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The English concertina explained

  • Was designed by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829 in London, England.
  • Was originally based upon the range of a violin – this is the treble.  Wheatstone wanted to see his concertina sound as part of the orchestra.
  • Is fully chromatic, that is all the sharps and flats in each octave are available. Any musical key can be played, major or minor. It is a versatile instrument. The same note is played on a button for each bellows movement direction, push & pull.
  • Is not as easy to  ’pick up’ as the Anglo, which some people feel is more intuitive, but far less complex than a Duet.
  • Was developed further for band and musical part playing with different sized instruments playing in different pitches:

Treble (violin range): the full range of the treble clef from the ‘G’ below the clef, through the clef and up a couple more octaves.

Baritone: 1 octave lower than treble. Some models  have the same number of notes as the treble, some a few less.

Bass: 2 octaves lower than treble, again often with fewer buttons due to the size of the reeds. Most are ‘single action’ which means that they only play when the bellows are compressed.

Piccolo: 1 octave above treble.

Dance & Miniatures: music hall novelty instruments, often playing a limited descant range using 12 keys.

  • Used for song, solo, ensemble & band; classical, light music, traditional music, song and dance.