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Midi Concertina From Concertina Connection


jggunn
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Thanks Chris for your detailed reply.

 

...the joy of working with Roy Whiteley is that he not only does the conversion, he programs the processor too, a very unusual combination of skills. The first version of the concertina didn't feel right at all, but Roy ands I worked hard at this. We got a loop going where I would describe how the concertina felt and how I thought the response needed to be modified and a few days later he would send me a couple of new processors to plug into the concertina PCB and try out.r the anglo.

 

If you are using a patch with a sharp attack, such as a piano, and you change note by changing bellows direction without lifting your finger (bad habit, I know, but who among us doesn't do it occasionally ...) the note can strike a little soon. I will talk to Roy about this soon and I am certain he will sort it for me, but a measure of the urgency with which I regard it is that I have had The Beast for about 6 months now and I haven't got round to it even though I play it a lot.

 

I should have thought, in a dance band, it would be a gas to occasionally radically vary the sound you make, and sound like a Hammond organ, say, or a string quartet. If you go the MIDI route I would suggest you still took your G/D, but you could probably leave the C/G at home. I understand that Roy can fit a General MIDI module internally to the concertina. That could never sound like a concertina, since the sound isn't in the General MIDI patch set but it would keep the number of boxes to carry around to a minimum.

 

Chris

 

I live in New York City. I assume that Roy lives somewhere near you. Do you think that we could work together long distance? I guess that were I to seriously pursue this I would ask him myself.

 

Well, my Anglo style uses that technique (holding down a button and changing bellows direction) quite a bit, so off the bat, that would have to be working for me to be satisfied. Although... playing midi patches would require changes and simplifications of my technique, I'm sure. Whatever sounds good is the way it should be.

 

It is "a gas to occasionally radically vary the sound you make" and that's what I use the guitar processor for. With it I can dynamically add tremolo, vibrato, chorus or up the volume for a solo, all with the press of a pressure pedal. Plus, I have foot control over several user defined concertina timbers that I have constructed on my processor for various kinds of musical situations. All of this stuff is pretty subtle. My band mates all think it still sounds like a concertina, whatever effects I use. Most important is that it's easy to use.

 

The midi would be an extension of that idea, at least I hope it would.

 

Here are some more questions that I'm loosing sleep over:

How definable are your keys?

Can you have any key you want (all 12)?

How do you change them?

What controls are on the concertina itself?

Can you tune to an out of tune piano?

How fast can you change between patches?

I assume that you have midi out, so I could plug it into any synth or sampler unit I want?

Did Roy supply you with a midi module?

 

I don't know... What I love about playing with my bands (Grand Picnic, Squeezology, Dressed Ship) is that high level of nonverbal communication. Even solo, the immediacy of music making is all important. Being in the moment without having to think too much is essential. The simpler the operation of my equipment at a gig the better. But... having lots of options is so much fun!

 

This is a very interesting discussion. Thanks for taking the time. I guess, having a midi (yours, others) in my hands (lucky you, Henk!) would make things clearer. I'm asking myself if this is just a cool toy, or would it actually be a useful tool?

 

Jody

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Well, my Anglo style uses that technique (holding down a button and changing bellows direction) quite a bit, so off the bat, that would have to be working for me to be satisfied.

I was thinking of just that when I read Chris's post. It's going to be important to Jody. Recall my post from 2003 describing a scene from the Squeeze-In that year (particularly the last paragraph).

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Well, my Anglo style uses that technique (holding down a button and changing bellows direction) quite a bit, so off the bat, that would have to be working for me to be satisfied.

I was thinking of just that when I read Chris's post. It's going to be important to Jody. Recall my post from 2003 describing a scene from the Squeeze-In that year (particularly the last paragraph).

 

Hi David,

 

That's an interesting thread you linked you. If I had more time I would revive it. As for the the "holding down one button while everything else is going on around it" thing I was talking about, yes, that is a big part of how my sound works. I don't know if anyone else does that, but it sure is cool. If had a midi though, I might not use that so much. It would all depend on how it sounded. A midi concertina is not a concertina "instrument" rather a concertina interface for whatever midi instrument you select.

 

Jody

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There's so many questions that I am abandoning the usual quote method for clarity. All Jody's questions are in red.

 

I live in New York City. I assume that Roy lives somewhere near you. Do you think that we could work together long distance? I guess that were I to seriously pursue this I would ask him myself.

 

He lives about 200 miles from me. May be close in the States but that's a long way here. We only actually met once, on a trip up to see Anne's mum, we stopped off and visited Roy en route. He a nice chap and good company. Everything else was done via post and email.

 

Well, my Anglo style uses that technique (holding down a button and changing bellows direction) quite a bit, so off the bat, that would have to be working for me to be satisfied.

 

Well, in that case I'll get up off my backside and do something about it. It's not a big problem and I am certain Roy can resolve it. Once it is sorted then you will reap the benefit, because the experience will be included in later models. To give you an idea of how configurable this all is, here is a quote from an email from Roy to me:

Regarding channels 1 and 3, I have actually built in a bit of

differentiation to the bellows response to give the volume a bit of a kick

on change of direction so that Piano's and plucked string instruments

'sound' nearer to what you would expect. Without this, some of these

instruments dont 'attack' properly although if you add too much then

instruments with a slow attack such as violins etc begin to sound strange.

 

The bellows volume is measured and modified as above but then goes to look

up table where I have programed an exponential(ish) curve, if you would like

another curve with a steeper rise - and/or earlier rise then no prob at all.

How definable are your keys?

 

There is no provision to user-define keys on mine, but Roy can set up virtually anything you like in advance, so as I say mine can be a C/G, a G/D or a Bb/F, because that is what I asked Roy to et up for me. I specified the button assignments in each case, so the G/D is a modified Jeffries layout, while the C/G and Bb/F layouts are standard Wheatstone. You could always ask Roy if he could develop a user-defined layout

 

Can you have any key you want (all 12)?

You would have to ask Roy how many keyboard layouts you can have, I guess it will be limited solely by the size of the non-volatile RAM included on the processor (which for interested people is a PIC processor).

 

How do you change them?

Roy added a drone button on the left hand, but it isn't really a drone button, it's a control button. To change keyboard layout you press the control button and the air button plus one other button.

 

What controls are on the concertina itself?

 

All of them! All the controls work in the same sort of way. All the electronics are on the concertina as well; the only external components is a breakout box and a power supply (plugs into the breakout box)

 

Can you tune to an out of tune piano?

 

Not on mine; however it wasn't a facility I asked for. I suspect it wouldn't be too diffficult to supply that facility, but you would have to ask Roy.

 

How fast can you change between patches?

 

On mine there is a preset selection of 15 patch numbers, so you can change instantly betwen those without recourse to the synth. I chose those patch numbers because they represented good bread-and-butter patches in the General MIDI set, but I am not limited to them. I can decide in advance what patches I am likely to need and copy them into the user area of the synth at the appropriate patch number for instant use. None of this precludes changing to any patch you want using the synth's front panel controls, of course. I did discuss with Roy the possibility of selecting any patch from the concertina, and he said:

Yep, I've thought along those lines as well, i.e. entering program number via

keys, but I've always come to the same conclusion,......... those of us

without a technical background get completely lost and give up even trying,

you know the chap who can't program the old vid but can play preludes and

fugues on a harmonica!, accordionists are the worst!, expander at the ready

and......... now what do I do hmmmm? Hours at his house etc....

 

Now that's not to say I won't do it, because I will, eventually.

 

I assume that you have midi out, so I could plug it into any synth or sampler unit I want?

 

Exactly so. The MIDI out is on the breakout box.

 

Did Roy supply you with a midi module?

 

No. I already had a Roland MT32 that was sufficient to get me started; since then I have bought a couple of rather better synths off eBay (specifically a Roland JV1080 and a Roland XV5050, two because the MIDI bug has now bitten my partner, and she wanted to join in the fun with her old electric piano that has a MIDI out).

 

I'm asking myself if this is just a cool toy, or would it actually be a useful tool?

 

Only you can answer that one, but even as a toy it is one hell of a good one! Although I am not doing any serious work with it in public I can see its potential and if long-term planning comes off and we do indeed start a dance band then the MIDI anglo will be a key instrument.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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I would thing several of Jody's questions, like

Can you have any key you want (all 12)?

How do you change them?

Can you tune to an out of tune piano?

How fast can you change between patches?

could be addressed by the right choice of synth. Many synths can do all this very easily and quickly, regardless of what the driver ("concertina") can do. You just need to be able to take a hand off the concertina to push a button on the synth.

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could be addressed by the right choice of synth. Many synths can do all this very easily and quickly, regardless of what the driver ("concertina") can do. You just need to be able to take a hand off the concertina to push a button on the synth.

I think, from the tenor of Jody's question that that is just what he doesn't want to do. However the point about tuning to another instrument is well made. Most synths can do this and it is something you wouldn't do during the performance, but before it started. Furthermore I was probably wrong in suggesting that Roy could implement this. It's the job of the concertina (or any MIDI controller) to send note data. It's the job of the synth to turn that data into sound, and this would include any pitch shifting requirement. I can't imagine any MIDI controller would actually implement retuning (beyond really coarse stuff like changing octave, of course).

 

Chris

 

Edited to add reply to one further question:-

 

"gubbinses" ?!?!? Are they like contrendlements?

 

Yes, but with a light touch of gizmo.

Edited by Chris Timson
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But if you are working with someone like Roy, if you don't like the feel and want it changed, then if you can express what you want Roy can almost certainly program it for you. I do not know whether Concertina Connection can support this level of customisation yet; I suspect not, since the programming was outsourced to a Dutch software house.

 

You don't have to call Roy, or me.... you can program velocity/expression yourself on our MIDI concertinas.

(Almost) every MIDI function for both channels (multi timbral) can be monitored (eg. signal quality, debugging, etc.) and programmed by the player. Including custom lay outs.

 

Tethys is not a software house. They develop software AND hardware solutions for businesses, including multi nationals. A team of professional developers/programmers worked over 2 years on our MIDI system.

 

I never had the chance to try a Whiteley MIDI ( would love to), but several of our English customers have..

 

 

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection v.o.f.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Can you have any key you want (all 12)?

You would have to ask Roy how many keyboard layouts you can have, I guess it will be limited solely by the size of the non-volatile RAM included on the processor (which for interested people is a PIC processor).

I once built a MIDI Stagi with a PIC16F84. Never finished it, but I did get to the point where it was outputting notes. The pressure sensors were too noisy, however.

 

Anyway, a 16F84 is a fairly cheap, low-end PIC, if you can still buy one. And that had enough non-volatile RAM that I could squeeze in two different keyboard layouts with suffiently clever coding.

 

For different keys using the same "layout," you wouldn't need the RAM. Just read the key from a switch, and add the appropriate number of half-steps to each note before it goes out the door.

 

Caj

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello All,

 

I'm away from home at the moment (until March 1st) and have difficulty answering emails regarding MIDI concertinas.

 

Thanks Chris for all your replies to MIDI questions, much appreciated.

 

If you have a query regarding my own MIDI conversions then please call me on 01565 723080 or 07973 448039 for the moment and I'll do my best to help you out.

 

I'm afraid I dont know anything about Wims concertina MIDI systems but would also like to see one.

 

Cheers

 

Roy

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I try to small tuneup my midi concertina. :)

 

I add silicon-washer (thickness 2mm) to air-button bush.

After tuneup, I use air-button without stopping sounds.

 

I use (half) air-button below tune. (I'm beginner.)

 

http://proxy.f2.ymdb.yahoofs.jp/users/c0fa...C1Sq6DBLUEm5tZl

 

 

(for MAC, please see midi2)

http://briefcase.yahoo.co.jp/bc/wakasaobam...se.yahoo.co.jp/

 

 

Now, this midi concertina play like real concertina. :P

 

wakasobama

Edited by wakasaobama
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I try to small tuneup my midi concertina.

 

I add silicon-washer (thickness 2mm) to air-button bush.

After tuneup, I use air-button without stopping sounds.

 

I use (half) air-button below tune. (I'm beginner.)

 

Hello Wakasaobama,

 

You need to turn off the midi "all note off" function on your instrument. This is a default setting which can be activated by pressing the air button. It seems that it is in the "on" position on your instrument.

If you could send me an email, I'll explain how you can turn it off without having to add washers.....

 

 

 

Hi Roy,

 

 

I'm afraid I dont know anything about Wims concertina MIDI systems but would also like to see one.

 

Actually that should not be a problem... we have several customers in your area. I am sure someone would be willing to show it to you....

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection

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Hello Wakasaobama,

 

You need to turn off the midi "all note off" function on your instrument. This is a default setting which can be activated by pressing the air button. It seems that it is in the "on" position on your instrument.

If you could send me an email, I'll explain how you can turn it off without having to add washers.....

 

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection

 

Dear Mr.Wim Wakker

 

Thank you for teaching me how to turn off "all note off" function. I done it.

Now, I play MIDI concertina likes real-concertina!

 

Thank you very much! :lol:

 

wakasaobama

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  • 1 year later...

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