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Traditional /Electronic Concertina Combination


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Firstly this is just an idea for discussion,I welcome comments ,criticisms etc this is just an idea thrown into the ring ,which you can happily throw out again with my hat.

I was thinking that my main objection to Electronic concertinas is that you lose two things,the lovely sound of the traditional reeds and the dynamics of using the bellows for emphasis on certain notes,the punch and drive that bellows can produce ,but also the soft control in comparison.The Electronic Concertina on the other hand can provide very fast reaction,is helpful for players with arthritis, or strokes for the less finger movement that is required. So my thoughts are that if the buttons and linkage to the valves were replaced by an electronic system, but the bellows and reeds were retained,the result would be a traditional sounding concertina with very fast responding valves with less finger control.

Your thoughts would be appreciated, I shall not sulk if it has already been done like some of my previous ideas.

Al

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Hi Al,

do you mean "linkage to the Pads" or maybe you refer to some "electronic valves" ?

 

I have a friend who has been trying to invent an electronic Reed for Uilleann pipes for some years but so far he has run into difficulties when mixing electronics with mechanicals.

 

Wim Wakker retains the bellows with his Midi Concertinas to retain the feel and control so he surely realises this is important although it must add greatly to the complexity of the sensors.

 

Is there such a system in electric Pianos or of a greater similarity modern Church Organs?

I could imagine a large Organ that is virtually built into the wall of a church but has its console (keyboard) at a distant point might have an electronic control system for sending the keyboard information to the pipes.

 

 

Interesting idea though.

 

Best regards,

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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Hi Al,

do you mean "linkage to the Pads" or maybe you refer to some "electronic valves" ?

 

I have a friend who has been trying to invent an electronic Reed for Uilleann pipes for some years but so far he has run into difficulties when mixing electronics with mechanicals.

 

Wim Wakker retains the bellows with his Midi Concertinas to retain the feel and control so he surely realises this is important although it must add greatly to the complexity of the sensors.

 

Is there such a system in electric Pianos or of a greater similarity modern Church Organs?

I could imagine a large Organ that is virtually built into the wall of a church but has its console (keyboard) at a distant point might have an electronic control system for sending the keyboard information to the pipes.

 

 

Interesting idea though.

 

Best regards,

Geoff.

Sorry I worded this badly .An electronic means of opening up the pad to the reed.Which would replace the current linkage system from the button.A reverse of magnet poles would do it,like the old relay system used to work.So the concertina would remain exactly as it is now with electronic buttons that when touched let air into the reed.The Bellows controlling the air flow.Perhaps this is how Wim's system works ,I must admit that I have not studied it.

Al

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Well, may not be exactly what you're looking for, but there is:

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/ConcertinaXL.html

 

and

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/EnglitinaXL.html

 

for full size instruments running on the iPad

 

For the iPhone/iPod Touch, there is:

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/ConcertinaApp.html

 

and

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/Englitina.html

 

I've had some rather famous artists play these apps with much success. While they do take some getting used to, they do serve the purpose you describe.

 

Cheers,

 

Michael

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Well, may not be exactly what you're looking for, but there is:

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/ConcertinaXL.html

 

and

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/EnglitinaXL.html

 

for full size instruments running on the iPad

 

For the iPhone/iPod Touch, there is:

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/ConcertinaApp.html

 

and

 

http://www.tradlessons.com/Englitina.html

 

I've had some rather famous artists play these apps with much success. While they do take some getting used to, they do serve the purpose you describe.

 

Cheers,

 

Michael

I don't see why you could not have bellows squeezing and air being controlled when pressing buttons which would trigger electronically controlled valve opening and closing to stimulate the reeds. Loads of automotive, aviation and hydro valve applications out there.

 

However - you could also have squeezing bellows and buttons with physical linkages to give you the feel and degree of control (tremolo,crescendo,bending) BUT no reeds inside. Instead the sound would be generated electronically/digitally.

 

The great attraction of this is that you could have the SOUND of a particular Jeffries, Dipper, Lachenal, Crabb, Wheatstone, Cajun, Bandoneon, GDR models, Chinese models -- all on the one box (variants for different number of buttons and layouts being taken into account).

 

How? By using what is now old digital technology from the BEST system which was developed in the 1970s by University of Bradford UB(remember Wilson and the white heat of technology...and all that;he was Chancellor of UB) and it began being installed around the world in cathedrals, churches etc etc.in the 1980s. Some 2,500 instruments installed it is said.

 

The organist plays the keyboard and all the pipes are on view but in fact no air is going through them -- output is on speakers.

 

It also means the player can hit a switch on his keyboard or panel of stops and choose to play with the actual sound of a variety of famous organs all of whose notes/pipes have been recorded.

 

One example is the organ in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and I well recall the 'premiere' of the new organ with the sound "apparently" emerging from the old (newly painted!) pipes. The project cause lots of rows in the Oxford community and certainly the new organ had some weaknesses but also some big advantages. It had the complete sounds of all pipes from three different organs (read below).

 

The couple who developed the system spent many hours inside various pipe organs recording their unique sounds to be tapped for use by one organist.

 

One argument at the time was that the 'new' Sheldonian organ would only cost 40 grand while a new "traditional" one would cost 250 grand.

 

http://www.bradford.ac.uk/admin/recruitment/annrept/1999/research/sounds.html

 

http://www.brad.ac.uk/admin/pr/pressreleases/germanabbey.htm

 

http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/1998-9/weekly/200599/news/story_4.htm

 

More technical discussion here, search for Bradford:

http://www.pykett.org.uk/electronic_organs.htm

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/scholars-bellow-at-oxfords-plan-for-digital-organ-1567454.html

 

 

At base, if you can replicate the specific sound of Al's various boxes or those of Kirkfaustus at a fraction of the price and at the flick of a switch and have the click click of the buttons why not ?

You could also have a switch would give you the opportunity to turn Al's hallmark footstamping on and off! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

Pykett has more to say in even greater detail here about the the production of the sound. http://www.pykett.org.uk/EndOfPipeOrgan.htm

 

ps Michael - there's a hum on that first lesson - are u sure someone was not playing a drone note in the background on an expensive Italian melodeon with a dodgy valve and it got picked up?! :ph34r:

Edited by Kautilya
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ps Michael - there's a hum on that first lesson - are u sure someone was not playing a drone note in the background on an expensive Italian melodeon with a dodgy valve and it got picked up?!

 

 

 

No, the app has a slightly goofy option of adding an Uilleann pipes drone. Noel Hill loved it.

Edited by eskin
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The idea of using an electrical switch to operate a pad or valve which will control airflow to a pair of reeds in a real concertina in place of the usual action arrangement is interesting. So here is my hat and some of my initial thoughts on the matter.

 

Assuming a pad is retained to control airflow, the system would require:

 

1. A suitable micro-switch to replace each normal button.

 

2. An associated pad operating device (servo) for each the pad. For speed of operation electro -magnetic servos would be preferable to motor driven types. Closure of pads would probably remain under spring pressure.

 

3. A source of power would also be required, ideally contained within the instrument if the benefit of portability is to be maintained although a connectable external battery pack could be used.

 

Considering the above points,

 

1. No problem although some form of spark quench/suppression would have to be provided across the switch contacts to diminish spark erosion and radiated interference.

 

2. In a 30 button Anglo, 31 servos would be required (inc. wind button). Consideration must be given to the size and weight of these devices and how their accommodation is to be achieved in a standard sized instrument and how the overall weight would be affected. Each servo must be capable of overcoming the force of the pad closing/sealing spring and that capability will decide the physical size, weight and design. Apart from the size, it is conceivable that each servo could weigh up to 30 grms (an ounce). In the example above, this could add a Kilo (2 lbs) to the instrument. Electro-mechanical devices, unless suitably designed or screened, will produce an external magnetic field and any effect on steel reed tongues in close proximity would have to be determined by experiment.

 

3. If internal battery power is envisaged, the capacity must be such that it meets the current demands of multiple simultaneous servo operation (chord work) and have an acceptable lifespan. Accommodation and weight again must be considered.

 

In conclusion, I believe that, taking into account the above and the costs involved in either making or procuring the additional parts plus the extra construction time costs, the idea may be possible but not viable.

 

 

The tried and tested direct mechanical linkage between button and pad is still the simplest and most cost effective.

 

 

Geoff

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The idea of using an electrical switch to operate a pad or valve which will control airflow to a pair of reeds in a real concertina in place of the usual action arrangement is interesting. So here is my hat and some of my initial thoughts on the matter.

 

Assuming a pad is retained to control airflow, the system would require:

 

1. A suitable micro-switch to replace each normal button.

 

2. An associated pad operating device (servo) for each the pad. For speed of operation electro -magnetic servos would be preferable to motor driven types. Closure of pads would probably remain under spring pressure.

 

3. A source of power would also be required, ideally contained within the instrument if the benefit of portability is to be maintained although a connectable external battery pack could be used.

 

Considering the above points,

 

1. No problem although some form of spark quench/suppression would have to be provided across the switch contacts to diminish spark erosion and radiated interference.

 

2. In a 30 button Anglo, 31 servos would be required (inc. wind button). Consideration must be given to the size and weight of these devices and how their accommodation is to be achieved in a standard sized instrument and how the overall weight would be affected. Each servo must be capable of overcoming the force of the pad closing/sealing spring and that capability will decide the physical size, weight and design. Apart from the size, it is conceivable that each servo could weigh up to 30 grms (an ounce). In the example above, this could add a Kilo (2 lbs) to the instrument. Electro-mechanical devices, unless suitably designed or screened, will produce an external magnetic field and any effect on steel reed tongues in close proximity would have to be determined by experiment.

 

3. If internal battery power is envisaged, the capacity must be such that it meets the current demands of multiple simultaneous servo operation (chord work) and have an acceptable lifespan. Accommodation and weight again must be considered.

 

In conclusion, I believe that, taking into account the above and the costs involved in either making or procuring the additional parts plus the extra construction time costs, the idea may be possible but not viable.

 

 

The tried and tested direct mechanical linkage between button and pad is still the simplest and most cost effective.

 

 

Geoff

Thanks for your thoughts Geoff and so nice that you fully understood my design ideas, but also you have never made one.

We can always say though Geoff ,if anyone comes up with this idea in the future that we discussed it and on the latest technology available it was thought not viable.

Well that's bloooming well good enough for me !

Many thanks for putting on your thinking caps.

We await the World of technology to catch up with us.

Al :)

Edited by Alan Day
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To disappoint you a little Alan I can't find these hybride ideas very fruitful.The concertinas as we know them are children of their time and truly mechanical devices.The lot of various electrified traditionally mechanical instruments may have a transitional place of course but to make them a progress in longer terms they must do something better. The bellows is basically just a pump and not needing it for pumping air through mechanical free reed as a sound source makes using the bellows slightly absurd, for example.To add the dynamics of tone control, mechanically offered by the bellows in the trad concertina, into an electronic "concertina" better be done without any bellows.If you don't want to establish this function separately ( as with an organlike piano keyboard) the musically most efficient variant would be integrating the function in the button - i.e you would at the best have both: 1) the piano concept = the harder you hit the button the greater the amplitude 2) the organ concept = when pressing the button the amplitude may be increased.

Combining some speed and pressure sensors into the button function is a challenge, not impossible, but probably quite expensive. It would result in an entirely new keyboard instrument with musical options similar to string instruments. But in the electronic environment maybe you better just use sampled concertina sound and arrange the dynamics in your computer...not much for a pub session maybe...but pubs vanish also...

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Alan Day' timestamp='1310326638' post='126603']

Geoffrey Crabb' timestamp='1310311578' post='126597']

The idea of using an electrical switch to operate a pad or valve which will control airflow to a pair of reeds in a real concertina in place of the usual action arrangement is interesting. So here is my hat and some of my initial thoughts on the matter.

 

Assuming a pad is retained to control airflow, the system would require:

 

1. A suitable micro-switch to replace each normal button.

 

 

We await the World of technology to catch up with us.

Al :)

Geoff's size and weight is certainly an issue.

I am sure there is something small out there going into systems for dosing or releasing liquids/gases but not really my patch.

 

Can't see the weight of this but smallish and its estimated 10 million button hit life would account for a few toons!

http://www.kuhnkeusa.com/pdf/pneumatics/mech_man/72series.pdf

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I used to have a Wakker MIDI Anglo, it used a very simple and elegant switch arrangement of a L-shaped post in the lever mechanism for each button as one side of each switch, and the other contact being the actual button lever. When the button is pressed the lever (on the far side of the hinge point) lifts and touches the L post making the contact. Extremely simple system, the switches fed some kind of microcontroller board on each side of the instrument that translated the button press into a MIDI Note-On/Note-Off message. The only issue I had was that either the lever or the post would oxidize over time, and I'd have to clean them occasionally to avoid switch bounce or other issues.

Edited by eskin
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Alan you have some pretty daft ideas but this one must beat the lot.

There is a sort of system that runs a c n c melodeon ,but we won't go there.

This just is not a workable idea. Forget about it, and go to bed with a cup of Horlicks. Well it rhymes with Horlicks, sort of

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Ah Nick I agree, but the guy that invented the Wheel must have had a bit of criticism when he said it should be square wheels and look what happened after a few modifications.

One of these days ,you never know what daft idea might turn out to be a good un.

Horlicks ? and before bed ? only ovaltine could be worse

Al :blink: B) Now back at the drawing board

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Alan you have some pretty daft ideas but this one must beat the lot.

There is a sort of system that runs a c n c melodeon ,but we won't go there.

This just is not a workable idea. Forget about it, and go to bed with a cup of Horlicks. Well it rhymes with Horlicks, sort of

That was just a devilish ploy to get some advertising on the site. I hear there is a sweet music session at Bournville coming up shortly - it is a late night session and free cuppas will be available from the Buxton cocoa-nutter dancers...........

 

We should all remember what Einstein is alleged to have said [artificial intelligence - A I?) "Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible."

So you are in good company Al. :D

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2. In a 30 button Anglo, 31 servos would be required (inc. wind button).

 

 

 

Wait a minute... do you really need 1 servo-valve for each button ?

Consider that at best you can play 8 notes at the same time (and in practice probably no more than 4 or 5).

So, only a limited number (say, 4, plus one for the air button with a larger opening) should be necessary

to reproduce the feeling of a real instrument in any situation.

 

You just need to set the programming and wiring such that 1 button depressed = 1 valve opened,

2 buttons depressed = 2 valves opened, etc...

 

 

 

For guys playing only ITM a single valve could even be sufficientwink.gif

 

David

Edited by david fabre
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2. In a 30 button Anglo, 31 servos would be required (inc. wind button).

 

 

 

Wait a minute... do you really need 1 servo-valve for each button ?

Consider that at best you can play 8 notes at the same time (and in practice probably no more than 4 or 5).

So, only a limited number (say, 4, plus one for the air button with a larger opening) should be necessary

to reproduce the feeling of a real instrument in any situation.

 

You just need to set the programming and wiring such that 1 button depressed = 1 valve opened,

2 buttons depressed = 2 valves opened, etc...

 

 

 

For guys playing only ITM a single valve could even be sufficientwink.gif

 

David

A Papal Bull-ows! And on soupapes even... good enough for me!

Edited by Kautilya
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The tried and tested direct mechanical linkage between button and pad is still the simplest and most cost effective.

 

 

also, as a side effect, the mechanical linkage also links dynamics - press hard, and you'll get a different effect from pressing gentle. Press fast and sharp, and it'll sound different from pressing slow. A micro switch will be digital, so it's either on or off. Of course the dynamics will to some degree translate to the on/off (eg fast/slow can reasonably well translated given a high enough switch sampling rate), but some will be lost (eg a slow opening of the valve), so by merely digitizing the path between the button pressed and the valve opens, you'll lose some of the possibilities that purely mechanical concertina action offers.

 

Of course one could try to approximate this by putting a micro controller in between, inserting both an on and and off position switch and sampling the time between the two positions to determine attack speed and force. This could then be translated to a table step motor that drives the valve not in a strict on/off fashion. A similar problem arose when folks tried to emulate bellows effect in MIDI concertinas where complicated pressure sensor samplings and evaluations had to be added just to figure out how the bellow was moved.

 

All that could be done, but would incur tremendous development costs and driving the price of the unit up significantly (as you already point out for the "simple one switch" solution), just to approximate the effect that comes for free in the "real thing." Remindes me of the modern cars in which digital sampling is used to measure the gas tank level - and in the dash board this is translated to an analog signal driving an analog meter so that one is fooled into believing that there is a good old swimmer in the gas tank...

 

I believe that people who belong to the "target group" outlined by Alan may be best off with MIDI concertinas (eg, arthritis may also make bellows moving painful in which case an affected person may prefer a no bellows concertina).

 

Just a few random thoughts here...

Edited by Ruediger R. Asche
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The tried and tested direct mechanical linkage between button and pad is still the simplest and most cost effective.

 

 

also, as a side effect, the mechanical linkage also links dynamics - press hard, and you'll get a different effect from pressing gentle. Press fast and sharp, and it'll sound different from pressing slow. A micro switch will be digital, so it's either on or off. Of course the dynamics will to some degree translate to the on/off (eg fast/slow can reasonably well translated given a high enough switch sampling rate), but some will be lost (eg a slow opening of the valve), so by merely digitizing the path between the button pressed and the valve opens, you'll lose some of the possibilities that purely mechanical concertina action offers.

 

Of course one could try to approximate this by putting a micro controller in between, inserting both an on and and off position switch and sampling the time between the two positions to determine attack speed and force. This could then be translated to a table step motor that drives the valve not in a strict on/off fashion. A similar problem arose when folks tried to emulate bellows effect in MIDI concertinas where complicated pressure sensor samplings and evaluations had to be added just to figure out how the bellow was moved.

 

All that could be done, but would incur tremendous development costs and driving the price of the unit up significantly (as you already point out for the "simple one switch" solution), just to approximate the effect that comes for free in the "real thing." Remindes me of the modern cars in which digital sampling is used to measure the gas tank level - and in the dash board this is translated to an analog signal driving an analog meter so that one is fooled into believing that there is a good old swimmer in the gas tank...

 

I believe that people who belong to the "target group" outlined by Alan may be best off with MIDI concertinas (eg, arthritis may also make bellows moving painful in which case an affected person may prefer a no bellows concertina).

 

Just a few random thoughts here...

I think in the hands of an experienced player it would speed up button response time.Not sure how many use partly pressed playing techniques, the major one is bellows control. Certainly note bending would be a no go but very few players that I have heard actually practice that technique.

Fluid control is interesting as an idea.(not beer)some of the bellows pressure could be diverted I suppose.

Al

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