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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. @Don: Yes, it is completely pressure sensitive, with four different response curves available. It can do vibrato, it was bisonoric for at least a while and covers full range of MIDI volume (or velocity) levels. You can use it for realistic software bellows, string and woodwind instruments. But as I wrote before, the main problem I had is the low pressure in the bellows and thus a poor resolution of readouts - this have tremendous effect for all bellows driven effects, they are there, but sometimes sound very harsh, especially on low volume/bellows direction change. I have sensors with the lowest range of measurement I could find and I could only make them response in about 1/4 of available range. This is probably the reason why s-wave uses air cylinders instead of a bellows. I have recently done some quick tests using LEGO cylinders, and I could easily use the full range of values with them. I'm considering similiar approach to be able to disconnect the ends of such instrument and convert it to a flat keyboard with velocity sensitivity when desired.
  2. Well, I have mentioned it a couple of times in various places around this forum, but since you have made a specific topic on this subject I think it won't hurt to put some more detail on my DIY MIDI project. I was playing on a cheap German Anglo then, and wanted to be sure if I wanted to switch systems, as bisonoric bellows control is so much fun (this is something I really miss sometimes). The whole thing has costed me something around 200$ [including new soldering iron and Arduino board]. It is a 64 button (Wakker H2 layout), pressure sensitive instrument, with transposition knob and four aditional switches, based on Arduino board and Processing language and, because of this, it is an USB controller. It requires a "driver" running on target system. I have chosen this approach mostly because I don't have any other midi equipment and I would need a MIDI-USB adapter anyway. Some pics of working prototype: 1. Fast LEGO prototype used for writing the driver: 2. final, working prototype. I have used it for about 8 months before I bought Elise. Back then, due to some bugs in the software it had to be restarted every 10-15 minutes as it was developing an increasing lag. I have abandoned this project after buing Elise, but revised it recently when I was in need of midi keyboard for composing. Now it has no lag and I will probably make it a decent MIDI instrument some day - haven't decided yet if in concertina form or a planar keyboard with some sort of pressure/wind/velocity controll. In present form it can act as a concertina (pressure controls volume) or a piano (pressure controls velocity). It has a functional air button, so bellows controll is same as the real thing. It doesn't send "all notes off" on bellows direction change, instead there is a pressure offset below which all notes are silent. Unfortunately, I had to guess pressure levels inside the bellows when I was buing sensors, so I had to struggle with very low resolution of readouts. This is one of those things I'll have to rethink before building a final version. Side note: the first driver also allowed me to run this instrument in "AngloHayden" bisonoric mode, with definable interval between push and pull notes. It was fun, but I "fell in love" in Hayden layout in mater of days, so I scrapped the switches for some other parameters (as I have written above, it only has 4 parameter switches and I wanted to controll as much as I could via hardware). Because I was doing the whole thing as cheap as I could, I have used pre-drilled universal boards for keyboards, so spaces between buttons are slightly different than in Brian's specifcation. A simple demonstration of this instrument (well, a driver at least) in play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0buNZcKxHc This was the first tune I learned on Hayden layout more than 3 years ago, so it's realy basic. I designed a driver to be a learnng aid - as you can see it shows note names (with transposition) and pressed buttons in real time.
  3. Taking this thread back to OP question, here are my two cents: Yes, I think that concertina community is stuck in ruts, they are just wider and may not be obvious at a first glance. I'll take Jody's list as an ilustration to my point (nothing personal Jody, it is just great example): What is the common denominator of almost everything on this list? It is public domain and decades or even centuries old (I know that Jody and some other players here write their own music sometimes, but usually within a well established, traditional genre). We as humans tend to look at smaller and smaller details as we specialize in something, be it art, science or our musical taste. Trad player will see a huge difference between Breton, Morris or Scandinavian folk, but for someone with entirely different taste or musical background it is all FOLK. In other words - playing scandinavian folk might be "out of the rut" for an english player, Breton may be something new for an american Blue Grass player, but it is still going in circles... OP question was asked in comparison to a melodeon - just another folk instrument, with comparable historical applications. So why not compare with an accordion, which is, no doubt, the most succesfull of all squeezeboxes? And IMHO it is not because it's musical attributes, but because accordionists have adapted to virtually any genre, they are, as a whole, definately not stuck in any ruts. They are folk accordionists, punk accordionists, folkmetal, classic, jazz, pop, disco, experimental, indie, and so on. You name it and there is someone who at least tries to play it on an accordion. Why don't we have something like e.g Dropkick Murphys with a concerina, only acoustic folk bands or purely squezebox ensembles? With amplified music there is really no argument, that concertina is too weak or to quiet. And why there is no one (at least no one I know) who experments with "electryfiyng" a concerina (e.g with vocal pedal effects)? "Our own" Thomas Restoin have posted a cover of Daft Punk today in another thread (https://soundcloud.c...n-1/get-lucky-8) and this is the most "out of the rut" piece I've heard on this forum since I've joined. It may be outside of musical taste of any of us, but it is definately pushing boundaries. And IMHO all that Thomas is doing on his duet is a great example of at least widening the ruts if not entirely geting out of them. I think that Marc G. Lamb may be right: But is it bad or good to be stuck in ruts is a completely different matter, and this will heavily depend on personal view, and I have no intention to judge that. We just might try to be a little bit more tolerant within our small community. Take a Dirge "taking a break" for example, after his duet was called "a cumbersome heavy tanker" by an Anglo player. Isn't our main goal as players of almost forgotten instrument to spread concertina music in any form and encourage anyone interested in playing it? Regardles of what system and what genres he wants to play?
  4. I'm assuming that by pop songs you mean anything modern in character Pop/rock covers are my main repertoire and the sole reason why I chose Hayden over an Anglo, so my full list of links would be rather long. I don't have enough time on my hands recently to record anything new, but some of those I have practiced long enough to record as soon as the opportunity arises: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfH1hxvAN30 "Jest super" by T.Love, this is a sad song about polish reality, which is true even after 20 years after original release. It is interesting enough to play on concertina, mostly because of 3-4 different parts, with some interesting solo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvDKuRP8vRE "Czarny chleb i czarna kawa" by Strachy Na Lachy - a punk rock song about a convict traveling to a prison. A simple piece, consisting almost entirely of one progression, but the intermission on harmonica adds a nice flavour to it, and played with double chords (6 reeds speaking at once for a large portion of the song) gives it enough power to sound like a true concertina punk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqBuIaa2-_s "Baranek" by Kult - this have an interesting story, because it is a song from 1960, performed by a son of a composer - it became probably the most popular, cult song of entire generations (two already). It has a very nice solo on a french horn and accordion, which sounds great on a concertina. It have proven for me, that songs with a brass section in them are an ideal material for a duet concertina. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdjm-PiiDPw "Dwie panny w jednych spodniach" by Disparates. It is very straightforward, as it has accordion in it, but the chorus is quite chalenging because of the tempo of arpeggios. This is an excerpt only, I have about 1h of rock/punk/indie repertoire now, but I'm only begining to feel confident with singing to my own accompaniment.
  5. Most folks here will probably see it as another Wicki-Hayden keyboards fanboy post, but there is a very straightforward method for learning harmony and identyfiying chords needed. Because in W-H system, major and minor scales are closed clusters of buttons, every chord that can be contained within such cluster is a native chord for particular key. You don't realy need to learn this layout, just treat it as a shortcut tool: 1. print out a layout of a full Wicki-Hayden keyboard (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e8/Wicki-Hayden_Musical_Note_Layout.png/400px-Wicki-Hayden_Musical_Note_Layout.png) 2. get a glance on this page: http://www.shiverware.com/musix/wicki/chords.html - it shows EVERY chord layout on this keyboard. For those unfamiliar with this layout, chords have constant shapes, regardles of key. 3. connect the notes of your melody with a line to form a graph, an then look at how the music wanders around a keyboard and fit chords that will have something in common with a melody (a note, a direction of movement etc..) 4. look at those common progressions: http://idiotsguides.com/static/quickguides/musicperformingarts/common-chord-progressions.html and check if anything fits on your melody line. 5. experiment with inversions etc to make harmony more interesting This is not a complete theory of course and an experienced player will find better harmonies just by ear, but IMHO this is a good tool for a beginner.
  6. One other way to put it: is it possible to build even a simple, experimental, proof-of-concept, single note instrument, that will sound like a genuine concertina, but will have an accordion reed?
  7. @Frank: what I meant was not to neglect those other factors, I know that many different things affect the final outcome to some degree. Maybe I'll rephrase my thought: what the resulting sound would be, if you have replaced the reed in this experiment you have described with a cut-to-fit accordion reed? The same concertina, same wood thickness and density, same chamber sizes, just a different shape of the tongue, accordion vs concertina style? Would it be a drastic change of tone?
  8. Very interesting. That could lead to a conclusion, that the main (if not only) factor defining a tone of a free reed instrument is the physics of a vibrating tongue - different for parallel tongues in tapered frames vs tapered tongues in parallel frames. One other thing, that may be responsible for difference in the tone of Wakker concertina reeds is that they are produced in a modern CNC way, not with traditional methods. Hand manufacturing of anything gives a less-perfect, "warmer" touch to anything, be it furniture, casted or milled metal works, woodworking, sculpting etc. because of minute deviations from ideal shapes, lower tolerances, slight mistakes and so on. Might as well affect the tone of a reed.
  9. Those are total numbers of replies in each subforum, summed up from every topic within. On average 50-100 replies to any single topic, which is completely normal.
  10. In the first place, you should consider your desired repertoire: I've starded on an Anglo just to discover, that while this is a compact instrument with a lot of tradition and a great fun, I could not play almost anything I wanted on it, because of its bisonoric nature. Each type of concertina has its limits and benefits. You should also consider how steep the learning curves for each type are and how much time you'll be willing to spend on playing. E.g.: it is very easy to play a melody in a home key of an Anglo, but it gets a lot harder if you want to play in different keys with a lot of harmony; it's very easy to play harmony on a Hayden and you benefit from learning in almost all keys at once, but playing melody is sometimes more demanding; englishes are more logical than Anglos (outside the home keys), but the alternating hands style of play may not suit everyone and ergonomics may be awkward if you have long fingers or any problems with your wrists; and so on... Read all discusions here regarding advantages and disadvantages of Anglos, Englishes, Haydens, Maccans, etc… and then try as much different types as you can. The more informed decision you'll make now, the smaller is the chance that you'll want to change your choice after a year or two. And Concertina Connection starter models are perfect for the first instrument as they may be traded in when upgrading both with Concertina Connection and ButtonBox. One last thing: there are a lot more Anglo players on YT than all other types together, so the impression from watching YT might be a little biased. Listen to some great examples of different possibilities in this thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16240 or TOTMs, where you can compare the same tune played in different styles on different concertinas. Listen both to the best players around like Jody Kruskal or Thomas Restoin and those with just couple of years of experience, to see (hear) what they struggle the most with.
  11. Thanks, such words from a professional concertina maker are most encouraging
  12. Thanks! Do you have, by any chance, something by Yann Tiersen in your repertoire?
  13. Great one Thomas! And it's nice to finally see you playing. I must say, that your playing is the best example of what duets are capable of in hands of a skilled player! Side note: I knew that you're playing Dipper custom, but I did'n knew that it has asymetric ends. Is the bass side thicker because it has two reedpans in two layers?
  14. Ok, so here is the final photo of this weeks progress, both reedpans have been fited and everything can now be assembled together.
  15. It's been quite a long time since I've updated this blog. (Un)fortunately I got a new job this fall and could not find a free moment at hours early enough to make some noise. This week however was fruitfull enough to show my progress to whomever might be interested in it. To date I managed to finish the full set of frames, roughcut endplates and cut reedpans to fit into frames. Hopefully tomorrow I'll finish installing the reedpans into frames and will be able to screw everything together. I won't glue the endplates to frames for now, because I'm affraid that I might wreck them while doing fretwork. Here are the pictures of all of the parts of woodwork I now have: And here is a closeup to show some details. I'm especially proud of the bellows frame, it took some time to do the chevrons. All of the frames fit dead flat to each other. One note: this unusuall "amoeba-like" layer of thin plywood was not a part of original design - I had to add the extra thickness to the reedpan after final flatening. I did not anticipate how much it will bend because of released tension after milling chambers. I was left with only 3mm of the board, while my original design requires at least 5mm to drill lever and button posts holes.
  16. Maybe some day I'll learn it and record it, but right now I'm focusing on building a concertina rather than playing it.. Thanks for interest and encouragement though
  17. Nice one Wolf! It reminds me of a rather silly Polish scout/marching song about a hare on a pole, which has very similiar melody and construction. Wonder if they have a common ancestor or have influenced each other in any way. I too find, that when playing melody accompaniment it often works best to play it an octave apart from vocals, but because I have bariton/tenor voice I often switch the accompaniment from octave higher to octave lower, going in the opposite direction than vocal line, using concertina to fiil in the blank registers and never going to high, as I really don't like free-reed sounds above high E.
  18. Jim, judging from our first private conversation on this forum, you may have really met them all - those few polish shantymen are the only profesional concertina players in Poland (I personally know of Marek Szurawski, Jerzy Rogacki, Marek Wikliński and Stanisław Konopiński). There are traces of only a couple more amateurs (including me) on the web (shanty and sailing sites, accordion forums, YT etc…). Most conversations with educated or street folk musicians that I had in various polish cities over last 3 years, even those who play bagpipes, bodhrans or other UK/Irish instruments (I have met five to date) end up with an explanation what a concertina is or with one of names I listed above. And given that there is a link of no more than 6 people who shook their hands between you and anyone else in the world, I think that it is perfectly safe to assume, that there is no more than a low two digit number of all concertina players here.
  19. That is why I wrote about order of magnitude not a number, 1:4000 is quite small, 1:1000 is quite probable. In Poland number of musical students vs overall number of students is 1:250 (students, not graduates, based on official numbers, I don't know where to look for UK statistics) which is again a top estimate of a factor of instrumentalist, as we now live in peacefull times of relative prosperity, so there is more room for less productive careers than 2-4 decades ago. This will be different in UK because of different history and folk music tradition. And if you count anyone who can play a guitar for a campfire singing, then you'll probably end up with a factor closer to 1:50, but it raises a question on who to count as an instrumentalist. Those are of course wild guesses, but the very idea of establishing a factor of concertina players to overall number of instrumentalists (and not overall population) may be a good method for UK and Ireland - there are job/student statistics available. For other countries this factor would be too small to be anywhere close to precision (for Poland it is somewhere around 1:10,000, which translates to 5-15 concertina players for almost 40mln people ) Jakes estimation is a good top number, but I think it is possible to make a better approximation.
  20. Extrapolation is a good method, but IMHO based on players in small town it gives a top estimate: 15,000 players in the UK only seems rather large, looks more like an order of magnitude of all instrumentalists in UK. Concertina in general is a folk instrument and traditions tend to be carried on more in smaller towns/villages than in big cities. And while I don't know the strict numbers on demography in UK, I assume it is similiar to any other developed country so majority of people live in big cities, where there are more kinds of different pass time activities and careers available. And like Irene said, there are many other factors that may alter distribution of concertinas within different populations.
  21. I think that most (?) of those cheap chinese and concertina connection boxes are bought by young people, just starting their adventure with a concertina - there are plenty on YT, so there are probably much more in reality. And as we discussed in the other thread, all those Elises must have been bought by someone As I wrote before: IMHO the reason why you don't see them at NESI or other concertina gatherings is that their musical choices are completely different - many of young players on YT play covers of game music or simple accompaniment of popular songs. Of course there are many, who like and play traditional music, but there is a large group that treats a concertina like a miniature accordion and focus only on modern music. They're probably even lurking here, but will never join this or any similiar site because of "traditionality" of this site. There is a huge generation gap between concertina players, because of history of popularity of our instrument. One other thing - young people nowadays tend to learn everything by themselves rather than taking lessons from old and experienced folks. It is partly because of individuality and a sort of "google effect". And at least in my parts of Europe, we usually don't hang out with people outside of our generation. To sum up: an "old school" concertina might be in its dawn years, but the new IS coming.
  22. @David: you can hear two of my arrangements on the Elise here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-bySYW3XVA and here: I do mostly self accompanied singing of modern songs (or accompany singing of small groups of people), so I do use a lot of full triad chords and rhytms (but I'm familiar with drone or countermelody LH playing), with or without melody line on the right hand. I often do an "arpeggiated" accompaniments, where left chand plays chords in the plain om-pah rhytm and the right hand plays the 3-4 note arpeggio of a same chord. With such small overlap that Elise offers playing fast ITM is a very challenging task as you can play it both hands as you would on an English only within a single octave.
  23. Great voice, great playing and great songs. I like your own compositions most, they are spot-on my taste in concertina self-accompanied singing. Please post more
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