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Everything posted by shaunw

  1. Why go to all that trouble. Just make some high quality recordings of your concertina. Turn these recordings into a soundfont. Then play that soundfont using a midi concertina. You will have a fast acting concertina with a real concertina sound with the added advantage that you can play it as a bass, baritone, treble or piccolo concertina and you won't have destroyed your acoustic concertina by messing around with its insides. The original poster said that you can't get a real concertina sound from a midi concertina. That is just completely wrong. You absolutely can get a great sound with a MIDI concertina and the right samples, I did this three years ago with a Wakker MIDI and Native Instruments Kontakt running on a laptop. I sampled every button on my instruments. Those same samples became the basis of my iPhone and iPad Concertina-related apps and I think sound extremely good. That being said, it was a lot of work editing and balancing the levels for the sample set. I agree that creating a good sound font can be a lot of work but for the average person there is a very good sound font (made from a baritone Wheatstone concertina) available for free via the Internet.
  2. What does the phrase 'The Pure Drop' mean ? Could you explain it for our younger readers?
  3. Why go to all that trouble. Just make some high quality recordings of your concertina. Turn these recordings into a soundfont. Then play that soundfont using a midi concertina. You will have a fast acting concertina with a real concertina sound with the added advantage that you can play it as a bass, baritone, treble or piccolo concertina and you won't have destroyed your acoustic concertina by messing around with its insides. The original poster said that you can't get a real concertina sound from a midi concertina. That is just completely wrong.
  4. I think of the bandoneon as an accordion and not a concertina. If you want to listen to the best bandoneon player in the world go to www.youtube.com. Search for Libertango and then listen to the Astor Piazzola and Yo Yo Ma version. Astor Piazzola is the composer of this tune and I think he is probably the worlds greatest Bandoneon (Tango accordion) player. Wikipedia has an article on the Bandoneon complete with pictures showing the inner construction.
  5. All these are consistent (I think... well I only checked the first one!) with it being 4 in the original, but if the copy isn't very clear then that 4 can look like a 1. The original fingerer seemed to be a fan of the one-finger-per-row method, which is a bit bonkers I believe Rigondi only played with two fingers and he only used one finger per row. The index finger for the top two rows and the next finger for the bottom two rows. You can get the music with fingering for either two fingers or three fingers. My wife plays it as an exercise with three fingers which is now the most common way of playing an EC. Using only one finger per row is the best practice and the classical way of playing the EC so it seems strange to describe it as bonkers. I would describe as normal.
  6. A Midi concertina can not only sound like a real concertina, it can even sound exactly like your concertina. You need to understand MIDI and sound font technology. There are other advantages to a MIDI concertina. It enables you to play a Bass, Baritone, Treble or Piccolo concertina without any extra expense. It can also enable you to play other instruments such as a piano or church organ (with limitations). Implementing bellows on a midi concertina can be done but is not necessarily the best solution. A midi foot pedal can make for a more expressive instrument and one that is easier to play for people with arthritis etc.
  7. There is no concertina patch in the general midi set of instruments but you can get real concertina sound on your PC. In fact you can even use your own concertina to get that sound. To a concertina fan the unique sound of concertina reeds is important. If I was happy with an accordion sound, I would have learnt to play the accordion. There are Anglo midi concertinas but building your own is more complex than building a midi English because the bellows direction is important. Commercial Anglo Midis are expensive.
  8. Paul I'm using standard circular push to make switches made of aluminium and plastic. The sort that are available on Ebay in packets of 10 or more with various coloured tops. I don't know what the part numbers are. For the electronics I'm using an Arduino Uno since its an open source project. There is a guy called Tom Scarf who offers Arduino kits already programmed for an English treble concertina. However I wanted to write my own program because I wanted to add some extra switches. Lists of Midi commands and note values are available on the internet. If you can't find what you need, start a private conversation with me. Then we can exchange email addresses and I can email these things to you. One of the good things about a midi concertina is that you can choose to play a bass, baritone, treble or piccolo concertina or even a church organ if you want to. Do you know how to get a real concertina sound on your PC because general midi instruments don't include a concertina sound.
  9. I'm also building a midi concertina so I can play, at night, through headphones without disturbing the family or the neighbours. If you need any help with the electronics or software side of things let me know.
  10. I remember reading an article in 'New Scientist' magazine, many years ago, which said that most people can learn to have perfect pitch just by memorising one note. However not everyone can do this.
  11. Thanks for the tips, very useful. I'll try them out because I have trouble skiving edges as well.
  12. shaunw

    neck strap

    Well that is an interesting suggestion and I will try it out.
  13. Bob I don't know how you can say that. Bone is a wonderful material the product of millions of years of evolution. Many concertinas with bone buttons have survived for over 150 years. I'm not sure that any plastic (which is a supercooled liquid) will do that.
  14. Suggests, perhaps, but doesn't require. After all, the guitar doesn't use one hand for melody and the other for walking bass. It's the coordination of the two hands that generates the desired result. While the details are quite different, the same holds true for the English concertina. And there are players of the English -- Simon Thoumire, for example -- whose playing demonstrates melody against not only walking bass. but also more complex bass figures. The guitarist uses his thumb to play the base and uses his fingers to play the melody. This enables the guitarist to simulate two handed piano playing. So the guitarist can play a separate base and melody using the fact that humans have opposable thumbs. It may occasionally be possible for an EC player to play melody and a walking bass but the instrument was not designed for it. In general Simon Thoumire does not play walking base against a melody, if he did I am sure he would buy a duet. I only play the EC and I have no wish to play a duet but I always advise people to get the instrument that was designed for the job. EC - designed for melody and chord playing. Duet designed for counterpoint and piano like independent two handed playing.
  15. There is a simple relationship between printed music and the EC. Suppose a chord is three notes and the chord is printed as music. Any note on the lines of the stave must be played with the left hand and any notes on the spaces between the lines must be played with the right hand. So given any arbitrary chord you may have to use both hands to play it on an EC. As other people have pointed out only the duet was designed deliberately to make independent two handed playing possible. But a duet is not a piano. It is however the closest thing to a piano in the concertina world.
  16. shaunw

    neck strap

    A (broad) camera strap may be a good idea but attaching it to the thumb strap doesn't sound ideal. Neither is the trad way using the thumb strap screw unless the inlaid nut is reinforced by a machine screw with a nut inside the frame instead of the original wood screw. Attaching the neck strap by using a couple of endbolts ought to be a better way. Well I attach it to the metal loops not to the thumb strap itself and it doesn't seem to cause any significant wear or damage. However you are right, it could be more securely attached using bolts through the end frame but I have hesitated from doing this because it requires drilling holes and making a permanent alteration to the concertina.
  17. I think Wheatstone originally intended that notes would only be played with two fingers on each hand and the other two fingers would be under the finger rest. I agree that the system wasn't designed by God and could be improved. However you need to be aware that when you first learn to play any instrument, it is often painful. As you learn to play you may find that this pain disappears. So don't rush to change the physical layout of your concertina. Remember that past generations have learned to play without physical damage using thumb straps and finger rests and they have continued to play into old age. If your thumb straps are too loose then do get extra holes punched into them.
  18. I now only play the EC and I know that on a standard 48 key EC you can play any chord in any key. However you also mention a walking bass which I know from guitar playing and piano playing. It suggests the sort of two handed style which you can only do on a duet. I have no idea which sort of duet is best. Its an expensive and difficult decision. Good luck.
  19. shaunw

    neck strap

    I use a camera strap which I attach to the thumb strap metal loops. Camera straps come in a wide variety of designs and prices.
  20. Thanks for the link, an interesting article
  21. I'm the opposite to Jim Lucas because I wanted to learn to play the English concertina in order to learn how to read music again. On the whole this has been successful but I find it easier to learn to play from music if I have heard the tune being played first. This is how most children are taught to play classical instruments, the teacher plays the piece for them and then they are expected to learn to play it from the music. However as other people have said learning to play by ear is a matter of practice and memory. Here is where technology can come to your rescue. To learn to play a tune by ear you just need the music, a computer and a midi editor/player. I assume you already have a computer and the midi editor/player can usually be obtained for free. You type the music into your computer and you can then listen to it as many times as you want to. You can speed it up or slow it down as much as you want to. You can listen to just the bit you want to listen to and you can pause it whenever you want to. You can even transpose it into another key if you want to.
  22. I wouldn't take this test too seriously. I think it is geared towards the obsessive music fan but not towards the obsessive musician. I doubt that Beethoven would score very highly because he didn't spend much time listening to music.
  23. It was the Ancient Greeks who discovered the mathematical formula for the relationship between the length of a string and the note produced when it is plucked. That relationship is the same as mean tuning. So strictly speaking mean tuning is the correct tuning and the most pleasing to the ear. So why are almost all our musical instruments, e.g. all pianos, tuned to equal temperament? As Bach discovered it made smooth modulation from one key to another possible and the sound of equal temperament seems to be acceptable to most peoples ears. If you don't play things that require you to modulate from one key to another then you don't need equal temperament. I have been told that early Wheatstone English concertinas were tuned to mean temperament and that that is the real reason for the 14 keys to the scale arrangement but I don't know if that is true.
  24. When I first looked inside my first Lachenal I thought that the valves must be missing. But now I have I looked inside at least a dozen Lachenal English concertinas, it seems that they didn't put valves on the two highest notes on each side and that they don't need them.
  25. A slow leak doesn't matter. If it is in playable condition it sounds like you got a bargain. The Butler tutor for the English concertina is available for free over the Internet. If you work your way through this you will be a competent player.
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