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david robertson

A Crane Aeola With Ec Fittings

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I wonder if anyone has seen anything like this before? It's No. 28423, described in the ledgers as a Crane 65-key special. Could it be just the English fittings that make it "special"? I'm not a Crane driver, but I would have thought that it would be a significant disadvantage to have your little fingers occupied with holding the beast steady rather than actually playing it. What do you Crane players think?

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attachicon.gifP1020151.JPG

I wonder if anyone has seen anything like this before? It's No. 28423, described in the ledgers as a Crane 65-key special. Could it be just the English fittings that make it "special"? I'm not a Crane driver, but I would have thought that it would be a significant disadvantage to have your little fingers occupied with holding the beast steady rather than actually playing it. What do you Crane players think?

 

I mainly play English, though I also do play some on the Crane, so I would love to try that one! I think I would like it.

 

Almost certainly it's the English fittings that make it "special" in the ledger. Many things that most of us would consider "special", such as a transposing instrument or an unusual rang, don't seem to have been deemed worth recording in the ledgers.

 

A few comments, based on my personal experience and my personal ways of playing:

  • I use my little fingers to hold my Englishes, not just to hold them steady.
  • But I will occasionally remove one or both from their plates (I refuse to call them "rests", since my little fingers don't merely rest there) to play notes. I don't think that doing so reduces my control of the instrument, because my finger's pressure on the button serves a similar function. I suspect that on this Crane I would be inclined to do that more often, but...
  • My little finger being much shorter than the others, I find on the Crane that some of the higher accidentals (notes in the outer column of buttons) are easier to reach with my ring finger than with my little finger. And I've heard that some players of duets (Maccann as well as Crane) don't bother using their little fingers at all. I'll only be able to judge advantage/disadvantage if I can actually try that instrument.
Edited by JimLucas

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For me, it is no mystery why that didn't catch on.

 

I agree on the whole but can kind of see the point. Your fingers would be much freerer to move up and down the instrument, as on an EC. I'm just returning to playing a Crane after a gap of something over 20 years. The first thing that struck me was that, with my hands under the straps, I really need to curl up my fingers to reach the buttons. The straps end up on my knuckles. So, while the lack of support would be an issue with the instrument pictured, the hands' ability to roam over it without restraint would be appealing.

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.... with my hands under the straps, I really need to curl up my fingers to reach the buttons.

 

 

Off topic, but maybe raising the height of the hand rests might assist?

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I'm just returning to playing a Crane after a gap of something over 20 years. The first thing that struck me was that, with my hands under the straps, I really need to curl up my fingers to reach the buttons.

I seem to have the opposite problem, which leaves me wondering about the relative lengths of our fingers.

 

One problem I have with most duets is the distance between the rails and the arrays of buttons. My fingers aren't especially long, and the distance makes it hard for me to reach the upper notes when there are many buttons, though I have no trouble reaching notes close to the rails. And for some reason, it seems normal in duets for the farthest buttons in each hand to be at a common distance, rather than the nearest ones. For me it would be better if the rails were closer to the buttons and the distance to the nearest buttons were the same in both hands.

 

On my 64-button Englishes I can easily reach both the lower and higher buttons, with room to spare. The loop-and-plate allows me much greater flexibility/movement in the "vertical" direction. I'm wondering if the same might be true (for me) on this Crane. In the past I've suggested that the rail-and-strap "handle" makes more sense for "short and wide" button arrays, while the English fittings make more sense for "long and narrow" layouts. But could the 5-wide array of the Crane be a sort of "in between" case that could work either way? If so, might the English style have advantages for me personally?

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On my 64-button Englishes I can easily reach both the lower and higher buttons, with room to spare. The loop-and-plate allows me much greater flexibility/movement in the "vertical" direction. I'm wondering if the same might be true (for me) on this Crane. In the past I've suggested that the rail-and-strap "handle" makes more sense for "short and wide" button arrays, while the English fittings make more sense for "long and narrow" layouts. But could the 5-wide array of the Crane be a sort of "in between" case that could work either way? If so, might the English style have advantages for me personally?

Exactly what I was trying to say, Jim. It would certainly be interesting to try.

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.... with my hands under the straps, I really need to curl up my fingers to reach the buttons.

 

 

Off topic, but maybe raising the height of the hand rests might assist?

 

That's a good thought. I can see how it could help. Thanks

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no reason why one could not have both.....?

 

Reason, at least on the instrument pictured:

The problems chas and I have in reaching buttons is due to being constrained by the rail (bar) and strap, not because we're missing the loop and plate. And if you're going to add a rail that allows you to put your thumb into that thumb loop, it looks like it will be necessary to move all the buttons "up" (away from the player's body), thus making the higher notes more difficult to reach.

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Attached is a little ditty with thoughts on Crane fingering salient to a couple of other threads. Comments, corrections, etc. welcome.attachicon.gifCrane Fingering Considerations.pdf

I hope the above quote works. I think it fits here as a testimony on the usefulness of four fingers while playing a Crane.

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