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Discussions => Instrument Design, Construction and Repair => Topic started by: Tiposx on February 02, 2018, 06:54:41 PM

Title: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 02, 2018, 06:54:41 PM
Does anyone play a C/C# box? I usually play one-rows but I have recently acquired a lovely old Pokerwork in this tuning and my inital impression is that it seems to work quite well the irish traditional music I mainly play. I read the recent thread on the demise of certain tunings with interest - it seems to say that the C/C# has fallen from grace. I know the basses are a little odd for itm but am I missing something?
Tiposx
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: george garside on February 02, 2018, 08:16:00 PM
CC# is great for the 'flat' keys. 

george
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 02, 2018, 08:23:52 PM
That's a pity - flat keys are not what I play. I play almost entirely in D or G and the relative minors, with a few accidentals. If only my loveley Hohner 1040 boxes (I have 3) had a helper row!
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Stiamh on February 02, 2018, 08:26:40 PM
Play in a few Irish tunes in D on your C/C#. I think you'll quickly find out why it's not a suitable tuning.

But stick to playing inside-out and you will have something usable. B/C style, it'll give you a nice, bright-sounding Eb box, and in C#/D style, a nice mellow-sounding C# instrument.

BTW C/C# tuning has been discussed on several threads on the forum. A Google search should turn them up.

Here are a couple to get you started.

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=2673.0
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=12704.0
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: triskel on February 02, 2018, 11:02:54 PM
If only my loveley Hohner 1040 boxes (I have 3) had a helper row!

And that's exactly how C/C# boxes used to be played, like a 1040 with a helper row, in English traditional music - before D/G took over. See The rise of D/G (and the fall of "English Chromatic" C/C#) since 1949 (http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,19434.0.html)

Whilst, as Stiamh has already said, these days a C/C# is either an Eb box for a B/C player, or a lower keyed box for a C#/D player, which is how two people I know (Brendan Begley and Conor Connolly) use them. But most C/C# boxes (and there are lots of them!) tend to finish up getting bought cheaply and converted to the "more useful" keys of B/C or C#/D...  :(

Edited typo
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: gettabettabox on February 03, 2018, 12:28:21 AM
...and they can be played in concert pitch using outside in, lovely for C, reasonably so for tunes in G, but not so easy in D...and I never tried A!
Just makes things a bit more difficult.
I have never attempted it in company.  (:)
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 03, 2018, 05:49:25 AM
Thanks for the advice and links. The story is that I bought it advertised as a "bargain" d/g needing some work- for that read "everything needs sorting out". By the time I had substantially got into re-taping the bellows I noticed with a sinking feeling the legend "Cis" on the reed blocks. So it seems I have been mugged a bit! Anyhow it has become a really nice sounding and playing box. I just haven't decided what to do with it yet.
Tiposx
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Barlow on February 03, 2018, 09:42:02 AM
Wouldn't a C/C# be useful for a B/C player to accompany a singer whose voice prefers say, D and G to be a semitone up?
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: george garside on February 03, 2018, 11:06:00 AM
in effect that is what a BCC# is  - a combined BC and CC# box  so 12 keys need only 5 scales.  The combination also provides much easier fingering than on either 2 row box as  there are reversals for everything exept GD & A ( there are also 2 Bb's but in sale direction!)

george
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: triskel on February 03, 2018, 12:23:01 PM
Wouldn't a C/C# be useful for a B/C player to accompany a singer whose voice prefers say, D and G to be a semitone up?

Which is what I meant when I said "an Eb box for a B/C player" - B/C being considered a D (or "concert pitch") box in Irish circles.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: KLR on February 04, 2018, 10:24:07 AM
I play Irish music on the B/C/C# and sometimes play a bit of a scale on the C/C# rows, and know what its plusses and minuses are, and there's a good reason the Scottish players (and the Irish musicians in turn) went with B/C instead, you have a much smoother path playing scales, and once you get the trick of arpeggios you're in business; those require bellows changes on each note and sliding fingers from row to row, but with practice it makes sense.

Playing in D or G with the C and C# rows requires a bit of awkward pivoting of the fingers, and bellows changes practically everywhere - more than playing on the D row, I think, and definitely more than with C#/D.  It's actually handy with the B/C/C# to use the inside rows and make some tunes punchier than what the B/C delivers, Garret Barry's Jig for instance, the first part can be push/pull on every note if you want; and I like the pull F# for a tune like Dinny O'Brien's as it can be sounded cleaner than the alternating bellows required with the B/C.  Lark in the Morning is another tune I go to the inside rows for, the 4th part; it sounds stronger, especially on my old Hohner which has a somewhat anemic outside row push F#.

But with C/C# rolls are out, except for C and F#, and push C# - not exactly critical stuff.  And like I said, you'll be doing an awful lot of shoving the bellows around; again, I'm not surprised that B/C won out. 
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: george garside on February 04, 2018, 10:48:22 AM
having learned originally to play in FCGDAE B F#on a BC  ( mainly for Scottish and English stuff)   I  use the inside CC# rows on the BCC# for  Ab Eb  Bb .  The ideal setup from a playing point of view would be a 4 row BCC#D  as  the alternative notes would be the same for the flat keys as the sharps. it would  probably be too bulky and heavy to be practical

george
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 04, 2018, 12:55:08 PM
Even though buying this c/c# box wasn't planned, it is clear to me that the music I play increasingly requires a chromatic box. Since reading these replies (thank you they are very helpful ) I have been attempting the trickier parts of a couple of tunes transposed both up and down a semitone and played as if on c#/d and a b/c box. I have played d/g and c#d before but never touched a b/c instrument.
Big surprise to no-one but me I find that the b/c is very suited to my style and requirements. Oh dear! - thinking cap on again.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Winston Smith on February 04, 2018, 01:36:31 PM
Does that mean that the C/C# might be moving along in the near future? I've had a fancy for a semitone box to try out, for a while. I've actually had a couple, but they ended up being the cheap (and really nasty) sort which had faults which meant that I never even got to play them!
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 04, 2018, 01:57:47 PM
I do my own fettling so I have some options - I could convert the right hand side for the price of 20 reed plates, or even buy a complete set of hohner blocks (which would cost more than the entire instrument stands me at). Or of course I could buy yet another box and sell this one. Judging by the comments it won't exactly fly off the shelf. Still thinking about it.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 09, 2018, 01:48:40 PM
The Pokerwork is now converted to b/c. Time to learn all over again!
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: KLR on February 10, 2018, 02:57:21 AM
Switching from C#/D to B/C was the most confusing thing I've ever undertaken as a musician, and I used to play the pedal steel guitar!  Specifically, getting used to playing E major scales on the C row to get concert pitch D took months of constant practice to become natural.  If I even thought about how you play a D scale on a D row I'd get confused all over again.

Both tunings have their plusses and minuses too.  You can get plenty of satisfaction with either.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 10, 2018, 07:22:32 AM
Hi KLR yes it is a challenge. I spent an hour yesterday trying to learn and memorise fingering of two bars of music! To avoid completely overloading my brain I am not going to re-learn any of my tunes for the b/c. I will learn only new stuff on the new layout. For now anyway.
Tiposx
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: richard.fleming on February 10, 2018, 09:34:11 AM
Why not try D/D#? I just got one and it's great because you can use it as an Eflat box using C#/D fingering, but also play it in 'normal' keys by playing outside in, which seems quite easy to learn,  if you play Csharp/D anyway. Much easier than going from BC to Csharp/D, for example.  I'd recommend it. Not so easy for a BC player, but maybe a way in to semitone boxes for a DG player?
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: george garside on February 10, 2018, 09:56:34 AM
for DG players wanting to  get the hang of a semitone box it helps to practice and get the hang of playing scales rather than initially trying to transfer tunes.  On a BC  the scales of B and C are obviously same as playing on the row on a DG . the easiest way of tackling scales is to start with one accidental on B row i.e G, then have a go at 2 accidentals i.e. D then 3 i.e A.

once you have learned the route  it is relatively easy to play tunes as they only go up or down the route so to speak. As to how many fingers to use opinions differ but  I use 2,3 or 4 depending on the needs of a particular part of a particular tune

Plaaying  a 4th apart and a semitone box  is not difficult  provided the semitone scales are learned as the two systems are sufficiently different  , to avoid confusion. 

george
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: richard.fleming on February 10, 2018, 10:04:56 AM
It's a while since I played BC George and I don't have much theory, but surely on a BC box you would normally play the key of G inside out ie basically on the C row and finding your accidentals on the B row?
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: george garside on February 10, 2018, 10:15:55 AM
Indeed, and using the same fingering on a CC# you get Ab

george
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Stiamh on February 10, 2018, 11:52:44 AM
G is I think the best key to begin with for those coming to the B/C from D/G or G/C - considerably less of a brain-twister than D.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 10, 2018, 12:21:04 PM
Well I am in at the deep end. The piece is on E minor with several accidentals and it uses buttons 2-10 in the first 4 bars! I only went as far as the 7th button before this on my single row boxes, so I will be busy for a while.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on February 10, 2018, 12:44:40 PM
Well I am in at the deep end. The piece is on E minor with several accidentals and it uses buttons 2-10 in the first 4 bars! I only went as far as the 7th button before this on my single row boxes, so I will be busy for a while.

E minor is (generally) the same notes as G, but based on the E as a root note
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: gettabettabox on February 10, 2018, 12:46:32 PM
Yep, l would heed stiamh's advice and start with a few tunes in G on the B/C box.
I always find the hornpipes in G give a nice flowing feel.
As ever, there should be no rush.
I would have to be completely re-wired now to be instinctively fluent on the B/C system, but on the C#/D, the Key of A sits comfortably and that's as much as I need to pinch from the B/C style.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: MarioP on February 10, 2018, 01:21:24 PM
Indeed, and using the same fingering on a CC# you get Ab

george

this would explain why I liked it right away and became second nature ;)
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Stiamh on February 10, 2018, 01:33:24 PM
Well I am in at the deep end. The piece is on E minor with several accidentals and it uses buttons 2-10 in the first 4 bars! I only went as far as the 7th button before this on my single row boxes, so I will be busy for a while.

In Em you have to consider whether you are going to use the basses. If so, and if you have a standard bass setup with E on the push, you will need to use the push E and B (the latter on the outer row) quite a bit, whereas using those two notes on the pull will make it easy to play whole phrases on the pull. Even if you decide not to play basses, there is the question of whether playing entire phrases on the pull is desirable, rhythm-wise.

Two common tunes, Drowsy Maggie and Morrison's jig, provide useful studies in the possibilities.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 10, 2018, 04:08:30 PM
I am half way through installing the basses/ chords in the Joe Burke layout. I have been able to use a mixture of old Hohner pa reeds and recycled c/c# reeds with only one reed tongue requiring solder. I doubt I will use the basses very much but I like to have them and it cost me nothing. The piece I am learning is called The Golden Eagle - so many notes! I will look at those other tunes also thanks.
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Stiamh on February 10, 2018, 06:22:35 PM
If it's the same Golden Eagle I know, it's in G major, not E minor.Not the kind of G tune that I was thinking of when I said it's best to start on B/C with tunes in G!!!

And if it is that Golden Eagle, the second part starts with an arpeggio of B major, so you'll get to play a whole run on the B row, on the push! (Don't try that run using the B notes on your C row...)
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 10, 2018, 06:39:24 PM
Hi Stiamh
I didn't choose the tune- I have been asked to play it and I am working from hand written score that states Em. I don't know if that is right. It is similar to the first ones that come up on FolkTuneFinder website search. When I have learned the tune I will no doubt experiment with the basses a little. I will take your advice on board thank you.
Tiposx
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: KLR on February 11, 2018, 11:00:48 PM
Whoever is requisitioning you to play that hornpipe is either sadistic or not a melodeon player.   :o  I still have to calm down to get through the 2nd part.  You want to be playing exciting stuff like the Minstrel Boy when you start out.

Quote
Quote from: george garside on Yesterday at 10:15:55 AM
Indeed, and using the same fingering on a CC# you get Ab

george

this would explain why I liked it right away and became second nature

Ab is a pretty common tune in jazz, are you playing bebop or something?  I've a big repertoire and know a whopping 4 trad tunes that are properly played in Eb.  My friend with the PA always wants to play the Banks in G anyway so so much for that.  I do like playing C/F/Bb stuff in the original keys.  William Marshall, Mr. "I do not compose for bunglers," apparently wrote a few in Ab and Db.  Bully for you, dude.   ::)  Mostly being able to play in Ab comes in handy when I want to mess with people.   ;)
Title: Re: C/C# Anyone?
Post by: Tiposx on February 12, 2018, 08:53:20 AM
The culprit plays the English concertina. I will get there but even more slowly than usual.
Looks like he and I will have to learn Minstrel Boy though. ..