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  1. I am currently at the stage of tuning the reeds for a new Anglo concertina. I have been reading, on this forum and elsewhere, on the various meantone tunings peope are using, especially on Engish concertina. I have the data I need for ET, 1/4 Comma and 1/5 Comma cent offsets, and I would like to know whether they offer any advantage in group playing. The tuner I use has the capabity to play chords and instantly switch to any other tuning. To my ear 1/5 Comma sounds much more harmonious than 1/4 Comma or ET; the 3rds and 6ths benefit greatly from the lack of beating. Would there be any benefit in applying meantone tuning to an Anglo to be mainly played in sessions/with other instruments? Your comments and insights would be appreciated. Mike
  2. As Geoff points out, there are 14 buttons to the octave which means you can have both Eb and D#, and likewise both Ab and G#. With meantone tuning these will be tuned differently. Tuned to meantone an English can still play in all keys from three flats to four sharps, which is surely sufficient for most mortals! But to answer your question about Anglo-style buttons on an English. Yes, it's vanishingly rare but I know of at least one. Steve Turner's English has five buttons at the bottom end which have Anglo action. There isn't a clear logic to them (I've played it) but the aim seems to be to extend the range downward without making the instrument too large. On my own Crane system duet (which is closely related to the English) I have four Anglo buttons. Three are to extend the range downward without increasing the size. The fourth is to give me a choice of Eb or D# as it's tuned to fifth comma meantone. (It doesn't have the "duplications" of an English so it's "limited" to keys from two flats to three sharps. That's hardly a limitation at all, except occasionally an E minor tune calls for a B major chord; hence the D#.) LJ
  3. Hi LJ, I'm an instrument maker working principally with renaissance woodwinds, so 1/4 comma meantone is sort of in my blood, since it was the only tuning system in use until around 1600. However like you, I've never found it an insurmountable problem, even playing with other instruments, although on one occasion I did wish I had an a# too (But having Bbs in both directions is far more important. I don't know if you have seen my youtube video comparing 1/4 comma and ET? It was my rambling attempt a few years back to demonstrate the difference in a practical way. I've never tried 1/5th comma so I can't really comment on the difference between the two, but it would be interesting if somebody with both made a similar video, or perhaps even comparing ET and 1/5th comma meantone. Adrian
  4. This was something I ponded over for a long time Stephen, when I started tuning my anglos in 1/4 comma meantone. If you do it as your suggestion, you end up with instruments that can't be played together, because their overall pitch is sharper or flatter by the offset you've given the A. I plumped for tuning all my A's to a-440Hz and simply moving the wolf around with the different tunings. So with my CGs it's Eb/D#, with my GDs it's Bb/A# , on my Bbf, C#/Db and on my FC G#/Ab. This has the advantage that on all my anglos, the wolf is on the same fingerings and the good thirds/bad thirds are too. As I am using the Jeffries 39 layout, I have the flatter of the two on the push and the sharper on the pull - not quite as versatile as the English layout with its 3 enharmonic possibilities, but I find it gets me far enough for most of what I want to do. Adrian Meantone temperament calculations for anglo concertina.pdf
  5. I've only had it for 6 weeks, so these are first impressions only. My new Carroll is tuned in 1/5 comma meantone. My ear agrees with yours- when playing alone and using chords I do believe the sound is sweeter. I've played it in a number of sessions, including one with a lot of other free reeds, and both English and ITM repertoire. I haven't noticed any particular advantage to the tuning in a session, but more importantly it hasn't caused any comment or problems either. I just have to remember to give a D rather than an A if someone wants to tune to my instrument. I think the 1/5 comma meantone tuning is pretty subtle.
  6. Indeed so John, in fact I've always been quite certain that the concertina sound you hear in the film (including the scene in question) is that of Alf's metal-ended 1937 Aeola, #34523, which I owned for a few (precious) years. But meantone tuning of English concertinas died out in the second half of the 19th century, and there's no question that Alf's Aeola was made in anything other than equal temperament, and at A-440 pitch (which was already commonly in use in dance bands in England at that time due to musicians taking to using a lot of American brass instruments and Saxophones - and Alf was playing in one of the leading bands then, that of Jack Payne!)
  7. Does anyone know of an English concertina tuned such that any of the notes are different on push vs pull? For example, I'm wondering about a meantone-tuned instrument with a D# and a Db on one key, extending the range of keys. I have my doubts about the practicality but wonder if it has ever been tried and/or could be practical.
  8. I have never heard of anybody trying such a thing but I doubt it would be of practical use. Currently with the 14 semitones to the octave on the English it is possible to play scales in Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A and E without going 'out of patern'. To me 'out of Patern ' means that some consecutive notes of a scale will occur on the same side of the instrument. To test this play a scale of Eb. Each consecutive note will be on opposite sides of the instrument. Now do the same thing starting on D#. Straight away the first two notes ascending will be on the same side. This out of patern scale will get worse as one moves into ever flater and sharper keys. The importance of this regularly alternating patern becomes evident when playing chords , for the memory of the shapes, and transposing , where the memorised logic will take the player to the correct buttons. What I am saying is that to extend the sweetness of a Meantone tuning system into more remote key signatures than those 'in patern' keys would not be practical. At the outer edges of these eight key signatures problems might already begin to occur .
  9. Jeffries' default tuning was 1/4 comma (though with a twist), which is sweeter (perhaps excessively so?) but too far from ET to work, and it sounds "extreme" to ears accustomed to ET. 1/5 comma is a much more acceptable and versatile temperament, and it's what I'd usually tune Meantone instruments to. I try to keep Cormac Begley's high pitch Ab/Eb in its "original Jeffries tuning" for him, and he thought he wanted 1/4 comma on his A-440 one too - but he found that (as I'd already warned him) he couldn't play it with other people until I changed it to the 1/5 comma I'd recommended in the first place. On a "concert pitch" concertina (C/G Anglo or English system) I'd centre the tuning around an A that's tuned to a "zero" of 440Hz, whilst concertinas in other keys would have their "relative A" tuned to zero.
  10. I've used 1/5th Comma on my concertinas for many years and never had a problem playing in sessions with ET tuned instruments. Even with other concertinas, which would be the hardest test , but for the most part sessions and bands in the traditional music scenes play in keys close to the centre of the meantone tuning I use. For me the great advantage is the sweetening of the harshest chords and the ability that 1/5th Comma allows to play close harmonies , particularly 3rds. Running a passage of major thirds, which creates an almost 'second voice' effect when used in company with other melody instruments, is a very pleasant adjunct to the repertoire of playing techniques. Using 1/4 Comma with other fixed pitch instruments in ET might start to raise eyebrows, probably most likely with fiddle players, who's sense of tuning I generally find to be more acute. Other squeezebox players generally assume their instrument is in tune and don't bother listening to others.
  11. I have a 38-button C/G Jeffries anglo in excellent condition for sale. I've had it for two years, during which time it's been beautifully restored to top playing condition by Greg Jowaisas: New 7-fold bellows All reeds are Jeffries and sound great 1/5 comma meantone tuning Sometime in its—likely South African—past, this concertina had its ends re-plated and its buttons replaced (see pics). Kimric Smythe has adjusted the buttons so they've got the same height and travel. He notes that the buttons lack bushings. The new owner may wish to correct this; it doesn't bother me. Listing includes the hard case, newly blocked for this instrument. Photos (pics of the internals are from Greg; I haven't opened it up myself): Demo Video | bonus video: Orange in Bloom I am told that this instrument could likely have more work done to optimize its action and airflow, though it plays quite well by my reckoning. Selling because I use my other concertina more for gigs and, though it's a great box, I never really "bonded" with this instrument -- I think I'm leaning in the direction of eventually getting a mellower instrument like a Bb/F or a G/D. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reply to this thread or send a PM. Asking $7,000 (this is what I paid for it + the cost of restoration) $6,000, though I will consider reasonable offers. I'm in the San Francisco area and will happily ship wherever (free shipping to the US or Canada).
  12. Sadly, I must sell my Tedrow 30 button Harley-inspired CG. I got it from Dan Worrall It is one of only two or three of Bob Tedrow's Harley-inspired Anglos. It is in nearly mint condition. It's a Jeffries layout, The hybrid reeds are efficient and the action is fast. I switched the 1st Row RH last key so that I could play runs on the push better. It is tuned in quarter comma meantone so that the chords would be sweet. This link on Bob's site describes it and posts some audio clips (mine is the one in meantone tuning): http://hmi.homewood.net/harley/ I'd always wanted a square-ended anglo since they are not so common. A square-ended Anglo very like this one in appearance is at the Gettysburg museum in Pennsylvania. Attached below (and in Bob Tedrow's article) are some photos. The case is a nice, heavy leather and well padded. Price $1750 plus shipping and insurance ... payment via PayPal. Contribution to c.net if it is sold here. PM me if interested.
  13. 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?
  14. Because I now often play with a piper who has a lovely Froment set in C I recently tuned my spare concertina to Bf/F. After a little advice taking I decided to make it 1/4 comma meantone as well. The result is unplayable in a regular session whereas when I had it in 1/5 comma meantone it wasn’t too bad. In all other respects it is absolutely wonderful. Chords sound smooth, especially thirds which I would not normally use. It is not only the chords, normal melodic sequences sound sweeter, as if your ears hear the implied intervals and add them up. I find myself thinking of wine writer’s jargon; hints of dark chocolate and cherry in the lower notes, mellow honey in the midrange and echoes of the trumpets at the gates in the upper ranges, etc... Since I finished it I have found myself avoiding my ET C/G and reaching for the MT Bf/F.
  15. 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!
  16. I understand that the 'modern' Equal Temperament (ET) tuning is a modification of meantone tuning which in turn was a modification of Pythagorean tuning. ET was developed to enable instruments to modulate to any other key without playing a wolf tone, but there are many compromises made to achieve ET. Some might say that ET stands for Equally bad Tuning. Instruments like concertinas that can only play in a limited ranges of related keys do not need to accept the compromises made to achieve ET, they can be tuned so that, for example, thirds sound good and yet still be close enough in tune to ET that they can be played with ET instruments playing within their range. This is not the same thing as having multiple reeds sounding simultaneously with most of the reeds detuned from the main note so as to achieve a musette sound. The tuning for the main notes is still ET. There has been much discussion here over the years about the benefits of meantone tuning for concertinas and perhaps the former owner/player of your concertina had it tuned in a meantone tuning. If so, then I would leave it alone and consider myself lucky. Here is an example of a concertina like yours tuned in 1/4 comma meantone:
  17. 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.
  18. Here are the figures I use for 1/5th Comma Meantone. One just needs to use any tuner set to Equal Temperament and off set each note accordingly: C +6 . C# -8 , D +2 . D# - 12 . Eb +12 . E -2 . F +8 . F# -6 . G +4 . G# -10 . Ab + 14 . A zero . Bb +10 . B -4 . Currently both my EC's are tuned in this fashion and I am most content with the results, in fact I have exclusively used 1/5th Comma for the last 30 years.
  19. A friend is porting Flutini, the real time tuning analyser, to iPod. I recounted that I'd found it useful for checking concertina tuning, and that some concertina players have gone for quarter comma meantone rather than equal temperament, so that if he were intending to offer some temperaments, that would be a potentially useful one. He agrees but asks what root note the temperament should be centred on. Do we have a firm view on this? Terry
  20. Hi everyone, I reckon you trust me being well aware of previous discussions insofar. Here‘s what I‘m after: I‘m just acquainting myself with this beautiful brass-reeded instrument, which appears to be in higher pitch and meantone tuning. However, having adjusted my ears to the different sound of temperament tuning, I still notice some slightly odd notes. So I upgraded my tuner, tried quarter comma meantone tuning and tried to calibrate the pitch. Result is that every note (with the exeption of the two added enharmonic notes of course) falls well with the plus/minus 5 cent range, but only if I choose 449 (instead of 452 as expected). I do not intend to take it down anyway, as I want to use it as a solo instrument, or to accompany my (or my wife‘s) singing. So would you recommend to find the best-fitting pitch (probably 449) and touch just few reeds which are actually annoying me - which would rather mean to take them up one to three cents? Is quarter comma meantone the appropriate approach? Unfortunately, I can‘t try 1/5 comma as my tuner doesn’t provide that, but from what I’ve read 1/4 comma is what has been in use around 1860 - which I‘m told the instrument has been fabricated... Thank you in advance for any input - 🐺
  21. Well...just to clarify, or muddy, things a bit. My term scale below refers to the major scale. 1. The reason for a particular starting note being chosen with mean tone tuning is that the farther you deviate from the scale of the chosen starting note the farther the scale sounds out of tune and the worse important chords will sound. 2. 1/4 comma and 1/5 comma meantone tunings arean attempt to deviate enough to allow the advantages of meantone tuning to apply to a wider range of keys. 3. The range of good sounding keys is narrower with 1/4 comma tuning, so realize that if you leave it tuned that way you’ll want to be sure you’re happy with the available keys. I’m not advocating you change the tuning, though 1/5 comma would be my choice. 4. You can see from the above why knowing the chosen starting point is crucial. 5. If your tuner gives Hz I’d recommend you get those numbers for the entire instrument. It should help determine starting note. And/or if your tuner allows you to set the starting pitch for the 1/4 mean try each starting note and frequency and check the scale for the other notes. The starting note used will be the one where the scale deviates the least. Then you will know which notes need adjustment. 6. The wolf tone you refer to is mediated by the 1/4 or 1/5 meantone tuning, so strictly speaking it doesn’t occur anywhere. I believe that term is usually only associated with Pythagorean tuning, but I might be very wrong about that. hope this helps!
  22. Further examining seemed to confirm my understanding that meantone tuning in „the key of C“ (or in fact whatever; see below), according to my tuner, is providing a just major third above (E) and below (Ab, whereas G# to C wouldn’t form a third anyway, but a diminished fourth) and the 🐺 (as mentioned above) between G# and Eb (in fact a diminished sixth). Setting the tuner to „the key of D“ resulted most notably in indicating the Bb as way too sharp (because apparently an A# would be expected instead), and I reckon the Eb would deemed wrong as well this way... (whereas setting it to „the key of A“ should even compromise the F, interpreting the respective note as an E#). This leads me to the notion that the odd intervals in meantone temperament are depending not from the tuning of white and black keys (the latter in two - enharmonic - variants each), but where the sharps and the flats end resp. are being replaced with one another. Re the tuning I should be fine with 1/4 comma meantone „in the key of C“ (which seems to just say: no shifting in the circle of fifths, just the normal D-centered, as known from ancient Pythagoran tuning, or A-centered if we would choose D# over Eb) then, regardless of the root note (which may be A). It‘s just the slightly odd sounding notes that are indicated as flat... Objections, corrections? Thanks again in advance - 🐺
  23. Nice concertina Wolf !! Firstly I never use these pre-programmed temperaments that modern tuners provide and I suggest you question your tuner as to what values it is actually ascribing to each note. If the actual basis of its 1/4 Comma setting was C then it might well show you a best fit of 449 hertz for A. When actually the pich might be is closer to 452hz. with A as the centre point of the Meantone values. I'll admit I have not thought this through completely yet but see if you can discover what your tuner is programmed to. Electronic tuners are made to measure 12 notes to the octave and the EC has 14 so this is the way I would proceed: Turn off the 1/4 Comma programme and start with the ET setting. Measure the pitches of the D#'s and Eb's and find where they are equally sharp and flat and see if the A's are sitting at the centre point between the D#'s and Eb's. That should tell you IF A is the Zero point of the Meantone and what pitch it was originally ( or the last time) tuned to. So usually Meantone EC's are tuned with the A as the zero point , because this gives a reasonable spacing of the enharmonics.,.. which might be sharp or flat of today's standard pitch... If you require actual 'cent' offsets for each note I have them to hand or you'll find them on the forums somewhere.
  24. This is a long shot, but... Has anyone managed to configure Thumbjam to play 1/5 comma meantone? If so, how did you do it? Thx. Don. Background (warning - rather geeky/anoraky) Thumbjam is a midi synthesizer/sampler app for iOS (iPad/iPhone). Michael Eskin donated his concertina sound samples to the developer of Thumbjam so you can play Michael's concertina sounds in Thumbjam. Major thirds on this system sound like major thirds on a real concertina. So I thought that this would be a good platform to experiment with meantone temperament. Thumbjam, being a synthesizer/sample player, can change the pitch of notes being played. There are very many scales/temperaments provided in Thumbjam besides ET and the common western scales but, AFAICT, no meantone temperaments. However, you can enter your own scales and, I think, temperaments. Thumbjam recommends a program called Scala to do this. I think, but I am not sure, that I can see a way to do this, but it is going to take me some time to figure it out so I am hoping that just maybe somebody else has been down this road already.
  25. I have hated the equal tempered major thirds for decades. I asked Wally Carroll to tune my Anglo in 1/5-comma meantone. (Partly due to discussions here and other places, so thanks!) It matches standard equal temperament at D, so A is ~2 cents flat and G is ~2 cents sharp. The major thirds are noticeably sweeter. I quite like it. I don't notice that it clashes with other instruments, and no one else has commented on it either. I am generally playing Irish traditional, where the key center is near D and pipes and fiddle don't use equal temperament in the first place. The wolf interval is G#/D# and is intentionally not even available on the same direction of the bellows on this one. Now, I do have another instrument with a slightly different 1/5-comma setup where the wolf interval is C#/G# and can be played, and I would call it "awful"! I was tempted to try 1/4-comma meantone to get the just major thirds. But the discrepancy with others is larger. And, the fifths are very commonly used in Irish concertina, and are noticeably flat in 1/4-comma. So I'm not sure it would work out well. Anyway, in my experience so far I would certainly agree that 1/5-comma is a good compromise and not extreme. Would recommend, would let it marry my sister, etc.
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