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badwellmac

Crane Duet System Concertina

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Hi All,

 

I have now had a Crane for about 6 months,

 

I can play tunes in C,G,D.

 

I can play tunes on the right, with basic 2 or 3 button chords on the left, or I play the tune on both side for a little more volume.

 

I have just realised ( a little thick ! ) that i am mainly playing in the same octave on both sides when playing the melody.

 

Should i be aiming to play the melody on the left, an octave lower than the right ?

 

Is there any Crane player out there, who would be willing to give some more guidance ?

 

possibly have a chat on Skype ?

 

Kind regards

 

Karl

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Hi Karl,

I am not an expert Crane duet player even though I have played one for about three years.

When I play the melody on both the left and right hands, I always play the left an octave lower.

However, I am not very good at doing that unless the tune is fairly simple.

I could not play most melodies on the left in the same octave since I own a 48 button Crane, which does not have enough overlapping range.

Although I can play in the keys of C, G, and D, those are not the ones I use the most.

I play many tunes in the key of F because that suits my voice better than the key of G.

I wish you much success with your Crane. I love playing mine. I feel there is a lot more I can learn to do with it.

Mary

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I have now had a Crane for about 6 months,

 

I can play tunes in C,G,D.

 

I can play tunes on the right, with basic 2 or 3 button chords on the left, or I play the tune on both side for a little more volume.

Sounds like you're doing quite well for only 6 months.

 

I have just realised ( a little thick ! ) that i am mainly playing in the same octave on both sides when playing the melody.

 

Should i be aiming to play the melody on the left, an octave lower than the right ?

When playing melody in both hands, most of us would normally do it with the octave separation. That makes the button pattern the same in both hands, something that most individuals seem to find fairly "natural", even though it doesn't use the same fingers in the two hands.

 

What you're doing not only has you using different fingers, but also different positions on the keyboard. That seems to be, for most individuals, something more "complex" and difficult. If you've become comfortable with that, though, then parallel harmonies -- in thirds, sixths, fifths, or fourths -- should "feel" essentially the same, which I think puts you way ahead of most beginning Crane players.

 

The underlying concept for that is freeing yourself from the Euclidean geometry of the keyboard array and instead feeling the repeating "rotation" of the scale among the three columns. (Yes, there are five columns, but when sticking to a single, simple key each outer pairs of columns can be thought of as a unit, just using one or another of the pair at any given time, depending on the key.) This is, I believe, a crucial "concept" in becoming comfortable with the Crane layout.

 

As with other concepts (and other instruments), it only becomes truly useful once it has reached the level of "habit" and you no longer have to think about it.

 

Is there any Crane player out there, who would be willing to give some more guidance ?

There's much more I could say, but for most of it "saying" is clumsy, compared to "showing" (to the ear, as well as the eye). As we've now connected off-Forum, let's see what we can do once I'm back where my Cranes are and we're able to "discuss" things "face to face" (Skype to Skype :)).

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[[should i be aiming to play the melody on the left, an octave lower than the right ?]]

 

if you want to play bass and/or counterpoint, yes, you should play the melody on one side and your bass or counterpoint on the other. but whether they "have" to be in different octaves is your stylistic choice. the conventional thing is of course to play the bass in a lower octave than the melody. but you get to choose. you can also switch, and play the melody on the "low" side, and your "bass" on the right-hand, "high" side. there is quite a bit of helpful and interesting input on the crane duet site of kurt braun, who is another person you might connect with about this stuff. i believe somewhere in his material, he suggests trying the left-hand "bass" side an octave higher than the lowest-lowest octave, to minimize the potential for the lowest bass-side notes to overpower the right-hand melody side given that this is so often a danger with concertinas, including bandoneons.. this would apply to those with duets having lots of buttons and enough octaves so that there is a choice, of course....

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Hi Jim,

 

I feel such a fool !!.

 

Looking at the button layout and the octave numbers, i realise that I am playing in octaves most of the time,

So I am no way as good as you thought !!

 

One thing i cannot work out, I have a 48 button instrument, is that playing melody on both sides, I run out of higher buttons on the left,

apart from buying a 55 button instrument, which i am thinking about doing sometime, what is the solution, if there is one ?

 

regards

 

Karl

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Hi Mary,

 

Thanks for your reply,

 

Yes I really loving the crane, I end up scratching my head a lot, trying to think of solutions !

 

The problem that I really struggle with is, that I am really a melodeon and Anglo player, I try to practise for about .5 to 1 hour a day, but which instrument ??

 

I have not practised or learn any new tunes on the melodeon for about 6 months, the Anglo has been away for repairs, so I have concentrated on the Crane, but now my lovely Jefferies is back, I am really torn !!

 

I have had a couple of offers of some Skype chats with more experienced

Crane players on this site, and i am hoping that this will shed some light on the areas I am struggling with

 

Kind regards

 

Karl

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Hi Ceemonster,

 

Thanks for your advice.

 

I have looked at Kurt's website and searched for some of his posts on this site,

 

It has been a help.

 

Do many people use his system of fingering ?

 

regards

 

Karl

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Hi Karl,

 

One thing is certain - however many buttons you have you will always run out at some point! A 48 button instrument has plenty to play with (unless you specifically want to play piano arrangements or something like that, but it doesn't sound as if you do). Necessity is the mother of invention - let the "limitation" of the number of buttons be the springboard for different musical solutions.

 

I find octaves on the concertina quite powerful sounding, so I reserve them for short phrases (four or six notes) where the emphasis is beneficial to the tune; resorting the rest of the time to a mixture of counter-melody (maybe a simple bass line, maybe something more adventurous) or 2/3/4 note chords. Usually a mixture of all three.

 

I have a 51 button Crane - my best instrument which I use a lot - but I also have a 42 button instrument on which I have a lot of fun. I can play almost anything on that that I can on the 51, but it does require some re-thinking in the left hand from time-to-time. Not compromises, just different approaches.

 

Cheers and good luck,

 

John.

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The problem that I really struggle with is, that I am really a melodeon and Anglo player, I try to practise for about .5 to 1 hour a day, but which instrument ??

 

I have not practised or learn any new tunes on the melodeon for about 6 months, the Anglo has been away for repairs, so I have concentrated on the Crane, but now my lovely Jefferies is back, I am really torn !!

 

Karl,

I've learned several new instruments over the years, and what works for me is to lavish all my love, care and practice time on the new one until I've reached a basic level of competence. I do the same when I want to bring one of the instruments I already play up to a higher competence level. I've found that the other instruments don't take this amiss - they respond to me just as well as they did before, even when I've been neglecting them in favour of the "new" one for months.

 

Cheers,

John

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[[Do many people use his system of fingering ?]] I don't know. I'm not sure it is a "system" in any organized sense....I got the impression he was just suggesting tips and approaches, not sure. I guess because Cranes aren't as common, there doesn't seem to be an aggregate of players or conventional wisdom about "systems' or technique or anything....I get to use one sometimes, but like yourself and some others, it's a side thing because my big areas of concentration are EC and CBA (chromatic button accordion). Also, I'm not wildly chordal. I find melody music more beautiful than chords on concertinas, so single-line melody one one side and either spare bass vamping or single-line countrapuntal stuff on the other side is really all i'm looking to do on duet, and given those parameters, I'm not finding the fingering that hard to cope with... Having gotten a bit of exposure to Crane, I'm kind of surprised the Crane duet hasn't gotten a re-boot by some of the hybrid makers given the regularity of the layout....

Edited by ceemonster

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Hi John,

 

What you say makes a lot of sense,

 

I won't now feel so guilty about not picking up the Anglo !!

 

Although we have a couple of Burn's night gigs in the next few weeks, so will have to practise the tunes, as we only do them a couple of times a year and I haven't as yet

played them on the Anglo, so back to the melodeon, it feels a big beats after the Tina !

 

kind regards

 

Karl

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Hi Ceemonster,

 

I play the anglo in the full english style and so have been looking at playing similarly on the Duet,

 

I now think this is not a good idea,

 

As you say, playing a few chords and counter melody on the left, is what the Duet, I believe is designed for

 

I just need to put in the hours !!

 

regards

 

Karl

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I play the anglo in the full english style and so have been looking at playing similarly on the Duet,

 

I now think this is not a good idea,

 

As you say, playing a few chords and counter melody on the left, is what the Duet, I believe is designed for

 

Karl,

I wouldn't be so hasty about putting your Crane in a pigeon-hole!

 

For years, I played the Anglo in a richly harmonic style - with harmonised melodies for solo pieces, and full chords and arpeggios for accompaniments. The reason I took up a duet system was that the more sophisticated my Anglo arrangements became, the more they were tied to the key of C (on a C/G Anglo), and I wanted to play equally complex arrangements in other keys.

I chose the Crane as "my" duet, and it worked out as I had hoped. The duet has the disadvantage that you have to reposition your fingers for every note or chord, whereas in many cases a change of bellows direction on the Anglo is sufficient, and requires less dexterity. The advantage of the duet is, of course, that you can sound any inversion of any chord at any time (with practice!)

 

I would say that my Anglo style and Crane style are pretty similar. Some things are easier on one than on the other. The big advantage of the duet remains the multiple-key capability.

 

If the Crane is "designed for" anything, then it's for making music. Your music. Melody and chords, melody with octave doubling, four-part harmony, polyphony, bass runs, melody only, modulation, or all of the above in one piece of music - if you can get your mind round it, the Crane can play it!

 

Cheers,

John

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