Posts posted by Henrik Müller
Ha, ha! Great - that says it all!
Tusen tack för informationen. Det är mycket bra. The dimensions are especially helpful.
Sourced from my local haberdashery store
Good Lord! He speaks Swedish now ;-)
A correction to the cotton tapes - I read Chris' comments, and thought "Is it really so thick?"
No, they are not: the cotton tapes I use (Gold-Zack or Prym) are 0.23-0.24 mm.
Hi, John -
"The journey is the point" - check!
Johann Schiller - check!
I built a bellows for an 56 key English that I plan to sell at some point.
0.6 mm acid-free
Gold-Zack or Prym 15 mm, 20 mm and 35 mm
(Check in the haberdashery department in a department store)
0.6 mm, sides pared - from C A Cornish. Ask them for samples.
The "hinge" in the bottom of the "valleys": Black softee leather 16 mm
The top runs: Black softee leather, 22 mm
The end runs: Black softer leather, 38 mm
Gussets: No. 114 (7.6 x 3.5 cm)
The leather hinge, the "inner" hinges, the top run cotton tapes, the end run cotton tapes: PVA (the white wood glue)
The gussets: "Fiebing's Leather Cement"
The top and end runs: a mixture of (non-raising) wheat flour and a little old-fashioned glue size (used for wall-paper in the old days).
The reason for old-fashioned is that modern versions contain fungicides - not a good idea if you used saliva for working on the leather. (No, I didn't do that with the other glues!)
This is straight of Geoff Crabb's recipe and it worked darned well.
Now - more importantly: what are you building it on? Re: the 1961 film from Wheatstone - where you can see a bellows mould in action.
I mean, you can make all the card pairs. Remember that the end pairs have a card which is slightly higher than the others, to give that little air gape between the bellows and the surface where the instrument is sitting.
And all the pairs you can link together easily - but when you are sitting with 6 strips of bellows sides, what then?
PM me, if you want more details.
No, that would have been a slip of the tongue by the man from the future ;-)
Although they probably wouldn't have called it "aircraft plywood."
Hi, Geoff -
What is (was) not clear, is that I am emulating, to a certain, practical degree, the reed pan in my 1909 Wheatstone, 48, ME, which has quite a "tilt" to the pan.
The plywood. It's aircraft plywood, very dense. My acoustic training/experience (four years at, at that time “The Danish Acoustical Institute”, Copenhagen, now part of "Delta") is guiding me there. The way I see it - the softer the walls are (like made out of solid wood), the more energy will be absorbed there. We'll see - I have a feeling that the London makers in 1860 would have loved aircraft plywood, had they seen it .
The reed pan itself is solid maple, 30 years old.
So, to continue...
The first tracks successfully made:
Next is leveling (sanding) the pans to the same thickness (top of the walls), today, hopefully.
- then: rout the “inner” tracks
- then: rout air slots
- then: “the tilt” - that the top surface (the walls) is angled, so that the low notes chambers are the deepest. Not looking forward.
- then: the angles of the sides, with respect to the top surface (the walls) - to fit tightly into the bellows frame. Looking even less forward to that
- then: more, very cold beer
Slowly moving to the new thread...
- - -
Jim said: "Henrik, I know you feel that various of your modifications assist you in playing Irish music, but I also know that others don't feel that they need them, so your design isn't really a subtopic of "Irish on the English".
No, Jim is right, it isn't.
While some of benefits I've experienced are transferable to a (trad) EC, the "hardcore benefits" (as I, and only I, experience them: dynamic control, room for "odd fingering", more "the bellows as a bow"-thinking) belongs to the design, not to playing the EC. Thus the discussion belongs here, in "Instrument construction & Repair".
It is, of course, the only place to reveal that I am working on a new instrument (yes, same design, but with three more notes) and concertina reeds.
More of this later ;-)
I did a little experiment this morning. I mounted (the original) wrist straps on a Wheatstone Æeola. I set them fairly loose and had a go:
Yes - they do take off the load on the thumbs - one of the reasons for my experiments in 2004 with the mini Stagi was to take the load of the thumbs, because I felt that there was risk permanent damage to the joints - it was impossible to play with the emphasis I wanted and adding that with thumbs only. Lots of pain. Human physiology differs - some have thumbs joint that can take it, others don't.
As some of you recall (or can see here) I had thumb straps on the "Anglish" in the beginning (explanation is on the linked page). But they were abnormal in the sense that they were approx. half the width of standard straps and were placed so the thumbs should go all the way through (I always played EC with the tip of the thumb in the straps) - thus bringing them close to the main joint and so keep strain to a minimum. But taking them off was... "Oooh, yes!!"
So this morning, on the Æeola, I only felt annoyed of having my thumbs sitting in those strange contraptions, to no use
And while we are at it: the distance between buttons.
On my 1909 Wheatstone, metal ended, 48 butts., vertical distance between the buttons is 10.4 mm and horizontal 12.4 mm.
On the Anglish (measures copied from the little Stagi) vertical distance between buttons is 12.3 mm and horizontal 15.5 mm.
And that makes a world of difference - you have to take my word for it . But honestly, I can't see any arguments for having the buttons in a cluster that tight. Yes, I can see problems with 56 buttons, but so what...
And they go all the way down - so the "little needles in my finger tips"-feeling that I had in the old days is gone. A matter of taste - for me it was a matter of survival. I'd stopped playing if I hadn't build that thing. That bad.
Oh, you will, don't worry ;-) - after the weekend.
hmmm, we haven't heard from henrik yet since this branch of discussion moved to its new location.....very nice clip indeed. will this method of hand/wrist strap free of the EC thumb strap AND the EC pinkie trap work for a full complement of EC notes? or only on a somewhat attenuated set of notes such as henrik's custom instrument?
Interesting questions, there - I've asked myself the same. I think it would work - if you cut the top notes so you had a 36-37 key instrument.
I left out the low Eb and Ab (left hand) and only recently did I realize that it was an improvement (for me): When I do rolls down there, I use the E or the A with the middle, then the index finger. Having no Eb and Ab means that there is room for the fingers when they leave their respective "roll buttons" - no other buttons in the way.
In the right side, I left out G#, D#, A# and Eb. I haven't found any beneficial effects from that ;-)
I am with you on that one!
4) The real test of whether a performance is within the style has much more to do with the style of the MUSIC than with the style of any particular instrument, so I think judgements about performance need to be made on that standard and not on whether one instrument matches what another particular instrument does.
Hi, all -
Here's a little clip for your perusal - from the Höör Irish Music Festival 2014 last weekend.
Should get the discussion about Irish on the English going again... or maybe one on EC design ;-)
A quote from Wim's text: "...These flat tops allowed players (e.g. Regondi) to develop advanced techniques such as changing fingers on a (pushed down) button..."
Damn - I thought I had invented that - it came out naturally from having (on my "Anglish"):
1) Wider spacing horizontally
2) Buttons that go all the way down into the end plate
Any comments on 2)? (Opening a can of worms, maybe)
Good Lord!!!! It's the movie in full size!
I've spent months looking at the miniature and at 1 frame/s versions based on glued-together stills (which are bigger than the miniature's frames).
And the out takes, too!
I will now spend several minutes drooling over them...
Thank you, kind, concertina-friendly person at British Pathé!
Definitely something wrong with the cat ;-)
but it is the sole free-reed instrument I own that makes the cat not only caterwaul, but climb up and bite and paw at my hand trying get it off the buttons...the middle and low notes are thick and rich, but the high notes are quite piercing.
Hi, all -
I've been developing my style (Irish on the English) for about 6 years now and while a lot of my "discoveries" on the way
came out playing a different instrument (= more horisontal space between the buttons), no pinky rests and Anglo-type straps
(not EC-type straps), I realize now that a lot of the "tricks" can be applied to a standard EC.
The basic rule
- when it comes to fingering is "never the same finger twice": there's a lot of ITM phrases that contains and/or
end on the samme two notes. Being a good boy and using the "correct" fingers (index on second and first rows (from
thumb strap), middle finger on third and ring finger on fourth) will lead to a break in the flow on those notes.
A well-known example of this is cross-fingering, of course. ITM has a lot of fifth jumps, which obviously can't be done
with the same (index or middle) finger - it has to be index-middle or middle-index, depending on the side. Or worse: a
fifth jump in Bmin (not the low octave): middle finger on the fourth row (F#) and index on the third ( . Naughty!
Another rule is planning ahead: certain phrases that are played are straight forward with any fingering, can still end on
a button which makes the next button difficult - since it wants the finger you ended with. By using a "wrong" finger a little
earlier, you can end up with "next button"-finger free to go.
The danger, IMHO, of the EC is laziness with the bellows - I mean, it's just air isn't it? ;-). I probably use the bellows as a
bow - most notes are dealt with, with their own bellows pressure, and notes on the beat get an extra whack. I have no
pre-determined pattern of changing bellows direction - certain places, certain phrases seem to have their own preferences
when it comes to that. I don't try to emulate Anglo sound with certain bellows changes, either.
Recommended, inspirational listening, when it comes to bellows dynamics is Mary MacNamara, seeing her is even better.
Cuts, rolls, long rolls, hmmm - long story. There are several ways to do most of them, depending on where in tune, and which
notes - some are straight forward, other more difficult and some impossible.
Whatya mean 'start'?! You just start, yeah?! Try to make it habit to start too slow and let the tune "wind it self up" to a suitable
cruising speed, and use - maybe over-use - bellows dynamics in the wind-up part, to get into "the groove".
Recommended listening: Michaeál Ó Raghallaigh (and not only for the starts!) - I have a clip on YouTube, from a concert
at Éigse Mrs. Crotty 2008, listen to the start of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley":
I learn by ear - in rare cases, I check a tune on session.org, only to find the it isn't really the same. If I fall in love with a
new tune, I brain-wash myself by having it looping in the background for hours and hours. In obscure cases (with an
difficult phrase, I cut the phrase out and slow down until the penny drops. Once you can lilt, hum, whistle the tune, it
becomes much easier to attempt to play it.
Sheet music in all respect - but it is only a skeleton. Even if you learn by sheet music, make sure to find a version to listen
to (even if the version may differ a bit), and do the brain-washing thing.
I could probably come up with examples (tunes, phrases) that illustrates the above, if the interest is there.
I find that Concertina reeds can also be 'choked' in the same way. But what makes the difference in the SOUND between accordion reeds and concertina reeds?
I will start a fresh thread to discuss this because I have a theory.
Then I've been lucky, I guess ;-). Many of my low notes on my accordion-reeded can - if provoked - choke, haven't done it on my Wheatstone; they bend a bit, but don't choke.
I'll look at the other thread...
- but just add: The differences in the way c-reed and a-reeds are mounted, i.e., "integral" with the reedman plate versus placed on top of the chamber is bound to make a difference. And reed sizes, chamber geometry, etc, etc. A acoustic hornets nest.
Fascinating as well is the difference between a brand new instrument and one which has been played intensively for a number of years (own experience). A bit like wine ;-).
The main difference between accordion reeds and concertina reeds is the slot geometry:
The slots in accordion reeds are punched out (tool & die), leaving a slot with almost parallel sides.
The concertina reeds are (were?) punched out, and then the slot was 'processed' somehow, leaving an opening with tapering sides.
This allows for higher air escape, letting the reed start with a lower pressure and makes it impossible to have a choking reed - which is possible with accordion reeds (on an accordion-reed instrument, try with a high pull pressure before pressing a low button - chances are that you get a choke = no sound).
Thus the shape (or even material (huuh - sticking my neck out here...)) has no effect. The shape is simply to make the frame fit snuggly into the dovetail slot in the reed pan.
How do you intend to make the reed pans?
"Ah - it's one of those musette accordions, isn't it?" (Several, independent comments - this is how urban legends start)
Sure to get my attention is:
"Why don't you play something else?" (Not aimed at me, but at all the musicians).
In my mind, a reasonable response could be:
"Find a footbal (soccer) game, ok? Walk onto the field while they are playing, stop the nearest player
and ask 'Why don't you play something else, like handball, for instance?' and see what happens."
Normal, I'm afraid, but it will pass. Best advice: burn the sheet music, brainwash yourself with a tune until it plays in your head no end, then pick up the instrument, and be amazed.
I play a Morse Baritone EC. I have played a couple years by myself using various texts like Concertina Workshop, Contemplating the Concertina, and also a copy of Regondi's studies that - for some reason - my library had. I read music just fine but have never even tried to memorize it until now.
After much encouragment from an established member, I was asked to join in on a session.
I just wondered, those of you who remember learning to play in a session, is this normal? Will I get used to it as I go more? I would really like to play my concertina with people. My dogs love it, and even sing, but sharing with hominids offers a less primal experience.
Well, thank YOU! It's great!
ConcertinaXL version 3.0, my 30-button Anglo Concertina for iPad, is now available on the iTunes App Store.
Cheers and many thanks
I'd say it would be along the same lines as 'Irish Flute' or 'Irish Whistle' or even 'Irish Mandolin'. Guff.
Could be worse - could be "celtic"...
Hey, all -
A little shameless advertising from last weekend's Irish Festival in Höör, Sweden.
First, a short clip with the festival's main attraction - "The Surprise Party" - relaxing on a secret location the following day. (I don't play before the clip ends):
Then "The Surprise Party" again, with a long clip (5 min+) - unfortunately filmed vertically - showing Joel Andersson, the amazing, young newcomer to Sweden's Irish scene playing O'Neill's Lament and The Halting March on harmonica and English concertina:
More clips are on their way, I am told. Keep ye posted!
in General Concertina Discussion
AnyTune - I've longed for an iTunes based pitch-change program for years!
Normally, I'll open the original iTunes file ("Show in Finder") in my audio editor, "Amadeus Pro", change the pitch (and speed, maybe) and save the result as a new file. I have albums where I have shifted every tune, e.g. "Edel Fox & Ronan O'Flaherty, -1 semitone".
AnyTune will not, I think, make this procedure redundant - Amadeus can change pitch with the resolution of 1 cent. This is often needed with older recordings or with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh's old Bb/F which he keeps in its original, weird pitch. But if AnyTune Pro can do cents, we're in business!
Thanks for the pointer, Greg!