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The new “Elise”, a 34 key Hayden Duet model


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In fact -- if someone new to squeezing learns on an Elise, and then decides she would be better off in Maccann or Crane, then he's not invested all that much time and effort, since one can get pretty decent at Hayden in six months or less. That "quick learning curve" of the Hayden can lead to another type of Duet. He's learned phrasing and expression and bellows technique, and above all, how to operate each side of the brain independently.

 

 

--Mike K.

 

This is a really good counter to my argument Mike, and perhaps I'm being unduly pessimistic and you are right. I really hope so. Certainly the investment's much smaller than taking on a vintage 'box. You could buy and sell one relatively painlessly.

 

Henri; I don't record myself much ("I'm a concertina player, not a bloody sound technician!"). I'll see what I can find.

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I think an explanation of the Elise keyboard might answer some of the questions.

 

Before we decided to add an entry level model duet to our beginners line of concertinas, we made sure we did our homework. In order to make such a project feasible, you have to make sure the market is large enough to justify the investment.

 

The average Jackie/Jack, Rochelle (2000+) and hopefully the Elise buyer comes from different cultures all over the world, and quite often has no idea of the english/irish music scene. Most of these people bought the instrument because it is small, portable, probably easy to learn and cheap. Many of them have never seen or heard of a concertina before buying their instrument. They just think it would be nice to be able to play a musical instrument.

In order for the Elise to be interesting for this very large group of potential players, it needed to be usable in different musical cultures, not just in tonal music, and the keyboard should have enough range to offer insight in the logic of it. With the current layout the elise can play in these scales/modes:

- Diatonic: C, G, D, F major. B, E, A, D eolian (natural minor). D harmonic minor.

- Modes: dorian/hypodorian: D, E, A, G. Phrigian/hypophrigian: E, B, F#, A.

Lidian/hypolidian: F, C, G, Bb. Mixolidian/hypomixolidian: G, D, A, C.

- pentatonic scales as used in jazz, blues and etnic music

- most of the tetrachords and hexachords used in eastern ethnic music, and

early music.

 

You can easily substitute missing notes in tonal melodies by playing the note that is either a 3rd higher or lower, depending on the harmony.

If the Elise follows the example of the Jackie and Rochelle, it will end up all over the world, being used in all kind of musical settings. Players will adapt to the limitations of the instrument, just like harmonica players have done for generations (the “limited” diatonic harmonica is still more popular than the superior chromatic model).

I realize that for this community irish/english folk music is often the reason for playing the concertina, but many people in the outside world the concertina is just another, hopefully interesting, musical instrument that they can use in their own music scene. However, if they really feel they need more notes, they can always add their name to our waiting list for our 46 or 65 key models……

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

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Question for Dirge:

 

My hat's off to you since you say that you use all of your 71 keys. I play a 48 key Sally Army Crane and I'll have to admit that I would like to try a 55 but that's it, at least, I hope so.

 

Have you ever recorded your Maccan playing? I daresay that you may well be one of the only large Maccan players alive and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear you.

 

Cheers,

 

Henri van Wandelen

near Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

I have some other players of the Maccan Duet and they will be featured on Duet International ,amongst other Duet systems. I must admit that they take some finding. (to be released next year).

If anyone(including yourself) is interested in sending me some party pieces for possible inclusion in this collection, or you know of a player who you think should be included please contact me (in confidence)

Thanks

Al

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I must say I feel a bit gutted hearing this - when decided what type of concertina I wanted to learn last autumn, I ruled out Hayden as too expensive - had I only waited 6 months I would I put a pre-order for one of these in!

 

But never mind, I love my Jackie :) and this at least means that learning the Hayden duet will be a feasible future project one day. It seems really great to me that the available Haydens are starting to fill out the price range.

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We have a new addition to our family of entry level concertinas: the Elise 34 key Hayden Duet.

 

(snip) For further details please see http://www.concertinaconnection.com/elise.htm

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

Nobody's commented on it yet, but the Elise package includes a tutor booklet, according to the Web site, presumably of the same high calibre as came with the Jack(ie) and Rochelle boxes.

 

It'll be interesting to read what may be the first book on learning Hayden (or any?) Duet. Rich Morse did put out a couple pages of charts, but Wim's tutor will teach the basics like holding, bellows control, and other things that self-taught players like myself have grown sloppy about.

 

I'll be interested to see WIm's own approach to Hayden playing styles -- oom-pah, parallel harmonies, countermelodies, etc..

 

So not only has Wim silenced the complaint of "no affordable Hayden Duets", but also the complaint of "no books for learning it".

Looking forward to my Elise package -- Mike K.

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So not only has Wim silenced the complaint of "no affordable Hayden Duets", -- Mike K.

There's still nowhere to graduate to without buying a middle sized brand new larger one at brand new prices and brand new waits. I wish you'd stop exaggerating the wonders of the Hayden in a way that might confuse a beginner. Why do you do it? Are you paid? By who?

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I wish you'd stop exaggerating the wonders of the Hayden in a way that might confuse a beginner. Why do you do it? Are you paid? By who?

 

Having met Ragtimer at NECW, I would guess it's just natural enthusiasm and love of the instrument and music. And putting the question of availability of instruments aside (and suspending the inate, ango-player's antipathy towards other systems!) I have to say I was mightily impressed and intrigued by the the system and (small) handful of Hayden players at NECW, and was left wondering why it isn't more popular. It struck me that the lack of instruments may be a chicken and egg thing. So it might be in Ragtimer's best interest to create a greater demand for Haydens ;)

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I wish you'd stop exaggerating the wonders of the Hayden in a way that might confuse a beginner. Why do you do it? Are you paid? By who?

 

Having met Ragtimer at NECW, I would guess it's just natural enthusiasm and love of the instrument and music. And putting the question of availability of instruments aside (and suspending the inate, ango-player's antipathy towards other systems!) I have to say I was mightily impressed and intrigued by the the system and (small) handful of Hayden players at NECW, and was left wondering why it isn't more popular. It struck me that the lack of instruments may be a chicken and egg thing. So it might be in Ragtimer's best interest to create a greater demand for Haydens ;)

Thanks very much for rising to my defense, Bill! I think you gave the same answer I would have given to Dirge -- I'm just still running on my 4.5-year-old enthusiasm for the instrument.

 

Gee, I wish some maker would reward me with a discount on a new Hayden :P

 

I think (correct me if I forgot something) that I have never run down any other concertina system, just boosted the one I have. OK, I've said in the past that some types were hard for me to figure out, but that's just my own brain's wiring.

 

But I'd say that my positive statements re the Hayden are partly motivated by trying to compensate for negative factors already out there -- the belief that Duets as a whole are too hard to play, that you can't find a Hayden, or tutor books for Duet, and of course, that hardly anyone plays them.

 

And a rising Duet tide should lift all boats -- interest in the Hayden should lead folks to consider Macann and Crane as well, or halt conversion of Jeffries.

 

As for "confusing a beginner" -- don't you think a beginner should try out, in addition to, the EC and Anglo, a Duet? And she's not likely to find a vintage Maccann or Crane lying around in a store, so how about an entry level Hayden?

 

Finally, the new ELise may just get people to try concertinas, period! Then they may decide to go for Anglo or EC. That can only help our collective cause.

 

BTW, I agree that more price-points need to be filled in on the Hayden availablilty spectrum -- a mid-range (under U$2000) hybrid would be nice. But we now have entry level and top ends covered. As for used vintage instruments, well, think of your grandkids :rolleyes: --Mike K.

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I ... was left wondering why it [the Hayden] isn't more popular. It struck me that the lack of instruments may be a chicken and egg thing. So it might be in Ragtimer's best interest to create a greater demand for Haydens ;)

 

Maybe it's a historical phenomenon. When the Maccann and Crane duet systems were devised, the concertina was definitely cool. Concertina was the sound to have, but both the Anglo and the English had their limitations - roughly speaking, the English, though chromatic, was very linear, and the Anglo, though handy for chords, was very limited in key (in Germany we call it a "diatonic" instrument). Maccann himself was a concert soloist, and his duet combined melody and harmony in any key. The Crane system offered the same, but without trying to build on the English arrangement, so it was easier to learn for first-time concertinists.

 

Today, we have the legacy of many English and Anglo concertinas, and the ones that are there are being played (again) - even to the extent that prices are high, and new ones are now being built to satisfy the market.

 

There are still some old duets lying around, but these seem to satisfy the contemporary market. When I decided to "go duet", I didn't have to wait long to find a suitable vintage Crane, and it cost a lot less than a vintage Anglo by the same manufacturer (Lachenal). It seems that most people who want to play concertina as such go for the originals - English or Anglo - and those who want free-reed polyphony or chords nowadays go for chromatic accordions (or even synthesisers). There's nothing inherently cool about a small, hexagonal squeezebox any more.

The Anglo has carved out a niche for itself in ITM and Morris, and the English still has the aura of THE concertina per se, and of an almost classical instrument. But the Duets have retired to the ranks of us individualists, now that the music-halls have gone, and the Salvation Army has no need of them.

 

I'm really interested to see how the Hayden - as a duet concertina, quite apart from its specific fingering system - makes out.

 

Cheers,

John

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I wish you'd stop exaggerating the wonders of the Hayden in a way that might confuse a beginner. Why do you do it? Are you paid? By who?

 

I guess, sinse Ragtimer is still alive, he's definitely paid by someone. Why is he confusing beginners? Because he's purely evil. If you read his name backwards, it means "Confuse a Beginner" in early Mongolian dialect of Kyrgyn-Batur.

But I too, thought that Hayden is such a wonder, untill I borrowed Stagi Hayden for 10 days, having previously practiced on button layout, drawn on two sheets of paper.

I could play all my "practiced" tunes almost immediately, esp. melody only, on both sides, but I wasn't impressed.

With the same ease I made progress on Crane Duet. Simple tunes are simple. Complex music is, well, complex. If we don't make progress learning the keyboard - we are not working. To each it's own, but we are not working. All of us can read and write, type on the not so logical common keyboards, yet we can't "wrap our brain" over left/right English, or push/pull Anglo. I'd say it's nonsence, don't let yourself be misled by a tantrum. If you can type - no keyboard is too hard. With this in mind, when you choose an instrument, a good rule is to choose one that is available, has tutors, teachers, workshops and music recorded to inspire for. A Hayden is not a panacea. It's designed around Western Folk music and is best for it. But as you try to widen your range - Hayden will begin to lose it's magic.

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I guess, sinse Ragtimer is still alive, he's definitely paid by someone.

Uh-oh, the secret is out -- the Elise development was secretly bankrolled under the table by the Social Security Administration :P

They want to raise a generation of Geezer Squeezers .

Why is he confusing beginners? Because he's purely evil. If you read his name backwards, it means "Confuse a Beginner" in early Mongolian dialect of Kyrgyn-Batur.

"Re-Mitgar" -- I love it! Sounds really Mongol, or maybe even Viking. My next handle for Facebook or whatever.

(snip)

A Hayden is not a panacea. It's designed around Western Folk music and is best for it. But as you try to widen your range - Hayden will begin to lose it's magic.

I won't deny this. What I was telling folks at NCW is that the Hayden has an easy learning curve initially, but can get pretty steep later -- but the easy beginning is huge for getting newbies interested and keeping them working at it. When you get into chromatic scales and more remote keys, the Hayden becomes just another musical instrument -- you have to practice a lot (including scales, sight reading, hand independence, etc.) to make further progress. No more "magic." But with practice, the Hayden should be the musical equal of the other Duets.

 

At that point, the player may (1) buckle down and work on his Hayden technique,

(2) Just stay where he is, playing oom-pah and folksy tunes (nothing wrong with that),

or (3) start over with another concertina system, building on learned common bellows technique, etc.

 

And yes, I acknowledge for for some individuals, the EC or Anglo may start out easier than any Duet. That's why a newbie should visit a shop, try each type of concertina, under guidance of a knowledgeable sales person. before making any decisions. Though I'm not sure that the first half hour fooling with the buttons is the best indication of how your brain is wired. It worked for me, but "your mileage may vary."

--Mike K.

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It's designed around Western Folk music and is best for it. But as you try to widen your range - Hayden will begin to lose it's magic.

 

Thanks for straightening us out. I’ll be sure to abandon all the jazz and other non-folk music I’ve been playing right away. I’ll contact Jim Bayliss, who has tricked us into enjoying the pieces like Blue Moon, etc. that he plays, so he also will not continue wasting our time. I believe David Barnert plays Satie's Gnossienne #1 on a Hayden - perhaps someone should alert him also, so that he won't continue to make a fool of himself.

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Folks, let's remember that this thread began with the announcement of a new product that isn't even available for review yet. Perhaps we should leave it at that and all go back to playing our favorite system(s) and acknowledge that the world will always have (I, at least, hope) many concertinas of all types. I congratulate every player of every system, and I don't care what system it is. I also don't concern myself with what house of worship (if any) you attend or what your favorite libation is (except when treating you to one, of course! B) ).

 

Thanks,

Ken

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It's designed around Western Folk music and is best for it. But as you try to widen your range - Hayden will begin to lose it's magic.

 

Thanks for straightening us out. I’ll be sure to abandon all the jazz and other non-folk music I’ve been playing right away. I’ll contact Jim Bayliss, who has tricked us into enjoying the pieces like Blue Moon, etc. that he plays, so he also will not continue wasting our time. I believe David Barnert plays Satie's Gnossienne #1 on a Hayden - perhaps someone should alert him also, so that he won't continue to make a fool of himself.

And so much for my arrangement of Lullaby of Birdland, which I even labeled as "not your typical contradance tune."

 

But -- I think m3838 merely meant to say that when we advance to sophisticated music like the above, there's no more "magic" and we have to knuckle down and practice. Well, we're musicians, we can deal with that.

 

More serious is -- what do we advise a beginner to do now (or in a month or so)? Before it was "try a Rochelle Anglo and/or a Jackie EC, see what works for you." Now we need to add "try an Elise Hayden." More choices -- decisions! oh no!

 

And maybe someone worries that, if we Haydenites beat the drum too loudly, all the newbies will get hooked on Elise and nobody will be playing EC or ANglo in 30 years from now. Somehow I don't think this will happen.

Thanks, Sttephen -- Mike K.

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I think m3838 merely meant to say that when we advance to sophisticated music like the above, there's no more "magic" and we have to knuckle down and practice.

 

Maybe. Nevertheless, for me, like Jeff Lefferts recently posted, the magic only increases with time and of course, with practice.

 

The whole set of arguments of this system vs. that system is to me mostly nonsense. You choose an instrument, any instrument and then learn to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. That's when the magic begins. Good luck to the Wakkers and their "Elise".

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I think m3838 merely meant to say that when we advance to sophisticated music like the above, there's no more "magic" and we have to knuckle down and practice.

 

Maybe. Nevertheless, for me, like Jeff Lefferts recently posted, the magic only increases with time and of course, with practice.

 

The whole set of arguments of this system vs. that system is to me mostly nonsense. You choose an instrument, any instrument and then learn to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. That's when the magic begins. Good luck to the Wakkers and their "Elise".

That's my whole point. Where the Hayden is concerned, once the magic begins the supply of instruments lets you down.

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