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I'm continuing this discussion here as a new topic, as it has diverged from the main topic where it started: Troubadour Wicky/Hayden duet under General Concertina Discussion. More, yes, but not entirely. In the left hand, my 59-button Crane has three "extra" notes (i.e., notes not found on a normal 55-button). They are Bb, A, and F below the low C, and all outside the standard 5-across rows. The F and Bb are in an "extra column" to the left of the usual 5 columns of a Crane array, and the A is a thumb button. (The fourth "extra" to make up the 59 is a low B-natural in the right hand, exactly where it belongs by extending the Crane pattern "to rule".) I can "get used to" playing these notes where they are. Heck, I could "get used to" playing a random placement of notes, which is pretty close to what one gets with various more-than-30 button anglos, where virtually no two are alike. But I would be much more comfortable with "reaching" for them if they were where they "fit the pattern", especially if I'm transposing on the fly. Patterns are patterns; exceptions are... "Gotta stop and think." And that's not just about where to find the note(s), but how to construct the fingering. Fingerings have "patterns", too. But getting back to "thumb buttons": My thumbs are neither as quick nor as flexible as my other fingers, so trying to use them in "equal" combination with the others is a hindrance to the general flow. (My "little fingers" are somewhat in between, but that's a separate issue/topic.) Using the thumb to hold down a drone note is a different matter and could even be a convenience, but that "convenience" can only be available in a very limited number of keys. The low A thumb key on my 59-button Crane can be cool if I'm playing in A or D (major or minor) but if I want to play in F and take advantage of my "extra" low F as the base of the bass, the A is not appropriate as a drone, and its position makes the low F chord awkward for my hand. I can see that particular individuals may find particular "out of pattern" notes to be handy in particular tunes or arrangements, but not in general. Evidence of this is the proliferation of attempts to design "better" general layouts. (The Wicki/Hayden is one of the few, and the most recent, that has gained wide popularity.) It's important to ask, "Better for what?" One of my criteria, which I discovered early in my playing of the English system is a pattern that can be extended unambiguously. I.e., I discovered myself without thinking reaching for notes that weren't there on my treble English, but when I got a tenor-treble, they were exactly where I had been reaching for them. I'm curious about what keyboard characteristics others find significant, both from mental (visualizing?) and physiological (finger patterns and shapes) standpoints.
Hi. It's been several years since I've been by this forum. During the time I've been gone I played my 64 button Wheatstone English in a group that specializes in American music of the 1850s. It was fun but not very profitable. My regular gig is as an ukulele soloist and since this is my off season I've been enjoying reading through tune books on my English. I've also been playing out of a hymnbook for the 2 part (sometimes 3 part) harmonic arrangements. What I really want to do is read through SATB hymn arrangements and play them straight off the dots with the full harmony. That lead me to thinking about duet concertinas. Do any of the duet systems allow for playing straight off of the piano score without having to adapt the piece to fit the system? If not, what system would be the most appropriate? Thanks for your time & insights, Aldon Sanders