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Author Topic: "Dutch modification"  (Read 4232 times)

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WillQ

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"Dutch modification"
« on: April 22, 2009, 05:01:22 PM »

Preface: I did a forum-wide search for "Dutch" and found only a couple threads that made off-handed mentions of this without actually discussing it (the thread on German Club system came closest); but I'm new here, so if it's been discussed before please point me to the right place.

I've been playing D/G melodeon since 1999, mainly for morris. In 2006 I lived in the Netherlands for several months, and while there was connected with Frans Tromp. He's a fine box player, and gave me generous lessons over the course of a summer (several hours a week at his home in Groningen). All his boxes are all "Dutch-modified" of course, and he plays a lot of Dutch tunes (and is a prolific writer as well), but he's also the musician for the Utrecht Morris Men, so he plays all the traditional English Morris tunes.

(Oh, for anyone who doesn't know what this means: the button in the G row which is D-press, E-draw, gets flipped so it becomes D-draw, E-press. You've still got that same D on the press and that same E on the draw just below on the D row, so now you have each of those notes in both bellows directions--and now you have nearly an entire scale on both the draw and the press, which lets you play many things like a D-major chord on the draw, or many runs without changing the bellows, which you couldn't do before.)

Shortly into the summer he had persuaded me of the logic of modifying my old Pokerwork, and I carefully opened it up, melted the wax, flipped over the D/E reed, and sealed it into place again. Everything works great, and for the rest of the summer we worked on some Dutch tunes that really almost require the modification as well as some old Morris tunes to see how they can be adapted to benefit from it. Working through and playing them with Frans was fun and helpful, and I have his theory-and-tune book (sort of the Dutch equivalent of Mally's classic primer) and several videos I took of his playing to give me some reminders now that I'm on my own.

But of course I have to re-learn every tune I'd been playing for the previous seven years! Many of them I do the "simple way"--continue to play them exactly as I used to, but use the D and E notes on the D-row (using the same bellows movements I've always used) without considering how I might take advantage of the Dutch modification to do nifty things with right-hand harmonies and different basses. A few tunes I've known forever I've thought through again, taking them apart and changing them up a bit, and new tunes I've learned since modifying my instrument I try to figure out initially in ways that take fuller advantage--it's easier with new tunes because I don't have to "un-learn" anything. And on my own, it's a challenge, and sometimes a frustrating one to handle alone...

So here's my question: does anyone else here play with a Dutch-modified melodeon? Or know any players who do? I've never actually talked with anyone besides Frans who does, nor even found anyone in the States who's heard of such a thing! Several times I've gotten frustrated and come close to "un-Dutchifying", but I keep convincing myself there's really no need--I can continue to play old tunes just as I have been and slowly adapt them, and I can play on other people's boxes by doing the same thing. But having someone else to chat with--especially someone else who started with the "normal" system and switched to the Dutch one--would be encouraging :)

(It was actually so frustrating in the months just after I returned from the Netherlands and started playing on my own that I put down my box for a while, to try to make it easier to "forget what I knew, and come back fresh with an open mind". And then I wound up traveling for much of 2007 and almost all of 2008 and not having time to play for an entire year, so I just seriously came back to it in January, taking full advantage of my unemployment to practice an hour or so every day, and have been trying a whole variety of different things, English and Dutch tunes both. And yes, it is a lot easier now--the time off did help me "unlearn" things. I've also been doing a lot of scale exercises, trying to really get to the point where I don't have to "think" about things as much. I wasn't doing that when I first came home, thinking "oh, I've been playing tunes, I should just keep playing tunes..." which was probably a mistake.)

Meanwhile, I'll keep trucking along, whether with company or alone. Maybe someday I'll even manage to convince at least one other person that this really is a very useful modification! :p
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 05:13:17 PM by WillQ »
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Kingsessing Morris (Phila) & Bouwerie Boys Morris (NYC)
Very Old Hohner Pokerwork D/G with "Dutch modification", Stagi Hayden Duet Concertina

Owen Woods

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 05:15:47 PM »

This is why I really want a) an old box on which to experiment and b) knowledge on how to retune.

It sounds like an interesting and potentially useful mod. I am playing French Flageolet at the moment, which to whistlers seems illogical and crazy, I spend most of my time trying to convince them that it's not.
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WillQ

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 05:29:28 PM »

This is why I really want a) an old box on which to experiment and b) knowledge on how to retune.

It sounds like an interesting and potentially useful mod. I am playing French Flageolet at the moment, which to whistlers seems illogical and crazy, I spend most of my time trying to convince them that it's not.

Well, I can tell you what I did for the retuning--that part wasn't hard for this particular modification. I heated a knife over a flame and then ran it around the wax sealing in the D/E reed plate until it was soft enough I could lift the reed plate out (I think I carefully pried it out with a heated tweezers). Then I flipped it over and put it right back down again, and did my best to seal it in again with wax, using the hot knife. I kept reheating the knife over the candle every ten seconds or so. I had a block of spare wax on hand, but I don't recall needing it. I will warn you that this method is very primitive and that there are probably "proper tools" and procedures which are advisable; and I'm certainly no expert at this, so you shouldn't try following this advice without talking to someone more knowledgeable. I had guidance from Frans and also from the instrument repair folks at The Button Box (Massachusetts), whom I telephoned overseas just prior to melting the wax, but you should at least get first-hand expert advice yourself if you're going to try something like this.

Other sorts of retunings may require you to put in different reed plates rather than just simply flipping the reed plate you've already got. For instance, to go to the German Club system, you'd need to replace the D/E reed plate with a D/D reed plate--a good repair shop could fabricate one for you probably, but you'd have to ask around. I was lucky that I didn't need any new parts for the Dutch modification, or I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own.
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Kingsessing Morris (Phila) & Bouwerie Boys Morris (NYC)
Very Old Hohner Pokerwork D/G with "Dutch modification", Stagi Hayden Duet Concertina

HallelujahAl

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 08:13:24 PM »

Can you give us an example of some tunes that require the modification? Would be interesting to have  a play - something old & Dutch would be preferable  (:)
thanks, AL
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ghijze mitter hacken

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 09:46:28 PM »

Can you give us an example of some tunes that require the modification? Would be interesting to have  a play - something old & Dutch would be preferable  (:)
thanks, AL

Here you will find tunes  of which the tablature is written out for the so called Dutch modification, which is by the way not typical Dutch because the modification goes back to the twenties or thirties of the past century in Germany.

http://www.ggms.nl/    click button "muziek"
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Doug Anderson

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009, 11:32:14 PM »

I've been playing my own variation of the Dutch system for a little over a year. I play a G/C box so I'll first describe the changes I had made and then attempt to translate them for a D/G box.

G/C The fifth button of the C row is changed from G_push/A_pull to A_push/G_pull. This is the so-called Dutch modification. I took it several steps further. The second button of the C row is changed from G_push to A_push (the B_pull is unchanged). The eighth button of the C row is changed from G_push to A_push (the F_pull is unchanged). The ninth button of the C row is changed from A_pull to G_pull (the C_push is unchanged). In summary, all of the A's on the C row are push and all of the G's are pull - a complete reversal of the A's and G's on the G row.

Translated to D/G The fifth button of the G row is changed from D_push/E_pull to E_push/D_pull. This is the so-called Dutch modification. I took it several steps further. The second button of the G row is changed from D_push to E_push (the F#_pull is unchanged). The eighth button of the G row is changed from D_push to E_push (the C_pull is unchanged). The ninth button of the G row is changed from E_pull to D_pull (the G_push is unchanged). In summary, all of the E's on the G row are push and all of the D's are pull - a complete reversal of the E's and D's on the D row. (I hope I got that right.)

For several months I played one box with these modifications and another box with the standard layout. Over time I found more and more things I could do with the added reversals. For example, they make it a lot easier to play the "correct" chords with tunes like Sidewalks of New York, Let Me Call You Sweetheart and Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland. In the end I replaced the "standard" box with a second modified one.

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MartinW

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2009, 12:41:40 PM »

Taking the idea of reversal to it's extreme, I have a C/C# instrument with all buttons reversed. I is known as a a flutina.
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Simon

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2009, 12:32:56 PM »

Can you give us an example of some tunes that require the modification? Would be interesting to have  a play - something old & Dutch would be preferable  (:)
thanks, AL
I'm also using the 'Dutch modification', but then again I am Dutch. The idea is that both notes on the fifth button of the inner row are duplicated on the outer row. On a D/G this gives you a push-E and a pull-D without loosing any notes. This is useful whenever you want to play an E with a push chord or a D with a pull chord. It also gives you a bit more options in countermelodies or righthand chords. It doesn't require retuning, just flipping the reeds for this button (around here it's usually called a 'flipped five'). The disadvantage is of course that it messes up the similarity between both rows. You don't want to play one-row stuff on the inner row with this modification.
You can find plenty of online tunes for 'flipped five' on e.g. http://trekzakpagina.nl/ under 'bladmuziek' (sheetmusic). You can also try 'Film' and then choose 'Filmhuis (eigen materiaal)' to watch two Frans Tromp movies. Btw, Frans uses other box modifications as well.
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Martin J

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009, 12:00:03 AM »

Just stumbled on this thread.  Sorry I missed it when it was first posted.  Although I've been playing for over thirty tears on a normal quint box I still think Dutch tuning is better.   For the last year or so I've had a couple of boxes tuned this way.  Probably the best piece I've come across to play in this tuning is 'Old French' with it's constant use of single note scales coupled with arpeggio's in three major keys.  It sits so well with all the correct chords.

Having said all that, I have eventually had to give up on the tuning as I can only play specific pieces and in general usage, sessions etc, my long term, inbred, habits win over the new skill.  I would whole heartedled reccommend the system to new players.  It may be slightly more difficult in the early days but well worth it in the long term.

 (:) :||:  Wonderful system.
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ganderbox

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2009, 09:45:25 AM »

This is one of the things I like about playing a 2 1/2 row. You can have the D/E reversal on the half row. I use it a lot.
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Owen Woods

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2009, 09:53:13 AM »

I'm thinking of getting the Dutch modification done if I ever get round to having my instrument serviced. I'm just too squeamish to change the reeds myself... not with my only box and with gigs coming up at least. If I manage to pick up a cheapo D/G at some point then I'll have a go. It does seem like a nice system.
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playandteach

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Re: "Dutch modification"
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2015, 02:49:46 PM »

G/C The fifth button of the C row is changed from G_push/A_pull to A_push/G_pull. This is the so-called Dutch modification. I took it several steps further. The second button of the C row is changed from G_push to A_push (the B_pull is unchanged). The eighth button of the C row is changed from G_push to A_push (the F_pull is unchanged). The ninth button of the C row is changed from A_pull to G_pull (the C_push is unchanged). In summary, all of the A's on the C row are push and all of the G's are pull - a complete reversal of the A's and G's on the G row.
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