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Wanted: 42 Or 48 Button Crane

Crane duet wanted

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#19 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:47 AM

 

I got a Peacock to try it out and that is just wonderfull. After a week I was playing 

jazz tunes with quite complex voicings and my hands quite instinctively found the 

patterns on the key.

 

 

I, for one, would be interested in a full report on your Peacock trials;  everything from how you like it, sound  and playability, the Hayden Keyboard.. to how was it to purchased , from a European perspective... ie  did you get it direct from Con Connection or from you local agent, import taxes, etc etc. :)


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 13 May 2013 - 03:48 AM.


#20 RAc

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:50 AM

May I inquire as to how long you guys have been playing crane? I have slight suspicion 

that the "comfortabilty" of Crane vs Haydn is mainly due to familiarity.

 

FWIW, I have been playing Cranes for about 4 years now. Your statement is trivially true (could be applied to every instrument one ever picks and sticks with), yet I don't see its relevance - do you want to imply that the Hayden system is *objectively* better and all of us Crane players out here just don't get it because we have settled with the Crane at one point and are too lazy to see the light?

 

 

I've been thinking about this a lot -- relative advantages of the different systems -- and 

I think it is possible to define some quantitative measures that define the strengths of the different

systems. 

1) average distance of whole steps and half steps (half steps are bad on Haydn) i.e. does note proximity

relate to proximity of the keys playing those notes.

2) How many different fingerings do the major scales require -- regularity. Transposition should require the 

least possible mental effort.

3) Density of the notes on a given area. Some regular layouts have duplicate notes.

I've been meaning to write something up on it, I hope to have some time before August. Since these measures 

partly dependent on the layout but also on the piece you're playing (c e d c e d c e d all the time will work very

well on the crane) it should be possible to write a program that reads a standard midi file and outputs a score

for the different layouts.

 

Aside from being fairly arbitrary (e.g. ease of transposition is generally not a big concern for many musicians), your list - again - to me has little relevance to the practical choice of a type of instrument. For example, a known shortcoming of the Crane system is that every single fourth in a melody line is awkward to finger. So what. Other systems have similar problems with other intervals. If I wanted to apply your list, I'd have to analyze every piece I ever intend to play for the number of fourths it contains and then based on that figure decide whether the Crane suits those pieces (at least for this criterion). Obvious to see that this won't work.

 

I've come to appreciate the Crane system because (as Anglo-Irishman thankfully and rightfully pointed out to me back then) the system is a fairly natural transition for a guitarist. Other systems may have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I'm always interested in testing (and thinking up too) other layouts, but I couldn't say that the Crane has a disadvantage so severe that it would make me want to switch.

 

Edit: Here's another thought we already discussed a few times: To a guitarist, the choice between different layouts resembles the choice between different guitar tunings - you essentially play the same instrument with the same basic techniques but your notes are in different places. Given that a good number of guitarists (Andy McKee, Michael Friedman, Peter Finger, to name just a very few) play in as many as 30 to 100 different tunings and regularly switch between them (in rare cases even during the same tune), it would be imaginable for a duet concertinists to become proficient on more than one system. Nobody in his right mind would ever start a discussion whether a given guitar tuning is "superior" to another. Likewise I tend to become edgy once I get the feeling that somebody intends to prove the superiority of one layout over another. Apologies if I should have mistaken your post in that respect.


Edited by Ruediger R. Asche, 13 May 2013 - 08:20 AM.


#21 JimLucas

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:19 AM

Oh and the 180 keys is correct if you don't add the extra button to the (that's the one you have no place
for after 3 octaves -- so it should be every 35 keys an extra one on the side).

 
I'll get back to you on your other points in this post (first, I have some chores), but a repeat after 180 keys is not correct, unless you're only counting the names of the notes without considering the octaves in which they occur.
 
The problem there is that in a chromatic octave there are 5 accidentals to 7 natural notes, for a ratio of about 0.714, while every row on the Crane has 2 accidentals and 3 naturals, for a ratio of about 0.667.  And so there just isn't enough "room" (measured by number of buttons) in the simple Crane layout for the accidentals to keep pace with the naturals as the keyboard is extended.
 
I'll have to check on the 35 vs. 38 question later, but did you take into account the fact that while the Crane keyboard normally has a C as it's lowest note (in each hand), it can be extended downward to the G below while still adhering to the following rules?

  • The natural notes comprise 3 central columns.
  • Those notes follow a cyclical sequential pattern from one column to the next (left, right, center, left, right, center...).
  • The accidentals comprise two outer columns.
  • Each accidental (considering enharmonics such as D#/Eb to be identical) lies immediately adjacent physically to one of the two natural notes to which it is musically adjacent.

By the way, instead of adding an additional button outside of the 5-wide array, an alternative solution might be to "violate" the rule that all accidentals occur only in the two outer columns.  Put the "extra" accidental into one of the three "natural" columns in order to "reset" the sequencing?  I just had that idea, so I'm not yet sure how -- or whether -- I could make it work in practice.  But in a sense, that's the Maccann (or at least the Chidley uniform variation of the Maccann) solution to the problem of unequal numbers of naturals and accidentals.  I.e., in the 6-column wide array, three columns are only for natural notes, two columns only for accidentals, but the remaining column alternates  between a natural and an accidental.



#22 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:27 AM

May I inquire as to how long you guys have been playing crane? I have slight suspicion 

that the "comfortabilty" of Crane vs Haydn is mainly due to familiarity.

 

psmooze,

 

My answer to this is the same as Rüdiger's above.

 

I might, however, add that before I took up the Crane (just over 4 years ago) I had been playing the German and then the Anglo for more like 4 decades. So I was familiar and "comfortable" with the Anglo. I wanted a duet so that I could play sophisticated arrangements in a variety of keys - the more sophisticated my Anglo arrangements got, the more I was tied to the key of C.

 

So I studied the various duet layouts, but unlike you, I didn't attempt to apply "objective" criteria. I looked for the layout that seemed like it would be the most "comfortable" for me.

For ME, not just for anybody. And for me as a banjoist and mandolinist of long standing who is familiar with key signatures, the Crane seemed, on paper, to be The One. So I bought a Crane, and after a few days learning chord shapes and scales, I was making my own arrangements of familiar tunes.

The fact that I'd been playing the Anglo for so long didn't put me off, or make the Crane seem "uncomfortable." I was just too pleased at having the added capabilities. Perhaps the fact that my Anglo is a hybrid and the Crane is a traditional-reeded Lachenal played a part - the Crane just sounded better, had more "presence." 

 

The problem with your "objective" criteria, as Rüdiger also points out, is that all the systems score about the same number of points, though for different reasons, so in the final analysis it all comes down to what is comfortable for YOU.

You may be able to assess this on paper, as I did (looking at button layouts, playing "air concertinas" of various systems, trying to get your brain round the spatial-musical relationship), or you may try out different systems hands-on - not just for 10 minutes in a shop or at a session, but for long enough to be able to play something on them, with the handastraps adjusted to your hands, etc. You've tried the Crane and can't make sense of it. Now you've tried the Hayden, and seem "comfortable" with it - so why worry? 

 

BTW, if you're serious about selling your Wheatstone 55-key Crane, PM me with a couple of pics and a ball-park price ... (seriously!)

 

Cheers,

John



#23 Ivan Viehoff

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:26 AM

Cranes smaller than 48 keys in good restored condition are actually quite rare, and someone may be willing to pay a little just to have a small one, given that it covers a lot of what many people do with them.  If we take it that a basic restoration of such a concertina is likely to cost £300 upwards, and observe the £500 starting price on the one that Algar is auctioning, we can see the reason why - not much margin on the restoration available.  That said, the 42-key Crane does appear to have more potential as a beginner instrument than most other under-sized duets - certainly a lot better than a 39-key Maccann, given that even the 46-key Maccann has its deficiencies.  People wanting to buy 48-key Cranes have usually had to wait for one to turn up and expect to pay not far short of twice that sum for one in good restored condition.  Though so soft is the market these days you may be lucky.



#24 JimLucas

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

I'll have to check on the 35 vs. 38 question later....


I've now done that. The actual count is 39. I.e., a standard Crane layout adhering to the first three of these conditions
 

 

  • The natural notes comprise 3 central columns.
  • Those notes follow a cyclical sequential pattern from one column to the next (left, right, center, left, right, center...).
  • The accidentals comprise two outer columns.
  • Each accidental (considering enharmonics such as D#/Eb to be identical) lies immediately adjacent physically to one of the two natural notes to which it is musically adjacent.

 

can start on a G in the 2nd column from the left (1st "natural" column) with an adjacent G# and continuing upward will also satisfy the fourth condition for a total of 39 notes, but then there will be nowhere in the 5-wide array to put the next note (a Bb/A#) that will satisfy the last condition as well as the first three.  Similarly, trying to continue downward from that lowest G finds no location for the F# below that satisfies all four conditions.
 
I.e.,

   -   -   -   - 
Gb - G - x - A - Ab
Db - D - F - E - Eb
Ab - A - C - B - Bb
Eb - E - G - F - F#
Bb - B - D - C - C#
F# - F - A - G - G#
C# - C - E - D - D#
G# - G - B - A - A#
   -   - y -   - 

Here the "x" indicates the B in the sequence of naturals that cannot be adjacent to its Bb, while neither can it be placed next to A as an A#, because that location was (of necessity) used for Ab. Similarly, the "y" indicates the downward-continuing F for which there is no F#.

And this sequence of 39 note locations is the optimum, the maximum, since F and C can only lie next to F# and C# (if next to any accidental at all, as there is no Fb or Cb), while B and E can only lie next to Bb and Eb (there is no B# or E#).

 

Edited to correct a subtle inaccuracy in the last paragraph.


Edited by JimLucas, 13 May 2013 - 04:44 PM.


#25 JimLucas

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:38 PM


   -   -   -   - 
Gb - G - . - A - Ab
Db - D - F - E - Eb
Ab - A - C - B - Bb
Eb - E - G - F - F#
Bb - B - D - C - C#
F# - F - A - G - G#
C# - C - E - D - D#
G# - G - B - A - A#
   -   - . -   - 

 

Actually, that sequence of 39 semitones is one full step more than 3 completed octaves.  How many Crane players have an instrument that goes all the way up to the next C (is that anything with fewer than 80 buttons?), and how often do those players actually use those last 3 semitones?

 

It looks to me as if one could build a true Crane duet with almost the entire range of a standard 80-button duet (81-button if you count the air button, which Wheatstone did), without having to add any buttons outside the standard 5-wide array.  Interesting!



#26 JimLucas

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:55 PM

By the way, instead of adding an additional button outside of the 5-wide array, an alternative solution might be to "violate" the rule that all accidentals occur only in the two outer columns.  Put the "extra" accidental into one of the three "natural" columns in order to "reset" the sequencing?  I just had that idea, so I'm not yet sure how -- or whether -- I could make it work in practice.

 

Well, it was an idea, but it doesn't work.  No matter where I tried to put an "extra" accidental, it created additional anomalies.  :(



#27 psmooze

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:28 PM

Several people have brought up interesting points, unfortunately I wont have

the time to formulate a reply till after 26/05.

Regards,

p



#28 JimLucas

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:38 AM

Several people have brought up interesting points, unfortunately I wont have

the time to formulate a reply till after 26/05.

Regards,

p

 

That's OK.  I'll only have time to bring up a few more -- or respond to some of your own -- before I expect to be in the same boat.

 

See you, then.  :)



#29 RAc

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:31 AM

 

 

  • The natural notes comprise 3 central columns.
  • Those notes follow a cyclical sequential pattern from one column to the next (left, right, center, left, right, center...).
  • The accidentals comprise two outer columns.
  • Each accidental (considering enharmonics such as D#/Eb to be identical) lies immediately adjacent physically to one of the two natural notes to which it is musically adjacent.

 

 

can start on a G in the 2nd column from the left (1st "natural" column) with an adjacent G# and continuing upward will also satisfy the fourth condition for a total of 39 notes, but then there will be nowhere in the 5-wide array to put the next note (a Bb/A#) that will satisfy the last condition as well as the first three.  Similarly, trying to continue downward from that lowest G finds no location for the F# below that satisfies all four conditions.
 
I.e.,

   -   -   -   - 
Gb - G - x - A - Ab
Db - D - F - E - Eb
Ab - A - C - B - Bb
Eb - E - G - F - F#
Bb - B - D - C - C#
F# - F - A - G - G#
C# - C - E - D - D#
G# - G - B - A - A#
   -   - y -   - 

Here the "x" indicates the B in the sequence of naturals that cannot be adjacent to its Bb, while neither can it be placed next to A as an A#, because that location was (of necessity) used for Ab. Similarly, the "y" indicates the downward-continuing F for which there is no F#.

And this sequence of 39 note locations is the optimum, the maximum, since F and C can only lie next to F# and C# (if next to any accidental at all, as there is no Fb or Cb), while B and E can only lie next to Bb and Eb (there is no B# or E#).

 

interesting for a brain teaser. The reasoning reminds me of my feeble attempts at a certain popular Japanese mind game - can we settle on Crane Sudoku? :D

 

Anyways, I'm not quite sure about the usefulness of these discussions. The way my mind works (without any claim to universality, of course) is that repetitive associations between buttons and sounds establish the patterns - in plain English this reads "simply play, and play a lot, and your fingers will eventually remember where every note is." I believe that will hold true regardless of whether there is a structure to the ordering or not. Thus, I believe my time is better spent practising than musing about the logic of the fingerboard (even though I do the latter every once in a while)...

 

Wasn't it you, Jim, I learnt one of my Mantras from - "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is?"  :P


Edited by Ruediger R. Asche, 14 May 2013 - 01:35 AM.


#30 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:22 AM

Well, I'm glad we've cleared that up!

 

I can only just reach the buttons on the 6th row of my Crane; and the systematic anomalies only start in the 7th row (counting from the row with middle C in it)!

 

So in theory, I should be worried, but in practice I needn't be. What a wonderful feeling! :lol:

 

It's interesting to note that the Crane system is problematical only with a number of buttons that is too large to be practicable on a concertina, whereas the Hayden/Wicki system loses its advantages when there are too few buttons, as on a typical small concertina. That might be an "objective criterion" for people who are looking for that kind of thing ... ;)

 

Cheers,

John



#31 JimLucas

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:50 AM

It's interesting to note that the Crane system is problematical only with a number of buttons that is too large to be practicable on a concertina, whereas the Hayden/Wicki system loses its advantages when there are too few buttons, as on a typical small concertina. That might be an "objective criterion" for people who are looking for that kind of thing ... ;)

 

Meanwhile, my little digital camera refuses to keep its lens open long enough to take a picture, and it's telling me the problem is an "objective failure".  B)



#32 RAc

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:20 AM

 

It's interesting to note that the Crane system is problematical only with a number of buttons that is too large to be practicable on a concertina, whereas the Hayden/Wicki system loses its advantages when there are too few buttons, as on a typical small concertina. That might be an "objective criterion" for people who are looking for that kind of thing ... ;)

 

Meanwhile, my little digital camera refuses to keep its lens open long enough to take a picture, and it's telling me the problem is an "objective failure".  B)

 

 maybe your camera merely objects to being called "little?"



#33 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:52 AM

Jim,

 

The word "objective" certainly lens itsel' tae this kind o' confusion ... :D

 

Cheers,

John



#34 JimLucas

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:10 AM

 

Meanwhile, my little digital camera refuses to keep its lens open long enough to take a picture, and it's telling me the problem is an "objective failure".  B)

 maybe your camera merely objects to being called "little?"

 

 
Ah, my subjective judgement is considered an objective failure?  :unsure:



#35 RAc

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:31 AM

 

 

Meanwhile, my little digital camera refuses to keep its lens open long enough to take a picture, and it's telling me the problem is an "objective failure".  B)

 maybe your camera merely objects to being called "little?"

 

 
Ah, my subjective judgement is considered an objective failure?  :unsure:

 

I guess all I'm saying is: Don't subject your objects to obviously subjective objections, and they won't reject you. At least give it a try...
 



#36 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:51 AM

Ah, my subjective judgement is considered an objective failure?  :unsure:


Thus "objective failure" means: Your subjective judgement is true, saying: "I'm just too little to reach the required focal length".

 

Maybe it's as simple as that...  :D







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