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Author Topic: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon  (Read 4089 times)

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Clive Williams

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Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« on: May 01, 2014, 12:38:50 AM »

Ok, all of you with big expensive melodeons, put them down and pickup one of these instead!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=360c4QQPL_o

Now, that's an extreme example, and Hector's probably tuned/tweaked his so I doubt we'll get anywhere close to that, but do you see what we can do with these things? What can you do with one?

If you don't have one lying around the house, no need to go out and buy one; use your normal melodeon (or better, if you have a beaten up rust bucket you've been planning to restore but never got round to it, use that instead)... but... restrict yourself to buttons 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 on a single row of a 3rd row button start melodeon (or 4,5,6,7,8,9,10) for a 4th button start. On basses, pretend that only the 2 standard chords you would have on a one row are available. (the G/D pair on a D/G box being played in G for example).

These little accordions are a lot of fun, and if you haven't tried getting a decent tune out of one, I can assure you that you will have a lot of fun trying!

Good luck!

Clive

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 08:18:31 AM »

I think it's already on public record that Hector's tweaked that box (or probably several of them) a lot.
The simple fix is to tape off the tremolo reeds to reduce air consumption, but replacing them with Hohner reeds is also rumoured to be possible.

But yeah, seen it before, neat bit of arranging/playing.

Next: Rite of Spring on a one-row?
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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 09:00:00 AM »

Been mentioned before, but worth reiterating...Microbot put Hohner reeds in C and D in two of my toys and they sound quite expensive now and are a joy to play. I put a clip of me playing one on here a bit back, rigid with terror and clearly not enjoying the experience, but that was arranged by an 11 year old with the necessary kit and knowhow. I'd quite like to contribute to this 'Theme of the month' now that the fear of exposure has receded but it depends on snaring a grandchild and getting it to remain stationary long enough to complete the task.... :||: :Ph :|glug
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Lester

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 09:13:04 AM »

A toy melodeon but made by Castagnari

Sir Sidney Smith's March on a Castagnari Mignon

Anahata

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 09:20:32 AM »

One I prepared earlier: Serpentiner Och Konfetti on a totally unmodified Schilling Melodeon that cost me £19.99 in, er... about 1999.
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Clive Williams

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 11:32:37 AM »

And a historical example from me too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HzBrffdg2E ... our own Anahata's wonderful Orangeville Reel - posted as an example despite it being a fairly old video.

In this one I've opened up the box and taped off one set of reeds (at random!); that's the only modification, and it's actually quite a playable little accordion like that. The tuning's a little suspect, and the bellows creak a lot, you have to be careful with air, but other than that, it's ok. I've used Chordbot (on iPhone/iPad) to provide the backing track, because I'm tacky enough to use one. New video coming this month... I've got just the set in mind :-)

I really think it's worthwhile to learn to play one of these things if you're used to big boxes; it improves your air control (because you need to plan it!), playing with a thumbstrap (no brackets for a shoulder strap), and I found it improved crispness and general control when I switched back to a full size thing. And they're fun :-)

Cheers,

Clive

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 02:59:37 PM »

One I prepared earlier: Serpentiner Och Konfetti on a totally unmodified Schilling Melodeon that cost me £19.99 in, er... about 1999.

I love your smile at the end, I assume that was a smile of relief after such a belting effort on that little box? ;D

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 03:59:46 PM »

What a fun theme!

Among the plastic toy models, is one especially better than another? I just bought a new D'Luca on ebay, in Italian colors. I bought it for the color choice.
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Anahata

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 05:42:23 PM »

I assume that was a smile of relief after such a belting effort on that little box? ;D

You assume correctly!  (:)
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forrest

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 07:45:14 PM »

Great theme, Clive. I always love a excuse to pick up the minibox. I tried the approach of finding a tune that didn't require a lot of gymnastics, but fit within the scale. My 'Hero' has one set of trebles removed, but still retains those fabulous far-eastern brass reeds. Here's Stephen Foster's Swannee River
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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 09:26:05 PM »

Brilliant Forrest!  Are those the stock reeds? It really sounds quite superb - very much like a harmonica.
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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2014, 05:17:12 PM »

I'm on my honeymoon.
Even old people get married sometimes.
So I shouldn't be here really, should I.

However... We're in Hong Kong visiting some friends and today they took us to Lamas Island, 40 mins on a boat from Hong Kong Island. The idea was to have lunch at a fish restaurant and walk across the island. Not long after lunch we came across a little souvenir shop and there was a shelf sporting Hohner toy acordeons (sic). Available in red, blue and black.  Of course I had to try one and I was caught on camera/phone. So here's a snippet of Winster Gallop on a brand new, straight out of the box Hohner.
http://youtu.be/Ar8Ouv_gmsM

I did buy one (HKD180) and did a quck tune later overlooking the South China Sea. I'll post it when I can get it off the camera.

Mitch.
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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2014, 07:08:44 PM »

Great theme, Clive. I always love a excuse to pick up the minibox. I tried the approach of finding a tune that didn't require a lot of gymnastics, but fit within the scale. My 'Hero' has one set of trebles removed, but still retains those fabulous far-eastern brass reeds. Here's Stephen Foster's Swannee River
Very impressive.
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Clive Williams

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2014, 02:03:20 AM »

Here we go, a new little recording... (not very) tastefully backed with Chordbot based piano and foot percussion:

St Michael's Mount / Martha's Comet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB32PVybNIs

I hope Andy will forgive me ripping off this set he used to play with Chris Wood (but never recorded as far as I know); it's fair to say though, that my version is... different! Andy Cutting wrote the first St Michael's Mount some time ago, and I know my version is a gross simplification, but it *is* being played on a Hero/Chanson! The second tune is also known as Evening Star and is written by Sue Harris (for the dance Martha's Comet, I believe) - Martha's Comet is a better name though. John Kirkpatrick does a cracking version of that too on some album or other.

Cheers,

Clive

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2014, 03:36:05 AM »

As promised here's a second clip, this time Dorset 4 hand reel, after buying the red version of the melodeon and walking across Lamas Island.

http://youtu.be/NpFQNkKq1No

Recorded on a little Nikon camera and edited using ivideo on an ipad.

Mitch
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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2014, 04:00:06 AM »


Quote
This video is private.
Sorry about that.
:(

How many did you try before settling on the "best one"?
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911377brian

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2014, 07:43:52 AM »

Mitch, any chance of you doing a recording that isn't private? ???
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Clive Williams

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2014, 10:14:16 AM »

I'm on my honeymoon.
Even old people get married sometimes.
So I shouldn't be here really, should I.

However... We're in Hong Kong visiting some friends and today they took us to Lamas Island, 40 mins on a boat from Hong Kong Island. The idea was to have lunch at a fish restaurant and walk across the island. Not long after lunch we came across a little souvenir shop and there was a shelf sporting Hohner toy acordeons (sic). Available in red, blue and black.  Of course I had to try one and I was caught on camera/phone. So here's a snippet of Winster Gallop on a brand new, straight out of the box Hohner.
http://youtu.be/Ar8Ouv_gmsM

I did buy one (HKD180) and did a quck tune later overlooking the South China Sea. I'll post it when I can get it off the camera.

Mitch.

Oh bravo! In the shop too! I salute your dedication sir!

howard mitchell

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2014, 02:54:29 PM »


Quote
This video is private.
Sorry about that.
:(

How many did you try before settling on the "best one"?

Sorry about the private setting, I've changed it. http://youtu.be/NpFQNkKq1No

I tried 5.  There was some variability in the leakiness of the bellows and I found a few notes that we're slow to start. I think the red one I ended up with was the best of the bunch.

I'm at Hong Kong airport now.  It's on its way home with me.

Mitch

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Lester

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Re: Theme of the Month for May 2014: Tunes on a Toy Melodeon
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2014, 09:03:19 AM »

Cunnamulla Stockman's Jig on a proper toy melodeon. Thanks to Pikey for the tune.
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