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Don Taylor

Resonators

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I really like the sound of resonators on instruments like the Hurdy-Gurdy or Resonator guitars.

 

Has any attempt been made to build resonators for free reed instruments, especially the concertina?

 

If so, how would it work? Obviously not with strings, but could one have a set of resonating reeds (with dampers)?

 

Don.

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A resonator concertina! The mind boggles! maybe a plate and cone that bears on the bellows side of the reed board, like on a resonator guitar?

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There's a handful of "clarionet" concertinas around. These have "fishtail" reeds (i.e. narrower at the base than the tip), each of which sits above a tuned chamber which then resonates. I don't know which of the two features is most significant, but together the sound is pretty nice - much more "woody" and interesting, if I remember correctly. It's been about 20 years since I played one... The downside is that they're pretty big and single action...

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There's a handful of "clarionet" concertinas around. These have "fishtail" reeds (i.e. narrower at the base than the tip), each of which sits above a tuned chamber which then resonates. I don't know which of the two features is most significant, but together the sound is pretty nice - much more "woody" and interesting, if I remember correctly. It's been about 20 years since I played one... The downside is that they're pretty big and single action...

I like "woody", much better than "tinny": https://youtu.be/M3-51DhOzHE

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Well, the Steyrische Handharmonika has sort of little trumpet bells on the bass side - see here. According to reliable reports, you can hear it for miles across an Alpine valley.

 

Cheers,

John

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There's a handful of "clarionet" concertinas around. These have "fishtail" reeds (i.e. narrower at the base than the tip), each of which sits above a tuned chamber which then resonates. I don't know which of the two features is most significant, but together the sound is pretty nice - much more "woody" and interesting, if I remember correctly. It's been about 20 years since I played one...

I had the pleasure of playing one recently. The resulting sound is reminiscent of a woodwind instrument... clarinet or bassoon. That probably accounts for the "clarionet" name.

 

The downside is that they're pretty big and single action...

Well, the only ones I've seen (I think it's three, now) have all been vintage single-action Englishes with a "bass" (i.e., string cello) range, but I don't see why the same principle(s) couldn't be applied to a double-action instrument with a higher range.

 

In fact, on the two that I've seen the insides of, only the lowest reeds had "resonator" tubes; the higher notes just had the fishtail reeds. And that leads me to suspect that the tubes aren't "tuned" to the notes the reeds are sounding, but are just special extensions to the chambers, used mainly to affect the distribution of harmonics. Maybe the same effect could be obtained without the tubes, but only with much larger chambers? (That is, admittedly, speculation. I haven't researched it.)

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On most instruments, notes tend to get less complex as they go up in pitch, which tends to strip out a lot of the personality, and about all you have control of is the number of harmonics (harsh v mellow, basically), not their relative volume, and the identity of a particular instrument becomes more a matter of the type of attack of the note, rather than the overall tone. My understanding of the clarinet is that it's lacking every other harmonic--I can't remember, but it's either the even or odd numbered ones.I wonder if this fishtail strategy might not work as well on a treble instrument, and that's why you've only seen basses.

 

Now I want a clarionet tenor-treble!!

Edited by mdarnton

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Perhaps I should explain why I started this topic.

 

I have been lightening the action on a concertina and went just a tad too light on one or two springs. Not enough that the pad failed too close normally but, I think, just enough that if I played a couple of notes sequentially the second note sounded very sweetly. The resulting tone was very nice, I would describe it as bell-like, maybe clarinet-like.

 

I don't know for sure if it was resonance or just air leakage firing another reed very softly. It does not always happen and the two notes need to be played legato.

 

I liked the sound and wondered if anyone had ever made a concertina that sounded like this.

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