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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. Just to be precise here: you should rephrase your question to: "...what would you rate the ANGLO Concertina's difficulty?". It is obvious from your entire post, but this makes huge difference on the possible answers. I don't mean to highjack this thread to general "concertina types" discussion, but to express my experience with the anglo, it is easier for me to just make a simple comparison: It took me a year to be able to play some relatively simple melodies on the anglo to speed and with proper phrasing and expression. I have never managed to play anything with harmonies or countermelody on it. Year after switching to Hayden, I could play my first fully accompanied arrangement with decent left/right-hand independence, make up my own chordal arrangements and generaly understand how music works a lot better. So, on my scale I would place the Anglo (profficient level) around 6 - tougher than piano, because of quite arbitrary 3rd row (and outer buttons in home rows), diatonic core and bisonority. But it is obviously easier than fiddle, so on your scale it cannot go over 7 [but on my scale fiddle gets more like 9 - I can realy think of no other istrument than fiddle/violin, that must be learnt from early childhood to be able to go on proffessional level; only a trumpet gets near, with 8 maybe]. And of course because of diatonic nature of it, on the very basic level anglo gets around 2 for melody only folk playing in home keys. Just as a sidenote, other concertina types IMHO get as fallows: Hayden 2 (except for maybe the most odd scales, like Klezmer scale), English 3-4 (not more than a piano), Crane 4 (most piano-like layout), Maccan probably same as anglo, around 6, due to highly irregular layout.
  2. Welcome to the club Alex! My Elise rarely gets any attention lately, but my milling machine gets lots
  3. Stuart, this is a great example of concertina use I would very like to hear more often! And I agree with John, that you should try to add something like leading concertina interlude/solo. And maybe mix tracks in a bit different way, so that concertina isn't as much in the background (this is a very common thing though with free reed instruments in general to treat them as an underlying filling, especially when there is a leading guitar or brass section involved)
  4. Stacked Cherry switches can accomodate the 16x9 grid - there is a room for 2-3 mm diameter extension pins between switches of the upper level. They would also fit within standard concertina ends thickness. The only drawback of this solution is the price of a single switch. But this is definately cheaper than trying to build entire action from scratch and use hall or reed switches. As to modifying a stock Elise or similiar chineese case (based on Elise): Wakker H-2 64 button layout could be fitted into Elise case by simple hole drilling only if existing buttons were considered as highest octaves. Otherwise some buttons go into the fretwork. This makes it necessary to move the handrest to more desirable position, which in turn changes the ballance of the instrument (bellows movement wise). But it's perfectly possible. All of the above is true in case of Cherry switches. Fitting new, 64 button action cannot be done by simple adding some levers - entire action must be redesigned to route all necessary levers, so in reality we only take the outer shell, handrests with straps and bellows from such instrument.
  5. Have a look on a "Klezmer scale", as an example of an "extreme" scale on a Hayden: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_dominant_scale It spans the ENTIRE width of chromatic octave of a Hayden layout and is very difficult to play even as a simple scale excercise on a 16/9 grid. It would be close to impossible to play on a larger array with a hand strap.
  6. That's why I pointed out the difference in some note jumps. Tona manages to use a very elongated big button array on a concertina, but his layout has accindentals next to naturals, like CBA, so melodic passages don't jump from one end to another, and three row layout reduces wrist movement to (almost) single rotation point. On Cranes and Maccans you have almost exclusively linear in-out hand movement. On large Haydens however, you have to use both degrees of freedom of hand movement and that is the main problem - hand positions for playing low sharps, high sharps, all flats, lowest row or highest row are require completely different and sometimes strange wrist positions (a low, sharp major chord vs low flat minor chord, or high sharps) As to Chemnizers and Bandoneons - they are usually bisonoric, making (on average) each interval jump two times closer than on an unisonoric keyboards… There is signifficantly less wrist movement on an Anglo than on a Hayden.
  7. Perhaps it is best to ask Tona on ergonomics of a large button duet. Differences in spacing on a Hayden layout keyboard would result in a number of ergonomic differences. My MIDI has a 15x10 array of 7.5 mm buttons and even such small differences compared to Elise are noticable while playing. In this particular case two most noticeable are chord playing (especially minor triad) as I must group my fingers a bit tighter. There is also a "cumulative offset" problem when switching between instruments - counting lowest note button as a reference point, the furthest button is displaced by almost one whole note on a 64b keyboard. When I was entertaining the idea of building a transformable or completely flat, non-concertina MIDI controller, I've found it easier to play fast in a "flat position" on large button keyboards like CBA or bandoneon (my scrap CBA has 17x19mm grid), as I don't have to restrain my finger movement to such small spacings - finger movement can be less precise. But the Hayden layout combined with a handstrap makes it very hard to finger efficiently on a widely spaced grid in "concertina position". Bandoneon keyboard don't have such long jumps to accidentals… But with wrist + thumb strap this could be quite comfortable and on electronic instrument, when you can place buttons to the very edge of the casing, larger buttons (perhaps Stagi size keyboard?) could even fit on a reasonably small box…
  8. Very nice machine indeed. Too bad it is in storage...
  9. The problem with bits breaking in the last stage of driiling can be easily solved, by drilling through a compound "sandwitch". When I have to driil a hole in thin stainless steel I put a piece of scrap brass underneath (and in some cases also a pre-drilled piece of brass over, to work as a precision clamp extension) and clamp such sandwitch to my compound table. With such setup you'll get a nice, clean hole with no pressed dent. As to tool options, I highly recommend this little piece of machinery: http://www.proxxon.com/en/micromot/20165.php(I use it with a different, more sturdy compound table). It costs more than a simple drill press but still is a lot cheaper than a fully fledged milling machine, and can deal with anything from brass ball joints for stop-motion animation puppets, to furniture making… It covers almost all my needs in my DIY Hayden project (except from fretwork cutting and preliminary, coarse woodwork). @Don: those end mill bits are fine for metal work in small workshop conditions ONLY if they have a lot more cutting surfaces than typical 4… Even for woodworking in hard woods those pictured on wiki site, can catch into wood and require very shallow passes and sturdy setup. But various Proxxon or Dremel mill bits with 8-16 edges work great for brass or aluminum. But in general - saw cutting such works as fretwork is the only reasonable option, as there are too many drawbacks to milling approach: amount of material to turn into dust, round corners, bits wear, maintaining temperature while milling metals, and compensating for rotary force while cutting shapes… Alex, a tip for center punching: don't Usually a nice cross scratch combined with a small pilot drill will work better. I often use a conical or small spherical Dremel milling bit as a center marker, as it won't deviate - it has a very short and thick shaft.
  10. Stock Elise comes with domed buttons, which were too "pointy" for me. When I have made my replacement buttons, I made them completely flat - they had only a tiny amount of softening on the edge. This was giving me way more controll and stability, but was painful after extended play and gave me sore fingers afterwards. So after a couple of months I have rounded the edges more (about .75mm on the edge of 5mm button is now rounded) and they are now very comfortable and allow for sliding but still give enough grip that sweating is not a problem. @Henrik's '2)' - I'm making such completely sinking buttons on my DIY Hayden. I came to realise that what hurts my fingers most in long sessions, are drones and root notes in triads while playing om-pah accompaniments (especially minor triads, in which middle finger is anatomically forced to press harder than it should) , and that only having sinking buttons will counter this, as lighter action weight doesn't affect fully depressed buttons...
  11. Thanks Maki! No, I have started learning to play my first instrument a few months after my 30th birthday. It has been five years of infrequent playing now, with only a total of maybe a year worth of a real daily practice… Prior to this I had had done some lessons using EarMaster software few years earlier (mostly basic interval recognition and rhytmic excersises) but without any instrument to play on I gave up after a month or two. But I did sing a lot since teen age and have been a bit of "music junkie", living with music playing in the background from dusk till dawn since I can remeber.
  12. That is a realy nice ThOTM I'll try to find time for It's most appealing to me because… I do have this very first tune recorded. Well, kind of Here is the full story: when I bought my first concertina, a cheap german anglo from ebay, the first day it came in, I dug up some old rock songbooks I had and tried to play some tunes I have liked to sing before. I knew absolutely nothing about music, nothing about the instrument, not even a note layout, chord structures etc.. And I have tried to came up with anything resembling music based on guitar chord notation only. As you might expect, it was a complete disaster, with only one chorus progression sounding a bit like actual tune. So, I changed my scope of interest and for another year I have learnt a few shanties on this anglo, but always wanted to be able to play those rock covers… So when I found about Hayden and made my MIDI concertina, that was the first thing that I have tried to learn, armed with better understanding of music, being able to read notation and having a fully chromatic layout under my fingers I have managed to "record" this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0buNZcKxHc&list=UUMz0Pq4s9eRLXoxNZU_PH7w It is "Ballada o dwóch siostrach" Stanisława Staszewskiego, a polish street folk compositor. Some of you might have heard this before, as I have posted it in a DIY MIDI thread. This is a screen capture of my MIDI controller driver, and my main tool for learning Hayden layout back then. A year later, this was also the first tune I have played on my Elise. Some of you might have noticed, that I have been quiet theese past months, as I have been concentrating on both building my new instrument (and one, non-concertina related major life event). I had so little time to play, that this ThOTM will be a some sort of comeback for me - to participating musicaly in this forum and regular concertina practice. I'll have to not only rearrange this tune but actually re-learn it, as I haven't played it for a very, very long time… But hopefully I'll post this new version later this month!
  13. Hello! It's good to have another duet player here, and congratulations on the Elise! It may not be pretty, it may be small, but it definately has a lot of potential in it! First on ergonomics of an out-of-the-box instrument. Depending on how big your hands are, you might find it more comfortable/easier to controll the bellows if you put your thumbs through the small loops of the straps. Combined with a quite loose overall strap tightness, that should give you a nice, firm grip and at the same time let you easily acces all of the buttons. As to how to hold a duet: I play with the instrument on my left lap and have my neck&shoulder strap even when sitting. You can play like this without a strap, even when standing if you place one leg on something - a small crate or stool, etc... Attaching a quick, testing strap to Elise is quite straightforward: just put some thin but strong cord loops under those big washers (you need two such small loops on each side - on the top edge and the next towards the hands. Then attach some longer cord (flat tape will be more comfortable) between concertina sides crossing the tapes (i.e. top edge on one side to the lower edge on the other side). When put on, this strap should go under one arm and over the other shoulder and be long enough, so that when sitting the instrument rests on your lap. This type of strap is more comfortable as it puts no stress on the neck and one side of the instrument is pulled toward your hip making it more stable, while the other side can be moved freely. You can see such strap in action in one of my videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-bySYW3XVA&list=UUMz0Pq4s9eRLXoxNZU_PH7w As to duets speed: this is played on another system, but shows nicely how fast a duet can be in capable hands ("spaghetti panic" from a c.netter Tona) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MYPTWxpKp0&list=LLMz0Pq4s9eRLXoxNZU_PH7w&index=5 As to my experience, the real speed-limiting factor is the speed and stamina of your own fingers. As discussed it another thread, on bigger instruments with larger overlap you can play duets "in english interleaving style". On the "factory" Elise, the action (especially wobbly, thin buttons) is quite limiting though...
  14. Maybe I have used improper words - my post wasn't intended to imply any bad intentions on your side, I was trying only to point out, that there will always be some bias caused by personal views of the person who's behind TOTM. Nothing more. I'm sorry, tha you felt it as a personal attack.
  15. @ MyTOTM: I think that this idea might indeed draw some more posters to show their work, but at the same time I fear that there would be even less feedback for individual entries. Some folks here do post their recordings in separate threads, and more often than not, get very little replies. Maybe the answer to increasing attention would be to mix TOTM and ThOTM together? For example: voting for the theme each month (two months) and then have a single common tune of the theme for anyone to try (maybe "tailored" for players less experienced or new to the genre), but keep it as open as ThOTM now for different examples of the same theme? I imagine, that in at least some cases, ideas from other tunes of the same genre may in fact lead to some fine additions to the common tune. And to encourage beginners more, I think that this might be a good idea (as much as I hate having great ideas for others to realize) to post a simple, melody only rendition as a starting point. I know that working on some simple dots when all renditions on YT are full of ornamentation and accompaniment can be discouraging...
  16. A quick glance at the whole listing of "tune and theme of the month" subforum sorted by a number of replies shows, that contrary to what have been said by some of previous posters, ThOTM doesn't draw more attention at all. The highest listed one is "Tunes in 3", which I think was the most "in the comfort zone" for traditionalists. It is on the 5th position (I omit the pinned threads). The second and third most popular ThOTM are 12th and 13th and they are polkas, waltzes and mazurkas. Within the first 10 TOTMS, 8 are from 2013 and they haven't been much revisited, usually TOTM lives for two months only, with very few exceptions. Another finding was, that the core of posters in both TOTM and ThOTM is the same few people who keep it all going. @ceemonster: I think that for majority of posters here, especially not playing ITM on an Anglo, there is no other option to get a feedback on their progress. Outside of UK and Ireland and maybe US concertinas are very rare in general, but with duets it gets even harder to find anyone who is interested in the same approach to using this instrument and can give you appropriate lessons. I think that the same might go with less straightforward techniques on Anglo and English (as Geoff said earlier about his EC playing). ITM players OTOH have a lot of different opportunities to gather and play together and get a live feedback. And for Morris being the most dominant genre in TOTM polls - one can hardly blame Jim for promoting what he's most into...
  17. IMHO only immediate feedback can truly help with learning/arranging. Some people have often posted a various takes on the same tune, which makes it a great learning material for others regarding accompaniment or ornamentation construction and gives a real (but too often neglected) opportunity to pass some interesting points to the posting player. Otherwise TOTM becomes even more a "showcase" for different entries which don't interact with each other. Like a playlist on soundcloud or YT (which, BTW, have one huge advantage over TOTM forum - you can comment/like/discuss each entry separately, not "taking over" a current discussion with a newly posted entry)
  18. I've participated only when tune was appealing to me and I had enough time to learn, practice and record it. I can recall only a single time, when I haven't at least voted in a poll. I have no doubt, that future months would bring at least a couple of tunes a year that I'll consider worth my time and effort. That said I must say I am a bit dissapointed on how TOTM works in general - this may be because of so few participants or the huge difference in experience between them, but what in theory should encourage concertina playing and be an opportunity to learn new skills is very often very discouraging or intimidating. In my case this was becuse very, very little feedback (and I know that I'm not the only person here feeling this way). There is no reason to record and post anything if no one cares to say a word about it - good or bad, whatever. And don't get me wrong, I don't complain about "not recognizing my genius":D, simply saying, that I have lost my interest in participating in a collective activity that is not building any collectiveness. I don't know if there are any technical possibilties within this forum, but simple "like"/"don't like" counters under posts could be a partial solution for this. Anonymous or not, at least there is some kind of a quick feedback.
  19. @Don: perhaps it is best that I'll wait with answering such question untill I have at least a single playing instrument under my belt
  20. A quick google image search shows that even this Stagi action could be utilized to some degree - it still have button/lever/pad assembly. After moving the whole button grid to the new placement probably one row worth of buttons should need longer levers. There will have to be custom action board/electronics board anyways, so moving holes is not an issue. But of course this would require a bit more work than rearranging traditional action. It would be best to seek out a chineese manufacturer of those concertinas and find out what they can supply - maybe they can do the whole box/action board/bellows thing to new specification without the need for third party rearranging. We don't even know what quantities are necesary to start production and what costs we are talking about now.
  21. @ Roland: as I did wrote before - Roland uses what is called "Dynamic Bellows Behavior" only in their most expensive models. As it is also a "newly developed" feature, I really don't think, that they use traditional lever system… Here is the only inside view I could find: http://www.accordionists.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=803 The model here is the FR-1xb, which don't have this technology. Clearly Roland uses some kind of keayboard switches - accordion spaced keyboard could indeed be made using any standard komputer keyboard switches, so why bother with levers and reed switches? I think that Dynamic Bellows Behaviour" is a fancy name for some kind of a fast responsing servo coupled with an aperture. @Matthew: I think that it is not the bellows or pressure sensor that needs to be "pinned" out of the way, but the most basic level of OBJECTIVE here. And we have a couple of contradicting to choose from: 1. Make a controller that acts as closely as possible to the real thing. This option leads us to real action, leather bellows and traditional one-at-a-time production methods and a cost of few k$. Unfortunately the price tag for Wakker MIDI is no longer listed on their site. 2. Make some compromises and build a "close enough" instrument in batches counting in dozens at a time. This would mean ordering some chineese 48b Englishes to salvage boxes and action, ask Jordan to design the electronics for such box and find a concertina maker/repairer to rearrange the action for a Hayden and make new endplates. This approach might result in an instrument costing around 1k$ 3. Make an entire new box from scratch, intended for mass production. This is where the fun begins and we can unleash our imagination of using custom conductive rubber keyboards, servo-controlled bellows resistance, custom action boards, cast plastic or CNC machined boxes etc… The "only" drawback here is that this is a serious enterprise with a need for a factory AND large enough market to cover at least initial production costs counted in 10s or even small 100s k$. 4. Go "OpenSource" Collectively design a set of cad/cam files for 3D printers/milling machines to make a "kit" fiting the electronics designed by Jordan or design electronics by ourselves. This could include options for milling in wood and brass or for 3D printing both boxes and action parts. It would require individual assembly and some third party parts and of course the bellows supplier or some sort of "open source" replacement. But it seems that no person here with any DIY or production experience and knowledge is interested in going Open Source. Same as Don, I don't want to be a downer, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to mix those quite freely in seek of "the holy grail" of MIDI concertinas: a batch counted in 10s, with the quality of the real thing, possibly done with the modern techniques that suit batches of 100s/1000s and designed as an OpenSource or KickStarter project, most hopefully by a third party… And costing no more than a 1000$... I think that you might succeed with approach no. 2 if you can find enough people interested in common design to pay Jordan for designing the electronics and find a willing maker/repairer to put these boxes together. You might also succeed in convincing Wim to make a single small MIDI Hayden for yourself based upon his previous design. Options 3 & 4 seem rather unlikely, as I can think of no KickStarter revolutionary controller that made it to broader audience and even KickStarter projects require substancial investments to gather audience (usually you have to have at least a prototype or a good CGI and a whole bunch of marketing material). Not to mention a very, very limited market for such concertina...
  22. Jordan - this string bellows is a lot more complicated than simply measuring pulling force. I once read the whole conversion history of this instrument and each of the three strings give you two angular measurements and one distance measurement, so you can read precise relative location of the ends. It gives so many MIDI controls that this controller, when properly programmed, could do any dynamics or expression.
  23. Thanks for the warning Geoff At least you're doing what you like and what you're good at - IMHO that is a lot better way of life than being stuck in a cubical, anonymously moving papers around for 36 years.
  24. Maybe it is best to show it from another angle: Yes, there is a 5mm difference in level between the center and the most outer edge and 4 different (sometimes smoothly connected) levels altogether. Since first pictures I have milled the outer edge more, so now it goes past the screw holes and not through them. My fretwork isn't based on acoustic principles, as I haven't build a prototype to experiment on dampening/reflection. I intend to use inner baffles if the need for closing some areas should arise. And I definately agree with you, that there is a lot of opportunities for interesting design of endplates, especially on non-traditional layouts like Hayden or Chromatiphone. OTOH I understand that this is just a result of a market structure: concertina is percieved as a traditional folk instrument and vintage concertinas are a natural reference point. And to be honest, I have chosen art noveau because newer periods in design (except perhaps art deco) do not privide anything as aesthetically pleasing as pre-'60s periods. There is also a practical reason - victorian patterns look good when just cut out flat. Art noveau, floral and art deco designs need substantially more labour to be attractive. Some examples: http://carrollconcertinas.com/64.html , http://www.concertina.net/images_gs_adventures/dipper_left_sm.jpg or http://sevenmount.de/?page_id=42 - especially this last link best illustrates, that you need at least a second, engraving pass to make those designs look good. I'm building this instrument for myself, so I can go with 40+hours of carving, but I don't expect any manufacturer to do this… Would you pay 500$ extra just to have a 3D carved ends?
  25. Thanks Don! I wouldn't call it "immaculate" but I'm indeed quite happy how it turned out.
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