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CONCERTINA FACTS

A Short Outline by Ivo Baldoni
The Concertina pertains to the family of free reed instruments, most noted by the Accordion.

Development of the Concertina was around 1830 by an Englishman named Wheatstone, an expert in acoustical physics. In the beginning, it was called the AEOLA and latter the CONCERTINA. In that same period, the Germans were creating an instrument similar in many ways but different, thus the DEUTSCHE KONZERTIVA (German Concertina) was being built. This instrument made its way into England and was openly excepted by the Irish musicians as well. To differentiate the two, the names ENGLISH CONCERTINA and the ANGLO-GERMAN CONCERTINA was used and later abbreviated to ANGLO CONCERTINA which is still in use today.

Currently there are 4 types of concertinas plus 2 types of Bandoneons in this family of musical instruments.

Anglo Concertina
Diatonic system, each button gives a different note (sound) on the push and pull direction of the bellow. Generally playing in 2-3 key ranges. Most used system, well suited for folk, song accompaniment and Irish music. Generally six sided and some models have tremolo tunings.

English Concertina
Full chromatic instrument with each button producing the same note (sound) on the push and pull direction of the bellow. Thus not limiting you to any music key. Each end has 4 rows of buttons, the two center rows correspond to the natural keys and the outside rows are the sharps/flats (accidentals) keys. The notes of the scale alternate between the left and right sides. The buttons very on different models between 30-64, normally the standard is 48 buttons. There are 3 tonal ranges (like the violin family) TREBLE, TENOR AND BARITONE. The note range is G below the staff to C three octaves above middle C. Generally eight sided with a smooth dry tuning (no tremolo). Well suited for all styles of music.

Duet Concertina
Full chromatic instrument, which is a more recent development. Incorporating the features of the chromatic English note scale on the right hand and the melody accompaniment like the Anglo on the left hand. Not the most used concertina and most difficult to master.

Chemnitzer Concertina
Diatonic system, the largest size in concertinas, rectangular in shape with generally 102 buttons. Incorporating various tunings and register combinations. Most used in American Polish music, especially in polkas and waltzes.

Bandoneon
Rectangular in shape similar to the Chemnitzer concertina. The Bandoneon has a vibrant tonal quality most used in Argentinean Music, especially Tangos. Currently offered in Diatonic 52 buttons or Chromatic 75 button systems.

 

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