And this year, I’ve added some tunes from an 18th century manuscript from Antwerp, transcribed for Treble and Baritone. They should fit the Christmas mood very well, provided you do play them at a solemn pace. In absence of a treble concertina, pick any other melody instrument for the 1st voice. The tunes also sound well just playing the 1st voice alone.
The collection also contains Charles Wheatstone’s own research items, many related instruments, early music and tutors, together with over 4000 original prints, postcards, photographs and written data about the instrument, its players, bands and its role during the past two centuries of musical culture. The new web site is designed to be an open-access database that is of easy access and should encourage and assist research upon all matters pertaining to the concertina and its history.
The XML-based web site was created by Wes Williams, the noted concertina researcher and designer of many instrument research sites, and benefits greatly from the research of Chris Flint, the genealogist of many of the early Victorian concertina makers. Neil’s first collection was transferred to The Horniman Museum in 1996, and his Free Reed record label, (which started in the ‘70s as a concertina music label!) now features definitive box-sets of leading folk musicians. Neil, Wes and Chris hope to liaise closely with both the Horniman Museum’s Wayne Collection, and that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (with whom Neil has collaborated on concertina research), and other Collections around the world, in order to add links to their collections of related instruments to the Concertina Museum web site.
Visitors of the exhibition can borrow a headphone with an iPod at the entrance to the exhibition. You can walk through the parc, look at the works of the other artists and listen to the history of Lady Louisa Hope and the English Concertina, but also to the concertina music of that period, specially recorded for this occasion by Pauline de Snoo.
Daniel Hersh, a member from California, rivised some of the titles of the “Son of Reader’s tapes”. They are now much more correct. “Son of Reader’s tapes” is the second compilation of home cassette-recorded readers’ contributions. The complete collection is in our sound archive. Thank you for the corrections, Daniel!
While there I gave talks at the National Folk Festival as well as at a Melbourne Irish session on the history of the concertina, as well as a workshop on the old octave style of playing the instrument…a style that was so well suited to the old-style dances in England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia at the turn of the last century.* I was thrilled to see that a few more experienced Anglo concertina players who we met, who are direct descendants of old-time Anglo players, are still playing in that old double-noted style in the key of C for Australian dances; most more modern players there (especially those who mainly follow Irish music) have adopted a more modern Irish single note style. I’ve begun to collect old recordings of players who used the octave style for dance music, and with help from friends hope to publish recordings and notes in future months.
My thanks to all we met there; these folks are too numerous to mention but the photo essay will give you some idea.
* More information on octave-style playing as well as the history of the Anglo concertina can be found in my 2009 book on this subject; please see my website.