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caj

Wacky New Button Layout

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Got the idea from the thread on miniature concertina layouts:

 

            left side                   right side
     A/E    C/F   C#/G#      |    Bb/Eb   B/F#    D/G  

       (pull/PUSH)

 

This uses only two fingers on each hand! The button arrangement has the property that in any classical key/mode, exactly 1 button on each side goes unused. For the most common key signatures, the inner 2 buttons are assigned to the index finger:

 

       Key signatures Bb, F, C, G, D, A 
      --------------------------------------------------
           left side                   right side
    A/E    C/F   C#/G#      |    Bb/Eb   B/F#    D/G  
  middle   ---index----          ----index---    middle

 

...and for the other six key signatures, you move one or both middle fingers over. For instance, in the keys of E, B, F# and C# you don't use the D/G button. For the keys of F#, C#, Ab and Eb you don't use the A/E button.

 

But wait, there's more. This layout also has the property that a 7-note scale in any key is smooth:

 

  Bellows patterns for major scales 
(e.g, key of C -->"cdefgab cdefgab cdefgab" )

 C:        ppPPPpp ppPPPpp ppPPPpp 
 G:        PppppPP PppppPP PppppPP
 D:        pPPPppp pPPPppp pPPPppp  
 A:        ppppPPP ppppPPP ppppPPP  
 E:        PPPpppP PPPpppP PPPpppP  
 B:        ppPPPPp ppPPPPp ppPPPPp
 F#:       PPpppPP PPpppPP PPpppPP
 Db:       pPPPPpp pPPPPpp pPPPPpp
 Ab:       PpppPPP PpppPPP PpppPPP
 Eb:       PPPPppp PPPPppp PPPPppp
 Bb:       pppPPPp pppPPPp pppPPPp
 F:        PPppppP PPppppP PPppppP

'P' means Push, 'p' means pull (draw.)

 

Caj

Edited by caj

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[Note: I hope these code blocks look OK on your browser. Does on mine, tho the window needs to be wide enough so it doesn't wrap prematurely.]

 

Okay, so it turns out that extending this layout to more than one row is a royal pain in the kiesteroo. The big problem is adding a second row that doesn't completely tangle your fingers --- this is one disadvantage of having each button be a perfect fifth.

 

The other problem, you might have noticed, is the utter inability to play chords. Another disadvantage of having each button be a perfect fifth.

 

Here's what I came up with to remedy both. First, 18 core buttons:

 

   
    ring    middle   index           index    middle     ring

   A5/E6    C6/F6  C#6/G#5     |    Bb5/Eb6   B5/F#5    D6/G5  
  Bb4/Eb5   B4/F#4  D5/G4      |     A4/E5    C5/F5    C#5/G#4   
   A3/E4    C4/F4  C#4/G#3     |    Bb3/Eb4   B3/F#3    D4/G3  

      (pull/PUSH)

 

First change, each finger stays in its own row. Next, you notice that for any button, the button directly above/below it is its exact opposite on the circle of fifths, e.g. A/E <--> Bb/Eb. This is to reduce the odds of 2 successive notes being played with the same finger.

 

You might notice that the lowest note (in each row) is an F#. There's an important theoretical reason for this: with this pattern there will always be 2 awkward key signatures, in which a major scale needs 2 successive button presses by the same finger. By making the lowest note in each row an F#, the two awkward key signatures are B major, and F# major---two keys I sincerely hope you don't care about.

 

Now we add low notes for chords, under both pinkies:

   
pinky        ring    middle   index           index    middle     ring      pinky

G#3/C#3    A5/E6    C6/F6  C#6/G#5     |    Bb5/Eb6   B5/F#5    D6/G5   Eb3/Bb2
F3/C3     Bb4/Eb5   B4/F#4  D5/G4      |     A4/E5    C5/F5    C#5/G#4  F#3/B3 
E3/A3      A3/E4    C4/F4  C#4/G#3     |    Bb3/Eb4   B3/F#3    D4/G3    G3/D3

      (pull/PUSH)

 

And finally, stretch your browser, one more column of buttons on the inside for alternate fingerings and ornaments. This duplicates the middle row, bellows-reversed:

   
pinky     ring     middle  -index------       ------index-    middle    ring     pinky

G#3/C#3   A5/E6    C6/F6  C#6/G#5  G4/D5 | E5/A4    Bb5/Eb6   B5/F#5   D6/G5   Eb3/Bb2
F3/C3    Bb4/Eb5   B4/F#4  D5/G4  G#4/C#5| Eb5/Bb4   A4/E5    C5/F5   C#5/G#4  F#3/B3 
E3/A3     A3/E4    C4/F4  C#4/G#3  F5/C5 | F#4/B4   Bb3/Eb4   B3/F#3   D4/G3    G3/D3

      (pull/PUSH)

 

Note that it's a standard 3x5 Anglo layout, but the fingers are all one column over.

 

Caj

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No time right now for a deep analysis, but the idea is intriguing. I think it also highlights how by grabbing onto one concept as an "improvement" we blind ourselves to other possibilities. (Not to say that all other possibilities are improvements, but just that if we don't even think about them, we'll never know.)

 

What do I mean? It's often said that the "duet" systems are attempts to combine the "best" features of both the English and the anglo, specifically the unisonoric aspect of the English with the low-notes-left-hand vs. high-notes-right-hand division of the range between the two hands. But what happens if we don't take those to be the "best" traits? (Or if you insist that they are, what happens if we combine the "worst" traits? ;) ) If we choose as our underlying design principles that each button plays two different notes, but the diatonic scale alternates between the hands, that is almost what Caj gives us with his first attempt. If the note pattern is the same and in the same hand for each octave, then it appears that there must always be one 2-note sequence in a scale that is in the same hand. That can't be avoided, because there aren't an even number of notes in a diataonic scale.

 

If an octave jump also switched hands (as it does on the English), you could get strict alternation in at least some keys, but I don't know whether it's possible to get it for all keys at the same time. Caj doesn't manage that with his second attempt, but I don't believe he was trying to. Maybe he or somebody else would like to see if it's possible. (I might try if nobody beats me to it, but probably not for at least a week.)

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It's often said that the "duet" systems are attempts to combine the "best" features of both the English and the anglo, specifically the unisonoric aspect of the English with the low-notes-left-hand vs. high-notes-right-hand division of the range between the two hands.  But what happens if we don't take those to be the "best" traits?

 

Exactly. I like the push/pull philosophy, and I like the idea of alternating notes. You'll notice that I set up the pushing and pulling so that common phrases in irish tunes still have nice push-pull patterns like the Anglo---the layout isn't too smooth:

 

  EAA EAA BAB G3   --   Ppp Ppp ppp P3
 DEF#BAc BGG dGG   --   pPP ppp pPP pPP
 edd gdd edB dBA  --   Ppp Ppp Ppp ppp
 E2AE dEAE E2AE AF#DF#   --   P2pP pPpP P2pP pPpP

 

The extra column of altermating buttons still allows some quick runs in one direction if you need them, tho I might swap the extra f/c and F#/B buttons, and the extra G#/c# and eb/Bb buttons.

 

Caj

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One final note: I realized that if you make the F the lowest note in each row, rather than the F#, you can avoid all the foolishness about awkward transitions between rows. Here I was trying to choose between F# and G# in order to keep the awkward scales in unused keys. That's entirely unnecessary!

 

So, low F is the lowest note. Also, the alternate buttons and low notes are by no means set in stone. They probably shouldn't follow the same pattern, because they have different purposes and have to be played in a different way. Only the 18 core buttons are set:

 

layout.jpg

 

I tried several variations on the same thing, and ultimately decided after computer simulations that this was the best variation. Interestingly, it is not the winner in terms of having the fewest problems, but it is the winner in terms of requiring fewer extra buttons to correct those problems.

 

Caj

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