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Discussions => Instrument Makes and Models => Topic started by: bellmartin on January 08, 2014, 05:34:47 PM

Title: One-row instruments
Post by: bellmartin on January 08, 2014, 05:34:47 PM
The Theme of the Month for this month is music for one-row instruments, which has got me wondering what one-rows are all about. What are the types? What types of music are one-rows specific to? What are your favorites? What maker and model would you recommend? Etc.

Obviously, there's Cajun and there are Italian organettos.

I think the Beltuna Cajun at The Music Room is beautiful. http://www.themusicroom-online.co.uk/images/Beltuna-Cajun-Melodeon.jpg
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: 911377brian on January 08, 2014, 05:55:19 PM
Well, just to get the ball rolling, the various Hohner one rows, properly set up by one of the fettlers found on this forum would take some beating for richness of sound, with the benefit of affordability. (I'm talking about the German made models before manufacture was exported to China) Unbeatable for Morris in my opinion with that unmistakable 'English' sound... :||: :M
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 08, 2014, 07:36:02 PM
There's them Welsh ones: www.melodeons.com (http://www.melodeons.com)
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: bellmartin on January 08, 2014, 07:38:36 PM
There's them Welsh ones: www.melodeons.com (http://www.melodeons.com)

Really nice, I've admired these. Are there any for sale?
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 08, 2014, 07:57:46 PM
Frayed not. Three more to finish off but all sold.
The last one (No.21) is for me - yippee!

There will be more sometime down the line but 2014 is looking increasingly busy, musically speaking.
Fun, fun, fun, of da autobahn ………...
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: 911377brian on January 08, 2014, 09:01:03 PM
Yep, there's them Welsh one Rees; I'd certainly swap my half dozen 1040's for one of those..... :|bl
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on January 08, 2014, 11:51:29 PM
And then there's the Chanson ...
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: triskel on January 09, 2014, 12:23:33 AM
And then there's the Chanson ...

... or Baldoni, Bartoli;

(http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/StephenChambers/Accordions/P1020945.jpg)

Walters;

(http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/StephenChambers/Accordions/walters1-row2.jpg)

and the rest of the Irish-American crew.   :||: :||: :||:
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 09, 2014, 08:07:58 AM
For me, the whole essence of a one-row instrument is having one which has four voices LMMH. Such a rich sound! And assuming functional stops (not dummy stops attached to an instrument which is permanently voiced in LMMH), the range of additional sound types which can be achieved by the combination of the stops is lovely; e.g. M, MM, LM, LMM MH, MMH, LH, etc.

Cajun 'just' temperament tuning works well for Cajun music especially when the instrument is played in 5th position (i.e. in G on a C box) but can sound distinctly odd ( = out of tune :o ) for most other types, especially English music and East Anglian music in particular. It's better to have conventional tuning for most non-Cajun music. 
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Bob Ellis on January 09, 2014, 09:51:49 AM
Steve: I agree entirely with your first paragraph, but I am not so sure about your second paragraph. My Acadian and Junior Martin boxes are both Cajun tuned (the tuning having been recently checked and serviced on both boxes by Rees, who knows a little bit about Cajun tuning  >:E). Both also sound good when playing other types of music: I play Yorkshire Dales, East Anglian and French music on them and neither box sounds ' distinctly odd' when playing these non-Cajun genres.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Theo on January 09, 2014, 11:29:52 AM
I agree with you Bob, it's very much a personal matter I think.  For me it's the major third in equal temperament the screams 'out of tune' to me and "Cajun" tuning helps with some of those intervals
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: bellmartin on January 09, 2014, 12:05:08 PM
Here's a link to the Albrecht Melodeons website, where there are beautiful German-made one-rows: http://aaccordion.com/

And a video of one of Kay Albrecht's instruments being played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0lL9rrQsSc

These are currently being discussed in another thread (Interesting new one-row melodeon maker).
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: 911377brian on January 09, 2014, 12:19:48 PM
I'm with Bellmartin on this. I bought I think the third Albrecht one row that he made and it is a joy. My only criticism would be the press in air button as opposed to the slide down Hohner type that I'm used to... and the helicon bass (which I love) might not be to every ones taste...
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: ButtonBox21 on January 09, 2014, 12:30:19 PM
The one row box was, at one time, used for Irish music. You would be surprised at how many tunes can be played on a one row. Eventually the two row half tone box was developed which furthered the range. In Cajun music, the one row is still the dominant style. The one row is fun to play as long as you can live with the limitations. I think you will find that the one row was used in every genre of european folk music. :||: :|||:
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 09, 2014, 02:24:25 PM
Steve: I agree entirely with your first paragraph, but I am not so sure about your second paragraph. My Acadian and Junior Martin boxes are both Cajun tuned (the tuning having been recently checked and serviced on both boxes by Rees, who knows a little bit about Cajun tuning  >:E). Both also sound good when playing other types of music: I play Yorkshire Dales, East Anglian and French music on them and neither box sounds ' distinctly odd' when playing these non-Cajun genres.

I agree with you Bob, it's very much a personal matter I think.  For me it's the major third in equal temperament the screams 'out of tune' to me and "Cajun" tuning helps with some of those intervals
Both my Wesson Clipper in C and my Stowmarket 'Golden Box' are tuned in 'Rees temperament'  ;).  Essentially, the thirds and sevenths are tuned 5 cents flat from ET. Both instruments sound fine with non-Cajun music. Full Cajun tuning has the thirds something like 15 cents flat and the sevenths getting on for about 10 cents flat. To my ears that's too much for English music, especially when playing along with others.

The French maker Eric Martin gives the you option of having either Cajun or 'Quebecois' tuning when you buy a one-row instrument from him. I believe the latter is much the same as Rees Temperament.  (:)
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: triskel on January 09, 2014, 02:38:21 PM
Cajun 'just' temperament tuning works well for Cajun music especially when the instrument is played in 5th position (i.e. in G on a C box) but can sound distinctly odd ( = out of tune :o ) for most other types, especially English music and East Anglian music in particular. It's better to have conventional tuning for most non-Cajun music.

Which is why I got Marc Savoy to tune my Acadian "Québécois" instead of "Cajun" - in fact the Cajun tuning isn't proper 'just' temperament at all, but only a half-assed attempt to achieve the sweeter tuning of the old German melodeons, especially their beloved Monarchs and Sterlings. My 1920's Globe (the same instrument, produced by the same factory) is still in original tuning and sounds "just" great the way it is!  ;)
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Bob Ellis on January 09, 2014, 02:51:59 PM
Steve: I asked Rees to Cajun-tune my boxes, but didn't, until just now, appreciate the difference between true Cajun tuning and 'Rees Temperament' tuning, so maybe Rees did the latter. Perhaps he can remember.

Is 'Rees Temperament' the tuning he does when he is in a bad mood?  >:E
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Lester on January 09, 2014, 02:55:39 PM
Is 'Rees Temperament' the tuning he does when he is in a bad mood?  >:E

No that's Rees Intemperate tuning
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Bob Ellis on January 09, 2014, 03:05:05 PM
Surely intemperate tuning is what he does when he's had one too many.   :|glug  (Sorry, Rees.)
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 09, 2014, 05:56:48 PM
You lot, eh!

@Bob. Your boxes are fully Cajun. The Acadian is -15 cents on 3rds and 7ths. The Jnr Martin is the same and also +10 cents on the 4ths.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Bob Ellis on January 09, 2014, 06:40:40 PM
Thanks, Rees. I should have asked you about that when I had them tuned. I have now made a note of the details.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: diatonix on January 09, 2014, 08:33:00 PM
Why "+10 cents on the 4ths", Rees??
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 09, 2014, 09:19:02 PM
That's the way that Clarence tunes them with a wider gap between 3rd and 4th.
So, Savoy Acadian has 15 cents offset on 3rds and 7ths.
Martin has 25 cents offset on 3rds and 15 cents on 7ths.

There are other theoretical ways to explain it but as a tuner this is how I think of it.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: tirpous on January 09, 2014, 09:31:22 PM
Quote
Martin has 25 cents offset on 3rds and 15 cents on 7ths.

I'm confused.  Do you mean -15 offset on 3rds, +10 on 4ths and +15 on 7ths ??
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: diatonix on January 09, 2014, 09:55:05 PM
I tune mine strictly to just intonation (this luxury, appliable only to relatively few musical instruments, has always given me a good deal of satisfaction...). I'm surprised why anyone would decide to tune the 4ths 14 C sharp. There may of course be a good reason, but I don't see it.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 09, 2014, 11:04:05 PM

No no no. The 4ths are 10 cents sharp, the 3rds and 5ths are 15 cents flat. Please read it properly.

Anyway, to sum up, Acadians sound just about OK, Jnr Martins sound horrible. Just saying'

As has been said before, mine are all tuned temperamental, with the accent on the mental.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: diatonix on January 09, 2014, 11:28:25 PM
Sorry, I meant +12 C . Your +10C is 12 C off, counting from where the 4th should be according to just intonation (-2C).
Anyhow, makes absolutely no sense at all to me until someone gives me a convincing explanation. And why the 3rds have to be exactly 15 C flat when the ideal (i.e. no beating) would be 14 (or 13,6 in case I remember correctly) is maybe not such a big deal, but still a bit strange.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 09, 2014, 11:29:18 PM
I was counting from zero not whatever.
It's a Cajun thang  ;)
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: pgroff on January 09, 2014, 11:29:55 PM
Hi all,

I understand that diatonix's question was directed to Rees, but here's an idea that might help.

If you consider a 1-row in C, with a typical "cajun layout,"  there are only 3 types of major thirds that can be played on the box.

Bass side:  C-E press (triad reeds), G-B draw (triad reeds).

Melody side:  C-E press, F-A draw, and (using the duplicate low G on draw) G-B draw.

Those major thirds are the intervals that sound harshest in equal temperament -- ET major thirds are 13.7 cents wide.

You can approximate just major thirds by flattening the E, A, and B notes each by 13.7 cents.

For a "rough and ready approach," some tuners have estimated this as - 15 cents.  That actually is what temperament theorists call harmonic waste -- it's an unnecessarily narrow major third.

The problem with tuning the A flat by 13.7 cents is that major thirds aren't the only intervals we can use on a 1-row box.

We also can play some minor thirds (which I will not discuss right now), and three fifth intervals:  C-G on the press (both melody and bass sides), G-D on the draw (bass side, and melody side using the low duplicate draw G), and D-A on the draw.  That D-A fifth will sound terrible if you flatten the A by 13.7 cents.

But if you sharpen the F by 13.7 cents, that will bring the F-A major third on the draw in perfect tune, without compromising the D-A fifth interval.

Sharpening the F by only 10 cents is a sort of compromise of the purity of the F-A third.

I haven't said anything about the fifth intervals.  ET fifths are only 2 cents narrow of pure fifths, so the choice of pure or ET fifths might be a matter of taste for some cajun accordion players.

Interestingly, one very characteristic feature of many pre-war german melodeons was a very *flat* F note (4th note of the scale) which yields a very sonorous dominant seventh chord on the draw (GBDF), but an extremely wide third F-A, much wider than the equal tempered third.

PG

Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Rees on January 09, 2014, 11:33:15 PM
Hi all,

I understand that diatonix's question was directed to Rees, but here's an idea that might help.

If you consider a 1-row in C, with a typical "cajun layout,"  there are only 3 types of major thirds that can be played on the box.

Bass side:  C-E press (triad reeds), G-B draw (triad reeds).

Melody side:  C-E press, F-A draw, and (using the duplicate low G on draw) G-B draw.

Those major thirds are the intervals that sound harshest in equal temperament -- ET major thirds are 13.7 cents wide.

You can approximate just major thirds by flattening the E, A, and B notes each by 13.7 cents.

For a "rough and ready approach," some tuners have estimated this as - 15 cents.  That actually is what temperament theorists call harmonic waste -- it's an unnecessarily narrow major third.

The problem with tuning the A flat by 13.7 cents is that major thirds aren't the only intervals we can use on a 1-row box.

We also can play some minor thirds (which I will not discuss right now), and three fifth intervals:  C-G on the press (both melody and bass sides), G-D on the draw (bass side, and melody side using the low duplicate draw G), and D-A on the draw.  That D-A fifth will sound terrible if you flatten the A by 13.7 cents.

But if you sharpen the F by 13.7 cents, that will bring the F-A major third on the draw in perfect tune, without compromising the D-A fifth interval.

Sharpening the F by only 10 cents is a sort of compromise of the purity of the F-A third.

I haven't said anything about the fifth intervals.  ET fifths are only 2 cents narrow of pure fifths, so the choice of pure or ET fifths might be a matter of taste for some cajun accordion players.

Interestingly, one very characteristic feature of many pre-war german melodeons was a very *flat* F note (4th note of the scale) which yields a very sonorous dominant seventh chord on the draw (GBDF), but an extremely wide third F-A, much wider than the equal tempered third.

PG

As a one row player who works heavily with right hand chords this makes perfect sense. Thanks Paul.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: pgroff on January 10, 2014, 12:33:12 AM
Thanks Rees.

Should point out that I am not specifically advocating this tuning as ideal. I like many different kinds of tunings and temperaments and I enjoy the challenge of taking them for a spin and seeing what I can do with the music, when an instrument is tuned a certain way.  I'm just trying to explain why I think the "cajun tuning" has been selected, and how it is used.  [There's a historical clue also, I think, in my last comment above.]

Couple of fine points.  The stuff that follows below is probably only worth reading for the obsessed.

If we're just thinking about a typical 1-row cajun accordion playing solo, all the above reasoning applies to a tuning that will yield 3 good fifths (CG, GD, DA) and 3 good major thirds  (CE, GB, FA), all playable as harmonic (simultaneous) intervals because their notes are in the same bellows direction.

You could have those 3 playable just fifths (2 cents wider than ET) and 3 playable pure major thirds with this tuning:

C 0        D +4        E - 13.7      F +  19.7       G + 2       A + 6        B - 11.7   


Or you could have ET fifths and 3 pure major thirds with this tuning:

C 0     D 0    E - 13.7   F + 13.7   G 0  A 0   B - 13.7


In the first case that F gets pretty sharp.  But *within the accordion* that isn't necessarily a problem because a 1-row box in C can't play the fifth F-C as a concurrent (simultaneous) interval.

But if you start to worry about compromising your intervals a little to reduce the deviations of your tuning from other instruments, especially fretted instruments like guitars, then the second option starts to look a lot more practical.


Sometimes you'll see a different set of pitches suggested as the "scale in just intonation," for example:

C 0    D +4    E - 13.7   F -2   G + 2    A - 15.7    B - 11.7

This scale gives you the same pure major thirds, C-E, G-B, and F-A.  But it gives you a different choice of pure fifths than my first scale above; this last scale gives these pure fifths:  F-C, C-G, G-D, E-B, A-E.

I think this proves a point I have often tried to make that *there is no such thing as a particular scale of 7 diatonic (or 12 chromatic) notes that is "in just intonation."*  Some scales will give you certain just *intervals.*  But no simple scale of a few notes will guarantee to keep the music in just intonation.  My definition of just intonation refers to the purity of intervals being sounded at any one time in the music.

An advantage of the cajun tuning over the last "just" scale I sketched out is that the cajun accordion in C can play the interval D-A simultaneously (which is spoiled in that last tuning), but it can't play the interval F-C simultaneously (which is optimized in that last tuning). . . or the intervals E-B or A-E, also optimized.

PG

Edited to add the fifths E-B and A-E, which are also just in the last scale I listed -- but like the F-C fifth, not playable as simultaneous (harmonic) intervals on a typical 1-row cajun accordion in C.  Each of those fifths includes one draw note and one press note.  I didn't mention E-B and A-E when I first posted, because I was focused on the pure triad FAC that is optimized by this diatonic scale -- on a C 1-row box, you can play as a harmonic interval the F-A major third, but not the F-C fifth.  The E-B fifth is also just (but not playable simultaneously) in the first tuning I listed within this particular posting.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Simon W on January 10, 2014, 09:30:47 AM

 That actually is what temperament theorists call harmonic waste

"Harmonic waste" - I like that - it could be applied in all sorts of musical contexts!

Simon
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: baz parkes on January 10, 2014, 10:12:21 AM
Why "+10 cents on the 4ths", Rees??

For 10 cents a dance, innit.... :|glug

Baz
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: pgroff on January 10, 2014, 11:31:24 AM

 That actually is what temperament theorists call harmonic waste

"Harmonic waste" - I like that - it could be applied in all sorts of musical contexts!

Simon

Band name, maybe?

The term "harmonic waste" has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately.  The presence of harmonic waste in a temperament doesn't mean that it isn't useable to make great music.  But in the context of 1-row boxes it definitely makes sense not to flatten any thirds more than would be needed to make them pure.

This subject came up before, so I'll cite that discussion rather than repeat any of my points here:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,12773.0.html

PG
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: blafleur on January 10, 2014, 01:51:02 PM
A lot Paul's descriptions are fascinating to me but a touch over my head, but as someone who plays nothing but Cajun music, I tune the 3rds and 7ths about 14 cents flat, and for my accordion I tune the 4th 10 cents sharp.  My decision to sharpen the 4th is based of the fact I like to play a few songs in F (on a C), but I also like to use the FA partial chord, and 10 cents seems a good compromise.  When tuning for another Cajun player, I ask if they use that partial F chord much, and if they play F songs. For someone who is more prone to play F songs and not use the partial F chord much, I tune the F to 0.

Flattening the 3rds and 7ths is a MUST to play cajun music and make it sound "cajun".  Sharpening the 3rds is optional.
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 10, 2014, 02:49:08 PM

Flattening the 3rds and 7ths is a MUST to play cajun music and make it sound "cajun".  Sharpening the 3rds is optional.
Do you mean sharpening the fourths?
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: pgroff on January 10, 2014, 02:51:53 PM
A lot Paul's descriptions are fascinating to me but a touch over my head, but as someone who plays nothing but Cajun music, I tune the 3rds and 7ths about 14 cents flat, and for my accordion I tune the 4th 10 cents sharp.  My decision to sharpen the 4th is based of the fact I like to play a few songs in F (on a C), but I also like to use the FA partial chord, and 10 cents seems a good compromise.  When tuning for another Cajun player, I ask if they use that partial F chord much, and if they play F songs. For someone who is more prone to play F songs and not use the partial F chord much, I tune the F to 0.

Flattening the 3rds and 7ths is a MUST to play cajun music and make it sound "cajun".  Sharpening the 3rds is optional.

Hi Bryan,

I'm sure you meant "sharpening the 4ths [F notes for an accordion in the key of C]."  :-)

I'm sorry for the complexity, I know it can be heavy going. But to answer criticism from a deeply knowledgeable expert like diatonix, who I respect very much, some detail is needed.  If I understand him correctly, he is absolutely right about the details of one particular scale that is often used as  a "diatonic scale in just intonation."  You can find it for example on the wiki page for just intonation.  That tuning makes many intervals and several chords sound really amazing.

But I tried to show why -- for the purposes of cajun music played on a typical cajun accordion -- there are very good reasons to use the tuning that you use yourself.  You could go all the way up to + 13.7 on your F and the interval F-A would sound even better (leaving the A at 0 cents deviation from its equal-tempered value).  But any of those deviations from ET will increase the clashes with the guitars, so that is a reason to compromise the fifth intervals and also not go so far with the F. 

If I understand him correctly, diatonix's "scale in just intonation" would be better for some intervals and chords that would not be playable on a typical cajun box in C, but that might be found if you had more than one melody row, or an extra bass and chord for F and F major (as well as C, C major, and G, G major) on a C 1-row box.  But that scale will hurt the D-A interval and the D minor chord (D, F, A) played on the C melody row.

PG

Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: blafleur on January 10, 2014, 02:55:20 PM
Ughhh, yep, meant the 4ths.  Trying to digest Paul's excellent charts has numbers careening around in my head. Thanks for the correction.

Rees, I didn't know that Martin flattens his 3rds that much.  I'll ask him about that next time I talk to him.

One rows seem to be a playground for compromises, especially in genres other than Cajun. 
Title: Re: One-row instruments
Post by: Bob Ellis on January 10, 2014, 03:40:26 PM
This is proving to be a very interesting thread in which I am learning a lot about Cajun tuning.

With Rees having confirmed that he tuned my Mark Savoy and Junior Martin boxes to authentic Cajun tuning (and having explained the difference between the tuning of Savoy and Martin boxes), I have been playing both of them this afternoon listening carefully to how they sound. Now, either my ear is not as good as I thought it was, or else I am in a position to challenge the statement that English music doesn't sound very good when played on a Cajun tuned box.

I began by playing the Amédé Two-Step on both boxes and it sounded as authentic as my limited ability with Cajun music could make it. Then I played four Yorkshire Dales tunes on each box, two (Kit White's Square Eight and Swaledale Lasses) that sit mainly in the upper octave and two others (both called Buttered Peas, but two different tunes) that sit mainly in the lower octave and also use the notes on the button below the key note. All four English tunes sounded fine on both instruments, but interestingly, Kit White's and Swaledale Lasses sounded better on my Junior Martin, while the two versions of Buttered Peas in the lower octave sounded better on my Mark Savoy box.

From this limited experiment, it seems that Junior Martin's tuning works better for English tunes played in the upper octave, whilst Mark's Savoy's is preferable for those in the lower octave...or perhaps it is just the particular characteristics of the two boxes I have...then again, maybe my hearing is defective!