How difficult is the Hayden system?

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Charles Starrett

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Sep 2, 2003, 6:37:54 PM9/2/03
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I'm a classically-trained pianist who is trying to find a good
portable instrument to learn. I am learning pennywhistle and Highland
pipes, but I'd like to have something I could play as accompaniment to
my own singing. I'm planning on using it for sacred music, classical
music, and Scottish folk songs. I've tried guitar but at my age
(mid-30s) I'm finding it very difficult. I'm wondering if concertina
might leverage some of the training that my fingers gained when I was
younger? For some reason, I'm not attracted to PA, although I realize
it would be easier for me. Is the Hayden Duet system horribly
difficult? If I'm getting discouraged at guitar, is there any chance I
could find the concertina easier, or should I forget it.

I realize this is a very personal and individual question. I guess I'm
hoping to hear if any "adult learners" have tackled the Hayden Duet
system and whether they've found any success... Should I try English
instead? (I don't think Anglo would fit my repertoire,
unfortunately.)

Thanks for any advice!

Steffan O'Sullivan

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Sep 2, 2003, 7:23:30 PM9/2/03
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cdsta...@yahoo.com (Charles Starrett) wrote:
>I'm a classically-trained pianist who is trying to find a good
>portable instrument to learn.
...

>I'm wondering if concertina
>might leverage some of the training that my fingers gained when I was
>younger? For some reason, I'm not attracted to PA, although I realize
>it would be easier for me. Is the Hayden Duet system horribly
>difficult?

Where are you located? If you're in the northeast part of the US
or southeast part of Canada, you could stop in at the Northeast
Squeeze-In (http://www.buttonbox.com/s-i.html). You could actually
try it out yourself there, and find at least one person who loves
the instrument to explain the layout to you.

I play English concertina, myself, and briefly tried the Hayden at
last year's Squeeze-In, without anyone helping me. I was able to
pick out the notes, figure out chords, etc., but it seemed harder
to play melody line on the Hayden than on the English - at least
to me. But it was an easier fit for me than the Anglo is - I just
can't play an instrument that has different notes on the push and
draw and am in awe of people who can.

At any rate, I think it would work fairly well for accompaniment,
though I admit this isn't the voice of experience. I don't find
the English all that easy for accompaniment, but I know players
who use it that way very well. But I'm no musician - just a
dilettante.

--
Steffan O'Sullivan s...@panix.com Plymouth, NH, USA
---------------------- http://www.panix.com/~sos ---------------------
"You can no more win a war than win an earthquake."
-Jeanette Rankin, first woman elected to US congress

Jack J. Woehr

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Sep 2, 2003, 8:12:43 PM9/2/03
to Charles Starrett
Charles Starrett wrote:

> I realize this is a very personal and individual question. I guess I'm
> hoping to hear if any "adult learners" have tackled the Hayden Duet
> system and whether they've found any success... Should I try English
> instead? (I don't think Anglo would fit my repertoire,
> unfortunately.)

Hayden is easier than English in general because it's more like a modern instrument.
It's chromatic and the buttons are arranged in a pattern conducive to key modulation,
rather than modal-oriented like English.

The hard part about squeezebox of any kind is the bellows, not the buttons. Like the
bow with the violin.

My Hayden page is http://www.well.com/~jax/rcfb/hayden_duet.html

--
Jack J. Woehr # Ceterum censeo
PO Box 51, Golden, CO 80402 # in herbas belli
http://www.softwoehr.com # ab idem desistamus.

DoN. Nichols

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Sep 2, 2003, 8:49:36 PM9/2/03
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In article <bj38ph$dvo$1...@reader2.panix.com>,

Steffan O'Sullivan <s...@panix.com> wrote:
>cdsta...@yahoo.com (Charles Starrett) wrote:
>>I'm a classically-trained pianist who is trying to find a good
>>portable instrument to learn.
>...
>>I'm wondering if concertina

[ ... ]

>>it would be easier for me. Is the Hayden Duet system horribly
>>difficult?
>
>Where are you located? If you're in the northeast part of the US
>or southeast part of Canada, you could stop in at the Northeast
>Squeeze-In (http://www.buttonbox.com/s-i.html). You could actually
>try it out yourself there, and find at least one person who loves
>the instrument to explain the layout to you.

Good advice. There are several who are regulars there.

>I play English concertina, myself, and briefly tried the Hayden at
>last year's Squeeze-In, without anyone helping me. I was able to
>pick out the notes, figure out chords, etc., but it seemed harder
>to play melody line on the Hayden than on the English - at least
>to me.

I also play the English system by preference, and a little bit
on a Chidley modified MacCann system duet.

Given that, I found it quite easy to find a simple (pentatonic)
melody on both ends -- by ear, and I normally do not play or even learn
by ear. (The melody was "Fairweel tae Tairwathie", if anyone cares. :-)

> But it was an easier fit for me than the Anglo is - I just
>can't play an instrument that has different notes on the push and
>draw and am in awe of people who can.

I also have difficulty with the Anglo -- enough so I don't
normally even try it. The button accordion is similar, and I can
usually find *one* melody on that afer a while. :-)

>At any rate, I think it would work fairly well for accompaniment,
>though I admit this isn't the voice of experience. I don't find
>the English all that easy for accompaniment, but I know players
>who use it that way very well. But I'm no musician - just a
>dilettante.

Those who I know who use the English for accompaniment tend to
play lush chords, instead of melody. I wind up playing melody, and
giving up on singing with it. I let the instrument sing for me.

Good Luck,
DoN.
--
Email: <dnic...@d-and-d.com> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
--- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---

DavBarnert

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Sep 2, 2003, 11:16:44 PM9/2/03
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I've been playing the Hayden since 1987. I found it easy to learn
(I was in my 30s at the time) but perhaps no easier than the
guitar, which I learned in my teens. I also play many other
instruments, the Hayden being one of the latest additions.

I use it mostly for playing dance music and for accompanying group
singing. I find that when I am singing by myself, I'd rather be
playing the guitar. I don't know if it's a range thing or a volume
thing, but I just don't get a sense that the kind of playing I do
on the Hayden suits my singing.

I have heard other concertina systems used very successfully with
voice: English (Michael Cooney, Mike Agranoff, Louis Killen),
Anglo (John Roberts, Jody Kruskal) other duets (Dave Cornell, Tim
Laycock). Unfortunately, none of us have heard many Hayden
players, because there just aren't many, but I don't think I've
ever heard someone sing along with one (except the sound clip on
Jax's web site).

And then there's the question of actually getting your hands on
one (a good one, that is).

If you come to the Squeeze-In, you can try mine.

Bottom line, FWIW: Hayden wouldn't be my first thought for
accompanying solo singing (at least *my* singing).

Good luck in your quest.

______ /\/\/\/\
<______> | | | | | David Barnert
<______> | | | | | <davba...@aol.com>
<______> | | | | | Albany, NY
<______> \/\/\/\/

Ventilator Concertina
Bellows Bellows
(Vocation) (Avocation)

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

Charles Starrett wrote-

Roger E. Blumberg

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Sep 3, 2003, 12:55:16 AM9/3/03
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ever hear of a harmonium? It's a small portable table-top free-reed
piano/organ/accordion. One hand (right) plays chords or melody while the
left pumps the bellows.

For portable sacred music vocal accompaniment that might be the ticket (for
you). Here's pictures of some
http://www.earthvibemusic.com/har.htm

Roger

Michael Bell

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Sep 3, 2003, 1:41:41 AM9/3/03
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In article <a76047b9.03090...@posting.google.com>, Charles Starrett

Charles

I am 62 years old, I have played English for 8 years (my first
serious musical instrument) and I get on well with it. For my purposes
it has two shortcomings :-

* It is a treble, it starts at the G below middle C. That is
too high to accompany deeper male voices.

* It IS possible to play more than one line, but it is very
awkward and there can be no spontaneity about it because it takes
immense planning to get the fingers in the right places,

SO I have bought a Hayden Duet and in the last week I have
started to learn to play it using the tutor at :-


http://www.maccann-duet.com/docs/Hayden-All-Systems-Duet-Workshop-Tutor.pdf


I find it easy and natural. With your classical piano training
it should be even easier. It would be my recommendation.

--

Michael Bell

DavBarnert

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Sep 3, 2003, 9:52:39 AM9/3/03
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Charles Starrett wrote:

>I'd like to have something I could play as accompaniment to my
>own singing.

I wrote:

>...I just don't get a sense that the kind of playing I do on the
>Hayden suits my singing.

Michael wrote:

>SO I have bought a Hayden Duet and in the last week I have

>started to learn to play it... I find it easy and natural. With


>your classical piano training it should be even easier. It would
>be my recommendation.

But do you sing with it or have a sense of what it would be like to
sing with it?

Richard Morse

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Sep 3, 2003, 11:12:53 AM9/3/03
to Charles Starrett
Charles Starrett wrote:
> I'm a classically-trained pianist who is trying to find a good
> portable instrument to learn. I am learning pennywhistle and Highland
> pipes, but I'd like to have something I could play as accompaniment to
> my own singing. I'm planning on using it for sacred music, classical
> music, and Scottish folk songs.
>
> I realize this is a very personal and individual question. I guess I'm
> hoping to hear if any "adult learners" have tackled the Hayden Duet
> system and whether they've found any success... Should I try English
> instead? (I don't think Anglo would fit my repertoire,
> unfortunately.)

I started Hayden in my mid 30's and found it very easy to learn.
Beforehand I played several other instruments including piano. Since
then (that was 19 years ago) I've narrowed things down to just two
instruments: the Hayden and piano. I find them to be a very
complimentary pair as both have the propensities I like the most: being
able to play part music and good range.

The Hayden's (as do other duets') main advantage over Englishes is that
it was designed to play several lines of music at the same time, much
like hands on a piano can play stride and bass lines, and melody with
some filler notes or a harmony line. An extended range English can
approach such only in the hands of a very accomplished player. Englishes
were designed mainly to play a single line (but extremely quickly and
easily) though some supporting notes and harmony is reasonably easy.

One of the features of duets that really makes it stand out is that they
have an octave (plus or minus depending on the specific instrument) of
the same notes on each side of the instrument allowing one to play
counterpoint and harmony in the same range (much like a double-manual
organ). Perhaps this, plus the ease of playing backup bass and chords,
are reasons why the duet became THE portable instrument for the
Salvation Army.

While I haven't played much sacred music on my Hayden, I've found many
of Bach's "beginner" pieces (in Schirmer's 1436, 1437) fairly easy and
his 2 and 3 part inventions doable with practice. I'm not having a lot
of luck with fugues though.... Then again, I'm not a trained nor
classical musician. I'm mainly into traditional dance music.

One thing to beware of in considering any concertina is the range. You
will probably want one with at least 4 octaves and starting at least on
the C below middle C. Even better to start another half octave lower
depending on the music you want to play.

Unfortunately, purchasing a quality Hayden is near impossible. Other
duets are easily obtainable though. If you can make it to the Northeast
Squeeze-In http://www.buttonbox.com/s-i.html you'll be able to check out
several duet systems (last year there were about 5 Haydens, 7 or 8
Maccanns, 3 Triumphs...) not to mention scores of Englishes and anglos.

-- Rich --

Michael Bell

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Sep 3, 2003, 10:30:57 AM9/3/03
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In article <20030903095239...@mb-m10.aol.com>, DavBarnert

<URL:mailto:davba...@aol.com> wrote:
> Charles Starrett wrote:
>
> >I'd like to have something I could play as accompaniment to my
> >own singing.
>
> I wrote:
>
> >...I just don't get a sense that the kind of playing I do on the
> >Hayden suits my singing.
>
> Michael wrote:
>
> >SO I have bought a Hayden Duet and in the last week I have
> >started to learn to play it... I find it easy and natural. With
> >your classical piano training it should be even easier. It would
> >be my recommendation.
>
> But do you sing with it or have a sense of what it would be like to
> sing with it?

I'm not too sure who this question is addressed to, but taking
it that it's me, I am just a starter in both playing and singing, and
one of the things I do is to use the concertina to keep me in tune.
Very amateurish! But I'm working on it. Tonight I am going along to a
choir and see if they'll have me. You've got to make a start
somewhere!

Michael Bell

J Wild

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Sep 4, 2003, 1:38:36 PM9/4/03
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In message <20030902231644...@mb-m29.aol.com>, DavBarnert
<davba...@aol.com> writes

>
> Unfortunately, none of us have heard many Hayden
>players, because there just aren't many, but I don't think I've
>ever heard someone sing along with one (except the sound clip on
>Jax's web site).

Check out recordings by Dick Miles, including several tracks on the
Boxing Clever CD.

I tried the McCann duet system for a while before finding the Hayden
system, and I found it instantly more simple, understandable and
logical, even if my playing needed a lot of work.

John Wild
email ica at
--
John Wild
Treasurer
International Concertina Association
www.concertina.org

Charles Starrett

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Sep 4, 2003, 2:08:47 PM9/4/03
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Thank you all for your advice. I guess it's time to start putting away
some pennies! Maybe by the time the Morse duet comes off the line,
I'll have enough money saved... ;-)

~~Charles

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