Anatomy of a Concertina

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One technically-inspired definition of a concertina is: A manually powered, mechanically controlled pneumatic device, equipped with a range of single-pitched mechanical audio signal generators all for the production of single or multiple sounds of a pre-set frequency or note. What a mouthful! ‘Concertina’ is much easier to say, but the more technical description does make a series of clear distinctions that will aid an understanding of the purpose of the component parts, hopefully as will be seen below.
There are three basic sub assemblies that make up a concertina: the action box, reed pan and bellows assembly. The action box houses the levers and pads (instrument’s mechanical controls), and the reed pan hold the reeds (the sound generators) and valves. The bellows are simply the pump for the production of air to excite the reeds. All must work for the instrument to be fully effective.
The Action Box:
This houses the keys, pads, and action mechanism. In essence it is in two main parts, the action box cover that is the visible concertina end; and the pad board that has holes drilled in for air to pass through during play. Mounted on the pad board face that is inside the action box, i5 a raised area or disc of wood, which i5 the action plate, and on that are the action’s levers, springs, keys etc..
The Action Described:
The action shown is that of the common form of the Wheatstone manufacture, fitted into a plain wooden end. The Lachenal and others vary in that they do not have riveted levers, but flattened wire types that hook into slotted posts: other than this the principle is the same. A ‘metal ended. instrument would have a thin plate for the keys to pass through with a wooden bushing board fitted under it to hold the end plate key bushes as (M) in the diagram overleaf (see section on bushing).
It can be seen that the key (C) passes through the
he volume of the two ends.

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