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Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: Ribs on June 13, 2018, 06:20:17 PM

Title: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Ribs on June 13, 2018, 06:20:17 PM
Hello again everyone. I didn't think this really belonged int he Beginner's Showcase, as this recording is more an example regarding my question rather than the full tune. I just passed my fourth month of learning. Since I first began, I've been working on a sea shanty called "Bully in the Alley", as it's one of my favorite tunes. I originally played it in a lower key, but being that I play a G/C, I thought it sounded a bit muddy and hard to make out. As such, I'm still re-learning the fingering in the higher key, which is why there are so many mistakes in this recording.

The one thing I've really had trouble with regarding this tune is that I could never seem to work out a rhythmic bass timing for it. None of the standard "oom-pah" timings ever felt right, which led me to experiment with using the basses more for harmony than for rhythm. So my question is, does anyone have any suggestions on how I could improve on what I'm doing (other than not making so many mistakes lol)? Also, it would be awesome if you could direct me to some tunes that exemplify something close to this style of using the basses so that I can see exactly how it's supposed to be done. Thanks in advance, and sorry for the bad take!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo)
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Jesse Smith on June 13, 2018, 06:49:24 PM
One idea that comes to mind is to only play the bass side on the refrains. These shanties were originally sung unaccompanied, and the shantyman would lead with a solo line and then the entire crew would bellow along on the refrains.

Solo: Help me Bob, I'm bully in the alley
Crew: Way, hey, bully in the alley
Solo: Help me Bob, I'm bully in the alley
Crew: Bully down in Shinbone Al'!

So you could simulate that by playing the verse lines on just the treble and then bring in the oompah on the refrains lines. Just to make it a little more interesting and varied. Just an idea, I'm very new at all this too.
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on June 13, 2018, 07:04:28 PM
Well, I'm not very new at at all this. You have hit the nail exactly on the right spot on its head Jesse, though you might just add a a chord on the last "Al!" for emphasis.

Chris B.





























Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Ribs on June 13, 2018, 07:38:12 PM
That's a great idea, I don't know why it never occurred to me to play the song like a chorus rather than an instrument. I supposed I'm still suffering a stringed instrument hangover, thinking "the fancier, the better". A lot of those old work songs were never intended to be fancy, just simple and easy to remember. This actually helps out a lot with the struggle I'm having with the basses in another shanty, "Randy Dandy O".
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: playandteach on June 13, 2018, 11:13:38 PM
For me - the improvement would be not to have the same rhythm in the left hand as the right hand. Try instead to nail a repeating rhythm (I know you've called it the oom pah, but it could equally be oom, pah pah, oom pah pah (as in crotchet, quaver quaver, quaver, quaver, quaver, rest) OR oom, pah, oom pah pah - and see if you can separate out the two roles.
Or try a variety of approaches including sustained left hand chords.
All worthwhile skills.
Good luck.
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: arty on June 14, 2018, 05:32:20 AM
A few years ago, I asked a very similar question. How to make basses more interesting?, I think was my question. Anyway, by way of a reply, our own Ollie King made a really helpful video which clearly shows how to do just this. Very helpful....
https://youtu.be/YBonsmK2sQw
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Sebastian on June 14, 2018, 08:03:43 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo)
When I look at your video I'm a bit puzzled. On a G/C box you play it in G, that is, on the outer row. But it looks as if you would press mostly buttons of the inner row. (But maybe I'm mistaken.)
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Jesse Smith on June 15, 2018, 03:03:23 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo)
When I look at your video I'm a bit puzzled. On a G/C box you play it in G, that is, on the outer row. But it looks as if you would press mostly buttons of the inner row. (But maybe I'm mistaken.)
If I'm not mistaken, Ribs is playing the tune in G on the C row, starting on the 5th button. You don't have the F# on the inner row but you can drop down to the G row for it of course. I would consider this an advanced skill, actually (I don't think I've explored this yet).

If you don't need the 7th note in a tune, this is how you can play tunes in different keys on a one row (e.g., a tune in A on a D melodeon).
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Ribs on June 16, 2018, 10:21:30 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcb_YV-iCo)
When I look at your video I'm a bit puzzled. On a G/C box you play it in G, that is, on the outer row. But it looks as if you would press mostly buttons of the inner row. (But maybe I'm mistaken.)
If I'm not mistaken, Ribs is playing the tune in G on the C row, starting on the 5th button. You don't have the F# on the inner row but you can drop down to the G row for it of course. I would consider this an advanced skill, actually (I don't think I've explored this yet).

If you don't need the 7th note in a tune, this is how you can play tunes in different keys on a one row (e.g., a tune in A on a D melodeon).

Unfortunately, I can't really clarify much here. I play entirely by ear, and only have a rudimentary (at best) knowledge of written music. I play a few different instruments, and I've always played more in the vein of what feels natural rather than any sort of organized technique. There's a possibility that my box has been re-tuned in the past, as I've had to improvise in places where the fingering just doesn't seem to match up with videos that I've tried to learn from. A good example of this is the tune I've been working on for the last week or so, Salmon Tails up the Water. I've been trying to follow along with the recording that Lester Bailey has on YouTube, but at the very highest end of the tune (the part that sounds like the "carried his corpse on home to wake" part of Finnegan's Wake, if you're familiar with the tune. I apologize for not knowing the musical terminology), I've had to completely re-work the fingering. Maybe that accounts for some of the confusion? At any rate, I would definitely appreciate any input you guys have on how I could make things easier on myself. I joined up here specifically to learn from veterans of the box.
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: playandteach on June 17, 2018, 08:51:52 AM
Why don't you upload a recording of your push and pull notes on each row - separately - so all the pushes then all the pulls? You could even say the button numbers as you do. Then someone will tell you very easily how your box differs from standard and what you can do about it. My own boxes are  tuned very differently but that's my choice as I don't play them as separate rows.
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on June 17, 2018, 11:21:50 PM
Don't GC players playing in G tend to play a lot in the upper octave? That's the impression I get from on line videos of continental players.
Title: Re: Need some help with/examples of using basses as harmonies
Post by: Ribs on June 20, 2018, 08:26:27 PM
Why don't you upload a recording of your push and pull notes on each row - separately - so all the pushes then all the pulls? You could even say the button numbers as you do. Then someone will tell you very easily how your box differs from standard and what you can do about it. My own boxes are  tuned very differently but that's my choice as I don't play them as separate rows.

Sure, I can record a quick video. I don't know for sure if my box has been re-tuned or not, as it's fairly old (post-WWII, but not by much) and the woman it belonged to previously passed away long before I was born. Also, for the record, I'm aware that it's a bit out of tune and that I've got some valve issues. I'm currently trying to hunt down a repair shop, but I have yet to find a place anywhere near me that handles accordions of any kind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ccga6En2UI&index=1&list=UUEv18H-5smEyDOxjOOutisg