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EC: what about the low F?


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it's not a question of tunes that take three octaves. it's about tunes with an individual span such that if you position them "normally," the low point of the tune touches the low f the treble doesn't have, but if you move them up an octave because of the low F problem, raising the octave then puts the high peak of the tune a note or so higher than the treble goes. you run into stuff like this all the time with smaller accordion keyboards, but the outlay for them isn't such that you mind it the way one might in this kind of an investment. it is not an unheard-of question, and that is why several other folks have weighed in with ideas about it and even mentioned what one of the classic ec players is known to have done about it. dude.

 

 

A span such as you have described would be a span of two-and-three-quarters octaves. If this is (for example) a fidddle-tune in G that you're transposing down to that troublesome F, then in its original key, it would have to use both the open G string at the bottom of the fiddle, and some note higher than the C that the fourth finger reaches in second position on the E-string-- that's the second ledger line above the staff. Any tune that does not reach higher than that note can be played shifted up an octave on a standard 48-key treble. The forty-eighth key plays a C that sits on top of the fifth ledger line above the staff. If your guitar does not have twenty frets, it cannot reach that high in standard tuning.

 

I'm just worried that you may be inventing problems for yourself where there are none. =)

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that's only the first problem, to be gotten out of the way before we turn to having an ec with no pinky trough, no thumb thing, no wrist strap, and only a hand strip for seated playing using all four fingers, like an anglo....optimal would be an actual redesign wherein the rows are very slightly spread out horizontally, and slightly arced. the way the unisonoric bandoneons imitate the layout of the bisonorics, and are played seated with hand straps using all four fingers. that would be the ultimate unisonoric concertina. probly not possible until one of the creative makers gets a bee in his bonnet, but i think you could probly manage fine hand-strap-and-four-finger style on a regular 48 or 56 without re-spacing, and i would love to have one...

Edited by ceemonster
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The widest range I've seen in a fiddle tune is in Skinner's "The Mathematician" which goes from a B below middle C to a G 2 octaves plus a sixth higher (B, to g' in abc). I can't see why anyone would want to play that in A so as to need the low F#. It's hard enough as written in D.

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i don't know about fiddles, or fifth staff or third staff. but my understanding is that the 48 goes on the high end to what in piano-lesson-land we called "High C." that would be, two C's above middle C. and on the low end to the G below middle C. that is exactly what many less-than-full-size accordions do. and while with this span you can move many tunes and easily have all your notes, there are some in some keys which you can't do all notes without losing either the lowest note in the tune or the highest note in the tune. researching this in the ec context, i see sometimes they called the note adjustment on a 48 "salvation army modification" a la Louis Killen, to get the f below middle c. it meant/means giving something else up to get it, like the other posters are noting.

 

 

here is a snip from the linked thread below on the mudcat forum, a propos of someone loving their wonderful 48:

 

[Only regret is no low 'F' as preferred by Louie Killen and

actually standard on the Salvation Army beasts.]

 

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=93283

Edited by ceemonster
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hmmm, perhaps i was misinformed. i'm looking at a concertina site saying the 48 goes up to the c THREE octaves above middle c (one octave above what i'm calling "high c").....? if that is the case, i was misinformed, and i see what you are saying, random. one could indeed shift an F tune up in those tricky tunes.....

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hmmm, perhaps i was misinformed. i'm looking at a concertina site saying the 48 goes up to the c THREE octaves above middle c (one octave above what i'm calling "high c").....? if that is the case, i was misinformed, and i see what you are saying, random. one could indeed shift an F tune up in those tricky tunes.....

 

Perhaps you were thinking of the range of a 30 or 36-key abbreviated-treble English. Those often stop at high C.

 

Thanks for that clue about the Salvation Army! It strengthens some suspicions I had about the somewhat-mysterious provenance of my Wheatstone.

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but after all this info from everybody about tenor-trebles, i'm really intrigued by them now. i love the one that simon thoumire is playing on youtube.....i wonder what the hamish baynes ones are like.... :rolleyes: i see an extended treble 56 edeophone on ebay, i wonder what tenor-treble edeophones are like....

Edited by ceemonster
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but after all this info from everybody about tenor-trebles, i'm really intrigued by them now. i love the one that simon thoumire is playing on youtube.....i wonder what the hamish baynes ones are like.... :rolleyes: i see an extended treble 56 edeophone on ebay, i wonder what tenor-treble edeophones are like....

 

The main benefit to the low notes isn't to "play tunes" down there. The response is just not great - this isn't just a problem for fast tunes - on slow tunes the low notes just don't tend to speak quite fast enough to be placed perfectly. For example

goes down just to the F (I think), and that's about borderline for me. I remember having difficulty getting the timing/control of these low notes right. I also don't really think that the sound on its own is particularly great. It depends on the concertina, of course, but I have played very few that are better in this regard than mine.

 

tentreb on youtube plays a Hamish Bayne concertina. I tried one once, about 15 years ago, but I'm afraid I didn't like it - very heavy (iirc), difficult to play, and the sound wasn't what I liked. But some people seem to love them :)

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that's only the first problem, to be gotten out of the way before we turn to having an ec with no pinky trough, no thumb thing, no wrist strap, and only a hand strip for seated playing using all four fingers, like an anglo....optimal would be an actual redesign wherein the rows are very slightly spread out horizontally, and slightly arced. the way the unisonoric bandoneons imitate the layout of the bisonorics, and are played seated with hand straps using all four fingers. that would be the ultimate unisonoric concertina. probly not possible until one of the creative makers gets a bee in his bonnet, but i think you could probly manage fine hand-strap-and-four-finger style on a regular 48 or 56 without re-spacing, and i would love to have one...

 

Have you seen Henrik Müller's Slide Engine?

http://www.concertinamatters.se/

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yes, i came across those on youtube and he is the gent i meant. i would like a 48 built with the same horizontal wood bracer and hand strap that anglos have. not sure it would work on a 56 tenor treble, where the rows extend farther downwards, but i think it would work great on a 48. look how well his setup is working, and it doesn't have the wood piece that anglos have....this kind of thing words great on unisonoric bandoneons. i guess the duet setup is more like that. i actually would consider a duet, but not sure they loan themselves to very fast single melody-line playing. i found one article saying the maccann was supposedly "designed for speed," which does intrigue, but this same article said the crane supposedly did not lend itself to faster playing.

 

so for now, i'm considering a 48 ec with a custom setup....and i think the 56-key tenor-trebles are amazing....

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[*]As for speed of playing, the tightness and reed response of the individual instrument is far more important than treble vs. tenor-treble. My own tenor-treble Aeola is 64-button, not just 56, and I don't feel that it slows me down at all. In fact, I can play plenty fast even on my 64-button baritone-treble.

[*]Danny Chapman isn't the only one to demonstrate that a tenor-treble shouldn't slow you down. Simon Thoumire is another, as in

.

 

Treble vs. tenor treble...Of course any larger (larger cross section) instrument will be slower than a smaller one even if they have a comparable standard (tightness, reed quality)otherwise.

You may not notice it very much if you don't test at the extremes of course.If you play a fast sequence of notes only on push OR on pull the factor muscular force/pressure gradient (responsible for sound amplitude)which is greater for a larger instrument may not be as evident for the speed as if you play the same note sequence by changing push/pull for every note when the necessarily greater muscular effort will present itself more obviously.The smaller the instrument the faster you can do this. Compare playing in the same octave with a treble and a baritone, or a miniature and a baritone-treble.

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now that i have been better educated by some of the knowledgeable folks here, i think a simple tenor would be just the thing for me. don't need all those high notes on the 56. and if i can find someone who can design me a modified wood handrest for use on a 48 with a hand strap a la anglo, no thumb straps or pinky trough, i intend to acquire one. i don't want it for classical or chordal-bass stuff, just fast, loud, crisp single-melody music, and i believe it's possible. i'd have no problem with accordion reeds and would love to try the morse geordie, but refuse to pay in the upper $2k range for a hybrid that does not have professional-quality hand accordion reeds, so that's out. so we shall see....

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now that i have been better educated by some of the knowledgeable folks here, i think a simple tenor would be just the thing for me. don't need all those high notes on the 56.

 

Heh. Yeah, but tenor-trebles are only moderately rare, while plain tenors are veritable hen's teeth. At least in the vintage instruments. When you're having one made, of course anything goes.

 

and if i can find someone who can design me a modified wood handrest for use on a 48 with a hand strap a la anglo, no thumb straps or pinky trough, i intend to acquire one. i don't want it for classical or chordal-bass stuff, just fast, loud, crisp single-melody music, and i believe it's possible. i'd have no problem with accordion reeds and would love to try the morse geordie, but refuse to pay in the upper $2k range for a hybrid that does not have professional-quality hand accordion reeds, so that's out. so we shall see....

 

This may be the first time I've heard an insinuation that the Button Box is using second-rate reeds, and I must admit, I'm rather surprised to hear it. Perhaps someone with more insider knowledge can offer a more detailed rebuttal; all I can say is that I've toured the workshop and conversed with the staff, and I am convinced that R. Morse & Co. choose reeds for their acoustic qualities, rather than for considerations of price.

 

There was an interesting discussion recently, where Stephen Chambers & Wim Wakker propound the thesis that "tipo a mano" reeds do not necessarily sound better than other types (and sometimes sound worse).

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... i think a simple tenor would be just the thing for me. don't need all those high notes on the 56. and if i can find someone who can design me a modified wood handrest for use on a 48 with a hand strap a la anglo, no thumb straps or pinky trough, i intend to acquire one.

 

You certainly can do without the finger rest - better employing the little finger for button work - but skipping the thumb strap is hardly a very good idea.

The reason that the "hand strap a la anglo" works with the anglo is that you can have a fix hand position with 3(-4) rows only.With larger duets and Englishes with 48 or more keys it is a poor solution however since you have to slide to reach the distant keys and the hand strap gets too unstable. Stabilizing the connection by the thumb is the right way to go and adding a thumb strap on Anglos and Duets would be logical.

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Likewise, I have known the folks at Button Box since they were developing the first Ceili anglo, and I have to agree that I've never heard of them using reeds of less than top utility. They were more picky about getting their first anglo design right than we who were anxiously awaiting it back in the new-concertina-starved mid-1990s. I doubt they would compromise all the work they do in design and building by cutting corners with reeds. Of course everyone has preferences when it comes to hybrid concertinas - that is a separate matter and is personal. If memory serves, Norman has offered a hybrid EC tenor also. Their anglos are very good in my experience; maybe someone here has played a Norman tenor EC and can report on it?

 

Ken

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You certainly can do without the finger rest - better employing the little finger for button work - but skipping the thumb strap is hardly a very good idea.

The reason that the "hand strap a la anglo" works with the anglo is that you can have a fix hand position with 3(-4) rows only.With larger duets and Englishes with 48 or more keys it is a poor solution however since you have to slide to reach the distant keys and the hand strap gets too unstable. Stabilizing the connection by the thumb is the right way to go and adding a thumb strap on Anglos and Duets would be logical.

 

I'm not at all convinced about that. I don't know about Anglos but pinning my hand at one side to a thumb rest would restrict my hand too much. It also stops you playing notes with your thumb, a surprisingly useful technique. Resting it on your knee or a hanging it from a harness seem the only options available if you want to really use a duet properly. I've met a couple of EC players with thumb problems too. What is hanging a 71 key duet from your thumbs going to do for you?

 

Ceemonster; you can play stuff quite fast on a Maccan, the problem is if you stick to one note melodies you'll have a hand spare most of the time; bit of a waste really!

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You certainly can do without the finger rest - better employing the little finger for button work - but skipping the thumb strap is hardly a very good idea.

The reason that the "hand strap a la anglo" works with the anglo is that you can have a fix hand position with 3(-4) rows only.With larger duets and Englishes with 48 or more keys it is a poor solution however since you have to slide to reach the distant keys and the hand strap gets too unstable. Stabilizing the connection by the thumb is the right way to go and adding a thumb strap on Anglos and Duets would be logical.

 

I'm not at all convinced about that. I don't know about Anglos but pinning my hand at one side to a thumb rest would restrict my hand too much. It also stops you playing notes with your thumb, a surprisingly useful technique. Resting it on your knee or a hanging it from a harness seem the only options available if you want to really use a duet properly. I've met a couple of EC players with thumb problems too. What is hanging a 71 key duet from your thumbs going to do for you?

 

Ceemonster; you can play stuff quite fast on a Maccan, the problem is if you stick to one note melodies you'll have a hand spare most of the time; bit of a waste really!

 

You have to hold a concertina between your hands - more or less.Of course IF you rest it on your knee or hang it up this reduces the holding effort but two main principles remain the same:

1) you need stability to find the notes and to control the amplitude.

2) you need flexibility to reach the distant keys (unless as I said the keyboard is so limited that you reach all with a fix hand position).

Now - you've got two traditional solutions holding the concertinas:

- by a handstrap ( a la Anglo/Duet/Bandonion )

- by a thumbstrap a la English.

They work differently but handling the different concertinas is basically the same kind of work so how could either one of these variants possibly be ideal?? or generally better than the other?? Is it not possible that some synthesis might offer improvements both of stability and flexibility? First comes stability. Without that you will get poor music since you won't find the note and can't control its amplitude.So - which part is preferrably used for stabilization? The thumb? (a la English). The midpart of the hand? (a la Anglo/Duet). The wrist?

 

Concerning speed...(= playing single note sequences as fast as possible). It ought to be selfevident that the English is generally superior simply because you may employ double as many fingers for the same job.

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