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mazebo

George Case Serial #695?

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It's actually tuned to the absolute non-standard of A=436 (Or rather 436.1 pull and 435.6 push).

The needle of the tuning app fluctuates somewhat, so it's hard to set a definite pitch.

 

A=435 was an absolutely standard pitch in Continental Europe, and one that was commonly used for vocal/operatic performances in Britain (where, in the 19th century, it was sometimes referred to as "Paris opera pitch"), though British orchestral performances would normally be at A=454 "Philharmonic Pitch" (later known as "Old Philharmonic Pitch" after the introduction of A=439 "New Philharmonic Pitch" in 1896).

 

By the 1930s there were no less than SIX different pitch standards being used in Britain alone: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16340&p=154560

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Stephen: Well, our instrument is tuned closer to A=436 than to A=435. Maybe in these days, half a Hertz up or down wasn't that important?

 

Jim: Yes, I got your PM and answered to the mail adress you provided. I just checked the mail I sent, and it's adressed correctly. On the other hand, I notice that there's a "dk" to the left of the "at" sign. Perhaps you made a mistake when writing the adress?

Anyway, we're counting on meeting you Thursday or Friday! : )

Edited by mazebo

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Stephen: Well, our instrument is tuned closer to A=436 than to A=435. Maybe in these days, half a Hertz up or down wasn't that important?

 

Musical pitch is a complicated business mazebo (and I write as someone who tunes concertinas all the time), that varies under such circumstances as changes in temperature and/or altitude, so that (to quote from the article you cited) "At the Queen's Hall in London, the establishment of the diapason normal for the Promenade Concerts in 1895 (and retuning of the organ to A = 435.5 at 15 °C (59 °F), to be in tune with A = 439 in a heated hall) caused the Royal Philharmonic Society and others (including the Bach Choir, and the Felix Mottl and Artur Nikisch concerts) to adopt the continental pitch thereafter."

 

Not forgetting that tuning used to be done by ear, and that the "Standard" French tuning fork (and it's direct copies) seems to have been nearer to A=435.32 than their "official" A=435, and that it's not uncommon to tune slightly sharp anyway - so that many orchestras actually play at A=442 or 443 these days!

 

Whilst the figures you cite for the two octaves of A and C notes on your concertina prove that it isn't completely in tune anyway. (What is?)

 

And that's without even going into the vagaries of any different temperaments... Tuning always has, and always will be, a nightmare! :(

 

Edited to add: Here's an interesting review of the pitch of brass instruments in Britain and the U.S. - Discussion Paper: High vs Low Pitch in Brass Instrunments "The Diapason Normal" (whazzat??)

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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... Tuning always has, and always will be, a nightmare! :(

 

Yes, I agree. Even as a guitarist you'll need to tune differently depending on which type of chords you're playing.

I'd never dream (other than nightmares...) of undertaking anything as large as tuning a piano, or even a concertina! :)

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Tuning always has, and always will be, a nightmare! :(

I'm not sure about always will be. An awful lot of music will be electronic in the future.

I find the sound quality of higher quality electronic pianos to be really impressive these days, and some are very hard to tell from an acoustic piano that is miked up.

 

Today, you can pick up a cheap S/H keyboard that you can tune to for less than a tenner, which I prefer to using the electronic tuner, at least until you are nearly bang on.

If you compare our situation, to that of someone trying to tune a concertina a hundred years ago, I think they would say that we have it easy, with all the aids at our disposal.

I linked a virtual piano page earlier, it seems to have been closed, but I've found this one :

http://piano-player.info/

It's actually better, because it shows the frequencies being played, as well as the notes.

According to that page, the difference between A and G# is 25hz.

So Mazebo, that puts your concertina about a sixth of a semitone flat compared to A=440hz.

I'd be quite pleased with that, for an old instrument that's never been touched.

 

(I'd be more pleased, if someone had already tuned it to concert pitch, but that's wishful thinking)

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I find the sound quality of higher quality electronic pianos to be really impressive these days, and some are very hard to tell from an acoustic piano that is miked up.

 

Are you aware that electronic pianos (with the exception of some high-end "stage" models) are normally tuned differently to acoustic pianos? (The latter having "stretched" octaves.) It's not all about "zero" on an electronic meter!

 

Today, you can pick up a cheap S/H keyboard that you can tune to for less than a tenner, which I prefer to using the electronic tuner, at least until you are nearly bang on.

 

Piano tuners these days usually work the opposite way, using an electronic tuner to get it "almost right" and then do the final tuning by ear - which is the final arbiter.

 

If you compare our situation, to that of someone trying to tune a concertina a hundred years ago, I think they would say that we have it easy, with all the aids at our disposal.

 

In many ways we do have it easier, especially if we're only going to tune "straight" equal temperament and A=440, but that's boring, and harsh, and there are various better ways that may be applicable...

 

So Mazebo, that puts your concertina about a sixth of a semitone flat compared to A=440hz.

I'd be quite pleased with that, for an old instrument that's never been touched.

 

Never been touched? I thought we'd pretty-much concluded that the original (probably nickel-silver) reeds had been replaced with steel in the 1920s, and it may have last been tuned then.

 

Whilst A=435 is quite noticeably out of tune - though I do know a flute player who has played an A=435 flute in tune at A=440 all her life, but only once it's warmed up...

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No, I didn't know that about stretched octaves. But the octaves on my keyboard sound ok to me. I don't know anything about tuning pianos, so that's a foreign country to me. But if stretched octaves sound better, you would think that the top electronic manufacturers would offer that as a preset.

You would think that a piano tuner could afford to buy the very best tuning aids, possibly with a memory, so that they could just set it to their own preference, or various known presets.

But that's just me speculating, I have no idea what they use.

I find it much quicker to tune to a note than to keep using the electronic tuner, but then mine is a cheapie, and my ear is pretty accurate.

I am aware that there are other options, besides tuning each note onto "zero" but I wouldn't bother going into it, unless I was specifically asked to do so. With the exception of a cajun box, which sounds better with a few notes out of tune.

 

Yes, you can make some chords sound sweeter by straying from the zero option, but what does that do to the melody, when you use that note? (I have no idea, I'm just asking).

On a melodeon, you have chord buttons, and it might be a good option there.

 

By the way, when I said hadn't been touched, I was referring to the tuning of the reeds. I think if they'd been re-done at some point, it would be more in tune now.

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Yes, you can make some chords sound sweeter by straying from the zero option, but what does that do to the melody, when you use that note? (I have no idea, I'm just asking).

 

There have been a few extensive discussions of different tunings/temperaments in these forums. A quick search should find them. If the local (Invision) search doesn't get them immediately, try Google's Advanced Search option and restrict the search to the domain concertina.net.

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Thanks Jim.

I did do a search, but it only threw up results from the last month, so I presume that's the limit as the word "tuning" must have been used more than that.

But as you said, if you google it, you get a wealth of info.

BIt overwhelming, but you can always extract what you want to know if you give it a bit of time.

It's not something I need to know at the moment, so I'll soldier on doing my odd bits of tuning to the simple model, till I'm tempted to stray, or asked to do something different.

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Hello again, all!

 

We had the pleasure of having Jim Lucas as a guest a few weeks ago, and after playing our George Case concertina he seemed to agree that it is a good sounding instrument, well worth renovating.

So, we are now looking for someone or someplace where we can get help fixing it up.

Ideally, it would be here in Sweden, but I'm guessing we'll have to get it done in the UK, since it seems that's where the European expertise is.

 

What we would like to have done is replacing the two broken off end bolts and giving it a general overhaul.

 

Any suggestions?

 

BR,

 

Mats

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We had the pleasure of having Jim Lucas as a guest a few weeks ago, and after playing our George Case concertina he seemed to agree that it is a good sounding instrument, well worth renovating.

So, we are now looking for someone or someplace where we can get help fixing it up.

Ideally, it would be here in Sweden, but I'm guessing we'll have to get it done in the UK, since it seems that's where the European expertise is.

 

What we would like to have done is replacing the two broken off end bolts and giving it a general overhaul.

 

Any suggestions?

Sorry for my delayed response. I've been weeks recovering from massive computer failure which left me without email, and even my internet access has been sporadic (just enough to annoy you all, once in a while), using a borrowed machine. But now I'm finally back "on line".

 

I've just sent Mats an email with contact information for Dave Robertson, whom I've been using most recently. The rest of you might want to recommend others, including yourselves.

 

I spent a wonderful evening with Mats and his father, with dinner, conversation, and a lot of singing. :)

 

I got all the notes playing on his concertina, and I think it's a lovely instrument. When I get a bit more caught up -- and with Mats' permission -- I'll post some photos and maybe sound files, taken with my phone.

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