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Author Topic: "Special effects"  (Read 820 times)

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Jesse Smith

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"Special effects"
« on: January 26, 2018, 03:36:03 PM »

This week I acquired "John Kirkpatrick's English Choice", a tune book and CDs. I have been listening to the CDs a lot; they are great listening on their own, even apart from their instructional value. Anyway, there is a great 3/2 hornpipe in this book called "John Greeny the Cheshire Way". 3/2 hornpipes are a topic I'd like to discuss more, but what I want to talk about right now is the crazy tremolo effect he does at the end of the tune. The last chord reverberates like an oscillating spring, just like the "vibrato" setting on an old electric guitar amp (like in surf music). I had heard a similar effect on his B/C/C# box in the song "Sing a Full Song" but I just assumed the Stradella bass allows for all sorts of odd noises. But I was surprised to see that this hornpipe is played on a regular D/G melodeon. I tried it myself and it works on my box too. It's just a matter of shaking or pulsing the bellows rapidly such that the pull chord doesn't sound but the push chord cuts in and out rapidly. It seems like it would require a lot of practice to obtain the bellows control to make the frequency of the tremolo even and smooth. Kind of a cool way to come out of a rollicking tune like this hornpipe.

Have you found any other "special effects" with the melodeon that are fun to use (sparingly)? I'm familiar with the Bicycle Pump Polka which uses the air button and bellows slap as part of the fun. Any other examples?
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Rees

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 03:44:46 PM »

My favourite special effect is to play a pull bass note in the left hand while wobbling the shoulder strap (on the bit between shoulder and instrument) with the right hand. A kind of whammy-bar for melodeon.
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Grape Ape

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 04:40:04 PM »

You can also “bend” notes.  Aurelien Claranbaux is a master at this.  Works best on lower notes and imo is easier with some boxes than others.  While sustaining a right hand note open the air button just a bit and pull hard and long on the bellows- gives kind of a “Waaaaooo” sort of sound.
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george garside

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 10:43:57 PM »

'pulsing'  the bellows is completely different from 'shaking' the bellows.  Shaking is  used  sometimes by piano box players and is quite a violent in out motion of the bellows  and does not lend itself to diatonic boxes. The piano box (or continental) player can  do the shake without  it changing the note or whilst playing a series of notes whereas on our 'diatonics'  the note would of course be changing with each shake

pulsing is a much gentler anad refined  in out motion  whislt keeping the bellows going in the right direction for the  right note(s)  I find it useful to add an extra layer of rhythm to whats going on on treble and bass.  If the inherent  rhythm is ,say, a waltz  the pulsing would be a gentle um pa ap  in time with the um pa pa being played on the bass. Aslo effective instead of the bass for short passages.  Same goes for 6/8 . 4/4  etc  , the pulse being in time with  what is or would be going on with the bass.   It is also very useful for gentle /haunting slow airs  iif used instead of the bass, particulary if  playing quietly - just adds a gentle underlying rhythm here and there

george
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Jesse Smith

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 02:09:47 AM »

I think I know what you're talking about with the pulsing George, and i don't know think this is the same. I think it's closer to shaking except so gently that it doesn't play the draw notes, but rather just interrupts the push note repeatedly, so you end up with a tremolo effect.

Rees' wobbling the strap is probably the same thing except on the draw.

Bending notes! I need to be careful or my old blues guitar instincts will take over on the box....
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george garside

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 10:16:04 AM »

forgot to add that 'pulsing' can only be used along with a string of notes in one bellows direction  as  a complete jumble would happen if a run of fast ins and outs and pulsing is attempted at the same time.In other words only do it on a stretch of straight road!



george
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rileycat

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2018, 11:05:29 AM »

Don't know if this helps, but a vibrato type effect can be easily made by holding the treble note with one finger down (or bass or both) and vibrating the remaining fingers - well it works for me!! :D  Also, some anglo players from the Boer tradition/style achieve a great belllows shake.  And also, hold a bass note or chord and gently tap the treble keyboard edge with heel of right hand - best on a 'pull'.
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Winston Smith

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2018, 11:11:43 AM »

Although it's not something that I've done consciously, I have noticed a distinct pulsing effect when seated, with the box on my knee, and tapping my left heel. Would that count if done deliberately?
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IanD

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2018, 11:31:35 AM »

JK often does this by hitting the bass end with the heel of his right hand -- only works if you're not playing the treble end, obviously...
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Chris Ryall

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2018, 03:49:46 PM »

Tremello is a subtle art, but on normal melodeon "heel of hand" is a bit heavy; John plays a very big accordion! I simply play the (usually last) note and wiggle a finger.  Much depends on your reeds

Similarly "bend" is best done on the pull. Importantly you need to only ½-¼ open the reed, so that the note is "throttled". Pull quite hard and the note will bend. 

If not close the apperture slightly and pull harder to compensate. There is a definite knack to this;  it's a bit like what mouth organ players do. It works much better on either single voice, or near dry tuning. It may not work at all if you have wet tuned 2 voice kid. They seem to stabilise each other.
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Barlow

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 09:12:18 PM »

Regarding bending notes, could this cause damage to the reed?
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boxcall

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2018, 09:57:29 PM »

Probably not unless the reed was weak to begin with, I would think.
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-Y-

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Re: "Special effects"
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2018, 11:15:21 PM »


Similarly "bend" is best done on the pull. Importantly you need to only ½-¼ open the reed, so that the note is "throttled". Pull quite hard and the note will bend.

It also work on the push, and is quite frequent for jazz players (although they mostly use chromatic accordions).
Did you hear of the BluesBox ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amb3zrou5_g
It's based on augmenting the resonator size (i.e. the size of the cavity under the reeds) when pushing or pulling hard.

(but maybe it's been previously discussed here  (:) )
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