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Tuning Of Old Lachenal English Concertina

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Thanks, for this Theo... As a matter of fact you have supplied me with several replacement reeds for my other Lachenal 48 button box, I did actually try to phone you a couple of times recently, regarding yet another replacement, but was only able to leave messages.. When I got no reply I assumed that you might not be in this business any longer, so I ended up making the reed myself, see my other posting on this forum... Are you still doing reeds?

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Yes I'm still in the business, just very busy. Best place for sore reeds is concertina-spares.com. I'm trying to concentrate on repairs and tuning and have largely pulled out of supplying parts. Best to concentrate on my strengths I think.

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So here are the figures for 1/5th Comma Meantone (also available in the March 2015 issue of Concertina World) :


C+6, C#-8, D+2, D#-12 , Eb+12 ,E-2, F+8, F#-6, G+4, G#-10, Ab+14, A'0', Bb+10, B-4.


This is also called Homogenous Meantone.


PS: by making 'A' the Zero note the spread of pitches is about evenly spaced either side of Equal Temperament... my reasoning being to have a Meantone tuned instrument that plays reasonably well with other instruments in ET.





Making the A zero only spaces the offsets more evenly in relation to Equal Temperament. If one used C as zero then the whole keyboard would be 6 cents flatter but the available 'good' keys , or the relationships of the notes will stay the same.


I currently play happily in Eb,Bb,F,C,G,D,A and E.... B and Ab are possible but perhaps the odd chord starts to get sour...


For playing with other people tuned to ET I've had no problems in the key range Bb through A.


Of course this relates to the EC keyboard and using the alternative G#/Ab's, D#/Eb's. If one had a larger Hayden Keyboard with the D#'s and G#'s on the right of the patern and the Eb's and Ab's on the left... I would tune those notes accordingly (pun intended).



I am thinking off re-tuning my Peacock Hayden to 1/5 Comma Meantone and I wonder if you can confirm the following.


The Peacock (and 46-button Haydens like the Wakker you used to own) are missing the two ET enharmonics Ab for G# and Eb for D# so I think that eliminates playing in Eb and Bb from your list of usable keys: Eb,Bb,F,C,G,D,A and E.


The 'Easy-Peasy' keys on the Peacock and 46B Hayden are F, C, G, D, A and E so, if I understand it correctly, 1/5 CM works for all the keys that I am ever likely to be able to play.


(As an aside: The 52-button Beaumont from the Button Box does have the Eb's and Bb's on both sides so the key of Bb can be added to the list. But, strangely, there is no D# on the LHS so I think that a 1/5 CM Beaumont would lose E altogether. I would rather have Bb than E, but E could have been retained with one extra button on the LHS).


Thx. Don.


(Further aside: If I have got this right then it is as if the Hayden layout was designed for 1/5 CM).

Edited by Don Taylor

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