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Reforming Concertina(s)


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#1 goran rahm

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:10 AM

In a message Dec 22 to the topic "Size..." Frank asked for "scale drawings" in order to get a better view on some suggested ergonomic features.
I have made a set of 4 drawings for a general layout andŽanother set of 3 drawings for application on the standard Anglo (Another topic title)

To repeat shortly the background consisting of some 'defects' of the traditional design - speaking firstly of the Treble English and roughly the same size Anglo and small Duets.....:
1) They all are 'unbalanced' - i.e. the handle is not located at the geometric or gravity centre of the end (...*unless* played in a low position or hanging in some support)
2) The ends are too small to offer a stable contact with the hand
3) If the hand is having a contact with the ends for stability one will have a hyperextended wrist and not a good relaxed position for the fingers
4) The English 'handle' is based on stabilizing the instrument with thumb and little fingers which are too weak for the task and the stability insufficient
5) The Anglo/Duet 'handle' is 'better' but still not stable enough and can not be adjusted to good positions
6) The ends are too small to admit the wished hand position v. keyboard
7) Button shape and diameter is (usually) not comfortable
8) English and Duet keyboard layout spacing too narrow for many individuals.It is mostly more purposeful to adapt to a slightly 'too large' than 'too small' keyboard but this is an individual matter.

Apart from this above it can be discussed how improved ergonomic conditions may cooperate with technical construction aims and musical aims. In principle the 'defects' above need a larger instrument to be 'cured' and IF a larger box is used you automatically may get additional resources for other solutions of reedwork and mechanism. The Anglo and Duet have more in common in this respect than either has with the English.
In my view it is however quite possible to design a greatly standarized hybride model suitable for all the most common keyboard systems and also with a basically uniform 'handle' consisting of: thumbstrap AND wrist support AND handstrap AND shoulder/neck support.(According to earlier articles)

The suggested hybride is elongated because we need at least 180-200mm length for a more central handle location and moving the keyoboard to the 'top' of the end. In order not to get a too large end the width is kept down to say 150mm.
For a 36 key Anglo 180mm would be enough, for a 50-60 key Duet I have calculated with 230-250mm length. Using standard accordion type reeds mounted in blocks with 2x6 the suggested measures might have space enough for a double-reeded 60key layout.
Some additional comments are found with each drawing

Goran Rahm

#2 goran rahm

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:18 AM

Attached a figure ® 1 showing the end layout of a 150x230mm instrument having a keyboard with transversal c-c button distance c. 17mm and buttons 9-10mm wide.
A support (S) is mounted centrally on a base plate (B) on which a steady thumbstrap (T) may be located individually. Air valve is indicated by (AV)
Side view in next message and view from low end in another

Goran Rahm

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#3 goran rahm

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:20 AM

Side view figure ® 2
Base plate (B) .Support (S) Thumbstrap omitted
Fixation point of handstrap (HS)
Five reed blocks (RB)

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#4 goran rahm

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:25 AM

View from low end figure ® 3
Base plate (B) Support (S) Thumbstrap (T) Fixation point for handstrap (HS)
Observe the slope of the support towards the thumb side in order to compensate for the angled position of the hand when placed on a surface.

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#5 goran rahm

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:32 AM

Figures ® 1,2,3 relate firstly to Anglo and Duet arrangements using a straight parallell lever mechanism similar to arrangements is Chemnitzer/Bandonion
With the English keyboard neither the short reedblocks nor the mechanism may be easily practised

The reed block arrangement for Anglo/Duet is shown in figures (AD) 1,2 below

For the English a longitudinal reedblock location as figure (E) 1 may be better and if the layout with separate reeds is used the alternatives (E) 2 or (E) 3 may be functional

Goran Rahm

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#6 Richard Morse

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 09:35 AM

Interesting stuff though it's still along the lines of "schematic design" rather than "scaled drawings".

One serious concern is how the action would work as it would need to access the banks directly under the fingerboard key area.

Another concern is the desirability of a rectangular double-reeded accordion (setup/design) instrument. While I personally think this idea makes a lot of sense, our market research showed that very few concertina players would consider buying a rectangular concertina, and that they preferred a concertina sound over an accordion sound. Our finding was skewed somewhat as the folks we polled were concertina players, not chemnitzer/bandoneon or accordion players.

Of course if there was enough interest expressed in this sort of design and someone were to subsidize it's development - who knows? Get enough folks out there playing these things and with good press and feedback this type of instrument might become mainstream?

Edited by Richard Morse, 03 January 2004 - 09:38 AM.


#7 goran rahm

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 06:53 AM

Rich:"Interesting stuff though it's still along the lines of "schematic design" rather than "scaled drawings". "

Goran:True....A proper scale 'construction drawing' doesn't seem necessary and like I said it would be more interesting in this 'phase' having some 'brainstorming' for general layouts rather than presenting ready specific instruments

Rich:"One serious concern is how the action would work as it would need to access the banks directly under the fingerboard key area."

Goran:Sorry, I'm not familiar with "banks" in this context? Is it he "reedblocks" you mean? ....If so no problem since they are suggested being aside. Or do you mean the pivots for the levers? The *mechanism* itself can be constructed in different ways. A 3-row Anglo is 'easy as pancake'...4-6 button rows (Anglo or Duet)may ask for an arrangement like with bandonions but there are variants. The English actually may ask for a more transversal, circular or likesided arrangement. Can be worked out....

Rich:"Another concern is the desirability of a rectangular double-reeded accordion (setup/design) instrument. While I personally think this idea makes a lot of sense, our market research showed that very few concertina players would consider buying a rectangular concertina,.."

Goran:Yes I know...on the other hand considering the growing ethnical and musical 'crossing overs' the mix between the (larger) foursided (Chemnitzer/Bandonion) population and the sixsided (British style) population may increase and so maybe the acceptance of foursided 'concertinas'?
The looks also may be modified...maybe with some 'improvement' according to Bandonion tradition see figure (A) or elongated concertina tradition figure (B) below

Rich:".... and that they preferred a concertina sound over an accordion sound. "

Goran:The *sound* is firstly a reed matter, not related to the shape of the box, and up to now standard 'accordion' reeds have been used for the marketed concertinas (with some exceptions) but the 'tone' of 'accordion' reeds may be modified to resemble 'concertina sound' more, with reed chambers in blocks you can modify the tone additionally, not to speak of the (in my opinion) very significant options from double reed sets for 'tremolo' ("wet") tuning, for octave ("bandoneon") sound and for combining 'treble' and 'baritone' resources in one instrument.
With the longitudinal reed block arrangement in figure 7 for the English one could even have room enough for a cassotto construction which may offer even mellower sound than most 'concertina-reeded' instruments have.

Rich:"Of course if there was enough interest expressed in this sort of design and someone were to subsidize it's development - who knows? Get enough folks out there playing these things and with good press and feedback this type of instrument might become mainstream?"

Goran:The ideas leading to the concept in my view are :
- the said options for better ergonomy
- the said options for greater tonal variety in basically the same size
- possibilities to use mass produced reeds (this of course is relative...naturally 'concertina reeds' might be mass produced too...)
- options for use of a uniform basic construction suitable for all common keyboard systems
- options for use of more straightforward mechanical constructions and bellows constructions
- a more natural future transition to 'reedless' electronic 'concertina -like' instruments

Goran Rahm
- cost reduction from rationalization

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#8 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 10:33 AM

One serious concern is how the action would work as it would need to access the banks directly under the fingerboard key area.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with "banks" in this context? Is it he "reed blocks" you mean?

Yes, we call them blocks or banks pretty interchangeably though we think of a "bank" (of reeds) to usually represent the gamut of reeds in a holding device (such as a reed block). That way that holder-of-reeds can be of shapes other than block-y (extruded rectangular shaped?).

if so no problem since they [the reed banks or blocks] are suggested being aside.

Your drawings AD2 and EI show the banks being positioned over the bellows fold-encroaching area. To get enough reeds into the instrument (and keep to the sizes you mentioned) would put some of the banks below the keyed areas.

.... and that they preferred a concertina sound over an accordion sound.

The *sound* is firstly a reed matter, not related to the shape of the box, and up to now standard 'accordion' reeds have been used for the marketed concertinas (with some exceptions) but the 'tone' of 'accordion' reeds may be modified to resemble 'concertina sound' more, with reed chambers in blocks you can modify the tone additionally

The sound is only partially a reed tongue matter, and partially a reed shoe (or plate) matter, and majorly a mounting and tone chamber matter.

For example, mounting an accordion reed assembly (reed/plate/rivet) hard onto or into a reed pan of which the chambers are directly a part of will effect a much more concertina type sound than a having a reed assembly (of any type) mounted in a separate reed bank (somewhat) perpendicular to the sound board (or action board).

Do you know of ways to modify reed chambers in blocks to effect a concertina type sound?

#9 goran rahm

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:41 PM

QUOTE (Goran)
if so no problem since they [the reed banks or blocks] are suggested being aside.


Rich:"Your drawings AD2 and EI show the banks being positioned over the bellows fold-encroaching area. To get enough reeds into the instrument (and keep to the sizes you mentioned) would put some of the banks below the keyed areas.

Goran:Quite right! You need another say 10mm sideways and at the lower end to get folding space. If we wish to optimize measures exactly the reed plates could be a little bit leaner maybe to compensate...Say we manage anyway with a width of 160-170mm (same as Anglos and treble Englishes) which ought to be satisfactory. The length demand is so depending on many factors....

Rich:"The sound is only partially a reed tongue matter, and partially a reed shoe (or plate) matter, and majorly a mounting and tone chamber matter.
For example, mounting an accordion reed assembly (reed/plate/rivet) hard onto or into a reed pan of which the chambers are directly a part of will effect a much more concertina type sound than a having a reed assembly (of any type) mounted in a separate reed bank (somewhat) perpendicular to the sound board (or action board). "

Goran:I have worked too little with reeds myself so we should not argue about it ..there are influences from all the parts and structures and relative importance related to varying construction. There certainly are still things to find out and new combinations to use...

Rich:Do you know of ways to modify reed chambers in blocks to effect a concertina type sound?

Goran:I've heard that Geuns and Wakker have come up with quite successful tonal results but I have not seen an instrument in real and don't know the responsibility of reeds vs chambers...

I have to say though that personally I am quite a bit puzzled by the affection for "concertina type sound" among 'British style' concertina players. Quite a few instruments sound terribly despite their 'concertina sound' and for 'sweetness' of tone in my experience the preferrence among 'common listeners' (without personal emotional bonds to either type of instruments) mostly is in favour of accordions with cassotto or bandonions rather than concertinas....

Goran

#10 Richard Morse

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 08:56 AM

I have to say though that personally I am quite a bit puzzled by the affection for "concertina type sound" among 'British style' concertina players

I assure you that there are many people puzzled by the affection that accordion and bandoneon players have for their instruments' sounds.

in my experience the preference among 'common listeners'... mostly is in favour of accordions with cassotto or bandonions rather than concertinas....

Preference among "common listeners" greatly depends upon the sampling of listeners and the type of music played. Do you think a random sampling of folks taking in a concert in Ireland would favor a bandoneon sound over a "British style" concertina?

#11 Clive Thorne

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:16 AM

Surely Goran, the thing is that we have chosen to play british style concertinas, the sound of which is normally an integral part of the decision.

If we had prefered the sound of accordians or Bandoneons then we would all be accordianists/bandoneonists and not concertinists, and this site would be 'Bandoneon.net'.


Also, we are on dangerous ground if we say that an instrument sounds 'terrible'. This is purely a matter of personal preference, so we should always preface such stements with 'I think..', or 'To me ...' etc.


Clive.

Edited by Clive Thorne, 05 January 2004 - 09:18 AM.


#12 goran rahm

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 11:21 AM

Clive and Rich,
Concerning 'tone'..which really is a side matter here...and we are all biased in may ways...trying to disregard all these ethnical and idiomatic preferrences...what I meant to say is just what you both illustrate...the occasional subjectivity!
Why sell a hybride accordion reeded 'concertina' to Irish Anglo players if they dislike it?? It is the 'cross over' or 'world music' or 'experimental' oriented bunch that could be open for new instruments combining features from traditionally 'ethnical' models...
People not familiar with the musical habits but just listening for pleasure of any instrument use to favour resonant or harmonious instruments and makers of instruments mostly search means to produce such qualities too.
All squeezeboxes produce exceptionally great deal of disharmonic overtones and a lot of effort in various ways have been put down to modify the rawness of 'natural' free reed sound. Cassotto, wet tuning, multiple reed sets, filters, resonators and so on are metods for this. British style concertinas basically and from tradition do not rely on such features and consequently (many/most of them) sound 'raw' compared to other models for the ears of 'common' listeners.

The only conclusion of importance is that we better be openminded for other taste than our own and keep in mind the constant difference between tradition and progress in music making and listening

Where is Frank who asked for the illustrations of layout/design suggestions?

IF we want to secure 'concertina sound' ...allright...'concertina reeds' could be used with a rectangular shape too and why not in 'reed blocks' ??....and IF the ergonomic features are good as such they can be practised on traditional instruments (as shown with the Anglo in the other topic)

Concertinas really are mechanical devices..possible to develop by simple means....there are no acoustic complications to handle like with violins, guitars,
wind instruments...

Goran Rahm

#13 Richard Morse

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:15 PM

British style concertinas basically and from tradition do not rely on such  [tone modification] features and consequently (many/most of them) sound 'raw' compared to other models for the ears of 'common' listeners.

Apparently a lot of people LIKE that "raw" sound. Many people like bagpipes and shawms too.

IF we want to secure 'concertina sound' ...allright...'concertina reeds' could be used with a rectangular shape too and why not in 'reed blocks' ??

If could be that it is not possible to secure a "concertina sound" with reeds in reedblocks. No one has produced such an instrument yet.

Concertinas really are mechanical devices..possible to develop by simple means....there are no acoustic complications to handle like with violins, guitars,
wind instruments...

If producing concertinas were simple there would be many makers of concertinas with Jeffries and Wheatstone Aeola characteristics.

#14 JimLucas

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:40 PM

Do you think a random sampling of folks taking in a concert in Ireland would favor a bandoneon sound over a "British style" concertina?

Might depend on whether they could see it, or not. E.g., if the player were behind a screen, but someone in front of the screen were miming with a different instrument (selected from, e.g., Jeffries, Morse, bandoneon, or B/C accordion), it could be very interesting to learn the audience reactions. ;)

#15 JimLucas

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:43 PM

If could be that it is not possible to secure a "concertina sound" with reeds in reedblocks. No one has produced such an instrument yet.

Well, there's the Accordeophone, but that has multiple reeds per note. Might be possible to (temporarily) disable all but one set of reeds and see how it sounds, but that would be a lot of work.

Edit: typo corrected

Edited by JimLucas, 05 January 2004 - 04:44 PM.


#16 Richard Morse

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 08:46 AM

If could be that it is not possible to secure a "concertina sound" with reeds in reedblocks. No one has produced such an instrument yet.

Well, there's the Accordeophone, but that has multiple reeds per note.  Might be possible to (temporarily) disable all but one set of reeds and see how it sounds, but that would be a lot of work.

I thought that that istrument had reeds mounted as traditional concertinas, not on blocks as accordions? In any case, I haven't heard it so don't know what the sound is like. Have you?

#17 Frank Edgley

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 09:56 AM

Thank you for the drawings, Goran. However, the reason I wanted actual scale drawings was to see if your design suggestions would actually work. I also said something about maintaining characteristics of the concertina, such as size, portability, sound etc. I would quote myself, but can't find that post. Now that I have gone to "Reply mode", I can no longer see your drawings either, but with the size buttons you suggest, I can't see how the mechanism would work out. i.e. where each mechanism would route from button to vent hole and where the fulcrum for each note would be located. Also, putting the reeds in "Stagi-type" oblique banks would enable you to put more reeds into an instrument, but would have to be inset from the edge by the depth of the bellows fold, at least. As well, the bellows frame would have to be deeper so that these banks of reeds would not hit each other when the bellows was in a closed position. Putting this many reeds into a hexagonal instrument would be even more difficult.
However, we are both talking in very general ways, or at least still conceptually. The only way to see how it would all work would be precise, scale drawings . These would have to include mechanisms, buttons, bellows (showing depth of folds), reed placement (including appropriate sizes).

#18 goran rahm

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 12:42 PM

Frank:"Thank you for the drawings, Goran. However, the reason I wanted actual scale drawings was to see if your design suggestions would actually work."

Goran:You probably understand that I will not waste time in a complete construction drawing as not intending to make a 'product' myself and being a 'constructor' yourself i guess you share my view that IF you were making something alike you probably use materials you have and just go ahead making parts of it to find out tolerances in practise if you don't know them beforehand.

There is nothing particularly complicated in the layout compared to existing products however and you can simply applicate solutions used for bandonions/chemnitzers and alike for the mechanism and on the way modify or improve them

Frank: I also said something about maintaining characteristics of the concertina, such as size, portability, sound etc.

Goran:That question is not essential from my viewpoint except within the range I have suggested...say end measures 160-170(instead of 150) x 200-250mm.
1) Size. We need at least 200 mm(maybe 180) length for central hand position
There should be no major problems arranging up to 50 or probably 60 keys in the above drawn measures adding necessary width for bellows folds.
A 30 key (3 reed blocks each side) Anglo ought to be practicable in 160x180mm..certainly compact enough
2) Portability. Basically less important than 1) so if size is accepted portability probably is too.
3) Like discussed with Rich before a matter or subjective and traditional wish..
First question IS the 'concertina sound' that important??...it allready varies....
Secondly it can not be predicted from a drawing we all know that...

Frank:...but with the size buttons you suggest, I can't see how the mechanism would work out. i.e. where each mechanism would route from button to vent hole and where the fulcrum for each note would be located.

Goran:One reason for the straight layout is using the principle of mechanism arrangement ( parallell levers on common fulcrum) of bandonions/chemnitzers.
No big problem

Frank:Also, putting the reeds in "Stagi-type" oblique banks would enable you to put more reeds into an instrument,

Goran:??? Why? in a rectangular box??

Frank:As well, the bellows frame would have to be deeper so that these banks of reeds would not hit each other when the bellows was in a closed position.

Goran:Right,mentioned by Rich also. I left it out and a correction on the drawings R2 and R3 by widening say 10mm each side is necessary

Frank: Putting this many reeds into a hexagonal instrument would be even more difficult.

Goran:I would never dream of using reed blocks in a hexagonal instrument myself...again one reason for the elongated and square(rectangular) shape IS just to avoid those irrational oblique solutions
Keep in mind that the 'English' mechanism arrangement is rational *due to* the circular reed arrangement and the specific keyboard.
Arranging the Anglo/German 'concept' circular/radially in my view is technically absurd. It may be cute for looks and handiness in some ways but there is no musical advantage with it either...merely a 'fashion' or 'tradition' feature.

Frank:However, we are both talking in very general ways, or at least still conceptually. The only way to see how it would all work would be precise, scale drawings .

Goran: No...the only way is to construct prototype(s) :-) ...but of course one can make more detailed sketches to get a better impression of tolerances...
What is it exactly that you don't believe is fairly easy to make in real?
Compare like I said existing products and their solutions.

Frank: These would have to include mechanisms, buttons, bellows (showing depth of folds), reed placement (including appropriate sizes).

Goran:I will not present a complete construction drawing...I regard it as waste of time. I see no major difficulties to *make* a similar instrument...but i would not expect it to be a hit from scratch. 10 prototypes or so ahead one knows better...

so...I'm willing to try sorting out a bit more 'conceptually' what can be done in different ways...are there any specific difficulties?

Goran Rahm




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