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Author Topic: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread  (Read 3331 times)

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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2015, 04:29:19 PM »

Once you have some tunes fluid try them deliberately on the other row. They sound, and feel different, you'll find some things just don't work - this is an instrument of compromise!

Do you mean centered on the other row but in the same key, or on the other row in the other home key. For example, Huntsman's Chorus on the D row in the key of G starting on a G pull or Huntsman's on the D row in the key of D? The former seems wacky to me, and wouldn't allow for a I chord on the first downbeat of the tune, but perhaps a fun melody only exercise?

"melody only" may be a false path? It's generally easier to fit melody to chords than try to reverse arrange to what is a fairly restricted left end. If you are in home keys, or their modes (eg A or E dorian) the two hang together naturally. "go with the instrument"  ;) Great progress!

Agreed, I am mostly using melody only at this point to work on right hand articulation and varying the bounciness by altering dead air space and the length of the sounded note.

Thanks!
Baron
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2015, 04:35:49 PM »

Here's a clip of Sabin Jacques using the technique he taught me - moving your bass hand forward to give the bellows a concave curve. This allows you to exert pressure in a line running diagonally through the bellows, from your left hand straight through to your right thumb (in Sabin's case, right hand to left thumb). This will really help you to keep the whole thing stable.

I picked this video because unlike me but like you he holds the box off his knee.

Ah yes, Sabin is one of my heros, and one of the reasons I fell in love with the Benny! I see what you mean with regards to his technique, and will give that a try. On sitting here and trying it briefly, it definitely is adding some tension and awkwardness to the left half of my body, but I can probably relax in to it and make it work. I teach at a camp with Sabin every summer, and am really looking forward to picking his brain when I get the chance.

Thanks for the help!
Baron
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2015, 07:00:20 PM »

I meant to take a D tune and simply and naturally play it in G, on the G row, exploring what chords work and what don't. The palate is different … 

If you take a D tune and play it totally on the G row you get the "D" of 5th mode of G with a C and instead of C#, It'll thus sound slightly blue. In practice you seem to be cross rowing already and this will come, but realise that this is a "diatonic" instrument.  See http://chrisryall.net/modes for more (suggest after another month or so

Further tip - intentionally play some silence into your music. Not stacato, but silence where a note could be. Makes it sound much cleaner. Most of us (me included) play too many notes :|bl where to put the silences - now that's the art!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 07:03:14 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2015, 09:26:11 PM »

Alrighty, here goes another round of videos...

I was away from my box for 5 days (and focusing solely on fretted instruments no less), which really felt like it set me back, and after a week back at it, I feel like I am starting to get some of the tunes back in my fingers. The future goals from my last update were:

  • Continue learning new cross row and on row tunes, with left hand in both styles
  • Work on right hand articulation
  • Get better at not gulping air, and increase air button control
  • Learn more tunes in D

I feel like I did a reasonable job at these, though didn't get a full new cross row tune in.

My new on-row with left hand tune is Country Gardens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md8uqP7Bus4

I also added the B part in the low octave and some cross chords (is there a proper term for doing this on the box?) in the left hand to the Grinds Hans Polska. I somehow lost the B part ending when I went back up to the main octave in the melody. I'm going to go ahead and blame the camera:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYyoQ8CMRHw

I started working on Huntsman's Chorus in D to see how add the left hand in D feels. This is giving me a lot of trouble, especially the necessary cross rowing and getting the IV on the push.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx9nt07G_K0

And I also tackled a jig, Out On The Ocean, on row. Just the right hand at this point, in order to focus on the feel of how jigs work. I also couldn't resist going down the octave, though the B part isn't quite there yet.

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

All in all, I am happy to be back to practicing!

Goals for the next few weeks:
  • Getting the left hand going for the jig
  • Getting more comfortable with both hands in the key of D
  • Get the B part of the jig in the low octave
  • Learn a new cross row tune
  • Research and start working on triplet ornamentation
  • Work on adding some left hand rhythmic ideas in cross row tunes instead of just holding out long droney chords the whole time

Again, thanks for all the advice and support! I am always excited to hear ideas on ways I can do things better, what I should work on next, etc.

Thanks,
Baron
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 09:29:59 PM by Baron Collins-Hill »
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2015, 02:44:45 PM »

Well, a month and a half has gone by! So much for every couple weeks!

Here's where I left off:


Goals for the next few weeks:
  • Getting the left hand going for the jig
  • Getting more comfortable with both hands in the key of D
  • Get the B part of the jig in the low octave
  • Learn a new cross row tune
  • Research and start working on triplet ornamentation
  • Work on adding some left hand rhythmic ideas in cross row tunes instead of just holding out long droney chords the whole time

Well, some of this I got to and some I didn't. I ended up learning a bunch of tunes melodically on the D row, mostly Irish tunes. I also started learning a couple breton tunes, and another polska or two started. I haven't gotten around to the left hand for the jig or the D tunes, as I have mostly been practicing what I feel like, and none of it happened to be D tunes with both hands.

I've started throwing triplets in to my irish tunes, but they are far from consistent at this point. Lots of mush with an occasional and unexpected crispy one. I've been concentrating on three finger triplets.

My favorite new tune is Kristianin Mazurka, which is one of the big reasons I was drawn to the instrument. It ends up laying out nicely with Bob Ellis's layout. I changed one note that she plays in the low octave to the higher octave, but other than that I tried to do what I heard an saw. I've been trying to put it in a set with Scottish Catineaux, which I learned from Anahata's playing, but my left hand tends to stay in Mazurka time once my right hand switches to 4, hence the edited video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyz7CFNS8k4

Original sources:
Mazurka - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgErzFxibsQ
Scottish - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZwq9NVnP4M (Second Tune)

I also got started on Ook Pik Waltz, which I meant to learn to play as one of my first tunes, but hadn't got around to, here's a far from perfect rendition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLWCT10ZAr0

And I recorded this to post in another thread, but I learned a lovely tune from a facebook video of some Zampogna players:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSi8TkADxMs

Original source:
https://www.facebook.com/639559039399957/videos/908509915838200/?pnref=story

Things to fix:

Watching the videos, my left hand is really tense from keeping my thumb off the air button. What is the best way to relax my left hand and still be ready for the air button at a moment's notice?

Also, I see that I have developed some bellows waggling, which can't be an efficient use of energy. I'm going to try to curb that habit before it gets too strong.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Baron
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 02:47:16 PM by Baron Collins-Hill »
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Baron's Melodeon Progress Thread
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 12:25:20 AM »

Some lovely tunes played well. Bravo!

A couple of suggestions:

1. Personally, I wouldn't put together a set comprising a mazurka and a scottish. The structure and feel of a mazurka is very different from that of a scottish, which makes the transition from one to the other difficult (as you discovered) and probably has an adverse effect on your interpretation of each because it will be influenced, consciously or subconsciously, by your knowledge that you intend to segue from one into the other. I would recommend playing them as independent tunes or finding another nice mazurka (there are plenty out there) to go with Kristianin and another nice scottish to go with Catinaux.

2. With regard to the air button, I find it best to ride it constantly rather than having your thumb in a tense position just above it. Rest your thumb lightly on it, so that the valve does not open or only opens slightly until you need to press it in to open the air valve properly.
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