Jump to content

Crane - Thoughts So Far


Recommended Posts

I was looking at the different duet systems and I thought the Crane system looked the most like somethign I would like to try.

 

I would have thought with the Salvation army using the same system (or pretty close, I think the Triumph leaves offa few keys), there would be boat loads of these lying about, yet I see them come up for sale rarely and with a rather grandiose price tag (same with all duets for that matter).

 

I'm surprised we haven't seen any cheap duet knockoffs, perhaps the interest is not yet gret enough to warrant mass production.

I agrree, that if I were to try another duet system besides the Hayden I play now, I'd much prefer Crane/Triumph to Maccann -- but that's jsut me.

 

I've alos thought there must be old Salvation Army HQ buildings with attics full of Duets -- wonder if anyone has checked any such sites? They'd lvoe to turn those old boxes into funds, I'm sure.

 

And yes, I'd lvoe to see whoever came up with names like "Rochelle" and "Jack" find one for a Hayden or Crane Duet :rolleyes: Unforch, they would probably have fewer, not more, notes and buttons than existing models. --Mike K.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 36
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

And yes, I'd love to see whoever came up with names like "Rochelle" and "Jack" find one for a Hayden or Crane Duet :rolleyes:

Well, I wasn't the one who came up with those names, but here's a try:

Crane-Triumph
as
Triumph
-- the "Sally" (after the Salvation Army)

Crane-Triumph
as
Crane
-- the "Whoopi" (after America's endangered
whooping crane
)

Maccann
-- the "Tommy", or the "Thom" with a lower range (another American-only reference?)

Hayden
-- the "Frankie", of course, and "Franz" with a lower range

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have thought with the Salvation army using the same system (or pretty close, I think the Triumph leaves off a few keys),...

It doesn't. Except for details (spacing of the buttons and curvature of the rows), they're the same layout. But examples can be found with button counts ranging from 35 or less up to 80.

 

...there would be boat loads of these lying about,....

Nope. Maybe three reasons for that:

... 1) Sally Army musicians made themselves noticeable, but I suspect their total number is quite small, e.g., in comparison to Methodist choirs.

... 2) Though in a certain period the SA did promote the Triumph system as the best for their music, over their history I'm fairly certain they played far more anglos and Englishes, and not a few Maccanns.

...3) The Sally Army "stock" has been pretty well cleaned out more than once. I remember back in the 1970's folks contacting the Army both nationally and locally to find concertinas for sale. Some were bought, and not a few were located, but kept by their owners (often not players, but children of former players) for sentimental reasons. About 25-30 years later a new wave of inquiries extracted a few of the latter instruments as a new generation had fewer sentimental ties to them. Maybe another generation will see another wave of selling, but I doubt it will be more than a ripple.

 

Nevertheless, they still turn up occasionally on eBay.

 

yet I see them come up for sale rarely and with a rather grandiose price tag (same with all duets for that matter).

"Grandiose" is a relative term. For instruments of the same age, make, and quality, duets of all kinds (possibly excepting Jeffries) are still notably cheaper than Englishes, which are cheaper than anglos.

 

I'm surprised we haven't seen any cheap duet knockoffs, perhaps the interest is not yet great enough to warrant mass production.

Search old posts for discussions of just that. The problem is not lack of demand, but difficulty in producing a duet of acceptable size yet adequate range.

 

Range is a serious constraint, and for duets the "minimal" number of buttons is higher than for an English, which is higher than for an anglo. Rich Morse' original intent was to produce a Hayden duet, but he's managed great success with both anglo and English models, while the Hayden is still "under development".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

My progress to date since starting this thread has been very limited - lack of time compounding lack of talent!

 

My main priority has been to accumulate some popular instrumental tunes so I can join in the mini-sessions that kick off the folk clubs I go to. I can sight read about a dozen tunes and play them rather falteringly. When I have them all by ear I'm planning to play them in octaves to give myself a bit more volume.

 

My progress on song accompaniment has been even less and has included some false starts in unrewarding directions. I tried droning chords but I found this overwhelmed my grasp on the melody, so I've now settled on playing the full melody on the right and using two-finger arpeggios on the left-hand consisting of the first and fifth, i.e. G-D (I), C-G (IV) and D-A (V) when playing in G. This is very easy on the Crane in this key as these particular firsts are all adjacent at the bottom of the fourth column and the corresponding fifths are all diagonally adjacent in the third column. This keeps the pattern the same across the three-chord trick and avoids stretching for the accidentals.

 

I hope to move on in the future but this seems like a good way to start.

 

I am indebted to Roger Digby for finally cementing my grasp of harmony (http://www.concertina.com/digby/faking/index.htm).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My progress to date since starting this thread has been very limited - lack of time compounding lack of talent!

 

My main priority has been to accumulate some popular instrumental tunes so I can join in the mini-sessions that kick off the folk clubs I go to. I can sight read about a dozen tunes and play them rather falteringly. When I have them all by ear I'm planning to play them in octaves to give myself a bit more volume.

 

My progress on song accompaniment has been even less and has included some false starts in unrewarding directions. I tried droning chords but I found this overwhelmed my grasp on the melody, so I've now settled on playing the full melody on the right and using two-finger arpeggios on the left-hand consisting of the first and fifth, i.e. G-D (I), C-G (IV) and D-A (V) when playing in G. This is very easy on the Crane in this key as these particular firsts are all adjacent at the bottom of the fourth column and the corresponding fifths are all diagonally adjacent in the third column. This keeps the pattern the same across the three-chord trick and avoids stretching for the accidentals.

 

I hope to move on in the future but this seems like a good way to start.

 

I am indebted to Roger Digby for finally cementing my grasp of harmony (http://www.concertina.com/digby/faking/index.htm).

 

 

Slow progress is better than none at all.

 

Since I last posted on this thread I have aquired my own Crane 48K (I'm pretty sure mine goes to the octave below middle C, at least thats how the tutor page I have shows the buttons correspondign to note on staff positions for the 48K model).

 

Earlier in this thread there was mention of nick-names for the duets, MacCaan came up as "Tommy", maybe its a reference to the "Tommy Gun", I believe the full name is the "Thompson Sub-machine Gun", used quite a bit by Irish Gangsters during the 20's-30's.

 

I wish I could track down the source of that mis-information on some SA boxes having the upper row of notes missing, I'm sure I would not have dreamt up a detail like that, but I could never track it down, possibly the page I read it on has been removed from the web.

 

I have been making steady progress with my Crane, I think it works really well for music reading, I too had to un-learn the back and forth bellows action, I still find myself upon occaison switchign bellows direction when I don't need too.

 

For my use, 48 buttons is just fine, I can do pretty much all I want with those keys, maybe in a few years I may think I want more keys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being relatively thin on the ground, concertina players can be rather isolated. Crane players are further handicapped by the absence of any modern tutors laying out a forward path. The absence of rules is an exciting challenge and an opportunity to experiment, but I still long to see in detail and at first hand what other Crane players actually do. I've had a lot of help in this forum, but it's not quite the same as actually seeing. When we describe things verbally we make a lot of presumptions about the listener's/reader's understanding and interpretation. So someone may say they "use chords" but that doesn't really explain how.

 

In the meantime I've bought some CDs which include Crane playing (Tim Laycock, Andrew McKay), and I continue to look back at my accumulated Anglo and English tutors for ideas. When I started with the Anglo I was very taken by Dan Worrall's book on Kimber's style, but I think Kimber's use of parallel octaves and thirds following the melody line was suggested very naturally by hitting adjacent buttons on the Anglo's layout and doesn't come very naturally on the Crane.

 

At this year's Tenterden festival I attended an English workshop run by Stephen Turner who's a great singer-player, and it was very good just to see and discuss the options, albeit for another system.

 

There's a group of concertina players who meet in Canterbury (within striking distance) so I'll head there once I can play a few melodies accurately, smoothly and at reasonable speed. I'm not shy as I sing publicly but there's not much point in turning up with an instrument you can't play with a modicum of adequacy.

 

I guess everyone has their own approach to learning. I don't fancy years of isolated practice and time-wise it's just not an option, so I'm always looking for easy wins. I don't mind the prospect of years of further improvement, but if there's no prospect of 'joining in' in the foreseeable future learning an instrument isn't going to hold my interest.

 

One way in which I've tried to short circuit the process is to start with the key of G rather than C. It only has one sharp to contend with and straightaway you are playing in a key in which most of the tunes (in my particular musical environment) are played. I then chose tunes which had C#s or modulated more completely into D, so I'm halfway to playing in D as well.

 

For music I began with Dave Mallinson's Easy Peasy Tunes but then I discovered that the people I am likely to play with have more-or-less standardised on the Lewes Arms tune book, so I've had to relearn slightly different and more elaborate versions.

 

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One way in which I've tried to short circuit the process is to start with the key of G rather than C. It only has one sharp to contend with and straightaway you are playing in a key in which most of the tunes (in my particular musical environment) are played. I then chose tunes which had C#s or modulated more completely into D, so I'm halfway to playing in D as well.

 

For music I began with Dave Mallinson's Easy Peasy Tunes but then I discovered that the people I am likely to play with have more-or-less standardised on the Lewes Arms tune book, so I've had to relearn slightly different and more elaborate versions.

 

I have a book of Irish songs, and another book of American Sea songs and Chanteys, thats the music Ive been studying for my Crane. What Ive been trying to do is look at each phrase in the music and decide if I should play it left or right, obviously some notes can only be played on one side, so this makes things pretty straight forward at least in which side for which notes.

 

My only real study material so far is the 48K button layout with the staff below from the Lachenal Tutor, but I have been able to use it to read the notes and I am memorizing thier positions for sight reading. The way I look at is I only have 48 buttons to remember.

 

For keys I'm using mostly F,C,G, and D. I haven't really tried any other keys except the "all Black notes" to strecth my fingers out, lately I'm trying to throw in chromatic runs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a book of Irish songs, and another book of American Sea songs and Chanteys, thats the music Ive been studying for my Crane. What Ive been trying to do is look at each phrase in the music and decide if I should play it left or right, obviously some notes can only be played on one side, so this makes things pretty straight forward at least in which side for which notes.

 

My only real study material so far is the 48K button layout with the staff below from the Lachenal Tutor, but I have been able to use it to read the notes and I am memorizing thier positions for sight reading. The way I look at is I only have 48 buttons to remember.

 

For keys I'm using mostly F,C,G, and D. I haven't really tried any other keys except the "all Black notes" to strecth my fingers out, lately I'm trying to throw in chromatic runs.

 

With a 55-button Crane I can keep the melody entirely on the right, at least when playing in G. I'll learn the other keys eventually to give me more flexibility for pitching songs, but G and D should see me through most sessions thanks, no doubt, to making the keys user-friendly for melodeon players. (I have one of those too!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play the Crane duet (55 button lachenal) about a year now and (although I keep playing anglo and other squeeze and string apparatusses) more and more it is becoming my favorit concertina.

 

Like other concertina´s the Crane is easy to start playing tunes in C and G on. Sometimes I play with Klezmer, gipsy jazz and Jango people and it is fun to follow their chord schemes with counter melodies, playing the right hand side only. however, the Crane still gives me some nightmares, when playing an unintended shrill note one halve note of tune (although it'll wake them up sooner than me).

 

When I play this type of music on the Crane I try to forget the C/scale. But the key layout of the Crane is still based on the C scale, so I will have to keep it in mind that button locations differ per scale. Some half notes on the first column go up, and some go down. This makes it difficult to transpose without thinking in what scale you are playing at the time.

 

The irregularity of the logic is noticable when you play in A major scale from low A to high A on the right hand side. The last two notes (from Gis to A) go from left to right. If all buttons of one row (C and C# is the start), I would expect D, Eb, E, F, Fis from right to left, and G, Gis, A, Bes, B / C, Cis, D, Es, E / F, Fis, G, Gis, A etcetera on the next row. Okay, that would make the C scale a bit more complicated, but it would make transposing from C to Bes very simple, just putting your fingers 2 rows up north. Also transposing one note up would be moving two buttons to the left and continuing on the next row if you are out of buttons. Of course there would be 5 different button schedules depending on what button you start on a row, but to me it looks more logical. Now I sometimes play major in stead of minor chords and the other way around because I am on the row where the order swaps. But who does not like a shrill note once in a while? Some scales that are more complex and harder to find on a piano are B, F# and C#, but at the end a Crane is very flexible and it is less difficult then a killersudoku.

 

On the other hand (the left hand) a thing that took me a while before it is in your fingers is to play bass rythems for bass chords starting with low E, low A or second D on the middle row. The C-G-D-F chords are simpler. If you have to start with the middle finger, such rythem chords need some Cranexpertise. One step further are the chords with the lowest base on the outer rows.

 

Does anyonehave know where to find chord charts for the Crane duet?

 

Marien

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like other concertina´s the Crane is easy to start playing tunes in C and G on. Sometimes I play with Klezmer, gipsy jazz and Jango people and it is fun to follow their chord schemes with counter melodies, playing the right hand side only. however, the Crane still gives me some nightmares, when playing an unintended shrill note one halve note of tune (although it'll wake them up sooner than me).

On my favorite concertina, the shrill notes tend to be a fifth high or a fourth low (squawk!).

When I play this type of music on the Crane I try to forget the C/scale. But the key layout of the Crane is still based on the C scale, so I will have to keep it in mind that button locations differ per scale. Some half notes on the first column go up, and some go down. This makes it difficult to transpose without thinking in what scale you are playing at the time.

Almost any musical instrument requires you to remain aware of what note you're playing, AND what degree of the scale (do-re-mi-fa-sol) you're playing. On the Hayden Duet, you need only remember the scale degree, not the exact note.

The irregularity of the logic is noticable when you play in A major scale from low A to high A on the right hand side.

On the Hayden, all (OK, most) scales and intervals have the same shape and feel, so transposition is very easy, until you run up against one side or the other. Semitones and odd minor scales can be tought to reach and hit the right notes every time, but they're consistent across different keys.

 

I'd really like to try out the Crane system, but I have my hands full ;) with my Haydens.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyonehave know where to find chord charts for the Crane duet?

I don't think I have seen any charts published anywhere, so I ended up making my own, based on Brian Hayden's article on Concertina.com, and his all-purpose m-j-r-n notation.

 

Brian Hayden's All Systems Duet Workshop Tutor shows the general idea and has enough sample chords to get anyone started if they have a basic understanding of triads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made myself a set of chord charts with the staff lines marked (Bass clef for left hand, treble for right). I've had my Crane for about two months. Since my main instruments are fiddle and EC it hasn't gotten intensive practice yet, but I'm making some progress. The Wilton-Bulstrode tutor and the Brian Hayden All Systems Workshop, both on concertena.com, are both useful. Here are my charts-- hope they're useful to someone.

 

Use this one instead of the one posted earlier. I had the G7 wrong.

 

CraneChordChart.pdf

CraneChordChart.pdf

Edited by Larry Stout
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


Make a Donation


×
×
  • Create New...