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Linton system


JimLucas
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...a short article on Charles Linton and the key layout for the Linton Duet System ("Lintophone"), which appeared in The Concertina Newsletter, Issue No. 11 (April 1973).

I'd like to see that article.

 

I have only ever encountered 2 Linton system concertinas...

I've only ever encountered one. At the time it was in Neil Wayne's possession, and I assume that's the one now in the Horniman collection. I have often wondered whether it was the only one ever made, so I find it very interesting that you've seen more than one. Can you tell us anything about the persons who played them, or even those owned them (if they weren't players)?

 

...both of which had the same number of buttons in each row, unlike the instrument in question [in this other thread].

That "instrument in question" definitely has a Maccann layout. I think the Linton entered that discussion in a rather strange way, but since it did, I'd like to correct a frequently repeated mistake:

 

In concept, the Linton keyboard layout is
not
a "
duet
" system.

I.e.,

  • It does not have the lower notes in one hand and the higher notes in the other hand.
  • There is no overlap between the two hands.
  • It does not have a full scale in each hand. Rather, the scale (in all octaves) is split between the two hands. In this respect it is conceptually much like the "English" system, though in other details it differs. (There is no separation of the accidentals into the "outer" columns, and there are no enharmonic duplications.)
  • It does have the bar-and-strap system for holding it, but that doesn't define a duet.

With a 6-wide layout in each hand, they combine to form 12-wide rows, each of which includes all 12 notes of a chromatic octave. Each 12-wide row is identical to all the others, except that each is a different octave.

 

Of course each hand has the same number of buttons, since each contains half the notes in every octave. And as in the English, the low, middle, and high notes are equally distributed between the two hands, so there's no inequality in the distribution of reed sizes between the two hands, which is the main reason for having fewer buttons in the left hand than in the right on real duets.

 

Here is the Linton layout, linked in from "A Chat With Brian Hayden" on concertina.com:

linton-W1100H500.gif

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Lintons 2 daughters also played them so there must have been at least 3 instruments, and I seem to remember seeing a picture of him and his daughters with a pile of 4 or 5. He was said to be a brilliant musician playing Wagner with loads of heavy chords in several octaves; and claimed to be able to outplay any Duett Concertina player. As you say it is not a Duet system, but rather a split octave system like the English Concertina. I believe there were other people who attempted to play the Linton System, but this might have been on instruments that had previously belonged to the Linton family.

Inventor.

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Jim, apart from one that Neil once showed me, which I assume is the one in the Horniman, and I think obtained from Charles Linton's son, the other I have seen belonged to one of the daughters. I believe it is/was later in the possession of Phil Inglis....

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...loads of heavy chords in several octaves...

That's probably the most notable advantage of the Linton system, since each column of buttons is composed entirely of the same note in several octaves. That makes it possible to play the same note in more than one octave using a single finger. (To play all four octaves, try using the length of the finger instead of just the tip?) And this is true for every note of the scale, so playing any melody or chord in octaves should be able to use the same fingering as in a single octave, just making sure to hit two (or more) buttons with each finger.

 

This is not true of any other system. Even on duets that have patterns where the different octaves of the same note always occur in the same column, there's always some other button or buttons in between. E.g., on a "uniform" Maccann (or "Chidley") duet there's an E between each pair of A's, and vice versa.

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Nevertheless I would like to point out that on Hayden Duets because of the consistant proximity of 4ths and 5ths in adjacent rows of buttons, it is possible to play any Major or Minor chord with only two fingers. So if you play a double chord with 4 fingers on the left hand and a double chord with 4 fingers on the right hand you can play 4 octave chords on a Hayden Duet. This is also possible for some chords on both the Maccann & Crane Duets.

Personally I do not chose to do this myself as it does not suit the type of music that I like playing; however I have sometimes ended a performance with a 7 note chord playing 3 buttons with my right hand forefinger !

Inventor.

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Nevertheless I would like to point out that on Hayden Duets because of the consistant proximity of 4ths and 5ths in adjacent rows of buttons, it is possible to play any Major or Minor chord with only two fingers. So if you play a double chord with 4 fingers on the left hand and a double chord with 4 fingers on the right hand you can play 4 octave chords on a Hayden Duet. This is also possible for some chords on both the Maccann & Crane Duets.

Personally I do not chose to do this myself as it does not suit the type of music that I like playing; however I have sometimes ended a performance with a 7 note chord playing 3 buttons with my right hand forefinger !

Inventor.

On both the English and the anglo, as well, it's easy to do chords, and quite rich ones, too.

 

Perhaps I should have been clearer that my point about the Linton system wasn't only or even primarily about playing chords. Instead, it's about the ease with which one can play octaves, without playing chords. Playing a melody in parallel octaves (a la Scan Tester?) on a Linton should be even simpler than playing parallel thirds on an English.

 

Of course, one can also play parallel octaves on any duet by simply playing the same tune in both hands, but that requires using a finger in each hand for each "note" of the melody, as well as keeping the same rhythm in both hands. So octave playing on the Linton is fundamentally different. Whether that technique is important musically is likely a matter of personal taste.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello

I started making a Linton system years ago, I am about half way there, I will eventually post photographs,but based on how long it has took me so far it could be a long wait.

I actually think the system is great, releasing the fingers to find all those Chords, I am a English player and will often use the little finger to find those extra notes.

Thankyou Peter.

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