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Posts posted by danersen

  1. Geoff,


    RE: if one tries to put in too much chord work then the melody will get crowded out. This is because finding a different volume level for the accompaniment is not just a matter of touch, as it would be on the Piano.


    This is a bit of topic creep, but warrants comment.


    I think you will find - perhaps you have already - that while expressive techniques on a duet are certainly different than the technique on piano, Dirge's comment that a lot can be achieved by touch is consistent with my experience. You will also likely discover - perhaps you have already - that changes in the direction of the bellows combined with varying pressure (and even which hand is pressing or drawing) will also advance the use of rich complex chordal forms without overpowering the melody.



  2. Gerardo, et. al,


    It seems to me that two recent postings by members can serve as objective points of reference for illustrative responses to your query.

    They are here (with links to YouTube):






    I truly enjoyed listening to both of these.

    Thank you, Dick and Marien, for sharing them.


    It seems to me that both of these are very nicely arranged and presented and are meaningful representations of what can be done with respect to chords and melody on both an English system and a Duet (in this case a Crane) system.

    Just to make certain that someone doesn't get too persnickety, I don't mean to suggest that these are entirely representative of what can be accomplished by either system, but both are representative of what can be accomplished by a player who is willing to devote the time to learning how to play polyphonic music on the respective systems.


    I will refrain from further comment as I am profoundly biased with respect to this question (and I play both EC and Duet systems), but if others are able to comment more thoughtfully than I, using these as a standard point of reference, their comments may be very instructive and more meaningful in a practical way to you than are generalized comments.


    Happy: Easter, Passover, and Spring (in alphabetical order) or Spring, Passover, and Easter (in chronological order) to all.


    Be Well,


  3. Gerardo,

    In reply to your original question regarding jazz, classical, and polyphonic music in general -

    Yes ... in a fashion.

    Such can also be accomplished on an Anglo system in limited fashion - which your are finding less than satisfactory, it seems.

    ... And one can also plow a field with a Range Rover if one chooses;

    But it is not likely the most efficient way to do so.

    Best wishes for success however you proceed.


  4. RE: comments by Azalin at 12:34 am


    I sincerely hope that you have no idea of the prejudicial implications that comments like the ones that you've just expressed can have; and trust that you would not have articulated them if you did.

    This sort of commentary, in my opinion, is unnecessary and out-of-place on this forum.

    Generalized and unqualified commentary about parts and products is one thing. It is quite another when describing people, societies, and cultures.

  5. RE: how about Wim Waker's?


    In a word ... Sublime!


    I have two Wakker concertinas - one English and one duet.

    Both are truly extraordinary.

    In my opinion, Wim and his work do not receive the recognition and "hype" that others receive, and thus both he and his instruments are comparatively under appreciated.



  6. Hello Dave,

    Just a note about the photos.

    Assuming that they uploaded successfully, be certain that you then add them to the post; otherwise they will only be filed in your account, but not appear here.

    Be Well,


  7. During intermission at symphony this afternoon, it occurred to me that the fingering systems of oboes and clarinets may be a useful analogy to concertina layouts.


    To my knowledge, there are at least three "standard" (recognized and utilized) fingering systems for oboes - English, French, and German.

    Add to that full or partial conservatorie, full or partial automatic, second and third octave rings, and more - trill keys, etc.

    There are also three recognized and utilized clarinet fingering systems of which I am aware - Boehm, Albert, and Oehler.

    Here there are also added keys, mechanisms, and even extended notes.


    All are currently available and in-use by world-class professional musicians.


    Is any one better than the others.

    In one sense, yes.

    It is better to the musician who chooses it for her/his own inclinations, purposes, and repertoire.


    I think the same may be applicable to concertina layouts and those who choose them for their own individual inclinations, purposes, and repertoire.


    The success or popularity of one does not diminish the value or relevance of any other.

  8. Hello David,


    Any choice of instrument and its format seems, to me, to be a very personal choice with many variables at play - not the least of which are cognition and physiology.

    I tried a Hayden layout on two separate occasions and I simply did not find it comfortable or efficient.

    There are several reasons, but the most important ones are:

    - it is not completely isomorphic - uniform, yes - but not isomorphic - to me

    - the absence of an A# or a Gb which would make both outer accidental ranks "comparable" and diminish the stretch for the Bb and the F# from their natural semi-tones.

    I have attached a jpg to illustrate what, to me, is a deficiency in the Wicki layout.


    All of the criteria that I previously listed and the comments that I've expressed - all of them - are real reasons.

    To that extent, if one reason, "...if there is a real reason that the chromatiphone wins out over the Hayden, I'd like to see it." is truly the answer that you seek, I do not have the answer for you.


    In my case, I prefer the Stark layout which helps to overcome my limitations rather than my having to overcome its limitations.


    I prefer the Stark layout as it provides more proximity and better suits my own cognition and physiology.

    This melodic sequence may be helpful in illustrating it:


    You may play this sequence easily on the Wicki. I could not develop an easy transit for this passage.

    My psyche just prefers that the semitones/accidentals are in-line with the naturals rather than located off-to-the-side.

    My fingers seem to travel more easily in a horizontal direction.

    The Wicki locates octaves vertically (octaves above/below) while the Stark locates them horizontally (octaves side-to-side).

    Again, my cognition just relates to this more readily. Perhaps its all the years of piano. Octaves occur along the axis of the thumb and little finger not the wrist and the fingertips.

    Along this line, I think the Wicki layout is confusing to me as I don't "expect" the adjacent diagonal buttons to be fourths and fifths, but semitones - again, more like a piano keyboard.

    The Stark does not accomplish this fully, but it is more closely oriented that way.

    The Wicki, to me, is much more akin to a Stradella layout which is based on the circle-of-fifths.


    Edited to correct typos and add the jpg which I forgot.



  9. Hello Juergen,


    RE: Can you tell us why you are changing EC for the C2. Do you want to play other sort of music which may be more difficult with the EC. As a EC player myself I ask what may be your personal reason for this change. Would you answer this?


    The concise answer to your question is: versatility, capacity, and simplicity.

    The longer answer is the criteria previously described.


    The chromatiphone substantially overcomes most of the limitations that I have encountered through the years on both EC and other duet systems and am therefore unlikely to reach for anything but the chromatiphone except on rare occasions or very special situations.


    By way of example: last night I was playing through Hubert Giraud's Sous le Ciel de Paris and the ease with which the passing tones can be played (especially in the bass clef) is truly wonderful.

    The same is true for Brahms Hungarian Dances which I mentioned previously.

    The uniformity of relative location throughout the scales allows for very easy transit. The ability to play multiple chord inversions in the same rows is very efficient, useful, and beneficial.


    Maccannic earlier expressed a concern that "some chords look a bit of a stretch (D major or G7, for example)."

    My experience is that both are less of a stretch than an F-minor chord on a Maccann which spans five columns compared to four rows for the G(dominant)7 and only two rows for the G(major)7 on the chromatiphone layout.

    The spread of the chromatiphone layout is very comfortable as standard intervals and chords including octaves are within four buttons on three rows. Both a sixth chord and a ninth chord can be played on three adjacent rows - major or minor.

    For comparison, the single-step interval of F# to G# on a Maccann spreads across all six columns. The Crane is effectively the same (all five columns) in the opposite direction.


    As for selling the EC's: It just feels better to me that an instrument be played rather than sit idle,

    I hope this is helpful/useful.


    Be Well,


  10. My, my ... how quickly time passes!

    It's hard to believe that it's been more than 2-1/2 years since I posted this and then decided that I didn't really want to part with it.


    Well, I'm contemplating the possibility of parting company with it, once again, and, so, am inviting offers.


    Please email me directly at: danersen (at) gmail (dot) com if interested.


    It is fully and properly restored by Wim Wakker to as near original state as possible; and thus is in exceptional cosmetic and mechanical condition. Plays perfectly. No issues. Non-smoking and properly humidified home.


    This is a preserved period instrument. Wm's best date estimate is ~ 1861 due to black color and corresponding death of royalty.


    I can send a PDF with more commentary and photos to anyone with serious interest.


    Be Well,


  11. Why the Chromatiphone/Stark Layout?

    it seems to best meet the following criteria.


    - fully chromatic and isomorphic (meaning an identical structure or form) keyboard consistent to both hands

    - fully capable of playing polyphonic music in all keys – major and minor

    - fully and most easily transposable

    - highly economical, i.e., relatively condensed/compact in shape and size for the scope of the notes provided

    - highly accessible, i.e., the travel/transit is both efficient and versatile in moving among melodic sequences with semitones and accidentals and chord sequences in all of their intervals/positions

    - congruent with the c-griff CBA layout with which I have experience


    Edited for brevity

  12. Hello Mike,

    The Wicki (and by association, Hayden), Piguri, and Atzarin keyboard layout may appropriately be considered chromatic.

    I am not certain that they can be considered fully chromatic, and more importantly, none are isomorphic (meaning an identical structure or form) keyboard.

    Given your earlier observations, it may be important for your to seriously evaluate this so that you are not later frustrated or disappointed.

    If transposition is not a matter of concern for you, then these characteristics are not critical.

    But then you could simply play one of the more readily available keyboard layouts and transpose when needed.

    I suggest that you enlarge some keyboard layouts to "life" size and print them and then "play" the music that you desire on the models for a few weeks, paying particular attention to the chords and the transit/traveling/crossover/crossunder sequences that are required for melodies and how easy it is to transit among between the I, IV, and V chords in both major and minor keys.

    I've found it most effective if I punch holes in the button locations and affix the printed keyboard page to a rather stiff sponge or foam so I can feel an approximation of the "button".

    Our brains work differently and looking at a layout might not be sufficient to determine what is most usable or comfortable for you.

    Perhaps this will be useful, if not helpful, to you.

    Be Well,


  13. Hello Daniel,

    RE: You would transpose to another key

    This rather defeats the purpose of a fully chromatic isomorphic (meaning an identical structure or form) keyboard, doesn't it?

    I don't think I'd want to take on the task of transposing Brahms Hungarian dances, for example.

    There are 21 of them - wonderful melodies - none of them particularly long in duration.

    However those 21 short pieces are written in 13 different major and minor keys - seven minor and six major - among them F# minor and Bb.

    The key in which the composer places a work also contributes to its distinctiveness and character.

    This is an example of why a fully chromatic, isomorphic keyboard is so valuable and treasured by those who play genres that contain accidentals, semitones, and key changes.

    You know where you are at all times and, additionally, the heavy lifting of polyphonic execution is done by the instrument rather than the player.

    How much more of a struggle would it be to learn and play a violin if a given string had a different pitch when playing in first, second, or third position?

    Just my two cents.

    Be Well,


  14. Hello Cary,

    Herewith are two images of the Trademark stamp used by the AA workshop.

    When you open your box up again, look for an ink stamp on the end of the reed blocks.

    If there is a purple ink stamp like the one in the attached photo, your box may well have been made in the AA workshop.

    If so, there will also likely be a name handwritten in pencil alongside one of the reed blocks on either or both of the reed pans.

    If there is no stamp or a different stamp, it is less likely that your instrument was made in the AA workshop, but could be from the ELA workshop as already mentioned.

    There were actually quite a few workshops making these instruments.

    The AA wooden boxes also typically had the stamp impressed in their body on the outside.

    I've also included a photo of that.

    Given that your box is pearloid, this may not be case.

    As you noted, the AA workshop was more noted for the bandonions it produced than its chemnitzers.

    Any instrument from the AA workshop is likely to be worthy of serious attention - bandonion or chemnitzer.

    Hopefully, this may be helpful to you in your search for your chemnitzer's true origin.

    Be Well,



    Photos removed to make space for other attachments.

  15. Hello Mike,

    I'll try get back to this when I have more time, but a few comments at the moment.

    I think that your proposed two-row layout will be problematic for you in minor keys and polyphonic music.

    The stretch - even though it is horizontal rather than vertical - is a concern to which you might want to give further consideration.

    Harry's hybrid is very easy to accommodate if you can play a CBA, and bellows management is similar to that of a bandonion or chemnitzer.

    If your fingers are colliding on a CBA, your hand position or the angle of your wrist may need some attention.

    Are you playing c-griff or b- griff?

    I may have missed it, but the scope of your desired note range is an important factor.

    Playing a Hayfen/Wicki layout is not at all like playing a piano accordion - in my experience.

    Minor keys and non-natural keys can also be a challenge when playing a Wicki/Hayden layout - again, in my experience.

    Be Well,


  16. Hello Lloyd,

    The Stark bandoinion came to me quite accidentally and circuitously from a master chemnitzer concertina player and maker in Minnesota with whom I'm acquainted.

    I'm trying to ascertain the best way to proceed with it.

    The historian and sentimental side of me is hoping to preserve it it some form or fashion.

    Be Well,



    Edited for brevity.

  17. Yes, David, it is.

    I didn't think of the layouts as "mirrored" in that they are perpendicular - no straight rows up-and-down on the chromatiphone layout and no straight rows side-to-side on the Wheatstone.

    However, as noted, the layouts are definitely mirrored when placed in the same axis and their scope expanded.


  18. Jim,


    RE: Working with the transposition suggested above and a properly oriented double layout, it's clear that the notes relations differ, but not in the way you suggest above. E.g., the C and its corresponding E are on adjacent buttons in both arrays, but in the chromatiphone layout the E is to the right of the C, while in the double layout the E is above the C.


    -- Agreed.

    -- This is how they are the same in that they both place the major thirds on adjacent buttons in the same straight row.


    RE: However, in both layouts the corresponding D is two buttons away on a rightward-upward diagonal, and the C# and D# are respectively one and three buttons away on the same diagonal.


    -- This is correct.

    -- HOWEVER, here is the distinction I was attempting to make (perhaps, poorly) - The melodic and chordal orientation remains “opposite” as far as I can see. Please se the attached JPG for illustration using the proper orientations of each layout and an extension of the chromatiphone keyboard to achieve comparable row structure.


    Edited for brevity

  19. RE: That's the same keyboard layout as the Wheatstone Double ...


    In addition to the differences already described above, there are other differences - see JPG in a subsequent post.


    1. The angles of the keyboards' button layouts are "opposite," e.g., the ascent and descent are in opposite directions (think c-griff and b-griff CBA orientations)

    2. The one-row offset - location of the c-row (again, think c-griff and b-griff CBA

    3. And, most importantly, the relative position of the notes overall - note the relative position of "d" to "c" and "e"

    In the chromatiphone layout the ASCENDING 2nd (two semi-tones) - in this case the "d" - sits directly in line two rows below the lower tone - "c"

    In the Wheatstone layout, the DESCENDING 2nd (two semi-tones) - again the "d" - sits directly in line in the same two rows below the higher tone - "e"

    This results in an offset of the relative positions and fingering sequences throughout the keyboard


    These are not minor differences and are as notable and meaningful as the vertical and horizontal orientations - even though they may not be so readily apparent.


    Hope this is useful and/or helpful.


    Edited for brevity and to remove JPG to create space

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