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d.elliott

Tuning Precision & Accuracy

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Hi Terry,

 

I would love to try out Flutini. It does not seem to be available following the Mac link on your site. "Page not found" was all I got. Can you help?

 

Jody, you can run Windows version on a Mac through Wine http://winebottler.kronenberg.org - it works "out of the box", without any tweaking necessary.

 

 

Oooh, please give that a go. I've heard back from Scott (Flutini's programmer) who tells us that the old Mac version no longer works, so it would require Dan to reprogram it. Haven't heard from Dan yet. But if there is a workaround, it would save him the effort, and I can put a reference to it on the RTTA page for the benefit of Mac fluteplayers, etc. Please let us know the outcome.

 

Terry

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Can't speak for Wine, but I just successfully ran Flutini in Windows 7 under Parallels Desktop on my Macbook Pro. Another option for Mac users.

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Ask him if he has any ideas of an iPhone/iPad app..?

 

Precision Strobe Tuner looks good - I recently invested in an iPad so am thinking of giving this go.

Edited by SteveS

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Terry - as I said - it works like charm (though I fiddled with it for a couple of minutes only, but it looks like it gives a true readings on my Elise), otherwise I wouldn't post that solution. So you can post reference to this method on RTTA page right away. Wine is open source, free and intuitive to use. Just click on an .exe file with Wine installed in your Applications folder and it will do the rest.

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Ah, great, Lukasz and Marc re Mac options. And thanks Chris re the advice about Win8. I'll pass all that info on to Scott.

 

Uh, Jodrall Bank Observatory, eh? The very mention is enough to bring back "A for Andromeda" shivers...

 

Makes you wonder about alien scientists taking down .abc format data from satellite internet transmissions, and speculating on the nature of our lifeform....

 

Terry

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Very interesting contribution there, Chris Ghent.

 

I have to apologise on behalf of flutekind for forcing you to sit within a "discordance" of flutes, but you can see why flute players are desperate to get near someone authoritative. Our instruments wander with temperature and humidity, and even the proportions of moisture and carbon dioxide in the breath. (Maybe that's why Guinness is preferred, being effervesced with nitrogen?) And our scales are a bit iffy in the first place, as the holes have to be put where we can reach them, not where the Laws of Physics would like them. Plus, put the flute down and pick it up, and your coverage of the embouchure hole has changed, changing the pitch. We are a menace to lawful society. Maybe that's why there are balanced numbers of flute and concertina players in civilised places like Clare? Supposing concertina players have only been put on this earth to keep flute players in line?

 

I should probably also apologise as one of the chief deviators of this thread, but I think the rambling discussions have helped set the discussion of standards in a real-world context. We've seen what is technically possible and what sorts of challenges and limits other instruments face. And been reminded that flute players and possibly many fiddleplayers need well-tuned instruments in their midst to keep them honest. And hopefully even the Flutini sidetrack will prove to be productivity tool for tuners and an easy check for players. Perhaps one of our programming types will be moved to devise a specialised variant, "Concertini"?

 

I think we are seeing a pretty good convergence around Dave's original spec, +/-1.5 cents, especially when we take Dave's point that the majority will fall well within that limit. A cent here or there from that doesn't matter, but nobody so far has been in favour of widening it out to the 8cents jnd established by Rossing, even though it would still be well within the deviations intrinsic in Equal Temperament (14 cents). We can do better, so we shall. And we've recognised that narrowing it dramatically is probably a waste of most people's money. And gets us into the zone of uncertainty in terms of bellows pressure variation as Chris mentions.

 

Heh heh, I liked Chris' "backing out, trying not to knock anything off the shelves" metaphor in regard to temperaments. The lure of a more suitable temperament is great. I have history in the harpsichord world. These bright instruments show up tuning errors readily, rather like concertinas, and less offensive temperaments are the answer. But they are not normally played along with fixed ET instruments. In the concertina world we sometimes play without ET instruments, and sometimes play with them. Are we better to be perfectly in tune with the dominant culture, perfectly in tune with ourselves, or equally out of tune with both? Hmmm, there I go again, drifting the conversation....

 

Terry

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Terry,

 

I was planning on writing something very similar in summary, and I think we've both been trying to show how complicated the whole business of tuning is (so that there are many ways of being "in tune", and not just one accepted one that's equally "out of tune" and based only on mathematical averages) and that other instruments (we didn't even get around to the likes of fretted stringed instruments, or uilleann pipe chanters :huh:) have much greater tuning "issues" than concertinas could possibly ever have, but I think you've saved me the bother...

 

Good one! ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Hi,

 

I'm tip-toeing quietly into this room, awed by the gaggle of great builders and repairers who have been posting in this thread. I have a question that relates to tuning, but also perhaps to temperament, so I will ask this question quietly, else the discussion descend into temperament madness!

 

I've been working hard for some time now learning, by careful transcription, the tunes of Faan Harris, who recorded in South Africa in 1932. It is complex music....lots of chords, and many keys. Harris played a 30 button metal ended CG Lachenal Anglo in high pitch (this was just before the Boer folks started buying up 40 button Wheatstones, so an interesting time in the evolution of their fingering styles....but that is for a different discussion). He was omniverous with his keys, playing almost equal numbers of tunes in G, C, F, and Bb. He used lots of jazzy chromatic notes, so not just the standard 7 note scale of most folk music. He played almost everything in octaves, then ladeled on partial chords and chromatics and odd rhythmic punctuations to dress it up. But what is most difficult (for me) is his constant habit of chording on the right hand, usually by playing third intervals, with a bass note an octave below one of them. These chords are not the quick sixteenth note bounces of a Kimber chord, but long drawn out whole note partial chords that are quite high, being on the right hand.

 

By now, you may be sensing my pain.....those long high third intervals. On my metal-ended Dipper, which is a bit of a screamer anyway, it gets so that I usually practice with musicians' ear plugs, as too much of that hurts! This was a very professional musician at the top of his game...he played for several dances a week, I'm certain. The old recordings aren't too helpful in figuring out how he alleviated the problem or whether he even noticed, as the recording quality is not great. Any ideas from a tuning perspective about what he may have been doing with his instrument?

 

Had he played in only C and G (like Kimber) I would have suspected some sort of uneven temperament....but then he is, as I said, somewhat omniverous about keys. He didn't play those flat keys to be showy; my transcriptions seem to be showing that he carefully chose the key to suit the piece. For example, he had a sad waltz composed for his son, who was killed by a drunk driver. That waltz is in Bb....which allows the tune to be played almost all in one direction, hence in legato (he was a pioneer in his day in this experimentation with alternative keys). The waltz has tons of long third intervals....one would think that dissonance would have detracted from his musical mission (sadness). Any ideas appreciated....what would you do for a player like that?

 

One thing that I should add is that he was not a solo player in the Irish or English (Morris) fashion. He was always backed up with guitars and cello. Maybe that mellowed it - or masked it - a bit?

Edited by Dan Worrall

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In re Flutini: There is more than one reason that you can't just click on the exe and have it run on a Mac. Many things depend on how your Mac is set up. I have successfully converted Flutini to run on the Mac (at least on my Mac). I'd be happy to share the app with anyone who wants it through my Dropbox. Contact me by PM or something if you want a copy.

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Dan,

 

G,C,F and Bb are not keys that are so far away from each other that some form of 'Warmer Thirds' temperament could have been utilised on a 30key instrument.

 

The use of Guitar and Cello in the backing might also suggest that he was not needing to use Equal Temperament, once the guitarist was 'tuned' into a particular Key and Mode any great disonances might be minimal... and the Cellist could adjust note pitches easlily.....

 

I use my 'Band' Concertina ( tuned in Meantone) sitting next to Accordions tuned in ET without adverse effects. I also use Ear Plugs when playing that instrument at home... it has a good voice... but not when 'on-stage'.... so the smaller room effect can be part of the cause of the pain.

 

You say that Faan Harris was adding a note an octave below his high Thirds... this does have some mellowing affect, but ,perhaps, he was looking for a certain degree of dissonance to act as some sort of extra carrying power when playing for a dance, rather like the strong Musette tuning used on some accordions which, up close (to my ear) sounds dreadfull.

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Dan,

I'm with Geoff on this one. Playing in C, F G, Bb, (and, I believe you can add D and A to that) will give sweet 3rds in 1/4 comma.

 

I did some extensive rehabilitation on a C. Jeffries (Sr.) circa 1890 for a friend. It had come from an estate sale and the reeds looked untouched. Once it was in playing shape and ready to tune it was quite obvious it was in 1/4 comma mean tone tuning (If memory serves, about 16 cents above modern standard). A very nice instrument with angelic thirds.

 

Greg

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Dan,

 

I suspect even without the possibilitty of a meantone tuning the Lachenal would not have sounded anything like as grating on those thirds. Without the tight clearances of a Dipper reed the higher partials would be less upfront in the sound.

 

While I don't know about chords, with a single note it is the upper partials being discordant that creates the "screamer" sound. Perhaps that stack of partials on each note, already discordant with each other, is even more discordant with the stack on the other note. Time to bring on the sweet Lachenal sound...

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Dan,

 

I'd be surprised if Faan Harris' Anglo was anything other than "stock" Lachenal tuning, because it used to be common for players to have to replace a free-reed instrument (be it a concertina, a Paolo Soprani accordion or whatever) when it got too far out of tune/became unplayable, simply because there often wasn't anybody to tune/repair them.

 

Or do we know of anybody doing custom tuning of concertinas in South Africa in 1932?

 

Maybe you should try playing his music on a Lachenal...

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Perhaps one of our programming types will be moved to devise a specialised variant, "Concertini"?

Hmmm. Doesn't seem to respond to notes below F#3 on a GD anglo. Presumably these are below the range of the flute.

 

I find the very low notes are the most difficult to tune as they tend to vary the most with bellows pressure. I think this tool would be better than the conventional tuners for establishing a good "average" to tune low notes to, rather than watching the wildly swinging needle....

 

So a "concertini" variant might be worth developing by some clever person within our ranks.... :unsure:

Edited by malcolm clapp

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Hmmm. Doesn't seem to respond to notes below F#3. Presumably these are below the range of the flute.

Look under the General tab in the preferences.

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Terry,

 

my thanks for your adroit summary

 

I think we are seeing a pretty good convergence around (the) original spec, +/-1.5 cents, especially when we take (the) point that the majority will fall well within that limit. A cent here or there from that doesn't matter, but nobody so far has been in favour of widening it out to the 8 cents jnd established by Rossing, even though it would still be well within the deviations intrinsic in Equal Temperament (14 cents). We can do better, so we shall. And we've recognised that narrowing it (tuning tolerances) dramatically is probably a waste of most people's money. And gets us into the zone of uncertainty in terms of bellows pressure variation as Chris mentions.

 

Whilst there has bee a lot of thread drift, I have found much in these little excursions for me to think about, and I do need to do more reading around the physics of sound, and to understand more about other instruments and how that can be brought in to my own tuning practices. I have made no secret of the fact that I am quite disturbed by the number of instruments, 'refurbished & tuned' before sale that I am seeing (seemingly almost monthly); and that there are times when I do feel that players are not always getting the standard that they are paying for. I do feel that the responsible concertina repairing, restoring, making community should be consistent in what we would all expect to see (hear) and how we advise players on what they should expect from a re- tuned or new instrument. We need to be 'of one voice' in this.

 

We have no association of concertina makers or restorers. No accreditation scheme; no formal standards of repair and refurbishment, simply best efforts and the desire to get as close to the OEM workshop standard as the condition of the instrument in question permits. Yet these concertinas can be valuable, the players are professional, semi professional or just plain dedicated. The repair & re-furb costs are not inconsiderable. The more I think of it, the more I think that the concertina community is missing out here.

 

Dave E

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Terry,

 

Flutini is great, but I do not see not much use as a workshop aid on English & Duet systems, other than for health checking. Why? two reasons:

 

1. it only outputs in integers cents

2. These two systems play the same note in each direction of play, so you end up with a gross or averaged error for each note, add to this the en-harmonics of G#, Ab, or D# and Eb, you don't know which of the four reeds is in error

 

You can, however, show that an instrument is 'in tune' or if it shows errors A Concertini version would need to be able to manage a multiplicity of reeds playing the same note. Obviously there are doubled reeds on Anglos which will have the same problems

 

Dave

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Hmmm. Doesn't seem to respond to notes below F#3. Presumably these are below the range of the flute.

Look under the General tab in the preferences.

 

 

Thank you Alex. I shouldn't play with new toys late at night without reading the instructions. :rolleyes:

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