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Wanted: 42 Or 48 Button Crane

Crane duet wanted

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#1 Defra

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:07 AM

I'm looking for a smaller Crane duet concertina as my first foray into the world of duets. Please let me know if you have a 42 or 48 button model in good condition and properly tuned that you are looking to sell (I may even consider a 35 button model). I live in France.

Thanks,

 

Dean



#2 marien

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

Hi Dean in France

No matter if it is for the first steps into the world of Crane concertina or for an experienced concertina hero, I think you will need more buttons than 35 to discover the possibilities of the Crane. How many buttons is the limit? Well it is personal of course, but you need more if you want to do chords play on the left hand side for every note. If the lowest note is a C, then you will find the lowest B and Bb on the 3d row, If you want to play a chord in Bb, it is nice to have enough higher notes on the left hand side as well. For this reason I would personally not go for a Crane with less than 20 buttons on the left hand side, and I would go for 25, On the right hand side - two octaves need 25 buttons (they will ne there if there are 20 on the left side). So much to say that I think the 48 is the smallest for my chord play. I am very happy with the 55b crane (25 on the left en 30 on the right). But of course another playing style - for example - playing one single note at the time - may have other preferences for the number of buttons.

Best wishes,

Marien



#3 Defra

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:15 PM

Thanks Marien, this is just the type of advice I need because information is so hard to come by and living in France, I'm very unlikely to get to try before I buy.
Best regards,
Dean

Hi Dean in France
No matter if it is for the first steps into the world of Crane concertina or for an experienced concertina hero, I think you will need more buttons than 35 to discover the possibilities of the Crane. How many buttons is the limit? Well it is personal of course, but you need more if you want to do chords play on the left hand side for every note. If the lowest note is a C, then you will find the lowest B and Bb on the 3d row, If you want to play a chord in Bb, it is nice to have enough higher notes on the left hand side as well. For this reason I would personally not go for a Crane with less than 20 buttons on the left hand side, and I would go for 25, On the right hand side - two octaves need 25 buttons (they will ne there if there are 20 on the left side). So much to say that I think the 48 is the smallest for my chord play. I am very happy with the 55b crane (25 on the left en 30 on the right). But of course another playing style - for example - playing one single note at the time - may have other preferences for the number of buttons.
Best wishes,
Marien



#4 SteveS

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:44 PM

There's a 42 key Crane for sale on eBay right now.



#5 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:37 PM

There's a 42 key Crane for sale on eBay right now.

 

And from a seller with an excellent reputation.



#6 Defra

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 01:51 AM

 

There's a 42 key Crane for sale on eBay right now.

 

And from a seller with an excellent reputation.

 

Thanks for pointing this out Steve and Daniel. The helpful comments I've received from members of this forum have convinced me I need to hold out for a model with a least 48 buttons.

Dean


Edited by Defra, 10 May 2013 - 01:51 AM.


#7 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 03:43 PM

 

 

There's a 42 key Crane for sale on eBay right now.

 

And from a seller with an excellent reputation.

 

Thanks for pointing this out Steve and Daniel. The helpful comments I've received from members of this forum have convinced me I need to hold out for a model with a least 48 buttons.

Dean

 

Dean,

 

Just to put this 42-key instrument in perspective:

 

As far as the right hand is concerned, I could play all the party pieces I've arranged for the 48-key Crane on it. The 42-key is only missing the top 3 notes, which I hardly ever use, and could do without.

 

The left hand is the same as on a 35-key Crane but with an extra Eb, and I would find this somewhat limiting. It is fully chromatic, so you can make any chord with it, but not all chords can be played as "root-third-fifth" (e.g. A-major is not available as A-C#-E but only in the inversion of C#-A-E). And you need a good A-major or A7 for tunes in D. Also, the very useful C-major is only available in the low octave, whereas it is also available an octave higher on the 48-key.

 

In my initial theoretical analysis I rejected the 35-key Crane because I would need a high A on the right. The 42-key would have got round this criterion. But I'm glad I went for 48 keys, because of the chording alternatives. And if I did upgrade to a 55-key or more, it would be because of the increased chording capabilities on the left hand (e.g. a higher-octave F-major chord).

 

So my advice would be to hang out for that 48-key-at-least opportunity.

 

Cheers,

John



#8 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:22 PM

The left hand is the same as on a 35-key Crane but with an extra Eb, and I would find this somewhat limiting. It is fully chromatic, so you can make any chord with it, but not all chords can be played as "root-third-fifth" (e.g. A-major is not available as A-C#-E but only in the inversion of C#-A-E). And you need a good A-major or A7 for tunes in D.

 

Well, I havn't ever played any Duet concertina, but have very recently had to get familiar with such a chord (I guess you mean C#-E-A as 1st inversion, John?). My wife is playing the Tenor saxophone and brought reams of sheets in "Gmaj", which means the as yet quite uncommon Fmaj for me when playing the EC.

 

Since I've got just that one and only Treble EC (with no reed having been altered to the low F) there is only that inversion available for the tonic. Initially I said "no way", but then learned that it does not sound that bad. In fact there are arrangements in Gmaj (for instance of Georg Frederic Händel's  famous "Largo", from the opera "Xerxes") which widely relinquish the low (root) G voluntarily.

 

Therefore I wouldn't believe the Amaj-chording on this Crane to be an exclusion criteria. Just in case this might be of some use...


Edited by blue eyed sailor, 11 May 2013 - 03:02 AM.


#9 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:00 AM

Since I've got just that one and only Treble EC (with no reed having been altered to the low F) there is only that inversion available for the tonic. Initially I said "no way", but then learned that it does not sound that bad. In fact there are arrangements in Gmaj (for instance of Georg Frederic Händel's  famous "Largo", from the opera "Xerxes") which widely relinquish the low (root) G voluntarily.

 

Therefore I wouldn't believe the Amaj-chording on this Crane to be an exclusion criteria. Just in case this might be of some use...

 

Wolf,

I have no doubt that I could play nice things on a 42-key Crane. Sometimes, as you say, a chord inversion can sound more interesting than a 1-3-5 chord. But when someone like Handel, with a whole orchestra or organ at his disposal, uses one, he's doing it deliberately, not because the 1-3-5 chord is not available. The point about duets with more keys is that you simply have more freedom to do it this way or that way.

 

By the way, my main complaint about the 35 or 42-key Crane would be that the LH chords are available only in the low octave, and when your melody goes into the upper reaches of the RH, there's an acoustic gap betwen the melody and the harmony.

But if you're just playing chords as an accompaniment, you can, of course, play them on the RH, where the same chord shape sounds an octave higher than on the LH. 

 

One point should be made about the Crane: once you've learned the scales and chords on a small model, you can almost instinctively find them on the extra button rows of a big model, because the system is so consistent. I imagine this would apply to the EC, too. It's certainly easier than upgrading from a 20-key Anglo to a 30-key, so the 42-key Crane would give you a good impression of whether the system is the one for you or not, at a relatively modest price. At some point, you'll find your fingers looking for buttons that aren't there - and that will be the time to start looking for an upgrade!

 

Cheers,

John



#10 marien

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:07 AM

To me it seems it all depends on the chords you want to play.

 

If you play Irish music in pubs, you may be satisfied with a D, G, A, C, A minor or E minor, and you will rarily find a tune in F. If you are not using more chords than that, then this 42b Crane is just enough for you.

 

Other music traditions may use other chords. For folk tunes in F you may want to switch the Bb chords as well.

 

Some traditions (such as SA music, Klezmer and music from brittany) have a lot of tunes in Bb. But the chords B and Bb are the ones missing on the left hand side on this 42 button concertina.

 

This also holds for other jazzy chords in A, Bb and B. The are not on this box, unless you are going to inclkude right hand buttons in chords, which limits the freedom of melody play on the right hand side..

 

If you want to play more freely with chords you will walk into the limitations of this Crane.


Edited by marien, 11 May 2013 - 10:11 AM.


#11 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:09 PM

One point should be made about the Crane: once you've learned the scales and chords on a small model, you can almost instinctively find them on the extra button rows of a big model, because the system is so consistent. I imagine this would apply to the EC, too.

 

That's true. I've been lucky to give a beautiful Wheatstone baritone a try on recent meeting and could play my tunes in the lower octave without any hesitation...  :)



#12 Defra

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:00 PM



Thanks for all the responses which continue to give me much food for thought and help in my continuing search.
Dean

#13 JimLucas

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 03:08 AM

One point should be made about the Crane: once you've learned the scales and chords on a small model, you can almost instinctively find them on the extra button rows of a big model, because the system is so consistent. I imagine this would apply to the EC, too.

 

Also true of the Hayden, Maccann, and all other (seldom heard of) duet systems I've encountered... except for the Jeffries.



#14 psmooze

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

Can't really see this point. In fact the completely illogical layout of the crane

made me drop it after a relatively short period. For the "white" notes the layout

doesn't repeat until you've skipped 2 octaves. The accidentals are another mess

since you have to fit in 5 "black" notes on the sides of the 7 white ones. So when

you've allocated 3 octaves and the pattern of the white notes start repeating you

seen 7 rows with place for 14 black notes on the side -- but you need 15 black 

notes so the black note pattern now shifts up (or you get another extra key on the 

side). Drove me crazy.

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 do have a 55 key steel reeded wheatstone crane for sale though should anyone

be interested :-)



#15 psmooze

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:35 AM

But the good news for the crane layout is that you should see repetition 

after 180 keys. So once you know these you're set.



#16 JimLucas

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:59 AM

Can't really see this point. In fact the completely illogical layout of the crane made me drop it after a relatively short period.

 

In my perception, the Crane has a very simple and sensible pattern.  That the pattern doesn't happen to be "octaves of all notes repeat by moving the same distance and direction in a straight line" doesn't make it "illogical".  There are many other sorts of "reasonable" (some would say "logical") patterns.

 

And aside from "sensible", "reasonable", or "logical", I also find the Crane system quite "comfortable".

 

But the good news for the crane layout is that you should see repetition after 180 keys. So once you know these you're set.

 

Actually, that's not true.

 

In fact, the sort of repetition that I believe you're referring to never occurs with the basic 5-wide Crane layout.

 

And a very large Crane is not for those who require an extremely rigid system with no exceptions, since after a certain number of buttons (38 per hand, if I remember correctly, but I'm not going to re-count right now) it becomes necessary to add a button outside the 5-wide array in order to keep all the other accidentals physically adjacent to one of their musically adjacent natural notes.



#17 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 02:06 PM

And aside from "sensible", "reasonable", or "logical", I also find the Crane system quite "comfortable".

 

Very well put, Jim!

 

Logicality doesn't help much if I have to keep crossing my fingers to follow it, or if it forces me to use my pinkie on the outer rows to get a good legato.

 

I haven't ventured into the key signatures with many flats with the Crane yet, but so far all the scales (and chords) are comfortably playable with 3 fingers. Like on the manolin (or violin, when I used to play it), I play e.g. the F in the scale of C and the F# in the scale of G with the same finger; I just spread my fingers differently for each scale, and everything falls into place.

 

I recently had the opportunity to try out a Hayden duet, and realised that the basic major scale requires 4 fingers. I could probably learn this on the inner rows, but would have difficulty on the outer rows. Very logical, but uncomfortable!

 

Cheers,

John



#18 psmooze

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:14 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.

 

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.

 

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).


Edited by psmooze, 13 May 2013 - 03:29 AM.






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