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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. Finaly, I've been able to record my attempt. This is still a work in progress, as I have great problems with playing the second part in tempo without messing up the keys... This is the best take I managed at this point: https://soundcloud.com/martynowi-cz/roslin-castle-wip-1 For the final version, I intend to go twice through with increasing tempo, like in this version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asdVyUEs4lg
  2. Tom, this pitch bending technology of bluesBox is absolutely amazing. One question - what is the space requirement for such effect? In other words - can it be fitted into a duet concertina?
  3. Probably the close voting this month is directly caused by double voting: only 20 people voting, each for half of the list. This is almost like voting between only two options with single vote. So I vote for going back to the old method next month. [this reminds me a classic polish film "Rejs", and a scene were there is a debate on "which method of voting should be chosen to vote on the voting method of the actual vote" ]
  4. So you're just a little behind me with your knowledge There are probably some printed resources on accordion restoration, but most practical aspects of bulding free reed instruments are "secret of a trade"... with very limited "first hand" information. Bob Tedrows photo essay on building one of his concertinas can be found on his site - this is by far the most extensive set of informations regarding building a hybrid I found. There are numerous articles spread out on the web. Most of them aren't easy to find by google - search forums about accordions, this forum, bandoneon forums, melodeon forums etc... There were a great blog with history of "making concertina on the kitchen table" but I can't find it anymore - maybe someone here knows the person who build that instrument? Or maybe the builder himself is here? As for low vs high pressure: pressure of a bellows is determined by the area of its cross section. Accordions have at least twice as big as concerinas, so when you squeze them with same force they produce lower air pressure. From what I managed to learn, more expensive accordion reeds are engineered to have better response at low pressures (can play softer and quieter) and more stable frequency across different volumes/pressures.
  5. I am also in the process of building (still designing actually because of lack of time...) my first concertina, and what I can tell from my experiments and observations, the reed chamber sizes on an accordion vary in size mostly because of reed speaking speed. Because of different reed position (reedblocks vs reedpan), you'll have completely different physics of sound propagation and pressure buildup inside the chamber. I've built a test chamber with variable dimension and air hole placement and my observations are, that when placing reeds in concertina fasion any chamber not smaller than reedplate will work - smaller chamber are faster, larger chambers have deeper sound. Of course if you're trying to make a virtuoso instrument, or were working with concertina reeds, precise dimensions matter... Otherwise you just have to have enough room for valves and reed swing - which can be quite significant, especially with weighted reeds. What matter most to sound [with given reed type, in this case accordion reeds] is reed placement style (concertina vs accordion), then air hole placement relative to the reed, then how rigid the connection between reed and instrument is, then amount of obstacles and bounces between and then materials you build your concertina from (there is a large debate if materials do matter (you can find it on this forum), especially different kinds of woods and should it be a tonewood or not - or is it just a surface finish that affect sound; in my experiments material did matter, but only plywood and mdf gave awfull results. Someone even tried 3d printing a reedpan...). Side note - accordion reeds are low pressure reeds and different qualities of those reeds are best heard on low pressure instruments. Concertinas are high pressure instruments, so there is no point in putting expensive reeds in your first instrument - any reed will work. I seriously doubt, that both modern cheap china concertinas or old german-anglos were carefully designed instruments. They rather are/were a mockup of parts assembled together to fit both purpose and cost of an instrument. To be honest, you can build a concerina from MDF and an old shelve, put cheap russian accordion reeds in it and as long as the reeds have clearance and are not rusty and your craftsmanship is good enough, you'll end up with at least a decent playing instrument. Maybe not a beautifull or durable, but it will sound like a hybrid concertina. My first concertina was a cheapest old german anglo I could buy and still, when I upgraded to Elise it was a downgrade in terms of sound - not because of cheap reeds or any usually discussed problem, but because of steel/plastic combo, loose, unbushed buttons which buzzed when the air moved around them. After I've replaced them with rigid, fully bushed ones my Elise works like charm, the only problem left are lowest, weighted reeds that are so slow to speak that using them for accompaniment is demanding and tricky. As Jim said, it is more "art" than "science" because of amount of interlocking factors, that even free-reed instruments builders with years of experience will often bump into results completely opposite to expectations (e.g. usage of balsa wood for reedblocks, discussed in some thread here or on melodeon.net).
  6. Sound proofing is basically done by mounting airtight, semi-rigid bariers out of heaviest materials available. You need to dissipate energy of moving air. This is indeed best done by mounting acoustic plasterboard on sounbreaker bars, as they are "floating" joints. But couldn't you just baffle your concertina/melodeon and sing less loud?
  7. I believe, that system proven to be most fair is one that is based on arranging whole list in order. But since TOTM is not obligatory, there are no podiums or prizes for best performance, and finding notes for tunes that didn't win isn't hard at all it realy doesn't matter much for me, if particular tune won. I've learned "parsons..." dropped out "la luna...", was happy that "roslin castle" won [still working on it], voted for "old molly" and will learn any other tune, that I'll find interesting even if it were last in the results. For me, TOTM is great because of two things - it gives opportunity to learn something collectively and compare renditions, but also is a kind of "guide" through tunes worth learning. Especially for someone like me, who doesn't know, listen or play much folk music.
  8. I also use top loops for thumbs on Elise - this way I have much more control over the exact position of my hands. This may be layout-dependant or Elise trait (or my fingers are to long ), but when I tried to play with hand straps tight enough for good bellows control I was unable to play chords on the whole keyboard. In fact, I now have added something like English thumb straps on my instrument and I'm trying to figure out on something that could replace the hand straps completely. So playing with your thumbs in small loops is a viable choice
  9. Stefan, your example of "tremolo" reminded me of this great song: American Wheeze by 16 Horsepower - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THlgU-8dMYg . I was able to replicate this effect on an anglo, but never came anywhere close on a duet. Thank you for showing me, that this can be done to such extent. Very inspiring! [side note: I've been quiet this month, just lurking and listening only, as I'm still working on my version - not much time on my hands this month. And counter melody playing proved to be a bit of a challenge for me, but hopefully I'll post my version before the end of the month ]
  10. I know I haven't posted my version of Roslin Castle yet (still working on counter melody, unexpectedly hard for me..) but that doesn't change a fact, that I'll love to add Old Molly to my repertoire So here's my vote.
  11. I sat the last one down, but I'm going to make my version of Roslin Castle whether it'll be next TOTM or not I have a very confusing feeling, that I know this tune from some modern arrangement but I cannot remember when and where this might be... Probably as a solo part of some shanty-polo or folk-rock, as I remember it in it's fast and lively version. Any of you know of any such use of it?
  12. Ok, I finally had time to do some tests, regarding influences on sound of reedpan wood choices, chamber dimensions, hole placement (relative to tongue in "concertina layout" and in accordion variant) and of course layered layout... Turns out, that layered layout doesn't affect tone character much, but it does affect volume in significant way. I haven't yet tested methods of countering this as this will require different testing setup, but I'll probably have to build larger version of my instrument... As for woods, I tested spruce, oak, merbau and balsa (I did also mdf and plywood tests for reference on "how much material choice affects sound"). None of those was seasoned tonewood - just what I had in my workshop. There were some audible diferences between woods, but they were subtle, except for mdf and plywood - mdf being most dull, while balsa and oak being most rich sounding. ( I'am aware of the ongoing debate on wood influence and do not claim my tests to be conclusive enough to take side in this thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=4485&page=4. Before milling chambers I tested woodblocks for differences in sound just by droping them on milling table and effects that those woods had on reed tone were adequate to differences in their self-tone, but much more subtle). From all variables I've tested, hole placement has the biggest influence on tone, then chamber dimensions and wood choice can be treated more of a "spice" at the end.
  13. Thank you all for examples! Theodore: this bandoneon mounting looks most like what I intended to do. After doing precise plans of possible reed layouts it came out, that using layered method I can decrease instrument diameter (flat to flat) by 25mm - from 220 to 195mm for 62 button instrument (same as 64 button Wakker W/H-2). This comes at a cost of added 2cm at each end thickness (from 4 to 6cm) AND a lot more work, due to those layered reeds being on 15 separate "reed blocks" (some in groups of 2 to 5 reeds). But... All those examples, except for Steve's bass Wheatstone, use layered reeds only for multiple reeds per note. From what I read in this thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=15225&hl=nasal this layered layout may produce clearly audible differences between reeds. This thread doesn't answer the question whether this is caused by longer air travel or smaller pad clearance in those instruments (the pad clearance effect on sound is described in the last section of this text http://www.concertinaconnection.com/concertina%20reeds.htm ). I only had time to work on this project at nights, so I could not yet determine this by experiment (my workshop is next to my bedroom)... Hopefully I will manage to test it next week. Steve, could you tell me are there any differences between "feel" in sound of reeds from different layers?
  14. Many thanks a lot for suggesting Bartok! I didn't knew it and it sounds like the ultimate learning course.
  15. If we are deviating from folk and dance music, may I suggest this Polish-Russian classic tango: "Ostatnia niedziela" by Mieczysław Fogg. The dots can be found online for free. This piece is very popular amongst polish accordion players. The melody isn't all that difficult, but the downside is that it requires fully chromatic instrument, so Elise and 20-button-Anglo players would be excluded. That includes me as well... Here is one of original recordings from 1936: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-hg58QQmdc And here is an absolutely crazy arrangement by Gideon Kremer himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C071-M1e5Vk But as Geoff pointed out, all those non-folk entries require substantially longer practice time and are not well suited for a monthly contest. So maybe it would be wise to come up with some sort of tune-of-the-quarter for advanced tunes and keep TOTM relatively simple. For all those players outside of UK and US it's often the only "place" where one can actually learn something directly from other players - there are almost no concertina players in central and eastern Europe.. BTW: if someone knows a nice tango that can be played without G#'s and D#'s and could share the dots I would appreciate that...
  16. I think that the inventor himself has the best explanation why he did it this way... What I can say from playing experience is that there is one good reason for the slant - playing chords, especially when you have your 3rd finger longer than index finger, like me.. There is one other thing, but has little practical meaning - you can draw slanted keyboard over the staff and read the note associated with each button. This can help with finding accidentals and playing chromatic scales at the begining of learning Hayden.
  17. Jason, as an Elise player too, I must say, that you've pushed this instrument to it's limits! Great arrangement and great rendition.
  18. I found that to be a problem with mobile version of the site - full version works normal.
  19. Again this thread led me to further reading - this time on the subject of diatonic scales and different tunings and I understand now, why equal temperament tuning was such an achievement. We cannot simply say, that music of pre 1900 was diatonic, as different historical tunings made different things possible and music was written with "diatonic language" but for specific tunings. And that just tuning had to be sacrificed for something else not beacause we wanted to be able to play music in any key on one instrument, but to close an octave and make some of the intervals sound more consonant, thus enabling added complexity to composed music. Wolf, again, I do not say, that diatonic scales are in any way limiting. In fact, while I may "sail off" the boundaries of diatonic system in this thread, my point of focus is still on understanding why do they work as they do and academic nauture of this aproach is separate from just enjoying the music itself This thread have helped me to understand why I do like pre-1900 music, why I do like early XX century music (both popular and classical) and why I don't like most of jazz and most of contemporary academic music. This thread is a crash course on music theory for me, and has given me so much... Thank you all
  20. One more thing - just as with planetary movements, realising that circle is not the most perfect, "godly" shape and that planets move on elipses made progress of astronomy possible, the idea that there can be other types of semitones and octave can be divided differently have opened music to whole new ideas. Of course, that doesn't change the fact, that our brains prefer circles over elipses and just tuning over temperamented one.
  21. John, of course I agree, that natural diatonic scale in just tuning is not just a subset of equally temperamented chromatic scale in terms of how they sound. I know, that just tuning sound sweeter, because that's the physics of vibrating strings - one cannot argue with that I know, that diatonic circle of fifths is something matematicaly different than chromatic circle of fifths. And I am aware, that whole music written earlier than 1900 is diatonic. I do not say, that diatonic is in any way obsolete, useless or wrong... What I'm saying only aplies to understanding why diatonic scales work as they do, why they produce "expectations in the listener" - and that concept can be understood easier (in my opinion) while analysing them in context of other scales, especially chromatic symmetrical ones and whole-tone scale. And that's what jazz and modern academic music is doing. Again, there are two layers (not as separate this time as earlier) - how do notes and intervals sound and what they feel like in psychological way. Whether in natural, just tuning or any temperamented one, diatonic functions remain the same. If it were not the case, only diatonic autoharps would exist and only music played on trully diatonic instruments would have it's psychological impact. And all non-western, non-Pythagorean music would be noise rather than music and we know, that it is not. So diatonic music is just a subset of something larger, but "just" has no negative meaning attached. What I was wrong about was calling this larger entity a chromatic scale. Maybe this time it's clearer what I have in mind...
  22. @Wolf: "Diatonic scales complemented to fully chromatic" - historically they did, but from more holistic approach they are a subset of a chromatic system (and further microtonal or contiuous pitch music) and they are easier (for me at least) to understand that way. I think of it in a same way as of Newton-Einstein approach to gravity or (kind of) Ptolemaic-Copernican model of planetary movement. Without wider context diatonic scales require a lot of theory to understand how they work and all of the different intervals functions, scale modes, chord progressions etc.. are a little bit like deferents and epicycles in Ptolemaic model. In fact, they were both build up on same principles - mathematics at that time was much more a dogmatic set of beliefs than a well explained and coherent knowledge. E.g. Pythagorean tuning was introduced based on belief, that simple fractions are pure and perfect and not because it's somehow fundamental to music in general. And using a perfect fifth was best available way to tune a string intrument. It was Pythagoras who first found, that square root cannot be written as a simple fraction and that was a fundamental revolution back then - such "impure number".... Music theory was more in a domain of philosophy and dogma than strict science, so it's full of patches and arbitrary beliefs, "schools", practices and so on.. Some of them are fundamentaly true, some are just a consequence of previous choices.. Indian music is based on completely different division of octave to 22 steps and is as beatifull and rich as western, diatonic music.
  23. @sjm: "I wonder if this is because the previous sounds have established some sort of mental expectation of what parts of a scale should sound like - and then the actual sound does not match this expectation." - that is EXACTLY what diatonic and other non-symetrical scales do! Think of it as "formating" your brain - it gets used to steps of a scale (played both melodicaly or in chords) just like it gets used to stairs: you can climb stairs of any height as long as they are all same height, but if one will have different you will trip or stomp on it. Our brains are very good at finding patterns (or making them up ). Listen to some examples of whole-tone scale on YT - it is a scale with all notes two semitones apart. When you'll listen to it directly after listening to something "normal" (diatonic) it will sound awkward. But If you'll just loop it, it will become completely normal after just few repetitions. And this is a scale that leaves no expectations - it is even, "flat", symmetrical. It won't force you to stop on tonic note, because there is no tonic note.. It wouldn't force you to arrange your improvisation in any way, so as long as you'll stick to the scale "anything goes". That's why it is so popular within jazz. I've read about it only recently, but for me, it is a great reference point and should be (maybe is, I don't know ) taught (or just introduced) before diatonic scales, to give foundations to understanding how and why diatonic scales work as they do. @diatonic instruments: For me, it's a secondary matter, that an instrument is diatonic or chromatic - I can do just fine on any that has logical and cyclic layout. That's why I have given up anglo and was frustrated by clarinet. I find EC, Wicki-Hayden, or various chromatic button accordion isomorphic layouts far more musical, as they incorporate in a very clear way the fundamental principle of octave consonance and cyclic nature of music. Of course piano keyboard has this property "embedded" in the layout, and octaves do look the same throughout whole range, but I personally don't like it for its linear construction. Concept of pitch is usually taught as a linear space of staff or a circular space of octave, but it's both at the same time - so for me the most adequate representation of musical space would be a 3d, conical spiral. This way a piano is a built along the spiral and two dimensional layouts are built "across" or are a "side view" of it.
  24. This discussion inspired me to do some reading on "common practice period", scales different than diatonic, interval functions etc.. and now I finally understand why different degrees of diatonic scale, as David said: "create expectations in the listener". And why listening to jazz is so different than listening to classical and folk music. I think about diatonic scales now as "unstable" or "unbalanced" (as oposed by whole-tone or twelve tone scales, which are symmetrical - "stable") - "unstable" in a positive way.. I don't know how to put it in words.. in a way that forces brain of the listener to overcome this unstability, to wait for "sweet spots" and melodic "rest points". Seriously, this thread became one of the most significant music lessons for me - it has "sorted out" so much in my head... @JimLucas: one does not need to understand gravity to build houses or throw a spear into a target, but being able to solve gravity equations made moon landing posible. I was singing for 15 years without almost any musical knowlege - just by ear and heart and I think that true music comes from such approach. But when I started playing concertina, I had to learn some basics and I found that music theory is a vast area of human knowledge I had no clue about. And I just don't like to don't know @John: thank you for posting the disc, I can see now, how it does it's job. I must say, that I have always had a hard time understanding all of the circular diagrams used to explain different things in music - circle of fifths, different scale modes etc, mostly because sharps and flats being the same while not being the same at the same time when put in a such context.
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