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Morse #519


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Okay, busy weekend with other things and I've still been playing with 519 a lot. The girlfriend was a little wry when she noted that as she got up to shower and go to church, I reached for the concertina.

 

But since this is a new experience, having a real concertina rather than a Stagi or Hohner concertina shaped object, I figure I should make some comments. I think there are a lot of good observations by experienced players, but I hope my perspective as a newbie will be useful too.

 

First, it's really nice. The movement of the buttons is so much faster than the old options. The buttons come up straight every time. And it's beautiful. And it's loud. Compared to this, the Stagi sounds like it's being played inside a heavy sleeping bag. You can hear the sound in the Stagi, but you hear the sound project out of the Morse.

 

Since this is a G/D box, it's got to be stepped about a half octave away from a C/G box. It's stepped down. The low G (bottom button, middle row, left side) is very low. By starting there, I've been playing Thus Spoke Zarathustra relativly convincingly. That short tune runs all the way up the other side and is a fun way to demonstrate the range of the instrument. I also notice that after the button is released and the pad covers the hole, the reed keeps vibrating. Only the player would really hear it, but it sounds like a jew's harp inside the bellows. And that it's in the bellows is funny too, because the sound of the note proper projects out the side.

 

The standard six fold bellows is smaller than the eight-folds-plus-frame of the Stagi, or the nine-folds-plus-two-frames of the Hohner. I'd been told that in proper traditional and hybrid concertinas, fewer folds are needed because they use air more efficiently. This is true. However, if I'm not careful I'll use that air to make louder noise more efficently, rather than to have the note sustain longer. I'm finding that I'll need to learn better air management with 519. This may also mean that I need to think about playing in styles where I'm allowed, without actually playing a note at the time, to take a breath or let one out.

 

The responsiveness of the reeds and the rigidity of the bellows means that much more control needs to be used. On the Stagi, I more or less pressurize the bellows and play. Variations in pressure produce minimal variations in the note produced. With the Morse, variations in pressure can produce more complex changes in the note. My slight unsteadiness as I try to play soft and conserve air produces a vibrato impossible in the Stagi. Where the Morse produces a soft note under very light pressure, the Stagi would have given up making sound and just leaked air.

 

I'm still finding my way around the keyboard. I've figured out the C scale, but I haven't practiced the A scale much yet. I'll get to them all in time, and I'm feeling my way around blues scales too. Several months ago I sat down and figured out what the layout would be, transposing from C/G to G/D in Jefferies layout.

 

 

Left Hand Side (Push/Pull) Right Hand Side (Pull/Push)

------------------------------- -------------------------------

 

B/C E/F G#/Bb E/D Eb/F Bb/G# D/E F/Eb Bb/G# C/E

 

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

 

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

 

(Forum software formats this nicely when composing and editing, then makes a mess of it once it's posted and displayed. Sorry folks.)

 

 

It feels a little funny still reaching for the low E/F and G#/Bb in the left far row. I'm trying to not reach for the E/F using my ring finger, but to use it for the G#/Bb and my little finger for E/F. I assume this is the sort of self taught "mistake to unlearn" that was discussed in another thread, and I hope I've got it right.

 

Unlike my previous boxes, there are no closure straps on this one. It's supposed to be carefully put away after playing. Wedging it safely into the storage box every time does not come naturally to me. I tend to leave things lying about and I'm generally a lousy housekeeper. Every time I manage to stuff it in there, I wonder if I'm doing it right because it seems like such a tight fit. Perhaps if the corner bolsters had a rounded ramp leading it into position, rather than a sharp angle to grind it past, I'd feel more comfortable about the proceedure.

 

Anyway, it's time to put another coat of gypsum mud on the sheetrock in the guest room. I gotta go.

Edited by Dan 04617
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Left Hand Side (Push/Pull) Right Hand Side (Pull/Push)

------------------------------- -------------------------------

 

B/C E/F G#/Bb E/D Eb/F Bb/G# D/E F/Eb Bb/G# C/E

 

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

 

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

 

(Forum software formats this nicely when composing and editing, then makes a mess of it once it's posted and displayed. Sorry folks.)

Try using the "code" option, which gives you more control (it displays as a mono-spaced font).

 

For example:

 

Left Hand Side (Push/Pull)	| Right Hand Side (Pull/Push)
--------------------------	| ---------------------------
						  |
B/C   E/F   G#/Bb  E/D   Eb/F | Bb/G#  D/E   F/Eb  Bb/G#  C/E
						  |
G/D   D/F#  G/A	B/C   D/E  | F#/G   A/B   C/D   E/G	F#/B
						  |
F#/A  A/C#  D/E	F#/G  A/B  | C#/D   E/F#  G/A   B/D	C#/F#

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Dan,

Congratulations on your new squeeze! It will give you years of pleasure and music making.

 

Do use the bocked case religiously for the first six months to "train" your bellows to the fully closed position. A bit of dilligence now will pay off in a lifetime of effecient bellows playing. Besides you don't want any drywall dust on your concertina!

 

Best of luck with your playing and renovation.

 

Greg

 

PS. The fit of your concertina in its blocked box should be snug. Use two hands to put it in with the airbutton depressed and bellows fully compressed. It should just slide in. Then when you release the air button and take your hands away the instrument should expand slightly to snug itself in. I'm sure The Button Box will advise you if this does not seem comfortable.)

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Every time I manage to stuff it in there, I wonder if I'm doing it right because it seems like such a tight fit. Perhaps if the corner bolsters had a rounded ramp leading it into position, rather than a sharp angle to grind it past, I'd feel more comfortable about the proceedure.

 

 

 

I have had my Morse Albion for only a few months. When I first got it I had a problem with the case. The interior corner blocks were cut to large. When I slid the tina into the case the end screws would drag on corner blocks and within a few weeks I had torn off the flocking from the corners of the corner blocks. I thought I wasnt putting it in the case correctly but when I showed the problem to the Button Box they fixed the probem by replacing the corner blocks with smaller ones and, now, all is well.

 

Randy

Edited by fiddlerjoebob
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Thanks for the input guys. I'll put it away properly, and I do think it fits properly. It's just that the top of the corner blocks could have been curved so that there isn't that sharp corner. As long as I squeeze it together well before I put it in there I don't have a problem, and either it's getting easier or I'm getting trained. I've been putting it in with the handles vertical and I'm not certain that the screws could rub if they wanted to.

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Oops.

 

Above I have a chart of what keys produce what notes. I made this chart up months ago. Unfortunately it's wrong.

 

519 is a G/D Jeffries. The chart is a G/D Wheatstone layout. Here's the Proper layout:

 

Left Side (Push/Pull)							  Right Side (Push/Pull)
B/C	 E/F	 G#/A#   E/D	 D#/F					A#/G#   G#/A#   D#/D	G#/F	E/A
G/D	 D/F#	G/A	 B/C	 D/E					 G/F#	B/A	 D/C	 G/E	 B/F#
F#/E	A/C#	D/E	 F#/G	A/B					 D/C#	F#/E	A/G	 D/B	 C/C#

Edited by Dan 04617
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