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Midi Hayden Duet? Assessing Demand


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#37 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:47 PM

Not to overlap this too much with the DIY thread, but Łukasz, do I understand right that for programming reasons 64b might be a much easier max number due to the 8x8... hex-something technical whichever reason? If the instrument has extra levers/knobs, do those cut into our "quota", as in would we have to go down to 63b if we wanted to add a volume knob without having to add more processors?

 

I'd imagine an on-board volume knob or roller would be key if available. So far as transposing, what would be really cool if feasible to have a little slider bar that could raise and/or lower the pitch one half-step. Since it's isomorphic, we don't really even need a ton of on-board transposing options, since for example playing F# with either F or G fingering would still get you back to the centre and away from playing along the edge.

 

Aside from just the standard melody buttons, and an air button if using real bellows, does the instrument need more than:

  • MIDI output socket

  • Power cord socket (if it has an internal rechargeable battery)

  • Volume knob

  • Transposing slider

  • on/off button

  • maybe one extra knob with no specific purpose, but that a (MIDI-savvy) user could program for pre-sets



#38 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:21 PM

Matthew: not for software but hardware reasons, and this problem is relevant only to DIY approach, as it is limited by available programable "motherboards" end cost efficiency. If someone is skilled enough to be able to design his own electronics from scratch, then he could pack any number of buttons, knobs, sliders etc...

 

And no, note buttons are independent from permanent-state switches and volume/transposition knobs/sliders. You could use some part of this 64 button quota fot permanent state switches, but you don't have to. 

 

As to your features list - it misses only one, bellows instrument specific function, and thus not manageable from MIDI software. You have to be able to choose from a few different bellows response curves, to accomodate for individual style of play, musical piece style and the diameter of pressure release hole (you need one for bellows to actually work). The combination of variable hole size and pressure response curve is what gives a natural feeling to pressure sensor approach.



#39 eskin

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 03:39 PM

I was asked about iOS software for this system in a private email...

 

If you want a very nice concertina patch, you can run "ThumbJam" as a synth on an iPad or iPhone and use the free "Concertina" and "Vintage Accordion" patches I donated to the developer, hook it up to a MIDI concertina (or any other controller).  For even more control, I use "MIDIBridge" for event filtering and remapping.

 

I do this with my Roland FR-18 MIDI accordion, here's a video:

https://www.youtube....h?v=v9xywp2woEY

This is with my "Vintage Accordion" patch, but the concertina would be exactly the same.

 

 

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#40 Eric Barker

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:52 PM

This looks promising.  I might be interested, depending on the price point. I can see the advantage of the large keyboard array but I wonder about something smaller (like a 46 button) that could have (capo) settings to shift the array in such a way that if you were playing in a flat key, you would still have the correct layout under your fingers just as if you were in home position with a full size instrument. I'm thinking of a shifting fingerboard instead of shifting fingers.



#41 Don Taylor

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:30 PM

I would strongly advise a 65 button instrument in a 7" Hexagon. Anything that is not chromatic in the keyboard would make playing totally chromatic tunes like "The Flight of the Bumble Bee", or "The Entry of the Gladiators"; or chromatic decorations and Harmonic and Melodic minors virtually impossible.
Inventor.

Found this on the JAX site:  A 65-button Hayden that never came to be:

marcus_hayden_rhs.jpg

 

See:http://www.well.com/...s_65-key_Hayden

 

Is this the 65 button layout folks want?

 

Looking at Brian Hayden's specs for button layout then it might be difficult to fit this into a 7" box, might need to go to 8".

 

If you have to drop one button (to get the magic 64) then which one should it be? The Eb/F out there on its own?  BTW.  The air button on this box is on the left hand side.

 

Don.


Edited by Don Taylor, 29 March 2014 - 04:34 PM.


#42 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 06:21 PM

This is the same as Wakker H2 (except for this lonely, un-Hayden Eb/F) and I have this exact layout on my prototype.

 

I chose this layout because at that time I had no idea what would be usefull. Now I think that Ab on the edges are not. Because on MIDI we can transpose, doubling accidentals is usefull only with meantone and just tunings and with a lot more doubled notes (an old square Bastari has enough buttons for this). So now I would skip them, and move them to low F and high Eb, or low D# on RH side and to low D# on the left. And this is mostly because we have 64 buttons to spend, we realy don't need doubled Eb/D# that much - except maybe for consistent edge-triads if someone needs Cmin and Bmaj in one fully-chromatic piece somewhere...


Edited by Łukasz Martynowicz, 29 March 2014 - 07:34 PM.


#43 inventor

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 10:48 AM

This 65 button Hayden layout fitted perfectly well on the 7" Russian concertina. The eb/f on the thumb button was a quirk of this particular instrument; for a Midi instrument I suggest this be just eb.

Although it has 65 buttons there are 4 repeats, which can simply be done on the printed circuit board.  It then has just 61 notes that need to be different, giving 3 in hand if you restrict the number to 64. I will give suggestions as to what these 3 might be, and where they might be put later.

 

The reasons I suggest the 7" size are as follows:-

1) Anything smaller will restrict the number of buttons you could put on the instrument.  6.25" instruments are nice; but the advantages of having 5 rows on the left, and notes below middle C on the right without having to move the compass up and down whilst playing will be quickly apreciated once you start playing the instrument.

2) At 8" the instrument starts to become cumbersome, and as I have pointed out 65 buttons goes on comfortably onto a 7" instrument anyway. 

3) If I was going to set up manufacture of Midi concertinas I would obtain a batch of "blanks" from the Chinese firm that makes them for Wim Ws Elise. and other cheaper Chinese concertinas. Just the ends with the handles and the bellows. No need for the ugly F holes, or reeds and actions which are the expensive bits. Why set up a manufacture for the non electronic bits when they might be obtained almost off the shelf ?

 

Inventor.      

  



#44 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 04:19 PM

Inventor - you can link buttons on the circutboard only if you forfeit the possibility of microtonal tuning, which is important for at least two people here - me and Matthew. 



#45 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 07:39 PM

This 65 button Hayden layout fitted perfectly well on the 7" Russian concertina.

 

That was my thought: my Beaumont 52b is 7" across, and if physical guts inside aren't an issue I don't see any problem wtih adding the extra dozen buttons along the fringes. It's not like we need to fit reeds and steel rods in there. I know some retro-fitted concertinas use the existing action, but if Dean's gets such good reviews for response, it seems like we can skip having trad action and have all the space we need, plus plenty of storage room for a cig lighter, pack of gum, and some prophylactics. ;)

 


3) If I was going to set up manufacture of Midi concertinas I would obtain a batch of "blanks" from the Chinese firm that makes them for Wim Ws Elise. and other cheaper Chinese concertinas. Just the ends with the handles and the bellows. No need for the ugly F holes, or reeds and actions which are the expensive bits. Why set up a manufacture for the non electronic bits when they might be obtained almost off the shelf ?

 

Inventor.      

 

Hot diggity-dang! This is why you're an inventor. Sure the Chinese bellows aren't fancy, but they're reasonably functional and inexpensive, and the body likewise functional just fine. If we could wrangle a deal with Wim to get a "blank" run from his supplier, that could cut out a whole lot of grunt labour that the skilled MIDI-smith won't need to muck with. Just having $20 bellows saves us, what, a good $200+ off the finished item?

 

Are not all the CC instruments built on the same carcass? So it wouldn't even need to be a blank Elise, just a blank body in general (albeit maybe with the Anglo/Hayen handrest and strap to save expense)

 

Inventor - you can link buttons on the circutboard only if you forfeit the possibility of microtonal tuning, which is important for at least two people here - me and Matthew.

 

Yeah, if we're the only two I could see it not being a priority, but me personally I think we'd be missing out on some really intriguing MIDI possibilities for alt-tuning if we link buttons. Rendering an acoustic concertina into meantone, JI, etc. is a vast endeavor and not easily undone, so being able to do it with a mouse-click will be a huge advantage for the microtonal set. I'll also submit that being able to do microtonal options, or wide-but-feasible keyboard in general, might be an option which would help us sell this idea to non-concertina MIDI fans as a crossover instrument. Said folks would be less fixated on "make it 6.25" like an acoustic" and more interested in a breadth of keyboard possibilities. Plus with all the weight we're saving (and the fact that the Beaumont and Elise certainly aren't unplayable due to size) I think it'll be far less ponderous than folks reckon.

 

I see Eric's point, but I think a flip-switch "capo" just doesn't have the possibilities that a slightly expanded keyboard gives us. Plus, with the expanded keyboard, a click-of-the-mouse capo change gets us yet more room to play with. If being tiny is the priority, I think the Paul Everett "gadget" dual MIDI Hayden keyboard is a good compromise. But that would (in theory) be a separate DIY project or different run from a small maker, with more compactness but fewer possibilities.

 

Happy to be corrected, but I think this has serious crossover possibilities (in a small niche of music nerds, but all things being relative) that would help us plus up the number of orders needed to make this happen, and also get more folks interested in concertina overall. This is all quite exciting!



#46 gwhlevy

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:47 AM

I received a note from Don about this thread and thought I'd chime in.  I was looking into this several years ago, but at the time it was too expensive.  I came across the MIDI Boutique website  http://midiboutique.com/  a few years ago. The website is owned by Jordan Petkov who makes concertina/accordion MIDI boards (among many others) in Varna, Bulgaria.

 

The "mbe2" MIDI board can be used to build a MIDI concertina (or accordion).   The board costs €180.  Check the exchange rates before you order.  As of March 31, 2014 that's $247.99.  There is a picture of the board on his 'site.  I believe it will fit inside an anglo, and certainly inside an english or duet.  The 'user manual" can be downloaded if you'd like to see it.

 

The mbe2 board includes an "analog input for  volume control using a potentiometer" and a "bi-directional differential air pressure sensor, sensing the pressure value and bellows movement direction".  It can address up to 2 sets 64 buttons.

 

All of features are programmable by means of System Exclusive messages, using free downloadable SXBlast software (available on his website).

 

The software allows for control of "MIDI event for push/pull per each key separately".  This allows for the same note push/pull or different note push/pull.  "MIDI event for air pressure sensor" sends MIDI information that can be used as either CC2 (breath control) or CC11 (Expression).  Yamaha's MIDI sound modules use CC2.  There may be some others that do, too.  If your module doesn't, you can use CC11.

 

"MIDI event for potentiometer" means that CC events can be addressed directly.  "Response curve for air pressure" allows for one of four different curves to be used.  And there is  an "on-board diode bridge and voltage regulator" that will accept 9-12V DC from an adapter or battery.

 

A 9 volt batter holder (used for acoustic guitars with pre-amps) could be set into one side of the concertina body being used along with the 2 mini potentiometers.

 

So, if you have a non-usable concertina with a good bellows, or a cheap one you could sacrifice, this would be a good way to go, IMHO.
 


Edited by gwhlevy, 01 April 2014 - 12:49 AM.


#47 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 05:22 AM

Here is the thread by Jordan himself: http://www.concertin...showtopic=16415

 

mbe2 is soon to became obsolete as Jordan had already made something signifficantly better.



#48 inventor

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

For the player who wishes to play some sort of mean-tone scale I would have thought that you might simply just ignore the Ab & D# buttons. After all if it was set up on a Crane or Jeffries Duet layout you would not have these options anyway. If you wished to play a meantone scale sharper than A or flatter than Bb this can be done by software transposition up or down a tone or two.

 

For a Just scale there are real problems with the supertonic notes; but I explained how this might be overcome on a bisonoric instrument in "melodeon.net" a short while back. The same principle could be applied to an Anglo-like concertina, to play in 4 or maybe 5 related keys, giving every major and minor chord in the selected keys perfectly in tune.Then Midi transpose to any other set of related keys.

 

Inventor.

   



#49 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 12:00 AM

I received a note from Don about this thread and thought I'd chime in.  I was looking into this several years ago, but at the time it was too expensive.  I came across the MIDI Boutique website  http://midiboutique.com/  a few years ago. The website is owned by Jordan Petkov who makes concertina/accordion MIDI boards (among many others) in Varna, Bulgaria.

 

Bumping the thread, I got antsy about this project since I'm down here in Colombia now and wish I had something durable and easy to travel with, yet still in Hayden system, and that I could play without bothering others.

 

Accordingly, I shot an email describing some of our ideas, and pointing out this thread, to MIDI Botique. Both asking them about their boards, but also asking if they had any colleague shop in Bulgaria that might be able to produce two octagonal plastic ends (3D milling?) and install said boards along with the buttons and three pressure-sensitive pistons. Not to exclude those focused on bellows, but in the short term pistons would make folding up for compact travel easier, and likely cheaper than any bellow option other than using CC-style existing bodies to build on.

 

Will let y'all know if I get any promising word back from MIDI Boutique. I have a perhaps optimistic hope that the issues we concertinists are trying to puzzle out here would be clear and easy for a MIDI-smith, and that they'd know some fellows down the lane with a milling shop who could download a CAD of the plastic ends and just punch them out easy, drop the boards in, and we'd be in business.



#50 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 09:39 AM

Got an initial reply from MIDI Boutique, really friendly and knowledgeable folks. I'd written them primarily asking about an S-Wave-esque instrument with two plastic ends and three pressure-sensitive pistons between them, but I also mentioned the idea from the thread of building on a CC-style carcass.

 

Jordan liked the CC-body idea for saving hassle, just dropping electronics into it. Also he already has boards for accordions that incorporate an air pressure sensor. I'm not totally averse, though I have some concerns that the CC-style bellows are okay but not amazing, nicer bellows would add $200 to the instrument, and the CC-style bodies are 7" across so we'd have to have 64 buttons just to justify having such a large beastie. One with pistons could be made quite compact, and then we could just make new ends of whatever size/shape rather than having to economize on a CC-style body. But again, if we are to put in orders on this, at some point we'll need to find a solution that appeals to a dozen or a score of people. So that'll require a "slap the table" moment where we agree on what features we want.

 

Does anyone (Łukasz?) have any notion of where we can get pressure-sensitive pistons to feed into the pressure measurement for dynamics?

 

Posting here with the permission of the sender:

 


Hello Mr. [Vanitas],
 
Designing the electronics for such an device is possible as this is main thing that we do.
 
So if you could supply the boxes, we can do/supply the electronics.
 
Following the Concertina discussion I saw somebody proposed using of "blank" Chinese concertinas, then putting MIDI electronics inside. You have admired this approach and I would admire it, if it was possible to get in touch with Chonese manufacturer.
 
So we have few possible ways to go:
 
1. You supply one of these boxes, we design, manufacture and start selling the electronic parts. We also prepare for you the assembly documentation and instructions so yu can assemble units on your side after purchasing boxes from China.
This would greatly reduce the possible export fees as buying parts from abroad is cheaper than buying whole instruments.
 
2. We get connected with Chinese manufacturers (possibly with your help), we buy the boxes from them, design and manufacture entire thing, then sell it to you. Ready made musical instruments may be subject of export/import fees on both sides.
 
3. We produce entirely the electronics and the boxes. Although the boxes themselves look straightforward, the bellows replacement parts (pistons) are still under question. Do you have idea about something ready that could be used for this purpose? I don't feel like replacing bellows with any kind of mechanical stuff would make things cheaper neither natural. As about 3D milling you mention downloading CAD files. Do you have such CAD files or links to  them?
This might help us to estimate the possibility to produce boxes here locally.
 
Best Regards,
Jordan


#51 Don Taylor

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 10:27 AM

 


Does anyone (Łukasz?) have any notion of where we can get pressure-sensitive pistons to feed into the pressure measurement for dynamics?

 

 

You can buy pressure (or rather force) sensitive resistors that, I think, can be used to make such a piston:

 

09375-1.jpg

See: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9375

 

Designing the push action would be very easy as you would just sandwich the resistor between two rods.  Not sure about the pull action as I believe that these things work by positive pressure only, not negative pressure, so some way to capture pull as a positive pressure would need to be designed. 

 

One could argue that you only need a push action as the piston ends do not actually move to give you a source of volume dynamics - push for louder, relax for softer, no pressure for silence.  However they are designed they are going to feel very different to a set of bellows.

 

 

You could also use tiny sonar distance measuring devices set inside a hollow tube that can slide in and out of a larger, concentric tube.  These look pretty nifty, but may consume too much power.

sku_133696_1.jpg

See: http://www.dx.com/p/...96#.VBxJsVc6vTw

 

Matthew:

 

Have you thought about contacting the S-Wave folks about making you a Hayden version of their 64B EC?  They appear to have solved all of the design problems that we have discussed over the last year and modifying their 64B EC to a 64B Hayden does not look that difficult on the surface.  Their EC is listed at 1600 sterling...

 

Don.



#52 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 11:05 AM

Have you thought about contacting the S-Wave folks about making you a Hayden version of their 64B EC?  They appear to have solved all of the design problems that we have discussed over the last year and modifying their 64B EC to a 64B Hayden does not look that difficult on the surface.  Their EC is listed at 1600 sterling...

 

I spoke with Dean Onyon back in spring, and he's not in a position to gin up the S-Wave in any system other than English, plus difficulty of amortizing a new design, etc.

 

If Dean really isn't keen, I suppose I could ask him if he has any advice for OTS parts that form the "pressure sensor" for his bellows-replacement. I know Łukasz and others had expressed concern about having only one sensor and losing out on control subtleties, so not sure if we do need to have multiples, or whether one would actually be enough.



#53 Don Taylor

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 11:36 AM

If Dean really isn't keen, I suppose I could ask him if he has any advice for OTS parts that form the "pressure sensor" for his bellows-replacement. I know Łukasz and others had expressed concern about having only one sensor and losing out on control subtleties, so not sure if we do need to have multiples, or whether one would actually be enough.

 
Matthew:
 
I don't see the bellows as the only difficult design problem.  I cannot find any practical[*] solution for making button switches that fit under the Hayden layout on a concertina.

 

So if you are going ask him that kind of question then please ask him about his switches as well.

 

Don.

 

[*]  I can envisage some solutions but they are either too complex or require designing and building an action board like that of a real concertina - which is feasible but a lot of work for a hobbyist - too much for me anyway.



#54 MatthewVanitas

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 11:55 AM

I'll have to see if Dean is okay sharing trade info, which he well might if it's more of a passion for him than a livelihood, and since we're not fixing to make any run of Englishes that would compete with his.

 

So pressure sensors for the "bellows", and how to get enough buttons in small enough of a space, those are the two main puzzles? Is there somewhere written Brian's specifications for how large the buttons are and the distance between them?






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