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Concertina Tablature?

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pavane 25 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM
pavane 26 Jul 01 - 11:19 AM
Mark Clark 26 Jul 01 - 12:10 PM
pavane 26 Jul 01 - 01:17 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Jul 01 - 12:15 AM
Bernard 27 Jul 01 - 02:34 PM 28 Jul 01 - 07:00 AM
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Subject: Concertina Tablature?
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM

While browsing the Bodleian Ballads (again) I came across the following notes on a song sheet.

The renowned Jack Sheppard. A new comic medley sold by G. Green, at his Music Stall, near the Turnpike, City Road, Accordians Harmonicons & concertinas repaired Written music figured in an easy style for concertina

Do any of the musical historians here have details of G. Green's 'easy style'? And what was a 'Harmonicon'?

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
From: pavane
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 11:19 AM

Nobody knows? If still no reply, I will let it drop for now.

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:10 PM

I found this definition for harmonicon and a reference in Roget's Thesaurus under vibrating bars.

I confess I don't understand the reference to Concertina Tablature though. Tablature is useful for stringed instruments because music notation by itself may not provide enough information to properly perform a given piece. I figure concertinas are like pianos in that there is only one way to play a particular note so standard music notation is all that is needed. I've never tried to play a concertina so I may be way off base but that seems logical to me.

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
From: pavane
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 01:17 PM

I have found the 'Rock Harmonicon' and the 'Glass Harmonicon' but I wouldn't think either fitted the description. It might have meant HARMONIUM, which is possibly more likely to be repaired by an accordion/concertina repairer? For an ANGLO concertina, there may be more than one way to play a note, either on push or pull. But some people find a simplified notation easier than a score - Malley's Melodeon books contain a form of tablature.

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:15 AM


Pavane: Back in the 19th century, there was a plethora of names for free reed instruments. As there was no classical" history for such instruments (outside if China), all sorts of tinkerers would come up with new ways to use the free reed principle. Most of them died the death they deserved and the better ideas survived.

Almost every one of these had a different name ... usually using based on some combination of "harmon...", "concer..." or "accord..." to indicate the unique ability of compact free reed instruments to play complex chords (harmony, concert, accord &c). I've seen references to "harmonicon" and, in some cases, it seems to have been something in the general "lap organ" class ... but that's not definite.

BTW: You are right in saying that 'tablature' would be for the Anglo. The English System and all 5 or 6 (or more) duet systems have pretty well unambiguous note positions. The Jeffreys Duet has some ... but these are so rare (and specialist instruments, anyway) that tablature would not be used for them in a publication.

I occasionally use some forms of marking up for Anglo for basic teaching purposes - but always persuade learners to progress to reading music and understanding the harmonic nature of the instrument. (But I have lots of music sheets decorated with personal colour codes that remind me of some of the insights gleaned in playing ... and, sometimes, I remember what they mean!).


Bob Bolton

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:34 PM

My understanding of the phrase 'Written music figured in an easy style for concertina' doesn't suggest tablature; rather, music arranged to be playable on a concertina as opposed to, say. a piano arrangement which just wouldn't work...

The English concertina system was specifically designed by Charles Wheatstone to facilitate reading music - the 'lines' are on the left, and the 'spaces' on the right - thus eliminating the need for tablature.

The Anglo lends itself to 'ear' playing more readily; I think one would have to be extremely dedicated to want to play from standard notation... I tend to read the music and play by ear... but then, I was trained in sight-singing!

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Subject: RE: Concertina Tablature?
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 07:00 AM

I think a system of tablabure is usefull for any diatonic instrument. It's form will be different for different instruments. What is important that it be standard and used by every one in the same way. There is such a thing for guitar and harmonica. The one for harmonica consists of arrows and numbers. An up arrow means "blow" and a down arrow means "draw" The number of is the number of the hole. (There are several ways to denote "bends" and things like that.)

Let me use the harmonica as an exmple. Suppose you learn to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with a "C" diatonic (eg Marine Band) harp. Now that can be written down in standard musical notation and it also manifests itself as motions that you go through to produce the tune. (Blowing, drawing, moving from hole to hole, etc.). Suppose you are going to accompany a singer with the tune and they find it falls into their voice range better in the key of "F". What you would do is put down the "C" harp and pick up an "F" one and play the tune. Your lip, toung, hand, etc. motions will be the same as on the "C" harp. However, the musical notation will be different. When you work through the notation, of course, you will find out that you should do the same thing on the "F" harp as on the "C" harp, but the tablature has told you that directly. You can pick up a harp in any key in your collection and follow the tablabure. You will have the same tune in the different keys.

Chromatic instruments are a different story. There every note corresponds to some physical position (fretting, closing holes, etc.) If you want to play something in a different key, you use sharps and flats to modify the key rather than a different instrument. There the musical notation gives you all the info you need.

There is an alternative for musical notation in diatonic instruments. You can use a "transposing system" as used in single reed wind instruments and horns. I prefer simple musical notation for the rythm and tab for the tune.


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