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Clavichord With Wicki-hayden Button Keyboard


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[About the title: Yes, Brian deserves to have his name capitalized as "Hayden".

And mome wraths are notoriously poor workers, preferring to dance in a circle. So I built this thing in my Home. Someday we'll have the means to edit titles and sub-titles ... ]

 

This isn't a concertina, but I just finished building a clavichord (stringed instrument sort of like a dulcimer) with a button keyboard of Hayden Duet layout. With all the interest in "prone" keyboards of Hayden design, I decided to build an acoustic instrument.

 

I got this idea back in May, worked out the design on paper and PC, and built it over the summer. Lots of woodworking experience was gained the hard way.

 

First photo shows the completed instrument, which is two feet deep and 18 inches wide.post-822-1218568169_thumb.jpg

 

Next is closeup of the keyboard. Like a Lachenal English, some keys are color coded: Red for C, black for accidentals, black bullseyes for accidentals that the player might re-tune to naturals (don't try this on your concertina :P ), natural wood for naturals (next time I will not mix birch and oak dowel rod stock).post-822-1218568244_thumb.jpg

 

Third photo is the underside of the keyboard, with its pads that push the strings against the fret board, like "hammering on" a guitar or banjo string.post-822-1218568330_thumb.jpg

 

Fourth photo shows the fret board under the keyboard.post-822-1218568651_thumb.jpg

 

I hope to bring this thing to NESI and display it along with the other oddities.

 

Range is from Ab below Tenor C to F an octave and a half above Middle C. Middle C is the upper red button. Hayden players can figure out the rest.

 

Next one I build will have a two-octave wide keyboard so you can play with both hands, a true "Duet." And maybe a 5th row of keys.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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Interesting, and thanks for showing it. Some questions...

 

Are the wires in the 3rd picture that come from under the screws and through the keys springs to pop the keys back out? I can't imagine they'd be strong enough at that leverage angle.

 

How do you keep the "other" length of string (running back from the fret) from sounding when you play a note?

 

Are the keys directly over the frets or, like fingers on a guitar, just behind them?

 

When you release a key does the string continue to sound or does something damp it?

 

I look forward to playing with it at NESI.

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This isn't a concertina, but I just finished building a clavichord (stringed instrument sort of like a dulcimer) with a button keyboard of Hayden Duet layout. With all the interest in "prone" keyboards of Hayden design, I decided to build an acoustic instrument.

Mike,

 

Your keyboard reminds me a bit of some prototype Wheatstone ones I have, which are related to the "bellows violin" and his 1836 Patent. I'll have to dig 'em out & post photos.

 

Nice one!

 

How do you keep the "other" length of string (running back from the fret) from sounding when you play a note?

David,

 

On a normal clavichord you'd have damping felt contacting the "other" length of string, so I'd expect Mike has done something like that.

 

When you release a key does the string continue to sound or does something damp it?

The same felt then normally damps the whole string when you release a key.

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Interesting, and thanks for showing it. Some questions...

 

Are the wires in the 3rd picture that come from under the screws and through the keys springs to pop the keys back out? I can't imagine they'd be strong enough at that leverage angle.

Yes, those are the button return springs. They are just strong enough, given some pre-bend that you can't see. I'll post a photo of an uninstalled spring. Here it is:post-822-1218590317_thumb.jpg

How do you keep the "other" length of string (running back from the fret) from sounding when you play a note?

Stephen Chambers' post has the answer -- listing cloth, nee sholaces, woven thru the strings before the fretboard. I've since added another damper strip beyond the bridge to quiet that unused region, too. I've put a photo of the damping cloth and fretboard here:post-822-1218590109_thumb.jpg

Are the keys directly over the frets or, like fingers on a guitar, just behind them?

That's proprietary information, and I'll tell you when you come to work at my factory :lol:

Seriously, yes, the push rods strike behind the fret, like your fingers hammering on a guitar. In fact, the touch and tone are improved if you hit back more than my construction allows for, I suspect.

When you release a key does the string continue to sound or does something damp it?

Stephen has it right again -- the same cloth that sileneces the "other" end, damps the whole string the moment the key is released, just as on a convenitonal clavichord. Elegant simplicity!

I look forward to playing with it at NESI.

And I look forward to showing it off. Maybe sell a few more players on the Hayden layout.

See if you can use both hands at once, and/or your thumb. So far I find the buttons still too small for the thumb.

 

And thanks for commenting!

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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Mike,

 

Your keyboard reminds me a bit of some prototype Wheatstone ones I have, which are related to the "bellows violin" and his 1836 Patent. I'll have to dig 'em out & post photos.

 

Nice one!

Thanks! FWIW, I did think about how you'd build such an instrument based on the EC. I figured you'd have to have both hands allowed for. Also the strings would probably ahve to run nearly horizontally (versus my vertical stringing), thru the four columns of buttons. Since I don't play EC, just Hayden, I didn't pursue it.

 

Anglo of course is impossible, unless you pull up a button to get a different note ;)

 

Thanks for your totally correct explanation of how a clavichord achieves damping. I built a clavichord from a kit way back in college, and now own a nice one, That's how I knew how to solve the damping problem. Alos got a good look inside a Hohner Clavinet many years ago.

--Mike K.

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Your keyboard reminds me a bit of some prototype Wheatstone ones I have, which are related to the "bellows violin" and his 1836 Patent.

Thanks! FWIW, I did think about how you'd build such an instrument based on the EC.

Actually, they're violin fingering, not EC, and they have tangents on the bottom of the keys, to stop the strings like on a hurdy-gurdy. :blink:

 

Thanks for your totally correct explanation of how a clavichord achieves damping. I built a clavichord from a kit way back in college, and now own a nice one, That's how I knew how to solve the damping problem.

FWIW, if I didn't work on concertinas, it'd be harpsichords... :rolleyes:

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Thats pretty cool, now we need a sound clip.

Be glad to, if I ever get a decent WAV to MP3 converter program (one piece of "freeware" called "Switch" turned out to demand payment after a trial period, and I'm not about to share myc redit card with some floozy outfit).

 

The sound is still a bit clunky -- big noise when a note is first struck. I'm experimenting with distance from push pad (bottom of key button) to fret, to get the best tone. If you make the distance too great, you get a nice smooth attack, but a nasty buzz on release, so there's some golden middle ground somewhere.

 

Also working on something worth recording, with just one hand. If I'm happy with the sound, I hope to build a wider keyboard for both hands to play together, like a true Duet box.

 

I trust all the Hayden players will take a stab at this thing at NESI.

--Mike K.

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Thats pretty cool, now we need a sound clip.
Be glad to, if I ever get a decent WAV to MP3 converter program

Mike-

 

I have such a converter. It's called iTunes, and it comes bundled with every Mac. If you e-mail me the .wav file, I can convert it to mp3 and send it back. I'd post it myself, but my account here is maxed out for uploads. My e-mail address is in my sig, below.

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Thats pretty cool, now we need a sound clip.
Be glad to, if I ever get a decent WAV to MP3 converter program

Mike-

 

I have such a converter. It's called iTunes, and it comes bundled with every Mac. If you e-mail me the .wav file, I can convert it to mp3 and send it back. I'd post it myself, but my account here is maxed out for uploads. My e-mail address is in my sig, below.

I use Switch on Mac. Excellent! I didn't notice sound deterioration, noticeably worse, then with other converter I have on my PC (a cool one, just Right Button click, but not as encompassing, as Switch).

Where do you see how much upload space you have?

What if you delete your old uploads, will it free up space?

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Thats pretty cool, now we need a sound clip.
Be glad to, if I ever get a decent WAV to MP3 converter program

Mike-

 

I have such a converter. It's called iTunes, and it comes bundled with every Mac. If you e-mail me the .wav file, I can convert it to mp3 and send it back. I'd post it myself, but my account here is maxed out for uploads. My e-mail address is in my sig, below.

Thanks, David. But the raw .wav files would be too large to send you in email -- I haven't the lifespan left to upload them on my dial-up modem.

 

My wife's laptop has iTunes, so maybe I can uses hers. Allegedly iTunes won't run on my Win98 system, tho I haven't tried to install it yet.

 

A friend told me that WIndows Media Player can convert to MP3 (actually WMA), but only from a CD track -- so I'd have to burn a CD of the WAV files first. That's OK.

 

I may just keep lookign for an MP3 convertere. Or see what Switch wants me to do to pay for it.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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I may just keep lookign for an MP3 convertere.

There are *lots* of free ones out there.

 

Or see what Switch wants me to do to pay for it.

I don't know anything about Switch but I use Polderbits (for about 10 years now) and have been very happy with it. It's a high-quality recorder (from many sources) and mp3 converter. Very small and "fast" software. Can split recordings and truncate them, even with increasing and decreasing sound levels, has various filters you can apply, etc.

 

If you already have a recorder (or don't want/need one), and just want to convert files - I recommend WAV to MP3 Encoder which is only $15 for the full-fledged version. I think the only difference is that the free version has ads and was limited to 1/2 a CD's worth? I can't quite remember but I was so impressed with the free version I bought the full version.

 

The really nice thing about the WAV to MP3 Encoder is that it is mind-boggling simple... AND... you can choose the compression rate of the mp3 crunch. Really nice for sending files by dial-up.

 

-- Rich --

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Where do you see how much upload space you have?
I found it when I hit the wall. It's also available in the window you work in to upload an attachment:
Select a file
Attachment space used 4.39MB of 4.39MB

What if you delete your old uploads, will it free up space?
Probably. I could do that, or I could create another account with a similar name (David M Barnert, or David_Barnert or some other variant) and start over. At the moment, I'm not inclined to do either.

 

A friend told me that WIndows Media Player can convert to MP3 (actually WMA), but only from a CD track -- so I'd have to burn a CD of the WAV files first. That's OK.
That's not OK. WMA is not mp3. Virtually any 21st century machine (including many cars and telephones) can play mp3s. Ability to play WMA is much more limited. If you haven't got a windows computer or a Mac with proprietary software (Windows Media Player or Flip4Mac), you can't play it. I can't play it. Don't even think about trying to play it on something like an iPod.
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Replying to a number of topics:

 

First, this morning I played thru the Jody Kruskal Book (Feet int he CLouds) -- not on my Hayden concertinas, but on my Hayden Button Clavichord. Not bad, tho I wish I could throw in the harmonies with my LH. Ironically, my prototype does not allow a "duet" of two hands. Still has a nice old-timey sound on those reels and jigs, but a nice sustain on the ballads as well.

 

I think my buttons could use felt bushings around the holes, to reduce the slap noise on some notes.

 

Re MP3 conversions: I did like Switch -- it had lots of MP3 bit-rate compressions options, including variable-bit-rate, which is even more efficient, tho I don't know if everything out there can play it. I do think I'll find out just what my payment options are, if I can buy it without revealing credit card or other info.

 

About deleting uploads to get space back: If you do delete a photo you uploaded as part of a posting/reply long ago, will that posting now read with a "red X" where the pic used to be? I'd guess so, so you have to be selective about what you delete. Can you substitute a URL link to a photo "remote hosted" on your own Web site?

 

--Mike K.

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Can you substitute a URL link to a photo "remote hosted" on your own Web site?

 

That's a great way to save your own personal web space. I host my pics in Photo Bucket and linked them to my site (The site is not up and running at the moment). I also do that with Myspace.

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