The sections for English, Anglo, and Duet concertina (including the postscript) contain seventy-four, one hundred and two, and nine entries, respectively. Sixty-one of the English concertina entries originated in the United Kingdom, seven in the United States, two in Ireland, and one each in Holland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden. Forty-nine of the British and three of the American publications for English concertina appeared in the nineteenth century. The earliest entries for the English concertina, dating from 1844 or shortly thereafter, are Instrucción para tocar la Concertina (E30—published in London despite the Spanish title, and nothing more than a translation of E31); Instructions, Followed by a Selection of Melodies and Harmonized Airs (E31); George Case, Exercises for Wheatstone’s Patent Concertina (E11); Ferdinand Pelzer, A Practical Guide to the Concertina (E46); Giulio Regondi, Rudimenti del Concertinista (E52); and Joseph Warren, Warren’s Instructions for the Concertina (E69).
Of the one hundred and two tutors for the Anglo, sixty-nine are from the United Kingdom, twenty-seven from the United States, two from Germany, and one each from Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden. All but twelve of the British publications and all but nine of the American publications appeared in the nineteenth century. The 1846 tutor by Carlo Minasi (A50) and that from circa 1846 by Elias Howe, Jr. (A32) are the earliest British and American publications for Anglo concertina, respectively.
As for the duet concertina, all nine publications are from the United Kingdom, the earliest being Joseph Warren’s 1855 tutor for the “double concertina” (D8).9
The annotations (not included for every item) contain information about authors, publishers, and contents. Choices from among the publications would no doubt have depended on the user’s proficiency, learning style, and musical preferences (classical, folk, etc.). The instructional material tends to be timeless (as witness at least one present-day player of the English concertina who warms up each day with nothing but Regondi, Alsepti, Warren, and Case), except when it deals with such obsolete systems as the 28-key German concertina or the technique of playing the English concertina with four fingers of each hand (though the latter can still be a useful exercise, and at least two concertinists—Douglas Rogers and Wim Wakker—have revived the technique). Many of the tunes and ballads in some of the publications, popular music from a bygone era, have mercifully passed into obscurity.
Most Anglo concertina tutors were written with both standard musical notation and tablature. The tablature was used mainly to overcome musical illiteracy, not to indicate specific fingerings, since many passages contain notes for which there are alternative fingerings. Instruction manuals for English and duet concertina, on the other hand, have little, if any, tablature and have, therefore, been suited mainly to those who can read music. Recently, however, tutors for the Anglo concertina have moved away from tablature, and four of the five most recent Anglo concertina tutors are written in standard musical notation with little, if any, accompanying tablature. These include Mick Bramich’s 1996 tutor, The Irish Concertina: A Tutor for the Anglo Concertina in the Irish Style (A7); Frank Edgley’s 2001 tutor, The Anglo Concertina: Handbook of Tunes and Methods for Irish Traditional Music (A24); Niall Vallely’s 2002 tutor, Concertina CD ROM Tutorial (A87); and the booklet accompanying John Williams’s 1995 video, Learn to Play Irish Concertina (A93). The exception is Mick Bramich’s 2000 tutor, Absolute Beginners’ Concertina (A6), which is written in tablature only and, unlike the others, has no audio or video component.
English concertina instruction has fared less well in the video and digital-audio age. Until recently, the only English concertina tutors with accompanying audio were Alistair Anderson’s 1974 tutor, Concertina Workshop (E2), and Richard Carlin’s 1977 tutor, English Concertina (E8). Anderson’s tutor is currently marketed without the companion LP recording, and Carlin’s tutor, which contained a floppy vinyl record, is out-of-print. The first English concertina tutor with accompanying CD—Pauline de Snoo, Concertina Course, Volume One (E73)—appeared in 2002. The first video or CD-ROM for English concertina instruction has yet to be produced.
1 Allan Atlas, Robert Gaskins, Douglas Rogers, Neil Wayne, and Leslie (Wes) Williams provided many useful comments on an early draft of this article. Robert Gaskins also uncovered several publications cited herein and helped with research at the British Library and the Horniman Museum. Assistance was provided by staff of the British Library, British Patent Office, Heritage Centre of the Salvation Army, Horniman Museum, and United States Library of Congress; citations were provided by Eric Matusewitch, Göran Rahm, and Gordon Taylor. The genealogical information for the Chidley family was compiled by Paul Udloff, great-grandson of Edward Childey, Sr., and was provided to me by Wes Williams. [ Back to text ]
2 There are actually 185 entries, including five items in the postscript and two tutors that were written for both English and Anglo concertina and which are listed in both sections of the bibliography. For descriptions of the concertina systems, see Allan W. Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina in Victorian England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 12-15. [ Back to text ]
3 The exceptions are one Canadian tutor (A24), one Dutch tutor (E73), three German tutors (E50, A53, and A101), one Russian tutor (E53), two Swedish tutors (E33 and A45), one tutor published in both Ireland and England (E51), two tutors from Ireland (A87) and (E74), two videos (A85 and A93), and one instruction manual available on the internet (D1). Articles in concertina magazines and newsletters, as well as internet commentaries on how to play the concertina, are excluded. Nor have I included the many English and Anglo concertina “tune books” and “song books,” titled as such, that contain short prefaces on how to hold the instrument, how to use the bellows and keys, etc., even though some of these contain about as much instructional material as some of the instruction manuals included. [ Back to text ]
4 Titles beginning with The are alphabetized by the succeeding word; citations beginning with Robert Cocks and Henry Russell’s are alphabetized under Cocks and Russell’s. A chronological arrangement would have been too imprecise at times. [ Back to text ]
5 These large, square-ended relatives of the Anglo concertina are not covered in the bibliography. For information about them, see Maria Dunkel, Bandonion und Konzertina: Ein Beitrag zur Darstellung des Instrumententyps. Berliner musikwissenschaftlicher Arbeiten 30 (Munich and Salzburg, 1987: Emil Katzbichler, 1987/2nd ed., 1996); Dunkel, Akkordeon, Bandonion, Concertina im Kontext der Harmonikainstrumente. Texte zur Geschichte und Gergenwart des Akkordeons 6 (Bochum: Augemus, 1999); Loren C. Schaeffer, “Chemnitzer Concertina Information” http://www.newulmtel.net/~lorens; and Christian Mensing, “Christian’s Bandoneon Page” http://www.inorg.chem.ethz.ch/tango/band/bandoneon.html, which includes a section on bandoneon tutors. [ Back to text ]
6 See Donald W. Krummel, Guide For Dating Early Published Music (Hackensack, NJ: Joseph Boonin, 1974). [ Back to text ]
7 John A. Parkinson, Victorian Music Publishers: An Annotated List (Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 1990), is an especially useful source. The retail prices shown on the covers of publications provide only weak clues for dating them, since the range of price quotations within and across periods is fairly broad. [ Back to text ]
8 I used the British Library Public Catalogue in the British Library at http://blpc.bl.uk, and The Catalogue of Printed Music in the British Library to 1980 (London: K. G. Saur, 1986), which is now available on CD-ROM: Catalogue of Printed Music in the British Library Plus, 2nd ed. (London: Bowker, 1997). [ Back to text ]
9 I have found no instruction manuals for the Jeffries or Hayden systems of duet concertina. Two of Charles Jeffries’s sons, Charles Jr. and Thomas, produced some handwritten materials (mainly chord diagrams) for their students.
Hayden has produced typescript material for his concertina workshops. On the Hayden system, see Brian Hayden, “The Hayden System,” Concertina Magazine 8 (Autumn 1984): 4-8; on the Jeffries system, see Phil Inglis, “History of the Duet Concertina: Part III,” Concertina Magazine 14 (Spring 1986): 12. [ Back to text ]
After this article went to press, five additional instruction manuals were found:
Branchett, Les. Conquering the Concertina: A Comprehensive Guide to the English Concertina. Gloucester: Sherborne House Publications, 2002. AVAIL
De Snoo, Pauline. Concertina Course, Volume One. Schijndel (NL): De Snoo, 2002. AVAIL
Contains a "Technical Appendix" by Dave Elliott and a CD; in English with Dutch translation forthcoming; vol. 2 is also forthcoming. The website is http://www.concertina.nl. The tutor can be ordered through email@example.com.
Miles, Dick. The Concise English Concertina: A Tutor. Cork: Milestone Publications, 2002. AVAIL
Bäcker, Volker. Konzertina—Schule. Munich: Voggenreiter Verlag, 1995 (book and CD). AVAIL
Coleman, Albert W. Coleman's New Instructions for the German Concertinas. London: W. Coleman, 1854. BL
Postscript 2: After this article was published, the following new editions and new tutors were found.
Edgley, Frank C. The Anglo Concertina: Handbook of Tunes and Methods for Irish Traditional Music. 2nd ed., revised and expanded. Windsor, Ontario: F. Edgley, 2002 (CD included). AVAIL (at http://www.concertinas.ca)
In addition to relatively minor revisions, this edition contains some material on chords and fingerings, three tunes, and six CD tracks that were not in the first edition.
Howe, Elias, Jr. New German Concertina School. Boston: Elias Howe, 1846. OSS
This is probably an alternative title for the tutor cited in A32).
Edgley, Frank C. Irish Traditional Melodies: Irish Session Tune Book. Windsor, Ontario: F. Edgley, 2002 (with companion CD, Volume One). AVAIL (at http://www.concertinas.ca)
This tune book contains almost all of the tunes in A24 and more than 60 additional tunes. It qualifies for inclusion as a tutor, given the instructional nature of the companion CD, which contains both slow and fast versions of the first 44 reels and jigs in the book. Volume Two of the CD is forthcoming.
Luschnitz-Merkelt. Kleiner Konzertina Kursus. Neue Ausgabe. Wiesbaden: Domkowsky & Co., c. 1880. OSS
Translated as Small Concertina Course, New Release. It contains no standard musical notation; the tablature appears to be a variant of the notation by Carl F. Zimmermann (see A100).
Kirkpatrick, John. How to Play the Anglo: Parts 1-3. Available on-line at www.johnkirkpatrick.co.uk. AVAIL
Kirkpatrick (b. 1947), a long-time leading figure on the British folk music and Morris Dance scene, is a professional player of the Anglo concertina, melodeon, and button accordion. His biography states: “And as featured artiste, band member, or session player, his music can be heard on over 200 different commercial recordings.” His on-line tutorial is a collection of three articles that were published in The Concertina Newsletter (later Free Reed) in the early 1970s.
Since this article was posted online in 2002, additional instruction manuals have appeared:
Atlas, Allan. Contemplating the Concertina: An Historically-Informed Tutor for the English Concertina. Amherst, MA: The Button Box, Inc., 2003. AVAIL (at http://www.buttonbox.com)
In-depth coverage of playing techniques, with exercises and musical excerpts (as well as some complete pieces) for the English concertina, drawing on the author’s early study with Boris Matusewitch (see E38) and subsequent playing experience. The tutor also contains exercises (with extensive commentary) from the tutors of Alsepti (E1), Regondi (E51), and other master performer-teachers from the Victorian era, as well as extensive historical background about the development of playing techniques. Of special note is the section on the use of bellows, surely the most thorough discussion of the topic to date.
De Snoo, Pauline. Concertina Course, Volume One: Play-Along Supplement. Schijndel (NL): De Snoo, 2003 (CD included). AVAIL (at http://www.concertina.nl)
The Concertina Course, Volume One (E73) has been complemented by an additional book and play-along CD (which also can be used separately from E73). For some tunes in the book, piano scores also are included for use in at-home piano accompaniment. The CD contains two renditions of each play-along tune: (1) a concertina-piano track and (2) a piano-only track for pure accompaniment.
Wakker, Wim. Tutor for the Jackie English Concertina. Helmond, (NL): Concertina Connection Music Publications, 2003. AVAIL (at http://www.concertinaconnection.com)
Though primarily designed for the “Jackie” student model, the tutor can be used with any model of English concertina. Sound files for all tunes in the tutor are provided at www.concertinaconnection.com, which also contains information on the “Jackie” and other concertinas from The Concertina Connection.
The Concertina Without a Master: Containing the Elements of Music and Complete Instruction for the English Concertina. New York: C. H. Ditson & Co., 1857. OSS
See the revised annotation for A100 Carl Friedrich Zimmermann, Zimmermann’s New and Complete Instructions for the Concertina: In Numbers Instead of Notes, Without a Master (Philadelphia: C. F. Zimmermann), 1869. The revised annotation appears in this HTML version, but not in the PDF version of the article (as originally published in The Free-Reed Journal, Vol. 4).
Entry and Annotation Revision.
Edgley, Frank C. Irish Traditional Melodies: Irish Session Tune Book. Windsor, Ontario (CA): F. Edgley (with companion CDs, Volumes 1 and 2). AVAIL (at http://www.concertinas.ca)
This tune book contains almost all of the tunes in A24 and more than 60 additional tunes. It qualifies as a tutor, given the instructional nature of the companion CDs. The first CD (Volume 1) contains both slow and fast versions of the first 44 reels and jigs in the book. The second CD (Volume 2) contains both slow and fast versions of the other jigs, as well as medium-pace versions of the remaining tunes in the book.
De Snoo, Pauline. Anglo Concertina Course. Schijndel (NL): De Snoo, 2003 (CD included). AVAIL (at http:// www.concertina.nl)
Similar to the English concertina course (E73) in style and presentation, the tutor (available in Dutch or English) goes its own direction to explain fingering, bellows directions, and other techniques for the Anglo concertina. It is suitable for 20-key or 30-key Anglo concertina.
Sheard’s Anglo-German Concertina Tutor. London: Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1901-1920. OSS
The dating is based on “196 Shaftesbury,” the post-1900 address of the Charles Sheard & Co., as shown on the cover.
Day, Alan. 20-Button C/G Anglo Concertina Tutor. Surrey (UK): Alan Day, 2003. (CD or audio cassette with sheet music supplement) AVAIL (Contact Alan Day at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Focusing on English tunes, the recordings are designed for students who are adept at learning by ear. Sheet music in standard musical notation for the tunes on the cassette/CD, accompanied by some introductory comments, is also available from the author on request.
Since this article was last updated in 2003, additional instruction manuals have appeared:
Miles, Dick. Song Accompaniment for English Concertina. Cork: Milestone Publications, 2004. AVAIL
A follow-up to The Concise English Concertina (E74), going into further depth on song accompaniment. It contains examples of songs in different styles and information on harmony, chord substitution, etc.
Wells, Simon. A Supplementary Anglo Concertina Tutor. Australia: Simon Wells, 2003. AVAIL (at http://users.tpg.com.au/cghent/tutor.doc)
The introduction states that “It’s a draft in the sense that it will eventually be expanded and improved by the contributions or suggestions of those who read it. And it is supplementary in the sense that it is not intended as an exhaustive guide to the instrument.” It contains many useful tips and intermediate-to-advanced techniques—not described elsewhere— for playing in the Irish style.
Since this article was last updated in 2004, additional instruction manuals have appeared:
Minasi, Carlo. A Concise Method for the Study of the Concertina, Comprising the Rudiments of Music, Progressive Scales, Exercises, and Selections from the Most Approved Masters. Place and publisher unknown; c. 1860. OSS
Probably a modified version of Minasi’s Instructions for the Concertina (E42).
———. Hopwood and Crew’s English Concertina Tutor Without a Master. London: Hopwood & Crew, c. 1900. OSS
Berbiguier, Benoit Tranquille. Exercises for Acquiring Equality of Fingering and Firmness of Tone. London: Wheatstone, c. 1900. OSS
Berbiguier (1782–1838), a French-born flutist, was among the best-known composers for the flute in the early eighteenth century. Some of his flute exercises, like those of Louis-François-Phillippe Drouëtt (see E23 ), are highly amenable to cross-over use as exercises for the English concertina. It is thought that the exercises for concertina were based on 18 Exercises or Etudes for Flute, (Revised and Edited by Georges Barrère; New York: G. Schirmer, 1925), which were based on exercises from Berbiguier’s tutors, Nouvelle Méthode pour la Flute (Paris: Janet et Cottelle, c. 1818); and Methode Complète de Flûte (Paris: Alphonse Ledec, 1818). In particular, the exercises for concertina were not an adaptation of Exercises on Tempered or Altered Notes … Composed for the Flute (London: Wheatstone, 1827). These exercises, though published by Wheatstone during Berbiguier’s lifetime, are advanced flute-specific exercises, inadaptable to the concertina. In 1848, Berbiguier compositions for concertina (not including the Exercises) were listed in Music for the Concertina Published by Messrs. Wheatstone & Co. These included Duet in C (from Op.7) and Duet in F (from Op. 45) for flute and concertina or two concertinas and Theme (Op. 49) for concertina and pianoforte. A few other Berbiguier pieces, ostensibly for concertina, were later advertised by Wheatstone and other publishers. At the time of Berbiguier’s death (20 January 1838), English concertina playing was truly in its infancy. Berbiguier possibly never knew that compositions and exercises for the concertina would be attributed to him.
Pietra, Guiseppe T. (pseud.) The National Tutor for the English Concertina. London, c. 1890. OSS
The author’s real name was Joseph T. Stone (see E47), a prolific arranger of music for pianoforte.
Concertina Tutor for 10 and 20 Key Instruments. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, c. 1880. OSS
Digby, Roger. Faking It: The Booklet. Prepared for the Annual General Meeting of the International Concertina Association, 23 October 2004. AVAIL
Worrall, Dan M. The Anglo Concertina Music of William Kimber. London: English Folk Dance and Song Society, 2005. AVAIL
Thorough explanation of how to play in the Kimber style, along with transcriptions of all Morris and country dance tunes that Kimber recorded.
Anweisung das Accordion zu spielen. Chemnitz, Saxony: Johann Gottlieb Höselbarth, c. 1840. OSS
Though titled for das Accordion, the tutor is written for a single-row concertina (main text) and a two-row concertina (Appendix titled Anang. Zum zwei Reiichen Accordion). The tutor—possibly, the earliest tutor written for German concertina—dates clear back to when, in Saxony, the German concertina still was called an accordion or harmonika. According to Stephen Chambers (who provided this entry), Maria Dunkel’s research and that of the Musikinstrumneten-Museum in Berlin suggests that the author of the tutor may have been Johann David Wünsch (1814-1895), a musician in the Chemnitz orchestra and husband of Christiane Caroline Uhlig—daughter of Carl Friedrich Uhlig (who invented the German concertina in 1834).
Scates, Joseph. Instruction Book for the Improved German Concertina. London: J. W. Moffatt; and Dublin: Joseph Scates, c. 1852–55. OSS
Mitchison's New and Improved Tutor for the German Concertina. Glasgow: Mitchison & Co, c. 1855. OSS
Quite possibly a revised version of Mitchison’s Celebrated Concertina Tutor (A55). New and Improved in the title suggests an even earlier edition. It appears that the Mitchison & Co. tutor catalogue was acquired by George Cameron, or later by John S. Marr or John Cameron.
Marr’s Concertina Tutor, a New and Greatly Improved Instruction Book. Glasgow: J. S. Marr & Sons, c. 1880. OSS
John S. Marr (later J. S. Marr & Sons) succeeded the firm of George Cameron, following George Cameron’s death in July 1863. Marr & Sons was affiliated with John Cameron, who became the firm’s manager by the mid-1870s. In addition to Cameron and Cameron & Ferguson editions, marketing of the Concertina Preceptor (A28) included a version entitled Marr’s Concertina Preceptor, Or Pocket Guide to the Art of Playing the Concertina, c. 1875.
Booth, Herbert H. Instructions for the Salvation Army Concertina. London: Salvation Army Book Stores, 1888. OSS
The A73 annotation contained incomplete information about this tutor, compiled by Herbert Booth, son of Salvation Army founder William Booth. The full citation now can be provided (thanks to Stephen Chambers’s having obtained a copy of the publication). As surmised in the A73 annotation, this booklet is devoted exclusively to chording on the Anglo concertina. The Salvation Army concertina refers to a Ab/Eb concertina with 26 keys, the Salvation Army’s “standard issue” into the twentieth century.
Maccann, John Hill. How to Play the Concertina. London: Hopwood & Crew, (by 1902). OSS
A booklet recently discovered in the National Archives of Australia. The text includes material from the how-to-play section of Maccann’s The Concertinist’s Guide (D3), as well as an interview with Professor Maccann.
Warren, Joseph. Progressive Exercises in the Key of C. London: Wheatstone & Co., c. 1850. OSS
For the early Wheatstone “Double” duet concertina (see D8).
Randall C. Merris ( ) is an economist at the International Monetary Fund and an amateur Anglo concertinist. He has been an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; has taught economics and finance in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University; and has consulted with Asian governments on economic policy and financial reform. He writes mainly on economics and occasionally on the concertina and its history.
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Signor Alsepti's Tutor
for English Concertina
Lachenal, c. 1895
The original version of this article appeared in The Free-Reed Journal, Vol. 4 (2002), pp. 85-118. © 2002 Randall C. Merris.