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Author Topic: Blank Slate  (Read 5850 times)

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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2019, 03:35:40 PM »

I  I both agree and disagree with this.

 Disagree, at least in part:
 
...it somewhat disregards the fantastic rhythmic drive which you can achieve by playing up-and-down on the rows and treating the basses/chords as a rhythmic, almost percussive accompaniment not necessarily using the 'correct harmonies', and which suits so much traditional English music. One-row four-stop boxes are superb for this sort of music. I know (again from teaching experience) that 'on the row' players can fairly readily adapt to cross-row technique and harmonically correct left-hand chords when needed. In contrast, many cross-row players brought up on a continental technique can really struggle when trying to 'unlearn' their nice correct playing (;)) and switch to something far more earthy and driven. Don't eschew one-row technique - it's good valid stuff.


There does seem to be a fashion in some quarters that 'cross rowing' so as to get ?better  bass harmony is the bees knees  and the 'proper' way to play a melodeon.  I totally agree with what Steve has just said on the matter and sometimes wonder why those who want to go totally arty farty  sstick with a melodeon rather than a pino or continental box  which has the wherewithall to be as arty farty as you like


george >:E ;)
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PhilD

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2019, 05:18:04 PM »

Thanks everyone for your replays so far, this is really good stuff to hear, keep it coming!   
It is really helping me to distill down exactly why I want to tackle the melodeon, and for me it is the rhythmic quality of the English tradition that is the draw :||:.  I have tried to imitate the sound on my piano box, but it is the push pull nature of the melodeon that seems intrinsic to the creating the rhythm.
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Theo

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2019, 05:24:48 PM »

It can be done on a piano box,  but you have to use the bellows for dynamics much more than most PA players do.  Even then it’s not quite the same because the way the bass is built means that, other things being equal, a Stradella bass will always sound a bit muffled compared with the honky clarity you can get from a melodeon bass.
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Howard Jones

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2019, 05:27:55 PM »

Whilst I agree with much of what Steve says, playing across the rows doesn't mean you have to lose that drive.  There is a half-way house between up-and-down-the-rows and continental style, where you use cross-rowing selectively.  However once you start to think about the harmonic possibilities of the left hand, rather than simply as percussion, then that affects how you play the tune on the right hand.  The most obvious example is when playing in D, when in order to play a G chord you will have to play that phrase of the melody on the G row.  There's no reason why that should affect the rhythmic drive though. Similarly when substituting an Em chord for a G, all you are doing is changing how you play the tune on the right, it needn't affect the drive.  Sometimes playing a short phrase smoothly across the rows can avoid disrupting the rhythmic groove, which might occur if you had to change bellows direction at an awkward point.

I strongly take issue with George when he complains about "arty-farty" playing.  This is after all a musical instrument, albeit one with some limitations, so why on earth shouldn't we try to explore what it can do within, or despite, those limitations?  Whether it is appropriate to the music being played is a different matter, and there I have some sympathy with what he is saying, although it depends to an extent on personal taste and perhaps context - what works in a concert setting may not work for dancing or when playing in a session.

One of the wonderful things about melodeon is that there are so many possible ways to play it.

Eshed

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2019, 05:28:32 PM »

There does seem to be a fashion in some quarters that 'cross rowing' so as to get ?better  bass harmony is the bees knees  and the 'proper' way to play a melodeon.  I totally agree with what Steve has just said on the matter and sometimes wonder why those who want to go totally arty farty  sstick with a melodeon rather than a pino or continental box  which has the wherewithall to be as arty farty as you like


george >:E ;)
Rather simple. I can do with the diatonic 2-row things I haven't managed to do with a PA (never tried a CBA, but I suspect it will be similar).
I like the smaller weight and the better control on dynamics it gives me.
I like how fingering comes so intuitively for me.
I like the challenge of working with the bass constraints rather than giving up every time I encounter them and doing 2-finger bass with entire disregard for the tune I'm playing.
I hope that explains why I stick with the melodeon.

You may call this arty farty, but I wouldn't want to play a tune without a decent bass harmony. Wouldn't enjoy listening to one either. If you do enjoy that, I'm genuinely happy for you, but you can't assume that is the case with everyone else.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 05:31:47 PM by Eshed »
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2019, 05:44:16 PM »

I think Howard Jones gets at what I was trying to say. I'm not necessarily talking about crossrowing for "fluid" playing that avoids bellow reversals, nor in "arty farty", but just basic chords. If you're playing in D and you want a G chord you're going to be pushing and if you need a G or a B note you're going to have to play it on the G row. Likewise if you want an A chord you're going to be pulling and if you want to play an A note to go with it you're going to have to pull it on the G row again. This is just the "three chord trick", not elaborate Continental-style chording.

If you learned that tune without any chords and played it all on the D row you will need to do some relearning if you want to add basses unless you are content to play it like a one-row with the D and A chords played somewhat arbitrarily. Which is a fine sound in its own right, but I think in that case just get a four stop box and embrace it fully.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2019, 05:48:43 PM »

And I am also a big fan of the inherent push-pull rhythm of the melodeon and I don't usually crossrow to reduce that. That brings to mind a quote from John Kirkpatrick about the B/C/C# where he recommended intentionally choosing fingerings that *maximize* bellows reversals. I imagine that probably seems quite perverse in some quarters of the accordion world.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2019, 06:24:38 PM »

... If you're playing in D and you want a G chord you're going to be pushing and if you need a G or a B note you're going to have to play it on the G row. Likewise if you want an A chord you're going to be pulling and if you want to play an A note to go with it you're going to have to pull it on the G row again. This is just the "three chord trick", not elaborate Continental-style chording.
Just to clarify, yes - I agree with, and do this, too. Also I teach my students to chord this way.
I think the point I was trying to make in my earlier post was not to stick exclusively to cross-row styles of playing to the detriment of the on-the-row style.

And I think it's easier to pick up cross-row style subsequently, having first learned on-the-row style, than to do it the other way round. I remember Brian Peters telling an anecdote about when he went to teach English tunes in a workshop in the Netherlands. The participants found it hard to unlearn their hard-wired cross-row style.
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Eshed

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2019, 07:42:08 PM »

And I think it's easier to pick up cross-row style subsequently, having first learned on-the-row style, than to do it the other way round. I remember Brian Peters telling an anecdote about when he went to teach English tunes in a workshop in the Netherlands. The participants found it hard to unlearn their hard-wired cross-row style.
I suspect that it's hard to unlearn any style that was learned by-ear. Every time you play a certain sequence of notes in a certain way it ingrains the muscle memory in your brain. For me most sequences of notes come intuitively in a cross-row way when chorded, but there are some that automatically come to me on-the-row, even though there's a straightforward no-reversal alternative available.
The fact that you have workshops specifically for learning cross-rowing tells me that no direction is as straightforward as advertised.
Amusingly, If I try to only play the RH of a tune, I often find myself using a different fingering than when I'm playing it with the LH. Brains are weird.
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2019, 07:55:39 PM »

We've been here before - "Cross-rowing is not a superior skill" as I recall.  It wasn't very productive that time. I don't expect it will be this time either.
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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2019, 08:07:10 PM »

apologies to anyone who I have offended by using the phrase ''arty farty'' which where I come from simply means something a bit on the fancy side.

 As to  playing G on the G row to go with PUsh G bass when playing in  key D  I have really never considered that to be cross rowing  and I always use it when playing waltzes or other slow tunes where it does make  longer notes sound better. However when playing fast tunes I don't always bother to use the G on the G row (in key of D)  as the notes are often so short nobody will notice the difference and I find a steady but fast rhythmic effect is usually better achieved by staying 'on the row' 

There is however one notable exeption and that is morpeth rant  which   I find truly difficult to play at speed on the row but relatively easy crossing the rows.

george
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Clive Williams

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2019, 11:34:28 PM »

I don't expect I'd do a lot differently. I kind of like my playing style, which is very much influenced by a unisonoric bass setup and I would keep that, as well as being to play a normal 8 bass setup as I do. I greatly admire the continental bal style of playing; Naragonia, Aurelien Clarenbaux, Cyrille Brotto, and with infinite time and resources at my disposal, I guess seeping myself in that music early on while developing would have been pretty great. I do like the CBA though; am trying to teach myself that too at the moment, and it's fun, but extremely frustrating, rather feeling like the notes have been sneezed on the keyboard. I know it's a logical layout, but it certainly doesn't feel it! So, I'll go to french jazz accordion college and be able to play like Richard Galliano please.

Sebastian

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2019, 08:54:05 AM »

There does seem to be a fashion in some quarters that 'cross rowing' so as to get ?better  bass harmony is the bees knees  and the 'proper' way to play a melodeon.
I think it is -- but not for all kind of music. When I play, lets say, the Elizabethan Serenade, yes, I do want 'better bass harmony'.

But when I try to play in a more 'folky mood' I still struggle not to use to many 'correct' chords. In an ideal world I should be able to do both styles equally well and to switch between them easily and at will. But hey, playing is a personal thing. Preferences differ between different persons, and even change over time in one person. (Not to speak of differences in regional traditions.) It's nice that the melodeon can adapt itself to all of them (even if not every player can do). 8)
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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2019, 10:12:39 AM »

I think its interesting that it all started in c1829 with the simple one row ?2 bass box.  At some point somebody with a bit of sense must have said something on the lines of 'sod this suck and blow lark  lets do it like a piano with bellows and have one note per key on both push and pull of the bellows'. Later or was it earlier another lot said 'lets have buttons in a funny order but with the same note on push and pull''

Meanwhile  us lot quietly got on with  adding  illogicality to the simple one row by adding rows, putting more bass buttons in peculiar layouts  discovering that other keys than the home keys can be sometimes/more or less be played by   by pinching notes from other rows where the rows are a 4th apart - but some thought it more sensible to put the rorws a semitone aprt so that in theory  any key could be played , but some with great difficulty!  But then they found 8 bass could not match all those wonderful keys so many just wasted money on bass they never use!   .  Then another 'division' of us lot thought bugger it lets stick stradella (piano accordion) bass on a two row semitone box  --------- then a third row  and anything up to 120  bass

Where will it all end :-\


george ( in musing mode)

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Alyn Iorwerth

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2019, 10:43:40 AM »

To all the good advice that so many have provided I would add:
Spend some of your practice time just experimenting with your instrument to see what sounds you can make together. Forget about tunes, technique etc  - just run your hands over the keys and listen to the sounds that emerge.
It's rather like escaping from the tour guide and enjoying wandering around an unfamiliar city going where your instinct takes you.
Alyn
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baz parkes

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2019, 11:20:45 AM »

.  I have tried to imitate the sound on my piano box, but it is the push pull nature of the melodeon that seems intrinsic to the creating the rhythm.

It can be possible on a piano box IMHO...probably the best example is Jason Rice of the Dartmoor Pixie Band...(other players are available and I'm sure others will disagree...)
As to your original question I'd work on left hand technique...

Enjoy the journey.... :|glug
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2019, 02:28:00 PM »

Quote
May still try to borrow a one row (Vienna style) to see if it isn't too late to develop that skill.

Just out of curiousity: What is a "Vienna style" one row?
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2019, 02:37:16 PM »

Quote
May still try to borrow a one row (Vienna style) to see if it isn't too late to develop that skill.

Just out of curiousity: What is a "Vienna style" one row?

type of hohner like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXDh0GHyyMY
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baz parkes

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2019, 04:12:36 PM »

Quote
May still try to borrow a one row (Vienna style) to see if it isn't too late to develop that skill.

Just out of curiousity: What is a "Vienna style" one row?

Half a standard Pokerwork... >:E :|glug
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Sebastian

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2019, 08:36:01 AM »

Just out of curiousity: What is a "Vienna style" one row?
Vienna or Italian style means a box with pallets hidden under a grille on the right hand side, opposed to German style with visible pallets and without a grille.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 08:37:51 AM by Sebastian »
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