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Author Topic: Layout for french music  (Read 824 times)

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Hej

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Layout for french music
« on: July 16, 2017, 04:51:06 PM »

It has dawned upon me that i will not feel fulfilled until i have learnt these 2 tunes:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snBM7-wN4wc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLdssb9xzF4

Consequently i have realised that my 2 rows are not enough. I am therefore looking to upgrade.

People experienced with the more advanced french repertoire. What layout would you propose?

Is a 2,5 row enough in general, or do one really need the heavier 3 row?

Andrej/Sweden

« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 11:14:10 PM by Hej »
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911377brian

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Re: A beginners thoughts
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 05:37:48 PM »

You bought your first melodeon three months ago and you are feeling unfulfilled because you can't play a Clement Guais tune on your pokerwork. Respect, Andrej! ???
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george garside

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Re: A beginners thoughts
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 11:01:35 PM »

for what its worth I would suggest that you concentrate on learning to play the melodeon to a reasonable level before attempting complicated tunes.

use simple tunes  and learn to play them really well both 'on the row' and 'across the rows' before venturing on to a full or half 3rd row. 

I would also suggest that you stick with your 2 row until you gain a fair bit of experience before spending a lot of money on a more elaborate box.

george
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Hej

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2017, 11:13:55 PM »

post edited, looking for input regarding best choice of layout for playing traditional french music, nothing else
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 11:38:22 PM »

I find my D/G with standard top-end acidnetals perfectly adequate for playing French music, though I am starting to use my C/F Liliput more.
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I'm a Yorkie!
My other melodeon's a fiddle, but one of my Hohners has six strings! I also play a very red Hawkins Bazaar in C and a generic Klingenthaler spoon bass in F.!! My other pets (played) are gobirons - Hohner Marine Band in C, Hohner Tremolo in D and a Chinese Thingy Tremolo in G.

Jackhumphreys

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 07:38:20 AM »

Andy Cutting seems to manage with his 2.5 Mory..... But the Mory is relatively heavy having three rows of pallets (soupapes) and only a bit lighter than the Handry, I believe.  You could look into the smaller Castas for lightness.
Then there is the 2.6 Loffet Pro, with Castagnari quality reeds, but lighter, being made of ply with only two rows of pallets. Similar Serenellinis.
Maybe best could be  the very light Pariselle, made as on his courses, with 2.6 treble and 14 basses, giving you full chromatic scale in the bass.    Other than that it's three row.
 
On the recent Pariselle course I met the  young virtuoso player Jeroen Laureyssens from Flanders. He is totally fluent in playing in almost ANY key !!! He explained that he had never played a two-row, but had gone straight to three row and 18 bass, treating his GC as a chromatic instrument. He plays brilliantly. So it isn't actually necessary to get good with a two-row as a first step towards the bigger boxes.

   
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 07:41:34 AM by Jackhumphreys »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 12:14:25 PM »

Nothing wrong with early planning for your aspirations. I am sure you have played enough to know your committed to the instrument. There are plenty of more knowledgeable people than me around and I don't aspire to the French style of playing (although I do like it), but have my two penny worth anyway. Apologies if I state the obvious.

1. How much is your budget likely to be?
2. A 2.5 row and a 3 row will both seem heavy compared to a pokerwork and the weight of the instrument will be affected by factors other than the number of keys, such as number of voices, maker, and materials do, maybe weight shouldn't be your first consideration.
3. The same factors that affect the weight are likely to affect the price.
4. With a half row you can/will be fully chromatic over two octaves with the three row you can extend this over the full range, but do you need to? Lots of brilliant players don't.
5. Different makers have their own individual sound. If you want to play french music maybe you should go for a French instrument. The Saltarelle sound is very different to the Castagnari, for instance. They're also significantly cheaper. A lot of people here don't like them, but I really love the rather dry tone they have. I doubt if a Hohner (even though they are much cheaper) will ever sound the way you want.
6. An awful lot of the sound you like is down to the skill of the players  ;D
I could say a lot more, but I'll leave that for now. Like I said. Others have greater knowledge and experience.
Good luck.
edited to add, maybe you should be looking at the layouts used by your heroes and continental sites (I've no idea what they might be though).
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 12:20:02 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Greg Smith
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Theo

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 12:40:42 PM »

Saltarelle are Italian made.  The company is French but it contracts out all its manufacturing to Italian factories.  There are now numerous individual craftsmen/women makers in France and the low countries making great sounding and playing accordions.
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Theo Gibb

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Roger Howard

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 01:21:34 PM »

Surely, a two voice three row, eighteen bass with a Grenoble or a Francois Heim treble layout is the obvious solution. The GC rows can be learnt as normal, but the accidentals are all there for when they're needed. If you're not already familiar with a particular layout, there's little to choose between them, really. If Serafini is still making, his 2 voice 3 rows are lighter than many two row boxes, but equally there are similar boxes by  Frans van der Aa, Jeremie Vanglabeke, Clement Guais, and others.

 :Ph (it's 30C+ here in Besancon)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 01:56:35 PM by Roger Howard »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2017, 01:30:09 PM »

Saltarelle are Italian made.  The company is French but it contracts out all its manufacturing to Italian factories.  There are now numerous individual craftsmen/women makers in France and the low countries making great sounding and playing accordions.

True. But the design is French and, to my ear, the tuning sounds different. I don't know if this is significant to the OP, though.
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Greg Smith
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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 01:59:25 PM »

Another thought is that if you go for a  full diatonic third row, such as a GCF it will probably give you more cross rowing options, and an extra natural diatonic scale, rather than more chromaticity. 
The other thing you may find is a very different set of basses. I don't know if this applies to GC instruments but is it is certainly the case with DGs.
I still think you should be looking at the instruments being played by those playing your sort of music. I sure people here can tell you what they are, if you don't already know.
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Greg Smith
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Garry Probert

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 02:35:08 PM »

Hi not sure how one would define french music,for me a pack of Gauloises a glass of wine and J'attendrai

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E0VXJnXx0Q

probably based on how old you were the first time you saw paris, I revisited a couple of years ago and it had lost that quintessential parisian feel "globalisation" or the eyes of youth?


   

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Theo

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 04:57:06 PM »

I'm just returning from Le Son Continu.  I think I only saw one Saltarelle being played outside of the Saltarelle sale booth. Lots of Castagnari, and a wide range of French Belgian and Dutch makes in use, small number of Hohners too.
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Theo Gibb

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 01:39:25 PM »

Hej, your question was well-put, and my view is that to play a 'quint' button accordion with a full musical range of sounds, yes, you need to have a long third row and lots of basses.  I have an 18 bass Roland FR18, but I have to say that the inside bass edge button pairs are difficult to reach reliably, compared with my other instruments with 14 bass layout.  I do feel that even with such a large instrument, you will probably still find the home keys are much easier than others, and if you really want to play in lots of keys, you need either to buy several different 'transposing' instruments, or take the plunge and go for a BCC# with stradella bass., accepting that you won't have the same sound as a 'quint' delivers.

I am afraid I don't agree with those who advise that it's a good idea to start with two-row layouts and work up.  I did just that, but quickly realised it was a mistake.  To me, it's a bit like buying a piano with some of the keys missing, and I really don't understand why this line of argument holds such sway on this forum.  If you want to become a fluent musician on this instrument, it's essential to start from a less restrictive design.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 02:02:38 PM »

I am afraid I don't agree with those who advise that it's a good idea to start with two-row layouts and work up.  I did just that, but quickly realised it was a mistake.  To me, it's a bit like buying a piano with some of the keys missing, and I really don't understand why this line of argument holds such sway on this forum.  If you want to become a fluent musician on this instrument, it's essential to start from a less restrictive design.

I think it depends on what sort of music you want to play, and that in turn will be influenced to some extent by the cultural tradition(s) around you and which can influence you. A relatively large, heavy 3-voice box is not so suitable (say) for morris, compared with a two-row two-voice instrument like a Pokerwork; and East Anglian, Cajun and Quebecois musicians do very nicely on a one-row four-stop.

Fluent musicians can be found playing all sorts of melodeons. But this thread is about French music for which I mostly agree that a 2.5 row box in G/C is probably the minimum ideal requirement. As you have mentioned, you realised quickly the sort of music and style you wanted to play. But many beginners do not come from a French music tradition to begin with, nor know anything about it, nor again want to go down the French-style route. So a two-row instrument in D/G is perfectly fine for them.
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robotmay

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 07:08:54 PM »

For French trad I find 2.5 rows are usually enough. The Heim layout is very logical and I think that's the standard layout Castagnari provide on new instruments if you don't specify otherwise. The vast majority of 2.5/3 row boxes I played at Le Son Continu were in that layout or very close to it. The Pignol/Milleret layout is very popular too, and there were a number of those about. That's not my cup of tea though.

A very popular setup these days is 3 rows with 12/18 basses, but only two voice, often bassoon/flute ("bandoneon" tuned) and with no thirds in the basses. Most Bertrand Gaillard boxes you see will be set up this way. This gives them a mellow sound but most crucially makes them quite a bit lighter. I played some very comfortable 3 rows from a number of makers, and I've played a couple of 2 voice (flute/flute) Jérémie Vanglabeke boxes that were very nice to play.

My G/C box is a shouty bandoneon-tuned 2.6 row Pariselle box I made. It's great for dance tunes and his layout (very close to the Heim one) is very flexible. I play a few Naragonia tunes in Bb on it without too much trouble (:)

Chris Ryall

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 09:15:04 AM »

Heim is fine, particularly for the many French tunes that dip into harmonic minor cadences.   François 'adores' harmonic minor  ;)

Be careful on Pignol/Milleret as it is NOT the diatonic layout you are used to. Their C row has a G#.  Similarly 'club' and 'Dutch inversion' layouts break the diatonic scheme, very logically, but it will involve relearning long master old tunes. Club is most forgiving in this.

I think Britain's obsession with 2.5 rows is a bit odd and has much to do with "it'll make me play like Andy" - that was certainly the case for me.  If you want a helper row I'd recommend a full one.  You WILL use the low inverted notes as you develop, and ... remember how frustrating it is on 2 rows to have 'accidentals' C#, D#, Ab and Bb in only one octave?   

The extra 5 or 6 buttons come a lot cheaper than the others (some makers use the same blocks; just close off unused holes) and the weight penalty is also small. I went 3 full rows in 2004 and use every single button.

DO consider extended bass. It is the best thing I ever did. At least 12, usually extra chords, and trust the maker in his choice.  The Grenoble "18 base" is actually 12 chords and 6 inner row bass notes, so fully chromatic wrt  the basses. It is truly liberating  (:) If a cadence is awkward you just reverse direction and play against the 'other' bass button. I now have it on 2 boxes. There is a bit of a weight/cost penalty for this. Frans v.d.Aa charges about €480 including the VAT

My D/G/accs 3 row has LMM voicing .. and frankly I rarely use anything but solo reed (singing) or LM for tune. So I concur with Robert above.  It is both a cost and weight saving.  But if you adore the 'wet' musette sound you'll need the third reed  :|glug
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 09:23:07 AM by Chris Ryall »
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Julian S

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 09:59:45 AM »

A 3 row, 2 voice 12 bass would be my next buy I reckon, provided I could find one that was really light, and obviously at a reasonable cost. I think a trip to France next summer would be a good idea - just to try a few out at le Son Continu, of course !
Now which box would I sell - that's the question... ::)

J
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 10:02:07 AM »

Yep, as Chris R just said!  In spades!

I've been interested in going on Emmanuel's construction course, but decided against it simply because the shorter third row that I believe is his standard would just not be enough for me.  I even find my 7-button inner row too limiting, and usually therefore play my 9-button inner row instrument.

I've said this a few times before, but I have long argued that the idea that the extra weight of a larger box makes them physically more difficult to play, or more difficult to play fast, or with good rhythm, or for playing morris, really doesn't hold true in practice.  There are various reasons:  First, extra buttons on the RHS do not (per se) affect the speed at which you can reverse the bellows;  second, the third row reversals you get with a long third row (and with added push/pull LHS chords) allow the use of much easier fingerings for musical phrases, avoiding the need for complicated patterns of bellow reversals which usually significantly affect the rhythmic feel of a dance tune;  third, these new fingering patterns can be pre-selected for extra rhythmic effect, an option that is not available on a more limited box.  As Chris quite rightly observes, a few extra buttons can be truly liberating.  Of course, it may take some practice to reap the benefits, but why not go for it?
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robotmay

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Re: Layout for french music
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2017, 07:04:32 PM »

A 3 row, 2 voice 12 bass would be my next buy I reckon, provided I could find one that was really light, and obviously at a reasonable cost. I think a trip to France next summer would be a good idea - just to try a few out at le Son Continu, of course !
Now which box would I sell - that's the question... ::)

J

I can highly recommend popping over to Le Son Continu in that case; that is one of the most popular instrument setup on the stalls there from the French makers, probably tied with the Pariselle-style 2.6 rows (as a lot of the makers are ex-students of his) (:)
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