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Author Topic: Keyboard layout - upper octave  (Read 530 times)

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Willh

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Keyboard layout - upper octave
« on: August 26, 2017, 07:23:26 PM »

I'm just curious why once you get into the upper octave of a 2-row / 3-row box, the note arrangement for the last 2-3 buttons goes from being scalar to a less predictable arrangement of notes.

For instance, on the D row of a Hohner Corona II, starting from the 3rd button we have:

D|E   F#|G   A|B   D|C#   F#|E    A|G    D|B    F#|C#    A|E

The note arrangement is scalar until we get to the last 3 buttons and then we have:

1|6    3|7    5|9

Does anyone know why this is the case? I'm sure there must be a logic to it, but I can't spot it.

Thanks,

Will
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 07:42:08 PM »

This is the way melodeons are - push notes repeat every four buttons and pull every five. This causes the change in the relative pairs of notes on a button - D/E on the chin end then D/C# next then D/B the next time.

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 07:45:18 PM »

It's simple arithmetic.  There are three push notes and four pull notes, so there has to be different combinations of notes on each button in different octaves. It is quite logical though push notes go GBDGBDGBD etc and pull notes go ACEF#ACEF#ACE etc usually no G row as an example.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 08:14:33 PM »

Many thanks.

In other words, it's a balance between representing the I on the push and the V on the pull, but also maintaining the major scale for obvious musical reasons.

Works for me.

Will
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boxcall

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2017, 09:10:21 PM »

I --III-- V are on the push or the (chord notes) of the key of the row you are on,everything else is on the pull and as Theo said the rest is math.
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 09:19:26 PM »

I --III-- V are on the push or the (chord notes) of the key of the row you are on,everything else is on the pull
Willh has a Club box and therefore a slightly different note layout.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2017, 05:37:53 AM »

It's simple arithmetic.  There are three push notes and four pull notes, so there has to be different combinations of notes on each button in different octaves. It is quite logical though push notes go GBDGBDGBD etc and pull notes go ACEF#ACEF#ACE etc usually no G row as an example.

I was a bit puzzled by your reply above until I realised you're referencing the G row. :)

Just to be clear, I was referencing the D row, not the G row (although the same theory would apply).

In essence, it's somewhat similar to a chromatic harmonica, where you have the flip in notes once you hit the octave to preserve the stacking of arpeggios, otherwise the sequencing of notes would not be maintained. Of course, it's not the same exact system as a chromatic harmonica, otherwise you'd maintain the same arrangement of notes across the instrument, which clearly the melodeon does not.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2017, 05:56:32 AM »

I --III-- V are on the push or the (chord notes) of the key of the row you are on,everything else is on the pull and as Theo said the rest is math.

My observation about push / pull and the I and V chords was just for the melody side of the Corona. I wasn't thinking in terms of the bass buttons / chords.

So, if the D row on a Corona II is as described in the diagram I found here on Melnet:

D|E   F#|G   A|B   D|C#   F#|E    A|G    D|B    F#|C#    A|E

The V (or to be more exact the rootless 9 chord) would on the pull, not the push, right?

A7 (the V of D) = A C# E G
A9 = A C# E G B

Pull notes on D row = E   G   B   C#   E   G   B   C#   E  = A9 (no root)

Similarly, only 2 notes of the III are available on the push: F# & A (and only 2 on the pull: C# & E)

A mix of push and pull would be needed to truly realise an F#m (or more accurately F#m7). But this goes beyond my original intention, which was an easy way to view the melody side of the instrument in two halves (push / pull).

This kind of visualisation just gives me an easy reference point when playing and makes me less dependent on looking at the keyboard to find notes.

Thanks for everyone's input. The melodeon really is a great little instrument. Very flexible without needing to be fully chromatic. I've got a friend who's a fiddle player, so I'm looking forward to agreeing a list of tunes with him and doing some duets as soon as I get the 3-row Corona II under my fingers.

Which suddenly makes me realise I should have mentioned I've bought Martyn White's Hohner Corona II he was selling. I should have it Wednesday next week.

But my Hohner Club will probably still be my favourite. :)

Will
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 07:24:28 AM by Willh »
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2017, 08:28:28 AM »

"This kind of visualisation just gives me an easy reference point when playing and makes me less dependent on looking at the keyboard to find notes."

Maybe I'm veering off-topic (quite) a bit here, but I've often thought that I really should try to learn the basics of music, more so recently. This thread has confirmed that, at 66, I really don't need the complications it might well bring! I think I'll just keep on enjoying my limited skills whilst listening for the "right" notes as I go along.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2017, 08:47:09 AM »

"This kind of visualisation just gives me an easy reference point when playing and makes me less dependent on looking at the keyboard to find notes."

Maybe I'm veering off-topic (quite) a bit here, but I've often thought that I really should try to learn the basics of music, more so recently. This thread has confirmed that, at 66, I really don't need the complications it might well bring! I think I'll just keep on enjoying my limited skills whilst listening for the "right" notes as I go along.

Hi Edward,

Music I think is like most things - it can be complicated, but doesn't have to be.

I've spent most of my life playing rock/blues/jazz with forays into country/bluegrass/folk, so it's just easier for me to think of songs in terms of their progressions. With traditional forms of music (such as folk/bluegrass/country/blues), the I IV V progression (or "the three chord trick" as it's often referred to here on Melnet) is pretty standard across all these styles and so knowing where I am in a progression (often I or V for some styles) makes it easier for me to remember chord sequences and melodies/button pushes.

That's not to say that everyone should think this way, by any means. I know some pretty brilliant players who have almost no theoretical frame of reference and I would never say they should change. But it's useful to know at least how chords are formed - particularly when transposing tunes between keys.

Personally, I like to think diatonically (in one single or overarching key) as much as possible as this keeps things simple and produces a very pleasant sound.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 09:12:01 AM by Willh »
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Will

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2017, 11:46:08 AM »

I --III-- V are on the push or the (chord notes) of the key of the row you are on,everything else is on the pull and as Theo said the rest is math.

So, if the D row on a Corona II is as described in the diagram I found here on Melnet:

D|E   F#|G   A|B   D|C#   F#|E    A|G    D|B    F#|C#    A|E

The V (or to be more exact the rootless 9 chord) would on the pull, not the push, right?

A7 (the V of D) = A C# E G
A9 = A C# E G B

Pull notes on D row = E   G   B   C#   E   G   B   C#   E  = A9 (no root)


I am assuming here that I actually understand your question and that the layout you refer to is the one I think you mean. The layout the one you describe as D|E   F#|G   A|B   D|C#   F#|E    A|G    D|B    F#|C#  A|E looks like a typical D row arrangement on standard arrangement, so I would imagine the philosophy is the same. Looking specifically at this layout and your point about rootless chords, the root note for the A chord, for instance, would normally be picked up from the G row. As you say, it would be on the pull.

Your description of 5th notes available, in your example,  on a particular row, as rootless 9ths may be accurate, but is beyond the immediate concerns of most people here. Not all, though. There are a number of people very interested in right hand harmony techniques.

As for why it's done like this, my answer would be that, like most things to do with the diatonic melodeon, it is in response to the need to find a compromise between harmonic and melodic options without adding so much to the instruments weight that you cant play it..

If you allow for the difference between clubbed and non clubbed instruments, the core two octaves are generally done to the same pattern. Outside of those the chosen solutions vary enormously, between manufacturers, models and individual's personal choice. This is one of the great delights of melodeon playing.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2017, 12:26:53 PM »

Quote
I am assuming here that I actually understand your question ...

It was less a question and really more an observation: If you take each row of a 1, 2 or 3-row melodeon, the available notes (discounting any end-of-row accidentals) can be divided into two principal chords for each given key: the I ("the one", i.e. the chord built from the root note of that key/row. For the D row, that would be a D chord; for the G row, a G chord) on the push and the V ("the five", i.e. the chord built from the fifth note of that key/row. For the D row, that would be an A chord, for the G row, a D chord) on the pull.

Quote
....Outside of those the chosen solutions vary enormously, between manufacturers, models and individual's personal choice. This is one of the great delights of melodeon playing.

Very interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. I had sort of suspected this based on some of the other posts I had read.

While we're on keyboard layouts, can anyone point me to information on why English players seem to prefer D/G or A/D/B boxes, Scottish players seem to like B/C/C# and Irish players seem to like B/C# (or is that B/C?). Does it have anything to do with the keys or rhythms these different style of music tend to be in?

Thanks,

Will
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 12:47:53 PM by Willh »
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2017, 01:57:49 PM »

Quote
I am assuming here that I actually understand your question ...

It was less a question and really more an observation: If you take each row of a 1, 2 or 3-row melodeon, the available notes (discounting any end-of-row accidentals) can be divided into two principal chords for each given key: the I ("the one", i.e. the chord built from the root note of that key/row. For the D row, that would be a D chord; for the G row, a G chord) on the push and the V ("the five", i.e. the chord built from the fifth note of that key/row. For the D row, that would be an A chord, for the G row, a D chord) on the pull.


As Theo and others say, that's inherent in the maths of the system I was just talking about the quirks of the very top note layouts and the way two row players approach the inherent limitations of staying on the row (i'e', they play across the rows). Personally, I don't use an awful lot of right hand chords  but this is very relevant to arpeggio playing, which is pretty commonly done like this on two or two and a half row DGs (which are what I usually play).

Playing strictly on the row (or playing a one row) I wouldn't be looking to play many right hand chords, or playing up at the squeaky end much, come to that, but the melodic limitations very much influence the rhythm, which is why I like to do that playing for dance.

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2017, 02:09:51 PM »

Quote

While we're on keyboard layouts, can anyone point me to information on why English players seem to prefer D/G or A/D/B boxes, Scottish players seem to like B/C/C# and Irish players seem to like B/C# (or is that B/C?). Does it have anything to do with the keys or rhythms these different style of music tend to be in?


Speaking for the English, the quick answers are yes and yes, it's all about playing with your mates (although I have never come across an A/D/B box, as far as I can remember. A/D/G?). As far as I know the adoption of DG was more or less accidental,  partly because they were the most common keys for Irish music (which is what a lot of budding players aspired to in the folk club days of the mid 20th C  revival) and partly an accident because someone imported some DG boxes for them, last century, thinking they would be the business. There was a recent discussion. On the plus side, this made them pretty small and light, if a bit squeaky. You can throw them around (musically)  in ways that don't work on heavier instruments.

The pre-roman tribes  (:) (Irish, some Scots  and a few other individuals, no idea about the Welsh or the Manx. The Cornish don't seem to care) seem to favour the chromatic systems. I believe B/C used to be the thing but now C/C# has become more popular. Can't comment on that.

The French like G/C instruments for similar reasons. They also favour the squeaky end more, because it ain't so squeaky, I suppose. Another difference is thar the rhythms are very different. Much more smooth, if you like. I think this  partly influenced by the extra mass of the instrument affecting the dynamics of movement. As a result they never got around to proper playing   >:E
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2017, 02:20:13 PM »

Quote
Personally, I don't use an awful lot of right hand chords....

Quote
Playing strictly on the row (or playing a one row) I wouldn't be looking to play many right hand chords....

I can see now where the slight misunderstanding is coming from. I'm not talking about playing chords in the right hand. Rather, I'm talking about what chords the push / pull notes form as a means of keeping track of where you are in the song and learning what notes are on which buttons.

If you push in the bellows and play the non-accidental notes on the D row, you have the arpeggios for the D major chord. If you pull out the bellows and play the non-accidental notes on the D row, you have an A9 chord (no root). I was just remarking that it's interesting that this is how the melodeon is tuned and that by viewing it in this way I find it easier to keep track of where I am in a song.

For instance, if I'm playing a song in F on my Club and pushing in the bellows, I've got the arpeggios for an F major chord on the middle row. Knowing this means that I can easily embellish (as a bugle player might do) the melody with any note on that row and be certain that it will fit against the F major chord I'm playing in the bass.

Similarly, if I then move to the C (or C7) chord on the pull, I will have the arpeggios of a C dominant chord on the middle row and can again embellish with confidence or come up with whole new melodies, if I want. In fact, to learn the keyboard better, I've been writing little arpeggio-based tunes, usually polkas, and it's been a lot of fun.

If, however, I introduce the IV ("the four") - Bb major - I have to go across the rows to get enough notes to play an interesting melody, because the notes for a Bb chord are not all on the push or pull on either row:

Bb major = Bb  D  F

It's just a way of organising the instrument and the tunes I'm playing. Making this connection has made it much easier for me to learn the notes on the instrument and thus I can pick up new tunes faster when working with the ABC files I've been downloading from various sites.

Will
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2017, 02:21:23 PM »

Quote
Speaking for the English, the quick answers are yes and yes, it's all about playing with your mates (although I have never come across an A/D/B box, as far as I can remember. A/D/G?)

I mistyped. I meant A/D/G.

Thanks, by the way for the rest. :)

Will
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2017, 05:27:46 PM »

Quote
If you push in the bellows and play the non-accidental notes on the D row, you have the arpeggios for the D major chord.

Agreed

Quote
If you pull out the bellows and play the non-accidental notes on the D row, you have an A9 chord (no root)

Don't understand that.
Pull notes on D row are E G B C#
I suppose you could call it a rootless A 7 9 but you think that is stretching the definition of a chord. It is also true to say that it is Em plus a C#.
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Willh

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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2017, 06:21:31 PM »

Quote
If you pull out the bellows and play the non-accidental notes on the D row, you have an A9 chord (no root)

Quote
Don't understand that.
Pull notes on D row are E G B C#

Yes, that's right.

1 3 5 = major chord (for A major = A  C#  E)
1 3 5 7 = major 7 chord (for Amaj7 = A  C#  E  G#)
1 3 5 b7 = dominant 7 chord (for A7 = A  C#  E  G)
1 3 5 b7 9 = dominant 9 chord (for A9 = A  C#  E  G  B)
The list goes on substantially longer.

Thus, E G B C# = 5  b7  9  3 of the A mixolydian mode (fifth mode of the D major scale), so a rootless A9 chord.

Quote
I suppose you could call it a rootless A 7 9 but you think that is stretching the definition of a chord. It is also true to say that it is Em plus a C#.

Every chord has at least two names, particularly if no context has been given to help decide its function. Since we are talking about the D row (and the D major scale), we have a context: in relation to the parent key of D major. That makes this an A9 chord.

This is why you can use chord substitutions in progressions. The III and VI are common substitutions for the I (so, in D major, you can often substitute the F#m7 and Bm7 for Dmaj7 in many songs:

Dmaj7 = D  F# A C#

F#m7 = F# A C# E  (also known as A6 in the right context)

Bm7 = B D F# A (also known as D6 in the right context)

but it all depends on what the melody is expressing. Although theoretically acceptable, it might not sound good in a given musical context.

Em + C# (the 6) would be Em6, a very common swing/gypsy jazz chord. If that's a useful way of viewing things, there's no problem with thinking of it that way, but it's not really standard given the context.

Honestly, I'm not making this up. It's standard music theory. :)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 06:54:00 PM by Willh »
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2017, 08:45:36 PM »

Honestly, I'm not making this up. It's standard music theory. :)
;D

Yes. I’m not shure if the I-V dichotomy on push and pull is the only reason for this note layout. I tend to think that it is a consequence of the problem how to squeeze as many notes into as few reeds as possible. That pushes out a solution where on push and pull you have the same note, because that doubles the number of reeds (and buttons) you would need.

The note layout is derived from the harmonica, where in the beginning it was important to get the most of music out for the cheapest price. For playing with your mouth (where you cover two or three adjactent holes) it is convenient that the blow notes are the same in every octave and the draw notes are also the same in every octave. (There exist different tunings, e. g. 'spiral tuning'.)

So 1-3-5 on blow and the rest on draw is convenient and you don't need extra reeds, but the draw notes drift away from the blow notes.

blow: 1-3-5-1'-3'-5'-1''-3''
draw: 2-4-6-7-2'-4'-6'-7'

If you want to prevent the 'wandering' of draw and blow notes you could add a blow note repetition. You could for example double every 1. That was later called 'solo tuning' (and is regularly used in chromatic harmonicas): Every octave plays the same, but it needs one additional hole (+ one reed) to fill in the blow note repetition:

blow: 1-3-5-1'--1'-3'-5'-1''
draw: 2-4-6-7--2'-4'-6'-7'

But this did not catch on in melodeons.

(There are diatonic accordions which use different note layouts, e. g. the russian Garmoshka, which is 'unisonoric'.)
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Re: Keyboard layout - upper octave
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2017, 08:50:28 PM »

If you want to prevent the 'wandering' of draw and blow notes you could add a blow note repetition. You could for example double every 1. That was later called 'solo tuning' (and is regularly used in chromatic harmonicas): Every octave plays the same, but it needs one additional hole (+ one reed) to fill in the blow note repetition:

blow: 1-3-5-1'--1'-3'-5'-1''
draw: 2-4-6-7--2'-4'-6'-7'

I've fairly recently converted a pokerwork to play like this. Although the customer is always right I couldn't see any benefit but I've played the 'normal' layout 40 odd years.
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