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About Paul_Hardy

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    Chatty concertinist
  • Birthday 08/20/1953

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  • Interests
    English concertina. Computers. Walking/rambling/hiking.
  • Location
    Cambridge, UK

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  1. In the days before equal temperament, all instruments were tuned to just or meantone temperaments so that fifths and thirds were closer to simple mathematical ratios (2:3, 4:5). Then, the semitones were of different sizes, and each key did have a different feel. A symphony in D minor would sound different (possibly sadder) than one in E minor. Now, with instruments all in equal temperament and all semitones the same size, unless you are a very unusual person with absolute pitch, the sound should feel exactly the same in different keys. That said, the ergonomics of certain instruments makes playing in some keys easier than other keys. An example is the standard violin who's strings are tuned in fifths from low G (G, D, A, E), and hence 'prefers' playing in sharp keys (of G, D, A, E) rather than flat keys - but in the hands of a really good player can play in any key. An extreme case is diatonic instruments like 20 button Anglo concertinas, or two row melodeons, which can only play in two keys, and lack the sharps and flats for other keys. These days, for melodeons, that seems to be the keys of G and D, and given the prevalence of melodeons in sessions, a lot of English sessions seem to play predominantly in G and D. Scottish fiddle tunes are often played in A or D. The English concertina is chromatic (has all the sharps/flats), and hence can play in any key, and the logical layout from Sir Charles means it's not any harder to play in two flats than in two sharps. Despite that, I find that nine times out of ten, I play tunes in G or D (or their relative minors), in order to fit in with the crowd. I would actively encourage you that when you have learned a tune in one key, while it is in your head, to shift it to a couple of other keys. Shifting up by a fifth (G -> D) is trivial on the EC - shift up a row and add one more obvious sharp. Shifting down by a fifth is similarly easy. If shifting down gets too low, then shifting up by a fourth (G->C) is equivalent, and is very similar, other than the finger pattern is mirrored to the other hands, which is a good practice exercise! I hope this helps.
  2. I can vouch that Ross Webb does exist, I've known his parents since before he was born (in the village where I live), and that he did buy an English concertina several years ago, so this looks kosher!
  3. I was at the WCCP weekend when Eddy showed his prototype. He had a 3D printer on the go, printing a bellows - the strategy is to 2D print the bellows structure as rigid, but with 'snap along here' weak lines. These lines are then bound using thin leather (or other modern flexible material), then bent so that the weak lines snap to make the flexible joints. I had a play on the prototype, and it was quite responsive and 'concertina-like'. Work was needed on the thumbstrap and pinky rest, but quite doable I believe.
  4. I've just released the 2019 edition of Paul Hardy's Xmas Tunebook. See http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/tunebooks/. It has the same 60 carols and Christmas tunes as the previous 2012 edition, but has had a total overhaul and simplification of the included guitar chord suggestions (input from a family of music teachers!). I've also sorted a couple of cases of tunes which had bad bar alignment due to anacrusis confusion, and made various other layout improvements. So if you are using a downloaded version of the 2012 , e.g. on a tablet) it's a good idea to update to the new version. It's free for download as PDF for printing off (including a version with a gutter for easier binding), or increasingly for people to use in tablets like iPads. You can also download for free the ABC file and use a program to play along with - I have a page on Playing ABC. Alternatively, from the link above you can order a printed and nicely bound (can fold right back) copy from Lulu.com for £4+pp. Happy squeezing,
  5. I got those figures from the PDF file in Little John's post at So, LJ has a increasing step of divergence from ET between fifths of 2.8. Alex has 2.346, GeoffW has 2. I'm still not sure I fully comprehend the theory, but if the syntonic comma is 21.5 cents, then 1/5 comma is 4.3 cents. However, the tempering of the fifths is away from Just tuning, not from ET. ET fifths are already tempered from just by 11th of the syntonic comma (ET is 1/11 Comma meantone tuning), so we need to subtract that (1.96 cents), giving about 2.34 cents, which is what Alex has in his table. So my table for the English concertina with 14 notes per octave, and 1/5 Meantone tuning, holding A=440 is Degree Note ET cents 1/5MT From ET Whole Cents 1 A 0 0 0 0 2 Bb 100 111.731 11.731 12 3 B 200 195.308 -4.692 -5 4 C 300 307.039 7.039 7 5 C# 400 390.615 -9.385 -9 6 D 500 502.346 2.346 2 7 D# 600 585.923 -14.077 -14 7 Eb 600 614.077 14.077 14 8 E 700 697.654 -2.346 -2 9 F 800 809.385 9.385 9 10 F# 900 892.961 -7.039 -7 11 G 1000 1004.692 4.692 5 12 G# 1100 1088.269 -11.731 -12 12 Ab 1100 1116.423 16.423 16 Does anyone disagree with that working?
  6. I'm about to re-tune an English concertina from its current Old Philharmonic pitch (about 35-40 cents sharp of Concert A=440) down to concert pitch. However, the instrument is tuned so that G# and Ab are appreciably different, as are D# and Eb. So I deduce this is currently in some meantone temperament. Having read the rest of this thread, it sounds as if tuning to 1/5 comma meantone with A held to 440, would let me play in all the keys I'm likely to (mainly G, D, A, occasionally Bb, F, C) without being noticeably far away from other ET instruments, but still have purer thirds than ET. My tuning software (TE Tuner or UltraTuner on iPad) don't seem to support 1/5 comma. So I'm looking for a table of cents deviation from ET for the 14 notes of an English Concertina octave. I've found one table of 12 values, that doesn't distinguish between the G#/Ab and D#/Eb enharmonic pairs. Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C# G# 16.8 14 11.2 8.4 5.6 2.8 0 -2.8 -5.6 -8.4 -11.2 -14 So, can someone who properly understands temperaments, or has done this before, provide me such a table with the 14 note values needed for an English concertina using its enharmonic pairs? Otherwise, I'm going to have to dust off my Python programming, and deduce it it from first principles!
  7. Nicely played. Did you intentionally use 'Chimming'? - Bells are usually 'Chiming'.
  8. Have you a date of manufacture?
  9. Alex Wade is an excellent teacher and English concertina player, and is I think still in your neck of the woods - see https://alexwadeconcertina.com/. If she can't help you herself, she would know the other players in the area.
  10. I generally play my baritone English with one end on each thigh. It's too heavy to wave around in the air, or even to just rest the left end (and a bit of bellows) on a leg as I commonly do with a treble. I'm still using arm muscles rather than leg muscles to control the bellows for the baritone, though I get some power assist by gently moving my legs apart and together. However, there are some tunes (particularly waltzes) that I can't play even on the treble with the instrument on a knee - I have to have the whole instrument free in the air to wave it around!
  11. The 2019 edition of Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook is now available (dated 1 August 2109). See http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/tunebooks/. Now 633 tunes. It's free for download as PDF for printing off, or increasingly for people to use in tablets like iPads. You can also download for free the ABC file and use a free program to play along with - I have a page on Playing ABC. Alternatively, you can order a printed and nicely bound (can fold right back) copy from Lulu.com for £8.00+pp - same price as previous edition. If you have the 2018 printed edition, then just download the final Annex Tunebook 2018 (free), print it off and stick it in the back to give the extra tunes, and apply the edits in the 'Errata' section to bring you up to date. Similarly for 2017 or 2016 edition - you then need two or three annexes. If you have downloaded an earlier version for tablet, then certainly do replace it with the current version - it has all the same tunes plus a few more. If you have a printed 2015 or earlier, then an upgrade to a new copy may be appropriate, particularly if you use the chords, which had a major rehash in 2016. Enjoy!
  12. I'm off for a twiddle on my concertina.
  13. I use Lulu.com for printing my tunebooks, and one reason is that they offer lay flat coil-binding. They can issue ISBNs and feed product into Amazon with perfect binding etc, but unfortunately not for coil-bound books at present. So I get people to buy direct through Lulu.com.
  14. I second that. My favourite round-the-house concertina these days is my George Case brass-reeded English (http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/case_2760/case_2760.html). It sits out on my desk (with bellows closed, of course!), to pick up and play at any time I pass. It took over from my previous house favourite, a Wheatstone brass-reeded tutor (http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/wheatstone_8461/wheatstone.html). I wouldn't play either of them in a group with other instruments, or outdoors, but they are great indoors solo instruments.
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