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Starting Out On Hayden Duet, Advice?


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#37 David Barnert

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 03:29 AM

...That is the upper portion in the diagram below. The rows are slanted 9.13° (arctan 9/56) to connect similarly named buttons along horizontal lines that correspond to the musical staff. It's a nice thought but the numbers don't bear it out...

I should add that until I sat down at the computer and did the math creating the diagrams, I expected that the top diagram would win out. That explains my balk at Rich's use of "enharmonics" in an earlier post the other day.

#38 inventor

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:52 AM

Slope of 10.62 degrees as quoted by Rich Morse is exactly correct, and was worked out as the optimal slope between myself and Steve Dickenson many years ago. This gives on the Right hand side of a larger (than 46 button) an eb" left the same distance from the hand rest as the d#" right, which plays a note of the same pitch (equal-temperament).
When I quote from the top of the head I find it easier to remember ten-and-a-half and can anyone measure exactly 0.12degrees? For that matter the measurement 12mm (again which I remember off the top of my head) between the buttons at fourths or fifths should be exactly root145 (get out your calculator) not root144: all that Pythagoras business about Squaws on Hippopotamuses. I regret we seem to have lost the original questioner, maybe too much pedantic discussions of minutae!
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#39 ragtimer

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 09:21 PM

Slope of 10.62 degrees as quoted by Rich Morse is exactly correct, and was worked out as the optimal slope between myself and Steve Dickenson many years ago. This gives on the Right hand side of a larger (than 46 button) an eb" left the same distance from the hand rest as the d#" right, which plays a note of the same pitch (equal-temperament).

What I wonder is whether any ergonomics, or human factors, were involved in choosing the slope? To fit the human hand, I would almost expect the slope to go the other way, sloping down towards the handrest on the pinky side. As it stands, one must make conscious efforts to reach farther (higher) with the pinky, and closer (lower) with the index finger.

Now I do appreciate that the regularity of intervals in the Hayden system requires the rows to be straight. But at the extreme ends of rows, might it not be a good idea to curve the rows downward a bit, as on Anglos and Bandoneons? Maybe this could be applied to "Extended" Haydens, meaning rows that go beyond the standard 46-key layout at either end.

The regular, straight rows are OK on the Thummer keyboards, because the hands can move freely left and right. But on a tina, we stick our wrists thru a strap, and the hands rotate and change their angle of attack when dealing with extreme left and right buttons at row ends.

Sure, I know -- "suck it up and practice more." But shouldn't isntruments be adapted to players, not just the other way round?

#40 David Barnert

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 03:40 AM

As it stands, one must make conscious efforts to reach farther (higher) with the pinky, and closer (lower) with the index finger.

Are you sure your difficulty is not with the peculiar Stagi dimensions?

#41 ragtimer

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 10:50 PM

As it stands, one must make conscious efforts to reach farther (higher) with the pinky, and closer (lower) with the index finger.

Are you sure your difficulty is not with the peculiar Stagi dimensions?

Oddly, I have had much less trouble hitting the right notes on the Stagi, than on my "new" Bastari with its much closer-to-standard button spacings. Part of the problem is just the closer vertical spacing between rows, and smaller buttons -- less margin for error.

But just today I saw that much of the problem is with the hand rests and straps, or how I use them. The Stagi's strap surrounds only the fingers, with the thumb going outside and above the strap. This seems to guarantee a good hand position, such that the fingers all fall horizontally across a row. You can tighten up your thumb against the strap for a very secure hand stabilization.

THe Bastari's strap covers the entire hand, and the wooden rest has a cutout where the thumb goes over. I found that I had been inserting my hands too far, letting that rest piece press against the webbing between my thumb and palm (like the Stagi's strap). But if I'm careful to press my thumb's pad onto the handle and keeep my hand out that far, this makes my wrist and hand take an angle whereby my fingers once again lie acrosss a given row of keys, instead of the index finger going one row high and the pinky one row low.

So the moral seeems to be -- pay attention to your hand positioning! Kind of like one's golf stance -- very easy to drift into bad habits and sloppy setup, with similar results :angry:
--Mike K.

#42 chris

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 04:25 AM

Hi
Is it possible to change the springs for lighter ones? If so wouldn't that make it easier to play?
chris

#43 ragtimer

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:34 PM

Hi
Is it possible to change the springs for lighter ones? If so wouldn't that make it easier to play?
chris

Yes! How many times I have imagined stretching or replacing the action springs in my Stagi 46. They're not that hard to access, tho getting them hooked back onto the levers could be tricky. I do mean to try stretching one note's spring to see if it works, adn hope I don't overstretch the spring.

The top two rows of buttons have springs down in a lower level that can't be reached without completely removing the rest of the action. But it would be worth doing.

The more I switch back and forth between my two Haydens, the more I'm convinced that the Stagi's larger vertical spacing between rows is better! More ergonomic, easier to finger. I don't mean hitting wrong notes (that's a matter of handle/strap placement) --- I mean fingers crowding each other so that certain note sequences are harder to paly in the "standard" closely spaced rows of the Bastari 67. (Which I measured as being in accordance with Brian's specs).

I thought the closer rwo spacing would make LH chords easier to reach, but so far I don't find them any easier than on the Stagi. --Mike K.

#44 Jim Bayliss

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:56 PM

The matter of the best slant angle of the Hayden duet keyboard is, I think, worthy of discussion and something that different people might have different opinions on. In my playing, I try to follow, as much as I can, "correct fingering." By this, I mean using, on the left side, the little finger for the 4-fa button, the ring finger for the 1-do and 5-so buttons, the middle finger for the 2-re and 6-la buttons, and the index finger for the 3-mi and 7-ti buttons, in whatever key is being played. Correspondingly, on the right side, the index finger plays the 1-do and 4-fa, the middle finger plays the 2-re and 5-so, the ring finger plays the 3-mi and 6-la, and the little finger plays the 7-ti. This is the way, I think, most people instinctively play the instrument, although I'm aware from this forum, that some people have a different "correct fingering" (and that's fine).

Any variation from correct fingering, I would call "fudging", and there are many reasons to fudge, which would include vamping, playing accidentals, awkward fingering situations, finger competition, keyboard position, etc. But, in the midst of fudging, it's important to stay centered and not get lost on the keyboard. I think the ideal keyboard would be one which would minimize fudging for the reason of keyboard position. A problem with the 11 degree angle is that it tends to crowd the little finger on the lower (position-wise, as you play it) ends of the keyboard. As an example of this, try playing the second inversion of the F chord on the left side, with the little finger on B flat and the ring finger on the lower F. Also, try a G sharp minor chord on the right side, using the little finger on the D sharp. The crowdedness of the fingering is worsened by the slant, and, for me, usually necessitates a fudge. I might also mention that, as a fortunate owner of an 82 key Wheatstone Hayden, the slant makes the uppermost rows more difficult to reach with the little finger, less of a problem on the smaller instruments.

A few years ago, I drilled a few holes in my Stagi Hayden and changed the hand rests to a position parallel to the button rows, and found I liked this and was less likely to have to fudge because of keyboard position. The negative of doing this with an instrument designed for an 11 degree slant is that the instrument wasn't built for it. It throws the playing center somewhat off balance, and I was playing the instrument with a corner on my knee, as opposed to a side on my knee. Ultimately, I'd like to some day to have an instrument built to try out the parallel positioning of the hand rests and key rows, and hopefully better balance the use of correct fingering on both ends of the keyboards.

#45 JimLucas

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 05:08 PM

One of the things I really like about the enharmonics-parallel idea is that it means that every note on the instrument is the same incremental distance away from the handrest. I love that sort of thing. I don't know of any other instrument that is as regular. What I mean by that is that if you take every note on the right side of the Hayden and draw a line extending from it parallel to the handrest, then you'll have a series of equispaced lines.... And each line will be one half tone from the next in increasing pitch as you head out from the handrest. Now is that elegant or what?

Yes, I know that the English is similar - but not quite as "perfect". Well, maybe more so in it's own way, in that the notes "vertically" increase in pitch evenly - except that the sharp/flat of a note is in the same position as it's "pair". IOW, they align as written, where the Hayden is delineated as pitched.

Ah, Rich, a light dawns. (Why is there no light-bulb smiley?)
You seem to "love" laid-out-flat geometric patterns built of straight lines and equal intervals. Too much time spent working with architectural blueprints? (Confusion between the equally-spaced studs that make up a wall and the "studs" -- what Wheatstone called the buttons -- of a concertina keyboard?) :D

Though I often like such patterns visually, I don't consider them "perfect", nor do I consider other types of patterns to be of lesser quality simply because they don't follow that standard. And I certainly don't assume that a pattern which follows a simple geometric pattern is necessarily easier for my fingers to make music with. "Perfect", indeed! Hmmph! ;)

I feel that one of the great things about the English system is that it's built upon three nested levels of binary flip-flops. As it happens, my own nervous system has also found that the most comfortable for making music (of the concertina systems I've tried, so far). And sometimes the regularity of a pattern can make playing a particular passage awkward, while at other times the seemingly random layout of a many-button anglo clearly lets me avoid collisions between my fingers.

Mathematical patterns are nice to think about, and often nice to look at, but that doesn't necessarily make them nice to "play" with. For instance, take one of my favorite mathematical/geometric patterns... the Mandelbrot set. Beautiful (IMO) to contemplate, and many beautiful gaphics have been derived from it, but as a basis for a keyboard layout? How would you play an instrument where the value of the note you're reaching for changes unpredictably as your finger approaches the button? :D :ph34r:

#46 JimLucas

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 05:30 PM

...shouldn't isntruments be adapted to players, not just the other way round?

Dangerous territory there, Rag, though I don't disagree. :)
Because there are many different sizes and shapes of hands, and that's not the only factor. So true adaptation to "players" would require separate adaptation to each player.

There are advantages to each of standardization and customization. Furthermore, there are often variations in detail that most people don't notice. E.g., the slant across the rows of Jeffries anglos is different from the Lachenal standard. And I've been told of one Macann player with two similar instruments who found the one comfortable to play but the other awkward. He did some measuring and found that there was a difference of 3/16" (4.76 mm) between the two instruments in the distances between the hand bar and the closest row of buttons. So he had the hand bars on the "awkward" instrument moved to match the spacing of the other, and that made a world of difference... for him.

...on a tina, we stick our wrists thru a strap...

If I did that, I'd never be able to reach the buttons! :o
I put my hand through the strap, but never my wrist.

Edited by JimLucas, 18 November 2007 - 05:36 PM.


#47 Richard Morse

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:07 AM

Ah, Rich, a light dawns. (Why is there no light-bulb smiley?)

Posted Image

-- Rich --

#48 meltzer

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:48 AM

where the value of the note you're reaching for changes unpredictably as your finger approaches the button? :D :ph34r:

My first box was like that.

#49 JimLucas

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 03:47 PM

Ah, Rich, a light dawns. (Why is there no light-bulb smiley?)

Posted Image

Touché, though I see you didn't get that from the Invision software driving concertina.net/forums. ;)

#50 ragtimer

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 04:39 PM

...shouldn't isntruments be adapted to players, not just the other way round?

Dangerous territory there, Rag, though I don't disagree. :)
Because there are many different sizes and shapes of hands, and that's not the only factor. So true adaptation to "players" would require separate adaptation to each player.

There are probably some adaptations that would be universal to all players.
As an example, pipe organ pedal keyboards (2.5 chromatic octaves) are now built concave (meaning the center pedals right under the palyer are "dished out" farther away than those at the end), and radiating (so the keys are closer together at their pivot points udner the player than at the console end).

However, German organ builders still make the pedal keys flat and straight. "It was good enough for Bach, and one should have to work to play an instrument" is their philosophy. Plus, straight pedals are easier to make. Now, we don't really want this attitude to apply to concerinas, do we? Especially since German isntruments also have curved, not striaght, rows of buttons :P

And I've been told of one Macann player with two similar instruments who found the one comfortable to play but the other awkward. He did some measuring and found that there was a difference of 3/16" (4.76 mm) between the two instruments in the distances between the hand bar and the closest row of buttons. So he had the hand bars on the "awkward" instrument moved to match the spacing of the other, and that made a world of difference... for him.

I'd say that 3/16" would be more than enough to throw me off on my Hayden, even tho it doesn't seem like much on an Anglo with its widely spaced rows. But yes, it makes a difference

...on a tina, we stick our wrists thru a strap...

If I did that, I'd never be able to reach the buttons! :o
I put my hand through the strap, but never my wrist.

OK, I misspoke. On my old Stagi Hayden, my hands go thru the strap only up to the base of my thumb, and only up to my knuckles on the Bastari 67.

But what I meant was that the side-to-side position of the hands is constrained, and little movement in that direction is possible. --Mike K.

#51 JimLucas

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 05:46 PM

...on a tina, we stick our wrists thru a strap...

If I did that, I'd never be able to reach the buttons! :o
I put my hand through the strap, but never my wrist.

OK, I misspoke. On my old Stagi Hayden, my hands go thru the strap only up to the base of my thumb, and only up to my knuckles on the Bastari 67.

And you're far from the first! :D
Nor the first I've corrected, which makes me wonder why it's a common error of speech, when those who make the error all seem quite aware of the difference between their wrists and their hands. :unsure:

But I feel the correcting needs to be done, lest someone who doesn't know concertinas would become greatly confused by your statement. Also because some English concertinas do have actual wrist straps, though of course they're not used in the same way as the hand straps on an anglo or duet.

But what I meant was that the side-to-side position of the hands is constrained, and little movement in that direction is possible.

Yep. As it is on all concertinas.

In fact, that's one thing I wonder about with the Hayden layout. Incrementally extending the keyboard to include enharmonic duplicates involves wider and wider rows of buttons. It seems to me that there would be a point of diminishing returns, a point at which the need for an ability to shift the hand sideways would conflict with the need to be able to keep the hand from unwillingly slipping sideways.

But your description of the Bastari design has given me the following idea. (I haven't examined it thoroughly, so I'm not at all sure that it can actually work.)

The strap doesn't go outside the thumb, but over the whole hand. In fact it goes over the whole hand-bar, which is made wide enough for the hand to be shifted significantly in a sideways direction.

But working inward from the thumb end of the bar, hollow out a succession of shallow grooves or depressions for anchoring the thumb at evenly spaced intervals from the end.

So I'm suggesting another compromise. Can such depressions be shaped in such a way that they truly can anchor the thumb, yet allow enough freedom to shift the hand (and thumb) to a new position when needed, and not cause discomfort when the "inboard" depressions are under other parts of the hand? :unsure:



#52 ragtimer

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:45 AM

But what I meant was that the side-to-side position of the hands is constrained, and little movement in that direction is possible.

Yep. As it is on all concertinas.

In fact, that's one thing I wonder about with the Hayden layout. Incrementally extending the keyboard to include enharmonic duplicates involves wider and wider rows of buttons. It seems to me that there would be a point of diminishing returns, a point at which the need for an ability to shift the hand sideways would conflict with the need to be able to keep the hand from unwillingly slipping sideways.

Yes -- long ago I read something that brought up this horizontal "growth" beyond what one's hands could handle, as a restriction on the ability to build a Hayden to "play in any key."
In fact, the extreme-left Db button on my 67 is jsut about unreachable, and while an Eb7 chord can be played like any other 7th chord, it's hard to reach (both these examples are form the LH side, but there are some extreme sharp buttons on the RH that don't reach very well either).

But your description of the Bastari design has given me the following idea. (I haven't examined it thoroughly, so I'm not at all sure that it can actually work.)

The strap doesn't go outside the thumb, but over the whole hand. In fact it goes over the whole hand-bar, which is made wide enough for the hand to be shifted significantly in a sideways direction.

That about describes my Bastari 67 -- the strap covers the whole hand, and the palm bar is cut out at the top/left for the thumb to grab into. I don't like it as much as the Stagi setup, where the thumb passes outside the strap -- but it may help in getting more freedom of movement than is needed on a mere 46 key Stagi.

But working inward from the thumb end of the bar, hollow out a succession of shallow grooves or depressions for anchoring the thumb at evenly spaced intervals from the end.

So I'm suggesting another compromise. Can such depressions be shaped in such a way that they truly can anchor the thumb, yet allow enough freedom to shift the hand (and thumb) to a new position when needed, and not cause discomfort when the "inboard" depressions are under other parts of the hand? :unsure:

That's an interesting idea, Jim. It's especially attractive because, for a large Hayden, one tends to set the hand position according to how sharp or flat the key of the tune is. Sharp keys shift to the right, flats to the left. So you wouldn't need to shift your thumb to a different depression all that often during a tune, unless it modulates to other keys.

So your scheme may have some merit. Especially since I do not consider the ergonomic design of the Hayden to be "case closed" by a long shot. You'd only need one or two alternative thumb notches, probably just one (since you need some solid wood between notches), so it might not be too distracting or uncomfortable.

(The Hayden layout really is unique, in that all the flats go up the left side and the sharps up the right and hte "white" keys (naturals) are in the center. A small (46 key) has hardly any flats (just Bb) and two sharps per row, while my 67 has two of each per row.)

BTW, I did not get an email notification of your reply. And I had to log in again despite asking to be remembered last night. THis board needs some work!
--Mike K.

#53 chris

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 07:14 AM

Hi
again talking thru the top of my head (always works for me) if you had a thumb strap and used a slacker hand strap would this give more reach and flexibility? the thumb might be used as a pivot point and may give more stability
chris

#54 inventor

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:18 AM

Regards fingering I favour "flexible fingering"; and will state catagoricly that there is no "correct fingering" for the Hayden system concertina! My little fingers I use very flexibly on the RHS for the leading notes, and for chromatic decorations, and usually find that I am using ti IV (up) do I, re II, fa III, which fits the RH very comfortably, but might also use do II, & re III, then mi IV, up to Fa I, So II, La III.
On the LHS I use my little finger almost entirely for Bass notes around an octave below my other fingers which may be playing counter melody or chords. I have trained it to go right across even under Left I.
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