Birth of the Concertina

The novelty of the accordion consisted in playing a predefined harmony (chords) with one single button on opening the bellow and a second one on closing. After the privilege for building accordions ended in 1834, the name and the instrument became very well known and the great commercial interest for the new instrument among other builders was based on the ease of its use, specially for the accompaniment of dance music. This made the accordion very attractive, particularly for non musicians. But the fact that the harmonies were fixed was criticized by some people. Several constructors introduced switches to shut off single tones from the chords, others, like C. F. Uhlig placed the button for single notes in a way they could be combined easily single notes in groups that way to combine easily to chords. It was new to abandon the usual systematic button distribution of keyboard instruments. Uhlig called his instrument Concertina But since the new concept allowed to play chords even with double action buttons, it was still considered an accordion and by people like Höselbarth, Zimmermann, C. F. or Band, Heinrich, and also in other countries. continued considering it an accordion.

A melody instrument presented in Paris by Leclerc was called mélophone, but often confused with a concertina despite of its guitar shape. A special valve control allowed action of the same voice on opening and closing and had an invisible bellow.

It was perhaps Debain, A. in Paris to use in 1839 the term concertina for the first time, before he sold his rights to Alexandre. J for the construction of concertinas or piano-concertinas. Blagrove, R. used an instrument of Sir Wheatstone, Charles (1802 - 1872) to publish in 1839 a Verdi melange ``...for the Concertina with an accompaniment for the piano forte''.

During his first concert tour in 1940 - 41, Regondi presented his Wheatstone instrument, which he had bought in 1837 as a mélophone but during his second tour in 1846 he calls it concertina which was common at that moment.

H. Berlioz distinguishes in 1844 between ``le Concertina Anglais'' and ``le Concertina Allemand'' but dedicates a detailed description only to the first since the keyboard of the German instruments depended upon the caprice of the builder.

So we don't know exactly when this name was introduced and bacame current.

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last update: 2017-09-20

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