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goran rahm

Reforming Concertina(s)

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Joe,

 

If you're having trouble reaching the lowest buttons, maybe you're putting your thumbs too far into the thumbstraps; if your thumbnail is sticking way out of the other end, that's probably too far for best results. How far in are you?

 

Jonathan

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Joe,

If you're having trouble reaching the lowest buttons, maybe you're putting your thumbs too far into the thumbstraps; if your thumbnail is sticking way out of the other end, that's probably too far for best results. How far in are you?

Jonathan

 

Goran:Your 'solution' Jonathan might help a little for achieving access to the lower buttons but simultaneously increase another problem by lesser stability offered by the thumb. This conflict is constantly present with the (original) English concertina.

The natural improvement of the situation is precisely what Joe has suggested - moving the keyboard towards the top ( or... of course... moving the thumbstrap and fingerrest towards the lower end)..in both cases reducing the need for fingers to flex (....or little finger to leave the finger rest...or thumb to leave a safe place in the thumbstrap...) for reaching the lower buttons.

The conflict is basically related to the dimensions of the instrument, the full circular arrangement of radial reeds, the central instead of eccentric location of the keyboard and the range of the keyboard. All factors could be varied and more optimal solutions are achievable...one obvious attempt was that by William Wheatstone 1861 patented concept which Joe and Jim have referred to before.

 

Goran Rahm

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Jim

 

.....Your "session book" sounds rather limited to me.....

 

Maybe it is, but here's a rundown.

 

Besides the tunes below, it has 52 pages covering, Session

Etiquette, Intrument Tour, General Theory on Scales, Key

Signatures, Modes, Chords, Progressions, Rythms etc.

What it lacks is a Waltz section, and they play a lot of them,

luckily I found most of them in Bill Matthiesen's Waltz Book.

 

My 'session book' & My 'waltz book'

Key, Reels, Jigs, SlipJigs, Hrnpipes, Polkas, Walzes

 

C 3 1 0 0 0 3

G 109 63 10 15 15 10

D 101 60 17 21 17 20

A 12 2 13 2 8 8

F 5 0 0 0 0 4

Bb 4 0 0 0 0 2

 

Thats over 550 tunes, 7 in the key of C, 282 in G, 236 in D,

45 in A, 9 in F and 6 in Bb.

 

 

 

I had a lot of fun compiling this. Found new tunes to try and

getting whipped up to go to the weekly session tonight.

 

Joe

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Johnathan

I usually play with the left snug and the right on the loose side. But I'm sure it

varies as I switch instruments.

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All in all, I think you need to consider more carefully all the ramifications of your suggestions before prescribing them as an ideal.  I'm not convinced that the instrument you suggest would satisfy even you, much less the rest of us.

Easy, Jim. It's Joe, Jim. Friend, Jim. Friend. ;)

 

Joe: Whether snug or loose: how far in the straps do you put your thumbs? (It's getting too late here for a full explanation what I mean right now; more tomorrow)

 

Jonathan

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Jim

 

*First of all, you're going to have difficulty getting what you want if you don't describe it accurately

 

Okay, I'll reword it . Remove the top 4 buttons from each side of a 48 treble.

Now we're down to a 40 button 'treble'

Add 2 buttons on the bottom of each side of the 40 button 'treble'

Now we have a 44 button 'treble'.

Its' range would be from Eb' or air button, then E' to d#' .

 

Removal of the top row plus features of W. Wheatstone's leverless buttons design should

allow you to move the button pattern up one row.

 

I then would want domed ends, with 12 sides, with the left side rotated 1/12 ccw.

 

I guess that would do it.

 

 

*But if you can't afford such a vintage instrument, what makes you think you could afford a custom-built contemporary one?

 

If I wanted it I would buy, but it gets a little mushy getting an extended tenor treble or tenor . What I describe is

4 to 5 reeds or ten% less action parts than in a treble. It could be a wash.

 

* What music do you play where a low E is more useful than a low D?

I'm on thin ice here, but a lotta of the time playing with a piano where the melody ,

right hand, is almost all chords, I would take the top note and a violin would take the low note or more

probable vice versus. I can read down on the bass clef just so far before I have to quit. There

are less songs going down to D' than E'.

Your question more properly could be " where a low E' is more useful than a low C' " which

is what an tenor treble has.

 

*In light of your wish to reduce the number of lines above the staff, I don't know whether you're suggesting that adding one

below is an advantage or a disadvantage.

 

It's an anvantage in that adding 1 below is better than adding 2 below which is what you have with an tenor treble.

 

* A pointless goal for anyone who doesn't read music

 

But sheet music is written for people that read it. It's like saying it's pointless to to dot your I's and cross

your T's because some people are illiterate.

 

* Farmer fingers, please explain.

 

A little 'humor' attempt on my part. It's 'fat' fingers' on big or small hands that you get from milking cows

or playing too much concertina.

 

Joe

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...the problem [Joe] describes ... is not a matter of "competence" but whether or not that (described)tense,awkward and inefficient hand position is accepted by the player or not!

Well, the hand position I described is not tense, awkward, or inefficient in my experience, nor in that of the many other players I know. If you find it so, Göran, then I must suspect that you're not doing it "correctly", i.e., not the way I do it. If I could make a video of what I do, that might make more clear what I have attempted to describe, but I don't have the tools for that at the moment. Sorry.

 

YOU are seemingly "deceiving YOURself" Jim! What Joe says definitely is correct. You ought to be able to proove it to yourself if you just are interested doing so (which I doubt..).

Over more than 30 years of playing English concertina I have proven to myself that the problem Joe described does not exist for me... and it never did. And as I already indicated, there are numerous other concertina players of my acquaintance whose playing is just as fast in the lower button range as in the upper.

 

You perform best in and around the 'natural relaxed hand position'...definitely NOT in the position with hyperextended wrist and much flexed fingers like you described above.

I did not describe "hyperextended wrist", and the flexing of my fingers is simply what is necessary to accomplish the task, which is still quite relaxed. Göran, I do not accept responsibility for your exaggerations and misrepresentations, which are not what I have described.

 

The anatomical ground for it is mechanically simple: The tendons of both the extensors and flexors in 'your' position have to pass two sharp edges/curves on their way... obstructing their action ....and sustaining the static (crampful) end-position of the wrist causes extra tension hindering the activity as well.

That's a theoretical description, but it doesn't match what I experience. Of course, in the past we have had disagreements about other aspects of arm/hand/finger position and conformation, so it seems possible to me that some other difference in our techniques makes the difference between your awkwardness and my comfort.

 

I think YOUR comments in this topic were demeaning and not well considered Jim.

As I responded to you recently in another thread, "Hello, Pot. This is Kettle." ;)

 

My comments were very well considered. I did not intend them to be demeaning, but I did intend them to be critical. I stand by them.

 

I will, however, comment on my use of one particular word, which might be misconstrued: "competent". The word "incompetent" is often used non-specifically as an insult. I didn't use it. "Competent", on the other hand, connotes a level of ability, particularly in reference to a particular skill, and "not competent" in such context is not an insult, but a description of a lower skill level. If someone said that I was not a competent melodeon player or auto mechanic, I would not consider that to be demeaning, I would agree with them.

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But if you can't afford such a vintage instrument, what makes you think you could afford a custom-built contemporary one?

If I wanted it I would buy, but it gets a little mushy getting an extended tenor treble or tenor.

By "mushy", do you mean the instrument's response? Tenor-trebles aren't necessarily less responsive than trebles; mine certainly aren't. Some thnk that the larger ends and bellows inhibit response, but I've seen "tenors" (or "48-button tenor-trebles", depending on your preference for nomenclature) which are exactly the same size as their 48-button treble counterparts... and as responsive.

 

If your experience is otherwise, I would speculate that you just haven't experienced a good tenor (or tenor-treble) in top condition. If you can find one (I don't need to repeat the names of dealers you might contact), I suspect you would find it more satisfactory than what you have now, but if you decide to resell it in either the short term (if you don't like it) or long term (if you get your "ideal" instrument made), you shouldn't expect to take a loss.

What I describe is 4 to 5 reeds or ten% less action parts than in a treble.

True, but so what? It's not as if that translates into 10% better performance.

 

What music do you play where a low E is more useful than a low D?

...a lotta of the time playing with a piano where the melody, right hand, is almost all chords, I would take the top note and a violin would take the low note or more probable vice versus. There are less songs going down to D' than E'.

Not in my song repertoire, but I suspect that's a very personal thing that depends on a lot of factors, including what keys your songs are in. And I'm not clear how that should relate to chords, as you indicate it does for you.

Your question more properly could be " where a low E' is more useful than a low C' " which

is what an tenor treble has.

But you say your session book is mainly tunes in D and G. As the tonic in D and the fifth in G, that low D would be a very important bass note in those keys, so if one is going to extend the range down to E (or Eb) from the treble's low G, going one step (or a half step) lower -- a total of 2 more buttons -- to get that important note seems worth it. Of course you're right that it doesn't make sense to stop there, either, since by accepting a range down to the C one can find existing instruments and avoid the expense and delay of having one custom made.

 

I can read down on the bass clef just so far before I have to quit.

Fair enough, but then why not just ignore any notes which go below that? There's no obligation to play all the notes that are written... or all the buttons that are on the instrument. If you can ignore some on the top end of a treble, why not a couple on the bottom end of a tenor?

In light of your wish to reduce the number of lines above the staff, I don't know whether you're suggesting that adding one below is an advantage or a disadvantage.

It's an anvantage in that adding 1 below is better than adding 2 below which is what you have with an tenor treble.

As with the bass clef, you don't have to write, read, or play notes that you don't want to, even if they exist on the instrument.

 

Basically, I don't understand why you seem to think the notes on your instrument need to match the range of ledger lines you're comfortable reading. If you're writing out the music you play, you can simply avoid incorporating those extra high or low notes, even if they exist on your instrument. And if you're reading from music that wasn't written specifically for you, those notes that aren't on your instrument won't disappear from the page.

 

"Farmer fingers"? Explain, please?

It's 'fat' fingers' on big or small hands that you get from milking cows or playing too much concertina.

Ah. I had a classmate once, who grew up milking cows. His fingers weren't 'fat', but they were very strong.

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Jim:"Well, the hand position I described is not tense, awkward, or inefficient in my experience, nor in that of the many other players I know. If you find it so, Göran, then I must suspect that you're not doing it "correctly", i.e., not the way I do it. If I could make a video of what I do, that might make more clear what I have attempted to describe, but I don't have the tools for that at the moment. Sorry."

 

Goran:A still picture would do...didn't you use a digital camera the other day?

 

QUOTE

YOU are seemingly "deceiving YOURself" Jim! What Joe says definitely is correct. You ought to be able to proove it to yourself if you just are interested doing so (which I doubt..).

 

Jim:"Over more than 30 years of playing English concertina I have proven to myself that the problem Joe described does not exist for me... and it never did. And as I already indicated, there are numerous other concertina players of my acquaintance whose playing is just as fast in the lower button range as in the upper."

 

Goran:Nope..not likely... judging from the position you describe:

"To reach the lower buttons, I bend my hands backward at the writsts and bend my fingers to draw them back over the buttons, where I can then press downward with my fingertips."

You are fooling yourself Jim...but do send a photo...just in case your anatomy is different from others....

Demonstrating that you can play "just as fast..." maybe can be witnessed by someone....?:-)

 

Jim:"I did not describe "hyperextended wrist", and the flexing of my fingers is simply what is necessary to accomplish the task, which is still quite relaxed. Göran, I do not accept responsibility for your exaggerations and misrepresentations, which are not what I have described."

 

Goran: Ha..maybe you have cheated and let go of your gripping the finger plate

with your little finger..?? ...:-) or let your thumb slip out of the strap??.....

 

QUOTE (Goran)

The anatomical ground for it is mechanically simple: The tendons of both the extensors and flexors in 'your' position have to pass two sharp edges/curves on their way... obstructing their action ....and sustaining the static (crampful) end-position of the wrist causes extra tension hindering the activity as well.

 

Jim:"That's a theoretical description, but it doesn't match what I experience. Of course, in the past we have had disagreements about other aspects of arm/hand/finger position and conformation, so it seems possible to me that some other difference in our techniques makes the difference between your awkwardness and my comfort."

 

Goran:Your finger anatomy is hardly a theoretical...rather a *very* practical issue..

 

QUOTE

I think YOUR comments in this topic were demeaning and not well considered Jim.

 

Jim:"My comments were very well considered. I did not intend them to be demeaning, but I did intend them to be critical. I stand by them."

 

Goran:Put them forward then to the forum of "Arguing the toss" topic and ask for a judgement....

 

Goran Rahm

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A still picture would do...didn't you use a digital camera the other day?

A nice thought, but I haven't yet learned to manipulate the camera while using both hands on the concertina. Besides, it's difficult with a still picture or even a few to convey how my hand configuration changes dynamically as I play. A video would be much better.

 

...judging from the position you describe:  "To reach the lower buttons, I bend my hands backward at the wrists and bend my fingers to draw them back over the buttons, where I can then press downward with my fingertips."

Note that in my description, I do not claim any extreme flexing. Extremes aren't necessary. I am relaxed. I "cock" my wrists, and I gently arch my hands and fingers.

 

Over more than 30 years of playing English concertina I have proven to myself that the problem Joe described does not exist for me... and it never did. And as I already indicated, there are numerous other concertina players of my acquaintance whose playing is just as fast in the lower button range as in the upper.
Nope..not likely...

Fact. Observed fact. Doesn't depend on your opinion of its likelihood.

 

...do send a photo...just in case your anatomy is different from others....

Nothing particularly unusual about my anatomy... except for the width of my feet. :)

Demonstrating that you can play "just as fast..." maybe can be witnessed by someone....?

An interesting idea. I might ask Jonathan, Chris, Lester, or one of the others to vouch for me, but I don't think they were paying attention to that specific detail when they heard me play (nor was I necessarily attempting maximum speed). But maybe I can get one of the squeezers tomorrow's birthday party to be a witness.

 

Ha..maybe you have cheated and let go of your gripping the finger plate with your little finger..?? ...:-) or let your thumb slip out of the strap??.....

My, you are getting desperate in your attempts to discredit me. Neither of those is remotely the case, though I do pull my little fingers back slightly in the plates when I'm playing the lowest notes. That's something I recommend.

 

Your finger anatomy is hardly a theoretical...rather a *very* practical issue..

My finger anatomy is indeed practical, and effective, and not at all dependent on what you think it ought to be. My fingers are quite flexible, and capable of assuming a wide range of configurations. Perhaps you can imagine the configuration they are in right now. ;)

 

My comments were very well considered. I did not intend them to be demeaning, but I did intend them to be critical. I stand by them.
Put them forward then to the forum of "Arguing the toss" topic and ask for a judgement....

No, thank you. I'm not interested. However, if you wish to do so, feel free. Maybe you'd even like to start a poll?

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QUOTE (Göran)

A still picture would do...didn't you use a digital camera the other day?

 

Jim:"A nice thought, but I haven't yet learned to manipulate the camera while using both hands on the concertina. Besides, it's difficult with a still picture or even a few to convey how my hand configuration changes dynamically as I play. A video would be much better."

 

Goran:While playing (as fast as possible) in the lowest octave your hand "configuration" is not supposed to "change dynamically" at all...no excuse...

a still photo would do fine

 

QUOTE (goran)

...judging from the position you describe: "To reach the lower buttons, I bend my hands backward at the wrists and bend my fingers to draw them back over the buttons, where I can then press downward with my fingertips."

 

Jim:"Note that in my description, I do not claim any extreme flexing. Extremes aren't necessary. I am relaxed. I "cock" my wrists, and I gently arch my hands and fingers."

 

Goran:I just don't believe it until I see it:-)....anyway it doesn't matter much because the necessary bending at the wrist and of the fingers..not necessary in the higher octave(s).... will likely be responsible for difference in speed performance anyway.

Furthermore it is technically not possible to achieve the same speed in the lowest as highest octave anyway due to mechanism and reed action so your previous statement regarding same performance is not conceivable for that reason either...

this however requires of course that the speed actually exceeds the limiting values...

 

QUOTE (Jim)

Over more than 30 years of playing English concertina I have proven to myself that the problem Joe described does not exist for me... and it never did. And as I already indicated, there are numerous other concertina players of my acquaintance whose playing is just as fast in the lower button range as in the upper.

 

Goran before:Nope..not likely...

 

Jim:"Fact. Observed fact. Doesn't depend on your opinion of its likelihood."

 

Goran:I don't believe it. See above ...you likely are mistaken or deceiving yourself

 

QUOTE

Demonstrating that you can play "just as fast..." maybe can be witnessed by someone....?

 

Jim:"An interesting idea. I might ask Jonathan, Chris, Lester, or one of the others to vouch for me, but I don't think they were paying attention to that specific detail when they heard me play (nor was I necessarily attempting maximum speed). But maybe I can get one of the squeezers tomorrow's birthday party to be a witness."

 

Goran: Do so, but it better be testified by local public notary....

 

Jim:"My, you are getting desperate in your attempts to discredit me. Neither of those is remotely the case, though I do pull my little fingers back slightly in the plates when I'm playing the lowest notes. That's something I recommend."

 

Goran:Ok..even so the rest of your hand position is an anatomic mystery...I am looking forward to some visualization of it....

 

QUOTE

Your finger anatomy is hardly a theoretical...rather a *very* practical issue..

 

Jim:"My finger anatomy is indeed practical, and effective, and not at all dependent on what you think it ought to be. My fingers are quite flexible, and capable of assuming a wide range of configurations. Perhaps you can imagine the configuration they are in right now."

 

Goran:Your fingers probably work the same way as everyone else's and not theoretically. In consequence of that you will not be able fulfill your earlier claims and that's it...

 

QUOTE (Jim)

My comments were very well considered. I did not intend them to be demeaning, but I did intend them to be critical. I stand by them.

 

Goran:Put them forward then to the forum of "Arguing the toss" topic and ask for a judgement....

 

Jim:No, thank you. I'm not interested.

 

Goran: I guessed so...you put such ideas forward however now and then for trivial or meaningless matters. Anyway you misunderstood half of what Joe was saying and misinterpreted most of the rest in a not motivated negative direction.That is all.

I call it demeaning. A piece of private communication between You and Joe ought to sort it out.

 

Goran Rahm

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Nothing particularly unusual about my anatomy... except for the width of my feet. :)

Jim, if you're going to make comments like that, we're going to have to insist on pictures (or video) of your exceptionally wide feet as well :)

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Nothing particularly unusual about my anatomy... except for the width of my feet.  :)

Jim, if you're going to make comments like that, we're going to have to insist on pictures (or video) of your exceptionally wide feet as well :)

 

They of course may be exceptionally narrow ;)

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Nothing particularly unusual about my anatomy... except for the width of my feet.  :)

Jim, if you're going to make comments like that, we're going to have to insist on pictures (or video) of your exceptionally wide feet as well :)

I'd like to oblige, but I don't have a wide-angle lens. ;)

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Hi Goran,

 

Surely you are approaching this problem from the wrong direction?

 

In these days of truly marvelous cosmetic and corrective surgery and given the unwillingness of those who actually play the concertina to change to an, as yet unavailable, 'ergotina', perhaps you could write a design brief (with thumbnail sketches if not scale drawings, of course) for a Surgeon to re-model the human hand to suit existing vintage instruments.

 

Dave

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In these days of truly marvelous cosmetic and corrective surgery and given the unwillingness of those who actually play the concertina to change to an, as yet unavailable, 'ergotina', perhaps you could write a design brief (with thumbnail sketches if not scale drawings, of course) for a Surgeon to re-model the human hand to suit existing vintage instruments.

 

Dave

 

Goran:That is so simple it needs no sketches Dave....You just chop the ends of fingers 1-3 off at the distal joint and their length will be close enough to the 4th.

Loosening the connective tissue links between tendons of 3rd and 4th fingers might help but being a bit hazardous...I'm afraid you introduce requirements for still some more modifications of the instrument as well...

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[Göran], perhaps you could write a design brief (with thumbnail sketches if not scale drawings, of course) for a Surgeon to re-model the human hand to suit existing vintage instruments.

You just chop the ends of fingers 1-3 off at the distal joint and their length will be close enough to the 4th.

Loosening the connective tissue links between tendons of 3rd and 4th fingers might help but being a bit hazardous...

I was going to object that your above "design" for the hand would shorten the reach too much "to suit existing vintage instruments". But then I realized that Dave failed to say "all existing vintage instruments", and your suggestion might work for miniatures. :) You succeed on a technicality... except for the lack of sketches.

 

I'm afraid you introduce requirements for still some more modifications of the instrument as well...

I'm not afraid... and Dave didn't "introduce requirements for still some more modifications". By saying "to suit existing vintage instruments". he specifically excluded any modifications. You, Göran, are the one who has introduced such "requirements", in direct violation of the condition Dave set forth. If you're going to pick semantic nits, you should be aware of what they can hatch into.

Edited by JimLucas

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Good evening Gentlemen,

 

That is so simple it needs no sketches Dave....You just chop the ends of fingers 1-3 off at the distal joint and their length will be close enough to the 4th.

 

At last Goran I think you really might be onto something useful here. The idea has real appeal to me and I just know it makes sense. You will certainly gain more 'converts' with this method than your proposals to date have attracted.

 

Please be a real pioneer for the instrument and get these modifications carried out to both of your hands asap......Clearly well thought out, they seem 'just the ticket' to me and will doubtless improove your playing no end.

 

Jim:....

If you're going to pick semantic nits, you should be aware of what they can hatch into.

 

Don't be silly old Chap........You can't pick nits with your finger ends chopped off !

(they hatch into semantic nitwits...don't they???)

 

Regards

Dave :D

 

PS Don't anyone tell Goran (he won't cotton on till it's too late!) but it'll be a bit of a b*gger typing too, so we might get, at least, a little relief from his endless bombardment of pointless and repetitious waffling; though I suspect he may be able to type nearly as fast with his tongue.

Edited by Dave Prebble

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