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Richard Mellish

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About Richard Mellish

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  1. Sorry I forgot this until near the end; and then I had a problem with my audio and video setup, which I had just changed to use my smartphone as a webcam. I hope to join next time.
  2. I think I still mostly breathe in and out with the bellows unless I am singing.
  3. Have a read of this earlier thread: https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/topic/22399-tip-for-newbie/ My own advice is to try to get somewhere (I know, challenging when travel is restricted) where you can get your hands on the different kinds of concertina and try each one for at least a few minutes, preferably an hour or two. You may find that one or other system fits in with how your brain works and lets you pick out a simple tune while the other systems don't; in which case your choice of system is made. You then also need to decide how much money to spend. It's not silly to start with a cheap intrument, provided you're prepared to move upmarket as soon as you begin to feel its limitations. I started on a 20 button concertina made in what was then East Germany, which cost me £2 (admittedly equivalent to perhaps £20 nowadays). More recently I have spent thousands.
  4. I certainly use all four fingers on both sides, plus my right thumb obviously for the air button, plus my left thumb for the "drone" button in some chords. I can't think why one wouldn't use all available fingers, at least sometimes. I've always thought that for playing concertinas it would be good to be one of those people with an extra finger on each hand.
  5. According to my understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong), the centre of the tuning means the point from which you go equal distances in each direction around the circle of fifths. It determines where you meet at the other side of the circle and need to choose between (for example) G# and A-flat. In my case I need neither of those notes except perhaps as very rare accidentals; and anyway a few of the notes in the ad hoc column of my spreadsheet are adjusted from the 1/5 comma ones. A separate parameter is the pitch at the starting point, which in my spreadsheet is A=439: that has no effect on the intervals but obviously affects the departures from ET. I am attaching a modified version of my spreadsheet, with the frequencies in the ad hoc column now entered either as equal to those in the 1/5 comma column (most of them) or as the 1/5 comma ones plus or minus an offset. I have also further tweaked a few of the values. The frequencies in the 1/5 comma column for all notes were already relative to A, going one way round the circle as far as G# and the other way as far as E-flat. With A set to 439 Hz, making D very close to ET and G slightly above, the average of the differences in column E is zero, and the only differences greater than 7 cents are some of the thirds of the chords, which inevitably depart from the ET pitches to improve the intervals. temperaments - ad hoc.xls
  6. My current draft is close to 1/5 comma but with some notes tweaked slightly to improve the most important (for me) intervals and/or bring those notes closer to ET.
  7. Wim Wakker is about to start building an Anglo for me, G-D but specifically for playing minor key Swedish tunes, which tend to be in something similar to what a classical musician would identify as melodic minor, with the thirds and sixths fairly consistently flattened and the sevenths sometimes sharp and sometimes natural. I am having the thirds and sixths in the main two rows flattened from normal Anglo notes, in the hope that the fingering patterns that I am accustomed to for major key tunes will largely transfer to the minor key tunes. I wasn't sure what to do about the sevenths, but have decided in the end to leave them sharp as on a standard Anglo and use other buttons for the naturals. I don't know how well this will work in practice but I don't get on well with minor key tunes on a standard Anglo -- not even on a B-flat-F that I had made partly for the sake of G and D minor. So I decided that a diatonic minor instrument is worth a try. At the worst, if it doesn't work out for me, and anyway when it eventually passes to someone else, it can be retuned to standard. My reason for posting to this thread now is the matter of temperament. I like my present G-D Anglo, but one feature that I do not like is how very rough some of the thirds sound (as it is tuned in equal temperament). So among the details that I am in discussion with Wim about is whether to have fifth comma tuning or some other compromise. When I sent him the chart of what notes I want where, he commented that some of the intervals would be dissonant, but I think he was considering some that I will seldom or never be playing. A variation of the three chord trick implies that the chords (or parts thereof) that I will mainly need for G and D minor would be: C minor, G minor, D minor and A minor, plus possibly D major and A major for the F# and C#. I have been using a spreadsheet to explore the implications of various temperaments for those chords and for how far all the notes would differ from ET. I have now come up with a set of frequencies, based on fifth comma but with some tweaks, that are mostly not too far away from ET while making the intervals that matter for the abovementioned chords all within 6 cents or better of perfect, so a lot better than in ET. The only notes that are more than 10 cents away from ET are E-flat and B-flat, which pretty well have to be well sharp of ET to give better minor thirds with C and G. FWIW I am attaching the spreadsheet in XLS format (as probably the most widely readable on various OSs). Comments welcome! If anyone's interested I can also post the note layout chart. temperaments - ad hoc.xls
  8. How easy or not is it to set up (for people with various levels of computer competence)?
  9. Don't forget the essential advantage of the Hayden, that it allows identical fingering over a range of keys, so when you've found (for instance) one major chord on the left hand you don't need to work out the shapes of other major chords but only where to move your fingers to. On other Duet systems you need to learn each chord shape, as on an Anglo or a guitar. I did dabble with a Hayden for a few years but eventually gave up because I never established a home position that I could find automatically as I can on an Anglo. But I might have succeeded if I'd made more effort.
  10. What Colin told me was that another chap in Heytesbury, who used to make Bentley dashboards, retired, so Colin got the unused wood. Anyway all that was some years ago, so tells us nothing about current availability of left-over bits of lovely wood.
  11. I'm not sure whether I've told the tale of my Dipper on here before. Once upon a time I ordered a Bflat-F baritone Anglo from Colin. When I visited some time later we discussed details of finish, including the choice of thin strips of wood (I'm not sure of the correct term for the relevant bit of decoration) that he would be buying from a dealer at a festival in France. Some more time passed, during which I wondered whether to chase him but decided against it. One day at a concertina weekend, while Kate Portal had my Dickinson Hayden on loan (which I subsequently sold to her), she took it to Colin at a weekend surgery for some minor work. She mentioned that it was on loan from me, whereupon Colin told her that I had ordered an instrument from him but he had not heard from me for some time so he presumed I had lost interest. Kate of course promptly informed me and I got straight on the phone to Colin. I eventually got my baritone, and a lovely instrument it is, though it never got the decorative strips, instead having its ends made from wood that had previously been intended for a Bentley dashboard. I won't say how many years the whole story took from start to finish, but it was many.
  12. I totally endorse Little John's advice, but I encourage you if at all possible to visit somewhere where you can have a quick twiddle on as many of the systems as possible, even if only for a few minutes each. There is a learning curve to be followed of course, but you may find that one or other system makes more sense to you from the outset. English and Hayden duet have logical arrangements of the notes, and Anglo also logical for two of the rows, though the logic is completely different in each case. The other duet systems are a bit less logical, and the third row on an Anglo less still, but people make marvellous music with all of them.
  13. I'v e just taken a look. It does look promising, except that shipping to the UK (or presumably anywhere in Europe) and the estimated import charge (presumably VAT) between them more than double the price.
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