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Author Topic: Learning to play both sides.  (Read 5582 times)

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Art Vandelay

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Learning to play both sides.
« on: September 03, 2013, 04:26:27 AM »

Hello All,
I'm Art Vandelay and I would like to formally ask all of you kind folks advice on how I can learn accompany the treble side of my melodeon, with the bass side.

I purchased Hohner Panther about 2 months ago, this is my first instrument ever so I am coming from zero musical background, other than listening to it. I have learned to play about 5 simple melody's so far, but I can only play them when looking at the paper, I haven't memorized them yet.

Basically, I'm just wondering you all developed your ambidexterity with the instrument.

I look forward to your advice.
Thanks in advance,
Art Vandelay
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 08:36:43 AM »

wrt Your other post (seems better to  address its question here)

Do you plan to play "texmex", that is very right hand led?
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ButtonBox21

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 12:35:07 PM »

One suggestion I have seen in the past is to learn "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or "Mary Had A Little Lamb". These are simple tunes which are very helpful in learning to play the basses. Also playing the scale with basses is a good way to start. There is a good YouTube video on this. Is there an experienced player near you who you can get together with. This would be very helpful. If possible you might want to go to an instructor. You will learn the proper way to play basses. With a lot of practice, you will learn and then it will become second nature to you. :||:
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Steve Squeeze

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 01:12:28 PM »

Donkey Riding on bass notes only is always fun, and has some sensible progressions that you can quickly build into your accompaniments.
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deltasalmon

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 01:41:39 PM »

Hello All,
I'm Art Vandelay and I would like to formally ask all of you kind folks advice on how I can learn accompany the treble side of my melodeon, with the bass side.

I purchased Hohner Panther about 2 months ago, this is my first instrument ever so I am coming from zero musical background, other than listening to it. I have learned to play about 5 simple melody's so far, but I can only play them when looking at the paper, I haven't memorized them yet.

Basically, I'm just wondering you all developed your ambidexterity with the instrument.

I look forward to your advice.
Thanks in advance,
Art Vandelay

Art Vandelay, the famous importer/exporter?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Xtsi7Jcec
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Art Vandelay

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2013, 10:24:35 PM »

Yes, I am indeed the famous importer exporter.

I appreciate all of your advice. I often play only the bass side.

As to the poster who asked if I was going to play Texmex, the answer is no. I understand the melodeon I purchased is geared towards that style of music, but I'm hoping it can play other genres.

I would like to learn to play a bit of theatrical music/video game music, which I think is possible. I am able to replicate bits and pieces of my favourite video game Metal Gear Solid 2.

Other than that type of music, I am really interested in playing all types. I like Yann Teirsen, and have found several videos on youtube of people playing his music on melodeons, so I know it can be done. However people are usually using ADG melodeons, so I guess I'm going to have to start saving for an additional melodeon.

I will try what you all have suggested though and update you on my progress in a couple of weeks.
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Art Vandelay

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2013, 05:56:34 AM »

So I tried what you guys said last night. I just pressed down on 2 LH buttons at the same time as the RH side buttons. I was very surprised at how different the same two LH notes could sound when played with varying RH notes.

That is to say, the left side would sound different during parts of a song, even though I was using the exact same notes.

I have another question, what do you call the notes on the left hand side? Like the Oom-pah-pah. What is the name for the Oom, and the name for the Pah? The "Pah" is not a bass note, is it?
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 09:02:26 AM »

That different 'feel' of a note sequence played against different bass notes is called a mode. In its simplest explanation you brain takes the context of each note from its relationship to the bass. If I write any more I'll get Limericked, so see http://chrisryall.net/modes if you want more on this. Although it is usually presented as a property of music, it seems to be universal experience and may be a property of our brains!

A bass…chord pattern can be called just that, but is often called Om pah, or Om pah pah, depending on rhythm. Pah would be the chord. One tip I give beginners (got it very wrong myself) is to avoid filling the whole bar with a heavy left OM PAH from the start. Keep bass hits brief, cut off the chord early "pa^", and try variations such as om [gap] pa^. You'll find it a pain early on, but if it sounds unsubtle, fine. It'll bed in, and you won't have the onerous task of unlearning  stolid ON PAH PAH base lines later on.  "Keep the left end light" ;)
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Lester

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 09:17:40 AM »

I have another question, what do you call the notes on the left hand side? Like the Oom-pah-pah. What is the name for the Oom, and the name for the Pah? The "Pah" is not a bass note, is it?

The Oom is the Bass Note and the Pah is the Bass Chord.

Quote from: Chris Ryall
You'll find it a pain early on, but if it sounds unsubtle, fine. It'll bed in, and you won't have the onerous task of unlearning  stolid ON PAH PAH base lines later on.

Tell you what Chris I will not refer to cross row playing with cross fingered chords as "overly fussy mush" if you stop referring to plain Om Pah or Om Pah Pah as 'Stolid' they both have their place in music, and we should be accepting of both.  ;)

Chris Ryall

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 09:33:41 AM »

done!

But I can tell you, I sweated blood 10 years ago to unlearn my early methods. And a certain Yorkshire based melodeonist still moans loudly in sessions that my left end is "too heavy" (apparently she moans about several players I really respect, so I just ignore her)
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BJG

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 09:41:57 AM »

If I write any more I'll get Limericked

Hmm...it may already be too late... ;)
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squeezy

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 10:01:34 AM »

I think rather than listening to our personal opinionated points of view on how the bass end should be approached, Art, you should probably have a listen to the styles of music you would most like to end up playing and learn in that style - I agree that "unlearning" stuff can be a pain, but it is an essential process in learning any skill.

For me, I find that a simple repeated oom-pah for 4/4 tunes and oom-pa-pah for 3/4 tunes is a very good first step for a beginner to try and get separated different rhythms on the two hands.  To start with - choose a simple tune in a major key and only use the pair of bass buttons that play the chords associated with that key (e.g if you are on a C row - use the bass and chords that are C push and G pull) - that way it will not sound harmonically correct, but it won't sound awful - and you don't have to think about which buttons you're pushing if the fingers just stay in the same position.

At this early stage - you are only really exercising the brain to use the hands independently - once you feel you are getting it and it begins to feel natural - then is the time to start to allow your fingers to try different notes on the left hand to get more harmonically correct chord sequences and also to try out different rhythms starting with simple omissions like Oom-pah-(nothing)-pah - and also trying out long and short notes on the left hand.

Best of luck,

Squeezy
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Squeezy

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Steve C.

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 02:50:24 PM »

Hello Art--

I started on the GCF here in the States because it was the most available box.  One thing about your Panther is that if you bought it from a discounter it it most likely in poor tune.  Probably not enough to worry about.  But I bought a DG after a month. (this was 45 years ago).  And had it tuned.

My suggestion for most results in shortest time is to treat your GCF "as if" it was a CG (first two rows) or CF (second two rows) and use any of the "learning methods" books, even the ones for DG (Garside, Mallinson)

You can play the GC or CF rows "as if" they were DG by using the button numbers rather than the dots, and in a day, you will be playing basic tunes and getting your mind around the "diatonic" system.  You have the basses and chords for both.

Another tack: you might figure out what type of music interests you the most and look for threads here on what box works best for that type of music. 

For example, if you are interested in morris you should immediately get rid of your panther, don't waste time, and get a DG two row.  If you are interested in most non-UK, non-Irish, you can probably keep your Panther.  If you want to play Irish reels until the cows come home, you need a "semi-tone" box like a BC.

I think most of the members here, and the prevalence of available learning methods show that a 2-row box (DG, GC or CF) has the best learning curves.

It is likely that another member will be along to argue against/support this.

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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 03:32:06 PM »

Sorry? What was that?  >:E
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AirTime

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 04:46:09 PM »

I don't know if I would be overly worried about the oom pah thing. I think as you gain more experience with the box, it becomes natural to experiment with different bass rhythms, especially if you learn to play tunes that don't allow for an oom pah.

I would strongly suggest that you learn to play the bass buttons using (at least) 3 fingers rather than 2 though. I did not bother to do this & it is one thing I do regret.
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Art Vandelay

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 09:03:20 PM »

Hello Art--

I started on the GCF here in the States because it was the most available box.  One thing about your Panther is that if you bought it from a discounter it it most likely in poor tune.  Probably not enough to worry about.  But I bought a DG after a month. (this was 45 years ago).  And had it tuned.

My suggestion for most results in shortest time is to treat your GCF "as if" it was a CG (first two rows) or CF (second two rows) and use any of the "learning methods" books, even the ones for DG (Garside, Mallinson)

You can play the GC or CF rows "as if" they were DG by using the button numbers rather than the dots, and in a day, you will be playing basic tunes and getting your mind around the "diatonic" system.  You have the basses and chords for both.

Another tack: you might figure out what type of music interests you the most and look for threads here on what box works best for that type of music. 

For example, if you are interested in morris you should immediately get rid of your panther, don't waste time, and get a DG two row.  If you are interested in most non-UK, non-Irish, you can probably keep your Panther.  If you want to play Irish reels until the cows come home, you need a "semi-tone" box like a BC.

I think most of the members here, and the prevalence of available learning methods show that a 2-row box (DG, GC or CF) has the best learning curves.

It is likely that another member will be along to argue against/support this.

Yes that is what I've been doing. I almost immediately knew when I purchased my Panther that I meant to get an ADG box, but I am intent on making my Panther work for me until I can pay for a new box.

I can play simple hymns like Amazing Grace and Near'r My God to Thee without using the bass's. I kept doing what you guys said, just trying to get my brain used to using the hands independently. It's not nearly as daunting as I'd though it as, but I do feel compelled to play without the bass's, because I am able to actually play songs when I don't.

I have a feeling that's exactly a scenario you guys say I need to unlearn. Am I right in thinking I need to immediately stop playing without bass and force myself to play terribly with bass until I'm not terrible anymore?

As for using on 2 rows, I've hardly been able to use 2 rows thus far. I can get my way around a single row a little less than okay, but it was only a couple days ago that I learned how to play Near'r my God to Thee utilizing a second row to lessen the amount of push/pull direction changes.

Again, I will try to upload a video shortly. I have not much experience with posting videos on the internet, so it's something I'm really going to have to push myself to do.

Thanks again for all the advice. I look forward to showing you all what I am capable of.
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squeezy

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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 11:12:22 PM »


I have a feeling that's exactly a scenario you guys say I need to unlearn. Am I right in thinking I need to immediately stop playing without bass and force myself to play terribly with bass until I'm not terrible anymore?

I'm afraid that's about the size of things ... yes!

You don't have to do anything ... but if you want to get some kind of left hand input to your playing then you need to start sometime ... and now is probably as good a time as any!
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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 11:26:05 PM »

And don't be discouraged if it seems difficult at first.  Just keep at it, with simple things like Squeezy suggested, and if you keep trying it will slowly get easier.
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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 11:33:27 PM »


...  It's not nearly as daunting as I'd though it as, but I do feel compelled to play without the bass's, because I am able to actually play songs when I don't.

I have a feeling that's exactly a scenario you guys say I need to unlearn. Am I right in thinking I need to immediately stop playing without bass and force myself to play terribly with bass until I'm not terrible anymore?

You will already know that opinions vary, and should realise that there is a number of ways to learn. Different ways suit different people.

Learning to use the left hand early is good advice, because it gets harder to go back as you get further along. However:
a) some players never do. There's no law says that you have to. (But you really should.)
b) some tutors will recommend that you get at least used to the melody before you consider the accompaniment. Just don't leave a big gap.
c) have some fun. Mix doing the hard work with the bits you enjoy. Otherwise you'll get fed up and stop.  :(
d) Just seen Theo's post! - it does get easier. Honest.
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Re: Learning to play both sides.
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 12:18:02 AM »

"Am I right in thinking I need to immediately stop playing without bass and force myself to play terribly with bass until I'm not terrible anymore?"


Like the others say yes, but also keep enjoying the tunes that you know without the basses as well. You ought to be enjoying your playing and it won't do any harm mixing the two a bit and keeping your morale high :-)
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