Posted 01 April 2003

Instruction Manuals for the English, Anglo, and Duet Concertina: An Annotated Bibliography

Randall C. Merris

Part II. Anglo Concertina

Adams’ 100 Popular Irish Airs for the Concertina with a Concise Course of Instructions for the Art of Playing the Concertina. Glasgow: J. Cameron, c. 1860. BL
The title refers to Alexander Adams, author of The Musical Repository: A Collection of Favourite Scotch, English, and Irish Songs, Set to Music (Glasgow: A. Adams for A. Carrick, bookseller, Saltmarket, 1799); see Frank Kidson, British Music Publishers (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1967), 201. George Cameron began publishing about 1855, and his brother John in 1860 (Parkinson, Victorian Music Publishers, 44-45). The Camerons and later Cameron & Ferguson, formed in 1871, published many tutors and tune books for Anglo concertina and several for English concertina.
Adams’ 100 Scottish Airs for the Concertina with Complete Instructions and Scales. Glasgow: J. Cameron, c. 1860. ADVERT
Adrian, C.F. Adrian’s Concertina-Instructor. Chicago: Forster Music Publisher, 1938. LC
The Art of Playing the Concertina Without a Master. Glasgow: Cameron & Co., c. 1863; London: F. Pitman, c. 1863 (and subsequent edition, Cameron & Ferguson, c. 1872). BL
Bayford, Dudley Escott. Francis & Day’s Anglo-Chromatic Concertina Tutor. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1965. HM, BL
Bramich, Mick. Absolute Beginners’ Concertina: A New Guide to the Twenty Key Anglo Concertina. Devon: Posset Press, 2000. AVAIL
———. The Irish Concertina: A Tutor for the Anglo Concertina in the Irish Style. West Yorkshire: Dave Mallinson Publications, 1996 (CD or audio cassette available). AVAIL
Provides in-depth instruction for playing Irish tunes in several major and minor keys.
Bremner, Louis. A New Tutor for the German Concertina. London: W. Williams & Co., 1862. BL
Cameron, George. Cameron’s New and Improved Concertina Tutor, or Guide to the Art of Playing the Concertina. Glasgow: G. Cameron, 1860. BL
———. Cameron’s Selection of Concertina Music: Containing Complete Instructions and Scales, and a Variety of Popular Airs, Marked and Figured for the Ten, Twenty, Twenty- Two, and Twenty-Eight Keyed German Concertina. Glasgow: G. Cameron, 1857. BL
Cameron’s Concertina Dance Music, With Instructions. Glasgow: J. Cameron, c. 1855. ADVERT
Cameron’s Concertina Tutor with Catechism. Glasgow: J. Cameron, c. 1870. ADVERT
Celestial Melodies: Moody and Sankey’s and Other Sacred Songs for the Concertina . . . The Work Being Prefaced by A Course of Instructions for the Concertina. Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson, c. 1876. HM
Probably published soon after Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey’s first tour (1873-1875) of the British Isles.
Chidley, Rock. Chidley’s Instructions for the German Fingering Concertina. London: R. Chidley, 1858. BL
Chidley (1825-1894) started as a concertina assembler at Wheatstone & Co. in the 1840s and became a Wheatstone supervisor before starting his own concertina making business. His concertinas were promoted in the tutor: “These instruments being made by English workman under the superintendence of R. C. . . . will be found very superior in tone to those generally sold; having screwed notes, metallic action, ivory keys, improved regulating straps, and in addition extra notes which enable the performer to modulate into more keys than the German Concertina” (p. 1). The tutor contains illustrations of the layouts of keys for concertinas with 10, 20, 22, and 28 keys. The layout of Chidley’s 28-key concertina had two 5-key rows and one 4-key row on each side. The 4-key row was the top row on the left side and the bottom row on the right side. The 28-key German-made concertina of that era also had two 5-key rows and one 4-key row on each side, but the 4-key row was the bottom row on each side of the instrument. Both systems were relics before the end of the century.
The Complete Tutor for the Concertina. Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson, c. 1875. ADVERT
The Concertina Tutor, Or Guide to the Art of Playing the Concertina. Glasgow: J. Cameron, 1883. BL
Converse, Frank J. Mel Bay’s Deluxe Concertina Book. Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, 1981. AVAIL
Bob Bolton’s review appears in Concertina Magazine 24 (1988): 23-24.
Coule, Charles. Complete Self-Instructor for Playing Coule’s Improved German Concertina. London: C. Coule, 1856. BL
Coule’s “improved German concertina” was a short-lived system: “the performer is enabled to play all the principal Natural notes, Double Action, on the Instrument, that is, by either drawing out, or pressing in the bellows . . .” (p. 1). The keys—all single-action—were arranged in two 6-key rows on each side. His “Double Action” refers to a given note being available in each bellows direction, pushing for one key and drawing for another key.
———. New and Complete Method (or Self-Instructor) for Playing the German Concertinas. London: C. Coule, 1852. BL
“The Concertina is. . .in every way entitled to the notice and patronage of the lovers of Music . . . [T]his small but expressive little instrument, so enchants the ear that few persons can fail to admire its sweetness and beauty” (p. 1).
Cramer’s Instruction Book for the German Concertina. London: Cramer & Co., 1873. BL
Curwen, John. The German Concertina Book for Tonic Sol Fa Pupils. London: J. Curwen, 1864. BL
De Ville, Paul. The Eclipse Self Instructor for Concertina. New York: Carl Fischer, 1905. LC
Later titled The Concertina and How to Play It (AVAIL), which retained the original contents except with “the concertina” replacing “the German or Anglo-Saxon concertina.” The music and tablature for 208 of the 250 tunes in De Ville’s book were taken from Howe’s Eclectic School for Concertina (A33) and Howe’s Western German Concertina School (A36).
Dobigny, A. Self-Instructor for the German Concertina. London: E. Donajowski, c. 1885. HM
Edgley, Frank C. The Anglo Concertina: Handbook of Tunes and Methods for Irish Traditional Music. Windsor, Ontario: F. J. Edgley, 2001; 2nd ed., revised and expanded, 2002. (CD included) AVAIL (see
Edgley teaches and performs on the Anglo concertina, Northumbrian and Scottish small pipes, and tinwhistle. He also builds and repairs concertinas. The handbook and CD, which include detailed coverage of embellishments and variations, provide a course for beginning and advanced players of Irish-style concertina, emphasizing the North County Clare style of Chris Droney, Tommy and Jacqueline McCarthy, and others. In addition to relatively minor revisions, the second edition contains some material on chords and fingerings, three tunes, and six CD tracks that were not in the first edition.
Felton, William Matthew Horace. The Melodeon, Concertina, and Accordion: Instructions on How to Play, Tune, and Repair. Dover: Standard Office, 1903. BL
Francis & Day’s Sixpenny Popular German Concertina Tutor, with Sol-fa Supplement. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1904. BL
German Concertina Instructor. Boston: Oliver Ditson; and St. Louis: Balmer & Weber, c. 1865. BMTCC
Hamilton, William. The Concertina Preceptor, or Pocket Guide to the Art of Playing the Concertina Without a Master. Glasgow: John Cameron, 1850 and 1855; and Cameron & Ferguson, 1883. BL
Harding, Joseph R. W. New and Complete Method for the German Concertina, With Scales for 10, 20, 22, and 28 Keys. London: Metzler & Co., 1858. BL
Howard & Co.’s German Concertina Tutor. London: Howard & Co., 1884. BL
Howard & Co.’s New and Improved German Concertina Tutor. London: Howard & Co., 1875. BL
“New and Improved” implies that there may have been a pre-1875 edition.
Howe, Elias, Jr. The Concertina Without a Master. Boston: Elias Howe, c. 1846 (later published by Oliver Ditson and Balmer & Weber). BMTCC
Howe, Elias, Jr. New German Concertina School. Boston: Elias Howe, 1846 (probably an alternative title for the same tutor). OSS
Howe (1820-1895) was a well-known fiddler, tune collector, music publisher and dealer, and instrument manufacturer and collector. He published more than two hundred books, including tune books, dance books, and tutors for many musical instruments. Two of his tune collections—The Musician’s Companion (1840) and Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (c. 1883)—are especially well known. He is sometimes confused with Elias Howe Jr. (1819-1867), the sewing machine inventor. On Howe and his publications, see Patrick Sky, Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, 1995), 10-19; The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, ed. H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie (New York: MacMillan, 1986) 2, 435; and Christine Merrick Ayars, Contributions to the Art of Music in America by the Music Industries of Boston, 1640 to 1936 (New York: H.W. Wilson, 1937), 12-15. Predating the 1850 sale of Howe’s music catalogue to Oliver Ditson Company (see A35), the tutor in this entry was published at about the same time as Howe’s The Accordeon Without a Master (Boston: Elias Howe, 1846).
———. Howe’s Eclectic School for the Concertina. New and enlarged ed. Boston: Elias Howe, 1879 (in English and partly in German). LC
———. Howe’s New Concertina Without a Master and Concertina Exercises. Boston: Elias Howe; and St Louis: Balmer & Weber, c. 1870. BMTCC
———. Howe’s New German Concertina. Boston: Oliver Ditson, c. 1855. BMTCC
In 1850, Howe sold his music catalogue to the Oliver Ditson Company in a deal that precluded Howe from publishing music for ten years. Howe skirted the agreement by publishing many books of dance instruction during the 1850s. This tutor was published during the term of Howe’s “banishment.” The Oliver Ditson Company—a major manufacturer of musical instruments (but not concertinas) and music publisher—became the dominant U.S. publisher of concertina tutors. Ditson purchased the entire firms or music catalogues of rival publishers for concertina—Firth, Pond, & Co. (in 1867), Lee & Walker (in 1875), and J. L. Peters (in 1877)—and was a founding partner of John Church & Co.; see William A. Fisher, One Hundred and Fifty Years of Music Publishing in the United States (Boston: Ditson, 1933).
———. Howe’s Western German Concertina School. Boston: Elias Howe, 1879. LC
Jefferys’s German Concertina Tutor, With 10 & 20 Keys. London: C. Jefferys, c. 1885. HM
Charles Jefferys, music publisher, should not be confused with Charles Jeffries, the well-known concertina maker.
Jewell, Philip. Instructions for Playing Davis’s New Patent Chromatic German Concertina. London: The Music Publishing Company, 1862. BL
Jewell was granted the first British patent for the Anglo-chromatic concertina. His patent (“Concertinas,” August 29, 1861; Patent No. 2152) included another innovation that was short-lived: “ . . . parallel plates of glass . . . by which the tone . . . will be modified and improved.” In his tutor, Jewell states that “The concertina being an Instrument so well known, it is unnecessary to enter into any description . . . further than to explain the great improvements in . . . the ‘New Patent Chromatic German Concertina’ . . .” (p. 1). However, the Anglo concertina with an extended set of notes was not entirely new. Although George Jones (see A39) was making models with 26 or more keys in the 1850s (Wayne, Concertina Book, 60), he did not patent his extended-range (42-key) Anglo concertina until 1884 (“Improvements in Anglo-German Concertinas,” June 23, 1884; Patent No. 9314). In the 1850s, Rock Chidley (see A14) was also making Anglo concertinas with more than 20 keys. British claims of invention disregarded the 28-key German concertina—well-known in Britain in the 1850s (see A10, A29, and A82)—and other early chromatic-type concertinas from Saxony. Davis presumably was the maker of Jewell-designed concertinas; he is referred to only in the tutor title.
Jones, George Smith. Scales and Chords Arranged for the New Patent Anglo-German Concertina. London: G. Jones, 1884. BL
Jones (1832-1919) was the self-proclaimed “inventor of the Anglo-German concertina with perfect chromatic scale.” Early in his career, Jones worked for Jabez Austin, who made reed pans for Wheatstone & Co., and performed on German (i.e., Anglo) concertina and flutina in the music halls. He invented a portable harmonium, wrote concertina and banjo tutors, sold musical instruments, and taught music. From the 1850s to 1909, George Jones & Co. (later, & Sons) produced thousands of concertinas. After Jones retired in 1899, his firm survived for a decade under the management of his children. George Jones’s life is described in his own words in “Recollections of the English Concertina, from 1844, by George Jones, born February 29th 1832”, Concertina Magazine Part I: 13 (Winter 1985): 4-5, Part II: 14 (Spring 1986): 4-7, on the web at; also published in part as Frank E. Butler and Neil Wayne, “The Concertina Trade in Victorian Times”, Free Reed: The Concertina Newsletter, 16 (1973), 14-20, on the web at Frank Butler, “Concertinas in the Commercial Road: The Story of George Jones”, Concertina & Squeezebox 20 (Summer 1989): 5-14, on the web at His concertina students included the famous comic/concertina duo of the Brothers Webb (Arthur and Joe); see Frank Butler, “The Webb Brothers”, Concertina & Squeezebox 18-19 (1989): 11-15, on the web at
———. The Chromatic Anglo-German Concertina Tutor. London: G. Jones, 1876. OSS
A 1989 reprint by Concertina & Squeezebox is no longer available.
Juliana, T. J. New Instruction for the English & German Concertina. London: Joseph Williams, c. 1870. HM
One of two tutors written for both English and Anglo concertina (=E32; see also A73).
Kail, Bob. The Best Concertina Method—Yet! Carlstadt, NJ: Lewis Music Publishing, 1975. AVAIL
Contains reprints of all but one of the 250 tunes in De Ville’s book (see A22), as well as some songs arranged by Kail.
Kay, David. How to Play Concertina Today. Miami Beach: Shattinger International Music, 1980. AVAIL
La Concertina: Method for Diatonic Concertina. Stagi Edition. Recanati: Brunner Musica, c. 1995. AVAIL
Lärobok för Nybörjare å Frålaningsarmens Konsertina. Stockholm: Stridsropets Tryckeri, 1909. OSS
The English translation is Tutor for Beginners on the Salvation Army Concertina. The tutor indicates that the Salvation Army concertina is in the key of A flat, but that the instructions are compatible with the Anglo concertina in the keys of C and G major.
Levy, Bertram. The Anglo Concertina Demystified: Eleven Lessons for the 30-Button Anglo Concertina. Voorheesville, NY: Front Hall Enterprises, 1985. (book and two audio cassettes) AVAIL
A full-fledged “self-instruction course” for beginning and advanced Anglo concertina players, it contains instructions for playing melody and accompaniment for folk, Morris-dance, Irish, and other styles of music. A review appears in John Green and John Townley, “Bertram Levy: The Maestro Makes His Mark,” Concertina & Squeezebox 3:1-2 (Winter-Spring 1985): 45-47.
Maynard, Richard Frederick William. Maynard’s New German Concertina Tutor and Budget of Popular Songs, Ballads, &c. London: R. Maynard, c. 1895. BL
Millet’s German Concertina Instructor. New York: William B. Millet, c. 1870. BMTCC
Minasi, Carlo. Instruction Book for the German Concertina. London: Chappell & Co., 1858. BL, HM
Minasi was a prolific author of music books and arranger of music (see E41).
———. Instruction Book for the Use of Learners of the German Concertina, of Twenty Keys and Ten Keys. London: Kleyser & Tritschler, 1846. BL
Contained “medallions” to cut out and paste on the instrument to label the keys. Minasi, like other authors, promoted the instrument as easy to learn: “The German Concertina is confidently recommended as an instrument of much power and variety, and one upon which great execution can be attained with comparatively little practice” (p. 1). The firm of Kleyser & Tritschler dealt in German clocks and toys; see A Directory of London and Its Suburbs (London: J. Pigot & Co., 1839), 242.
———. J. A. Turner’s Instruction Book for the German Concertina. London: J. A. Turner, 1864. BL
John Alvey Turner was one of the earliest dealers in English-made concertinas. Wheatstone sales records show his purchase of several concertinas in 1843, the year that he became a publisher; see Wayne, Concertina Book, 37; Parkinson, Victorian Music Publishers, 274.
———. Minasi’s Tutor for the German Concertina. London: Boosey & Co., c. 1870. ADVERT
———. New German Concertina Album and Tutor for the 20 Keyed Instrument. Braunschweig: H. Litolff, 1880. BL
———. Willey & Co.’s Instruction Book for the German Concertina with 10 and 20 Keys. London: Willey & Co., 1886. BL
Mitchison’s Celebrated Concertina Tutor. Glasgow: Mitchison & Co., c. 1880. ADVERT
Morgan, Edward. Morgan’s New and Improved Instructor for the German or Anglo-German Concertina. London: E. Morgan, 1858. BL
The New Sixpenny Anglo-German Concertina Tutor. London: Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1890. ADVERT
New Work for the Concertina . . . With Directions for Playing and a Variety of Popular Airs. Glasgow: John Cameron, c. 1850 and 1883. HM, BL
Concerning the date of first publication, the introduction states: “The Musical World, some five and twenty years back, was amused . . . by the introduction of a rude little instrument named the ‘Mouth Harminicon’.”
Redmond, Walter. Francis & Day’s Concertina Tutor and Popular Song Book for 1891. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1891. BL
———. Francis & Day’s Concertina Tutor: New Edition for 1889. London: Francis Brothers & Day, 1888. BL
———. Francis & Day’s German Concertina Tutor. London: Francis & Day, 1881. BL
———. Francis & Day’s German Concertina Tutor and Book of Popular Songs and Ballads. London: Francis, Day & Hunter; New York: T. B. Harms, 1893. BL, HM
Regondi’s Concertina Melodist, Fingered for the German Instrument. Nos. 1-14. London: Charles Sheard, 1854-1862. BL (No. 6 only)
Although the title suggests that it is a collection of musical arrangements, it also includes lessons and exercises. Regondi supposedly had no input into the Anglo concertina tutors and songbooks bearing his name. On Regondi’s brilliant career as a guitarist and performer-composer-arranger-teacher of music for English concertina, see E51.
Regondi’s German Concertina Tutor. New and Enlarged Edition. London: Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1890. ADVERT
Long after Regondi’s death in 1872, the publisher was still capitalizing on Regondi’s name in tutor and songbook titles.
Regondi’s Hand-Book for the German Concertina. London: Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1895. HM
The cover states “And Adopted for the Octagon, Sexagon, or Organ Celestial, and Anglo-German Concertinas.” Beginning in 1859, George Jones made “Celestial” English and Anglo concertinas—larger instruments that were prized (especially by the Salvation Army) for the vibrato effect of their double reeds (Wayne, Concertina Book, 59-60). The reference to “Charles Sheard & Co., Music Publishers and Printers, 192 Hilborn” on the cover provides clues for dating. Though the firm of Sheard was located at the Hilborn address from 1851 to 1900, its name became Charles Sheard & Co. only in 1890; see Parkinson, Victorian Music Publishers, 248-49.
Regondi’s Up-to-Date German Concertina Tutor. new ed., London: H. Darewski, 1920 (?). BL
Roylance, Charles George. Anglo-German Concertina Player’s Companion. London: Roylance, 1889. BL, CSFRI, HM
———. How to Learn the Chromatic Anglo-German Concertina. London: C. Roylance, 1878. CSFRI
———. How to Learn the German Concertina. London: C. Roylance, c. 1870. ADVERT
Henry Russell’s Celebrated Tutor for the German Concertina. London, Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1890. ADVERT
Russell (1812-1900)—an English pianist, singer, and songwriter—was the most famous composer of American popular songs before Stephen Foster (who was directly influenced by Russell). Russell resided in New York from 1835 to 1845, and engaged in songwriting, solo concerts (piano and vocal), and short careers as a church organist, choirmaster, and music academy teacher; see New Grove Dictionary of American Music 4, 111-12. Considering Sheard’s propensity for inserting celebrities’ names in their titles, it is unlikely that Russell had anything to do with the tutor.
Russell, Joseph. Russell’s New and Improved Self-Instructor for the German Concertina. London: J. Russell, 1854. BL
Ryan, Sydney. Ryan’s True Concertina Instructor. Cincinnati, OH: John Church, 1875 and 1903. LC
This was the only concertina tutor sold through the mail order of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. (1899-1903 catalogues). Sydney Ryan was a well-known composer-arranger, not to be confused with William Bradbury Ryan, author of Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (see A32).
The Salvation Army Anglo-German and English Concertina Tutor. London: [Salvation Army] Publishing Offices, 1905. BL
One of two tutors expressly written for both Anglo and English Concertina (=E60; see also A41). Earlier, Herbert Booth, son of Salvation Army founder William Booth, wrote a booklet (title and date unknown) on concertina chords for Salvation Army players. From Burgess’s description, it appears that Booth’s booklet was for Anglo concertina; see Burgess, “100 Years of Concertinas,” Concertina Magazine 24 (1988): 12. [Added 2005: Now see A117 for bibliographical details of Booth's booklet on chords.]
Sedgwick, Alfred B. Sedgwick's Complete Method for the German Concertina. New York: J. L. Peters, 1865. LC
———. Sedgwick’s Improved and Complete Instructions for the German Concertina. New York: Firth and Son, 1865; Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1893. BL, LC
Though Sedgwick (see E63) had an undisguised disdain for the Anglo concertina, he wrote some of the most advanced (and arguably best) Anglo concertina tutors. In this tutor, he proclaimed the superiority of the English concertina: “. . . a perfect instrument capable of producing the more elaborate and intricate harmonizing . . .” (p. 23). He was more outspoken in his New Method for the English Concertina (E65): “The English concertina is . . . far superior . . . to that known as the German concertina, which as compared to the former, can only rank as a mere toy” (pp. 9-10).
———. Sedgwick’s New Method for the German Concertina. New York: S.T. Gordon, 1869. LC
———. Sedgwick’s Perfect Method for the German Concertina. New York: J. L. Peters, 1873. LC
Sedgwick counseled that “. . . the Concertina should be lightly waved in the air. By waving I do not mean swinging. There are some performers who appear to think that it is impossible to play without tossing the instrument round and round as if they were a windmill and their arms the sails . . . [I]t is decidedly injurious to the instrument and liable to cause the breaking of reeds, besides making it sound out of tune; and also causing the player to appear more like a buffoon than an artist” (p. 18). He probably was relying on his memory of performers in the British music halls, rather than on the American stage. I have found only two concertinists in nineteenth-century American minstrelsy—virtuoso James Sharpley (1845-1902) and William F. Hoey, a black-face comedian/concertinist who first appeared on the minstrel stage in 1873; see Edward LeRoy Rice, Monarchs of Minstrelsy, From “Daddy Rice” to Date (New York: Kenny Publishing, 1911), 182, 264.
Seymour, W. Dallas’ Tutor for the Anglo Chromatic Concertina. London: John E. Dallas & Sons, c. 1920. ADVERT
———. Dallas’ Tutor for the Anglo Concertina. London: John E. Dallas & Sons, c. 1920. HM
Shepherd, John. Shepherd’s Plain Directions for Learning the German Concertina. London: J. Shepherd, 1856. BL
Sinclair’s New and Improved German Concertina Tutor. London: J. Bath, 1873. BL
Steers, Frederick A. Steers’s Instructions for the German Concertina, Containing Explanatory Scales for the 10, 20, 22, and 28 Key’d Instruments. London: F. Steers, 1860. BL
Promotion of the tutor was based on both utility and price; as the cover states, “Persons totally unacquainted with Music can play the figured [i.e., tablatured] Melodies without the slightest aid of a master . . . This instructor will be sent, (Post paid), to any part of the United Kingdom, upon receipt of 12 Postage Stamps.”
Stephano, Charles (pseud.). Wickins’ Easy Concertina Tutor. Wickins’ Sunbeam Music Books, No. 12. London: Bosworth & Co., 1897. BL, CSFRI, AVAIL
Stephano’s real name was Alfred William Rawlings; he was a prolific arranger of secular and sacred music. The tutor is available in a reprint (Oxford: Hands on Music, 1998).
Synnberg, Margaret J. New Standard Concertina Course. Chicago: M. M. Cole, 1938. LC
Synnberg was a music teacher in a Chicago high school. Her 16-page method—reissued as Concertina—Self Instruction Method (Chicago: M. M. Cole, 1965)—was provided along with many Anglo concertinas sold in the United States.
Townley, John. The Seaman’s Concertina: A Beginning Guide to the Anglo Concertina in the Nautical Style. Mendocino, CA: Lark in the Morning Instructional Video, 1987. AVAIL
Instructional video without printed music or tablature. John Townley was an editor of Concertina and Squeezebox. An anonymous review appears in Concertina & Squeezebox 23 (Summer 1990): 11.
Up-To-Date German Concertina Tutor. London: Charles Sheard & Co., c. 1900. OSS
A photograph of Percy Honri and the caption “The Greatest Concertina Player of the Age” appears on the cover. The photograph, which appears to be from a set taken in New York in 1899, is reproduced in Concertina Magazine 2 (Spring 1982): 23. Sheard used celebrity “endorsements” without regard for the concertinas that the celebrities played. Percy Honri (1874-1953) was a star performer, but on the duet concertina. With respect to the dating, Charles Sheard & Co.’s address is given as 196 Shaftesbury Avenue, the firm’s address as of 1900 (Parkinson, Victorian Music Publishers, 248).
Vallely, Niall. Concertina CD ROM Tutorial. Cork City: MadForTrad, 2002. AVAIL (order on-line at
Vallely, concertinist in the former Nomos band and music teacher, has toured with Irish singer Karan Casey. The tutorial combines video, audio, text, and music notation to teach beginning-to-advanced students of Irish-style concertina.
Vincent, Frederick. Tutor for the German Concertina. London: W. Kent & Co., 1865. BL
The tutor is prefaced by “A Brief History of the Concertina” by W. Stout, who states that: “The English Concertina was made some years before the German instrument bearing its name, but, owing to its high price, and the immense difficulty of playing it perfectly, it never could become a favourite with the industrious class. Soon after the Exhibition of 1851, an instrument became known in England as the German concertina . . .” (p. 1).
Wade, James Augustus. Metzler and Co.’s Tutor for the German Concertina. London: Cramer & Co., 1886. HM
Wade arranged a large volume of music, especially for piano.
Warren, Joseph. Robert Cocks & Co.’s Hand Book of Instruction for the German Concertina with 10, 20, and 22 Keys. London: Robert Cocks & Co., 1855 and 1858. BL
Watson, Roger. Handbook for Anglo-Chromatic Concertina. London: Wise Publications, 1981. AVAIL
The hype on the cover, rivaling that on his English concertina handbook (E70), exaggerates the contents: “The first complete tutor for the Anglo-Chromatic Concertina.”
Wetstone, J. The First Step: How to Play the Anglo Chromatic Concertina. London: Keith, Prowse & Co., 1935. HM, LC
Reissued as First Steps: Concertina, Anglo-Chromatic (Essex: International Music Publications, 1993). AVAIL
Williams, John. Learn to Play Irish Concertina. Woodstock, NY: Homespun Video, 1995. AVAIL
Williams, an All-Ireland Senior Concertina Champion and music teacher, was formerly a member of the Solas band. The video, accompanied by a booklet in standard musical notation, is an instructive and enjoyable introduction to playing in the Irish style.
Wilson, G. F. Wilson’s Complete Self Instruction Book for the German Concertina. London: H. Lea, 1857. BL
Winner, Septimus. Winner’s Easy System for the German Concertina. Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1869; Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1897. LC
Septimus Winner (1827-1902) was author and/or publisher of at least two hundred instruction books for more than twenty instruments. His many songs included “Listen to the Mockingbird” (under the pseudonym Alice Hawthorne) and “Der Deitcher’s Dog” (known today as “Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone”). He gained fame (or notoriety) in 1862, when he was arrested on a charge of treason for publishing “Give Us Back Our Old Commander: Little Mac, the People’s Pride,” written in response to General George McClellan being relieved of his Union Army command. He was released from jail after agreeing to destroy all remaining copies, but the song survived as a McClellan campaign song in the 1864 election. His brother, Joseph Eastburn Winner, composed “The Little Brown Jug.” See New Grove Dictionary of American Music 4, 542; and Charles E. Claghorn, Biographical Dictionary of American Music (West Nyack, NY: Parker, 1973), 480.
———. Winner’s New American School for the Concertina. Boston: White & Smith, 1883. LC
———. Winner’s New Primer for the German Concertina. New York: William A. Pond & Co., 1897. LC
An earlier edition (no date) is listed in BMTCC.
———. Winner’s Perfect Guide for the German Concertina. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1869 and 1897. LC
———. Winner’s Primary School for the Concertina. Cleveland: S. Brainard, 1872. LC
Zimmermann, Carl Friedrich. Zimmermann’s New and Complete Instructions for the Concertina: In Numbers Instead of Notes, Without a Master. Philadelphia: C. F. Zimmermann, 1869 (in English and German). LC
Before emigrating from Germany in 1864, Zimmermann founded a free-reed manufacturing business (Carlsfeld, c. 1848) that became the foundation for the bandoneon industry. The eleven-page tutor employs an early version of the tablature that he patented in 1871 (“Improvement in Musical Notations for Accordeons,” January 3, 1871; United States Patent No. 110,719). The drawings from his patent are reproduced in Maria Dunkel, “Buttons and Codes: Ideographies for Bandoneon and Concertina as Examples of Alternative Notational Systems in Nineteenth-Century Germany,” The Free-Reed Journal 2 (2000): 18. His tablature system did not gain support among other authors of Anglo concertina tutors. Zimmermann (1817-1898) is also well known as the inventor of an early type of autoharp (“Harp,” May 9, 1882; United States Patent No. 257,808). His name was given as Carl Friedrich Zimmermann on this tutor (A100) and on the 1871 patent for the musical notation system, but as Charles F. Zimmermann on the 1882 patent for the autoharp. Karl or Carl often became Charles for German emigrants to the English-speaking world. Another example is Karl (later Charles) Eulenstein (1802-1890)—best known as a Jew’s harp virtuoso and, among his other talents, an arranger of music for the English concertina. I am indebted to Stephen Chambers for calling my attention to Becky Blackley, The Autoharp Book (Brisbane, CA: i.a.d. Publications, 1983), wherein the first chapter contains a short biography of Carl (a.k.a. Charles) F. Zimmermann. See also Ivan Stiles, “The True History of the Autoharp,” on-line at (Revised annotation, October 2003.)

Added subsequent to original publication:

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
Edgley, Frank C. Irish Traditional Melodies: Irish Session Tune Book. Windsor, Ontario (CA): F. Edgley (with companion CDs, Volumes 1 and 2). AVAIL (at
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. (Revised entry and annotation, December 2003.)
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 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.
De Snoo, Pauline. Anglo Concertina Course. Schijndel (NL): De Snoo, 2003 (CD included). AVAIL (at
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
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.
Wells, Simon. A Supplementary Anglo Concertina Tutor. Australia: Simon Wells, 2003. AVAIL (at
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.
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.

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.

Links to related documents

merris-minasi-german-tutor-1846 Earliest Known English-Language German Concertina Tutor: Minasi’s “Instruction Book” 1846
by Randall C. Merris and Dan Worrall
Carlo Minasi published the earliest known English-language tutor for the German ("Anglo-German") concertina by 1846 in London. This publication goes well beyond the basics; in it are instructions not only for the simple “along the row” melody line style, but also extensive discussions of octave playing, cross row fingering, and chord accompaniment. Numerous fully arranged musical selections are included, almost all in the “English” or “harmonic” style, where chords are played on the left and melody on the right, more or less as a duet concertina is played.
Posted 15 August 2005
» read full article
jones-tutor-1946 Tutor for the Chromatic Anglo Concertina
by George Jones
London: Wheatstone & Co., Reprinted 1946. (This is a very late reprint edition of George Jones, The Chromatic Anglo-German Concertina Tutor, London: G. Jones, 1876, entry A40 in Merris's bibliography.) This scan was made by Wes Williams.
Posted 15 January 2004
» read full document in pdf
hayden-playing-chords Playing Chords [for English, Anglo, and Maccann Duet]
by Brian Hayden
"I would like to explain the system that I use when teaching players about chords, their structure, and placement. Chords are what I am most requested to explain at folk music workshops or gatherings as I tend to use chords a lot in my own playing." (From the introduction.) Includes a novel notation for chords which is used elsewhere on this website. As published in Concertina Magazine (Australia) in three parts, 12-14 (1985), 12:5-7, 13:12-14, and 14:8-10; with corrections in 15-16 (1986), 15:14 and 16:1,6,9.
Posted 01 March 2004
» read full article in pdf