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Everything posted by Paul_Hardy

  1. I use bellows reversal while holding down a button quite often. Sometimes just to get a different (more gentle) attack to the second note, or because its the end of a phrase and I want the other bellows direction for the next phrase. On some tunes (e.g. Captain Pugwash/Trumpet Hornpipe, or Mademoiselle from Armentieres) which have several repeated notes played fast, I find it easiest (and sounding good) just to hold down the button and do a bellows reversal shake. So don't worry about your muscle memory.
  2. I'd prefer someone in the UK for avoidance of customs complications. Any suggestions? Is Steve at Wheatstone doing small jobs these days?
  3. Anything that specifies a pair of keys will be an Anglo. The instrument is based round ease of play in those two keys. If its a 20 button, then it can only play in those keys (plus their relative minors and equivalent modes). If it is a 30 button, then it can play in several other keys as well, but not as intuitively or fluently. There is no real variation on an English layout - 48 buttons providing all the notes for playing in *any* key over 4 octaves. . So no Jeffries English layout. Occasionally you find reduced English (36 buttons), but that is reduced range not a different layout. For Duets, there is much more variation - Crane, McCann and Hayden have very little in common, other than they have enough buttons for you to play a melody on one hand and an accompaniment in the other. I hope this helps - I agree that is confusing that we use the same name to describe three instrument types with very different operational modes.
  4. I think Stephen is right and the reeds are nickel silver - which I was surprised to find has no silver in it - usually 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. They are less tarnished than brass reeds would be after 160 years! I also see why he suspected an accordion tuner - there are longitudinal tuning scratches on some reeds. I have it working sufficiently to evaluate the tuning somewhat, though not all reeds are speaking and some are odd. Firstly it's not in equal temperament - G# and Ab are quite different, as are D# and Eb. In general, the flats are sharper (+35 cents), and the sharps are flatter (-7 cents) than ET. So it was probably in a meantone temperament, likely quarter-comma meantone. I also think Stephen was right regarding Society of Arts pitch - the various A notes seem to be multiples of 222.5, so A=445, which is apparently the modern interpretation (for ET) of their C=528. Indeed middle C push is exactly 528 (the pull is odd/warbly). However a few other notes are 30 cents high, so maybe it was originally in high pitch and the tuning down to middle pitch was incomplete. I need to continue fettling (replacing pads etc) to get it properly playable to investigate the tuning further. I think I will keep it in a meantone tuning - I like the fifth-comma meantone centred on A that I applied to another old instrument - see https://pghardy.net/concertina/lachenal_27590/lachenal_27590.html which has a detailed description of what and why. Could anyone currently replace the tongues of three reeds with nickel silver tongues? As I said before, two reeds (C and G) seem to have steel tongues, and I just found out that one note (F) which was silent has a badly cracked reed. I have temporarily replaced it with a spare brass reed, but for a posh instrument like this it would be good to keep the original reed shoes and consistent tongue material. Any suggestions?
  5. As a former cello player, I also think of the bellows of the concertina as equivalent to the bow of the cello, and change bellows direction on phrase boundaries, or to stress particular notes. I feel the initial bellows pull is slightly stronger sound than the push, though there is not a lot in it.
  6. The reeds are definitely not steel, with two exceptions - G2 on left, and C2 on right, both on push. Interestingly, they look original rather than later swaps, as the reed shoes have the correct small individual reed number stamped on them. However those two reed tongues look very different, with flecks of rust. The rest of the reeds are a brassy colour, I'd assume brass, but possibly nickel-silver - how does one tell? The condition of the bulk of the reeds is really excellent, very smooth surfaces, and I'd guess original, not later retuned. The camara has exaggerated any surface blemishes. As it says later on the page, the buttons are flat-topped metal (nickel)? - the 'bone' reference earlier was my cut and paste error from a previous instrument description. I'll check the tuning when I've sorted the curled valves to make it playable.
  7. I recently acquired a nice old Wheatstone English - 11689, from 1861. The Horniman ledgers show it selling on the 7th October 1861 for 12 pounds 12 shillings (12 guineas). This is the most expensive concertina on the page, the cheapest being an eighth of the price at £1/11s/6d, so it was a top of the range instrument for its time. My writeup of it is at https://pghardy.net/concertina/wheatstone_11689/wheatstone_11689.html. My question is how to refer to this model? I know that Lachenal used names like Paragon and Excelsior (and New Model) to identify more expensive models - did Wheatstone (other than the obvious Aeola)? I also know that Wheatstone used model numbers later on, but did they use them in 1861?
  8. Thanks for pointing that out - I've edited the original post to correct the link.
  9. Some years ago, I did a review of William Clarke of Feltwell's tunebook, as transcribed by Mary Humphreys, Lyn Law, David Dolby, and Anahata. Their master version is available for download at Mary's website - see http://www.maryhumphreys.co.uk/William_Clarke.php. My 'corrections' were intended to make the abc consistent and playable, in the spirit of moving folk tunes forward to future generations of players. The list of changes I made is at https://pghardy.net/tunebooks/william_clarke_changes.txt, to give an idea of the sort of sanitising changes I felt were needed for playable rigor. The resultant PDF is at https://pghardy.net/tunebooks/williamclarke_tunes.pdf. By the way, I feel that people like these that do historical transcriptions deserve heartfelt thanks for their preservation efforts.
  10. I strongly suspect almost all the working class Anglos of the time were basic 20 button instruments, so had less than half the number of components of the 48-button English, and hence could be made considerably cheaper. Now, most Anglo players want at least a 30 button instrument, if not 40, so the component cost now is much more similar to an English. Also some aspects of the Anglo are more expensive (e.g. bellows with several more folds). However, as Peter says, supply and demand is a significant factor, and the overseas spread of Irish music has pulled Anglo prices with it. Personally, I'm happy playing Irish music on an English concertina, so I think the Irish=Anglo is a bit over-hyped!
  11. My first attempt at fixing was https://pghardy.net/concertina/lachenal_52313/lachenal_52313.html, bought as "for parts or not working" for the express purpose of learning concertina repair on an instrument that I couldn't make much worse than it was at the time. It turned out a bit of a challenge, but a good introduction to concertina fettling. It's for sale now at a cheap £250 if anyone is interested - Old and basic but quite playable.
  12. Do you mute your pupil (or have your pupil mute themselves), when you are playing? If you both play at the same time, then Zoom won't know which to give priority to and will mute one or other in bursts.
  13. If you want some tunes played slowly on concertina to play along to, then my Virtual Greenshoots page at https://pghardy.net/greenshoots/virtual/ has over 600 tunes played very slowly then somewhat faster.
  14. This a late period Wheatstone, which don't have a great reputation as it is said that they were often cutting corners by then. However I have a latish Wheatstone Aeola with aluminum reed frames which I like a lot. On the plus side, it's likely to be in modern concert pitch and equal temperament, so not needing retuning, unless it's been left in someone's damp attic for 60 years and gone rusty. I'd guess its value to an appropriate buyer is between £500 and £1000 (but I'm not a trader, so could be very wrong). Can you post pictures of the reed pan? undo six screws to see it.
  15. One of my solutions to private practice is to use my midi concertina and headphones. See https://pghardy.net/concertina/lachenal_30566_midi/lachenal_30566_midi.html.
  16. Looks an interesting approach. In my work life, I implemented optimisation software to solve problems of map generalisation (abstracting too much detailed information to create a simpler, smaller-scale map). To do it deterministically would require comparing everything with everything, taking millennia to complete. We used Simulated Annealing, which uses a conceptual reducing 'temperature' while evaluating the 'happiness' of the system, and a set of possible actions to make things happier. While the temperature is high, then pretty drastic changes can be tried out. As the temperature reduces less and less drastic changes can be done, so that the system converges to a good (though not necessarily best) state. I'd wondered about applying it to music optimisation.
  17. Can you please give a date for Lachenal 29731 - English 48 key, Rosewood moulded ends, nickel buttons, steel reeds? Is this a Paragon model, or a model 5 - how does one tell them apart?
  18. This one is very close in sequence and in appearance to my brass-reeded Wheatstone 8461. See https://pghardy.net/concertina/wheatstone_8461/wheatstone.html. For many years it was my favourite 'tina for playing in the house - not as strident as a steel-reeded one.
  19. What price can you afford? And where are you located?
  20. I and others have midi conversions of old instruments - see https://pghardy.net/concertina/lachenal_30566_midi/lachenal_30566_midi.html. There is a project on 'Concertina Nova' going on in Vietnam and New Zealand - search for previous threads on that.
  21. Yes, humidity variation is a problem for 'tinas, but not generally in England. Monthly average humidity where I live in Cambridge (the driest city in the country) historically varies from 70% to 90%, remaining pretty even throughout the year. This past few weeks of drought have dropped it to around 40%. So a de-humidifier is not the answer! Also in my experience, traditional English concertinas are quite resilient to humidity changes - I lived in inland southern California for three years, and had few problems, though I did keep my best concertinas in a closet with a room humidifier nearby.
  22. I've had two instances this month (for different tinas) of reeds warbling, that were fixed by pushing the carrier home, or adding a paper shim. I suspect the recent high temperatures and drought in the UK are a factor. Cambridge where I live has had less than 5% of it's usual rainfall in July, and a peak temperature of 40C (104F), never seen before. It's not surprising that wooden precision instruments like concertinas feel the effects of climate change!
  23. UK train horn warnings are usually two separate notes in sequence - High then Low. High is 370 Hz so F#. Low is 311 Hz, so D#. American trains play a chord, a very common three-note one is 311/370/466 Hz, so D#/F#/A#. Very evocative if you play it on a concertina! Five note US horns duplicate the D# at octave (622 Hz), and add a C (523 Hz). Even better! Different manufacturers used different base frequencies but similar intervals.
  24. I agree that there is more than one mode of brain focus when playing. I like to have access to the dots initially to help learn a tune, or to remind me of the patterns within it when I come back to it later. This mode is definitely visual-centred. However, once I've got a tune thoroughly into the fingers, I can 'hear' the tune in my head, and my fingers can follow that mental model. So this is Audio-centred, albeit imaginary audio. This frees up the parts of my brain that would be used for visual input, to be used to think about other aspects of the tune - volume dynamics, phrasing pauses, alternative sequences, occasional harmonies, so I play more 'musically' and less rigidly. Regards,
  25. If I'm at a session where I'm new or learning tunes, I try and sit in a corner of the room, so the sound out of the ends of the concertina reflects off the walls back to my ears.
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