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Midi Hayden Duet? Assessing Demand


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#1 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 04:08 PM

First, let me clarify that I don't know of anyone building Hayden Duets, so this isn't "I have a guy, who's in?" Rather, I'm inquiring because I and a couple of folks have some interest in such a creature, but to my knowledge no such instrument exists as a commercial product.

I know there was once Paul Everett's "Gadget" Hayden controller, and old posts from 2003 indicate one Jordan Petkov used to sell some kind of MIDI kit that could be used to make it, but much of the info about these has disappeared into electronic decay...

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Wim Wakker used to make MIDI Anglo concertinas, looking nearly fully traditional out the outside, but no longer. Paul Hardy at points has converted salvaged Lachenal bodies to MIDI, but I don't know of him doing so with anything Hayden (though perhaps could a junked Mccann be sort of Haydenized, despite the unstaggered rows?). Dean Onyon makes what's supposed to be a very quality MIDI 65b English, with a pressure-sensor in the middle vice bellows. Rather less trad, but probably a simpler solution; I wrote him asking about Haydens but at last check he's sticking with English.

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I'm interested in seeing if there are other Haydenites (or potential such) who have an interest in a MIDI instrument, and/or ideas about what makers might be convinced to create such. And lacking a current maker, perhaps if interest seems high enough, some maker might give it a shot. The only >55b Haydens are Wakker's lovely but pricey ones at nearly US$9k, and we lack any vintage stock of 61b and 81b acoustic instruments, so a 65b MIDI would be an affordable way to get a nice full keyboard. On this forum a few players have mentioned finding MIDI concertinas really useful for playing in louder modern bands, vice trying to mic up an acoustic. I would broadly estimate that Hayden devotees are more open to modern/experimental stylings, so maybe even more likely to use an instrument that can be played against modern electric ones, and which can allow easy modification of tunings, temperaments, sound types, etc. I'd think it one of the more attractive concertina formats for "gadgety" types.


If anyone thinks they may be tentatively interested in such an item now or in the next few years, or has any insights about how such a product could be gained, your ideas would be appreciated!

#2 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 07:32 PM

Well, I have mentioned it a couple of times in various places around this forum, but since you have made a specific topic on this subject I think it won't hurt to put some more detail on my DIY MIDI project.

 

I was playing on a cheap German Anglo then, and wanted to be sure if I wanted to switch systems, as bisonoric bellows control is so much fun (this is something I really miss sometimes). The whole thing has costed me something around 200$ [including new soldering iron and Arduino board]. 

It is a 64 button (Wakker H2 layout), pressure sensitive instrument, with transposition knob and four aditional switches, based on Arduino board and Processing language and, because of this, it is an USB controller. It requires a "driver" running on target system. I have chosen this approach mostly because I don't have any other midi equipment and I would need a MIDI-USB adapter anyway.

Some pics of working prototype:

 

1. Fast LEGO prototype used for writing the driver:

 

midi_2.jpg

 

2. final, working prototype. 

 

midi_0.jpg

 

I have used it for about 8 months before I bought Elise. Back then, due to some bugs in the software it had to be restarted every 10-15 minutes as it was developing an increasing lag. I have abandoned this project after buing Elise, but revised it recently when I was in need of midi keyboard for composing. Now it has no lag and I will probably make it a decent MIDI instrument some day - haven't decided yet if in concertina form or a planar keyboard with some sort of pressure/wind/velocity controll. In present form it can act as a concertina (pressure controls volume) or a piano (pressure controls velocity). 

 

It has a functional air button, so bellows controll is same as the real thing. It doesn't send "all notes off" on bellows direction change, instead there is a pressure offset below which all notes are silent. Unfortunately, I had to guess pressure levels inside the bellows when I was buing sensors, so I had to struggle with very low resolution of readouts. This is one of those things I'll have to rethink before building a final version.

 

Side note: the first driver also allowed me to run this instrument in "AngloHayden" bisonoric mode, with definable interval between push and pull notes. It was fun, but I "fell in love" in Hayden layout in mater of days, so I scrapped the switches for some other parameters (as I have written above, it only has 4 parameter switches and I wanted to controll as much as I could via hardware). Because I was doing the whole thing as cheap as I could, I have used pre-drilled universal boards for keyboards, so spaces between buttons are slightly different than in Brian's specifcation.

 

A simple demonstration of this instrument (well, a driver at least) in play: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=X0buNZcKxHc This was the first tune I learned on Hayden layout more than 3 years ago, so it's realy basic. I designed a driver to be a learnng aid - as you can see it shows note names (with transposition) and pressed buttons in real time.

 



#3 Patrick Scannell

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 04:27 AM

I'd be interested.  How about hacking a cheap touch-sensitive screen like a nook simple touch for the button-field input?

Gamers have the skillz:  http://www.techhive....ds-for-you.html



#4 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 09:59 AM

I'd be interested.  How about hacking a cheap touch-sensitive screen like a nook simple touch for the button-field input?

Gamers have the skillz:  http://www.techhive....ds-for-you.html

 

Have you yet tried the Hayden "Duettina" app for iPhone: http://www.tradlesso...m/Duettina.html ?

 

Larger layout for the iPad, though not as concertina-esque, is the Hayden keyboard on the Musix app: http://www.synthgasm...rd-synthesizer/

 

Or is what you're proposing somewhat different from the current apps?

 

 

I do like those kind of apps; the Duettina is rather small and limited, but I keep it on my phone as an example of the Hayden system. I do however think that something with physical buttons would be a more viable serious instrument, at least in terms of being an actual concertina crossover. Touch sensitive screen keyboards can do some great things that physical buttons can't (like pitch bending!), but even if one were to place two different touch-sensitive screens on either "end" of a concertina shape, I'm not sure concertina players would find it as familiar in terms of being able to index the fingers to the button on a purely flat surface. But the apps do make fun experimental keyboards as one flat surface.



#5 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 11:01 AM

Pitch bending with physical buttons but software-generated sound shouldn't be a problem either...

#6 Don Taylor

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 11:04 AM

Łukasz

 

Very impressed with you midi concertina project.

 

Just to be clear, does your concertina design respond to dynamic changes in bellows pressure so that the volume changes as the pressure is increased/decreased?  Can you get a vibrato and bellows shake effects from your box?

 

My understanding of the other midi concertina projects is that they do not reproduce the dynamics very much, if at all.

 

Don.



#7 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 12:04 PM

@Don: Yes, it is completely pressure sensitive, with four different response curves available. It can do vibrato, it was bisonoric for at least a while and covers full range of MIDI volume (or velocity) levels. You can use it for realistic software bellows, string and woodwind instruments. But as I wrote before, the main problem I had is the low pressure in the bellows and thus a poor resolution of readouts - this have tremendous effect for all bellows driven effects, they are there, but sometimes sound very harsh, especially on low volume/bellows direction change. I have sensors with the lowest range of measurement I could find and I could only make them response in about 1/4 of available range. This is probably the reason why s-wave uses air cylinders instead of a bellows. I have recently done some quick tests using LEGO cylinders, and I could easily use the full range of values with them. I'm considering similiar approach to be able to disconnect the ends of such instrument and convert it to a flat keyboard with velocity sensitivity when desired. 



#8 DaveM

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:09 PM

Lukasz

Maybe it could be more accurate to measure the time rate of change of the distance between the ends of the concertina, rather than trying to measure the air pressure;  I'm thinking of an ultrasonic or laser

range finder type of device on one of the sides, measuring the distance to the other (do they make chip-sized versions of these types of things?) with a high enough sample rate (>100Hz or so) that the response would seem instantaneous.

Then, the airflow/bellows would only be there for user feel.



#9 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:21 PM

@Dave: that may work well, depending on what tolerances and resolution of those devices are available. Another way may be to put a simple linear potentiometer between the sides and work with that. But in each case (air cylinders, potentiometers and ultrasound/laser ragefinders) you will need three of them to measure all possible relative movements of concertina ends. Using bellows pressure gives you such an information already embedded in the readout.



#10 Don Taylor

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:39 PM

Would an air cylinder allow for movement of the ends in a non-linear fashion?  Or just in and out.



#11 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 02:04 PM

Three hinged cylinders will allow same degree of freedom - they will only not bend around the leg in the same fasion, but relative movements of concertina ends can be the same as the real thing.



#12 Don Taylor

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 03:17 PM

Lukasz
 

I guess that I don't understand what you mean by an air cylinder.   Just a tube with a piston?

 

Don.



#13 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:01 PM

Yes, a tube with a piston. If you mount three of them to concertina ends in such way, that mounting points form a triangle, you will have a dynamic response with every possible end movement. S-wave solution is good (natural) for englishes only, which are often played with bottom edges of the sides connected with a strap. 



#14 JimLucas

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:05 AM

Yes, a tube with a piston. If you mount three of them to concertina ends in such way, that mounting points form a triangle, you will have a dynamic response with every possible end movement. S-wave solution is good (natural) for englishes only, which are often played with bottom edges of the sides connected with a strap. 

 

"Often"?  I know that Danny Chapman (ratface here on concertina.net) does this, and I suppose that there are a few others who have followed his lead, but I've never seen anyone else use that technique, nor heard of it from any other source.

 

Not saying it's bad, mind you; it certainly works for him (though not for me).  But implying that it's common practice is wrong.  It's not.



#15 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:46 AM

@Jim: My bad. I'm not a native english speaker and sometimes I translate polish idiomatic phrases or polish grammar straight to english which changes or clouds the meaning. I meant that a common practice (from what I saw in various videos) is to held an english on a lap and work the bellows like a fan, which can be aided by attaching a strap to bottom ends. And this is just a side note, as I was describing the reason why S-Wave MIDI english can use only one air piston and not debating on english concertina playing techniques.



#16 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:59 AM

As to me, supporting the instrument with one knee doesn't in any way mean using the bellows like a fan; actually I never would...

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 15 March 2014 - 06:00 AM.


#17 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:01 AM

I just found a very interesting construction, I especially recommend the video: http://crewdson.net

It is a variation on mechanical aproach - look here for description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gametrak. It has a clear benefit of enormous extension and complete compression, so movement of the ends is completely unrestricted. it wouldn't feel much real though, because the force on the ends always points to the outsides.



#18 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

After your post Jim, I was courious on what exact movements S-Wave concertina supports and it seems that… none at all. 

 

"Replacing the bellows with a force sensor between the two ends means that the instrment can be played 'forever' in one direction before having to reverse. This allows the settings in the pull direction to be different to those in the push direction so that, for example, a song accompaniment can use the pull setting for the verses and the push setting can be something different for the chorus, middle eight, or big finish. How useful is that?"

 

 

So it looks like there is just a milimeters worth (if any) movement of the sides and the only information this concertina gets is the force between ends. So it would probably be impossible to use any vibrato or other vigorous bellows effects.

 

This instrument had previously it's own thread here: http://www.concertin...showtopic=10197






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