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Size Isn't All That Matters...


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#37 goran rahm

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Posted 07 December 2003 - 03:00 PM

Clive:I do not want to get involved in point scoring, which I dislike so much, but I must respond to your comments on button size as I believe you have made a fundamental error in your logic.

You say that, with 5mm buttons, if you miss the centre by 2 mm then you are 'out'. You seem to be forgetting the size of the end of the finger!! My finger tip (which I presume is fairly average) is about 15mm wide by 10mm deep, therefore I can move my finger up to 10mm side to side and still have full contact between my finger and the 5mm button. By contrast, with 15mm buttons if I move my finger by 10mm to one side then there is every likelyhood that I will also be pressing the adjacent button, so in this sense larger buttons are positively disadvantageous!!

Goran:There is much involved in the matter when you dissect it. You are right in a way of course but you have to try it all in practise to be able to find the significance of rather small differences AND the specifific impact(s) of them.
The issue I referred (or meant at least) to when mentioning the above is that with the common rounded 5mm buttons compared with a (rounded) 13mm button (as the example was) and not talking about the interspace (which is decisive for the risk of 'jamming' you need greater pricision in hitting the centre of the button top.
It also depends on the button construction whether it is important doing so or not.
It is not "error i logic" it is a matter of separating the factors like I said to Jim AND when you have collected as many facts about them as possible it is time to make your 'multifactor' sythesis or evaluation.

Clive:Personally I have never found missing a button to be a problem - getting the finger to it quickly enough, yes, but missing it , no.

Goran: Me neither but people do report about it as a 'trouble' and it likely has some importance as *one* factor. With flat button tops you have greater fricton and the situation is different.

Clive:Why is it that you have such problems with 5mm buttons? As Dave says, no one else seems to have this problem, and I personally have never experienced any pain from pressing the buttons. It leads me to wonder if you are simply pressing too hard and too far. All the discussions about springing pressure and comfort are irrelevant if you press the buttons right to the end of travel and continue to press! All this will achieve is little 5mm depressions in your finger tips. Perhaps this is your problem rather than the button size?.

Goran:"No one else"...is not reality Clive..... Since it is an interest of mine I have actively asked people about it and those who have problems seemingly have contacted me knowing that I 'understand' the situation....

I dislike making it a 'problem of mine since it isn't. Most of the players I know personally here have had problems with it more or less and I have changed the buttons for many of them with success....(noone has changed back...)

But just to answer your questions.... I did get sore fingers myself from the rounded 5 mm ones. I definitely prefer 'old time' dead flat 5mm all metal buttons to 5mm rounded ones. I wanted to increase the spring tensions to make instruments tighter....at least the initial trial to reduce spring force to get more comfortable 'touch' resulted in too much leakage....so....wider buttons allowed higher spring force with acceptable comfort.
I also wanted to press 2,3 sometimes 4 buttons with the same finger and this was easier with wider buttons.
I do rather intensive push/pull work while playing which casues extra load on the fingertips. Much IS a matter of individual playing methods but THAT is not as simple as "pressing too much or too hard"...the *music* simply may demand it in the way you wish to do it and you have to either compromise with the music or your own comfort....and try to suffer as little as possible for the cause....

Clive:I have done some checks on my own playing, by trying to freeze at a particular point (difficult I admit), and generally find that there is still about 1mm travel left in the button. Ie I do not push the buttons right against the end stops.

Goran: Well...if that suits your way it is fine of course....

Clive:Is it possible that the mechanics of your style is causing the problems rather than just the buttons size, or rather that the two are incompatible?.

Goran:Yes to a part for myself that is so but keep in mind I DO try to look away from my own specific 'problems' in all this in order to find what *may* be of possible general interest

Clive:Also Yes, I have played button accordian, and as stated by others the difference is that with button accordians the hand is mobile, so span of the keyboard is not the problem it is on a concertina.

Goran:Not denying that part of it...I have said many times if you increase the English buttons to the suggested 13mm ones you will have to make some sacrifice in range.

Clive:I have not played a stradella bass, but looking at my wifes old piano acordian I see that the buttons are about 7mm, on 15mm centres - not 15mm or even 10mm buttons.

Goran: I am talking of alternatives here and hardly 15mm buttons on any British style concertina.....
Ask your wife then and try a little yourself if the 7/15mm measures cause problems.
The 6/13mm of the English and 9/16mm on Anglo cause me and my 'customers' here no major problems....it iS individual though....sure...

Clive:In any case, am I right in believing that with a stradella bass you are normally pressing only one button at a time?

Goran:yes, normally....

Clive:I have never held or played a chemnitzer so cannot comment.

Goran:I have done my best to sort out the limits in various situations and
'used' my fellow players to evaluate it all as well.Whether there could be any
'majority' advantages motivating a completely different production 'standard'
of course can not be even imagined but comparisons with other squeezeboxes
I do mean could be fruitful...for everyone....

My own approach is on views like these:
I think that there could be sense in making more 'userfriendly' basic concertinas for all systems using a fairly common standard reducing some of the 'inter-system' related alienation.

One reason for this is elementary 'ergonomics' in the meaning that the ways the various British style concertinas are mostly played are so common with the 'systems' and the physical demands so common that the 'problems' ought to be solved similarly.

The traditional musical idiomatic links between instruments and 'their' music are artificial and obsolete.

The concertina(s) in my view are not (and can hardly be expected to become) 'art music' tools but to some rare exceptions and these mainly related to the history related to the 'English concertina' 150 years ago which favoured its use as a violin or flute substitute in chamber music of the time.
In consequence the 'basic' instruments could be somewhat simplified without major disadvantages

#38 goran rahm

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Posted 07 December 2003 - 04:25 PM

Jim,
YOU started this topic by hinting that the issue had been wrongly focused on button size with too little regard on related factors.
I agreed to that and suggested that it could be enlightened by a structured analysis of each factor by itself with the aim later on trying to get to some synthesis of the data....maybe something like what you meant by 'multivariable/factor' analysis or similar...
There has been some valuable input and despite it is demanding to sort it out or re-write in a structured form we do at least so far have a few individually originated different opinions based on general or common facts not merely individual 'experience'

In your own reply below however I do mean that you again focus almost entirely on YOUR own experience and your interest seems to be the same historic eagerness I know for more than 5 years to argue *against* something in favour of your own habits rather than to at least try to widen the outlook as others have done. If you DO want us to come to any sort of conclusions... or program to investigate the matter(s) ....you better say more precise what you want to achieve with the thread....

I will pick some comments trying to avoid the nagging

Goran before:4) The basic "ideas" are possible to try at least in their fundamental form *with* existing instruments and models and basically by efforts available for anyone with a little handiness and at very low cost
The options to 'learn' about it are open for You and everyone else....A few hours work and materials for say £10-20 is all you need...

Jim:As I believe someone else has already said, then why don't you do it, Göran? Don't tell us, show us! I know that in the past you have brought modified instruments (with your own handles) to Witney. I tried them. If it's so cheap and easy to do the same with large buttons and/or other modifications you think are improvements, why not just do it?

Goran:I have done what I needed for myself and enough to be convinced about the potentials. Most players have never thought of the possibilities..that is why I write about them.

Jim:On the other hand, since you don't seem to be concerned about making a fortune on the design, you could equally well pay one of the existing makers to implement your design. Colin Dipper springs to mind, since that's exactly how the Franglo came to be. Someone had an idea and paid Colin to build it. If the idea intrigues him, he might even do it before his regular queue. (No guarantee, of course, but I'm sure he'd tell you, one way or the other.)

Goran: I am not going into details but the above is mere phantasies of yours.I have no interest in it. I would likely have had 20 years ago...and if I were living in England. Agree..it would be interesting if someone did it...so...what else is there to say..see my replies to Dave and Clive...

(Your next following comments only reveal the said affection for objecting witout a constructive cause...get back to 'multifactor-analysis of the button item' some way or other...)

QUOTE (Göran)
The issue about 'greater *comfort* with wider buttons' should be competely uncontroversial and rather selfevident.

Jim:"Should be"?! I personally find it to be demonstrably false.

Goran: I comment only because you say "false" which of course is "rubbish" (your own nomenclature...) as you use to say about yourself "I am always scientific" and
the 'scientific' reports on "press button" *comfort* are quite unanimous. According to your own routines I will not give you any referrences..."Find out for yourself"...!

Jim:On my standard Ĉola treble English the buttons are 4mm in diameter

(Goran:Diverging:Interesting since I ahve never come across any Aeola buttons less than 5mm...Just curious...what model of Aeola and are the buttons original?)

Jim:...and separated by a minimum of 6mm (more in other directions.....I suggest that anyone who misses by more than 2mm should practice improving their accuracy.

Goran:That is not relevant. It would be relevant however to find out by tests
a) what the confidence difference actually IS with different sized buttons if there is one (since some players do report about problems..not only beginners)
B) what the difference maybe with different profiles
c) with combinations of diam and profiles
d) individual preferences and
e) majority preferences


QUOTE (Göran)
...if you miss the centre of a 13 mm one by 2mm it doesn't matter at all.

Jim:First of all, it's not possible to have 13mm buttons with centers closer than 14mm (or perhaps more; there needs to be enough end material between buttons to hold the buttons in position), where 5mm buttons with centers 14mm apart have at least 9mm of space between them. If we assume a 14mm center-to-center spacing in both cases, the distance from the center of the 5mm button to the edge of the nearest adjacent button is 11.5mm, while in the case of the 13mm button that same minimum distance is only 7.5mm. Which gives the most leeway? (That is a rhetorical question.)

Goran:I have not suggested using 14 mm c-c distance with 13 mm buttons so I don't know why you pick the example? I have said that c-c distance might be 17-20mm for best *comfort* not going into musical demands at all. This also unrelated to button size. With your example 17mm c-c and 13mm button gives 10,5mm.
If we include the profile (multifactor analysis...:-) there may be more variation width and if the button travel is included too ..more even....
*Musically*above all that you have to decide whether your aim for single button pressing or multiple button pressing....

I suggest you find some various 5 row button accordions and reconsider a while...but I fear you remain a bit blindfolded to discover any new angles....

Goran Rahm

#39 AlexCJones

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 09:53 PM

As usual, I'm just going to throw in my 2 cents, sharing from my limited personal experience. I won't even attempt to be objective.

The buttons of my 30-key Anglo Tedrow-Modified-Stagi provide the most playablility of any that I have played. Their interspacing, height (top of button relative to concertina surface), shape, size, and material all contribute to the comfort. These convex-spherical buttons made out of some kind of rubber or plastic allow me to play 2 buttons with one finger, sometimes by using the knuckle to play one button with the tip of the same finger playing another without ever causing soreness.

The extremely narrow metal buttons of my Lachenal 56-key MacCann Duet do cause soreness, though their interspacing does allow me to play one with the knuckle and another with the finger tip. They are so narrow, that they would be better described as "pins". At least the shape and interspacing never cause my fingers to get stuck between any 2 buttons.

My fingers often got stuck between the buttons of a Norman 30-key G/D Anglo that I owned for a year. It was the combination of interspacing, height, and shape of the buttons. They stuck out farther than on any others and the ends were not convex but flat-ended. Edges on buttons are a hindrance to me, so flat-ended or concave buttons are not something I would pay for.

The wide interspacing and low button-height of my Bastari 40-key G/D Anglo make it difficult to play more than one note at a time with the same finger. This is annoying, because the 40-key layout provides me with the notes to make a nice five key G7 chord on the push (remember, this is a G/D), but the spacing and height only allow me to play 4 notes at a time (yes, you only need 4 notes to make a 7th chord, but I want to play 5).

My ideal Anglo would be 40-buttoned, metal-ended, have concertina reeds, but have buttons with the button height, interspacing, size, material and action of my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi. Maybe a different row-alignment slant would help.

#40 goran rahm

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:56 PM

Alex:"My ideal Anglo would be 40-buttoned, metal-ended, have concertina reeds, but have buttons with the button height, interspacing, size, material and action of my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi. Maybe a different row-alignment slant would help."

Goran:To be able to better understand your view on it Alex could you just present the measures...
- button diam
- c-c button distances 'transversely' (along the 'rows') and 'longitudinally'
(or 'interspace' in both directions)
- button height above the end
- button travel
- button 'head' profile (spherical, elliptic, domed, flat with rounded edges..)

A question from curiosity...when saying that you hit a button with knuckle and tip of the same finger do you by 'knuckle' mean the 'nail side' of the finger i.e the 'outside' of the distal joint area??? or the fleshy part proximal to the finger tip but on the 'inside' (flexing side) of the finger??

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#41 AlexCJones

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:55 AM

Goran:To be able to better understand your view on it Alex could you just present the measures...


Since I don't own a set of measuring calipers yet, I have to make do with tape measure so I cna't say these measurments are exact...

- button diam: 6mm

- c-c button distances 'transversely' : 17mm
(along the 'rows') and 'longitudinally': 14mm
(or 'interspace' in both directions) 9mm, 7mm

- button height above the end: 7mm
- button travel: 3mm
- button 'head' profile (spherical, elliptic, domed, flat with rounded edges..):
spherical

A question from curiosity...when saying that you hit a button with knuckle and tip of the same finger

I wrote that I use this to press two (2) buttons simultaneously

do you by 'knuckle' mean the 'nail side' of the finger i.e the 'outside' of the distal joint area??? or the fleshy part proximal to the finger tip but on the 'inside' (flexing side) of the finger??

Nail side. On the Anglo, I do this to press 2 different buttons in two different rows. For example, to make a Cmaj7th chord from these notes on a 30-button C/G Anglo: C3 G3 C4 E4 G4 B4, the first 5 are all pressed in the C row, with the pinky pressing C3, the ring-finger pressing both the G3 and the C4, the middle finger pressing the E3 with the knuckle while pressing the B4 in the G row with the finger tip, and the index finger pressing G4 of the C row.

Actually, on this Tedrow-Modified-Stagi Anglo, it is not necessary to use the knuckle for the E3 but instead use a part of the finger between the knuckle and the fingertip (on the fingernail, near the cuticle). It's on the MacCann Duet where I need to reach with the knuckle. If you'd like, I can take a photo of that and attach it to a post tomorrow night.

Now that you have all this information, can you build me a concertina? For how much? How long do I have to wait for it's completion?

#42 goran rahm

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:03 PM

Alex:
- button diam: 6mm

- c-c button distances 'transversely' : 17mm
(along the 'rows') and 'longitudinally': 14mm
(or 'interspace' in both directions) 9mm, 7mm

- button height above the end: 7mm
- button travel: 3mm
- button 'head' profile (spherical, elliptic, domed, flat with rounded edges..):
spherical

Goran:Seems to me being fairly 'standard' measures for Anglos including 6mm buttons as they come with *some* usually cheaper line models of the 'oldtime' British makers.To me the traditional use of 5mm (or less) buttons on more expensive Anglos always has been a bit of a puzzle despite the probable causes were using the same basic measures for both qualities and beig able to add bushings together with about 5mm buttons in the same hole width as 6mm (1/4") buttons and that 5mm buttons already was a standard feature of the more exclusive 'Englishes'.

IF you like better 'comfort' at the buttons a spherical profile even in 6mm width however in my view offers less pleasure than a fairly flat one ...particularly since'doublebuttonpress' is less common. But you Alex evidently DO use that....

QUOTE (Goran)
do you by 'knuckle' mean the 'nail side' of the finger i.e the 'outside' of the distal joint area??? or the fleshy part proximal to the finger tip but on the 'inside' (flexing side) of the finger??


Alex:Nail side........

Goran:Fascinating....Are there many other Anglo players who do the same?? How did you get the idea...someone else? I have met English players firstly doing it on the 'lowest' buttons since with the little finger at the rest you may not reach them otherwise but with the Anglo this awkward hand position should not be as unavoidable.....I'm not saying you shouldn't do it if you are comfortable with it...it just seem so absurd in a way to me...but maybe some wanted chords really are more or less impossile other ways.....

Alex:Now that you have all this information, can you build me a concertina? For how much? How long do I have to wait for it's completion?

Goran: Oh dear! I'm afraid we share the same trouble....finding the 'ideal' instrument....

#43 AlexCJones

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 07:23 PM

Goran:Fascinating....Are there many other Anglo players who do the same?? How did you get the idea...someone else? I have met English players firstly doing it on the 'lowest' buttons since with the little finger at the rest you may not reach them otherwise but with the Anglo this awkward hand position should not be as unavoidable.....I'm not saying you shouldn't do it if you are comfortable with it...it just seem so absurd in a way to me...but maybe some wanted chords really are more or less impossile other ways.....

I don't know if anyone else does this, and the few Anglo players I know in the Chicago area are not into playing Major 7th and 9th chords. I got the idea from simply trying to get the buttons pushed for the chords I want. On the C/G Anglo, I actually only do this when pressing a button on the C row and one on the G row with the same finger. To press any button on the G row, I have to curl my fingers anyway, since those buttons are so close to the palm bar.

This brings us back to the topic of this forum: Maybe I should be playing an Anglo constructed with its rows furthur from palm bar. I had never thought of this really until Jim Lucas mentioned it in this thread along with the curvature and rake, but his observations certainly make sense.

#44 Henk van Aalten

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 01:54 AM

Even if Goran uses the QUOTE option correctly, this discussion with Jim is more a battle between opinions (ego's) and is not interesting for me.
So please stop this and come back to the topic. :angry:

To give new input:
Please explain me (both of you) in less than 100 words why concertina buttons are so thin compared with bandoneon buttons.

Henk

#45 goran rahm

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 11:45 AM

Alex:This brings us back to the topic of this forum: Maybe I should be playing an Anglo constructed with its rows furthur from palm bar.

Goran:Sounds likely..if you find one:-)
Now...German sixsided 20 button ones with the keyboard orientation like the Anglo (some have the handle in the centre instead and rotated 30 degrees) have a longer distance between handle and rows and are more suitable for longer hands.

In my view the Anglo should be a bit more like that. ..Keyboard far to the top, size all over a bit larger (and/or rectangular or elongated 8-sided),handle more in the centre and more elevated (giving a better hand position,less curved fingers, and better working range for fingers...)
Additional to that we return to the button size issue of course....and with the larger size all over, with the more efficent resource of an elongated shape... we would get more space for larger buttons as well.....!!

Henk:"To give new input:
Please explain me (both of you) in less than 100 words why concertina buttons are so thin compared with bandoneon buttons."

Goran:I'd like it to be short and concise too Henk..:-) but as far as I've seen we don't *know* ....
I mean the thin buttons are surprising and unfunctional 'ergonomically' but I have some guesses concerning the 'historic' causes:

1) The thin (about 5 mm diam) all originate from the Wheatstone concertina concept described in the 1844 patent and having been produced since beginning 0f 1830s which in its turn originated from the Symphonium keyboard(s) which was very compact, about as small as you could make something similar. Compare calculator keyboards..when smaller than that you get trouble 'fingering' them at all.

2) The construction using the (wooden) endplate for guiding the buttons does not admit much wider buttons. 6mm ones (as are also used) work allright, on Anglos up to 8-9mm ones but on Englishes and Duets the woodwork does not admit much more with this construction. Could be modified however of course...You could also use 'mushroom' shaped buttons like on some accordions...

3) Bandoneons/Konzertinas have buttons running through the endplate/box too but the larger dimensions admit wider buttons

Technically you could use 6-7mm buttons on Englishes and Duets and up to 9mm on Anglos without any changes of the construction/layout at all. Whether this would lead to musical obstacles or not is an individual or circumstantial matter.

Technically there are several simple modifications making it possible to make Englishes,Duets and Anglos with up to say 13mm buttons (Bandoneons seldom have even that wide buttons ..I dont have one nowadays..but I think 9-11mm is more common) and for Englishes and Duets that would mean some reduction of the reacheable note range but hardly for the Anglo.

Goran Rahm

#46 Jonathan Taylor

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 03:20 AM

To give new input:
Please explain me (both of you) in less than 100 words why concertina buttons are so thin compared with bandoneon buttons.

Henk

I believe Jim's out of town right now but I'll have a go:

Smaller buttons can be arranged closer together, allowing a smaller keyboard for a given range (good for players with shorter fingers), while at the same time the interspaces can remain large enough to prevent adjacent buttons being snagged inadvertently (good for not so slender fingers). Comfort is of secondary importance, and the buttons are therefore as comfortable as necessary, not as comfortable as possible.
In bandoneons, the buttons are already as close together as possible, because of the method of wooden construction, but still so far apart that snagging is not a problem. They can therefore be much larger.

99 I think that was.

Jonathan Taylor

#47 goran rahm

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 05:10 AM

Henk's question:..."why concertina buttons are so thin compared with bandoneon buttons"......may be regarded from at least two aspects :
1) historic causes why they are 'as is'
2) rational reasons for measures in a wider sense

I tried in the previous reply to illustrate some of both. To elucidate the issue more it certainly takes some 1000 words....:-)
I think Jonathan's approach is fundamentally historic and static since it does not inlcude the dynamics of interaction between several important factors which all of them may be differently evaluated depending on technical, individual, musical och other circumstantial capacities and needs which also may change 'with time'.

Jonathan:"Smaller buttons can be arranged closer together, allowing a smaller keyboard for a given range (good for players with shorter fingers), while at the same time the interspaces can remain large enough to prevent adjacent buttons being snagged inadvertently (good for not so slender fingers)."

Goran:This is literally true but all measures may be varied within certain limits and the traditional concept can not be expected neither to be useful for all purposes... nor with certainty to be optimal for a majority of (contemporary) users

Jonathan:" Comfort is of secondary importance, and the buttons are therefore as comfortable as necessary, not as comfortable as possible."

Goran:Strange statement firstly since the constructor ( C Wheatstone assumingly if speaking about the 'English' concertina) has not commented upon comfort at all.
Secondly since button dimensions and shape actually have varied a bit (but less than I have expected) and related comfort thus been varying too.
Also keep in mind that the biologic approach to 'machines' was not as apparent 150 years ago as it (often) is today....or it was more related to 'fear' rather than 'knowledge'.

Jonathan:"In bandoneons, the buttons are already as close together as possible, because of the method of wooden construction, but still so far apart that snagging is not a problem. They can therefore be much larger."

Goran:Historically only partly correct. For many bandonions the reedworks and fitting of them consume large dimensions rather than the mechanism but you have to consider as well both usually more buttons ( 64-72) and doubled reeds.
Wide range concertinas like 64-72 key Baritone-trebles or Duets often have almost the same 'box measures' as bandonions/konzertinas and the ends could with no great problems have room for larger buttons and wider keyboards.
There are quite a few factors saying that the 'traditional' treble English and same size Anglo or Duet are too small for optimal usefulness and that the original constructors were overambitious in their aspiration to minimize them.

I think we have to accept that traditions within construction of the instruments have formed the main differences betwen them and settled the traditions among users as well ....and that we don't know the 'true' impulses that made the early inventors choose their respective concepts. Today however it is fairly easy to see that almost everything could be done differently and be more purposeful for *different* ways using the instruments and the obstacle against changes is conservatism .....along with cost of development of course....

Goran Rahm

#48 Jonathan Taylor

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 10:42 PM

Henk's question:..."why concertina buttons are so thin compared with bandoneon buttons"......may be regarded from at least two aspects :
1) historic causes why they are 'as is'
2) rational reasons for measures in a wider sense

I tried in the previous reply to illustrate some of both. To elucidate the issue more it certainly takes some 1000 words....:-)
I think Jonathan's approach is fundamentally historic and static since it does not inlcude the dynamics of interaction between several important factors which all of them may be differently evaluated depending on technical, individual, musical och other circumstantial capacities and needs which also may change 'with time'.

Henk's question may also be regarded from another aspect -- namely as a question to be answered as concisely as possible, as he requested -- which I did.
However, the trouble with my answer is that it is valid now, not "historic and static", and that it explains why concertina buttons are not "absurd" and "instruments of torture", contrary to Goran's persistent claims.
Since he cannot dispute the factual truth of my answer, he attempts to brush it aside with irrelevant pseudoscientific verbiage.

Jonathan:"Smaller buttons can be arranged closer together, allowing a smaller keyboard for a given range (good for players with shorter fingers), while at the same time the interspaces can remain large enough to prevent adjacent buttons being snagged inadvertently (good for not so slender fingers)."

Goran:This is literally true but all measures may be varied within certain limits and the traditional concept can not be expected neither to be useful for all purposes...nor with certainty to be optimal for a majority of (contemporary) users

No musical instrument can be useful for all purposes, and none optimal for a majority of "users" (contemporary or not), and no-one has claimed otherwise.

Jonathan:" Comfort is of secondary importance, and the buttons are therefore as comfortable as necessary, not as comfortable as possible."

Goran:Strange statement firstly since the constructor ( C Wheatstone assumingly if speaking about the 'English' concertina) has not commented upon comfort at all.
Secondly since button dimensions and shape actually have varied a bit (but less than I have expected) and related comfort thus been varying too.
Also keep in mind that the biologic approach to 'machines' was not as apparent 150 years ago as it (often) is today....or it was more related to 'fear' rather than 'knowledge'.

Firstly: so what? Secondly: so what? And thirdly: so what? None of these points have any relevance to Henk's question regarding concertina buttons, and none of them disprove my statement regarding comfort.

Jonathan:"In bandoneons, the buttons are already as close together as possible, because of the method of wooden construction, but still so far apart that snagging is not a problem. They can therefore be much larger."

Goran:Historically only partly correct. For many bandonions the reedworks and fitting of them consume large dimensions rather than the mechanism but you have to consider as well both usually more buttons ( 64-72) and doubled reeds.
Wide range concertinas like 64-72 key Baritone-trebles or Duets often have almost the same 'box measures' as bandonions/konzertinas and the ends could with no great problems have room for larger buttons and wider keyboards.

"They can therefore be much larger" refers to the bandoneon buttons, not the bandoneons themselves.

There are quite a few factors saying that the 'traditional' treble English and same size Anglo or Duet are too small for optimal usefulness and that the original constructors were overambitious in their aspiration to minimize them.

As far as I am aware, the only person saying this is Goran Rahm, and the only "factor" he has ever mentioned to justify increasing the size of trebles is to allow his wrist supports to be fitted.

I think we have to accept that traditions within construction of the instruments have formed the main differences betwen them and settled the traditions among users as well ....and that we don't know the 'true' impulses that made the early inventors choose their respective concepts. Today however it is fairly easy to see that almost everything could be done differently and be more purposeful for *different* ways using the instruments and the obstacle against changes is conservatism .....along with cost of development of course....

Traditions of construction (organ building) most probably influenced the design and construction methods of bandoneons; I would be interested to hear from which "tradition" Wheatstone's ideas were developed.
In any activity, it is a not uncommon error of beginners to blame any difficulty they might experience on their equipment (especially if they have a high opinion of their own capabilities), and to try all kinds of short cuts to get quick successes. Some people have to finally accept that their failure to achieve the desired success in playing the concertina is due more to their own prejudices and perhaps lack of capability than to any (imagined) shortcoming of the instrument itself, especially when the successes of so many others are considered.

With regard to change, innovators are indeed often met with skepticism, but the biggest obstacle to change is not conservatism but a total lack of evidence that the change actually constitutes an improvement.

#49 goran rahm

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 03:44 PM

Jonathan:"No musical instrument can be useful for all purposes, and none optimal for a majority of "users" (contemporary or not), and no-one has claimed otherwise."

Goran now:Hmm..why do you so often object against suggested alternatives?:-)

QUOTE
Jonathan:" Comfort is of secondary importance, and the buttons are therefore as comfortable as necessary, not as comfortable as possible."

QUOTE
Goran:Strange statement firstly since the constructor ( C Wheatstone assumingly if speaking about the 'English' concertina) has not commented upon comfort at all.
Secondly since button dimensions and shape actually have varied a bit (but less than I have expected) and related comfort thus been varying too.
Also keep in mind that the biologic approach to 'machines' was not as apparent 150 years ago as it (often) is today....or it was more related to 'fear' rather than 'knowledge'.

Jonathan again:"Firstly: so what? Secondly: so what? And thirdly: so what? None of these points have any relevance to Henk's question regarding concertina buttons, and none of them disprove my statement regarding comfort."

Goran now:Very relevant indeed because you claim you know *why* the buttons are as they are but you don't know *why* the contructor made them that way. You have your guesses....and I say we may *guess* for ever but never *know*.
I see some possible 'historic causes' but no reasons to assume that the 'tradition' offers either the best compromise for the majority of players or to regard it as definite.

JOnathan:"They can therefore be much larger" refers to the bandoneon buttons, not the bandoneons themselves.

Goran now: Yes of course..I said that this does not necessarily hinder concertina butttons to be larger as well! It is basically a matter of tradition, the construction is not an absolute obstacle in either case.

QUOTE
There are quite a few factors saying that the 'traditional' treble English and same size Anglo or Duet are too small for optimal usefulness and that the original constructors were overambitious in their aspiration to minimize them.

Jonathan:"As far as I am aware, the only person saying this is Goran Rahm, and the only "factor" he has ever mentioned to justify increasing the size of trebles is to allow his wrist supports to be fitted."

Goran now: Definitely not correct but YOU may not have read or noticed. I have repeatedly mentioned the lacking balance, lacking space for stability by the palm (with or without supports), the frequent wood cutting defects and generally too 'crowded' reed pan and mechanism, the acoustic advantages with larger measures, the possibilites to use wider spaced keyboard and larger buttons...

Jonathan:"Traditions of construction (organ building) most probably influenced the design and construction methods of bandoneons; I would be interested to hear from which "tradition" Wheatstone's ideas were developed."

Goran now:The 'English' concertina emanated directly from the Symphonium ...not much of tradition:-)...but obviously that locked the constructive thinking concerning the concertina. If the 'family history' influenced C Wheatstone to regard the concertina as a flute substitute I don't know but he did so and this likely meant something for the obvious purpose of making a 'single note' instrument ..not a 'polyphonic' one. Additional patents showed ideas regarding extended polyphonic capacities.

Jonathan:"In any activity, it is a not uncommon error of beginners to blame any difficulty they might experience on their equipment (especially if they have a high opinion of their own capabilities), and to try all kinds of short cuts to get quick successes. Some people have to finally accept that their failure to achieve the desired success in playing the concertina is due more to their own prejudices and perhaps lack of capability than to any (imagined) shortcoming of the instrument itself, especially when the successes of so many others are considered. "

Goran now:Yes this certainly happens...what is your point?!? :-)

Jonathan:"With regard to change, innovators are indeed often met with skepticism, but the biggest obstacle to change is not conservatism but a total lack of evidence that the change actually constitutes an improvement."

Goran now:Complete nonsense. Innovations are met with scepticism entirely due to conservatism, ignorance, indolence or lacking imagination. This does not say that scepticism may not be sensible to a considerable part or conservatism not a fairly sound attitude....(not least since most 'innovations' are not of great importance.....)...and usually conservatism is less risky than opposing the 'establishment'....

Goran Rahm

#50 Dave Prebble

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 06:09 PM

Hi Goran,

Whilst all we poor conservative, indolent, ignorant numbskulls sit peacefully and contentedly with friends and family round our Christmas trees, comfortably playing traditional carols and merry airs on our useless, stupid and unergonomic instruments of torture, I at least, shall spare a special thought just for you on Christmas day, as you happily while away the hours banging your head against the brick wall of universal 'scepticism'.

Seasons Greetings

Dave :)

p.s.
I did ask Santa Claus to bring me an ergonomically designed 40 key 'Jeffries copy' Anglo for Christmas but all I could get out of him was a resounding Ho Ho Ho Ho........!! :lol:

Edited by Dave Prebble, 20 December 2003 - 10:36 PM.


#51 d.elliott

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 04:26 AM

Over the years this forum has picked over various aspects of concertina design, Some times we attempt to deduce the why's and wherefor's using massive great intuitive leaps, we all do it. Other times we indulge in a more semi-formal process of what is known as REVERSE ENGINEERING

This reverse engineering is taking a product, measuring and analysing to re-create the design assumptions, materials to that the product can be re-manufactured or developed, typically a technical process used in the maintenance and re-furbishment of vintage or just obsolete, but still in use, equipment.

I think any designer will agree that every design is the product of a series of compromises, strength versus weight, material capabilities, power versus speed, size versus portability, asthetics, maintainability etc etc. These issues were just as valid 1n 1850 as they will be in 2050! The difference is we can deploy a greater degree of knowlege and a far higher analitical capability. I think we often assume that our forefathers had the same advantages as we have today, they did not.

I am sure that the highly intelligent Victorian Engineers that created the concertina 'standard', as we know it today, got there through empirical means, trial and error, perspiration and hard work. This is a matter of archeology and second guessing. There are people around like Geoff Crabb who saw the end of this product development process and interacted with people who lived within the process, they may be the only people able to comment with authority.

I feel we spend too much time arguing over design assumptions and inadequacies If people want to design a new instument based upon the concertina then let them get on with it, but remember that when some one innovated and decided that a bicycle needed three wheels, it became a tricycle.

Dave

#52 goran rahm

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 11:10 AM

Dave, what you are saying no doubt is wise from many aspects but nevertheless I am struck by some of the inborn contradictions...Take this phrase for example:

Dave:" I think we often assume that our forefathers had the same advantages as we have today, they did not."

Goran again: This precisely is some of the essence! :*They did not*. "Engineering" generally speaking really is a matter of development and it ought to be selfevident that 150 passing years do give 'us' some unfair advantage compared to the originators of our concertinas. Another factor which I continually try to include is that the musical needs and idioms (partly) are different today and a contemporary purposeful 'concertina' today could be expected being something different from the device that came up around 1830. And again...and this goes for many machines that appeared during "the industrial revolution"...the interest was very much focused on the *technical* advance in Victorian times while the *human* or *biologic* approach ("ergonomic" field of knowledge) to the greatest part is a topic from 1950 and onwards.
The bicycle in my eyes is quite a good example...the development came not long after the concertina. Why has it undergone such a development and not the concertina?? A greater public use/demand I guess is one reason. Greater commercial potential another. Takes less time and effort learning to use is another.(The intertia in learning musical instruments is significant..... not only for concertinas...)

Goran Rahm

#53 Frank Edgley

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 12:32 PM

Goran,
I must admit that I am not always completely open to new ways of doing things. at least initially. There are pros & cons to this. It means, among other things, that I will conserve what has been proven to work without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. However, if something is really a good idea, I usually, if begrudgingly come around. So far, in spite of significant rhetoric, I have not SEEN too many of these "improvements", with most discussions based upon general statements of the shortcomings of certain design factors such as button size and handles / finger rests / straps etc. I would be most interested in actually seeing some drawings which would illustrate solutions to the design problems which would solve these problems while preserving the basic essence of the concertina. e.g. size, weight, portability, and at the same time maintaining quality, tone, appearance etc. etc. I know you have given significant time, energy, and thought to the shortcomings of our instrument. Do you, or could you come up with drawings or plans which would address these issues and yet fall within the design parameters stated above. As a concertina maker I would be most interested and would promise not to use your design without your OK, excluding, of course, design features already being used. I realise that without proper tools & equipment you may not be able to build such an instrument yourself, but a set of drawings done to scale, if built by a concertina maker, would put this discussion to rest, provide proof positive that your concepts were valid & practical, and perhaps do the concertina world a significant service. :)

#54 goran rahm

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 06:00 AM

Frank,
Many thanks for your entirely constructive comment. Of course I am always positive to trying to illustrate better what has been brought forward earlier.
Despite the excellent option of attaching files to messages here I am a bit hesitating regarding frequent use of photos which would be the best. Simple drawings may be good for a start so I will try that.
I suggest that I start a new topic in this ("Construction...") forum in a day or two and I call it "Reforming the concertinas" with subtitles "Buttons", "Size"...
One immediate problem is that there are several issues that ought to be dealt with separately but in the end have to be integrated. We do have 'button size' here...which directly is related to keybaord measures as well, sometimes to confusion....
I propose that if you don't have a fresh memory of my 'major' messages on the items do check these again...or first...:

http://www.concertin...an_ergonom.html

http://www.harbour.d...q/rahm/rahm.htm

http://www.concertin...an_holding.html

http://www.concertin...supporting.html

Goran Rahm
http://www.concertin..._supporting.gif




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