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Images Of Tedrow Miniature Concertina

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That's a very nifty looking little instrument, but how do you hang onto it with no straps? Just grasp the sides with thumb and pinky and play with the other three fingers? It seems that would get tiring...



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I hang on to it with thumb and pinky as best I can. I believe this is the consensus among the traditional builders.



It's a little slippery.


Cute though isn't it?



This is of course the first miniature I have built, (the first in North America as well?)


I think the next will have a different button layout.



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:o Hi Bob,


That's a neat little creature. When we first saw Noel's little Jeffries miniature years ago, someone asked him what it would be when it grew up? He answered "Piano accordion!" Now I wonder if yours has the same hopes and dreams??


I note that you said you might change the button pattern on your next one. I doublechecked the image of Noel's on Big Nick's Concertina Guide and saw that the Jeffries was laid out in what appeared to be two rows -- allowing the playing of all notes with only two fingers on each hand. With five buttons in an arch on yours, am I right in guessing that both playing it and holding it at the same time are the issue?


Keep up the good work.

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And here is an image with my beautiful assistant, Mark holding the concertiny.


Note that the width of the concertiny is about the same as the width of a hand rest and that the distance from the center line of the handstrap to the button row does not differ greatly from the same dimensions on a standard concertina.


I find this instrument very nicely playable. The small bellows give the reeds a nice feeling of "immediacy" when played.


The key of D makes it easy to cover a whole darn bunch of ITM using your index and middle fingers, you know....the good fingers.


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A reason that miniatures often are regarded as toys is the problem to hold them, making them more or less unplayable despite they definitely may be used for making some good music, not just clownery acts.

I would think "less unplayable", though maybe difficult to get used to, at first. Folks like Peter Honri and Noel Hill -- and undoubtedly others I'm not familiar with -- show what can be be done with a bit of practice, and Noel even manages the rapid bellows reversals necessary on the anglo.


...gripping the frame, which is not very purposeful...

Of course I have to demur, at least in principle, since my own recommendation for holding even the standard English concertina is a similar "gripping" of the thumb loop (actually, the metal plate within the leather loop) and the finger plate. The geometrical details of the miniature are different, and I think make that grip on the end (without loop or plate) more restrictive of finger movements on the buttons, but I think it's still viable.


With a fairly ’large’ miniature (90-100mm across) and with fairly small hands it is possible to get some contact with the endplate and to improve the hand position using a support...

I personally think it would be better without the "support". Allowing the heel of the palm to be lower -- possibly even dropping slightly below the edge of smaller instruments -- should angle the palm in a way that gives the fingers more room to pull "back" toward the buttons, yet still strike downward without curling under. (Then again, maybe Alex' method of curling under the fingers would be worth trying on a mini.)


A thumbstrap is added at the side of the frame to increase stability and to secure the hand position.

That seems reasonable.


By rotating the end layout a little there is room for the thumbstrap on the end...

I don't see an advantage to that. I would expect that change in orientation to make the buttons harder to reach, not easier.


With smaller size miniatures (70-80mm across) or larger hands it is

impossible to achieve any contact between palm and instrument...

As I suggested above, "cupping" the instrument in the palm may allow such contact. I can't be sure whether that's feasible, though, without having a miniature to try it on. It certainly isn't the way Peter Honri holds either of the miniatures he's pictured with in the book Working the Halls. Those he grips between thumb on one side of the end and ring and little fingers on the opposite side of the end. Then he plays with only two fingers on each hand.


...the stability has to be arranged some other way and the little finger

being involved for this. Thus a finger plate/rest is added...

I agree that a finger plate would be helpful. I wonder if it wouldn't be more useful to have the plate, thumbstrap, or both (depending on the size of the mini) mounted on the side of the end, rather than on its face. On normal-size Englishes, the inner spacing between the two is 2½" (65 mm), and the outer spacing is about 4" (102 mm). It seems reasonable to retain this spacing, so on small minis (2-2½") both loop and plate could be off the face, on larger minis (3-3½") one on the face and one off, and on a 4" instrument they would both barely fit on the face.


A handstrap is used in both cases...

It certainly shouldn't hurt.


Maybe an octagonal shape offers options for better positions of the thumb straps, finger rests, handstraps and the keys as well.

I would think just the opposite. For a given size of the end, the hexagon will give a longer side than the octagon, and therefor more forward-back leeway in placing the loop and plate. In particular, placing them further back reduces the need to draw the fingers back to reach the buttons (something that's more important with both smaller minis and English layout). I would even suggest that a "stretched hexagon" shape or a rectangle might be more desirable from this standpoint.


I hope this may inspire to some development of miniature models and

playing them.

My hope as well.


…particularly the much greater tonal control than ’normal’ size concertinas ever can offer.

??? Rather a broad statement. It may be that a 5" or even 4" instrument provides some advantages in this respect -- though I would certainly like to see some supporting evidence, -- but I rather doubt that a 2½" miniature would give greater control, even if it could include a reasonable range of notes.


P.S. Göran's and my suggestions are intended to improve the playability of miniature concertinas. Many of them, however, increase the bulk of the instrument, and so would run counter to a purpose of small size and the possibility of concealing the instrument. But that is, of course, a very different purpose, and one that these days might be best served by a tiny carving of a concertina containing a microchip and speaker. :)

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All I have to say on this topic is that I have tried this particular instrument and found no problem playing it with the depicted wrist strap. It requires so little force to play that I don't think it really matters whether the strap is "optimal" in any sense -- it was a joy to play and easy to go very fast with.


- Tom Lawrence

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