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Author Topic: Key of A on a D/G  (Read 1892 times)

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Baron Collins-Hill

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Key of A on a D/G
« on: March 10, 2015, 01:47:21 AM »

I'm thinking about tackling an A tune, and was wondering if there was a standard procedure for approaching the key.

Only having an A on the pull in the basses, it seems like using A pulls and B pushes from the G row and C# pull, D push, E pull, and F# push from the D row would make the most sense theoretically. This gives you the basses where they need to be and the 1, 3, and 5 of the scale in the same direction (pull), the same way they are all on the push when playing in D and G on the row.

The only upside to keeping everything on the D row would be to keep the (physical) "shape" of the scale linear, without having to cross rows.

I guess ultimately doing both would be a fun project that would produce different feels, and perhaps sticking to one row would be a closer imitation of a one row. Does anyone have a suggestion of where to start though?

Thanks,
Baron
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Rees

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 12:30:55 PM »

If I'm playing an Irish tune in A, I would stick mainly to the D row. OK the basses don't quite fit but Irish musicians don't often use them anyway.

If I'm doing blues or zydeco in A then I would cross the rows and play mostly on the pull.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 01:07:33 PM »

I would think that would depend on the tune, but most of the A tunes I play have a flat 7th or no 7th so playing on the D row works. Plus I play D one row or D/C# extended one row system with limited basses. sounds like your giving it alot of thought which should help in the end. I should probaly go back and start to think like this!! I just wish I had the brain for it.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 01:48:53 PM »

That box of yours knows how to play in A. I taught it to do so from an early age!  ;)

I tend to play with the thirds out when in A, which brings the E basses into play. Although I would usually play A notes on the pull, especially at the beginning or the end of phrases, where the tune often needs to resolve with an A chord, E can be useful against pushed A notes elsewhere in the tune because removing the thirds takes the G out of the Em chord. Depending on the phrase, this gives you an alternative to using D basses against pushed A notes.

Of course, you also have F# basses on the Benny to enrich your options when playing in A.
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Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 05:13:59 PM »

Yes Bob, the more time I spend with this box the more I can appreciate all the things you taught it over the years! Thanks for putting all the time and tone into it!

I guess it does make the most sense that it depends on the tune and my bass options. Looks like it's time I jump in to learning a tune!

Thanks,
Baron
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 05:23:31 PM »

The trickiest thing about playing in A on an 8-bass D/G seems to me to be that you usually run out of pulling puff, because most of the chords you want to use and a lot of the notes are only going to be there (together) on the pull.  A possible useful hint when you're accompanying with an E chord is to replace it with a push B bass note only, so you can snatch a push on the air button.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 07:51:33 PM »

If you are looking for a good starter tune in A, you might try Mull of Kintyre.
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squeezy

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2015, 08:52:58 AM »

The trickiest thing about playing in A on an 8-bass D/G seems to me to be that you usually run out of pulling puff, because most of the chords you want to use and a lot of the notes are only going to be there (together) on the pull.  A possible useful hint when you're accompanying with an E chord is to replace it with a push B bass note only, so you can snatch a push on the air button.

I think this is the key to playing in A on a D/G ... you need to keep an eye on bellows control and air button usage!  As the A chords and E chords need to be 'on the pull' you need to try and find as many opportunities for a pushed D or Bmin chord in the tune and get on the air button every time you do!

As for a scale - I would suggest trying to default to the following:

A (G row pull) - B (G row push) - C# (D row pull) - D (D row push) - E (D row pull) - F#(D row push) - G# (accidental button) - A (G row pull)

That gives your tunes a nice balance of push and pull and keeps the tune sounding 'melodeon like' ... however you need to change fingerings to allow some correct chords to be played ... the most common of which will be switching to B (D row pull to fit with an E chord), A (D row push to fit with a D chord) and F# (G row pull). 

There's a nicely shaped three note run for A,B,C# all on the pull but if you use it all the time you end up with your left hand in a different county!

Good luck,

Squeezy
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rileycat

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 09:31:34 AM »

The 'default scale' in A is a very useful bit of info. to help me get started, squeezy - many thanks, saved so much time and so many dead end attempts. Can I also suggest the old saw of Shepherds Hey to help sort out bass bits to a simple tune, it just lacks the use/need of the G# accidental as a practice piece.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 11:20:18 AM »

When playing in A there's a nice effect you can get by playing the C natural (G row, pull) then slurring into the C# (D row, pull),  similar to the way a fiddler adds colour by sliding up to the main melody note. Best used sparingly.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2015, 08:54:29 AM »

While the advice about playing in A on a 2-row 8-bass box will be useful to others, the original poster (Baron) plays a 3-row box on which all the notes in the key of A are available in both directions except for the G#, which is only available on the pull.

In Baron's case, the limiting factor is the basses. One might expect that having 12 rather than 8 basses, opens up more possibilities, but it doesn't really do so in A. The F#m is useful, but it is another bass chord that is on the pull. The F natural, Eb and Bb basses are of limited use in A, which leaves you with the standard 8-bass array plus F#m. To keep the bellows within acceptable limits, judicious use needs to be made of D and E basses against pushed A and B notes.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2015, 09:16:17 AM »

To be fair it's impossible to give exact advice for a specific box with an unusual layout if you're not told that!  The question at the beginning asked for advice on playing in A on a D/G box.

Having said that - I have used the same approach I gave earlier in the thread on a 2 row 8 bass, 2.5 row 12 bass and 3 row stradella bass in D/G - while the specifics change a little with each layout - the basic principles are the same.

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2015, 10:42:22 AM »

Baron, it seems like you're playing a three-row box that's designed more for 'flat' keys than 'sharp' ones, looking at Bob's description?
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 12:51:46 PM »

Hi all,

I posed the question for a standard D/G 8 bass because I wanted to know how it is approached on that instrument. I do indeed have an Ellis layout three row (viewable in the layout section). At this point, I am dividing my learning into sections, and one of those sections is learning to play within the limitations of the standard confinements of an 8 bass D/G. I think doing so will help me understand where my instrument evolved from, and forces me to learn to play within the rules of "melodeonism". I also posed the question with a standard box in mind so that it would be useful to a wider audience.

I am also loving the options that the 3rd row presents, though I have mostly been using it for reversals in the keys of D and G for cross row tunes. I haven't been utilizing it to get in to other keys yet, but the key of A seems like the logical next step (plus, I know a lot more A tunes than C tunes). In terms of Chris's question regarding what direction the third pushes the tonality options of the box, I would say that, on paper, it has a fairly balanced expansion to sharps and flats. It seems to open up A and E sharpward and C, F, and some Bb flatward. Ultimately it is fully chromatic from F#3 to G6 (quite a range!). Again, I haven't ventured out into the world of other keys yet. I am sure that Bob can speak more to the strengths of his layout than I can.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions on grabbing the A and B on the G row, Squeezy, it looked good on paper and theoretically, especially since it keeps the basses in the right place and gives your the chord tones of A all on the pull. Also thanks for pointing out the swaps needed to grab the other chords, I hadn't quite thought that far!

Thanks again!
Baron
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Rees

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2015, 03:27:26 PM »

There are a vast amount of Irish and Cajun tunes that can be played in A with no G#, therefore ideal for D/G 21 button.

Stitches in the Britches in A is a really good one to learn the style.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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TomBom

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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2015, 03:46:46 PM »

There are a vast amount of Irish and Cajun tunes that can be played in A with no G#, therefore ideal for D/G 21 button.

Stitches in the Britches in A is a really good one to learn the style.
https://thesession.org/tunes/1075#setting14304
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2015, 04:06:25 PM »

I play it in D,G,A on my one row.
but if played at my local slow session it's expected to be in G as that's the key most are learning it in.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2015, 04:17:29 PM »

Sounds best in A on a DG box IMHO, and flows nicely too.  You can't bash away at the bass all through like you can in g but that can be an advantage in forcing the player to be more creative with the left hand.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2015, 04:46:57 PM »

I like it in A too, but I'm not that fluid with that key yet but working on it.
I was at another small irish session where the fiddle player wanted it in A which I could not play it to speed, but it was my turn to pick tune and key.
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Re: Key of A on a D/G
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2015, 05:23:00 PM »

Yes, it also works in G on a one row. Nice  (:)
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