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Author Topic: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?  (Read 1759 times)

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2017, 07:29:34 PM »

Really, I was just trying to offer objective advice to Melissa - I noticed she had already picked up the point about enhanced dynamic control of the bigger boxes, and I'm convinced that effect results from having more opportunities for selecting combinations of melody, accompaniment and bellows direction.  It's more about explaining what is possible with different designs than attempting to give advice on which to select.  But I just started with the 'limitation = benefit' concept, which I'm afraid I'll probably never get my head round.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2017, 07:34:56 PM »

ah Chris has replied whilst I type:
there's been a lot of threads about smaller boxes giving more punch, apparently a smaller surface area for a given force means the reeds get a greater air pressure through the bellows. I feel it when changing from my full sized Hascy to the smaller Tommy. The Tommy feels more dynamic and lively and I feel I can master it because of it's smaller size.

I think arty has touched on something else and that is your choice of  music you want to play can easily change as you bounce happily down the road of learning. Therefore whatever we say about musical choice and direction now could be totally different for melodeon youngsters such as Melissa, arty and myself who haven't had a long time to sort through all the possibilities and settle on a musical path. Who knows where we'll end up, just hope we all enjoy the journey
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Chris Brimley

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2017, 07:40:06 PM »

I agree with your comments, TB.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2017, 07:48:33 PM »

ah good, thanks Chris. An accord.
I feel I've possibly taken far too much of Melissa's time tonight, so I wish you all a good evening. Having badly twanged my wrist over the weekend I'm off to sit in front the fire rather than play, I don't want to do further tendon damage!
Night all
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Stiamh

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2017, 10:32:51 PM »

A bonus of a semitone system such as B/C or C#/D is that you can make believe that what you have is the other. For example, if you have a C#/D you can explore how the other half (of the Irish-music world) lives by learning to play tunes in E major, F# minor, B major and so on by using "B/C fingering" for D, Em, and A...

With a quint box such as a D/G I suppose you wouldn't get quite the same new horizons by pretending it's a G/C.  (:)

Not much use me trying to imagine my box as a D/G either. I could pretend it's a one-row but can't think of a good reason to do so!

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #45 on: February 08, 2017, 09:40:41 AM »

The problem with one-rows is that having only two LH chords and usually only the diatonic RH notes available does make the melody and accompaniment possibilities quite limited.
Maybe so, but to bring the argument full-circle, I personally rejoice in those 'limitations' and use my one-row four-stop instruments to play the sort of music they are really good for and which I love - stonking English (and especially East Anglian) dance music - polkas, jigs, hornpipes, schottisches, waltzes (don't ever forget the waltzes!). If I want to play dreamy French minor key mazurkas, I'll pick up my 2.5 row.
I'm sure you know all this really, Chris!  ;)
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2017, 10:08:53 AM »

Yep!
:)
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Howard Jones

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2017, 10:48:13 AM »

I just started with the 'limitation = benefit' concept, which I'm afraid I'll probably never get my head round.

Perhaps this should be phrased the other way around.  Those aspects (or benefits) of the one or two row melodeon which make them particularly good for playing diatonic music bring with them certain limitations, including lack of chromaticism and fewer chord choices.  However if you only want to play diatonic music (which encompasses most folk music from the British Isles) then these limitations aren't really a problem for you, and they are even an essential characteristic of some traditional styles.  Larger boxes may overcome these limitations, but there are trade-offs and they have limitations of their own.

Even Andy Cutting, one of the best-known exponents of the 'big box', also plays a one-row.


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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2017, 10:53:52 AM »

thanks Howard, totally agree.
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

gettabettabox

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #49 on: February 08, 2017, 11:11:03 AM »

A bonus of a semitone system such as B/C or C#/D is that you can make believe that what you have is the other. For example, if you have a C#/D you can explore how the other half (of the Irish-music world) lives by learning to play tunes in E major, F# minor, B major and so on by using "B/C fingering" for D, Em, and A...

Yep, same here, but when in B/C mode on my C#/D, the novelty of a nice finger friendly horn pipe in G (A in reality,) wears off after a while and reinforces my decision to chase the C#/D system!
But...it is useful to be able to lift the G tunes second time around.  :||:
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 11:13:19 AM by gettabettabox »
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2017, 11:44:22 AM »

So do I, TB and HJ - I won't repeat my original point.

I wonder if it might be more helpful to Melissa if we all turn to discussing the relative pros and cons of 2 and 2+ row quints, because I'm conscious that we haven't really been a lot of help, and I think she posed some very sensible questions.

If I were starting to learn the instrument today, but knew a bit about music already from a chromatic melody instrument, I wish I'd been advised (from what I know now) that if I wanted to play a range of different sorts of music, I should start with a 2+ row box, with more than 8 basses.  If I then chose to play a more limited instrument for particular styles, I would already have developed skills which made that relatively easy.  I knew when I started that I wanted to play the set of a local social dance band (most of which tunes were in the home keys), but quickly realised it just wasn't possible on a pokerwork, for several reasons.  OK, that was just my interest, and others have other interests, but for me at that time, there just weren't any less limited instruments around.  The situation today is very different, there are lots of instrument opportunities for those that can afford them.
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Howard Jones

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2017, 01:25:48 PM »

Fair point Chris. However Melissa has already made her choice and already has an instrument (or is it two?). Her original question was about different keyboard layouts, which I think has been answered.  She already knows and appears to accept that the instrument is limited in what it can do.

I think her best move is now to learn to play what she's got.  Once she's got to grips with that she'll be able to decide for herself whether it meets her musical needs, and if it doesn't she'll have a better understanding of what will, whether that's a different melodeon with more choices or a fully chromatic accordion. 
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Stiamh

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #52 on: February 08, 2017, 02:13:24 PM »

A bonus of a semitone system such as B/C or C#/D is that you can make believe that what you have is the other. For example, if you have a C#/D you can explore how the other half (of the Irish-music world) lives by learning to play tunes in E major, F# minor, B major and so on by using "B/C fingering" for D, Em, and A...

Yep, same here, but when in B/C mode on my C#/D, the novelty of a nice finger friendly horn pipe in G (A in reality,) wears off after a while and reinforces my decision to chase the C#/D system!
But...it is useful to be able to lift the G tunes second time around.  :||:

Actually I find that many tunes in G, especially ones that go right down to low G (including several hornpipes such as Cooley's and Brendan McGlinchey's), lie much better under the fingers on B/C.   

Melissa Sinclair

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #53 on: February 08, 2017, 02:30:58 PM »

So do I, TB and HJ - I won't repeat my original point.

I wonder if it might be more helpful to Melissa if we all turn to discussing the relative pros and cons of 2 and 2+ row quints, because I'm conscious that we haven't really been a lot of help, and I think she posed some very sensible questions.

If I were starting to learn the instrument today, but knew a bit about music already from a chromatic melody instrument, I wish I'd been advised (from what I know now) that if I wanted to play a range of different sorts of music, I should start with a 2+ row box, with more than 8 basses.  If I then chose to play a more limited instrument for particular styles, I would already have developed skills which made that relatively easy.  I knew when I started that I wanted to play the set of a local social dance band (most of which tunes were in the home keys), but quickly realised it just wasn't possible on a pokerwork, for several reasons.  OK, that was just my interest, and others have other interests, but for me at that time, there just weren't any less limited instruments around.  The situation today is very different, there are lots of instrument opportunities for those that can afford them.

Actually, this is great, thank you! When I came, without the assistance with this board, I just knew the sound of the instrument I liked- what tones, etc. Then, through this site, I realized I like mostly French/continental music (but not exclusively!). So, I was advised to go with a GC, I did. I picked up a CF too because it's a common pairing too.

Now that I keep listening and paying attention and learning more, I'm realizing I probably only need a GC and maybe a BbEb? (is that right?).

It was also recommended to me to start with a smaller box because it's lighter, less to "confuse me" and is good for learning. So, an older GC Melodeon is what I got. It works well too because I also got Used) a French Diatonic method Book - Milleret and Pignol and it's exactly as the book is, so again, it's all helpful.

BUT... I think what it means (for me) is that once I have a hang of it after a bit - 1 year? 2 years? (never?) I'll probably want a 2.5 row to expand to cover more music  with more accidentals/helpers.

Maybe I should have started with that (but liliput is that, yes? But wrong keys for French). Still so much to learn!
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2017, 04:11:09 PM »

Can you be more specific, Melissa, when you say you like French/Continental music?  That's still a very wide field, and it perhaps means different things to different musicians.  These are perhaps the next questions I'd ask:

Do you mainly like traditional and/or folk music?  Or jazz maybe?
Do you want to play LH accompaniment, or just melody?
Do you want to accompany singers, who may demand particular keys?
When talking about French folk music, are you interested in say Breton traditional melodies, or the much more complex music from the contemporary scene?
How wide are your interests, in terms of 'the continent'? - Scandinavian, East European, Spanish, etc?

It's just that there's a huge number of different music genres around, and they tend to have their own preferred styles, which probably have a big influence on the best instrument to use.  Personally I'd suggest that two or three two-row 8-bass boxes in appropriate keys might suit many of the more traditional genres, but they would struggle with more complex contemporary music.
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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #55 on: February 08, 2017, 04:35:24 PM »

Better yet, you can just post some videos that you have been enjoying.

What helped me in deciding was looking at the musicians I wanted to play like (Andy Cutting and other 2.5 and 3 row players) and the keys I wanted to play in (D, G, A, C, F, E). Once I knew that I started looking at the specific boxes that those folk played (usually by asking the knowledgeable folks here).

For example, if you said "I want to play and sound like Stephane Delicq and play in the keys he played in" people would tell you to get a G/C two row, because that's what he played (also, check him out if you haven't already, I think you'll like him).

You've already given your personal musical preferences and tastes in another thread, but I've found that on melnet thing can get sidetracked very easily, so being as specific and redundant as you need to be will get you the answers you are looking for. Give lots of examples of what you like to hear, and don't get too bogged down in the technical side of things unless that stuff really interests you.

A lot of people play two rows happily for a lifetime, others get more complex boxes. I'd say play your G/C until you start to realize what it's limitations are and specifically know what you wish it could do that it can't. Entering into the world of 2.5 and 3 row boxes gets a lot more technical and you can spend insane amounts of time trying to figure out how to organize the notes on your half or third row, not to mention getting more basses and needing to decided what they should be.

Most of all, have fun!
Baron
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Gary Chapin

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #56 on: February 08, 2017, 08:49:10 PM »

It's late in the conversation, but I'll join in. But instead of "Why would I change systems?" I'll go with "Why DID I?"

That's somewhat misleading because I don't feel like I've changed system so much as chosen different accoutrements for each box, and in each case I had a reason. I never feel as if I've had to unlearn something.

1) 2.5 row Saltarelle G/C/#, aside from being a gift (that sort of settles the decision) was THE key for the music of my dreams. French Bal Folk. When I visited Alsace, I was in a dance with ten other accordion players, and they were all GC. Still, at its heart, this is a 2 row 8 base quint box with extras.

2) 3 row Dino Bafetti F/Bb/Eb, I got this one when I was playing with a singer and her key was "Eb" -- so I looked for an Eb box and someone here said, "Hey, why don't you just get that three row at the Button Box?" And I did. I would say that this three row has changed my playing more than any other. It hasn't moved me away from the heart of 2 row 8 bass, but it has made me MUCH more aware of cross rowing possibilities, and really helped me get concrete in my mind those instances when I want to cross row or go up and down the row. Taking on this challenge has hugely improved my playing all around. I don't play with that singer anymore, but I've never regretted betting this box.

3) 2 row A/D Erica, I wanted a box that played in D; I wanted access to the classic Erica sound (a la Jean Blanchard's classic Accordeon Diatonique record), and I really did want a straight 2 row 8 bass box. Then it Helena offered this Erica up for sale and Lester vouched for its soundness. This has met all of my needs and is usually the first choice when I want to comb through a book looking for tunes.

4) 1 row (+2), Ab, I've been wanting to try a one row for a long time, and I've been wanting one of these organettos for a while. Their sound is very very charming. It being in Ab is a curiosity. My bandmates are a clarinetist and string player who do all the keys. And if I'm just playing by myself, it doesn't matter.Aside from the problems mentioned in another thread, I have absolutely loved playing this piece. One thing, it is a bourree MACHINE. Bourrees sound SO GOOD on it.

So that's me. In each case I had some tangible reasons to justify my choice, but also in each case the decision was made because the box showed up in my sphere of availability. I am a believer in propinquity.
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AirTime

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #57 on: February 08, 2017, 09:13:03 PM »

Quote
BUT... I think what it means (for me) is that once I have a hang of it after a bit - 1 year? 2 years? (never?) I'll probably want a 2.5 row to expand to cover more music  with more accidentals/helpers.

I wouldn't worry about it at all right now. I think you will be surprised at how many tunes can be played on a 2 row 8 bass. It is quite possible to go for years using a basic 2 row melodeon. At some point you may want to explore the possibilities offered by more complex boxes, but at that point you will understand much more about the diatonic accordion & will know what to go for.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2017, 10:10:11 PM »

Airtime's right. For the moment just enjoy the learning thing. Don't worry about the future, just get on with your learning. Whatever happens in the future your learning will be money in the bank, give you a good understanding of the basics and the options that unfold from it.
Cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Melissa Sinclair

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Re: Keyboard layouts? How/why would you ever change systems?
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2017, 10:21:54 PM »

Airtime's right. For the moment just enjoy the learning thing. Don't worry about the future, just get on with your learning. Whatever happens in the future your learning will be money in the bank, give you a good understanding of the basics and the options that unfold from it.
Cheers
Q

You are right. I just did a personality testing thing the other day for work.. I learned that I am a "think ahead-er" I plan 27 steps ahead when most people plan like, 5.. I think of all the pit-falls, the what ifs to avoid mistakes, regrets, disasters, etc. My "type" are excellent problem solvers, but... what it also means is that we are anxious about unknowns too. And that goes with learning this... "did I choose the right thing?" "Am I going to regret it?" "Should I jump on a sale of what I might think I want 6 months down the road?" "A year down the road?", etc.
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