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CBA layout

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I think there's one practical aspect of bellows free-reeders that makes transfer of certain layouts from one to the other problematical - the size and the resulting way of holding them.


The large, heavy oblong accordion is strapped to your chest, with your hands free to move up and down, so you can easily reach all the buttons of an elongated keyboard.


The small, hexagonal concertina (Anglo, EC or Duet) is supported by your hands (even though most of us rest one end on the thigh for steadiness), so the hands are fixed relative to the keyboard, and we can only reach as many buttons as the spread of our fingers permits. The most important feature of a concertina keyboard is therefore its compactness.


The large, square German Konzertinas (Bandoneon, Carlsfelder and Chemnitzer) are too heavy to support with the hands, though too small to be strapped to the chest, and are therefore played with both ends supported on the lap. Both hands have to be in straps to work the bellows, but because the hands do not support the instrument, they are free to rotate somewhat to reach the outer buttons, so the spread of the keyboard can be greater than on the small, hexagonal concertinas.


So there's no "one layout that fits all!" For example, the very linear piano keyboard, with adjacent notes on adjacent keys, works pretty well on the piano accordion, but the Jedcertina, which is the size of a normal Anglo but has a monosonoric, piano-like button arrangement, has a pitifully small range.

And the Hayden Duet system, though in principle isomorphic, can really only exploit this characteristic on an instrument with a wider keyboard than is reachable on a conventional Duet. I believe the original Wicki layout was intended for Bandoneon-sized instruments, with their freer hand movement.


So I don't find it surprising that certain layout architectures are common on one free-reed instrument and rarely if ever found on others.




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absolutely! interesting that at the same time, this discussion reminded me once again of all the benefits of familiar to me anglo-german push/pulling that I actually do. Beautiful, though kind of folksy logic of its own. Made me look at my bandoneons and concertinas in a different way, yet again, with a certain appreciation of familiarity established by now.

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