It's a great system once you get used to it, with some pretty amazing cross row opportunities.
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deltasalmon

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 01:10:29 PM »

I would be interested in trying it. Probably wouldn't need 4-6 weeks with it to get an idea but I started on a C/G anglo before moving over to semi-tone melodeon.
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Sean
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Van der Aa Compact II C#/D - Weltmeister 86W C#/D - One-Row, 4-stop in C

The Blues Viking

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 06:58:54 AM »

Then again, there's always this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KuuXHPYzcg

I remember that either Hobgoblin or Lark in the Morning listed these about 15 years ago.

TBV
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MatthewVanitas

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 11:06:22 PM »

I've come across a mid-19th century tutor book for a semitone-tuned German concertina, but the idea seems to have "died the death" and been forgotten about and I've never seen an example of one - so it seems to have been a dead-end, first time around.

I phrased a bit unclearly: certainly right that it petered into nothing during the primary concertina era. What I mean is I wonder whether it was tried extensively and achieved a consensus of "not worth it", or if it was a decent idea that just couldn't make headway against more established systems.

Not so much like the Jedcertina, since it's bisonoric. Closer in some senses to the Italian organetto that The Blues Viking mentions, or to the Franglo concertina that maker Colin Dipper made for Emmanuel Pariselle. Here's a Franglo in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzSClrQMlNc

There was also, back in the day, the bandonika which was a 10/11 two row, 8-bass melodeon in a square bandoneon-style body (writeup). However, all of those variants retain the melodeon's "chord buttons on the left" settup, whereas this C#/C is individual notes on all buttons.

A member on Cnet noted that Irish C#/D player Jackie Daly had mused about trying a concertina in a half-step tuning, but I'm not quite sure how to go about finding him to ask if he wants to try this in a passaround. Anyone in touch with him?

If we can't find a body of folks interested in trying this, I'm happy to post it out to a few US-based established Melnet members if they'll mail it back for a bit, but I wouldn't mind giving this a few weeks just to see if there's a wider list, though we can always bounce it around at leisure.

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triskel

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 02:43:18 AM »

Closer in some senses to the Italian organetto that The Blues Viking mentions, or to the Franglo concertina that maker Colin Dipper made for Emmanuel Pariselle. Here's a Franglo in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzSClrQMlNc

There was also, back in the day, the bandonika which was a 10/11 two row, 8-bass melodeon in a square bandoneon-style body (writeup). However, all of those variants retain the melodeon's "chord buttons on the left" settup, whereas this C#/C is individual notes on all buttons.

Only, none of those others are in semitone tuning...

Quote
A member on Cnet noted that Irish C#/D player Jackie Daly had mused about trying a concertina in a half-step tuning, but I'm not quite sure how to go about finding him to ask if he wants to try this in a passaround. Anyone in touch with him?

That was me, and we live in the same small town - but it was just something he said to me in a pub one time, I don't know if he was serious about it, and he was maybe thinking more in terms of a Jeffries (which is the kind of concertina he's got). I'll mention it to him.

pgroff

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 11:31:05 PM »

Hi all,

Over the years I've often heard box players (especially B/C players) complain about the anglo concertina . . .

"air button on the right!"
"need to use all the fingers of both hands just to play a melody!"
"left hand little finger for F# -- and on the draw!"

and of course

"no logic to the arrangement of notes, especially 1. the D scale on a C/G and 2. the accidental row"

Now all those complaints seem unfair to me, but then I played concertina (and guitar and piano) before I ever picked up an accordion.

But that last complaint has often tempted box players to re-design the note layout on the anglo, and I know at least the late Jim Coogan (an Irish-American accordion player whose main box was a D/C#) commissioned a Suttner concertina to be built in D/C#. 

But IMO the way most anglo players handle the instrument doesn't suit a 2 row layout with the rows apart by a semitone.  Comfortable anglo concertina fingering (just from my point of view) seems facilitated by using different fingers when switching from one button row to another.  The traditional 2 row C/G anglo layout (especially when supplemented by one of the traditional layouts for the 3rd accidental row) offers a lot of very useful duplicated pitches in different bellows directions and different locations on the instrument (often on alternate ends, left vs. right).  The D/C# concertina layout that Jim designed didn't have those advantageous features, as I remember -- I think it just had the duplicated F# and C# notes for each octave that you would find in a D/C# accordion.  I don't think he got on with it and I remember seeing it for sale not long after.

Now, it's very possible someone else might find a great way to succeed musically with a 2 row semitone-tuned concertina.  But with the hands locked into the straps and with 8 fingers and 2 thumbs available, I personally would expect a different optimal layout for the anglo (vs. the button accordion, which I play with changes of hand position and with my fingers ranging all up and down the keyboard).

Good luck to the experimenters though!  One man's meat is another man's poison.  And often it only takes one "rule breaker" to succeed making amazing music on a modified or new instrument to inspire a thousand imitators.  My satisfaction with traditional anglo concertina layouts may only be due to the tens of thousands of hours I spent with them.

PG
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 11:35:53 PM by pgroff »
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deltasalmon

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Re: Up for passaround of C/C# melodeonised concertina?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 02:06:11 PM »

I've been trying out the C/C# concertina. My main issue with playing this system in sharp keys is the finger jumping. When I played C/G concertina, I more or less followed the Noel Hill system of playing that involves not pushing two different buttons consecutively with the same finger. On the C/G you have lots of reversals which allow this to happen fairly easily. I've found on the semitone system it's not as easy and is something common when playing in the key of D or G. The triangles that B/C players play E,F#,G and B,C#,D that come up fairly often are very difficult to play smoothly when you have to jump your finger between rows.

Also with playing the C/G, aside from D and F# I could play the rest of the range of the tin whistle (and the majority of Irish music) using just two fingers on each hand. This is most likely something that will go away with enough practice but I felt awkward having to play notes at the extremes of this range using my ring and little fingers (the high B is the very last button on the row), which felt even more awkward when trying to ornament those notes.
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Sean
Bordentown City, NJ

Van der Aa Compact II C#/D - Weltmeister 86W C#/D - One-Row, 4-stop in C
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