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#19 JimLucas

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 02:16 PM

... having so many (potential) makers of Hayden layouts, you get to choose the one you like best.  :rolleyes:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But if you've been attracted to the Hayden because you like the idea of being able to transpose by just shifting your hands but keeping the same finger pattern, MIDI now provides essentially the same option for any layout. Instead of shifting your hands, you just flick a switch, and all your fingering can remain exactly the same. :ph34r:

(But make sure you flip the switch to the right position. :D)

#20 David Barnert

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 09:09 PM

(But make sure you flip the switch to the right position. :D)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Or the left position, as the case may be.

#21 Xojo

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 11:08 PM

But if you've been attracted to the Hayden because you like the idea of being able to transpose by just shifting your hands but keeping the same finger pattern, MIDI now provides essentially the same option for any layout.  Instead of shifting your hands, you just flick a switch, and all your fingering can remain exactly the same. :ph34r:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Applying MIDI (or any electronics) to the squeezebox has three parts: first, "keeping the same finger pattern," second, "the same option for any layout," and third "feel."

I'm not so keen to propagate peculiarities across all key signatures, as I am to make things as uniform (and simple) as possible, so the first is more interesting to me. The Hayden layout is mathematically logical, canonical, as every aspect of music ought to be, IMEO. <_< The musical relationships remain constant among an infinite field of buttons. I don't need an infinite field, but it would be nice to be playing from a position (home base, tonic) that was never hindered by edge effects. That would need the ability to map a limited but sufficient array of physical buttons to any part of the theoretical infinite field.

The second I wish to have mainly for others. Although I play Anglo-Irish as well (but not very well), I myself am not so keen to twist a twelve-position switch to be able to "crank up or down" the idiosyncratic 30-button arrangement to any key signature, like the legendary piano of Cole Porter (who was said to be able to play only in one key). But I don't begrudge those who would like to apply the same key-shifting techniques to other layouts for pragmatic, practical reasons, (playing in the same key as the tuba, for instance).

Third is the risk of losing the feel, the kinesthetic response of gesturing with a physical instrument, what we have taken to calling in the most recent half century, physical or sensory "feedback." It is possible (and perhaps has been done) to create a concertina MIDI controller which would completely decouple the player from the physics of making free reed music. Besides replacing keys with pushbuttons, the bellows [1] could drive a wind-controller instead of selected reeds, or control voltages could be generated by the amount of stress put upon some elastic medium substituting for bellows.

For me, that would be a great loss. The gains on the other side of the balance sheet are well known: all the plusses of making music with MIDI. Changing buttons to pushbuttons is not a great change. I play cheap, old Hohner, Bastari, and Stagi instruments. I recently had the privilege to try the Tour Tedrow. Compared to my instruments, the Tedrow is snappy. People who have good instruments like the Tedrow would probably make the same remark: a switch to electrical pushbuttons would just make the feel snappier. It might even be perceived as an improvement, but surely not much of a change, as long as there are real, bellows driven reeds.

So the cat is out of the bag now. I'm thinking about an instrument with an electronic keyboard (buttonboard) with programmable coupling to a set of electronically operated valves controlling real, bellows-driven reeds. Such an instrument could also contain air pressure sensors to function like a wind controller. It should be possible to make this instrument as light as a conventional box. The car battery power supply might be another matter!

If anyone else wants to run with this, be my guest--just remember you heard it here first!

* * *

[1] There is an opportunity here for a long ramble, a deep discussion about the relation of the bellows and its action to breath and pneuma. Another time.

#22 Chris Timson

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:13 AM

It is possible (and perhaps has been done) to create a concertina MIDI controller which would completely decouple the player from the physics of making free reed music.

It has, and I am lucky enough to own a fine example, as shown here. A lot of work has been done with this instrument to give it the right "feel" - you are correct that this is dificult to achieve, but now Roy Whiteley has done it with this instrument he can do it again with others. It's a psycho-acoustic thing. You handle the instrument in a certain way and are conditioned by the other concertinas you have played to hear certain characteristics in the sounds that are produced. In the case of a MIDI concertina this means some very clever programming to interpret the output of the pressure sensor in the bellows and produce MIDI expression values that will shape the sound produced by the synth appropriately. We had a sort of feedback loop going. Roy would send me a processor with a new program aboard, I'd play it for a while and let him know how I felt about it, then he would refine the program and send me another chip or two to try. The current incarnation feels quite natural in the hand, but can do some pretty smart things, like play on different channels on each hand.

It certainly can be a G/D, a C/G or a Bb/F at the touch of a button (after all, having bought one such concertina you don't want another two if you can have those layouts in the same box) but that is not the main fun to be had with it. The pleasure is in the access to all the sounds that are available in a modern synth. As I've said elsewhere

It's not going to replace my other concertinas, ever, but it's not intended to. It gives me something different - the ability to make strange noises in a hopefully musical manner for pure pleasure. Later, in the context of a band it might give me the ability to vary arrangements with new sounds that I would not otherwise have access to. Don't buy one of these as your first instrument, but buy one if you are a confident concertina player who wants to expand their musical horizons while having a lot of fun en route.

Chris

#23 MandolinRefugee

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 11:30 AM

This is an old thread, maybe forgotten, but I'm curious (and I'm sure many others are too) as to how the development of the Morse Hayden is progressing?

Actually, I saw in the thread that there would be a Morse English concertina with all of the buttons and concertina reeds put into development after the Hayden was successfully put into production, and that really peaked my interests!

#24 Richard Morse

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 06:12 PM

This is an old thread, maybe forgotten, but I'm curious (and I'm sure many others are too) as to how the development of the Morse Hayden is progressing?

Things are progressing at a glacial pace. The obstacles seem as large as well!

About 3 years ago we gave up on trying to get a machine shop to make our reeds. Of the 34 specialty shops we contacted (which have the type of equipment necessary to make reeds in the quantity we need) only 4 were able to produce marginal results, and a 5th one was able to make okay reeds (the rest just couldn't make them at all). And after working with that one for over a year (many tests and samples) we gave up as they ultimately couldn't meet our specs (and I suspect we didn't pass their muster for a large enough customer to warrant so much effort).

So we just have to make them ourselves - though that means some serious dough for some serious machinery and new skills to be acquired. Just last winter we got the first of two CNC machines needed and have been learning on that one (by producing a lot of our current concertina models parts now, that we had previous jobbed out). This winter we expect to get the second machine. Between the two of them we'll be able to make concertina reed tongues and frames/shoes in the quantity and quality we want.

There is also the reed design issue. We can (and have) designed and made reeds individually, but want some way to have all the reeds in a set relate automatically to each other. IOW, if we need the high reeds to be stiffer I can change an input parameter and the entire set of reeds' dimensions are updated incrementally toward my change. Or I can change the scale, or the reed material hardness, etc.... This is all done by way of a spreadsheet I've been slowly developing for 4 or 5 years now. I hope it'll be done in a few months.

While all this has been going on we've also been developing a tenor English hybrid model we're calling the "Geordie" (after those Scottish border gypsies - gotta keep on with our British Isles naming theme!) which debuted a couple of weeks ago. Or to me more accurate: it's pre-production model debuted. They'll start popping off the line in a few months.

Being that the Geordie has accordion reeds, it's larger than a similar range concertina-reeded concertina is. In our case we chose from the tenor C (the C below MC) to the high D (3 octaves above MC which is also the top note of our Albion treble model), so in a sense the Geordie is the Albion extended down a half octave. Those extra notes make it a bit bigger: 7" across the flats.

Now back to the Hayden (and you thought I'd forgotten?). Initially we were aiming for a mid-keyrange model of about 55-58 keys which would have fit in a 6 3/4 in hex. Now that we have all the infrastructure for a 7" hex, we're redesigning the Hayden guts to fit that size (no sense having yet another bellows mould size and various parts to stock!).

And that's where were at... repacking/designing the Hayden. Being slightly larger it's appearing that I can get 28 keys on the left and 35 on the right (63 total!). Fully chromatic on the left from the low Bb to B above MC (and includes the Eb's and Ab's!) and fully chromatic on the right from the Bb below MC to the E three octaves above MC (and includes the Eb's and Ab's). That's not cast in stone yet however. An alternate would be to NOT have Ab's (there are still the G#'s) and have each side go down a couple notes lower instead so that both sides would start on G.

Actually, I saw in the thread that there would be a Morse English concertina with all of the buttons and concertina reeds put into development after the Hayden was successfully put into production, and that really peaked my interests!

Yup, that's the plan - a 6 1/4" hex, 48 keys, raised ends, tenor English.

-- Rich --

#25 Derek

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:53 AM

Rich,

Thanks for the update on your Hayden project. It's heartening that progress is being made however slowly.

I'm a little dismayed that you're leaning towards a 7" box with 60 plus keys. I was hoping that the Morse Hayden would try to challenge the Wakker 46 key instrument by either delivering more keys for a similar price, or 46 keys at a price discount. I know that a Hayden duet with proper concertina reeds is always going to be an expensive proposition but I feel that a cheaper 46/46+ key instrument is essential to growing the Hayden marketplace. Jeff Leffenstein (sp) has proven beyond doubt that there's a lot of superlative music to be had from 46 keys.

Well that's just my opinion, and I don't doubt that you've thought about these matters more than I have. Come what may, you can be sure that I'll be an early customer for the Morse Hayden.

#26 Chris Timson

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:05 AM

So we just have to make them ourselves - though that means some serious dough for some serious machinery and new skills to be acquired. Just last winter we got the first of two CNC machines needed and have been learning on that one (by producing a lot of our current concertina models parts now, that we had previous jobbed out). This winter we expect to get the second machine. Between the two of them we'll be able to make concertina reed tongues and frames/shoes in the quantity and quality we want.

There is also the reed design issue. We can (and have) designed and made reeds individually, but want some way to have all the reeds in a set relate automatically to each other. IOW, if we need the high reeds to be stiffer I can change an input parameter and the entire set of reeds' dimensions are updated incrementally toward my change. Or I can change the scale, or the reed material hardness, etc.... This is all done by way of a spreadsheet I've been slowly developing for 4 or 5 years now. I hope it'll be done in a few months.

This is fascinating stuff, and I think it could become very significant to many of us. It seems to me you've made fantastic progress since the last time you gave us an update. Excellent!

Chris

PS To me, and I suspect the majority of Brits, a Geordie is an inhabitant of Newcastle and thereabouts. Still a good name for a concertina, just don't expect to understand what it's saying. Howay canny lads!

#27 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:15 AM

I'm a little dismayed that you're leaning towards a 7" box with 60 plus keys.

Our intention is to produce a high-quality, concertina-reeded Hayden of a range which is not currently available and feel that's it's better for the concertina community to have more choice over saving a few bucks. When it comes down to it, when we do get around to making 46-key Haydens (or WW starts producing 60-ish key Haydens) people will buy the one they prefer even if it costs them several hundreds more.

As for size of the box, the 7" has become the Button Box's "next size" in production concertinas (a default choice now). The range is still unknown as I've not finished the reed packing and lever arm design yet, but rather than waste room by intentionally NOT having more range, we'd rather get as much range in the box as makes keying sense.

I was hoping that the Morse Hayden would try to challenge the Wakker 46 key instrument by either delivering more keys for a similar price, or 46 keys at a price discount.

I feel pretty confident in saying that we'll be able to produce more keys per buck - but I'd also like to repeat that people tend to buy what they want regardless of price. There will always be many quality differences between our (and other makers') boxes: tone, response, fretwork design, woodspecies choice, end material (wood/metal/synthetics/combinations), key material/size, finish, hardware, decorations, customizations.... The list goes on.

Some makers excel at choice and customizations, and for people that want/need such that's the way to go. The Button Box's focus is toward very few options in order to produce boxes efficiently. This also enables us to keep the retail price of our boxes relatively low.

I feel that a cheaper 46/46+ key instrument is essential to growing the Hayden marketplace.

I think that hindrance in Hayden growth is due to the paucity of availability of ANY good+ quality Hayden. There are endless Stagis to be had, so entry into the Hayden isn't hindered to beginning concertina players. But concertina trade-ups and crossovers to Hayden is seriously hindered by lack of better Haydens. People will buy a Hayden at hundreds of dollars more than prices listed if they could only get them! The wait list for all makers making Haydens is lamentingly long. Making them cheaper or smaller doesn't seem to enter into the "growing the Hayden marketplace" equation.

Jeff Leffenstein (sp) has proven beyond doubt that there's a lot of superlative music to be had from 46 keys.

Yup he does! I also have heard from many Hayden players (who mostly play 46-key) that more keys is vastly preferable. And as a Hayden player myself (of a 46-key for over 20 years), I'm more than ready to move up! I had been in year two. For traditional English/Irish dance music the 46-key works very well but is very limiting (mainly in musical keys) for other ethnic "folk" music, (mainly in range) for "popular" music, and (keys and range) for other genres of music (marches, classical, ragtime, jazz...).

-- Rich --

#28 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:42 AM

...I suspect the majority of Brits, a Geordie is an inhabitant of Newcastle and thereabouts.

We chose that name for a variety of reasons mostly having to do with the associations that "Geordies" were the original gypsies of the area, crossing back and forth over the England/Scotland border with allegiance/political/border changes since Hadrian's day. These itinerants have always had strong suit in music and practical skills. Even though things have settled down now with Geordies being on the English side, they still have much Scottish in them (especially in dialect!). It's also a tip of the hat to the type of music in the region and to Alistair Anderson (who first got me into concertinas).

-- Rich --

#29 Boney

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 12:05 PM

An alternate would be to NOT have Ab's (there are still the G#'s) and have each side go down a couple notes lower instead so that both sides would start on G.

That would be my preference by far. I'd sign up for one right now. Although the Ab would be a nice convenience, an extended range expands the possibilities more for me. Maybe because I'm more interested in fairly tightly-arranged complex tunes, as opposed the playing along on the fly by ear.

#30 Chris Timson

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 01:10 PM

and to Alistair Anderson (who first got me into concertinas).

That I can understand!

Chris

PS Me mam came from the village of Cowpen (pronounced Coop'n) just ahint Newcassel, so (by blood if not by accent) I am half Geordie, man.

#31 ragtimer

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 01:39 PM

Wow -- I just noticed that this old thread got re-activated!

I'll start by saying that Rich knows I will sign on for the first run of the "Brian" or whatever he names his first model of Hayden Duet -- regardless of button count or size. Having got that out of the way, I have some conflicting thoughts:

1. The world needs a cheap entry-level Hayden -- cheaper than the $900-plus Stagi, and with buttons you can push with just one finger ;) I've gotten used to the stiff springs on my Stagi, but the new models I tested at NESI are really stiff. We need a Hayden "Rochelle."

2. I get around pretty well on my 46-key Stagi, and would gladly pay money for a good quality, strong-sounding, fast-responding, easy-to-push version, such as Wim Wakker is now making (a little less pricey would be great).

3. However, I could use more lower range keys, more flats, so what I really want is 60-plus buttons.

4. Having been spoiled by my 67-key Bastari Hayden bandoneon, I'm hooked on the LH going down to low F, tho I could live with low G as the limit. No need for F#/Gb.

5. I would really like the RH to go down to Fiddle G below Mid C. If I have to give up an accidental, I'd rather keep the sharps than the flats (that contradicts something I posted last year, but that's what experience has taught me). Even the Bastari lacks the "Tedrow" low D#, which I would find more useful than the Eb.

6. In summary: Down to G on both sides, 7" across if necessary, and under $6K would be nice, but sign me up anyway. No need for fancy fretwork, etc. But do make the buttons wider and lower than your Wheatstone's, please.

Rich, I'm sorry you lost so much time on outside reed suppliers. But it's good that you'll be rolling your own. I hope it works out for your program to automatically rescale the whole set of reeds -- maybe you could offer different tone qualities on request.
--Mike K.

#32 Richard Morse

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 03:03 PM

1. The world needs a cheap entry-level Hayden -- cheaper than the $900-plus Stagi, and with buttons you can push with just one finger ;) I've gotten used to the stiff springs on my Stagi, but the new models I tested at NESI are really stiff. We need a Hayden "Rochelle."

Wim Wakker has been/is designing one. If he stays with the Rochelle setup he's limited to 15 buttons per side which is a tough call for a Hayden layout. Certainly possible if focused on trad tunes in D and G (plus some C and A tunes) but would be pretty limiting beyond that.

Brian Hayden told me that he considered a 35-key to be the most practical minimum for a Hayden. I feel pretty strongly that a 40-key would be a preferable minimum, but that was me thinking of it being a player's box rather than an entry level box someone would move upward from. I think a 34-key would be a very good entry level box.

I don't know the status of WW's entry level Hayden project. I hope he'll chime in here.

2. I get around pretty well on my 46-key Stagi, and would gladly pay money for a good quality, strong-sounding, fast-responding, easy-to-push version, such as Wim Wakker is now making (a little less pricey would be great).

3. However, I could use more lower range keys, more flats, so what I really want is 60-plus buttons...

Well that's an easy request - WW makes a 65-key model

-- Rich --

#33 wntrmute

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 03:14 PM

1. The world needs a cheap entry-level Hayden -- cheaper than the $900-plus Stagi, and with buttons you can push with just one finger ;) I've gotten used to the stiff springs on my Stagi, but the new models I tested at NESI are really stiff. We need a Hayden "Rochelle."

Wim Wakker has been/is designing one. If he stays with the Rochelle setup he's limited to 15 buttons per side which is a tough call for a Hayden layout. Certainly possible if focused on trad tunes in D and G (plus some C and A tunes) but would be pretty limiting beyond that.

Brian Hayden told me that he considered a 35-key to be the most practical minimum for a Hayden. I feel pretty strongly that a 40-key would be a preferable minimum, but that was me thinking of it being a player's box rather than an entry level box someone would move upward from. I think a 34-key would be a very good entry level box.

I don't know the status of WW's entry level Hayden project. I hope he'll chime in here.

My Anglo-Chemnitzer (if you recall it from the Workshops this past April) manages to squeeze 38 buttons into a form no larger than the Rochelle -- maybe even 1/8 of an inch smaller or so. That was using the German style long plate reeds, though, which may be more expensive than accordion reeds. Though there are accordions that use that kind of reed, maybe an Eastern European manufacturer could generate them at a reasonable cost? With 38 buttons you could get 2 1/2 octaves with about a 1/2 an octave overlap. 3 octaves and a note with no overlap. Not good enough for Bach, of course, but handy enough for a few tunes I'd think.

#34 ragtimer

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 06:59 AM

1. The world needs a cheap entry-level Hayden -- cheaper than the $900-plus Stagi, and with buttons you can push with just one finger ;) I've gotten used to the stiff springs on my Stagi, but the new models I tested at NESI are really stiff. We need a Hayden "Rochelle."

Wim Wakker has been/is designing one. If he stays with the Rochelle setup he's limited to 15 buttons per side which is a tough call for a Hayden layout. Certainly possible if focused on trad tunes in D and G (plus some C and A tunes) but would be pretty limiting beyond that.

Brian Hayden told me that he considered a 35-key to be the most practical minimum for a Hayden. I feel pretty strongly that a 40-key would be a preferable minimum, but that was me thinking of it being a player's box rather than an entry level box someone would move upward from. I think a 34-key would be a very good entry level box.

I don't know the status of WW's entry level Hayden project. I hope he'll chime in here.

I'm glad to hear WW is finally working on an entry-level Hayden. I know his design is limited to 15 buttons per side, and a Hayden needs more.
But by losing the Bbs and D# on both sides, and some top notes on the RH, he might make a Hayden usable for trad keys, as you said.

Just so long as it isn't so limiting that it turns people off the Hayden system.

2. I get around pretty well on my 46-key Stagi, and would gladly pay money for a good quality, strong-sounding, fast-responding, easy-to-push version, such as Wim Wakker is now making (a little less pricey would be great).

3. However, I could use more lower range keys, more flats, so what I really want is 60-plus buttons...

Well that's an easy request - WW makes a 65-key model
-- Rich --

I'd rather wait for the Morse. Besides, I think I like the accordion reed sound better (flame suit on ...)
--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer, 09 October 2008 - 07:06 AM.


#35 Boney

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:48 PM

Just for the record, I've been messing around with what I might want for a 65-key instrument, and here's what I came up with. But I haven't been playing long, and my repetoire is still very small, and I'm not sure what directions I'm going to go in. I still have plenty to explore with only the 46 buttons I have, and learning alternate fingerings and dipping melody into the left occasionally isn't that bad, they're skills to learn anyhow. I do also feel a 30-button Hayden would be extremely limiting...I don't think I would have bought one if they were available when I started, even the stiff Stagi with 46 buttons would be preferable, I think. (The outlined areas shows the buttons of my current 46-key Hayden, so it's much quicker to see where the new ones are added):
Posted Image

Compared to Wakker's, I didn't include the Ab on either side, and I don't like the idea of the thumb button being used for notes. I added F, F#, and G to the upper range on the right side. I know some people find those notes "squeaky," but I find they really fill out chords, and in a fast run or arpeggio, they can be very effective. It also opens up quite a few melodies which would have to be otherwise transposed or adapted. I'm not sure, of course, if this layout would fit in the same size concertina -- I'd sacrifice the high G, I guess, to keep it the same size.

#36 Richard Morse

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 03:45 PM

Compared to Wakker's, I didn't include the Ab on either side, and I don't like the idea of the thumb button being used for notes.

I don't like the thumb being used for notes either (we're talking about the right thumb used for the high D#/F) but there are reasons for it:
  • It's highly recommended by Brian Hayden.
  • It's infernally difficult to stretch one's pinking to hit the D# if in it's "correct" location.
  • Having a button way up there is completely off the raised portion of a raised-end instrument and perilously close to the edge of the instrument (all too easy to "snag").
  • Having a button so close to the side of the edge of the box makes it's action very difficult to implement.
I also like the Ab's though as there's a lot of Eb tunes I'd like to play on the box. Actually, adding the Ab's isn't much of a big deal as I would make them links to the enharmonic so it wouldn't affect the size of the box at all.

-- Rich --




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