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Miniature Concertina Designs


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And to add to my own thread, I was just sketching out a notion, and was interested in opinions.

 

This would be an oddball duet'ish design, with 14 buttons, providing two octaves in one key.

 

In D, the layout (which is the same for each hand) would be:

 

D   E   B   A
  G  F#  C#

 

The reason for the order was to try (in just a rough sketch) to minimize the number of cases in which you need to put the same finger on a different button from note

to note (assuming that you are playing with the middle three fingers, with the thumb and pinky holding the instrument). Going through a handful of Irish tunes with this fingering seemed to work out ok.

 

So, any opinions?

 

--Dave

Edited by Dave Weinstein
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So, what keyboard layouts have people seen for miniature concertinas? Obviously, there are the miniature englishes, but there are also miniature anglos, and I have heard of minature duets.

I think that below a certain number of buttons it becomes difficult to be very "duet"ish on a duet layout. Dropping all the accidentals on a Crane/Triumph might work, as it woud be reduced from 5 rows to 3. Removing the accidentals from a Maccann would leave a 4-wide pattern. I think a Jeffries duet might require some conceptual rearrangement, and I'm not sure the Hayden system could be adapted without major violence to the concept. (I'm not sure about that. Need to look at diagrams of full-szie keyboards and think about it some more.)

 

I thnk the English system makes the most sense. With two notes per button, the anglo system looks attractive, but I would expect that it would be difficult to hold during rapid bellows reversals. (Then again, I'm primarily an English player.) I've seen at least one miniature "duet" that didn't seem to display any preiviously recognized pattern. I didn't have time to discover whether I could become fluent at playing tunes on it.

 

Added later: I don't want to imply that that's the only miniature duet I've seen. Almost, though. I did once try one that was clearly Maccann-related, but without all the accidentals. Hadn't thought of it before now, but I wonder if it matched the earliest Wheatstone "duet" design, which I think was similar to the Maccann, but diatonic. I'll have to look at that, again. (The Wheatstone design, that is. I have lost touch with the instrument.)

Edited by JimLucas
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I thnk the English system makes the most sense. With two notes per button, the anglo system looks attractive, but I would expect that it would be difficult to hold during rapid bellows reversals.

The design I sketched out in the second post is only "duetish" in the sense that the lower octave is in the left hand, and it is unisonoric. There is no overlap between the hands (in fact, the two hands are identical, with the left being an octave below the right).

 

--Dave

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I have only experience from English miniatures but just as a general comment I would say that if you are considering to make one from scratch have you considered that with an 'Anglo concept' you get some more notes in total?

Otherwise your proposal seems attractive to me. Do check the results from other favourite keys though if you haven't thoroughly...

 

Goran

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This would be an oddball duet'ish design, with 14 buttons, providing two octaves in one key.

1) If all you're going to do is play melody in one key, it seems to work OK, but I don't see that it gives any advantage over the English layout. When it comes to harmoies, I think the English has more possibilities than yours. I there are too few tunes that span only an octave. (I suspect you would eventually find that you want to put an octave D at the end of the bottom row. May as well do it in both hands, for a total of 16 buttons.)

 

2) Have you thought about how you would fit the buttons onto the end of a miniature, or what size the ends would need to be to accomodate them? I would expect the constraints on lever placement would be much greater than on a standard-sized instrument.

 

3) Any particular reason for wanting a full miniature? What about something between a miniature and a standard? My Dipper County Clare is 5-5/8" across the flats, yet it's a standard 30-button C/G and even has 6 mm buttons. My 38-button Jeffries G/D is 6" across the flats, with 5 mm buttons. I've heard of insruments in the sub-5" range with standard handles and reasonable ranges.

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I have only experience from English miniatures but just as a general comment I would say that if you are considering to make one from scratch have you considered that with an 'Anglo concept' you get some more notes in total?

My original thought was to do a 10 button Anglo (essentially, the entire D row of a G/D, in a W pattern).

 

The problem is the combination of the bellows reverses and the bellows size.

 

Otherwise your proposal seems attractive to me. Do check the results from other favourite keys though if you haven't thoroughly...

 

The layout as designed is probably only really playable in the key it is tuned to.

 

The actual pattern (in scale degrees) would be:

 

1   2   6   5
  4   3   7

 

--Dave

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2) Have you thought about how you would fit the buttons onto the end of a miniature, or what size the ends would need to be to accomodate them?  I would expect the constraints on lever placement would be much greater than on a standard-sized instrument.

The goal is for 3" ends or thereabouts. I am not sure how feasible it is, but that is the goal.

 

3) Any particular reason for wanting a full miniature?

 

A large part is the novelty and extreme portability.

 

Ironically, some of it is the limitation of the scope; I'm still just barely touching the edges of the possibilities on my G/D design. The limitations provide a benefit.

 

The sequence went something like this:

 

A miniature english would be nifty, if it had the C# and F# accidentals.

 

A miniature anglo could be nifty.

 

How do you get a miniature anglo to be really playable given the need for rapid bellows directions?

 

What about making it more of a duet'ish design, keeping it to one key, but making it unisonoric?

 

The notion of an english with C# and F# available is nice, but that takes us up to 18 buttons, which may not be feasible in an accordion reeded instrument if the goal is 3" ends.

 

--Dave

Edited by Dave Weinstein
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Do check the results from other favourite keys though if you haven't thoroughly...

As Dave said, his design plays only one key (or one key signature), with no accidentals. The concpt of "other keys" doesn't apply... unless he creates a new pattern. Now if he put a C-natural on the end, next to the C#, he could also play in G. I still think he's going to want a high D to complete the top octave, though.

 

The ability to easily either include or exclude individual accidentals is one reason why I favor the English for miniatures. An 18-button miniature can have 1½ octaves (G-c') complete with accidentals, while a 12-button can do the same (G-d') without accidentals, yet the original pattern doesn't have to be altered for either case; it's only a matter of some buttons being "missing". (Of course, it's less of a help if you don't already know that pattern. :))

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No obscenity here on concertina.net, right? Then I'll have to be *very* quiet.

 

I just wrote a long response to Dave (design ideas, thinking on my "seat", much fun) that I shouldn't have taken the time for, then the Forum crashed and lost it all. And of course, this was the *one* time that I neglected to copy it to the Windows clipboard every few minutes.

 

Maybe I can duplicate it later, but I really must do some other things first. Well, here's the smallest part:

 

1) I think miniatures were generally 3" up to 3½".

 

2) An English in G instead of C would lose the F-naturals, but would already have the F#'s and would only need C#'s for the keys Dave wants. 16 buttons, instead of 18.

 

3) Piccolo (octave-higher) reeds would be smaller.

 

4) What about a 3-row design? E.g., with 18 buttons (9 per side) a 3-3-3 or maybe a 4-3-2 pattern?

 

Have fun!

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It seems to me that if size is the issue, you should go for an anglo as the thing limiting the size is the amount of reeds you can get in there. You could do pretty reasonably with 9 buttons total to encompass the D just above MC to two octaves plus a couple notes (I'll do this is numbers which is easier and key transferable):

        1/2  3/4  5/6  8/7           1/7  3/2  5/4  1/6  3/7

Of course you can use different notes for that left hand 8/7 (maybe accidentals to allow you to play in an adjacent key?). Having a max of 5 reed chambers on an end means that you can probably get the instrument down to about 2 1/2" across the flats.

 

If you consider that a similar range English or duet would have twice the reeds, then 16 reeds would be about 3 1/4" or so.

 

If considering your duetish layout, rather than going with a totally new layout, how about considering a Hayden layout which could be:

          G  A  B  C#               F  G  A  B
       C  D  E  F#                   C  D  E  F#

Which would allow you to play a lot of tunes in D, G, their relative minor and modal keys. Of course the more buttons the merrier, but larger instrument.

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[snip]

 

The goal is for 3" ends or thereabouts. I am not sure how feasible it is, but that is the goal.

 

[snip]

 

The notion of an english with C# and F# available is nice, but that takes us up to 18 buttons, which may not be feasible in an accordion reeded instrument if the goal is 3" ends.

 

--Dave

Why limit yourself to accordion-reeded? why not make an instrument with a single reed plate ("gang-plate") which would give you greater flexibility to fit in more reeds, as less space is needed between the reeds?

 

Samantha

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Why limit yourself to accordion-reeded? why not make an instrument with a single reed plate ("gang-plate") which would give you greater flexibility to fit in more reeds, as less space is needed between the reeds?

Everybody sing along:

 

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza.

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

 

Samantha, isn't this exactly the design your Russian friend was planning on using for his Haydens but it turned out that unless he made each individual reed by hand, there was no other way to get reeds?

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QUOTE (goran rahm @ Dec 3 2003, 02:33 PM)

I have only experience from English miniatures but just as a general comment I would say that if you are considering to make one from scratch have you considered that with an 'Anglo concept' you get some more notes in total?

 

Dave:My original thought was to do a 10 button Anglo (essentially, the entire D row of a G/D, in a W pattern).

The problem is the combination of the bellows reverses and the bellows size.

 

Goran now:I'd rather say that IF you expect to USE your possible miniature AT ALL - not just looking at it ....(or performing merely one tune occasionally and less than 1 minute at a time...)....You have to arrange some kind of steady handle for it whatever 'system' you choose because You HAVE to work intensively with push/pull anyway!!!

The only extra you get with a unisonoric variant is the option for 'bellows-shake' technique and that may be quite important....but only IF you do it at all....

 

I never played my miniatures until I put on thumbstraps, (little) finger rests AND wriststraps on them.Wriststrap first of all and they are easiest to arrange but fingers tend to slip at push all the same so the thumbstrap and finger rest add a lot to it.

 

The only Anglo player I know who performs in public with a miniature is Noel Hill, he uses a wriststrap on his and that obviouisly works very well for him.

 

QUOTE (Goran)

Otherwise your proposal seems attractive to me. Do check the results from other favourite keys though if you haven't thoroughly...

 

Dave:The layout as designed is probably only really playable in the key it is tuned to.

 

Goran:Don't have great expectations to use it in more than its natural key and its minor...but with careful picking you will find lots of tunes that may fit even in other keys. Within the 10 note span of the 12 key English I've got about 100 standards...

One maybe at first glance unexpected attraction with miniatures is the enourmously better tone control you achieve and the striking amplitude...but it is easy to damage the reeds....

 

Goran Rahm

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Why limit yourself to accordion-reeded? why not make an instrument with a single reed plate ("gang-plate") which would give you greater flexibility to fit in more reeds, as less space is needed between the reeds?

Everybody sing along:

 

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza.

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

 

Samantha, isn't this exactly the design your Russian friend was planning on using for his Haydens but it turned out that unless he made each individual reed by hand, there was no other way to get reeds?

No, David. The problem was finding the appropriate technology to make the gang-plates. Making single reeds is exactly what my friend does, all day every day and very happily!

 

Samantha

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Samantha, isn't this exactly the design your Russian friend was planning on using for his Haydens but it turned out that unless he made each individual reed by hand, there was no other way to get reeds?

I don't think that's quite what the problem was. Q's design needed custom-shaped "gang plates", and that proved infeasible in the Russian industrial-economic environment. But I believe standard-design linear "gang plates" with reeds are readily available from Italian accordion sources, so I think there's a good chance of Dave W. being able to get ganged reed plates from those sources to meet his needs.

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