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What's The Benefit Of A 7-Fold Bellows?

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Wim Wakker writes about this much more eloquently than I in his section on "Reeds" and air pressure. Getting back to the original post, the advantage of additional folds is additional time - time to play a phrase or a chord.

 

 

Ok, let's agree then that larger reeds consume a greater air flow but the pressure conditions are the same for small

and large reeds while playing. The on-set by larger reeds however may be slower. Concerning folds again...mostly

the difference between 6 or 7 has very little practical significance but of course mainly depending on the music ...if

playing single notes 4 folds ( common among Victorian englishes) may be quite sufficient even with an anglo but you

hardly find less than 5...if playing multi note harmonies with an anglo you may rather need 10 than 7. It is a matter

of cost, production set-up, and tradition.

The results from depth of folds are complex. If construction is exactly the same otherwise deeper folds are expected

to result in less stability ( greater flexibility if that is wanted...) and less volume but it depends on how extractable the

construction is. I guess that when you said: " I gained about 3 inches of travel without adding any additional folds".

you meant that you could extract the bellows 3" more. Or? If so...are you sure that the total volume was any larger

at all? and when you play with the bellows continuosly rather closed, the volume resource likely is smaller with the

extra deep folds, meaning that you will have to do more frequent bellows reversals. Or? Have you measured it? I'm

still confused regarding this : "deeper folds...helps compensate for the extra force required to operate larger volume

instruments". My experience is rather that a wide bellows with shallow folds usually becomes more stable and that

helps operate larger volume instruments...seemingly the opposite...but maybe I misunderstood what you said...

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Wim Wakker writes about this much more eloquently than I in his section on "Reeds" and air pressure. Getting back to the original post, the advantage of additional folds is additional time - time to play a phrase or a chord.

 

 

Ok, let's agree then that larger reeds consume a greater air flow but the pressure conditions are the same for small

and large reeds while playing. The on-set by larger reeds however may be slower. Concerning folds again...mostly

the difference between 6 or 7 has very little practical significance but of course mainly depending on the music ...if

playing single notes 4 folds ( common among Victorian englishes) may be quite sufficient even with an anglo but you

hardly find less than 5...if playing multi note harmonies with an anglo you may rather need 10 than 7. It is a matter

of cost, production set-up, and tradition.

The results from depth of folds are complex. If construction is exactly the same otherwise deeper folds are expected

to result in less stability ( greater flexibility if that is wanted...) and less volume but it depends on how extractable the

construction is. I guess that when you said: " I gained about 3 inches of travel without adding any additional folds".

you meant that you could extract the bellows 3" more. Or? If so...are you sure that the total volume was any larger

at all? and when you play with the bellows continuosly rather closed, the volume resource likely is smaller with the

extra deep folds, meaning that you will have to do more frequent bellows reversals. Or? Have you measured it? I'm

still confused regarding this : "deeper folds...helps compensate for the extra force required to operate larger volume

instruments". My experience is rather that a wide bellows with shallow folds usually becomes more stable and that

helps operate larger volume instruments...seemingly the opposite...but maybe I misunderstood what you said...

 

That's an interesting insight. I found that, in practice, deeper folds exert more leverage, allow longer passages, can be made in a way that allows stability, e.g., not adding additional folds, and reduce the number of bellows reversals during play. It's a bit like the violinist using the bow to the fullest extent. This is my experience as an English player.

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That's an interesting insight. I found that, in practice, deeper folds exert more leverage, allow longer passages, can be made in a way that allows stability, e.g., not adding additional folds, and reduce the number of bellows reversals during play. It's a bit like the violinist using the bow to the fullest extent. This is my experience as an English player.

 

Summing up,

You mean deeper folds My comments

1. exert more leverage 1. I am not sure what you refer to by "leverage" ?

2. allow longer passages 2. Possibly, at full extraction

3. allows stability with lesser folds 3. You mean deeper folds give more stability at the same volume?

4. reduces bellows reversals 4. Depends on the degree of extraction

 

Additional comments

1. I leave "leverage" out until I know what you mean by it. The term is usually related to force but what force?

2. With the same number of folds, deeper ones will result in larger volume at full extraction BUT very important,

the volume will be less at full compression! You can execute longer passages by using the full capacity of course

but when playing with bellows in the more closed zone you have to move the bellows more for the same passage

3. With the same number of folds you expect the deeper ones to cause less stability, don't you? If adding another

factor - number of folds - it is more complex since stability also depends on how rigid the fold connections are but..

Assume that the max volume is the same with a 10 folded shallow folds bellows and a 5 folded bellows with the

double depth of folds . Which one is more stable? I am not sure, has to be tried out and as I said I expect it to be

very much related to the flexibility of the folds themselves. Some maker who has experimented with it?

4. If you play long passages using the full expansion for every reversal, yes, but as I said above when playing

the same passage in the very closed vs the very opened zone of bellows positions you will likely have to make

more reversals with the deep-folded bellows in the more compressed zone. Then being a disadvantage, and it

is mostly preferable - for stability and control - to do your playing as much as possible with bellows opened as

little as possible.....some dilemmas maybe? all related to performance habits and needs ...

Would be interesting to hear if some maker has tried to explore the issue at large....

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Mike, I just checked your Youtube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tax0PPwvwBg

I guess this is the 7 folded instrument you are talking about. When playing this tune you mainly stay in

the "middle zone" of bellows expansion so according to my rambling before you do not fully exploit the

ultimate capacity (here at least ) to utlize the full resource from the deep folds. Consequently I have the

feeling that *here* you actually are not expected to experience any significant larger volume from your

bellows compared to what a "normal depth folded" similar instrument might present.

I think I noticed another black instrument of yours ( Wheatstone TT?) in two bellows versions - one 5

folded, one 6-folded?? Am I right or mistaken, just a vague memory for the moment as I didn't find the

clips easily again, YT is elusive sometimes. IF I am right...any conclusions from a possible change of

bellows on that one also??

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Mike, I just checked your Youtube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tax0PPwvwBg

I guess this is the 7 folded instrument you are talking about. When playing this tune you mainly stay in

the "middle zone" of bellows expansion so according to my rambling before you do not fully exploit the

ultimate capacity (here at least ) to utlize the full resource from the deep folds. Consequently I have the

feeling that *here* you actually are not expected to experience any significant larger volume from your

bellows compared to what a "normal depth folded" similar instrument might present.

I think I noticed another black instrument of yours ( Wheatstone TT?) in two bellows versions - one 5

folded, one 6-folded?? Am I right or mistaken, just a vague memory for the moment as I didn't find the

clips easily again, YT is elusive sometimes. IF I am right...any conclusions from a possible change of

bellows on that one also??

Perhaps it would be more illustrative to compare the video you reference against another I made of the same instrument with the original bellows here:

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I was practicing a piece this morning which has a run of triplets extending over three bars which is quickly followed by an answering phrase of the same length... like a waterfall of notes . Both phrases are easier played without having to change bellows direction mid way through and in fact both are easier ( for me) when pulling.

 

I currently have concertinas with 5,6 and 7 fold bellows ; good planning has to be used with the five folder or one phrase has to be on the push. The Six fold is no problem and on the Seven fold one could play the triples as two note chords...

 

I am not comparing like with like here, or using one piece of music as a test, but just noting that capacity of the wind chest can make a difference. Something similar happens on the accordion, in that the smaller crossection models tend to have a longer bellows which means that for the same amount of reeds in play the two ends move apart much more quickly . So contrary to what one might think, the larger accordion suits the person with short arms better.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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