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inventor

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  1. Someone once told me that it is possible to set up a computer keyboard with specific keys playing specific notes. I didn't have a computer at that time so I never made a note of the program (a shareware program if I remember rightly). Does anyone know of this or how it can be done. It could be ideal for a person who wanted to try out a Hayden or Jeffries Duett system.

    Inventor.

    P.S. If it can also be used to write music notation directly from the computer keyboard I would personally find that very usefull indeed.

  2. You just missed an excellent repair workshop in the UK. It was part of the WCCP Kilve concertina weekend at Kilve Somerset, taken by Colin and Rosalie Dipper. Most people attended only one session (of 8 one and a half hour sessions) when Colin and Rosalie took various concertinas that people had brought along for repair. But one young lady by prearrangement with Colin attended all the sessions observing all that he did to other peoples concertinas whilst doing major repairs on a concertina that she had brought along specially to practice on. She continued also whilst he was not at the room set aside for repairs.

    There are similar weekends booked for October and next March, imformation from www.wccp.info ,I expect The Dippers will be taking similar workshops.

    Inventor.

  3. Further to above a correction - next WCCP meeting is on 14th of May not 6th. In the very unlikely event that your concertina is a Maccann duet made by Jeffries, then we have a number of experienced Maccann players, and also regular Hayden and Crane duet players. We did have a Jeffries Duet player at one time but she emigrated to Australia. I had a Jeffries Duet at one time but it was unfortunately in the key of Ab and didn't play in any key that I wanted easily, so I converted it into a much easier system.

    inventor

  4. The West Country Concertina players see website www.wccp.info have a good number of Duet Concertina players they have a weekend meeting at Kilve Somerset in a little over a weeks time, the Duet tutors this year are a Crane player, and a Hayden player, though we have had Jeffries Duet tutors in years past. But all will give as much help to other systems, as possible. Next regular meeting is on the 6 May at Ruishton Somerset, try to get along.

    Inventor.

  5. For a recently made Chromatic button accordion in concertina form see Don Severs Ergon concept. I got there via Accordionlinks.com then go to instruments - then chromatic button accordion then Don Severs, and go to the bottom of the page. No doubt some clever clogs will put up the way of going there more directly :P . I can see a way of modifying this to play 3.5 octaves on the right hand side (5 and 2 half rows) which should be enough for most people. as few as seven or eight links sharps to flats would be enough to play in 9 or 10 of the most comonly used keys without awkward fingerings. In addition as the octaves are above each other inside the instrument it should be possible to "borrow" ranks of reeds as was commonly done on cinema organs.

    You will find the diagram for the equivalent of the standard 41 note accordion in the Hayden Patent 2131592. which is on one of the concertina websites.

    As Rich Morse has pointed out the Left hand side should be no problem. Many years ago whilst waiting 6and a half years for Crabbs to make me my first Hayden concertina, I converted the right hand side of an accordion I had but no longer played, to Hayden system. This accordion I had originally been a B/C/C# British Chromatic had twice been converted to two different ideas of Bisonic systems. It wasn't too much problem. It had a Stradella bass which I was totally familiar with, however now after many years of a totally flexible bass end I would not like to go back to that again.

     

    Inventor.

  6. I will not comment on Electronic musical instruments or on the "Thummer" until I have seen one and tryed playing it however I wil answer to "3838"s questions on chromatic scales and chords.

    1) Chromatic Scales.

    I had to practice these, however only two finger patterns are needed, and whilst I personally play very few chromatic pieces as such, (my taste in music is traditional music, and Baroque music) I frequently add chromatic runs and decorations to the trad pieces, which fall easily under my fingers. Having a semitone higher or lower not on adjacent buttons (for which you might usually use the same finger) is I find a positive advantage as adding a chromatic decoration to a tune that you already know does not need a change to the basic fingering.

    2) Major and minor sevenths etc.

    One of the big advantages of the Hayden (and Thummber) keyboards is that you can play both 4ths and 5ths with only one finger. On my larger instrument which has repeated Abs & G#s, and Ebs & D#s I can play any pair of notes a 4th or a 5th apart somewhere throughout the whole compass of the instrument. This enables me to play 3 note Major and Minor chords with only two fingers, and Major 7ths, Minor 7ths with only two fingers. This can be very usefull when playing a quick sequence of chords as you can usually do this on alternate or adjacent pairs of fingers without any finger jumping.

     

    Inventor.

  7. In the first section I should have added :-

    7) When playing two parts together, (as it is very easy to do on the HC), if you have to jump fingers it is better to do two single finger jumps rather than a double finger jump.

    Coming back to the second section (left hand); which I had to stop in mid flow.

    3b) this involved as you say a lot of use of the little finger, however I found that as I went into more complex music, and also took delivery of a larger concertina; I increasingly used the little finger for playing the lower notes only; managing the middle parts on the R M & F fingers (3 2 1 ). This does involve a little more finger jumping than on the right hand, but if you are playing legarto on the right hand ocassional tiny gaps on the lower parts don't notice. (and I might add these are considerably less than a piano player might have to use)

    4) When a 4th or 5th comes up in the music, I usually play these with one finger. On the larger instrument I have every perfect 4th and every perfect 5th on one finger somewhere on the instrument throughout the whole 4.5 octave compass of the instrument. (Note on a well set up HC the rows of notes are 9mm apart, the buttons are 16mm apart along the rows which gives a distance of buttons diagonally of 12mm. I use 6mm diameter flat top buttons) .

     

    Inventor.

  8. Playing the Hayden concertina has been for me a wonderfull voyage of discovery for nearly 30 years. First let me say that there is no correct, let alone polictically corect method of playing the instrument, everything that has been suggested above will be found usefull in some context or other; however I suggest the following guidelines for fingering.

    1) Find the best fingering possible for each piece of music that you play.

    2) Move a finger to the place that you are going to use this finger, immediately after you you have taken it off the button; not just before you play a finger in a new place.

    3) Avoid if at all possible jumping a finger from one button to another on consecutive notes.

    4) However if you can find no other way; it is better to cut a note slightly short rather than come in late on the next note.

    5) Only ever jump to an adjacent button, (first choice one diagonally on the adjacent row, not too bad; next along the row only if you have to).

    6) Consider changing a finger on a button whilst you are playing it (it helps to have large flat top buttons), or playing an odd note on the other side of the instrument.

    So far as specific fingerings for specific notes, I generally use the following for the right hand side:

    Do 2, Re 3, Mi 4, Fa 1; So 2, La 3, Ti 4, do 1. ie I use the same fingering for each tetracord of the scale. This also works if you are playing up and down in thirds.

    On the left hand side if I am playing a chordal accompaniment I have found it best to use only the 3-2-1 fingers reserving 4 for playing bass notes. I use these in 2 different ways:

    1) For normal use a finger for each note, (playing the dominant 7th partial). This allows me to easily alter the inversion of a chord or play it as an arpeggio or broken chord.

    2)But for fast chord changes I will use only 2 fingers per chord playing the 5ths or 4ths together on one finger and bringing the 4th finger into play.

    3) I once spent a long time practicing using the 4th finger on LHS when playing a counter melody.

     

    Well times up on this computer - more next week

    Inventor

  9. I did manage to get the 161 page document to download after a good wait on the internet access I use at my local library. I then just had time to skim through it in the remainding 45 mins of the hour allowed, looking at each page for only a few seconds. As I totally understand the system I knew exactly what I was looking at; however I doubt if anybody else would have bothered. If it had been presented as a series of moving slides with sound this might have made sense; but as purely imformation, I would like to say that I wrote effectively the same thing in an article in "English Dance & Song" around 25 years ago - in only 2 pages !

     

    Inventor

  10. Your new venture sounds very interesting I am sure I will use your bellows sooner or later.

    However a word of caution as "self adhesive" rang a bell. Around 35 years ago I worked as a Chemist in the laboratories of a well known English self adhesive tape manufacturer. I also tested the products of our main competitor the well known USA self adhesive tape manufacturer. These products are only meant to have a limited life, mostly sold to the packaging industry; with a shelf life of about 3 years. The type made from "leathercloth" and adhesive was intended mainly for marking out large gymnasiums to indicate Marching patterns! The type with the longest life before it deteriorated (intended to make repairs to library books) only had a life in use of 7 years.

    Expected life for a concertina bellows is very much longer than this; 70 years or more possibly. I would be a pity to put all that work into making a concertina bellows and have it turn into a gungy mess after 3 years. Of course adhesives have moved forward since I have been out of the industry for 35 years but you should check with the adhesive tape manufacturer to find out how long they will guarantee the life of the adhesive in use.

     

    Inventor

  11. Thomas was Marcus's son-in-law (though not I believe any longer), he worked with Marcus early on, when Marcus first started producing instruments, and some of the early instruments they made bare his name.

     

    Inventor.

  12. Beauty isn't Everything - a Lesson from History !

     

    Lachenal used to supply lovely mahogany fitted hexagonal boxes with their standard quality instruments; there were still quite a few of these around at the time I started playing.

     

    However to remove the instrument from the box involves pulling on the end or thumb straps which causes a strain on the bellows. It is never a good thing to pull the bellows without playing a note. However this is not the worst thing that can happen. If the lower end slightly turns whilst removing the concertina Pythagoras's Law kicks in and the lower end may get wedged in the bottom of the box. Pulling a little harder can damage the bellows. After several people had ruined the bellows of their concertinas in this way, the advice was always to break open the box rather than break the bellows. A new box is much cheaper than a new bellows ! With a box glued together with animal glue in Lachenals day this is not a problem; however with modern adhesives it may not be possible.

     

    All the better quality Lachenal instruments were supplyed with top opening leather boxes with the instrument resting on it's side.

     

    Inventor.

  13. I met Phil Ham around 1964-66 He was at that time playing Anglo for the Hammersmith Morris Men. He was a particularly fine player. At that time Hugh Rippon was the instructor, and John Kirkpatric, also a member of the club played the British Chromatic accordion. He also had a large Jeffries Duett concertina which he demonstrated. And at a Morris Ring Meeting (I think at Abington) introduced me to the musician for the Abington (traditional) Morrismen who also played a duett concertina; it was either a Maccann or Crane. I played an anglo at the time and these were my first encounters with Duett concertinas. I did hear that he was living up north but that was some years back.

     

    Inventor.

  14. Wheatstones had (Steve Dickenson still has I believe) a set of press tools for making Reed Frames. They used only 4 different sizes of reed frame per octave: useing the same reed frame for the following notes, (G G# A) (Bb B C) (C# D Eb) and (E F F#). On long scale reeds they used the next longer frame for the notes. i.e the frame that was normally used on standard scale for G/G# & A was used on long scale for the 3 semitones Bb/B & C. This was only done on their Aeolas and some other higher quality instruments. Whilst the longer scale reeds may give an improved timbre (this is very much a matter of personal taste) there is a trade off in that they respond more slowly when played; especially the lower notes. Jeffries used an entirely different set of reed frames to make the same notes, being shorter and wider than the corresponding Wheatstones. Which should give a quicker response, but (in my opinion) a harsher timbre.

     

    Inventor.

  15. I was very sorry to hear that Gladys Thorp had died. She was always generous with her time, and started many people on the road to playing the English Concertina; which was the love of her life.

    She will certainly be much missed at the West Country Concertina Players meetings, where in spite of the long distance involved, was always a regular member. There and at the Kilve weekends she devoted her time to the absolute beginners - and those who had recently started but needed an extra push further along the way.

     

    We first met over 50 years ago before she had even started to play the Concertina, and although I moved to many different places she always seemed to pop up somewhere unlikely throughout my life. I hope to write further about our various encounters at a later date.

     

    Brian Hayden.

  16. Don't worry about age, my mother started playing the concertina when she was well into her eighties. At one concertina gathering in England that we went to an American concertina player was amazed at the age range of players from teens upwards. He said to me in the queue while waiting for lunch - "you won't believe it I've just met a woman playing the concertina who is 90 !". I merely replyed "Yes I know she is my mother". She was still playing the concertina until just before her death at 95; it kept her mind active and the concertina days and weekends out always gave her something nice to look forward to. So I wish you at least 25 years of happy playing.

    If you are into folk or traditional music the very best book I can recommend for starters is "Easy Peasy Tunes" which you can probably get in the States from Button box. All you need to go with it is a keyboard diagram for whichever type of concertina that you decide to buy; my mother chose a 46 button Hayden Duet.

    This book has a very good selection of 100 tunes confined to only 14 melody buttons and 8 accompanying chords. Popular tunes from America, Australia, England, Ireland and Scotland are included; many you will already know, and if you don't there is a record of all the tunes to go with it as well.

    Inventor.

  17. I played a D/G melodeon in the 1950s and took up an Anglo in the 1960s.

    The Melodeon was the last of the 2nd batch mentioned above. I also remember Reg Hall getting his D/G Melodeon (I was in his Morris Side in Gravesend at the time - 1955). The Anglo was in C/g. At that time (1965-67) I was playing sometimes for the Hammersmith Morris Men. Phill Ham (C/g anglo) was their chief musician, and another member of the side was John Kirkpatrick, who played a British Chromatic Accordion, i.e. a large Melodeon in B/C/C#, with a stradella bass; almost the same as the one he now plays. He also used to borrow Phill's Anglo (or mine) on occasions. He had an Anglo specially made for him by Crabbs, who were the only makers of special concertinas at the time. (The semi-defunct Wheatstones was then owned by Boosey and Hawkes ! long before Steve Dickenson's time) This concertina may have been the first to have been made as a spin off of the riseing popularity of the D/G Melodeon. I don't think Wheatstones, Lachenal, or Jeffries ever made G/D as standard production but there may have been the occasional one off.

    Inventor

  18. I know of only 1 Jeffries Duet that was not made by (Charlie) Jeffries or his sons (Jeffries Bros). This instrument was at "Hobgoblin" and was described to me over the telephone by the late Nigel Chippendale over 20 years ago. It was a Wheatstone Aeola (probably around 1920s or 30s); with 4 rows of notes on the left hand side and unusually 5 rows on the right hand side. It was pitched in Bb; the extra row on the right hand side continued the scale upwards but only in the key of Bb rather than continue in an ad hoc manner towards the right on the 4 rows. I have this written down somewhere but not to hand after 20 years. By the time I had saved up enough to buy it Hobgoblin had sold it; I don't know if anyone knows where this instrument is now.

    I know of no Jeffries System Duets that have been made by any recent makers.

    One Maccann Duet has been made by Dipper, who has also made Crane Duets. A number of Hayden Duets have also been made in his workshop (I have seen 5) by Robin Scard; these are really excellent instruments! So far as I know Steve Dickenson has only made Hayden Duets, a good number of 46 button duets and several of various larger sizes. John Connor has made several Crane Duets I have seen and heared one, and at least 2 Hayden duets which I have also seen. I would suggest that he is the man to go to if you wanted a new Jeffries System Duet.

    Other Hayden duets have been made in recent years by Bastari, and Stagi in Italy; Marcus in Wales; Nicoli of Moscow; and Tedrow in USA.

  19. The Plymouth Salvation Army Concertinaband, came to play at a Competition session of the West Country Concertina Players around 1986ish. There were around 8 to 10 players. These were mostly Crane Duet Players, but with a couple of treble english concertinas. One lady who played the Bass part did not play in the usual manner but turned the concertina over; rested the treble end in her lap, and played with just her right hand on the bass end. It was an unusually (for a Crane) large instrument; probably the one that can be clearly seen in the photograph. They produced the most wonderfull rounded sound quite unlike anything that I have ever heared before or since from concertina (mostly english concertina) bands. I think there are photographs of them in an early West Country Concertina Players Scrapbook, but the copyright will obviously belong to the photographer. If Malcom Clapp likes to write to the original secretary of the WCCP she may know where the original photographs are (I think her husband took the photographs), for security reasons I am unwilling to give any further details. Malcom must have left the country only a short while before this event!

     

    Inventor.

  20. Latest news on the Anglo-concertina kits from "Concertina World" is that "the maker and developer of the Anglo Concertina Kit, - - - - - , is no longer in business at the Bradford premises." :( . Well I am not surprised; making concertinas -even parts for concertinas is a lot more involved and time consuming than people (and that includes concertina makers themselves) think ! Some years ago I had a 46 button concertina delivered to me from Wheatstones it cost £625 (say $1000) it had around 2000 different parts; in wood metal leather, and felt; some of which have to be made with an accuracy of a tenth of a thou(santh of an inch). At the same time a musician friend took delivery of a hand made Recorder this cost her £600. It consisted of just 4 bits of wood with a few holes in it !!!

    Inventor

  21. Several Patents using this type of keyboard were taken out by Dr Pitt-Taylor. these were G.B. Patents: 1916 No 102552, 1922 No. 208274, & 1923 No 220824.

    I don't have these patents to hand but I am fairly certain that one of these almost exactly corresponds to the one you have described.

    He also took out a number of other Patents during this period but more on Maccann style. A Mr Mitchel also took out a number of patents at around this period from 1912-1930 which were more on the Piano Style. A full listing of these can be found in the "background to the invention" section of the Hayden Patent - GB 2131592.

    Regarding Wheatstones listing it as a "Piano" concertina system; I note that the first Hayden System concertina made by H Crabb & Son's is listed in their ledgers as a Jeffries Duet type system; but is only similar in the way the buttons fall on the concertina, not even remotely similar in the notes that each button plays !

    Inventor.

  22. Colin Dipper has made concertinas on similar lines which are exactly the same fingering as a standard French Melodeon. i.e. in C & G with a third row of sharps flats and reversals not avalible on c/g. He liked it so much that he has one for his personal use; and often plays it at concertina weekends he attends.

     

    Inventor.

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