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Author Topic: Melodeon pitch  (Read 3601 times)

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Montana Melodeon

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Melodeon pitch
« on: December 26, 2007, 10:03:18 PM »

Good day!

I am playing a 2 voice swing tuned DG melodeon and love the sound.  My family on the other hand has a different relationship with that same sound.  So...I am thinking of looking for a box with a lower pitch.  I think the GC is the lowest followed by the AD.  I would like to know where the FCG fits in with the two row boxes or even if it is a good idea to consider a 3 row.  I also play english concertina so on one level I have many keys available to me.  So I am thinking of leaning to the 2 row GC and learning the upper octave, but I am more than happy to see what people have to say about keys, pitches and rows and two voice vs three voice systems.  In short, all of it! 

Thank you for your advice!  Eric
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Jamie Robertson

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 06:01:02 AM »

I play a C/F, which is a step lower.  If you play the other tunings in the upper register, I think you will still get squeaks--from your family.  Of course, the major drawback of other keys will be your ability to play tunes at sessions, which are often in D and G.  If you are changing keys for the relief of your family, then tuning doesn't matter.
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2007, 05:03:57 PM »

Good day!
I am playing a 2 voice swing tuned DG melodeon and love the sound.  My family on the other hand has a different relationship with that same sound.  So...I am thinking of looking for a box with a lower pitch.  I think the GC is the lowest followed by the AD.  I would like to know where the FCG fits in with the two row boxes or even if it is a good idea to consider a 3 row.  I also play english concertina so on one level I have many keys available to me.  So I am thinking of leaning to the 2 row GC and learning the upper octave, but I am more than happy to see what people have to say about keys, pitches and rows and two voice vs three voice systems.  In short, all of it! 

There are a couple of questions in your post and I think I'll try to sort them out.
1. What box would sound less shrill to my family?  If you wish to play D/G (very practical for the sessions you mentioned), then getting a three-voice box (with low octave) would go a long way toward taming the sound.  You will also find that it takes less effort to play softly on a box with tipo-a-mano or a-mano reeds.  Another possibility would be to get a three-row in A/D/G.  Practice on the A/D rows (without bass), then at the session use the D/G rows to match the keys of the fiddle tunes.  You'll find that the A row is deeper and rich sounding.  A G/C (two voice) would be much mellower sounding than the D/G but it is a question of usefulness -- will you be able to play at the session with it?  Finally, it has been my experience that the wet-tunings combined with the particular sound of Hohner or Delicia reeds can tire the ears quickly as far as indoor practice goes. (For outdoors, they are great!).  So consider a box with a mellower sound -- but be aware that there is a price to pay for this!
2. You mean F/Bb/Eb?  It is very low pitched.  The lowest-pitched production boxes are E/A/D, used by some Tex Mex players.  I think that getting a box pitched this low would be overkill for what you are trying to accomplish.  A/D, G/C, and Bb/Eb all have a mellow range of pitch -- take your pick based on what keys would be most useful to you.  I have a Bb/Eb which fits my vocal range nicely, but it gets little use for playing with other instruments (except for the occasional clarinet and a friend's Bb/Eb box).
3. A three voice (or four-voice) box with switches or stops can be adjusted to have several different sounds, and this is really less tiring on the ears of others who are a captive audience while you practice.  My personal take on it is that I like to give my own ears the variety, so I frequently switch the voicing.  I particularly like boxes where each voice can be switched off (on some boxes, only one voice can be switched off).
I hope that this is useful for you.
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Theo

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2007, 12:33:19 PM »

I would like to know where the FCG fits in with the two row boxes <snip>  So I am thinking of leaning to the 2 row GC and <snip>

FCG?  Do you mean GCF?  The G and C rows are usually the same pitch as a GC two row, and the C and F rows are the same as a two row CF
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Montana Melodeon

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2007, 05:52:07 AM »

Theo,

Thank you for correcting the keys on my request.  I was indeed thinking of the GCF.  And with that in mind, it is good to know that the GC part is the same as the GC 2 row.

What is the best 2nd key box to explore after the DG?  (probably sticking with 2 1/2 row system)
The CF gives 2 new keys.  The AD or GC give one extra key each and lower sound. 

If I was to try 3 row in GCF there is a weight issue- or is there? As a beginner is it best to stay with 2 row systems so as to not be trying to many techniques with limited time?  I suppose I am reasoning my way to a CF here.  Any way thank you all for your responses and thoughts.  Eric
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2007, 02:56:47 PM »

Hi Eric,

I play boxes in several systems (1, 2, 2 1/2, and 3 row systems) and have felt that the larger systems do _not_ present a problem due to the increased weight.  I have played some three-rows that were "big boys" -- like four voice instruments, or 18 bass instruments -- and in those cases, you might find that some techniques from the smaller boxes are sluggish.  But on a standard 3 row box, like a Hohner Corona, you should be able to do everything that you can do on a 2 row (and more).  I have a 3 row 3 voice Castagnari, and sometimes it just happens to be the box that I'm playing when I wish to practice a "one-row" tune -- I play French Canadian music which is very speedy -- it is absolutely fine for that.  If anything, it has helped me achieve very efficient bellows technique.  There are some big three-row boxes out there, but I doubt that those are the ones that you would be acquiring in this situation.

A GCF would be a nice choice for you for several reasons.  You can play it as a CF box whenever you like.  Or as a GC box, with the limitation that unlike a GC box, a GCF does not have the unidirectional F bass/chord (it has a unidirectional Bb).  So it will enable you to continue to develop the two-row techniques that you have been working on with the D/G.  And you've got that low G row for times when the family just can't take the high pitch any more. 

Additionally, you can really explore some other interesting music on the GCF, by crossing all three rows.

I really don't feel that you can go wrong with any of the choices, GC, CF, or GCF, for the context that you've given us.  I do wish to point out that the upper part of the keyboard on a CF is not significantly less shrill than the high end of your DG, just two semitones lower.  So if the aspect that is most important to you is to work on the high end of the keyboard, then A/D or G/C might be a better choice.
Cheers,
Andy

melodeon

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2007, 06:54:02 PM »

I have owned D/G  and would agree with Andy that a 3rd lower reed is opreferred by most ears.. The G row can be strident with 1 or 2 middle reeds

Given a choice between a C/F and a G/C/F   a clear choice of G/C/F       

G/C  is the universal key system if such a thing exists  and the G/C/F  will allow any style of play from one row  to  2 row to three row crossing the rowss

and A G/C/ F  on the pull  can be near if not fully chromatic ( if that is a goal)

I have owned several G/C/F  boxes    I favor the simple Hohner Corona II for a lesser expensive light weight box

For a 2 row box I would get a G/C  becuase of the overwhelming majority of tutorials are in  G/C
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Melodeon pitch
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 09:49:38 PM »

On the other hand, you could go in the other directions with a one row!
My Hohner four stop on G is an octave lower than my DGs. Definitely a mellower and fuller sound, and you can always drop a stop to get some variety!

Andy
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