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Theodore Kloba

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Everything posted by Theodore Kloba

  1. The PDF chart with notes on staff is updated. I had to completely redraw it since I lost my source documents. I think it's beter than it was. The position of press and draw is the same for left and right now.
  2. The relationship is only in a physical layout sense, not a musical one: On the left hand, the outer row of numbers (1/2, 2/3, ...) are numbered with the nearest adjacent buttons (e.g., 2/3 is next to 2 and 3). On the right hand, as the keyboard expanded to the high end, they just kept increasing the numbers (though after 14, they went in diagonals instead of rows). To expand at the low end, they just did the x/0 series in rows. I'm not sure why a later round of additions used non-numeric symbols (+, *, and the circled cross). I decided to fix that in the new version I'm making. It carried over from an old printed version I have. I've been trying unsuccessfully to find the source drawings for those PDFs. I honestly don't remember how they worked. They seemed like a good idea when I made them, but I never really used them. Ike Milligan used to be (and may still be) an active contributor on the rec.music.makers.squeezebox newsgroup. Since you have accordion style reedblocks, he should do a good job. IIRC, he didn't work on "long-plate" reeds.
  3. I think this one's good enough to put some money into at least a touch-up tuning. Don't pay to bring it to A=440Hz unless you absolutely have to play with piano or some other "untuneable". BTW, getting a Star won't necessarily get you a better instrument. They had their good and bad periods as a manufacturer. You'll have a hard time finding a double in good playing condition with the "long-plate" reeds as they're known in Chemnitzer circles. It's also much easier to tune a "wax box" like this. Not necessarily. An old one will also probably have wooden key levers (which tend to warp and stick) with leather hinges on the valve pallets (which tend to dry out and crumble). An aluminum action with valve pallets attached on pins is pretty much indestructible and trouble-free, though heavy. Mainly the difference is range. The Bandoneon system simply has more notes. If you're really planning on playing Bach organ works, you might run off the edge of the keyboard. It's also flexibility on the left hand. Though you still can play just about any chord on a chemnitzer, bass melodies tend to require more bellows direction changes than they would on bandoneon. This is just a convention of Tango players, and a recent one at that if you look at historic film footage. Definitely not the case. Actually the interesting thing about minor chords on chemnitzer is they tend to be playable in either direction, whereas major chords tend to be easy in one direction and awkward in the other. I don't quite know how, but somehow it does. It's very arbitrary. 0 through 9 were the original 20-button keyboard. Other numbers were added as the layout was expanded with no particular logic. BTW, I removed the defective PDFs from my site and placed a GIF file I had on hand of the basic chart. It doesn't look as nice, but it will be usable until I can fix the other files: Downloads
  4. Among concertinas, I play chemnitzer and bandoneon; outside the concertina realm: Russian diatonic accordion, piano, guitars, Cümbüş, Kanklės, etc... I went through the mental exercise several years ago of creating a more uniform bi-sonoric layout. (I also corresponded a bit with Hugh Blake, who created "The Blake System" to this same end). I came to the conclusion then that isomorphism is highly overrated, especially in a bi-sonoric instrument. (I also think 12-tone equal temperament is highly overrated, but that's a different story.) Anyway, on to the Atzarin layout: First, I had trouble with the web site. It disables scrollbars and will not fit on my (1440 × 900 pixel) screen. I could see enough to get the idea. I do like that way diatonic scales lay out so that you could easily play with two alternating fingers for most of the octave. But, I don't like the way the left hand has the high notes at the left end rather than the right. Very accordiony. I do like that you chose to place a semitone difference between press and draw. But, I think you did it backwards: Draw should be a semitone below press. I guess it's a leading-tone-to-tonic thing in my mind and tonic should be on press. Though I don't think I would want to play an instrument in this layout, I'd be interested to see what kind of playing (ornament and phrasing in particular) grow out of it.
  5. Well, 20 cents above 440Hz is just over 445 Hz, so it's probably close to that. From what I could tell in your video, the right hand seems to be octave-voiced (middle+low). This may be throwing the tuner off. I think the wetness is just age-related out-of-tune-ness more than anything. Not very wet at all IMHO. Definitely double reeds. The smallest ones typically don't have leather valves: The air you lose is worth it to get those reeds starting sooner. The style of reed & blocks is a lot like other Italian-made Chemnitzers and some American-made Chemnitzers from the 1950s through 1980s. (On my 1975-or-so Star double, the reeds are individual, waxed-in like this, but the blocks are glued to the board rather than clamped down with screws.) A hardware, cabinetmakers' supply, or miniatures (a.k.a. dollhouse) supply should have it. If you have no local dealer, try a Google product search for "miniature butt hinge". You definitely need to get that fixed, since in normal playing it's used in just about every phrase. Actually, I discovered a little while ago that some damage happened to the PDFs when I changed web hosts. There should be a lot more information there. I haven't had a chance to find the source documents to recreate the PDFs. This is on my "to do" list right after some unplanned home renovations we had do after we had water damage. In any case, if you look at the keyboard chart with "dots", it's correct, with the draw note on the left. Regarding keys: Most Chemnitzer players treat the instrument as a transposing instrument like orchestral winds & brass: You notate #5 press as A, regardless of what concert-pitch note actually comes out of the instrument you're playing. Definitely you'll be able to use it for other than polka. Being an octave-voiced double helps give it a broader application since you can get a similar timbre out of each side. You got a better deal on this one since most of the polka players want something that can be heard over drums or horns and so pick a quad. PS: Love your YouTube handle (Jabberwockistan).
  6. Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks? On The album Sackcloth `n' Ashes, "bandoneon" is credited. "Concertina" is listed on later CDs. I have a theory that the "bandoneon" was really a chemnitzer, but David E. Edwards didn't know what he had. My reasoning is a discussion with the aforementioned John Bernhardt of Star Concertina about the time 16HP came into his shop and D.E.E. traded in an old German concertina for the Patek (brand Chemnitzer) he was using by the time I saw them in concert (the Patek is pictured in the above Wikipedia article). It could also be that he had a bandoneon and adjusted fingering once he switched to the Chemnitzer. By happy chance, YouTube has a clip from a 2000 concert in the Netherlands of "American Wheeze", and it very clearly shows the instrument he's playing: That's actually instructive: There's a studio version of "American Wheeze" on Sackcloth `n' Ashes, where the instrument used is most likely a "high triple" which means the right hand is voiced Mid-Mid-High (left is usually one less reed, so Mid-High). The one in the video (as well as the live recording on Hearse) is a low quad, voiced M-M-M-L on right, M-M-H on left. Typical bandoneon voicing is M-H both sides. From the size of it, I'm going to guess that your Morbidoni Echo II is a double or triple. You won't know how it's voiced until you hear it or open it. Incidentally, I think these were made in Italy to the specifications of Stan Uhlir, who used to build the Echo concertina.
  7. "Por una Cabeza" Tango, eh? I'd say it's more like "Sin cabeza" Tango.
  8. Since this is turning into a list of our favorite bandoneon players and YouTube videos: (playing Grieg!) I also like Luis di Matteo, but he doesn't appear to have any video out there.
  9. Must be one of the unisonoric systems with all that bellows shaking going on.
  10. I guess we first need to be clear on what is meant by duplicate notes/alternate fingerings. I'll use an example from a C/G anglo to explain what I thought was meant: On press of the bellows, the same G note is available on two buttons: In the G row as the root of the G chord, and in the C row as the 5th of the C chord. This does not occur at all on the right hand of a Chemnitzer. There is never more than one button for any given note and bellows direction. Duplication occurs to a very limited degree on the left hand. So, you avoid changes of bellows direction by having nearly every chromatic tone available in both directions. On the 28-button Chemnitzer right hand, there are only a handful tones not available in both directions: the lowest C and D# and highest F# are only on draw; the lowest C# and highest D# and F are only on press. Incidentally, looking at the 71-button Bandoneón layout, it appears to be "in the same boat." I don't have one of these instruments; my only Bandonion is a 44-button model.
  11. As others have said, it's a Chemnitzer concertina, a type not usually discussed at length in this forum. I can't see the right keyboard, but from the left I'm going to guess it's either got 38 or 39 buttons total. It would possibly have been a learner's instrument; players moved to a 51- or 52-button model later. As Paul said before, Henry Silberhorn didn't make the instrument. He did write one of the most popular instruction books about 90 years or so ago. A lot of people still learn (Chemnitzer) concertina from his book. He also published a huge volume of sheetmusic with arrangements of popular tunes. There are a couple pictures of him here: http://www.concertin...le/peoples.html (Scroll down to find him alphabetically.) Are you hoping to learn to play it? That article is just a copy of the Wikipedia article: Chemnitzer concertina. The photo is actually mine. What would it take to get you to edit the Wikipedia article to fix the misstatements? Anyone can do it! Google tells me there are 86 different pages that scrape the Wikipedia content, so your edit will have "wide reaching" benefit!
  12. As the Chemnitzer keyboard developed, duplicate notes (i.e. alternative fingerings) were eliminated in favor of accidentals and extended range. On the right hand there are no duplicate notes in either direction. The left hand has only a few. With the big instruments, you're discouraged from too much "bouncing" by the weight. Even on music that doesn't have a lot of left hand chords, I find myself changing bellows direction with the main harmonic changes of the song.
  13. Do they use a bandoneon or chemnitzer in the mentioned tracks? On The album Sackcloth `n' Ashes, "bandoneon" is credited. "Concertina" is listed on later CDs. I have a theory that the "bandoneon" was really a chemnitzer, but David E. Edwards didn't know what he had. My reasoning is a discussion with the aforementioned John Bernhardt of Star Concertina about the time 16HP came into his shop and D.E.E. traded in an old German concertina for the Patek (brand Chemnitzer) he was using by the time I saw them in concert (the Patek is pictured in the above Wikipedia article). It could also be that he had a bandoneon and adjusted fingering once he switched to the Chemnitzer. Not every musician has it in them to conserve or preserve a tradition. Not every musical idiom has room for every instrument. Players need to be composers of new material well suited to the instrument. I'm not really sure what the answer is. While I have a good ear for identifying musical idioms and can even adapt my playing to an extent, I have a hard time understanding other peoples' strict preferences for "genres". Seriously, I was listening to Afghan classical music when I wrote the last message; right now I'm listening to "Tempus Fugit" by Yes. Maybe. I guess the benefit on the Chemnitzer is that as bellows direction changes, the right hand fingering changes to better suit the context of the chords that are accessible to the left hand in that direction.
  14. I guess my ears were burning... Something gave me the urge to check Concertina.net today. The short story is that nearly any Italian-made or post-WWII American-made Chemnitzer will have a keyboard layout that's a lot like a bandoneon, but a sound that's very little like it. If you get a double-reed German or pre-war American Chemnitzer with octave tuning (and no tuba reeds on the left-hand 1, 5, 10 buttons as was common), the timbre will be indistinguishable from a bandoneon though the compass is not quite as great. Unfortunately, instruments fitting that description and in good condition are rare. My sister-in-law just returned from there and has got us fixed up with rugs and fighting kites, but can you bring me back a Rubab? I've been digging Ustad Mohammad Omar lately. Have you encountered 16 Horsepower? Check out the songs "Low Estate", "Neck on the New Blade" and "American Wheeze". FWIW, none of the Chemnitzer players I know think of the individual rows as being "in a key" the way a melodeon player might, mostly because only about 15 of the 52 buttons are arranged that way. The layout is accepted dogmatically and memorized. The bellows changes direction for phrasing, but nowhere near as often as on a melodeon or Anglo. Check out some videos of bandoneon and chemnitzer players. I have never fixed that kind of air lever, but they're typically not too hard. Italian chemnitzers tend to be wet (sometimes musette-wet). American instruments vary widely. I saw 52 keys (28 & 24); I have some keyboard charts on my site here: http://ciceroconcertina.weebly.com/downloads.html I really need to go "Alan Lomax" on some of my friends before any more of them die on me. Joe Stulga, Ed Bojan, Chuck Hoening are all 90+ now but were popular Chicago nightclub pros in their day. None plays polkas unless requested, preferring the popular dance music of their heyday. One "youngster" who's worth checking on Youtube is Chris Weiss. He does a lot of polkas to please the crowds, but he also does some "standards". I'm not a technical player so I'm at no risk of being called a master. I learned a lot from John Bernhardt (who owned Star Concertina before his death in 2006), but it's just so darn time consuming (c'mon-- 374 reeds?!?) that I'll only work on my own instruments. My personal feeling is that we need a new living repertoire for the instrument before that will get anywhere.
  15. Since I dropped by to answer Lilly's post, I thought I'd do a quick Chemnitzer search. I found this: The apartment upstairs from the old Star shop on Milwaukee is now "Concertina Gallery", a non-commercial apartment art gallery. This is to art what house concerts are to music. Last month, I played (on my Star, of course) for the opening of their first exhibition, "No More Worlds." I think the ethnic significance (i.e. a lot of Polish immigrants) came first. The music shops followed.
  16. Hi All! That is a little bit odd. 38 or 39 buttons is very common on older Chemnitzers (and some modern child's models). I have an old bandonion with 44 buttons, but by the time they expanded to that point, they already had 4 rows on the right and left. (Here's a photo of mine that I've contributed to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Early-bandonion.jpg )Yours could be an earlier version of one of the other German systems (e.g. Karlsfelder) The Cicero Concertina Circle website is mine too; since Yahoo is closing Geocities, I had to find a new free host, and I decided to do a revamp of the site with the move. I kept all the same content from the old site, but reformatted and changed the focus to the club events rather than the "static" content. I would also have sent you to Italo-American. They're all I know if in the area. After John Bernhardt (last owner of Star) retired in 2000, his tuner and repair technician Lucio Lorenzetti kept the shop open for repairs (including warranties on new instruments). Lucio passed away in 2003 after a sudden illness. John technically took over warranty service (though I doubt he had to do much) and worked on instruments for personal friends. He wanted to stay retired otherwise; he passed away in suddenly 2006. The technician at Italo-American is Pompilio Rosiani, who actually owned Star Concertina in the '70s and early '80s. (Bernhardt bought it from him and brought the brand back to its former glory.) I've only had Pompi work on one of my Star instruments that was made during that era. The quality of the repair was acceptable. I would recommend you get a clear written description of the repairs to be done along with a firm price and completion date. One disappointment about that place was the treatment from the owners: They seemed to have an anti-concertina attitude at first-- It only seemed to change when I played for them and it wasn't a Polish polka like they were expecting.
  17. Hi all, I've been busy with my guitar amp building & other electronics (see my blog) and with my wife's latest recording (see her page), but I'm still playing my concertina and still part of the Cicero Concertina Circle. I just dropped in to see what's new at C.net... I've seen a couple of those in person at events. From a sound or playability standpoint it's nothing special at all: Just a novelty shape for an ordinary Italian-made "wax box". Rather accordioney sounding. That's common in most Chemnitzers that have passed through a US shop. It's a horrible ceramic mic element, glued to a Masonite square. I think the Chicago builders bought thousands of these back in the 1940s and the stock lasted through the end of Star's existence (2000) and when Christy Hengel bought out the old Vitak Elsnic factory, he took another load up to Minnesoota. I've retrofitted mine: I bought a decent dynamic element and mounted it through a square of neoprene (a piece of mouse pad to be exact). It still is relatively feedback-immune like the old mic, but is a lot more natural sounding (though of course not as natural as a nice condenser mic on the outside of the instrument). Good for sound reinforcement in a noisy band setting. This one has accordion reeds. But it's not really an either-or proposition. There are at least a handful of different reed types and mounting configuration, and at least two of those are called "concertina" reeds, just as there are several very different instruments that are called "concertina". It looks like someone has already pointed you to my site for fingering charts. As for music, every time I go to a club meeting someone's either offering me a stack of "notes" or asking why I haven't learned the 37 tunes they gave me last month. These guys are mostly elderly and are realizing they'll never get time to even look through them all, much less learn them. Many inherited their libraries from family members who passed on before them. Good point! Although I started out taking classical lessons on piano, when I play folk music on a folk instrument, I expect some raucous drunken exuberance! Probably because there were so many Chemnitzers made in the USA (or in Germany/Italy for export to the USA) and so much music published here. Thanks. I got lucky this time, but feel free to send me an email through C.net if it ever comes up and I'm not around. I'm surprised it only ended at $877. I would have thought the novelty factor would have boosted it a bit.
  18. I just posted this new video to YouTube: I wrote the music and performed all the instrumental parts; my mom wrote the lyrics & sang. A bit of background: A few years ago my mom, who's an avid gardener and garden blogger started writing a series of poems called Love Songs for Flower Nerds. For "I Don't Want to Live in Texas When It's May", she thought it needed a western/folk song. I wrote the music for her. It's taken a while, but we finally got the music all together and she recorded the vocals the last time she visited. The song contains a lot of references to her former home in Lombard, Illinois, known for its lilacs, especially the collection at Lilacia Park.
  19. Sherri, I only drop by here occasionally, so I'm sorry if this comes too late to help you... If you'd like to purchase the book mentioned by KerryFrank, it's for sale on the concertinamusic.com merchandise section. There are some other resources on that site that may help you if you haven't yet found them. You might gain insight by looking up Patek serial numbers in the vicinity of yours. There's also an index of clubs (where you'll find me listed) and you might find one in your area. All of the below will affect value, and the Patek brand name ended up on many variations: Age/Condition Tuning (in tune with itself? In tune to modern standard A = 440 Hz?) Key number of buttons (probably 52, but maybe 51, also known as 104- and 102-key respectively) Voicing (number of reeds and their relation to eachother) Is the action metal or wood? What kind of reeds ("long plate", "pin", or "wax"/"accordion")? If you can get someone well-known to confirm that it was built by Otto Schlicht with reeds made by John Friedl, you may have a treasure. Unfortunately, there are few people with that ability and two of them passed away last year. I might suggest contacting one of the people from Echo Concertina, one of the remaining active builders.
  20. I didn't get it. Rickroll + Russian Reversal = ?
  21. In Soviet Union, Rick Astley rolls you!
  22. By the way, "Kalinka" is what you hear in the background on Tetris. Also BTW, Hi all! I haven't been here in months as I've been busy with some home remodeling, helping my wife put the finishing touches on her latest album (it's in the hands of the mastering engineer now), and some electronics projects.
  23. On chemnitzer, the little finger of the left hand can actually get the most use: If you're playing oom-pah style, most of the "ooms" are on the little finger. On the right hand, it gets much less, most frequently it's for one of the oddly positioned intervals that can't be reached otherwise. I also played guitar (bass guitar and piano as well) before concertina, and I'm sure that affects how I use the little fingers. It has also physically altered my hands too-- extending the reach. I think guitar playing has caused the middle and ring fingers of my left hand to be curved towards each other. Who knows how the bones would have grown had I been playing concertina as a small child.
  24. I just learned last evening that John Bernhardt passed away last Tuesday (16 October 2007). John was the last owner of Star Concertina, which closed in 2000 and was the last full-time factory producing Chemnitzer concertinas. I'm lucky to own one of the last concertinas built by John, and to have known him for the past seven years. (Photo from concertinamusic.com)
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