English & Anglo System Concertinas
   

Concertina History - Scroll For More Information
A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It has a bellows, and buttons typically on both ends of it. When pressed, the buttons travel in the same direction as the bellows, unlike accordion buttons, which travel perpendicularly to the bellows. Also, each button produces one note, while accordions typically produce chords with a single button.

The concertina was developed in England and Germany, most likely independently. The English version was invented in 1829 by Sir Charles Wheatstone, who filed a patent for an improved version in 1844. Carl Friedrich Uhlig announced the German version in 1834.

English System

English system concertinas traditionally share several features:
Unisonoric (push and draw on each button yield the same note), chromatic. Each button has a pivot * Hexagon shaped ends (though octagons and other shapes were produced as well
The English concertina is a chromatic instrument, having buttons in a rectangular arrangement of four staggered rows, with the short side of the rectangle addressing the wrist. The invention of the instrument is credited to Sir Charles Wheatstone; his earliest patent of a like instrument was granted 19 December 1829, No 5803 in Great Britain. The two innermost rows of the layout constitute a diatonic C major scale, distributed alternately between the two sides of the instrument. Thus in a given range, C-E-G-B-d is on one side, D-F-A-c-e on the other. The two outer rows consist of the sharps and flats required to complete the chromatic scale. This distribution of scale notes between sides facilitates rapid melodic play. (Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" was transcribed for English concertina early in the instrument's history.). But it also renders chords more difficult to learn than scales.

Giulio Regondi was a virtuoso performer and composer on this instrument as well as the guitar, and helped to popularize the instrument during the 19th century. Allan Atlas, in his book The Wheatstone Concertina in Victorian England identifies six known concertos written for this instrument. Many sonatas and other pieces survive.

The English concertina is typically held by placing the thumbs through thumb straps and the little fingers on metal finger rests, leaving three fingers free for playing. Alternatively, both the fourth and little fingers support the metal finger rest, leaving two fingers for playing. In the classical style of Regondi, the little finger is used as well as the other three fingers, and the metal finger rests are used only very occasionally. This allows all eight fingers to simultaneously play the instrument so large chords are possible. In pieces such as the Bernhard Molique Concerto No 1 in G for concertina and orchestra, or Percy Grainger's Shepherd's Hey, four, five, and six note chords are not uncommon, and would be difficult or impossible to play without using all the fingers.

English-system treble concertinas usually span 3 1/2 octaves. Baritones are similar but transpose down one octave. The keyboard stud-arrangement and spacing is the same throughout, so concertina band players can all play from music in treble clef, and it's straightforward to move from smaller to larger instruments.

Anglo System Concertinas

The Anglo, Irish or Seaman's concertina is, historically, a hybrid between the English and German concertinas. The button layouts are generally the same as the original 20-button German concertinas designed by Uhlig in 1834. Within a few years of that date, the German concertina was a popular import in England, Ireland, and North America, due to its ease of use and relatively low price. English manufacturers responded to this popularity by offering their own versions using traditional Initially the term Anglo-German only applied to concertinas of this type built in England - but as German manufacturers adopted some of these techniques, the term came to apply to all concertinas that used Uhlig's 20-button system. Use of the "German" part of the title Anglo-German ceased in the UK during World War I.

The heart of the Anglo system consists of two 10-button rows, each of which produces a diatonic major scale in a pattern devised around 1826 by a Bohemian called Richter for use in a harmonica (Richter tuning). Five buttons of each row are on each side. The two rows are musically a fifth apart. For example, if the row closest to the player's wrist is in the key of G, the next outer row is in the key of C below. An advantage of the Richter scale is that pressing three adjacent notes in one row produces a major triad. Also, because the travel direction inverts as you progress up the scale, at the point where the scale crosses from one side of the concertina to the other octaves can be played in the home keys.

A third row of extra notes was eventually added, loosely derived from the C scale. These added accidentals and notes that already existed in the diatonic rows, but in opposite bisonoric orientation, to make additional chords possible and certain melodic passages easier. At this point the instrument was chromatic over two octaves, but not every chord or other note combination was available in either push or draw. There is little variation between makers and models in the layout of the notes in the core diatonic rows, but somewhat more variation in the number and layout of the 'helper' notes. The two most common layouts of this 30-button variety are the Jeffries and Lachenal systems. Instruments in the key of C/G are most typical. Concertinas were popular with the Salvation Army.

The Anglo concertina is typically held by placing the hands through a leather strap, with the thumbs outside the strap and the palms resting on wooden bars. This arrangement leaves four fingers of each hand free for playing, and the thumbs free to operate an air valve (for expanding or contracting the bellows without sounding a note) or a drone. Anglo concertinas are often associated with the music of Ireland - though they are also used in other musical contexts, particularly in music for the English Morris dance and Boeremusiek. Famous English players of the Anglo include Scan Tester, John Spiers, William Kimber, and John Kirkpatrick.


Jackie Treble English Concertina Package Treble concertina: 30 keys, ranging from G below middle C to the second C above middle C, Fully chromatic.
6 fold bellows
Traditional thumb straps.
Accordion type steel reeds.
Gig bag
Tutor, especially written for this instrument
It teaches the basics of playing concertina, music notation, rhythm, music theory, etc.. The tutor is suitable for both self study and for use in formal lessons.

The Jackie has been developed especially for beginning players on the English concertina. Although the instruments are perfectly capable of meeting the requirements of intermediate players, we understand that many players might want to upgrade to a vintage or new instrument later on. With this in mind, we made all the important features, such as key board lay out, spacing of the keys, key diameter, key travel (the height of the keys), number of bellows folds, type of thumb straps, etc. identical to traditional English concertinas, to assure a smooth transition to a higher class concertina later on.

Sound Sample COC054   $415.00  


By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Jack Baritone English Concertina Package Baritone concertina: 30 keys, ranging from the second G below middle C to the first C above middle C. Fully chromatic.
Traditional keyboard layout (the Jack sounds one octave lower than notated), spacing, key diameter and key travel (key height).
6 fold bellows
traditional thumb straps.
Accordion type steel reeds.
Gig bag
Tutor, especially written for this instrument
It teaches the basics of playing concertina, music notation, rhythm, music theory, etc.. The tutor is suitable for both self study and for use in formal lessons.

The Jack has been developed especially for beginning players on the English concertina. Although the instruments are perfectly capable of meeting the requirements of intermediate players, we understand that many players might want to upgrade to a vintage or new instrument later on. With this in mind, we made all the important features, such as key board lay out, spacing of the keys, key diameter, key travel (the height of the keys), number of bellows folds, type of thumb straps, etc. identical to traditional English concertinas, to assure a smooth transition to a higher class concertina later on.

Sound Sample COC055   $415.00  


By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Rochelle Anglo Concertina Package Anglo concertina: 30 keys, C/G
Italian accordion type steel reeds.
Traditional hand rails.
6 fold bellows
Wheatstone layout
Tutor, especially written for this instrument It teaches the basics of playing concertina, music notation, rhythm, music theory, etc.. The tutor is suitable for both self study and for use in formal lesson.
Gig bag

The anglo concertina is a wonderful versatile instrument, that is relatively easy to learn and perfect for all kinds of folk music. Because of its small size it is very portable, and it blends perfectly with other instruments.

The Rochelle has been developed especially for beginning anglo players. Although the instrument is perfectly capable of meeting the requirements of intermediate players, we understand that many players might want to upgrade to a vintage or new instrument later on. With this in mind, we made all the important features, such as keyboard lay out, spacing of the keys, key diameter, key travel (the height of the keys), number of bellows folds, etc. identical to traditional anglo concertinas, to assure a smooth transition to a higher class concertina later on.

The Rochelle has a traditional riveted action. The action makes the instrument 'feel' much like a high priced vintage instrument.

Sound Sample COC057   $415.00  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Clover Anglo C/G Concertina Clover Anglo Concertina The Clover is a 30 key C-G hybrid anglo concertina, and produced partly in Europe and the USA.

The instruments measures 6 1/4 inch across the flats and is available with ebonized or natural finished ends.

Specifications:
Italian hand made accordion reeds
Traditional riveted brass action
Traditional hand made brass end bolts and inserts
Traditional domed metal capped buttons
Fushed key holes and action
Leather 6 fold bellows
Hardwood ends, frames, action boards and reed pans
COC058   $2150.00  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Clover Anglo C/G Concertina Kit The Clover anglo is also available as a kit. The instrument is almost identical to the finished Clover. The kit consists of finished parts which require assembly, adjustment, refinishing and fine tuning. Difficulty level of this kit is intermediate. The kit includes the complete instrument, gig bag and an instruction manual.

Tools and materials not included but necessary to complete this kit:
Screw drivers, (1)medium and (1) small
Scissors, a small knife
Small pliers
Small hammer, small wire cutters
Small clamps, tape and rubber bands
Wood glue and a weak PVA glue (e.g. elmers glue)
Sanding paper (220 and 400)

Wooden parts
All wooden parts are made out of hard woods.They are pre-sanded and pre-drilled for alignment and action post/buttons.

The end plates and frames are out of European maple/sycamore, and are also available as blanks (without fretwork).

All wooden parts need to be glued. The outside of the instrument will also need to be refinished. Bellows
The bellows are 6 fold leather and of traditional design.

The bellows will need to be mounted on the bellows frames and the end binding needs to be installed.

Reeds
The kit includes Italian 'a mano' accordion reeds. These are the highest quality accordion reeds available.

The reeds need to be valved and installed on the reed pan. The reeds are pre tuned, and need to be fine tuned after the instrument is assembled. Fine tuning may be outsourced to any accordion/concertina repairer.

Brass parts
The kit includes hand made 'hard' brass parts.

The levers/posts/ rivets need to be assembled and installed on the action board. The end bolt inserts need to be installed in the bellows frames, and the hand strap inserts need to be installed in the frame. The design, material and quality of these parts is identical to high end traditional concertinas.

Buttons, pads, etc.
The kit includes traditional buttons with a metal domed cap, pre-shaped end bushings, steel springs, leather beads and hand straps.

The manual explains how to install these parts and how to adjust spring tension and key travel.
COC059   $1550.00  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Rose English Concertina The Rose is a 45 key hybrid English treble concertina (G3-A6). The instruments measures 7 inch across the flats and has natural finished ends.

Italian accordion reeds
traditional riveted sheet brass action
traditional hand made brass end bolts and inserts
traditional domed metal capped buttons
bushed key holes and action
leather 6 fold bellows
hardwood ends, frames, action boards and reed pans
gig bag COC060   $2600.00  


By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Anglo Concertina A traditional 20 button concertina. Two row, one in C and one in G. Red celluloid ends. Made in China. COC009   $172.46  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Blue Beginner Anglo Concertina, 20 button Inexpensive 20 button Anglo concertinas, perfect for the beginner or for a travel instrument. Plastic body, CG tuning. Made of bright blue plastic. Weighs 3-1/2 pounds. Steel reeds. Different note on the push and the pull. Made in Italy. COC044   $215.00  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


The Seaman's Concertina DVD A Beginning Guide To The Anglo Concertina In The Nautical Style with John Townley. A basic approach to the 3 row anglo concertina that requires no previous knowledge of music or music training. Techniques include basic melody, harmony, left- and right-hand accompaniment, arpeggios, inverted positions, ornamentation and more.

Filmed in the 1980s. DVD058   $29.95  


By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Anglo System Concertina, Metal Ends, 40 button Stagi Used 40 button Anglo concertina, metal ends. Made in Italy. The 40 button model allows for easier play in certain keys than the 30 button model. 3 rows of buttons, 1 row in C, 1 row in G and 1 row for chromatics, reeds made of steel, produces a different note on the draw and the press. Shop worn. A few notes a little out of tune.

Sound Sample SEC2761   $450.00  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


The Anglo Concertina Demystified The most complete Anglo concertina tutor available anywhere. A must for anyone struggling with the Anglo by Bertram Levy with CD BOK323   $28.95  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Concertina Workshop For English Concertina This being the only complete tutor for the English concertina. Written by Alistair in 1974, covers everything from holding the concertina, to fingering, to a treatise on musical notation, and 30 tunes with playing and style notation and more. Not for the faint of heart...a very thorough tutor by Alistair Anderson BOK664   $12.50  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Handbook For Anglo Chromatic Concertina by Watson. Good basic tutor for the beginner with clear text and lots of chords. For 3-row anglo concertinas. BOO225   $14.95  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Handbook For English Concertina by Watson. Good basic tutor for the beginner with clear text and lots of chord patterns. BOO226   $14.95  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.


Soft Case for Concertina Made of strong nylon, with a strap. Fits most English and Anglo Concertinas. COC009C   $19.95  

By ordering through this button I agree to Lark In The Morning's Terms for all orders.

If you are ordering more than one item you may be able to save on shipping costs by calling your order in to 707 964 5569.



Lark In The Morning
PO Box 1176, Mendocino, CA 95460 USA
(707) 964-5569




  • Return to the Lark In The Morning Catalog page.

  • Lark Main Menu: Lark In The Morning Home Page

  • Articles on Instrument Maintenance, Instrument Tunings, Interviews, M&E, Music Humor, Dance.

  • Terms Lark In The Morning Terms of sale please read before ordering.

  • denotes a "Special Order" item.

  • Lark Camp: World Music, Song & Dance Camp

  • Email Lark In The Morning
  •    


    Search Our Site For Instruments, Books, DVDS, Informative Articles And More


    Adult & Family Traditional & World Music, Song
    & Dance Camp
    World Music & Dance Celebration 2014
    Home
    Information
    Lark's Staff
    lodging
    Registration

    You can purchase the music of the folks that own Lark In The Morning. Click the image below.

    Podcasts about the musical adventures of the founder of Lark In The Morning - Mickie Zekley Click the image below.



    Information Requests
    If you want further information on an item please use our Request Form and tell us the stock numbers or information about the items that you may want.

    Purchasing Multiple Items
    If you are buying multiple items we may be able to combine them and save you shipping.
    Just fill out this Form letting us know what you want including stock numbers. The buttons on our pages charge for shipping for each item so if you are buying multiple items call us at (707) 964-5569 or use our request form.

    International Shipping
    Shipping prices on this website are for shipments within the continental US.
    If your order is international, we will communicate with you about additional shipping charges.
    International orders may contact us in advance of ordering for additional charges. International Inquiry

    Return to Lark In The Morning's Main Page