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Author Topic: OK, G/C is beyond me...  (Read 3190 times)

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RickC.

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OK, G/C is beyond me...
« on: May 13, 2018, 04:05:34 AM »

I have played Irish box for a couple of decades now, some B/C but mostly C#/D.  As with most Irish players I have picked up a very small handful of Breton tunes, but always in the keys that suited our instruments, in the style to which we are accustomed-- which is to say, the phrasing was not really "right" and there was no way to get the basses right on our accordions.

So I purposed to get a G/C and start learning this fascinating music The Right Way.  Lots of those tunes are in Am- so hey, A Dorian on the G row and A Aeolian on the C row-- just learn the melodies and work out the basses.

HAHAHHAHAHHHA.  NO.

That is not how it works at all.  Most of you probably knew that.  I did not, but it did not take long to find out.

After five months of diligent work and managing to learn a whopping TWO tunes, I decided this just was not working out for me- the whole idea of having several alternate fingerings with what you use in a given place in a tune being dictated by the left hand....  Maybe I'm too old to  learn new tricks, but I finally had to conclude that whole business is a big Nope for me.

On this particular tune, one of my favorites Bernard Loffet recorded, was something I struggled with for over a month- and even with the tune firmly in my head and the CADB tab right in front of me, I just could not get it down-- in comparison, I learned "Mayor Harrison's Fedora" in two evenings, several years back-- a much more complex tune.

So I got frustrated, picked up what I'm used to- a C#/D Mengascini, and worked out what you see here in less than a half hour.  It's in the wrong key (Bm here) on the wrong box- and there is no way to match the basses that Bernard played, but you can come close.

I'm curious as to others' experience with being accustomed to learning by ear and just working out the tunes on an Irish box and then trying to learn from tabs and/or trying to play that system   I can't do it, I flat just cannot.

https://youtu.be/Hba7hcwlcBc
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mselic

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 05:18:31 AM »

I predominantly play one-rows, and even when I play a two-row I play it like two one-rows stuck together! I did spend some time figuring out alternate fingerings for a fourth-apart two-row in order to make use of the basses, but I didn’t really get on with it...more to the point, I didn’t really enjoy the style. Same thing with the Irish-tuned boxes. It was very liberating for me to acknowledge that something just wasn’t for me, and to stick with what I liked.
Also, I’m not a stickler for tradition, so I don’t mind having tunes come out sounding a little different than what might be considered the “right way”. If it sounds good and it works for you, have at it! I don’t know what Loffet’s rendition of your tune sounds like, but your version sounds fine to me!
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RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 05:56:37 AM »

That makes a lot of sense.  Thanks very much!
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Anne Croucher

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 02:09:53 PM »

It is perhaps something to do with how our brains are wired - I remember sitting in the shelter at the end of the esplanade at Sidmouth happily tootling away on my recorders - I have a small herd of them - and there were a few hardy people around joining in singing and playing - it was one of the very wet weeks - and someone came to me, put his head in his hands then moaned 'you keep transposing!!!'

I didn't even know it was a problem.

The way he said it made it sound illegal - or at least contrary to accepted doctrine.
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MarioP

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2018, 02:13:54 PM »

I like the sounds good to me ideas expressed here breaking the barriers of the monotonous single minded is cool and results in endless opportunities to integrate other ideas and plug in your own expression. GC is my favorite sound in two row melodeon 3 voice preferably for its loud and deeper sound as well as it’s musical clarity that I can reach with it.
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Lester

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2018, 02:28:50 PM »

Quote
It's in the wrong key (Bm here) on the wrong box- and there is no way to match the basses that Bernard played

As someone famous once said, 'the tune won't mind'.

Nicely played

RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2018, 03:17:00 PM »



As someone famous once said, 'the tune won't mind'.

Nicely played

Thank you, Lester.  No matter how well I eventually play these tunes, there is no way I'd ever be out there on the floor, leading dancers around while doing it.  Such a loss, Bernard...

It is good reinforcement to hear the thoughts of other players-- particularly the idea of allowing yourself to decide you just don't like the way a certain system works.  I think I would need to have started out on that years ago.  Maybe my brain would accept all the convoluted (to me) stuff you have to do!
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playandteach

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2018, 03:46:31 PM »

Rick
GC is my chosen box and Am the main key for me. I don't suppose you're anywhere near me, but if there's a tune you want to learn give me a shout. I might be able to help. I cross row all the time, and struggle with playing on the row.
Pete
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RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2018, 04:15:39 PM »

Thanks very much- not sure where you are, but I'm in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  But the G/C has been sold.

Crossing over some does not bother me since I first learned on B/C.  What makes that particular style of box playing interesting to me is the basses- but to have to finger the exact same notes two or more ways in a given tune just to accomodate the basses really irritated me:  "I can already play fairly complex tunes in Am in two different tunings just fine- why do I have to do -this-?".

I've not given up on the tunes, but I clearly have to come up with another way to do it.  We'll see how Hohner's mini-Stradella works out for me.  I have not spent enough time with it yet to be good at it, but it makes a lot more sense to me to learn the tune and then add the basses you want than to have the basses dictate the right hand fingering.

I appreciate your offer, though-- please don't let my frustration with that system make me appear to be ungrateful :)

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Barlow

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 06:50:42 PM »

... to have to finger the exact same notes two or more ways in a given tune just to accomodate the basses really irritated me....

isn't that sometimes the case with B/C ?
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RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 08:07:37 PM »


isn't that sometimes the case with B/C ?

Well, the only notes you have on both rows in the standard layout are E and B.  So you do have alternates there if it makes sense, but with my playing at least, those were used if they made sense to make for easier fingering.  It's the same with F# and C# on the C#/D box- I'll often go to those notes on the C# row to keep from changing bellows direction so much and smooth things out a bit- but it has nothing to do with the basses.  I have not seen too many Irish players who use the basses more than just as an afterthought-  certainly not in the same way French and Breton players do.
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Stiamh

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 09:45:57 PM »

It's the same with F# and C# on the C#/D box- I'll often go to those notes on the C# row to keep from changing bellows direction so much and smooth things out a bit- but it has nothing to do with the basses.

Sorry Rick, but video you just posted gives the lie to that one. (:) You use the outer F# in the first measure so that you can keep the Bm chord going. You then use it again in the gf#e run so that you can keep the Em chord going. Later on you play dc#B push-push-pull which allows you to sound the push A chord against the first two notes (and of course the Em against the third one). I haven't analysed your playing of the whole piece, but there are three examples that jump out at me.
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Dick Rees

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 12:36:12 AM »

I listen, listen, listen until the tune's coming out of my ears.  If it doesn't come out my ears, it'll never come out of my hands. 

Sorry it didn't work out for you.  The first 30 years are the hard part...
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 01:28:01 AM by Dick Rees »
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RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 02:03:49 AM »

It's the same with F# and C# on the C#/D box- I'll often go to those notes on the C# row to keep from changing bellows direction so much and smooth things out a bit- but it has nothing to do with the basses.

Sorry Rick, but video you just posted gives the lie to that one. (:) You use the outer F# in the first measure so that you can keep the Bm chord going. You then use it again in the gf#e run so that you can keep the Em chord going. Later on you play dc#B push-push-pull which allows you to sound the push A chord against the first two notes (and of course the Em against the third one). I haven't analysed your playing of the whole piece, but there are three examples that jump out at me.

Right Steve, but that is a Breton tune (in the wrong key), where I was deliberately doing that for the sake of the basses!  Try that on Gravel Walks, Roscommon, Beare Island, The Tempest, etc.  You can cross rows all you want but you won't be able to play the basses like that.  Even then, the possibilities for crossing over on both C#/D and B/C are much more limited than on 4th tuned boxes.  I do respect your playing and knowledge, but I stand by what I said   (:)
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RickC.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 03:34:54 AM »

I listen, listen, listen until the tune's coming out of my ears.  If it doesn't come out my ears, it'll never come out of my hands. 

Sorry it didn't work out for you.  The first 30 years are the hard part...

Thanks Dick.  Well, it's just that system that did not work out for me.  I played a ceili just this afternoon on C#/D with no issues at all.  I admire those who play 4th-tuned boxes well, I'm just not going to be one of them!
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Winston Smith

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 08:02:26 AM »

I have to agree with Dick as regards to listening, listening and listening some more in order to get a tune into your head. I would go further, and suggest that the tune has to become a part of you, if you've to have any chance of playing it convincingly.
Of course this only applies to us folk who play by ear, and I haven't yet perfected it. But I find that the tunes I've known and sung for years come much more easily to the fingers to play.

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2018, 10:22:27 AM »

So I got frustrated, picked up what I'm used to- a C#/D Mengascini, and worked out what you see here in less than a half hour.  It's in the wrong key (Bm here) on the wrong box- and there is no way to match the basses that Bernard played, but you can come close.

I'm curious as to others' experience with being accustomed to learning by ear and just working out the tunes on an Irish box and then trying to learn from tabs and/or trying to play that system   I can't do it, I flat just cannot.

https://youtu.be/Hba7hcwlcBc

Hi Rick,

There is really no right or wrong key in Breton music, and really no wrong instrument : use whatever key you like or are most comfortable with, and it'll go all right.

As for your video, it's very good. As a matter of fact, you play this tune as well as I ever heard it around here (and, actually I live right in the Bas-Léon area). Indeed you could introduce a bit of variations here and there, and the C#/D somewhat limits the basses you can have, but the main point is that you got the style and musical phrasing just right (and, I might add, closer to Breton style than Irish music players usually achieve, even in top-players bands like Lunasa and such).

So, kudos to you !
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Dick Rees

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2018, 12:06:55 PM »

I have to agree with Dick as regards to listening, listening and listening some more in order to get a tune into your head. I would go further, and suggest that the tune has to become a part of you, if you've to have any chance of playing it convincingly.
Of course this only applies to us folk who play by ear, and I haven't yet perfected it. But I find that the tunes I've known and sung for years come much more easily to the fingers to play.


I play by ear, by note, by mugging it in the alley...any way I can.  There are tunes which plateau for years before the "AHA" moment and there are tunes which jump out of the box fully formed at first crack.  Then there's the inevitable instance of something new happening to an old tune once you've added another hundred tunes or a new style to your repertoire and cross-pollination occurs.  If your desire to learn is strong enough, you will be gifted with knowledge.  If you think you can't (for whatever reason), you won't...

As I said before and can attest from personal experience with the fiddle, the first 30 years are the hard part.
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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2018, 12:09:22 PM »

Thanks for that, Dick. But I'm probably not going to be here in another 30 years!
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Dick Rees

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Re: OK, G/C is beyond me...
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2018, 12:12:13 PM »

Thanks for that, Dick. But I'm probably not going to be here in another 30 years!

My grandfather said, "Smoke a cigar and drink a quart of whiskey every day for a hundred years and you'll live a long time."
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