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Author Topic: Some questions from a newcomer!  (Read 2015 times)

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TrevorJohnLeake

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Some questions from a newcomer!
« on: March 01, 2013, 07:34:58 PM »

Hey guys,  I'm a newcomer to the site, and to melodeons. I have a solid background in music and, because of that, understand there may be some drawbacks to the melodeon. I love the sound and music of the instrument but can't decide whether to get a melodeon or a duet concertina. The main issue in my head is bass chords. If I buy a melodeon without the stop for the third on bass chords, I think I'd be rather lost. Also I'd need a chromatic scale, which limits it to B/C and C/C#, I think.   

I do have a piano accordion though. I'm hoping that someone might help me identify it, as I'd like to sell it and use the money for a melodeon. It has no brand symbols or names on it, as far as I see, but it looks nice to me, and still plays well.. 

Any help with identification and any answers to my concerns would be very helpful! 

Thanks guys,
Trevor John Leake
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deltasalmon

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 07:40:28 PM »

if you're considering between B/C and C/C# and have worries of the bass chords then a B/C/C# with stradella bass might be right for you. More will comment on here as there are a few BCC# players who will have much more information than I can provide.

In the meantime, welcome to the site  (:)  :||:
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Sean McGinnis
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TrevorJohnLeake

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 08:07:10 PM »

Thank you!

I guess my concern is that I enjoy arranging and playing orchestral classical music from composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams, so if I were to arrange those tunes, I would need a chromatic scale.. I wonder if I could get by with a 8 bass..

Also there is the principal cost that I'd rather keep to a minimum and once you add a stradella bass, things seem to get quite spendy. haha
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 09:02:42 PM »

You are coming at this from the wrong direction. If chromaticism and ability to play in any key is your thing, than get a piano accordion, or better, a CBA continental system.  The beauty of the diatonic is that it is limited palate - awkward to play in "any key" but devilishly fluent in its "sweet spot". This generally is one of diatonic modes of its main rows , and related scales such as Am, Bm or Em blues on a D/G using the 2 accidental buttons for.the passing notes.  A 12 bass will generally suffice for this, yes, thirds out is much less restrictive.

There are also some surprises - eg that there's a fluent and complete F# blues pull scale on the D/G, and also  that if you want to play a C tune, and cheat by missing out the F naturals .. you'll get away with it. A whole lot of 1 row technique in based on such prestidigitation.

Beyond that you can move towards chromatic play by getting a 3 row with lots of "accs" and reversed notes. but the CBA is your animal for playing in Bb. The half-tone box "can" do it, but forget about any left hand chords! That Tallis fantasia is better transposed up into Bm, and played across the rows.

Yes, it's a super, compact, light instrument. But "horses for courses" applies.  Having said all that I do hope you take it up  ;) Chris
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 09:05:11 PM by Chris Ryall »
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TrevorJohnLeake

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 02:10:43 AM »

That all makes an awful lot of sense!

I am still confused as to why you'd want a D/G over a B/C
Let's say I only play by myself. So even though alot of folk tunes won't be in the right key, I'll just transcribe them, right. :)
Then with B/C, I'll have a full chromatic scale, which should appease my classical inclinations, and the only plenty I see is that in comparison to a D/G, I will have about five notes less in the register.. right?

So if I want a melodeon that has a chromatic scale and basic base chords, could I do that?  B/C melodeon?

What are some drawback that I don't see?

Also, could I play something like this on a B/C? Bass and all?
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=sbeIIRPpXHQ&feature=related
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AirTime

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 04:27:24 AM »

Quote
You are coming at this from the wrong direction. If chromaticism and ability to play in any key is your thing, than get a piano accordion, or better, a CBA continental system.  The beauty of the diatonic is that it is limited palate - awkward to play in "any key" but devilishly fluent in its "sweet spot".

Exactly right! The diatonic button accordion is limited in range, but perfectly designed for what it's intended to do. I think it's hard for someone from a "chromatic background" to understand this until they've explored the possibilities of the DBA. If you're convinced you want a full chromatic scale you would be better off with a PA or CBA.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 08:40:50 AM »

Forgot to mention the BCC# which is chromatic, and paradoxically (I'm told) least fluent in its core key of C!  These don't seem very common in the shops and are heavy, though perhaps less so than a continental. With the chromaticity comes a stradella bass - love or hate that. (George Garside is our resident expert).

The magic of the D/G, G/C, same+accs etc variety is that within the home keys the right end's musical cadences generally fall easily under the fingers by simple measures such as reversing the bellows, crossing to another row, or picking up an arpeggio that lies across the rows.  On 3 rows there are various helper row layouts, evolved over the years to facilitate tonal centre excursions eg into A on a D/G.  Always these involve compromise - my sense is is that a "helper" selection tends to facilitate either sharpening, or flattening.

--oo00oo--

There is one further type, which I call hybrid. Embarrassingly, play this myself :|bl  I have two 3-row "C#DG" boxes. This layout cunningly but economically combines the C#/D half-tone, and D/G "quint" systems. (My 3rd box is "the same en Francais": F#G/C).

A pure C#DG is theoretically inefficient as it duplicates C and F# notes on pull, yet has no pull D; and I am of the school that likes an obscure scale "all the same way".  So I've modified a bit, but let's not go there ;) 

I'd stress they it still works best in it's home keys: D,G, Em, Amdorian Bm, blues in F# A or E.  But it's surprisingly agile in C and F - assisted by the usual C/C bass and a shrewd choice of an F bass amongst the 12. There are intriguing surprises such as outer row harmonic minor modes, and inner/outer melodic minors!

Beyond that - yes you can play any key - but in eg the "sumptuous" G minor .. my G bass is the wrong bloody way!  Worth a look if you are serious. See Melodeon Explorer http://squeezebox.chrisryall.net/ and press the button on the hybrid set. Select the keys you'll need and "see how they run" as Sir Paul once said  ;)

Another luxury worth considering is an 18 bass (providing all basses, though not all chords both ways). You'll need to go to the Continent to buy this, but it means you always have a bass line going, and in much lighter than a stradella. I wouldn't call this sort of stuff "entry level" though!

A point to note is that sessioning in France or Belgium - I've gone to the expense of an F#GC accordion. Yes, I know I can get to their tunes on my C#DG, and I did this for years. But when the boeuf is rattling along with (to me) new music in Dm, Gm or C - fingering is so much easier and I can join in the musical melée rather than sit taping it.

BTW my 3 boxes also have very different tone/voicings - I'm not completely MAD!  :|glug

[edit] Our http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,11521.msg142697.html thread explores chromaticity and bass issues in different context, and may be useful
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 09:03:31 AM by Chris Ryall »
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ladydetemps

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 08:49:32 AM »

So you like the sound and *music* of the melodeon but you want one that can play music that doesn't get played on it. Now i'm confused!? What music that you've heard played on melodeon do you like? That will give a clue.

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 10:46:17 AM »

Hi Trevor,
Welcome aboard!

'I am still confused as to why you'd want a D/G over a B/C.....'
There is an amazing thread on this forum from someone called 'Inventor' which lists the start of the mass uptake of melodeons in the UK. Try using the 'search' facility and take a read. It was a revelation to all here when posted.
Essentially, in the early 1950's a folk collector went around the north of the country, collected a lot of tunes, found they were roughly in D or G and asked Hohner to supply a cohort of melodeons in these keys. A trend was started! The thread also explains why we have such an unusual layout at the chin end of the keyboard.
With a lot ( most ) of the broadly English repertoire tunes you'll encounter in D, G or a relative minor, then there's little point in having a beast bigger than a 2 row DG with 8 basses as it'll weigh more and  most of the extra's you'll rarely use.
It all depends on what you want to play really...........
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Andy Simpson

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 06:04:51 PM »

I guess my concern is that I enjoy arranging and playing orchestral classical music from composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams, so if I were to arrange those tunes, I would need a chromatic scale..

Then I don't think the melodeon is the instrument for you I'm afraid. There's a good reason why classical accordionists play 5 row chromatics with 120 freebass and not 2 row 8 bass melodeons...

B/C and D/G are very different beasts, the techniques required to play them and the resulting sound you get from them are very different. I can't remember who said that they're different instruments sharing the same hardware but they were spot on.
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Theo

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 06:35:25 PM »

Agreed Andy.

The diatonic accordion/melodeon is a wonderful instrument.  It's charm and delight flows from the fact that it is a limited instrument and is not able to play chromatically.  This means it can be small, light, agile and dynamic.  If you want a truly chromatic instrument then you need to go for either the CBA  or the piano accordion.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Re: Some questions from a newcomer!
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 07:10:53 PM »

If you want a truly chromatic instrument then you need to go for either the CBA  or the piano accordion.
Or the English Concertina, which is also small, light, agile and dynamic, and was initially conceived to play classical music.  (:)
Here's one for sale
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Steve
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