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Crane Layout Theory: altering and benefits from a novice player


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Hi, my name is Eric.  I’m a novice crane duet player, who is working on music theory and learning to play my instrument.   I’ve seen discussions about moving notes around on the crane.  And did a layout to see what it would look like.  I’m assuming that the crane layout was created to make life easier for people who didn’t use many sharps or flats.  Since the sharps and flats are on the outside.  

 

But there was a discussion someplace on concertina.net about different layouts.  I could not get it out of my head as I’m studying theory a bit and realize how much counting is to be done to figure out chords.   so I thought I’m make a chart to see what it looked like and saw that if it’s possible to re-order the keys so that it’s always consistent on each column.  

 

It seems to me, then, that the new layout would keep all the chord fingerings the same?

is this a more logical system according to theory?  

To have  the same pattern ?

 

e.g.

the note above is always a perfect 4th.

 

The chords fingering patterns would be consistent on each column.

 

Are there other systems with the same layout?

has anyone re-ordered the reeds in their crane to do this?  

(Im assuming this could be done by just moving the reeds?  Is that true?)

 

would this make music theory easier repositioned this way?

 

looking forward to hearing thoughts.

 

3 photos attached.

first is how it is on my crane.

second is how the notes would be repositioned.

third shows the consistent patterns of semitones going up the rows.

(Also- my box is already a bit unusual in that it goes down to F on each side.)

 

Best,

Eric

 

 

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Edited by daviseri
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Ok.  I just saw the 5cc layout thread and drew out that layout to visualize it and it’s even better in terms of consistency.

 Not sure how it feels to play, but makes a lot of sense for figuring your way around the board.  So many consistent patterns.  Very very intrigued.

 

I’m wondering if I would be able to just switch out the order of the reeds, or if I’d have to have someone do some rebuilding in side.  

 

I’d love to know someone who’s been playing the 5cc layout for a while.

91358F19-8B65-450E-A78A-4D9DF9171F83.jpeg

Edited by daviseri
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1 hour ago, daviseri said:

I’m wondering if I would be able to just switch out the order of the reeds, or if I’d have to have someone do some rebuilding in side. 

 

It is probably possible but not as easy as just pulling reeds out and pushing them into different chambers, because with traditional English style concertinas the reed frames are individually fitted to their slots, and there are multiple frame sizes. You will probably need to do some reed pan and/or frame adjustment to get them to fit in their new locations. Also it's quite likely that after moving the reeds to different chambers a lot of them will need fine tuning. If you later wanted to reconfigure it back to a standard Crane it would be the same process again. Not to discourage you if you're keen on converting an instrument to 5CC, but don't expect to be able to easily switch back and forth.

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14 hours ago, daviseri said:

 I’m assuming that the crane layout was created to make life easier for people who didn’t use many sharps or flats.

 

I don't think so. It's based on the same principle as the piano and the English concertina in having a core scale of C major with the accidentals close to their associated naturals. It's really a development of the English system but allowing for a full chromatic scale on each hand.

 

It is, in theory, possible to play in any key on the Crane, but in practice it becomes a bit more difficult (less intuitive) once you go beyond a couple of sharps or flats. Your drawing of the "classic layout" is slightly misleading. The accidental next to C is C#, not Db, and similarly for some (but not all) of the other notes. This might sound like splitting hairs, but it does make a difference. On the English system the naturals occupy the two centre columns and the accidentals the outer two columns. So C# will be consistently adjacent to C. There is no Db (the note adjacent to D is D#) so if you needed that note you would have to use C# instead, which would seriously disrupt the normal fingering pattern (being on the opposite hand).

 

Similar issues occur with the Crane; most obviously where in the lower octave D# is adjacent to D but an octave higher only Eb is available. This likewise disrupts the normal fingering pattern (though not as seriously as can occur on the English) because you can't apply the principle of simply moving to the adjacent button for the accidental.

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11 hours ago, daviseri said:

I’d love to know someone who’s been playing the 5cc layout for a while.

 

As far as I know from discussions on this forum, there is only one 5CC instrument in existence, found in Vienna. I don't know how long the owner has had it, or if he/she plays it much. So I fear you are doomed to disappointment on that front.

 

11 hours ago, daviseri said:

Not sure how it feels to play, but makes a lot of sense for figuring your way around the board.  So many consistent patterns.

 

That's what I concluded after tapping my fingers on the table whilst looking at the note layout. RaC went one better and tried it out using a tablet-based midi synthesiser to explore it. He concluded the same. Unfortunately we've both spent too long playing Cranes to make it worth changing; but in your position I'd jump at it. Go for it!

 

 

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Hi, Eric (we met in September at NESI).

 

I hate to say it, but if you’re looking for consistency and a clear analogue to music theory in a duet concertina, Hayden is the instrument for you, although unfortunately it’s rare to find a decent one immediately available.

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14 hours ago, Little John said:

 

As far as I know from discussions on this forum, there is only one 5CC instrument in existence, found in Vienna. I don't know how long the owner has had it, or if he/she plays it much. So I fear you are doomed to disappointment on that front.

 

In a previous thread, @mskow said they had converted a 55 button Lachenal Crane to 5CC.

 

My next new build will be this system (curved Crane style keyboard shape, probably 47 buttons), for somebody who currently plays a Crane and also happens to live in Vienna.

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On 11/13/2022 at 2:06 AM, alex_holden said:

 

It is probably possible but not as easy as just pulling reeds out and pushing them into different chambers, because with traditional English style concertinas the reed frames are individually fitted to their slots, and there are multiple frame sizes. You will probably need to do some reed pan and/or frame adjustment to get them to fit in their new locations. Also it's quite likely that after moving the reeds to different chambers a lot of them will need fine tuning. If you later wanted to reconfigure it back to a standard Crane it would be the same process again. Not to discourage you if you're keen on converting an instrument to 5CC, but don't expect to be able to easily switch back and forth.

Super helpful to know.  Thanks, Alex :)  Another user who actually had the conversion done confirmed this.  So seems possible, but makes the crane a little less quality.   Perhaps better to build from scrape.  I’ll private Message you about that.   Really appreciate you chiming in on this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is logic in all layouts. And in a duet, there are always trade offs.

 

you can fiddle around with swapping and modifying. The down side is that once you learn a non standard system. It makes it really hard to unlearn it to go standard. Or, if you want to buy a second instrument or upgrade. You might not be able to practically modify that new instrument.

 

but, imo.. you’d be better served mid and long term. Learning the standard system and working within those limitations. So, yes. C/ D is easy. And B major is a pain in the butt.

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