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Steve Schulteis

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. Simon, the main issue I have with your approach, and the reason I would not recommend it to others, is that it seems to hinder your ability to access the air button while also playing a note. I rely heavily on this technique in my own playing so that I am not forced to pause for a potentially distracting gulp of air.
  2. I would echo what Bill said. Here's a video that shows what I do: Like Bill said, at some point it's second nature and you don't really think about what you're doing. For example, I sometimes press my pinky against the end of the concertina to get better anchoring, but I didn't even realize I was doing that until I looked at video of myself. I don't find myself adjusting my hand straps at all. I set them when I first got the instrument, and I've left them alone ever since.
  3. I'm pretty sure "unlisted" is the actual setting. Private videos are generally unavailable even with the link.
  4. Upload to YouTube instead. When you paste the link here, it will automatically embed the video in your post.
  5. A picture with your hand in the strap might be helpful for figuring out what to suggest.
  6. I experimented with reed shoes laser-cut from delrin holding spring steel tongues. I only made one that worked before deciding I was better off just ordering from harmonikas.cz. It didn't work well, but a big part of that was certainly my poor job of profiling and fitting the tongue. It would be interesting to see what a more experienced reed maker would get from these materials and processes. But I'm pretty sure everyone making a significant number of reeds has already mostly automated the production of the shoes/plates, so there would be very little cost savings.
  7. I have no direct experience with them, and there's a bit of a wait, but these have received favorable reviews and match your price range: https://www.flyingduckconcertinas.co.uk/ducklings.html
  8. No traveling salesman here; I think this can be reduced to something that can be handled with A*. However, I'm not talking about picking chords or notes for chord spellings - I'm assuming that work is already done, and we're just trying to figure out fingering patterns to play the selected notes. I've actually thought about something similar as an enhancement to the pathfinding approach, but I think it's possible even without considering finger positions (though that may improve the results). My approach is this: Each chord (i.e. a known combination of specific notes) is treated as a step along the path. The number of available fingerings for a given chord is actually relatively small, since not every note has alternate buttons, and some alternates will be eliminated by bellows requirements for other notes. So you can reasonably calculate every fingering pattern for two consecutive chords and assign costs to moving from each pattern for the first chord to each pattern of the second. Costs can account for things like bellows direction changes, shared notes, or the fingering preferences mentioned above. Then you set A* loose on the whole sequence and see what comes out. Of course, this is a simplified explanation, and there are some other details to sort out, but that's the rough idea. The real issue is that the amount of existing music for which this tool would work is probably fairly limited. I could see using it with some SATB arrangements, but even a lot of those are going to need modification to correct for bellows conflicts and missing notes. Making the tool also highlight such issues would help, but no matter what, a creative, analytical human is going to have to get involved at some point. And that seems like a good opportunity to pivot back to the original topic - despite seeming like a somewhat dull task, picking fingering patterns is a creative effort that can't be 100% automated. But it gets easier with practice. For a melody line with no harmony, writing out tab would only take me slightly longer than slowly playing the piece. Like others, I mostly just mark tricky spots (accidentals I don't use often, alternates to avoid chopping, etc.) if I mark anything at all. My use of tab is mostly for harmony work, which is much more interesting to figure out.
  9. My idea for cracking this is to treat the sequence of notes as a pathfinding problem, for which there are standard algorithms. But you have to decide how to handle errors (e.g. impossible note combinations) and there will still be cases where you might prefer a different option from what the algorithm picks by default. It's a fun problem to think about, but I'm not convinced there's a lot of value in such a tool, and I have no intention of actually building it.
  10. Some different approaches are discussed in this thread: This assumes you already have standard notation in ABC or MuseScore. Here's a discussion about automatically digitizing printed sheet music: If you're interested in creating tab for melody-only music, there are probably some tools that will at least get you close. Even then, you may find that you want to use different buttons or bellows directions than the automatic tool chooses. You'll also probably find that most tools struggle to produce a continuous line for consecutive pull notes, if that matters to you. If you're trying to do harmonic-style arrangements, you're going to have to do it by hand. At one point I looked into writing a tool that could do automatic harmonic tab, and it's an interesting (and I think possible) challenge, but AFAIK nobody has done it yet. There's a lot to deal with - bellows direction conflicts, missing harmony notes, and considering consecutive fingering patterns (which also depends on bellows direction choices). Honestly, I think what you're already doing is probably the best/fastest approach, unless you want to make something that's typeset nicer for sharing with others. It's also good practice for familiarizing yourself with note locations on the Anglo keyboard, which should help with sight reading sheet music in the future.
  11. I don't think it's a bad question at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this topic has been discussed, at least in part, on the forum in the past. But afaik there's not a firmly established best practice as you find with some instruments, e.g. the proper way to hold a violin bow. Probably a lot of us never thought too hard about it and just did whatever came naturally. Since you're already taking lessons, I would start by soliciting your instructor's opinion. And you can always try different approaches yourself to see what you find the most ergonomic.
  12. Someone asked me a similar question recently (as if I know anything - ha!), and one of the places I pointed them was https://youtube.com/c/SignalsMusicStudio I've found that YouTube channel to be a good place to get an initial foothold on different theory concepts. One thing that I like about his approach is that he encourages you to get started before you know everything, but he also lets you know there's still more out there to learn. If you're trying to figure out what topic to start with, this video might help:
  13. Well, I'm able to come up with a logical, thought out description of my process, at least. 😛 In practice, the edges of things can get a little blurry compared to my very black and white explanation. Handling bellows direction as a separate step is just a way for me to reduce the number of things I have to keep track of at one time. Maybe someday I'll be fluent enough to do everything together, but right now it helps to keep each problem as simple as possible, even if that causes a bit more back and forth. Actually, I think it IS the one that used to be yours. But I've since sold it - Gen Totani is its current keeper. It's a charming instrument, and it never failed to attract attention.
  14. My understanding is that the "DIX", "DIX concertina", and "DIX concertina original" reeds all have effectively the same tongues, and none have tapered slots. I have some of the "original" reeds (I really need to get that build going), so I can double check them later if anyone cares. I'm curious why you say the concertina reeds are more cumbersome. I figured they would be faster/easier to swap in and out for final tuning. Is it a matter of reed pan production? I realize the reed price difference renders this question kind of irrelevant - I'm just wondering what I'm missing. I think both of these Hayden projects are great, and I'm looking forward to watching them progress.
  15. I still consider myself to be fairly early in my musical journey, but here are my experiences, for what they're worth. My main focus has been on hymn tunes, and I employ a mix of trial & error and formal arranging. My command of music theory is still very limited, but part of my aim in the formal approach is to give more attention to voice leading. It does tend to produce a different result from what I would arrive at otherwise. I'm usually working from somebody else's chords (or four part arrangement), because I want to preserve the traditional/familiar feel of the music, but I'm slowly getting more confident at starting from scratch. I don't entirely ignore the limits of the Anglo keyboard as I go (in particular, I avoid the missing low A on my G/D), but I often address bellows direction conflicts as a separate step. In fact, the entire job of fitting the arrangement to the Anglo keyboard is usually a somewhat separate step. This can lead to some awkward fingerings, but I try to make sure I have something that I can play cleanly, and sometimes I change the arrangement to make it easier to play. A bit more of the trial and error approach tends to leak in at this point at well, but I take the results back to the formal arrangement, validating each one against the other. It's not unusual to be missing half of the notes for a particular chord, so I tend to prioritize the "interesting" ones. I think it's often good to limit myself to just a couple of harmony voices anyway, which means tetrachords will be missing at least one note anyway. Sometimes I can't continue the chord I want across a particular melody note because of a bellows change, and I'll just play that one note by itself. I'm beginning to get a better idea of how I can have the harmony stay silent at times while still feeling full and present. I've been noticing lately that I have a tendency to place the melody lower, keeping the melody and harmony closer together than might be preferable, because that lets me access more bellows reversals for melody notes, which opens up different chord options. When I forgo the formal process entirely, I find that I tend to rely heavily on "standard" chord spellings. Those do still show up a lot in the formal approach, but I'd say there's more variation in the note combinations I arrive at with that method. I'm sure there's more I could say, but that's probably enough rambling for now.
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