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Given That The Reeds Are The Same


Ptarmigan
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-I have an open-back banjo and alter its tone and mute it for late practice by stuffing a cloth inside. The cloth mutes volume and also cuts overtones and sweetens the sound. Density/weave variation changes the sound i.e. velour cuts volume a lot and fine linen changes it a little. The banjo is reedless of course :P but the dynamics of sound attenuation should be similar. Reflecting metal concertina ends might be considered corollary to the banjo's metal tone ring. Concertina is often perceived in better odor than banjo, which suffers a downscale image alluded to in this t-shirt text "Paddle faster. I hear banjos."

:lol:

 

-B.

Hey B,

 

I know there are a million & one Banjo jokes, but are there many jokes about the Concertina & it's players out there?

 

Cheers

Dick

 

Getting back to the subject of lined ends...I am confused. If the fabric lining of the ends of of my instrument were to be replaced by leather (however thin) the bellows would surely be totally starved of air and there would be nothing to activate the reeds. I am obviously missing the point somewhere along the line.

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Getting back to the subject of lined ends...I am confused. If the fabric lining of the ends of of my instrument were to be replaced by leather (however thin) the bellows would surely be totally starved of air and there would be nothing to activate the reeds. I am obviously missing the point somewhere along the line.

Interesting point.

 

I suppose with leather in place, you have to work a little harder to get the same amount of air to pass over the reeds.

 

I wonder were all, or most, of the Sally Army Concertinas deliberately made with leather in place, to ensure that these instruments were a little quieter, knowing that they would always be used to accompany singers?

 

I've just taken out my Sally Army Lachenal, with the leather in place & checked it out & working the air button, I see that air is getting through around the edges in places, but mostly at the top, through the large round hole. { it's not oval! }

 

Surely it doesn't take that much air to actually sound a reed though, does it?

 

I like the notion that the wood pores absorb some of the sound.

 

Makes me wonder just how quiet a Concertina would be, if the ends were made of THIS material? ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

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Hey Rod

Baffles (the lining in the ends) can be mounted on standoffs to allow airflow.

Here is an article discussing the subject.

Brilliant Laitch, thanks for the link to that fascinating article.

 

.... Victorian concertinas with steel reeds were suitable for close chords, because of the leather baffle, which muted the higher harmonics.

Ah Ha, so was Leather only used on Victorian instruments?

 

The serial number on my Lachenal is 183993. Anyone know how old it is?

 

Does anyone here use these Pine Baffles Robert Gaskins talks about? I guess they'd put manners on even the loudest Concertina?

 

Many thanks to Robert for posting this brilliant article. All the answers to all my questions on this subject are there ... plus all the solutions!

 

Here endeth another C.net thread! B)

 

Cheers

Dick

Edited by Ptarmigan
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...

If the fabric lining of the ends of of my instrument were to be replaced by leather (however thin) the bellows would surely be totally starved of air and there would be nothing to activate the reeds

...

Think of the baffles or lining (fabric, leather, what-have-you) as absorbents - they are not supposed to stop or reduce air flow.

 

If you empty your (tiled) bathroom of all sorts of fabric (towel etc), sing a tune (don't get carried away), make a mental note of the sound, put the towels back, sing the same tune, you will surely experience the absorbing effect of the fabric. But it didn't stop the air flow in your throat, yes? (Neighbors might do it, though - sorry, I got carried away :D ).

/Henrik

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All vocal chords are made of the same material, but voices don't sound the same.

 

Sound a reed on its own, with no box around it and you get a fairly mediocre noise.

 

Twang a guitar string under tension and you will get a less satisfying sound than if the string is properly attached to a guitar.

 

There are three things going on, at least:

 

Resonance. ...

Absorbtion. ...

Reflection. ...

 

I don't disagree, but should point out that reeds and strings work completely differently. Separate a string and a reed from the respective instrument, and this becomes apparent. Take the string of an archer's bow and a violinist's pitch pipe, for example.

The bowstring produces a musical note, but it'a a mere whiper. The pitch-pipe, which is just a reed in a small, metal tube, is easily loud enough to tune a fiddle in a noisy pub, where electronic tuners (without a pickup) fail miserably.

 

Why?

A tuned string vibrates at a certain frequency. To be audible, it has to transfer these vibrations to the air. But it is too thin to set enough air in vibration for us to hear it. The vibrations must therefore be transmitted to a resonant body with a large surface - e.g. a piano sounding board, a guitar top or a banjo head - which in turn sets a large volume of air in motion.

The pitch-pipe reed does not generate vibrations in the air. It pulses the stream of air passing through it at a certain frequency.

 

This difference in principle means different requirements for stringed instruments and free-reed instruments. The first objective in building a stringed instrument is to achieve audibility (loudness). Once you've got that, you can try for beauty and clarity of tone.

The free-reed instruments don't have to strive for audibility - they have it from the start. Any juggling with geometries and materials is concerned with the character of the tone.

 

What amazes me is that, on a given concertina, a given note has the same character on the press and the draw. Even though the pulsed air is passing through the hole in the action board and then the end of the box, on the press, and straight into the bellows, on the draw!

What I deduce from this is that the character of the tone of a concertina has little to do with what happens to the pulsed air-stream, and more with what happens to the reed vibrations that are incidental to the pulsing of the air. Probably these can be amplified and equalised a little by the reaction of the surrounding materials.

 

Just a few thoughts that might help,

Cheers,

John

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Hey Rod

Baffles (the lining in the ends) can be mounted on standoffs to allow airflow.

Here is an article discussing the subject.

 

Thanks Laitch for pointing me in the direction of the Article 'Baffles for Maccann Concertinas'. Just the sort of information I was hoping for. Didn't even know they were called 'Baffles' but shall now study the article in detail. I imagine the subject is as applicable to Anglos as it is to Maccanns ?

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Hey Rod

Baffles (the lining in the ends) can be mounted on standoffs to allow airflow.

Here is an article discussing the subject.

 

Thanks Laitch for pointing me in the direction of the Article 'Baffles for Maccann Concertinas'. Just the sort of information I was hoping for. Didn't even know they were called 'Baffles' but shall now study the article in detail. I imagine the subject is as applicable to Anglos as it is to Maccanns ?

 

If I remember rightly, the basis of the "Baffles" article was that the left-hand side of a duet is sometimes considered too loud for the right-hand side, so that the harmonies - especially full chords - drown out the melody, and a bass baffle was offered as a remedy.

With the Anglo, the melody often dips onto the left hand, so it doesn't make sense to just baffle one side. If your Anglo is too loud for your voice, you can just play it more quietly, and if you just want to soften the tone, perhaps different thicknesses of gauze could be tried out.

 

Cheers,

John

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If I remember rightly, the basis of the "Baffles" article was that the left-hand side of a duet is sometimes considered too loud for the right-hand side, so that the harmonies - especially full chords - drown out the melody, and a bass baffle was offered as a remedy.

With the Anglo, the melody often dips onto the left hand, so it doesn't make sense to just baffle one side. If your Anglo is too loud for your voice, you can just play it more quietly, and if you just want to soften the tone, perhaps different thicknesses of gauze could be tried out.

 

Cheers,

John

 

Sorry John this is complete cobblers regularly repeated by people who don't play duets. What you say about the Anglo also applies to duets. You would have to have a very limited duet playing style to baffle one side only and like it.

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Sorry John this is complete cobblers regularly repeated by people who don't play duets. What you say about the Anglo also applies to duets. You would have to have a very limited duet playing style to baffle one side only and like it.

 

Sorry, Dirge,

 

I plead not guilty to talking through my hat - I was only recalling in writing what the author of that article on baffles for Maccanns wrote. :unsure:

 

I should have kept my trap shut just for a day or two - I'm expecting my "new" Triumph duet to arrive from Chris Algar this week. I promise not to talk about duet matters again until I've found out how to play it. :lol:

 

Cheers,

John

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Sorry John this is complete cobblers regularly repeated by people who don't play duets. What you say about the Anglo also applies to duets. You would have to have a very limited duet playing style to baffle one side only and like it.

 

Sorry, Dirge,

 

I plead not guilty to talking through my hat - I was only recalling in writing what the author of that article on baffles for Maccanns wrote. :unsure:

 

I should have kept my trap shut just for a day or two - I'm expecting my "new" Triumph duet to arrive from Chris Algar this week. I promise not to talk about duet matters again until I've found out how to play it. :lol:

 

Cheers,

John

 

Whilst I was fascinated to read about 'baffles' I have no intention of experimenting with my own instrument as I am more than happy with it's tone and balance as it is. For obvious reasons a three-note left hand chord will be greedy for air and tend to leave insufficient air for a simultaneous right hand single note. I guess that a 'Baffle' cannot be expected to solve that particular problem ??? Has anyone come up with an appropriate solution in this instance other than resorting to excess volume ?

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Longer bellows. Or just use a 2 note power chord on the left hand. The ear will fill in the missing third from the musical context, kind of sort of just go with me on this.

 

All musical instruments have their particular strengths and limitations. The Concertina probably has no more limitations than any other and much of the fun is in striving to overcome such limitations...is it not ?

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The pitch-pipe reed does not generate vibrations in the air. It pulses the stream of air passing through it at a certain frequency.

... generating vibrations, surely? In terms of what we hear, what's the different between pulsing and vibrating?

 

Ray

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The pitch-pipe reed does not generate vibrations in the air. It pulses the stream of air passing through it at a certain frequency.

... generating vibrations, surely? In terms of what we hear, what's the different between pulsing and vibrating?

 

Ray

 

Conceptually, a wave has peaks and troughs, the frequency of the peaks determining the pitch. The pulse, on the other hand, interrupts the air-flow and re-starts it, the frequency of the interruptions determining the pitch.

A string actually moves in waves, generating the sound (which is then amplified by the body of the insrument), and continues to do so after it has been plucked.

The reed (free reed or oboe reed or clarinet reed) needs an airflow to interrupt, and thus does not sound on when you stop blowing.

 

Once the note has "left" the instrument, it is carried by the air as sound-waves. That's what we hear, and although a held note on a concertina and on a violin sound pretty similar, the sound-waves are generated by a different method.

 

Cheers,

John

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