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Midi Hayden Duet? Assessing Demand

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If you want to play my samples, they are available as a free downloadable instrument in ThumbJam, which is CoreMIDI compliant.


I really like what Jesse is doing so I provided him with my best concertina and accordion samples. Same samples as I use in my standalone apps.


More information at:


Edited by eskin
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I am currently using bs-16i. It is great, because I can configure 8 different channels and call them up form my little one. It is a great app, because it can access any sound-font files to add sounds.


Thumbjam is fine, it doesn't quite do that job!? Is there any way to get your samples in sound-font format outside from thumbjam?


Does anybody have experience with reed instrument samples in sound-font format!?!?

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Well for one thing, Thumbjam is limited to only two MIDI channels at a time, so I can appreciate the bs-16i 8-channel capability. If I need more than that, it's possible to run more than one CoreMIDI compliant synth app on the iPad at the same time and have each one respond to it's assigned channel range. I'll run ThumbJam and assign it channel 1 and 2, and also IK Multimedia SampleTank and assign it channels 3, 4, 5, and 6. Unfortunately, you can't load your own samples into SampleTank, but having the option to run multiple synth apps at the same time makes for a very flexible system. You can even layer sound by having multiple apps respond to the same channels.

Edited by eskin
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My samples are individual recordings of each key on my instruments. I then assembled them into a ThumbJam instrument, which I believe uses the filename to determine the pitch mapping. Once I was happy with it, I sent the whole thing to Jesse Chappell who is the developer of Thumbjam, and he tweaked the instruments a bit, had me review the final version, after which there were added to the set of free ThumbJam instruments available for download. Currently this includes the Hohner Cajun accordion, the Hohner Airboard, my Uilleann pipes chanter and drone samples, as well as my best concertina and accordion samples. All free.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm alpha-testing my Cruft Concertina's mechanical design this month. I'm starting to load up the wiki page with pics and documentation, but I've only just started, so please bear with me. The url is:




Some browsers have trouble displaying the attached documents with this wiki. You need to click on the microscopic paperclip to the left of the title.


My alpha testing consists of abusing the hell out of the mechanicals. I carried the poor thing around on my back for a day, dangling from its neck strap. I literally tossed it into the trunk of my car. And for the final test, I gave it to my kids to play with.


The ultimate alpha test is to learn a song on the Cruft, and see how well the mechanical memory translates to the Stagi.


Up next: after I resolve the mechanical issues, I need to write a bunch of user interface and synthesizer code. At the moment, the synthesizer is outputting a static waveform with no envelope shaping or air pressure response. That's enough to learn a song, but just barely. I'll be getting more serious about fixing the spimd over the next few months. I'll probably try a morphing wavetable synthesis first.


Here's a question that I could some input on. In the current design, all of the cables come off of the bottom of the right side of the concertina, meaning the part that would be resting on your knee. I thought I was being clever, because I'm a left-kneed player. But now it occurs to me that not everyone else is, so I should move at least a few of the connectors (headphone jack, especially) somewhere else. So what knee do you all use, if any?


Thanks to all for your continued inspiration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished both the 40 key English-system and the 30 key anglo a few months ago. Currently I am using a 5th generation I-pod with thumbjam. Power for the instrument is supplied by the Ipod!




I had a lot of fun at the SSI - playing double-bass, tuba or harp most of the night;-)


However, as Jim had warned me, the action with digital hall-sensors is far from perfect. The turn-on / turn-off position differs from key to key and the fixed hysteresis doesn't help. Especially with the anglo that seems to be a serious problem!


In the meantime I found affordable analog hall-effect-sensors - they output a varying Voltage depending on the applied magnetic field ( little magnet ). So every key can be individually set.


So I am starting all over again. It will be another ES instrument - the Hayden will probably have to wait for the next winter...


By the way: I rest the instrument on my right knee - hence I have the output-jack on the right side ( see pic! ).


However, it is so small and light that it is up in the air most of the time;-)

Edited by conzertino
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  • 1 year later...
Hello fellow MIDI concertina aspirants and achievers,
I am trying to design a DIY force sensitive resistor (FSR) using conductive foam with a delrin button/ stem. Getting the right density of foam will be the trick to getting good performance (ohms) out of the FSR. I feel confident in being able to program an appropriate curve into an Arduino or other microprocessor to handle it correctly. I'd plan to get to ~48 buttons utilizing a multiplexer.
So here's my question: Don, when you mention force around 80 grams, which is the actual unit of measure you're using, kg force/ kilopond? Could you give some background on this measurement?
I have access to a few types on ESD/ conductive foam at work that I'll figure out how to measure when I know what sort of challenge I'm up against, provide feedback to the group.
Ideally, this button design would be compact, modular and portable to any style of accordion, though any push/pull pitch shift would have to be done with programming (though I have an idea about that as well). I'm planning an English myself.
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So here's my question: Don, when you mention force around 80 grams, which is the actual unit of measure you're using, kg force/ kilopond? Could you give some background on this measurement?

If you balance some weights on top of a concertina button then how much weight, in grams, will it take to cause the pad to lift enough to sound the reed.


See this thread for more discussion and an innovative way to measure button pressure using some kitchen weigh scales.


I am intrigued by your idea of using conductive foam to make your own force sensitive resistors for switches. Do you have any thoughts about making bellows from conductive foam too?



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My concern on using conductive foam is limiting the travel appropriately, which might be mechanically with some sort of stop, leaving the foam less than fully compressed. I'd be interested to know folks opinions on the button height above the ends - some players like to push right to the fretwork, which is an idea that appeals to me personally. That would certainly work as a mechanical stop in this context. I've seen travel measurements from 3.2 to 4.0mm (1/8 to 5/32), which might not me enough to get the action right (action, in the stringed instrument definition, not in the riveted action vs accordion action sense). I was playing with some this afternoon at my desk and it seems like this might be a too fine, at least for the stuff in front of me. Finding the right foam will be key.


My bellows idea is admittedly crude: use two tilt sensors near the thumb positions. The logic would be somewhat adjustable, but follow this pattern:

IN = tilt sensor on/ tilted towards the center of the bellows, as in compressing the bellows

OUT = tilt sensor off/ level or tiled out, as in expanding the bellows


IN & IN = bellows in

IN & OUT = bellows out

OUT & IN = bellows out

OUT & OUT = bellows out


The tilt sensors could be canted as desired off the PCB for fine adjustments. Honestly, the more I think about it, an accelerometer (or a pair of them) could be programmed more effectively, and with Cartesian rather than Boolean output.

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You would not be able to express any dynamics (volume changes in the case of a concertina) with that sort of arrangement for the bellows. Music without dynamics sounds sort of dead and mechanical.


I had thought of using a 9-axis accelerometer in each end and calculating the relative acceleration between the two ends. When I started to think about the math involved, my head started to ache.

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Yes, the tilt sensor method disregards anything other than direction and is unsuitable for communicating dynamics, agreed.


For the accelerometer method, approach it as a program rather than a math equation. You want a function that only outputs one value (MIDI CC 0-127) assigned to a change in volume with appropriate floor and ceiling parameters. Disregard all the inputs that don't align with that output, even if your program is reading those inputs. I wouldn't try to solve that piece in hardware unless I really had to, software seems like a better method for accomplishing that.

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