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Harry Dunn's Solution to the English Concertina Problem:

The late Harry Dunn one of the finest Classical English-concertina players that I ever met, played a 56 button raised amboyna ended Wheatstone Aeola. He rested it on his lap not on the side parallel to the line of the buttons but on the next flat side round. This brought the buttons to a 45 degree angle to his hand. The thumb strap was also rotated to a 45 degree angle from it's usual position. He could then easily play consecutive fifths on adjacent fingers. This also brought his little fingers to a convenient position to play the lower notes of the instrument thus enhancing harmonic possibilities.

I have mentioned this to several more recent leading English-concertina players but they have strongly oposed the idea of anything that departs from the "accepted" way of holding and playing the English Concertina !

Because of the fixed handles this method is not available to Crane or Maccann concertina players.

Inventor

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That's the method I would have ascribed to Simon Thoumire, who also cranks it way back. And really, if you look at the way a symphonium would sit in the hand, it looks like the EC keyboard was designed for a steeper angle into the hands.

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Harry Dunn's Solution to the English Concertina Problem:

The late Harry Dunn one of the finest Classical English-concertina players that I ever met, played a 56 button raised amboyna ended Wheatstone Aeola. He rested it on his lap not on the side parallel to the line of the buttons but on the next flat side round. This brought the buttons to a 45 degree angle to his hand. The thumb strap was also rotated to a 45 degree angle from it's usual position. He could then easily play consecutive fifths on adjacent fingers. This also brought his little fingers to a convenient position to play the lower notes of the instrument thus enhancing harmonic possibilities.

I have mentioned this to several more recent leading English-concertina players but they have strongly oposed the idea of anything that departs from the "accepted" way of holding and playing the English Concertina !

Because of the fixed handles this method is not available to Crane or Maccann concertina players.

Inventor

 

 

Right, well I tried that position, even though I am not really an horizontal EC player, not all the time. I can see imediately why Harry Dunn would want to turn the thumb straps through 45° because if not it puts a strain on the wrists and lowers the effective holding position which then feels too much "down in your lap". Perhaps one would get used to it but my first thought was 'if I hold the instrument up higher say 3 inches above my thighs in the sitting position' then it all becomes comfortable again.

Not much use for the hexagonal model players though!

Thanks again for the information Inventor,

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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Hi Guys

I’m a little confused? Are the Wicki and hayden different systems?

 

Tony

duet addict LOL

 

 

Yes*

 

*no

 

 

More informatively...

 

 

Here is the button layout from a Hayden (all images courtesy of http://www.wakker-concertinas.com)

 

keyboard%20layout%20H1.jpg

 

And here is the button layout of the Wicki

 

W-1%20keyboard%20layout.jpg

 

 

The notes are exactly the same, the only difference is the positioning in regards to the handrest.

 

For further clarification, here are a few pictures of the buttons on an actual instrument

 

Hayden

 

W-H1c.jpg

 

Wicki

 

w1.jpg

 

If you look at these two pictures and consider the top of the concertina as the 12 o'clock position, you'll see that the buttons on the Hayden veer towards the 5 o'clock region, whereas the buttons on the Wicki are headed straight for 6 o'clock.

 

Clear as mud?

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On 3/6/2012 at 10:52 AM, Reed Bellows said:
On 3/6/2012 at 9:49 AM, new english said:

Are the Wicki and hayden different systems?

 

Yes*

 

*no

 

More informatively...

 

Clear as mud?

Kaspar Wicki and Brian Hayden ("Inventor" in this forum) both came up with the same idea independently, ninety years apart. Wicki patented his design in 1896 and Hayden in 1986. Wicki's design is not slanted. That was added by Hayden, as he describes above. I don't know whether any Wicki instruments were actually built in Wicki's lifetime. See Bob Gaskins' article, here.

 

Edited 8 years later to add: Yes, Wicky instruments were built during his lifetime. They were the size and shape of bandoneons or chemnitzers. Unlike modern Haydens and Wickys, the buttons on the left were a mirror image of the buttons on the right (and an octave lower) so that on both sides as you moved from first finger to second to third, you played an ascending scale.

Edited by David Barnert
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  • 2 weeks later...

Secondly:

I have always tryed to design concertinas so as to give the maximum compass in the minimum space. I had a hand in the design of the Wheatstone 46 button instrument (6.25"); and entirely designed the 65 button "Hayvenska* (7").

On the right hand side of a Hayden Duet, for any chromatic compass, you will always have a number of full length rows of buttons and a short row to the left at the top, and a short row to the right at the bottom. Sloping the rows of buttons has a usefull spin off when you are trying to put buttons at the highest possible place on the instrument.

Because of the way that the action board of a concertina is constructed there is always a highest point that the top left hand button may be placed on the instrument. However the top short row of buttons may proceed up into the top apex of the instrument. The bottom short row if there, tucks nicely into the space on the right.

If the rows run parellel to the hand rail this will rotate the bottom run of the buttons uncomfortably closer to the hand rest. The left hand side of the instrument always has less rows of buttons so is no problem there.

This can of course be overcome by making the whole instrument larger, which is what most concertina makers prefer to do. On a Square Bandoneon type of instrument, which Wicki had in mind; placing the buttons at the highest possible point along the whole length of the row is not a problem, as there are no pallets at the top end of the instrument.

Inventor.

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