Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About RAc

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer

Contact Methods

  • Skype

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

1571 profile views
  1. Sincere apologies to you, Rod; I did not mean to imply you were suggesting anything wrong. Yes, Larry IS concerned with a single reed only, but it was my Intention to point out to him that for a single reed to sound right in a given reed assembly, it has to be tuned to the system of all reeds in the assembly, not only to some absolute frequency (it is not unlikely that this means the same thing, but it's not a given either). Of course a complete re-tune is nowhere in the picture (I never mentioned that anywhere in my post; again apologies if my posting was unclear about this). Apologies also to Larry in case I stated something obvious to him.
  2. Uhm, I'd be very hesitant to recommend this strategy to someone new to tuning concepts without these words of caution: 1. This tuner app will probably assume equal Temperament Tuning. IF the Instrument in question is indeed tuned in ET (it likely is, but it's no given!), it's safe to use the "absolute" frequency (but see below). If, however, the Instrument happens to be tuned in something like mean tone tuning, adjusting the needle to 0 may make the reed sound really bad. 2. Prior to attacking the reed, Larry should double check that the Instrument is otherwise not only in (ET, see above) tune with itself but also in concert pitch (meaning A should be tuned to 440 Hz). If that is not the case, meaning the Instrument is in tune with itself but not with respect to absolute Standard pitch, tuning the reed to a Zero needle will, again, make it sound off. If A is NOT tuned to 440 Hz but the Instrument is in tune with itself, then the 0 needle position for the D# must be adjusted so that it fits the relative Tuning of the Instrument. The tuner App possibly can do that, but it's sort of an expert mode.
  3. RAc

    Double Duet

    absolutely brillant, Don, thanks for sharing! Couldn't stop laughing!
  4. RAc

    Double Duet

    I did propose it in aonther thread, but if memory serves me right, I originally got the idea from John (Anglo-Irishman) a good number of years ago. Thanks for remembering me though! Just to bring the issue back on top: I wrote a little Windows app that allows you to design your own keyboard and "dry test" it on your tablet, that might be an alternative to paper and pencil (and even makes the "right" noises). Re the design: I guess its usefulness largely depends on the kind of music you are targetting. One problem with this layout I see (from the point of view of a dance/session "musician") is that transposing appears to be quite awkward. Both the Crane and Hayden and (judging from my limited exposure; I'm sure more knowledgable people will chime in) the EC allow you to play a piece you already know in a (circle of fifth) related key without too much re-fingering. Hayden none as far as I understand the system. On the Crane, you basically move one row up for a fourth and a row down for a fifth and can recycle the same fingering pattern almost identically (one position will change with each step). Of course you'll need different chords on the left, but that's not a big deal once you got familar with the basic chord shapes. If worst comes to worst, give your left hand a brake and become a melody only player briefly. It depends on the range used by the melody how many keys you can cover this way, but for many standard dance pieces, you can usually play the same tune in D,G,C and possibly A Ionian (and derived keys of course) with little fingering adjustments. That's actually fairly useful for session playing. In English sessions, most pieces are played in G or D, but in Balfolk sessions, there are occassional standard repertoire overlaps - but the sound space in Balfolk is centered around C and F. So if you know a piece in, say, G, and go to a sessions where they play the same piece in C, you can work yourself out of the dilemma with little pain once you know the G fingering. I don't see how one could accomplish this with the proposed design. But again, if the TO is not a session player but instead looks for a way to play classical or jazz pieces covering a wide range of keys, it may be more useful. I myself am not too interested in new layouts (I feel comfortable enough with the Crane way of things with its +s and -s and try to get as far with it as I can), but it's always fun to muse about different ways to go about things.
  5. RAc

    Adrian's Concertina Instructor...

    http://www.concertina.com/merris/bibliography/anglo-tutors.htm It's a C.F. Adrian (further details were not available on short internet search, I'm sure someone will pitch in here soon)
  6. RAc

    Shipping from Germany to US.

    The problem w/ DHL is that their rates raise exponentially with shipment insurance coverage. If I remember correctly, I chose UPS to send my Concertina for maintenance to Norwich a few years ago, they were by far the least expensive. @Rod: The individual who will send your concertina to you may want to inquire w/ Mailboxes etc. They have quite a number of branches in Germany and will probably be familiar with Cross Atlantic shipping options and may even handle the shipment in total with the sender.
  7. Nice, Tim! Robust and steady beat, and the melody comes across clear. Only thing that comes to my mind is that the basses are sometimes uneven in attack, at places sound diffident, and at times it looks like you get into the yellow air supply area. One possible way around all the issues would be to hit the bass notes sharper and shorter (think of the old red hot needle metaphor). Not that I could claim any superior ability for myself (by no means), it's just my impression as a seasoned listener. But when it gets to that level of criticism, the implication is that it already is very good (it is imho). Thumbs up!
  8. It may be a browser problem. Some versions of Internet Explorer are known to corrupt zip files during download. Fiddler2007 may try to use an other browser for download.
  9. I'm surprised you haven't considered Alex Holden yet... he's an extremly talented craftsman, he'll do pretty much every customization you can think of, makes stunning concertinas old style new tech... plus, flying out to MAN from Germany to pick it up in Person is (perversly) cheaper than insured shipment (I know because I've been there). Only issue is his current order back log, you'll need to check with him.
  10. RAc

    445 Hz?

    +1. In my opinion, one of the cardinal sins in making music is making music all by oneself (I must know because I did that for ~30 years until I realized it wouldn't get me anywhere). The sooner a beginner starts to become engaged in session groups, workshops, playalongs, ceilidhs etc the better and the faster the musical progress. Playing an Instrument that does not allow you to play along with many other instruments really is a turn off, so a compatible pitch should be a killer criterion for picking an Instrument.
  11. RAc

    445 Hz?

    Actually, the "right" choice of systems is probably the #1 question asked by novices. It's the kind of question that yields 5 different answers from 4 different people, which is a strong indication that there is no answer that suits more than one musical biography. I started out about the same time as Wolf. Upon advice from Anglo-Irishman, I chose the Crane duet and have stuck with it ever since, so by now you have three Germans going down three and a half different rows (if John pitches in, that makes it four Germans and probably six roads). What you may want to do to help you choose "your" system is print out the different layouts in approximately 1:1 size and do some dry playing on paper to get a feel for the different playing philosophies.
  12. RAc

    MIDI concertina project

    I don't think anybody's pawning off one against the other, or am I wrong?
  13. RAc

    MIDI concertina project

    well, maybe this helps to understand some of the resistance against MIDI concertinas played in a folk environment: I'm digital by profession but analogue by passion. My job is to develop Embedded firmware, specializing on Machine to Machine communication. This is farily technical; I do my share of debugging with an oscillscope, and I'm familiar with most current digital technologies (I can crank out something like the purely digital concertina I recently programmed without a lot of effort). I truly love my job. If there was any value for me in such a project, I could help with the Software side of such a project and come up with a fairly decent solution quite fast. Yet I don't want the rest of my life to be dominated by something that requires electrical power, to a high degree *because* I am very familiar with and aware of its potential for abuse, misuse and overuse. I refuse to participate in so-called social networks, my access control system is a good old metal key, I'll never invite anything called Alexa or her facefriends in my life, and any gadget named something with "Smart" in it doesn't have any business in a house I'll ever live in. I could write my own book about the naïveté with which people sacrifice very delicate and intimate personal freedoms to modern technology and its luring conveniences (and as a side effect help destroy our planet through useless waste of electric energy, but that's a different story). Thus I don't have much use for digital music. I have a few electric powered music tools (metronome, digital tuner, a virtual concertina on a tablet and a few pieces of software that help with printed music), but those are but aids to help me become better in playing good old analogous instruments of good old natural materials (wood,leather,paper and metal). I use the ETools exclusively at home so that I can interact better with other musicians as soon as there is more than one instrumentalist involved. There is something in the experience of playing real hand made music (even better: for real human dancers) that refuses to become sucked into the digital borg. It's still genuinely human in very many respects, highly interactive and leaves space for things that are automatized away by the algorithmic world we choose to live in. Things like space to make errors, doing irrational activities for the pure fun of it, be part of a choreography that has a lot of beauty without being judged on a scale from 1 to x, provide a play ground to experiment with wild ideas and so on. I like the musical experience being that way. Mainstream music (99% of what is publicly successful and played in public) is streamlined, pre-and postprocessed, industrialized, tailored to marketing manipulated "market demands," predominantly a vehicle to increase company profits and more and more generated without the participation of humans or acoustic instruments. To my ears it's no fun to listen to. Why play a concertina you can by the flip of a switch make sound like a trombone? If I wanted something to sound like a trombone, I'd play a trombone. If I wanted something to sound like another instrument without being another instrument, I'd play a MDI keyboard. Although there is a reasonable space for digitally supported musical instruments in predominantly acoustic environments (a case that springs to mind is electronic bag pipes which allow the player to practice without affecting neighbors and family members), I prefer the "public" folk world to be the oasis it is and thus feel very uncomfortable with electronic instruments of any kind (even electric basses for which there are very valid arguments) in it. Concertinas belong to the niche instruments whose domain *is* the folk world. There are some instances of concertinas being used in other contexts (for example, Stefan's Rock'n'Roll concertina is a very interesting and intriguing crossover which I don't object to because its target realm already is fairly electronic to begin with, so it's taking the concertina into the electronic world instead of vice versa), but most people, I believe, take up concertina playing to be part of the folk (and thus old fashioned analogue) world. I believe (hope?) to be in agreement with a good percentage of other members of the folk community in this respect. Therefore I do not believe there is much reward for an individual putting a lot of work into such a project (unless of course the work is predominantly done for oneself and afterwards shared to other interested people as in my case). I personally prefer to spend my spare time practicing on real concertinas than working on artificial ones, even though the sounds I could generate on the latter ones may sound much "better" (which wouldn't be due to my mastering them, though, but thanks to the algorithms preprogrammed into them). This is not to criticize you or your work, just an attempt to explain why it isn't very likely to catch on (even less as electronics capture more and more of our daily lives).
  14. RAc


    I play both. Don't worry about the callous on the fingertips, it's not going to affect your concertina playing. The only incompatibility I found is that you do not want to play a concertina with guitarist's picking hand finger nails (a costly french polishing job will be the price).
  15. Actually, I was somewhat surprised that the response to this post was zero (except for one individual who probably misunderstood what I was trying to do). Coming to think of it, it's probably because a) Windows doesn't have a huge share in the touch device market and b) most people would rather play real concertinas than virtual ones (I can certainly relate to that). Nevertheless, I passed the time waiting for Holden #3 with finishing the app. It's fully functional now and I use it on a daily basis (for me, it's very useful to remember finger positions of tunes when playing a real concertina is not an option due to volume reasons). I implemented (surprise, surprise) a 45 button Crane, but everybody can write his/or her own (unisonoric; I wouldn't have any idea how to simulate bellows direction change) keyboard layout via an xml file. So EC, Piano, Piano Accordeon, Hayden, McCann and any experimental layout can be rendered by anyone who doesn't mind playing with xml files in a text editor. Since the only devices I had a chance to test my app on were my own two Windows tablets, I don't have any field experience on how the app installs and runs on other devices. I can basically provide it "as is." All I know for sure is that Windows offers a bazillon ways for things to go wrong. It seems as if even on the same device, the same image may at times install no problem and at other times fail (even on the same day with no system updates in between). However, once it is installed, it generally runs very stable and reliable. I have prepared a little video that demonstrates by means of screen shots what the app does and how it does it (you may need to set your youtube to high resolution. Windows is not the only piece of software to do funny unpredictable things). If you have a Windows touch device and are interested in using the app, please drop me a note. Thanks!