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Luke Hillman

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    Concertinas, chickens, and the Morris
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    Berkeley, CA

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. I'll add to this thread that I also use MuseScore for learning tunes. It allows you to import PDF sheet music, with varying degrees of success, which it can then play back for you, or which you can save as a midi or mp3 file (it'll also work in reverse, generating sheet music from a midi file). The interface is more geared toward people who read and write music, but it's well worth checking out if this is a feature that would be useful for you. And it's free! I used to use Finale for a similar purpose, but it's expensive and I've completely switched over to MuseScore in recent years.
  2. Thank you for this fascinating writeup, Yuxin. As far as piano-like layouts go, my personal sense is that the ergonomics don't quite translate to concertina, where your hands are fixed and almost all the motion is in your fingers. Others will have better-informed views; I'm only a novice pianist. I seem to remember a recent thread about a Jones piano duet that had a lot of constructive feedback (too late for Jones to take into account, alas). Edit: this thread Here's a transcription of Yang's 40b system. I note the accidentals for the top row of the left-hand side are all on the bottom of the right-hand side, which would take some getting used to. You mention its intended use is accompaniment—would that mostly mean multi-line harmonies, or sustained chords, or something else? I'd love to hear an example of the type of music he has in mind.
  3. Thanks for the heads up, Michael -- very rude of Facebook to mess with links like that! I've added a rewrite rule in my server config that should remove the "fbclid" junk. At some point I'll revisit my url parsing code and make it a bit more tolerant of such shenanigans. Let me know if you run into more FB-related issues. I don't have an account there and would never have discovered this myself.
  4. I had actually built this, but then decided I'd disable it unless someone asked for it (I figured there was probably a better way to show multiple options for chords, but so far haven't figured out a layout-agnostic way that gives consistently good results). I've now added it back in. Enabling/disabling sound is also on the roadmap as soon as holiday travel is done. Cheers!
  5. Owen, let's talk. The way I've currently got things set up, there'd have to be some significant changes (I'm not currently using a button numbering system and don't have any concept of handedness), but it would definitely be worth exploring! @lachenal74693 very satisfying indeed; coming from a no-code design tool is a night and day kind of difference. @Steve Schulteis - yay, glad to hear! I started out using it to arrange stuff myself, but lately I've been mainly using it to geek out over different layout possibilities. I'd love to pick your brain about how you use it at some point, if you're amenable.
  6. Thanks Dave! Yeah, the auto-zooming on iOS is annoying. I can disable it, but that would also disable manual pinch-zooming for all devices, which I'm loath to do. I'll keep exploring ways of addressing that. Chrome is halfway lying. There aren't any cookies, but if you create a custom layout, I'm putting that in localStorage so it stays in your layout dropdown even after refreshing the page (since there isn't a server looking at anything stored locally, I seem to be GDPR-compliant). LocalStorage gets cleared if you manually clear browsing data, so I still recommend bookmarking links to your custom layouts. I should probably mention that in the "about" section. Edit: I'm not collecting any data, so I'll rely on this thread and anyone who's kind enough to participate in user research for all improvements!
  7. Howdy folks, some big news today: in my retirement,* I learned some rudimentary programming, and I've just finished completely re-building Anglo Piano from the ground up. The result is, I think, approximately six thousand times better, faster, and more mobile-friendly: anglopiano.com I can see from my server logs that Anglo Piano has a small but relatively consistent group of users. I hope this will improve your experience a lot. I'm pretty sure I've fixed the most egregious usability issues, but I'm relatively new to software engineering,** so please let me know if you encounter any bugs or weirdness. I've also added a couple features that make exploring tradeoffs between different systems and sharing custom layouts a lot easier. I've already found it useful in a couple detailed layout discussions here (example: here's @adrian brown's 38b Jeffries). If you are so inclined, check it out and let me know what you think! __________ * unemployment ** note to those inclined to look at the code: I'm not a poet yet. my style evolved significantly while I was writing Anglo Piano, and consequently it's spaghetti. I'll be working on cleaning it up as I have time. Don't expect it to make a ton of sense!
  8. WHOA, this is such a wild instrument! Thank you for the share. Here's a video of one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Fqqjm9n88
  9. It seems like some of you might be drawing a distinction between "C/G" and "30 buttons." Is that accurate? Is "C/G" sometimes shorthand for "exactly two rows, one in C and the other in G"? And anything more is "C/G plus", or something like that? I have to ask because it seems like the discussion about tuning may be getting unintentionally muddled by the parallel discussion about number of buttons. Or maybe there's some group vocabulary I'm just not getting. Sorry to be so dense!
  10. When I picked up a fiddle for the first time about two weeks ago, I found my brain trying to map Anglo bellows direction onto the bow direction. Great job, brain! Very helpful! 🥲
  11. Oooh! Not sure how I missed this. Just ordered from Abebooks. Really excited for this one, thanks Gary!
  12. I didn't even know this was a thing. Thank you! This comment raises more questions for me. Since you mention harmonica, I'm compelled to ask: are you talking about starting with a 30-button C/G Anglo? Or have you somehow learned to do harmonica-style pitch-bending on a 20b C/G? For my part, I truly am agnostic on tunings (well, aside from finding the lower ones more pleasing) unless I'm trying to play in a particular key.
  13. Right, "except when it isn't" being the exception. I tried to cover my bases with "tends to be mostly" —anyway, generalizations can be useful Though I didn't say so, my original response was strongly influenced by Fiddling's daughter being an "experienced classical violinist", i.e., new to concertina but certainly not new to music. I'd be surprised if she hasn't already developed some musical preferences that might be taken into account. When I took up concertina, I was interested in the volume, the portability, and the opportunity to explore harmonies and polyphony more generally (no surprise that I've since become a maximalist and am always questing for more buttons). Some folks are more interested in the simplicity and the musical choices enforced by the limitations. It would be good to have a sense of the value she assigns to those factors when making a decision on an instrument. Here's where my ignorance is really going to shine through: I know that a G/D or D/A would mean playing on the rows, which is not ideal if you're trying to achieve the flowy cross-row sound, but If I may inquire of the strong advocates for a 2-row C/G: do you just get along without the C#? Omit it from the music, or find another note that sounds okay there? Or is the ideal 20b one that has been altered to include the missing note? I totally get that a vintage Lachenal is more of a joy to play, and Anglos are all about tradeoffs. In fact, I'm not sure I could bring myself to choose a Rochelle over a good 20b Lachenal myself, now, if I were forced. Probably more of a discussion than OP bargained for. Indeed, Christmas is such an unfortunate timeline!
  14. Personally, I'd agree with your initial thought that a 30-button Anglo would be appropriate, if you decide to go with Anglo. Most (but not all) Irish players use C/G concertinas with 30 buttons. Though 20-button vintage instruments can indeed sound very lovely, they are very limiting. Since Irish music tends to mostly be in D, you'd need to find a 20-button in G/D. It just won't be possible to play in D on a 20-button C/G box without the C#. (usual disclaimers: the key only really matters if she's likely to play with other people and/or relies on reading music. If she plays solo and by ear, any key will do, but it's hard to play along with recordings in a different key). That said, the important tradeoff in my opinion is whether you think she'd be more pleased with an instrument that feels delightful to play and has the classic concertina tone (vintage 20b wins here) or one that enables her to play tunes in the "right" key and that opens up some more phrasing options (Rochelle wins). As several have stated upstream, 20b Anglos can be altered to include a C#. This might be viable for you. English concertinas are capable of Irish music, too. At least in my neck of the woods, vintage English concertinas can be found for less coin than 30b Anglos. Further disclaimer: I don't play much Irish music, so others can correct if I'm inadvertently spreading misinformation.
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