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A first try with my Striso duet prototype


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It's maybe not really a concertina because made without any reeds but yesterday I received my Striso duet prototype. The Striso board is a new instrument invented by Piers Titus van der Torren. As it is made with the same Wicky (or Hayden) keyboard than my duet concertina I asked Piers to build this duet version with 2 Striso boards. Here is the first prototype and a first try to play with it the tune Peder Gyes from Harald Haugaard. Recorded on an iPhone without any settings.

striso.org

 

 

 

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Yes, I didn't explore those possibilities yet because at first I want to concentrate on the holding position and the sound settings but it seems to be possible to switch to different tuning systems: meantone, pythagore, and I don't know what it is but it's written 5TET, 7TET, 12TET, 19TET, and 31TET.

When I will have time to check that I will try to record the same tune and post here.

Another interesting point is that you can use 2 more fingers to play because the thumbs are free...

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TET stands for “Tone Equal Temperament,” so 12TET is the familiar 12-Tone Equal Temperament. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament and particularly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament#5_and_7_tone_temperaments_in_ethnomusicology for discussion of some of the other TETs. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19_equal_temperament and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/31_equal_temperament, both of which mention their applicability to isomorphic keyboards.

 

Rich Morse used to occasionally use his thumbs to play some notes on his 46-key Wheatstone Hayden.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Bravo! It sounds fine from here. Is there really no way to plug into a “sound out” port (with headphones, a recorder, or audio interface)?

 

I’ve loved this tune ever since Danny Chapman posted it in what is, I believe, the first ever youtube video of a solo concertina player (certainly the first one I ever saw), 15 years ago.

 

I notice, as you threatened, you’re starting to use your thumbs on the thing.

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See: https://www.striso.org/

 

It seems that each button can be used expressively and yes you can feed it into headphones or a midi board.

 

Very tempted.

 

Didie - do you have any problems switching between this and your Beaumont which would have somewhat different button spacing?

Edited by Don Taylor
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Thank you David and Don! The technical topics are always a little difficult for me and even more difficult as it's always written in English, but I intend to explore little by little all the potential of the instrument.

To switch between both instruments is another difficulty but I think that it's possible to memorize both, like between violin and viola or cello. Actually I feel that the spacing and diameter of the buttons is a little more comfortable on the striso (about 14 mm between the centers of the buttons and about 1 cm for the diameter), so I wonder if it would be possible to make duet concertinas with a little larger buttons and spacing between the buttons even if I don't have very big fingers.

With the striso duet you loose the expressivity of the bellows but you win the freedom of the hand on the keyboard without any hand straps...

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11 hours ago, soloduet said:

Thank you David and Don! The technical topics are always a little difficult for me and even more difficult as it's always written in English, but I intend to explore little by little all the potential of the instrument.

To switch between both instruments is another difficulty but I think that it's possible to memorize both, like between violin and viola or cello. Actually I feel that the spacing and diameter of the buttons is a little more comfortable on the striso (about 14 mm between the centers of the buttons and about 1 cm for the diameter), so I wonder if it would be possible to make duet concertinas with a little larger buttons and spacing between the buttons even if I don't have very big fingers.

With the striso duet you loose the expressivity of the bellows but you win the freedom of the hand on the keyboard without any hand straps...


Regarding hand freedom without the strap, take a look at my handle design here: 

I’ve now tested it on two boxes, 66 button you see above and 45 button, 7 1/3” box. I’m nowhere near your level of play, but I’m now learning a piece that uses almost entire RH range of the 45 and it poses no fingering problems even when jumping from Bbs to G#s and D#, all while giving normal bellows control of a hand strap.

Edited by Łukasz Martynowicz
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12 hours ago, soloduet said:

Actually I feel that the spacing and diameter of the buttons is a little more comfortable on the striso (about 14 mm between the centers of the buttons and about 1 cm for the diameter), so I wonder if it would be possible to make duet concertinas with a little larger buttons and spacing between the buttons even if I don't have very big fingers.

 

“Inventor” detailed the specifications in a post 15 years ago:

 

Quote

16mm between the centres of buttons along the rows 9mm between one row and the next above - to give an equal spacing of 12mm between the nearest buttons along the diagonal. The rows to slope down at an angle of 10.5 degrees towards the thumbs. Large flat top buttons are preferable.

 

So your 14mm is right between the spacing of a standard Hayden along the rows (16mm) and along the diagonals (12 mm).

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FWIW.

 

Reading the various write-ups on the Striso board I gather that it has a motion sensor that can be used to change the overall volume and maybe the attack.  This might require some way to hold the instrument in mid-air.  The buttons can also be used individually to change the volume of that note alone and to bend that note.

 

I think that the sound you hear in Didie's videos is from the built-in synth which has a 3.5mm audio jack for output which can go to headphones or as input to a recording device like a cell-phone.  It also has a Midi MPE output jack and so you could feed into an iPad, for example, and access a wide variety of instrument sounds.  I think that you can also use a foot pedal with it.

 

Power is from a 5V USB source, so you could use an external battery pack for a phone to provide power.

 

I am curious about what kind of button/joystick switches are used as these are the obvious points of failure.

 

Each board (Didie has two to make up his duet) costs 400 euros - I suspect the switches are the driving factor in this price.  Each board is about 7" square (192x174x26mm) and has 61 buttons so Didie has a 122 button Hayden!

 

So, is it a concertina or is it a midi synth?  And what would Sir Charles make of it?

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7 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

I am curious about what kind of button/joystick switches are used as these are the obvious points of failure.

 

Failure? Who said anything about failure?

 

7 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

So, is it a concertina or is it a midi synth?  And what would Sir Charles make of it?

 

He was an electrical engineer (not that the term existed then). He might be more baffled by the Hayden/Wicky layout than any other aspect of it.

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21 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

 

Failure? Who said anything about failure?

 

 

I believe what Don refers to is the fact that any mechanical switch is subject to wear and chemical processes that will eventually cause unreliable up to failing electrical contacts. This is particularly important for switches used in musical instruments as these are very heavily used (he mentioned in other places that professional instruments use gold plated contacts to counter the effect of rusting). Thus, after some time xxx the buttons will fail and need to be replaced, very likely the only parts in the entire setup that require maintenace at all. Iow, the better (and more expensive) the mechanical switches, the longer the maintenace-free lifetime of the entire instrument.

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I've just noticed another setting that could interest David and all the Hayden/Wicky players about the question of mirrored or non mirrored left hand keyboard: on the Striso duet there is a "flip layout" setting in order to make the left hand keyboard mirrored. It's not so useful for me because I'm familiar with the non mirrored position but it's nice to compare both positions. For now the problem is that it's a complete flip, which means that the low notes are on the front rows and the higher notes on the back rows. I will ask Piers if he could make the flip setting with the low notes at the bottom of the keyboard... Lukasz your handle seems to be very interesting and I'd like to try it!

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