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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.