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Noel Ways

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Posts posted by Noel Ways

  1. I am certain that the University of Leeds had certain musical parameters

    that guided Cohens studies and his selection of music for his final recital.

    The website may still be just fine.


    Regardless, I cannot help but conclude that whatever the guiding source of music selection,

    Cohen rose to the occasion, mastered the music, and raised the bar for many of us.


    I look forward to following this young man and seeing how he

    develops musically for the next several decades.

  2. I have been using a desktop strobe tuner for some time to evaluate a reed tone
    when in question:


    More recently, I have questioned the software and found a tone
    generator to test the above software:


    To my surprise, the software seems to have been doing a good job.
    I ask this because I have a bunch of old accordion reeds that I
    would like to tune (just for FUN), and was considering a
    lower end Peterson tuner for the project.

    Does anyone have any experience / thoughts / opinions regarding online strobe tuners?

  3. Any problem arising from an overpowering balance from the left hand notes or chords on an Anglo can, to a certain extent, be adjusted by a delicate reduction in the duration of those notes or chords when it comes to interpreting the music. A staccato left hand chord can be a very satisfactory device.



    Yes. And staccato on a duet works well so that the volume issues are not even noticed.


    But the nature of a Hayden Duet is that it can also lend itself very well to chordal accompaniment

    that is legato with two, sometimes more buttons, pressed at the same time.

    When one wants to do this, issues surface, and volume reduction comes to mind.

  4. Just to play the Devil's Advocate for a moment ...


    What do you do about the notes in the overlap area of a duet when one side is baffled?


    My medium-sized duet - a Crane 48-button - has 9 notes each present on both ends. And sometimes it's easier to use a low RH note as part of an accomaniment, or to use a high LH note as part of the melody. Baffling one end would mean that this kind of "borrowing" of notes between the hands would no longer be possible, because a given note would be loud one time and soft the next.


    Hopefully, by balancing, if the melody shifts from the right side to the left side, one may not notice.


    The way my concertina has been, both the left and right sides are noticeably different.


    The goal here is to bring the two sides of this hybrid together.


    Also, I am not really sure that the word "baffle" is the right word,

    although we have been using it freely here.

    I have been using this word as it is the only one I know.

    But a traditional baffle will change not only the quality of the sound (harmonics)

    but the quantity of the sound (volume).


    Here, the goal is to NOT affect the quality,

    but rather the quantity (volume), by introducing a pressure reducing device.


    I can appreciate that on your Crane Duet, the melody can shift from right to left side easily.


    The owner of a high end concertina probalby never needs to give thought

    to these issues. Their duet is doing what we all expect duets to do.

    But hybrids, at this point, in my opinion, need tweaking. We are taking

    accordian reeds and putting them in a box that is not an accordian.


    I am very grateful for hybrids. As one concertina maker mentioned at one

    point, they may have prevented the concertina from going into extinction.

    But I feel that this manufacturing route, at least for me, has created some issues that I

    am now trying to resolve.

  5. I have next to my computer here a roll or cork, and sheets of
    felt purchased for pressure reduction purposes. The felt is
    way too porous. The cork is promising, but I would need to get
    thicker cork stock.

    I think woven fabrics would be too porous unless they are
    perhaps treated some way. But I'm not sure what that would be.

    Air is a funny thing. Molecules are so small, and air so "fluid" like
    that it will find and take advantage of any minute hole or passageway to go from
    one side to another. I think that is why Geoff above (comment #2)

    was asking about air passing around the edges. There may be more than I suspect.

    I have also considered porous wood stock (but that would be difficult to insert),

    and leather - the leather would need to be reinforced.
    Nevertheless, the cardboard stock is working well and has

    reduced the pressure/volume on the left side noticeably. The next step is to incrementally
    increase the pressure on the left side to correct level. Click on graph below.

    With cardboard stock, this is easy.


  6. Don,

    The baffle came from normal fibrous card board
    that I found in a print shop. I saw it there and just
    asked it I could have it

    This stock is slightly permeable to air. My test was to
    put it up to my mouth and try to breathe through it. Air
    past very very slowly, and with great difficulty. It is dense, indeed. I was OK with
    this because I figured that the large surface area would
    compensate. And further, I knew that the permeability could and would be

    Just like the concertina reeds may be tuned by the manufacturer
    after they are installed, I feel pressure likewise needs to be adjusted
    once a duet concertina is assembled - at least these hybrids do!

    With this type of "baffle" (I actually think this is the wrong term for
    this); once the pressure is low on the left side, it is easy to increase
    it. One just wants to do this slowly, pinhole by pinhole., testing after
    each perforation.

    I can easily envision an adjustable pressure reducing baffle using
    a slider or diaphragm-like system which would allow more or less
    pressure depending upon its position. I have been thinking about
    this for a long time now

    And .... wouldn't be nice if this was adjustable from outside the
    concertina !! I can see it. I just hope someone will do it.



    PS, after more thought, I modified my graph above ... if interested

  7. The small dowels press the baffle against the bellows frame. In addition to keeping them away from the reeds, it also minimizes peripheral leakage. So I imagine, peripheral leakage is minimal. The cardboard stock is porous. Before I choose the cardboard, I checked to make sure that air would pass, but pass with difficulty.

    If the baffle creates more resistance, then the pressure and volume difference between the two sides would be greater. If the baffle creates less resistance then the difference in the pressure and volume would be reduced. Below is put together a hypothetical graph of what I imagine is happening.

    Yes, the bass reeds are slower to sound if I use the same bellows pressure as I did before. To compensate, I apply a little more bellows pressure, and the bass reeds sound; and the treble reeds sing with even greater intensity. So, the greater the resistance, the greater the difference in volume of the two sides.

    I mentioned that I will play it as is for awhile before making the baffle a little more porous. I don't want to make a mistake, but I can see already that there will be a "sweet spot" where the volume difference between the left and right side will be optimal, at a particular acceptable bellows pressue.




  8. For many years now I have played with a baffle pressed against the fretwork for lowering the intensity of the left, “bass” side my duet concertina. This has worked well, but it did change the harmonics and nature of the sound to a noticeable (although acceptable) degree.


    I have now inserted a different type of baffle that does not affect the harmonics (at least to my ear) but definitely lowers the volume.


    It is a great and effective improvement. Pictures follow. What I did was to put a pressure reducing barrier between the bellows and the left side of the concertina plates. The baffle “breaths” and allows the left side to sound, but with less pressure and therefore with less volume. And since it is deeper in the concertina, away from the fretwork, the quality of the sound seems to be the same as if there were no baffle, but now just softer.


    The pressure reducing barrier (good stock cardboard) is reinforced for wooden ribbing to prevent flexing when under pressure. Also, there are a few dowels to keep it away from the reeds.


    I am going to play it like this for several weeks, if I find that I might like the left side to be a little louder, I may apply one VERY small pin hole to allow more air to pass, and therefore increase the pressure/volume. I could add small pin holes as necessary.


    Such a simple insert, yet is as if I have a new and better instrument. Definitely sounds more balanced and better !!


    Click on pictures below to enlarge





  9. I just read another stolen concertina story. I imagine we all are pained and even perhaps feel the loss when we hear of such incidents. I know I do.

    I have been thinking about something for quite some time now and suppose that it is worth putting on the table at this point. But the technology for identifying things has grown enormously. We "chip" our cats and dogs. We attach "tiles" to out key rings. There are now GPS units to track almost everything. And I am sure that there are other technologies that I am not aware of. AND, in most cases, these can be hidden or are at least unobtrusive.

    Has anyone ever thought of or tried using such a system with their concertina. For example a "chip" or tile or something else hidden inside the bellows, or under the inside lining of a concertina case?

    I was looking at one type of unit by the company: https://store.thetrackr.com/

    Here, if you lose something, EVERYONE on who has the system will be alerted if it should come in close proximity to their iPhone etc. if they have the app. It is their unit, “bravo”; and as part of the bundle, there is a system for alerting the owner.

    I once had an incident where a student of mine lost their iPhone, and we went to a computer in the next room and followed the phone down the highways, into the streets, and into a home. We knew the city, street, and house into which unit went (thankfully, here, it was an innocent mistake and everything worked out just fine).

    There must be a cost-effective way of tracking lost concertinas !!

    Any thoughts?? And, thanks in advance.

  10. As an amature woodworker myself I can really appreciate your work.


    Is it possible to design such as case with a very small compartment

    where one can store very small tools (one very small screw driver, for

    example) a small hygrometer etc. Such a compartment, of course,

    should be able to "breath" with the concertina chamber. Such a

    chamber could be on one of the hexagona sides, I suppose, and only

    increase the lenth by a 1/2 inch or so.


    I realize that this would increase the price, but it could tip the balance

    in my own mind to make such a purchase. For me it is a real need.


    Nice work, Noel

  11. I agree with what Joy mentions above!


    However, I do still use large chords - but this only because I inserted a baffle on left side. Without the left side volume being controlled, chords on the left side should be limited to two or three notes. More that this, the melody will be drowned out.


    I personally do not think that a Hayden should be sold without a baffle option. The nature of the instrument calls for one - particularly in the early stages of musical development with this great key layout. Don Taylor has an excellent photo presentation on how to make one, if interested:




    Honestly, if I could not control the left side volume, I would have probably migrated to another system by now. If you do decide to insert a baffle, I could give you some tips if interested.




    More recently, I am able to play a melody on the right side and now have the chords split between BOTH left and right sides. Working toward this end might also help to solve this issue.

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