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Author Topic: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems  (Read 11648 times)

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Owen Woods

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2013, 12:45:29 PM »

Quote
And I was never a great B/C/C# player. So I say yes!

OK, I'm getting there!  A hornpipe I know well, and I've always found that its feel has to come from hitting the buttons to give it initial staccato attack on each note.  Would I be right in saying however that because of the sheer size of your LH end, it's no doddle to vary the bellows pressure, for the force/area reasons discussed earlier?  It's a tricky tune, with any system I suspect, to get the 'hrrrrrumph' sound on the notes, is it not?

Why do you think that I sold my Casali? ;)
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Cooper

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2013, 02:52:09 PM »

I hesitate to get involved but
 "BCC# can do fiddly-diddly, and also fizhlydizhly.  But can BCC# do rumpty-tumpty?"
what does this mean?
Surely it doesn't mean that JK and a couple of generations of Scottish musicians can't play hornpipes on their "buttonboxes?"
And is the new owner of the Casali not disappointed to be denied a whole  clump of the English tradition?

I am guessing we are discussing "harder" and not "impossible"
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george garside

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2013, 05:40:02 PM »

The BCC# can most definately do ''rumpy tumpy''   but will not quite sound the same as a quint melodeon  mainly because the BCC# has much better bass harmony  than the D & G  'melodeon' bass which are to some degree dependent on bellows direction rather than the players choice.

george
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2013, 05:53:17 PM »

I agree with Cooper - 'Denied' would be much too strong a word, my phrasing was too black and white, for the purpose of simplification. 

Also, I was just posing the question, and seeking the evidence.  My ears have up to now led me to believe that the two systems don't usually sound the same, in terms of their dynamics, but why should that be?  What exactly is it about the design characteristics that cause that to happen?
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2013, 06:36:07 PM »

I don't know exactly, but at least there's no way Owen's Steamboat video sounds remotely like a piano accordion!

But... as George says, always having the right chord available does help. There's no more obvious giveaway than the typical chords that come from a two row melodeon played in a too-simple up-and-down the row style with whatever chords come to hand.

Also the changes in direction on  BCC# happen in quite random places in the scale - you don't get the home key major chords notes all on push (unless you're playing in B, C or C#) so you end up having to keep everything very detached if you want the articulation to be consistent.

Otherwise, the main difference between the D/G and B/C/C# systems, once you're learned to play them and leaving aside keys the D/G can't do, is that the B/C/C# system is simply physically harder work to play because they tend to be heavy boxes.

As a long-lapsed B/C/C# player, I'm beginning to regret not snapping up that Casali.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2013, 11:27:09 AM »

Quote
Also the changes in direction on  BCC# happen in quite random places in the scale - you don't get the home key major chords notes all on push (unless you're playing in B, C or C#) so you end up having to keep everything very detached if you want the articulation to be consistent.

Anahata and dunlustin, your comments are insights for me - thank you.  I hadn't appreciated the significant lack of reversals for BCC#ers in the keys of G and D.  It seems to me that the bellows movements you need to play in these keys must feel quite random, hence Anahata's 'detached' comment.

This suggests that a benefit of the DGAcc for the home keys is the ability to use repeated patterns such as V^VV^V or ^V^^V^ for jigs,  and V^V^ or ^V^V for reels, at will, and at least partly explains why reversal buttons are popular with players.

This assists with 'rumpty-tumpty', because of the physics involved:

What the player is doing is using the trapped air in the bellows as a spring, and using its elasticity (above atmospheric pressure on the push, below on the pull) to set up a resonant oscillation frequency (of bellows motion, not musical frequency).  Like the parent who gives the child on a swing a series of little pushes at the right point to make the child swing high, the DGAcc player is pushing and pulling the airspring at just the right point to make the amplitude of the compression and decompression greater than he could easily achieve in steady pushing or pulling.  This means the volume of the notes at each end of the oscillation is louder at the chosen point in the middle (hrrrrumph..), than the player would get with a steady motion. This unique capability of the  instrument is infectious to dance to because it matches the natural springs in the dancer's body.

For some time I've been trying to find DGAcc fingerings that match this resonant bellows frequency idea, without realising why - it just felt more rhythmic.  But this theory immediately suggested something else to me:  if the bellows are open, dynamics theory would predict that the resonant frequency of the trapped air is likely to be lower than if they are nearly closed, because you have a longer spring.  (The writer quickly rushes over to the box, to try this prediction out! - lo and behold, Young Collins is better with the bellows nearly closed, and Constant Billy, with its slower resonant bellows frequency, is better with them open.  Try this out, it's immediately obvious!)

Dynamics theory would next predict that the weight of the left hand side would also affect the resonant bellows frequency - the lighter it is, the higher the frequency.  (Writer rushes over to his lighter box, and indeed finds that to play the same tunes, the best bellows position is further out.)

There are other factors of course determining bellows positions - the amount of air you need for the next passage, and the speed and attack you may need for an individual bellows reversal being two of them that immediately 'spring' to mind.
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george garside

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2013, 12:54:37 PM »

But does any of this this matter to the dancers  providing the rhythm is spot on for the particular  veriety of dancing and bearing in mind that the rhythm must be inherent in the way the tune is played  irrespective of any right hand chords or bass accompaniment. >:E

This is not to say that the thread is not extremely interesting from an academic point of view and  as all important encouragement for  experimentation

george
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2013, 12:59:07 PM »


This assists with 'rumpty-tumpty', because of the physics involved:

What the player is doing is using the trapped air in the bellows as a spring, and using its elasticity (above atmospheric pressure on the push, below on the pull) to set up a resonant oscillation frequency (of bellows motion, not musical frequency).  Like the parent who gives the child on a swing a series of little pushes at the right point to make the child swing high, the DGAcc player is pushing and pulling the airspring at just the right point to make the amplitude of the compression and decompression greater than he could easily achieve in steady pushing or pulling.  This means the volume of the notes at each end of the oscillation is louder at the chosen point in the middle (hrrrrumph..), than the player would get with a steady motion. This unique capability of the  instrument is infectious to dance to because it matches the natural springs in the dancer's body.

I like this!
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george garside

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2013, 01:09:16 PM »

melodeons with large numbers ( for melodeons) of bass seem to be on the heavy side for what they offer.  The castagnari handry  18 bass 6kg  but the castagnari 60 bass 4 row magica continental just the same at 6kg!  The 48 bass  3 row Casali is not much heavier at about 6.8kg. 

So presumably 48 or 60 stradella could be fitted to large melodeons without increasing weight  with the huge advantage of not having to  choose right hand notes to suite those on the left.  To me 'Melodeon' bass are fine on a simple 2 row  8 bass box ( although I would prefer 12 stradella)  but I can't see the point  on a DG+ box with semi chromatic aspirations!

george

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2013, 01:15:40 PM »

Ukebert, I was interested to have a look at your version of the Loomes system, to see how it fared in this respect.  (There seems to be a missing link on your page, by the way). 

Am I right in thinking 'bellows oscillation' should work well on the push notes, but less so on the pull?  Again, there's not too many button reversals to allow fingering variation to accommodate the idea, I would hazard.
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2013, 01:27:37 PM »

Quote
So presumably 48 or 60 stradella could be fitted to large melodeons without increasing weight  with the huge advantage of not having to  choose right hand notes to suite those on the left.

I agree, George, an attractive idea, if so.  I am however struggling with the thought that the weight of the LHS of such a comprehensive system could be kept down to similarity with a 'rectangular' D/G-related bass, without other reed/voicing compromises.  If that were the case, surely the simpler stradella system would have been fitted as standard to melodeons long ago?  It may well be that a  'cut-down' stradella bass system would have merits, to cope with the RH restriction to a few home keys.  I think this has been tried by some, hasn't it?

(There is also the 'additive' learning issue to consider, which may favour extended 12, 14, or 18 rectangular basses.)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 01:30:25 PM by Chris Brimley »
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george garside

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #51 on: December 17, 2013, 01:46:09 PM »

Many 'melodeonists'  who  have not played stradella  seem to  think of it as as  'that what piano accordions have''  and in a strange sort of way ? illogical sort of way?  see it as being totally incompatible with  melodeons. I can understand to some degree, but don't agree, this applying to DG etcc boxes   but think it very strange that the chromatic BC etc lot don't go that way as it would at least allow them to make some use of the bass - but perhaps they are happy paying for bass they don't /can't use!

george
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Anahata

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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #52 on: December 17, 2013, 02:15:24 PM »

Ukebert, I was interested to have a look at your version of the Loomes system, to see how it fared in this respect.  (There seems to be a missing link on your page, by the way). 

I went to Jon's site, and it looks like he's removed the page (he mentions the system somewhere, but there's no link), so the missing link's not entirely Ukebert's fault. I get the impression that maybe JL hasn't quite finalised his design yet and doesn't want to publish until/unless he's sure of it.
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #53 on: December 17, 2013, 02:28:51 PM »

I'm not one of them, George - it seems to me that some sort of lightweight 'cut-down key and chord' range stradella could in principle have a lot of merit with a 'melodeon' RHS, and ought to be an awful lot easier for a melodeonista to relearn than a BCC# RHS would be, and shouldn't in principle compromise the 'bellows oscillation' idea.

There may be technical issues with building such a (up to 12x2 thirdless?) stradella system that I don't understand?
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2013, 02:44:09 PM »

Thanks for the notification on the link, will fix now.

Should be 12*3 thirdless minimum, as stradella is useless without counters. Or you could have one of the open stradella systems. Or a Harmonetta Bass.
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2013, 03:07:25 PM »


There may be technical issues with building such a (up to 12x2 thirdless?) stradella system that I don't understand?

Not as far as building them goes.  It's just a stradella setup with some parts of the mech left out.  You would still need exactly the same reeds and blocks, just fewer buttons and levers, which might mean  the bass end could be shallower which could improve the immediacy of the sound.
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2013, 03:11:00 PM »

 12x2  used to be not uncommon of 2 row melodeons  eg Wilkinsons excelsior  ( melodeonman52  - Ian Cruikshanks --has a utube clip playing one) I presume they are direct acting 9 rather than with a bass'engine'  in the same way as the 6x2 on the trichord and some double ray's.   I presume 12x3 would require a 'bass engine'.  - but if going up that road 12x4 wouldn't add much weight and would give  counterbass- bass, major and minor chords. ----(for those not familier with stradella the counterbass are the vertical row next to the bellows  and give a bass note being the 3rd of the fundamental bass  on the same diagonal row.  i.e. bass note C, counterbass E.  The addition of counterbass makes the playing of sclaes and runs possible)

george
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2013, 05:22:44 PM »

Theo, what's your view on the likely comparative weights/immediacy of a LHS 12x3 thirdless stradella, compared with say an 18 button rectangular bisonoric set-up?

A query - if with stradella you can't stretch to a nearby bass to use as a counterbass, isn't there a snag with some counterbasses often needing to be minor thirds?
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2013, 05:33:21 PM »

Theo, what's your view on the likely comparative weights/immediacy of a LHS 12x3 thirdless stradella, compared with say an 18 button rectangular bisonoric set-up?
I wouldn't like to hazard a guess!

Quote
A query - if with stradella you can't stretch to a nearby bass to use as a counterbass, isn't there a snag with some counterbasses often needing to be minor thirds?
My understanding is that the counter bass row is always the major third of the main bass, or have I misunderstood the question.
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Re: Bigger Boxes - comparing the D/G/Acc with other systems
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2013, 05:42:01 PM »

The weight of the 18 melodeon - v - 36 stradella bass  may well be  governed more by the size  and type of material used to construct the bass end  than by the type of bass.   That in turn may be influenced by the size of treble end needed to accommodate  a particular number of buttons and appropriate internal gubbins - the bass end being of similer dimensions to fit  t'otehr end of the bellows.

george
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