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Seeking Ab/eb Anglo


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I have an offer to play Anglo concertina in a production of an obscure Baroque French opera this May. The orchestra will be playing in an historical tuning, 1/2 step low. The dance sequence at the end where they want me to join is written in A and cannot be transposed. That A comes out sounding in Ab, hence my request seeking an Ab/Eb Anglo.

 

Does anyone here have such a thing? If you were willing to sell, rent or lend it I would gratefully pay the postage and insurance or drive to you, if close enough to New York City. You could email me directly...

 

jody-at

-kruskal-dot

-net.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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If playing in a historical tuning, they may not be in equal temperament. It may also be good idea to get what'A' or 'C' frequency they are tuning to, as there were (are) a lot of historical tunings that are not exactly a semi-tone adrift from modern pitch, and would sound a bit 'off' if played with an instrument in A=440Hz

Edited by d.elliott
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I have an offer to play Anglo concertina in a production of an obscure Baroque French opera this May. The orchestra will be playing in an historical tuning, 1/2 step low. The dance sequence at the end where they want me to join is written in A and cannot be transposed. That A comes out sounding in Ab, hence my request seeking an Ab/Eb Anglo.

 

I don't know what opera or when it was composed, but isn't the Baroque era considered to have ended more than half a century before invention of the concertina?

 

Not that I think that you -- or they -- shouldn't do this. If I weren't the other side of an ocean, I'd probably try to come see it. But it does seem to me that any emphasis on "historical" is a bit inconsistent. No?

 

And I don't suppose it'd be any easier to find an anglo in A/E than in Ab/Eb.

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I have an Edgley A/E in Wheatstone layout, and I know of a few others.

 

Tom Lawrence tells me that tuning works well for playing with pipers, although I selected the A/E tuning simply because I tried Tom's and liked the sound of it. I believe Frank Edgley made a few of these, and I've always been pleased with the one I bought from him.

 

Unfortunately I don't know of anyone with a concertina in Ab/Eb.

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I've seen one or maybe two Ab/Eb Jeffries come through the workshop over the past five years. We retune them to G/D because that's what people want to buy. My understanding is that a century ago they weren't nearly so obscure as they are today; my suspicion is that many Ab/Ebs have been retuned to G/Ds over the past fifty years.

 

I do know of one marvelous-sounding Ab/Eb 38-key Jeffries, in original tuning, but it's on the other side of the Atlantic from Jody and unlikely to be of help here.

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Thank you all for pitching in to help (he he). One of us has offered me his Edgley 38 Ab/Eb and if all goes well, the plan is that he'll send it to me over the Atlantic on loan. Remember making that one Frank?

 

The music director of the Opera Lafayette has assured me that they "will be pitched at A=415 (Ab)" . Does that sound good to y'all?

 

The opera is by Gretry, called L'Epreuve Villageoise (The Village Ordeal) with US performances at the end of May in DC and NYC. It's an opera that was performed in New Orleans between 1806 and 1828, (was written in 1784 and a big success in Europe), and they are setting it in Louisiana as if done by a small troupe in New Orleans around that time... so the anachronistic concertina element is not so far off, even conceivable, though a stretch. I'll be an on-stage musician for a dance sequence, not in the pit. It sounds like fun. I have not seen or heard the music yet, so I am going out on a limb here. Wish me luck!

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Hey Geoff, sure, a C#/G# would probably work just fine, though having not actually seen or heard this music it's hard to tell.

 

Hey Jim, I'll bear your sage advice in mind. Wouldn't want to take a fall, bearing in mind that "man's life's a vapor full of woes".

 

Frank - oops, I'm informed that the instrument you made is not a 38 but rather a 30 button. No matter. I would love to have it for this project.

 

Wayman - oh? Do tell! A 38 would be what I do desire most, Atlantic or no Atlantic.

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Jody, I realized after posting that the instrument I was thinking of wouldn't work anyway -- regardless of whether there might ever have been any chance of making any sort of arrangement for a lend. It's in an old tuning that would be dreadfully incompatible with the orchestra.

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Wayman - oh? Do tell! A 38 would be what I do desire most, Atlantic or no Atlantic.

 

I think Will is talking about mine, which I offered to lend you in an e-mail last week (but perhaps it ended up as spam?) Problem is that it's in a-452Hz... If you do find one that works, just hope that there are no flat signatures in the score:-)

 

Adrian

Edited by aybee
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Thank you all for pitching in to help (he he). One of us has offered me his Edgley 38 Ab/Eb and if all goes well, the plan is that he'll send it to me over the Atlantic on loan. Remember making that one Frank?

 

The music director of the Opera Lafayette has assured me that they "will be pitched at A=415 (Ab)" . Does that sound good to y'all?

 

The opera is by Gretry, called L'Epreuve Villageoise (The Village Ordeal) with US performances at the end of May in DC and NYC. It's an opera that was performed in New Orleans between 1806 and 1828, (was written in 1784 and a big success in Europe), and they are setting it in Louisiana as if done by a small troupe in New Orleans around that time... so the anachronistic concertina element is not so far off, even conceivable, though a stretch. I'll be an on-stage musician for a dance sequence, not in the pit. It sounds like fun. I have not seen or heard the music yet, so I am going out on a limb here. Wish me luck!

 

 

Actually Jody, no it does not sound good . I think there is an error either in your thinking or mine.

 

The 'band' is tuned to a base frequency of A= 415Hz, therefore all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to that frequency

 

your Ab instrument is tuned to A=440Hz, all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to 440Hz. The Ab concertina has a scale with it's root note of Ab = 415.3 Hz, but the 'C' will still be 523.25.

 

The band's 'C' will be 493.789, this on your modern tuned Ab concertina would be an unpleasantly flat 'B' natural, (not anywhere near a 'Bb') As you move up and down the scale the errors will become ever more apparent.

 

Equally I suspect that the fingering will be like nothing you have played before, or ever will again. I have not worked this out, and I am not an anglo player, I cannot judge how difficult you would find this.

 

Your best bet is to get an old and tatty instrument and get notes moved around and tuned to suit, unfortunately most old pitch instruments are nearly 1/2 a semitone tone sharp, you are going flat to concert pitch. I think a concertina in the modern pitch may even be your best bet.

 

If I were preparing an instrument for you, I would find out what keys you are playing in, agree with you what instrument you would normally use to play in those keys (assuming no A=415 complications). I would calculate the note frequencies across the scales with an A=415 base; look at the available reeds, make any adjustments and then move the reeds around to yield an instrument that may be a C/G in fingering, but is tuned as the band is tuned. Yes this may involve reedpan and chambering changes. (hopefully reversible)

 

I think that what you truly need is a concertina in the correct playing keys for the music required of you, but in the tuning of A=415. not an Ab instrument

 

reference:

 

The basic formula for the frequencies of the notes of the equal tempered scale is given by

fn = f0 * (a)n

where

f0 = the frequency of one fixed note which must be defined. A common choice is setting the A above middle C (A4) at f0 = 440 Hz.

n = the number of half steps away from the fixed note you are. If you are at a higher note, n is positive. If you are on a lower note, n is negative.

fn = the frequency of the note n half steps away.

a = (2)1/12 = the twelth root of 2 = the number which when multiplied by itself 12 times equals 2 = 1.059463094359...

 

The wavelength of the sound for the notes is found from

Wn = c/fn

where W is the wavelength and c is the speed of sound. The speed of sound depends on temperature, but is approximately 345 m/s at "room temperature."

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Hi Dave,

 

Thanks so much for your warning. I appreciate your concern.

I don't follow your logic though, perhaps that's because I'm math challenged.

 

Not all Anglos are tuned in Equal Temperament, but Frank (who made this Ab/Eb in question) assures me that he only tunes ET.

The joy of ET is that all 1/2 steps are 100 cents (that is... equal logarithmically). So I'm looking at your assertion...

 

The 'band' is tuned to a base frequency of A= 415Hz, therefore all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to that frequency

your Ab instrument is tuned to A=440Hz, all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to 440Hz. The Ab concertina has a scale with it's root note of Ab = 415.3 Hz, but the 'C' will still be 523.25.

The band's 'C' will be 493.789, this on your modern tuned Ab concertina would be an unpleasantly flat 'B' natural, (not anywhere near a 'Bb') As you move up and down the scale the errors will become ever more apparent.

There are lots of transposing instruments in an orchestra and they all play nicely in tune with each other. I don't see why this Ab/Eb Anglo is any different. Consider this, the opera band for this project is playing music in the key of A (three sharps). They read A on the staff and call it A but it sounds like concert Ab. I want to play in concert Ab. An Ab/Eb Anglo plays in it's main home key, middle row in Ab. I like playing along the row in that home key regardless of the tuning of my concertina. If I'm playing a C/G it sounds like concert C. If I'm playing a Bb/F it sounds like Bb but regardless of how it sounds, my fingers are simply playing the same relationships and patterns in the middle row home key. That's the joy of transposing instruments.

So, how again is this situation with my 1/2 step flat historically tuned orchestra any different than any other transposing situation?

To put it another way... A major third is a major third (in ET cents) regardless of what frequency you start counting from, right?

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Hi Dave,

 

Thanks so much for your warning. I appreciate your concern.

I don't follow your logic though, perhaps that's because I'm math challenged.

 

Not all Anglos are tuned in Equal Temperament, but Frank (who made this Ab/Eb in question) assures me that he only tunes ET.

The joy of ET is that all 1/2 steps are 100 cents (that is... equal logarithmically). So I'm looking at your assertion...

 

The 'band' is tuned to a base frequency of A= 415Hz, therefore all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to that frequency

your Ab instrument is tuned to A=440Hz, all notes in the scale are tuned to offset to 440Hz. The Ab concertina has a scale with it's root note of Ab = 415.3 Hz, but the 'C' will still be 523.25.

The band's 'C' will be 493.789, this on your modern tuned Ab concertina would be an unpleasantly flat 'B' natural, (not anywhere near a 'Bb') As you move up and down the scale the errors will become ever more apparent.

There are lots of transposing instruments in an orchestra and they all play nicely in tune with each other. I don't see why this Ab/Eb Anglo is any different. Consider this, the opera band for this project is playing music in the key of A (three sharps). They read A on the staff and call it A but it sounds like concert Ab. I want to play in concert Ab. An Ab/Eb Anglo plays in it's main home key, middle row in Ab. I like playing along the row in that home key regardless of the tuning of my concertina. If I'm playing a C/G it sounds like concert C. If I'm playing a Bb/F it sounds like Bb but regardless of how it sounds, my fingers are simply playing the same relationships and patterns in the middle row home key. That's the joy of transposing instruments.

So, how again is this situation with my 1/2 step flat historically tuned orchestra any different than any other transposing situation?

To put it another way... A major third is a major third (in ET cents) regardless of what frequency you start counting from, right?

 

 

Jody,

 

I am well aware of temperament, having worked in both equal and non-equal temperaments of various pitch systems. I am a little surprised that a Baroque setting would be in equal temperament, given their selection of what I believe is a Dresden pitch. If they are going equal temperament then that cancels one of my major concerns.

 

I am also very familiar with transposing instruments of one type or another. what I am trying to get at is that you have selected an instrument with a root note of Ab, then If .................. NUTS, It will work easily if all your pieces are in A Major. There is a slight sharpness , say 3-4 cents, as Ab is 415.3 not 415 hz, I just checked back to your 1st post and you said you were playing in A, as well as saying it again above. I had missed that point as I focussed on the potential pitfalls in fingering etc.

 

My concern was that if you were finding notes, then 'C's would be 'B's but of course that is a semitone down transposition.

 

I am convinced, sorry about muddying the situation, I am happy now, not that it matters to anyone else but me.

 

Dave

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Oh Good! Well it matters to me too. Now I can proceed with greater confidence of a workable result. I do appreciate your help and everyone else here on c.net who has made me offers and given advice.

 

As for temperament... If the string and wind players in the band can hear me, they will be able to adjust in real time to play in tune with the ET concertina, should the need arise and should they choose to do so. Let's hope they will.

 

Aside from the key of A, there is another section of music in "C". For that, I'll play my A/E to sound in concert B. Should work. I'm crossing my fingers.

 

Of course, what I would really like is to have 12 concertinas, a full chromatic set, like I imagine harmonica players have. Dream on!

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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