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Midi Hayden Duet? Assessing Demand

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Did you see this guy? I wonder what system he plays? Probably a bandoneon!?




I couldn't figure out, if if it is same note push and pull...


He doesn't seem to use bellows movement at all...


But he does get some volume dynamics so I am guessing he has some sort of strain guage like the S-wave but inside the bellows.


Looks like he's using a foot control pedal of some sort, maybe controlling dynamics or just reverb.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Found another interesting MIDI bandoneon clip; can anyone tell what sort of buttons/sensors he's using in here (you can see the keys a little bit in):





Here's more video of a more traditional MIDI bandoneon in tango action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb8SE7MUeJA

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As Alex says, these are horrible little button switches.


But it is interesting to note how far apart they are, looks like about 30mm horizontal and maybe 20mm vertical vs. 16mm and 9mm for the Hayden layout. Is this normal for a Bando?


Earlier in this thread Inventor said wrt. converting a Bando to a Hayden: "the precise spacing of the buttons should not be any problem". Which made me haul out my collection of Cherry keyboard switches and look at them again.


I think that they could be mounted in a way that would give a 17mm x 17mm array - plus you could use bigger buttons like on a Bando.


In one of his articles/interviews Brian says that his layout is designed to allow for easy one fingering of fourths and fifths so I suppose that would be lost although bigger buttons may make that possible again. I am not sure how important one fingering two buttons would be for most players, David Barnert told me that he very rarely does so.


I might mock-up a fake keyboard using dowels glued to a bit of plywood.

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Perhaps it is best to ask Tona on ergonomics of a large button duet.


Differences in spacing on a Hayden layout keyboard would result in a number of ergonomic differences. My MIDI has a 15x10 array of 7.5 mm buttons and even such small differences compared to Elise are noticable while playing. In this particular case two most noticeable are chord playing (especially minor triad) as I must group my fingers a bit tighter. There is also a "cumulative offset" problem when switching between instruments - counting lowest note button as a reference point, the furthest button is displaced by almost one whole note on a 64b keyboard.


When I was entertaining the idea of building a transformable or completely flat, non-concertina MIDI controller, I've found it easier to play fast in a "flat position" on large button keyboards like CBA or bandoneon (my scrap CBA has 17x19mm grid), as I don't have to restrain my finger movement to such small spacings - finger movement can be less precise. But the Hayden layout combined with a handstrap makes it very hard to finger efficiently on a widely spaced grid in "concertina position". Bandoneon keyboard don't have such long jumps to accidentals… But with wrist + thumb strap this could be quite comfortable and on electronic instrument, when you can place buttons to the very edge of the casing, larger buttons (perhaps Stagi size keyboard?) could even fit on a reasonably small box…

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Looking at videos of people playing a CBA they put their whole hand through the left hand strap and use chest straps to take the weight of the instrument. However, the bandoneon players just use two hand straps like an Anglo or duet concertina player. And yet they manage to use a relatively huge button array - much bigger than we are used to playing.


I would love to hear observations about this from a Bandoneon player.

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Something that struck me from watching the video: is the bandoneon keyboard layout *completely* random or just pseudo-random? B)


From the Wikipedia article on the Bandoneon:


"These keyboard layouts are not structured to facilitate playing scale passages of single-notes, but rather to aid the playing of chords as per its original purpose of supporting singers of hymns and sacred chants in small churches and chapels without a pipe organ or a harmonium. For a learner, certain runs and musical forms can be difficult, but to an experienced player they come quite naturally."

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That's why I pointed out the difference in some note jumps. Tona manages to use a very elongated big button array on a concertina, but his layout has accindentals next to naturals, like CBA, so melodic passages don't jump from one end to another, and three row layout reduces wrist movement to (almost) single rotation point. On Cranes and Maccans you have almost exclusively linear in-out hand movement. On large Haydens however, you have to use both degrees of freedom of hand movement and that is the main problem - hand positions for playing low sharps, high sharps, all flats, lowest row or highest row are require completely different and sometimes strange wrist positions (a low, sharp major chord vs low flat minor chord, or high sharps)


As to Chemnizers and Bandoneons - they are usually bisonoric, making (on average) each interval jump two times closer than on an unisonoric keyboards… There is signifficantly less wrist movement on an Anglo than on a Hayden.

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Have a look on a "Klezmer scale", as an example of an "extreme" scale on a Hayden: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_dominant_scale

It spans the ENTIRE width of chromatic octave of a Hayden layout and is very difficult to play even as a simple scale excercise on a 16/9 grid. It would be close to impossible to play on a larger array with a hand strap.

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Remind me, from the Crewdson pulley-"bellows" concertina from a ways back, are the "push to make" buttons he mentions the same as one of the options we've already considered? See: http://crewdson.net/






So far the most appealing options to me are

  • get something like an Elise 7"carcass, but with a lot more buttons (65?) since they just need to lead to a pad/hole and not a reedblock, and add a basic off-the-shelf Hall sensor accordion settup to it
  • Something pretty much like what S-Wave does, but a licensed/approved copy done in Hayden.
Edited by MatthewVanitas
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It is hard to see, but I think that they are simple momentary push buttons, cheap and cheerful.


If you wanted to build something for your own use and that you did not want to rely upon for serious, prolonged playing then something like this would be fine. That is what Lukasz used for his prototype.


But you want somebody else to make you an instrument for use in gigs and for you to tote to the various rough places around the world that you like to visit! You need something a bit more robust and that would not require constant tinkering to keep it working.


For your purposes I think that a Hayden S-wave would be ideal.


As far as making a 65 button action board that would fit inside an Elise frame is concerned, that would require far more patience and attention to detail than I could muster. Maybe Lukasz could comment on this.

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If you were happy with the feel of high quality computer keyboard switches and density was the only issue, how about using two switch grids on stacked PCBs with the grids diagonally offset from each other? The buttons that operate switches on the bottom PCB would have long(er) push pins that pass through holes in the top PCB.

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Stacked Cherry switches can accomodate the 16x9 grid - there is a room for 2-3 mm diameter extension pins between switches of the upper level. They would also fit within standard concertina ends thickness. The only drawback of this solution is the price of a single switch. But this is definately cheaper than trying to build entire action from scratch and use hall or reed switches.


As to modifying a stock Elise or similiar chineese case (based on Elise): Wakker H-2 64 button layout could be fitted into Elise case by simple hole drilling only if existing buttons were considered as highest octaves. Otherwise some buttons go into the fretwork. This makes it necessary to move the handrest to more desirable position, which in turn changes the ballance of the instrument (bellows movement wise). But it's perfectly possible.
All of the above is true in case of Cherry switches. Fitting new, 64 button action cannot be done by simple adding some levers - entire action must be redesigned to route all necessary levers, so in reality we only take the outer shell, handrests with straps and bellows from such instrument.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Been messing with more non-concertina MIDI stuff (I'm new to the format), trying out my Qunexus. Once I get a feel for it I'll ping the manufacturer and see if there's any possibility of a Hayden version. They were able to launch the Quenexus with only 230 backers on Kickstarter, and a Hayden version would likely be only marginally more expensive than that $150 25b piano-style MIDI board. The AXIS-49 keyboard (98-button Hayden) is only $250 though, maybe I should just get that.


There is a cute little online Wicki-Hayden app that lets you use your computer typing keyboard to play notes. I love the idea, but it's a little too balky to play smoothly enough for serious music (programmed in 2010), but I love the idea: http://www.qwertonic.com/


There's an ever cooler equivalent, which (be still my beating heart) is set up for microtonal scales at http://www.toverlamp.org/static/wickisynth/wickisynth.html, however it's not running right. I pinged the programmer, and he said he'd try to get it tweaked for modern browsers (also programmed in 2010), but is a little tied up on his professional project, which uses a similar Wicki-Hayden-derived keyboard layout: http://www.striso.org/



<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HFzxqmWpM50" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



Keyboard is basically W-H but with slightly different angling.





Not to get off the topic of concertinas, but just demonstrating that the Wicki-Hayden layout has some broader applicability outside the concertina community. Though a MIDI Hayden concertina might not attract as many concertinists as a MIDI English does, it has a larger potential audience outside our small community.

Edited by MatthewVanitas
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Update: just heard back from Piers: he got the Wicki QWERTY app up and running again here: http://www.toverlamp.org/static/wickisynth/wickisynth.html


It doesn't have tight enough timing to play serious music, but it's just lovely for trying out intervals at different temperaments. As an example, on the "12 Tone Equal Temperament" settings "3" and "K" are the same note, and in are the same pitch, whereas in Meantone or Pythagorean the D# and Eb are distinctly different notes. I realize this might not appeal to everyone here, but I'm finding it fascinating.


Piers has some larger Hayden interests to include concertinas, and so hopefully he'll be able to drop by and provide some insight.

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Hello concertina players, Piers here.


The DCompose layout is indeed a sheared version of the Wicki/Hayden layout. This has all the benefits of W-H, with the added benefit that the pitch axis is clear, the pitch height of a note is directly related to the y-axis. This makes it a bit easier to learn, and it can be cut off straight with the lowest notes in the same octave (in W-H the lowest As and the lowest Gis would differ by one octave).

I expect Hayden concertina players will pick it up without too much effort.

The Striso doesn't have the bellow expression, but the pressure and direction sensitive buttons and motion sensor make more than up for that.


I have been looking for a Hayden concertina a while ago, but decided to rebuilt the keyboard of my accordion to have the DCompose layout, the same way as the Striso. I'll post a video of that sometime soon.


The latency of the Karplus Strong synthesizer is indeed a bit too high, so I made another version of the app with a simple sawtooth wave, see http://www.toverlamp.org/static/wickisynth/wickisynth_lowlatency.html. An interesting thing to do is to press space (sustain) and then a major or minor chord, and then change the slider.


The reason the pitch sounds a bit different is that Karplus-Strong is initialized randomly, so the intensity of the overtones is different on each press.


Have fun and I'm curious to hear what people that would like to have a midi Hayden concertina think of the Striso.

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