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Posts posted by ocd

  1. As much as one admires the original designers,  the original intent is irrelevant to us.  The designs have flown the coop and we are free to do with them whatever we can get away with.


    To this point, the anglo concertina was designed for what we call harmonic style: melody on the right, oompah on the left. I am sure that the designers of the Anglo concertina never foresaw, hallucinated, their use in contemporaneous Irish Traditional Music, which many of us play and admire.


    Bounding oneself by what one imagines their original intent was is, IMHO, silly.

  2. 1 hour ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

    In your experience, when playing from sheet music, how do you handle the notes that are too low for your instrument?

    No note is too low for my concertina ?.  In baroque keyboard music the lowest note I've found is the second C below middle-C.  I believe that there's no lower note on the Well-tempered Clavier nor on Rameu's work, for example.  Occasionally I have to play with the left hand notes that on a piano (harpsichord, clavichord) would be played with the right hand, as the lowest note on the right hand of my large concertina is the G below middle-C.

  3. Ritonmousquetaire,


    (My apologies! It's me again.) I think that to answer your question one has to take into account the type of music and arrangements that one wants to play.


    To play baroque keyboard music directly from the standard sheet music, I would like to have an extension of four octaves plus one note:  starting from the second C below middle-C and ending on the second C above middle-C.  I would also like the left hand to go up to the C above middle-C and the right hand to down to the G below middle-C. That makes 67 keys in total: 37 keys on the left side plus  30 on the right hand. I know, it feels strange to have more notes on the left hand side.


    On the other extreme to play a melody on the right side and bass and chords on the left perhaps one can get away with four octaves or so: two octaves plus one note on the left hand side and two octaves plus one note on the right with no overlap, for a total of 50 keys. On this one, one might be able to play more complicated music by careful arrangements.


    Layouts in between are possible. I have a second duet concertina (also Maccann/Chidley) with 57 keys, 25 keys on the left hand side and  32 on the right. The left hand side goes to the first C below middle-c and to the first C above middle-c; the right, goes from middle-C to the third G above middle-C.


    Please take a look at the arrangements by David Cornell.




    Most of the music there fits on the 57 key concertina I described below.  At least on one ocassion he goes down two Gs below middle-C. However, one cannot play Bach directly from the keyboard sheet music.


    The larger the overlap, the less one has to think about the arrangement, I think.


  4. 4 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

    Only 4 reeds - I don't know why, but I thought the difference would have been bigger! Yet without any overlap, such an instrument could theoretically only use 49 keys... but the lack of an overlap might be a problem for the player. Did anybody ever try to create a layout that would keep the notes on both sides like the english, but in a manner that would make "duet-style" playing easier?

    All the implementations I know of duet systems (Maccann, Crane, Hayden) have an overlap of typically one octave.  I suppose one could eliminate the overlap.   It would be the equivalent of placing a hard boundary at some point of a piano keyboard and restrict the hands to stay on their side.  A nice feature of a duet with some overlap is that one can often play directly from piano scores with minor modifications; you lose this without the overlap.

  5. 14 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:


    5 octaves - that's as much as a reed-organ or a spinet; the ideal range to me. I guess you don't ever feel any limit when playing this instrument! The only thing is, these duets, judging from the photos in the thread that Wolf posted - thanks Wolf! -, seem to be huge! You lose - sort of - the "small instrument" vibe that you can get with a 56 keys (four octaves) EC... I wish there were more small-sized, four-octaves duets available. The only ones I know of are the ones built by Wim Wakker, but they are very expensive.

    A duet concertina typically provides an overlap between left and right hands.  Oftentimes, the middle-C octave appears on both hands.  (Sometimes the overlap is larger.)  So, to cover 4 octaves plus one note, with one octave overlap, one would have 61 notes and reeds. An EC has its own overhead: each octave has 14 reeds and buttons. So, for the same span of 61 notes, one would have 57 keys and reeds.  Though the difference is only four notes/reeds, as Alex pointed out, the balance is different.


    My brain is happier with a duet. 

  6. The left hand side spans 37 notes starting on the C two octaves below middle C.  The right hand side spans 42 notes starting on the G below middle C.  (I miscounted, it has 89 keys).  That is,  it spans 5 octaves plus one note.  This is a Chidley-Maccann: differently from the standard Maccann each octave has the same layout.


    The Button Box had an 88- key Maccann for sale until recently.  They currently have a 72-key one.

  7. Quote

    are you aware of any player who tried to play Regondi's music on the duet - as written or in an arranged form (which would often be necessary I guess, since most duets surprisingly don't seem to have a range at least as large as the one of a basic EC)?

    An 88-key Maccann  has all the range of the standard EC on its right hand :-), so range should not be a problem.  I have sat down with my 88-key Chidley-Maccann and read through some Regondi (the Hexameron, I think) and it seemed perfectly doable, but I never persevered on the project.


    Not a concertina but Helmut C. Jacobs plays Regondi on a CBA (I believe on a one-reed per side instrument, with single notes on the left hand):




    Azurra Clementoni plays one the waltzes on the piano accordion on youtube:



    It seems perfectly feasible. Just make sure you have the right duet.


    You are describing one particular type of bandoneon. A different type, among many types, the unisonoric, chromatic bandoneon is also in use, mostly in European countries. A description of its layout can be found here:


    You are, in a way, correct; however, as a linguist, I would designate the traditional tango instrument as a Bandoneon (with a capital B ) - it's a German, bi-sonoric concertina in the so-called rheinische Tonlage (Rhineland tuning) that was developed my a Herr Band from Krefeld, hence the name. The chromatic version I would rather designate as a "bandoneon" (in quotes). It has nothing in common with the original Bandoneon except the dry-octave tuning.

    While many musicians can play tango music written for and with the original Bandoneon on the chromatic bandoneon, it is unlikely that music composed on the chromatic would have the character of music composed on the bisonoric original. Just my supposition, based on composing and arranging on several differnt instruments. Each instrument's limitations call for a differnt problem-solving strategy, and thus influence the music.






    Just a nit: the rheinische Tonlage bandoneon *is* chromatic (i.e., it has all notes of the scale). I would use "bi-sonoric" vs. "unisonoric" to distinguish the two types of bandoneons. We are, of course, "contándole los tres pelos al gato".

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  9. As an aside, I think the language normally associated with tango as it comes from Argentina is Portuguese and not Spanish.



    The language of Argentina and of Argentinan tango is very definetely Spanish. (Source: am native Spanish speaker.)

  10. The Bandoneon is a type of concertina, and like all types of concertina (apart from a few extinct German experimental ones) it has single-note buttons, not chord buttons. This leaves you free to take your melodies down into the bass, or to play a melody with counter-melody, or to build chords out of the single notes, and to play them as arpeggios.

    In common with the Anglo concertina, the Bandoneon is bisonoric, with a core of button rows based on the diatonic Richter scale, like the 20 buttons of the early German concertina. The Bandoneon has 3 main rows (G, A and E), as opposed to the Anglo's 2, but again they have the common feature of a non-systematic range of accidentals and reversals scattered around the Richter core. These are hard to look for at first, but easy to reach once you know where they are.

    To answer you question: some chords are available in both bellows directions, but not on the same buttons.




    You are describing one particular type of bandoneon. A different type, among many types, the unisonoric, chromatic bandoneon is also in use, mostly in European countries. A description of its layout can be found here:




    Olivier Manoury playing an unisonoric, chromatic bandoneon:



  11. Bandoneons are harder to find than concertinas or accordions. You will also find it much harder to find a teacher and/or teaching materials. Also, If you are interested in playing tango, it helps if you can read/speak Spanish.


    As with the concertina, there is not one type of bandoneon. The standard tango bandoneon has differrent keyboard layouts on opening and closing the bellows. Also, left and right hand layouts are not related, which means that one needs to learn four different layouts. Moreover, the layouts, IMHO, defy any logic: one has just to memorize them.


    There are also unisonoric chromatic bandoneons at have at their core the same layout as a C-system CBA in both hands (plus a come of extra rows). There are other types (e.g., Einheits Bandonion).


    Search youtube for bandoneon performances to get an idea of the range and complexity possible.


    If you are looking for a free reed instrument that does not limit what you can play on the left hand (exotic Jazz chords with flatted fifths and whatnot), you could take a look at free-bass accordions. Instruments, repairers, and teachers are easier to find.


    You might also consider the Hayden, Maccann or Chidley concertinas.

  12. I plan to put it on my table saw and cut the lid off the glued box. It's just how I've always made the few cases that I've made. That way you know your sides are going to match up. I hadn't thought about using the laser cutter to make the lid cut, but that's an interesting idea. My son is the one who set up the laser cutter.

    Would you have to add the width of the table saw blade kerf to the appropriate interior dimension?

  13. Lilypond vs. ABC: it depends of what you want to do. If you want to exchange relatively simple music with other players ABC, is the way to go. (abc2ps does a good job producing staff notation out of ABC and there are extension for multi-voice music.) If you want to publish high-quality music engravings, liliypond is the way to go.


    I sort-of grew up with TeX/LaTeX so I find the lilipond notation natural. I does have a learning curve.





  14. Left hand side (as Tona just said) the diagram goes like this:

    F   Bb3 Bb4 G3  G4  E3  E4  C#3 C#4
    l  Eb3 Eb4 C3  C4  A3  A4  F#3 F#4
    o Ab3 Ab4 F3  F4  D3  D4  B3  B4  

    Where C4 is middle C (I could be confused about the specific octaves).


    At first sight It seems to be designed to play oom-pah in keys with a couple of sharps or flats, as the fundamental, third and fifth are nearby. I wonder who first came up with this, Thomas Restoin perhaps (Tona?)


    Very interesting. Thanks!


    (Edited to fix octaves.)

  15. After chasing a few links, the right hand side seems to go according the André Verchuren (also spelled Verschueren) system:

    D  F  Ab B  D  F  Ab B
      C# E  G  Bb C# E  G  Bb
     A  C  Eb F# A C  Eb F#

    It is like the right hand side of a C-system CBA but with the "wrong" slant of the notes.

    A diagram with French note names can be found here bxdt3ogi.jpg

  16. I have fiddled with Klavarskribo some. (At some point I ordered and still have both volumes of The Well-Tempered Clavier.) I also wrote software to translate midi into a simplified Klavarskribo (hard to get beaming from midi).


    I think of it as a tablature for keyboard. I find that with standard notation it is easier to see what's happening harmonically. Also, there is much more music in standard notation. Nowdays all my piano playing is using standard notation.

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