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Isomorphic English Concertina


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Hi all, good day wherever you are :)

I find the English concertina system most interesting and have always wondered if it is possible to have an alternate-keyboard English concertina that makes use of an isomorphic layout while preserving all other English concertina features (most importantly the alternating hands layout). In tinkering around this idea, I have explored ways to support an isomorphic alternating hands layout and summarized some of the notes in this blog post: it seems actually possible and the fingering is quite regular which is a nice surprise!

Sorry the linked blog post is somewhat long as I tried to include all details but let me know if a reference is missing or if something obvious was overlooked/missed.

What do y'all in the concertina community think? Is this a good idea? 🤔 

Thank you for your comments/thoughts/feedback!

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Do you already play EC?

 

I started off on an EC and found it fine for playing melody lines then eventually adding the occasional harmony note added in.  Or for playing just chords with the occasional melody note added in.  There are EC players who can do both at the same time, but I never progressed that far and I switched to a duet.

 

I have only had a very brief look at your diagrams and, AFAICT, this would be the same situation for your alternating isomorphic layout. 

 

 

 

 

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This is very interesting  idea; it reminds me of the attempts to develop different piano keyboard layouts ( introducing microtones) it at one stage even totally alternate key layouts altogether.

I would imagine that it may be difficult for people to want to relearn a system so well established already. As was found with those alternative piano keyboards ( which never really took off)! 

Just my own thought; I hope you prove it a success, and wish you best in your invention.

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8 hours ago, Łukasz Martynowicz said:

You may want to check Edward Jay’s Tritone system readily available to purchase in his range of 3D printed instruments.

Lukasz, I looked at the page from Edward Jay, it is really impressive, interestingly enough I thought If I ever get enough time to work on this I would probably start with a 3D printed model, I looked at the concertinas on his page, they are so cool! I will send him a note to get his feedback on the layout.

 

6 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

I started off on an EC and found it fine for playing melody lines then eventually adding the occasional harmony note added in.

Don, I feel that is exactly the reason why I find it most appealing, I don't have an EC unfortunately, but I feel the EC especially allows for simplicity of play for melodies (with a bit of harmony here and there) and maximum portability/range, at the expense of allowing for simultaneous harmony/melody at a larger size/weight and smaller range (duets/anglos). I think nothing comes for free 🙂, but I feel this is a good trade-off and for best simultaneous harmonic/melodic playing I believe the accordion works really well; I have a CBA which I really enjoy (but play badly). Ultimately I think I really should try playing an EC to see how it goes (It's on my wish list / wife disagrees as I have two accordions already 😂).

 

35 minutes ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

This is very interesting  idea; it reminds me of the attempts to develop different piano keyboard layouts ( introducing microtones) it at one stage even totally alternate key layouts altogether.

I would imagine that it may be difficult for people to want to relearn a system so well established already. As was found with those alternative piano keyboards ( which never really took off)! 

Just my own thought; I hope you prove it a success, and wish you best in your invention.

Yes I find alternative isomorphic layouts really interesting but I know of their fate in history. I limited the project to the Wicki-Hayden layout as it would be most familiar (the idea has been around for a long time 🙂) and (modern) Duet concertinas employ this system; the idea being as these layouts are regular they are much easier to learn.

 

The hope I had with this project was to document every little step and keep everything open source (perhaps even in a wiki) so that others can reproduce/discuss/contribute to the work if there is value, but let's see.

 

Thank you for all your comments,

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Camilo

 

I really think that you need to try an EC for a while before designing a new version.  

 

While the EC is not isomorphic it's layout is quite regular and predictable and easy to learn.

 

If you want to create a new layout then I can only think of two makers in the world who might make one for you, Alex Holden and Colin Dipper, both of whom have very long, as in in many years, waiting lists.

 

One last thing about isomorphic leyboards, I play a Hayden and, yes, those repeatable chord patterns are there but those patterns are for closed chords and closed chords do not sound great on a concertina.  I now find myself avoiding them.  However, a good thing about the Hayden system is that octaves are easy to find, they are just two rows up or down in the same position on the row.  That is not the case on your layout, octaves are on opposite sides and not in the same location on the two keyboards.  Easy to find octaves make it possible to quickly try different chord inversions.

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14 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

I really think that you need to try an EC for a while before designing a new version.  

 

While the EC is not isomorphic it's layout is quite regular and predictable and easy to learn.

Don, you are absolutely right I do have to try an EC before moving forward on this, also to try the existent layout.

 

14 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

One last thing about isomorphic leyboards, I play a Hayden and, yes, those repeatable chord patterns are there but those patterns are for closed chords and closed chords do not sound great on a concertina.  I now find myself avoiding them.  However, a good thing about the Hayden system is that octaves are easy to find, they are just two rows up or down in the same position on the row.  That is not the case on your layout, octaves are on opposite sides and not in the same location on the two keyboards.  Easy to find octaves make it possible to quickly try different chord inversions.

Interesting, I didn't know this regarding chords, yeah I think ultimately I have to play the instrument to understand this and many other things I am sure I am overlooking.

 

14 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

If you want to create a new layout then I can only think of two makers in the world who might make one for you, Alex Holden and Colin Dipper, both of whom have very long, as in in many years, waiting lists.

Yeah, I have followed Alex Holden's website/blog for some time and it's amazing each and all the instruments, also his experiments with bi-directional reeds were very interesting to read; lot's of things to consider.

 

Thank you Don!

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