Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chris Timson

Crane System

Recommended Posts

Having just acquired a dinky little 35 button Crane duet (picture here) I would welcome advice from proper Crane players on how to start with trhe system. Otherwise I shall just proceed with my normal approach: push the butttons and see what comes out.

 

Before anyone says, yes I know 35 buttons is limited, but the box gives me (and Anne too, because she's always fancied the Crane system) the chance to try it out for not very much money.

 

TIA

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having just acquired a dinky little 35 button Crane duet (picture here) I would welcome advice from proper Crane players on how to start with the system.

Chris,

I looked at that too when it was on ebay and thought it was a very neat little crane. How does it sound? There is something very attractive (to me) about concertinas with a limited number of buttons. I bet you can do a lot with it. You could likely play a fair number of David Cornell's arrangements for the maccann, at the maccann site. Just looking at them quickly, I'd say you could play a lot of them, some exactly as written and more by leaving out some left hand notes. This is what I'm doing with my 55 button crane that I recently bought from Barlycorn. While these tunes aren't optimised for the crane, they seem to mostly work pretty well on a 55 without changes.

 

I too find the crane to be very appealing. Some people have written that while it's a very logical system, the flow isn't all that good. Not true so far for me. As long as I use my pinky (coming from the english, my pinky isn't very good) I can play melodies just fine without getting crossed up and chords flow very nicely in the left hand.

 

I haven't really played the crane all that much since the english is my primary instrument and will remain so, but it's been a lot of fun to play around with. I'm not yet sure if I'll continue to work at it or if I'll trade it in to Barlycorn for another english, but that decision won't be for some time yet.

 

 

bruce boysen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How does it sound? ... Some people have written that while it's a very logical system, the flow isn't all that good. Not true so far for me.

It has the typical sweet sound of the mid-range Lachenal. It needs a litle more work than the advert suggested, repadding and suchlike, but with Colin Dipper just down the road to advise I'm going to have a crack at that myself.

 

As for the bit about the flow of notes - it's normally Maccann players who say that when touting the superiority of their system. I've yet to meet a Crane player who agrees (and I've asked a few).

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concerning the matter of "flow" with different keyboard systems you find few keyboards which are independent of what key is used. There are some which may be seen a superior in this case.... like the 5 row button accordion, the Janko piano, the Wicki/Hayden (if large enough) and a couple of others.

 

You can probably find several factors included in "flow" ...including relaxed movements and 'speed' of movements.

 

Disregarding the key relations the factors influencing "flow" seem to be the possibility to use regular patterns of finger movements - like climbing a ladder - and using natural positions for fingers - not crossing,twisting or changing direction of movements.

 

The English, the Crane,and the Maccann are all key-dependent for respective "flow" and it also differs between 'whole note' or 'half note' (=chromatic) "flow".

 

English - for playing scales in 'natural keys' it is evidently 'designed' firstly for C major and if the outer rows are used Eb major in my view is the next best key.

 

Crane - being quite a bit resembling the English - is typically based on C major and has excellent flow in C major scale.

 

Maccann - despite also 'based' on C major is a bit less dependent on the fundamental key and scales in other keys may be more attractive than with the English or Crane.The greater spread of the fingers and greater key-independent regularity compared with the Crane might speak for Maccann.

 

A major motive for K.V. Chidley when reforming the Maccann system was getting better "flow" by making the note layout more regular.

 

Chromatic runs are simply a nuisance with all three....

 

In my view the best system generally speaking for "flow" used on British style concertinas (if runs in C major with the English are excluded...) was the Wheatstone "Double" but despite being 'based' on chromatism it also presents problems on runs due to the fixed position of the hand compared to the 5 row button accordion (in principle almost the same 'idea')

 

At last...it can not be questioned that for single note playing the "flow" of the English is superior to any duet due to the simple fact that two hands may be used for the same job....

 

Goran Rahm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before anyone says, yes I know 35 buttons is limited

Hello Chris,

 

Just how limited is it? I'd be curious to know what (if any) overlap it has between the hands and how far its range extends.

 

I've only had my hands on a Crane once, but found that I had to think of the button arrangement as being in circles to play a C major scale.

 

Cheers

Stuart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Bob Gaskins' Maccann site somewhere there is a 19th c tutor for the Crane as a pdf file. That has the keyboard layout for 35, 48 and 50-odd button Cranes there, and mine conforms exactly to the diagram there. I'll post the URL when I get the chance.

 

Edit: here's the URL

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've only had my hands on a Crane once, but found that I had to think of the button arrangement as being in circles to play a C major scale.

"Circles"? Stuart, I'm curious as to what you mean by that. I certainly don't see any circles on the keyboard (aside from the cross-sections of the buttons).

 

"Cycles" (repeating patterns), on the other hand, I definitely do see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×