Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Semitone basses  (Read 1156 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1397
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, old CF Hohner
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Semitone basses
« on: May 14, 2018, 09:48:46 AM »

Asking this question cautiously, as it is not a direct response to the OP but hey, ho.
Looking at the basses on the B/C and C#/D systems, the B/C seems to make the three chord tricks for the "popular" keys (C, D, G, and A) available, but with far less options for playing the root bass note for some of the relative minors. On the C#/D, though, the choices are much more restricted. I am not surprised most players seem to shrug their shoulders and ignore them.

What does surprise me is that manufacturers and influential  players haven't addressed this by developing and using more "popular" key friendly bass tunings. I can't help wondering what is going on. Is there a logical reason for this?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 09:58:02 AM by Theo »
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 10667
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 09:59:24 AM »

[[ADMIN]]

Topic split off because it's not related to the original subject and it seems a worthwhile topic.
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2714
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 11:44:00 AM »

Asking this question cautiously, as it is not a direct response to the OP but hey, ho.
Looking at the basses on the B/C and C#/D systems, the B/C seems to make the three chord tricks for the "popular" keys (C, D, G, and A) available, but with far less options for playing the root bass note for some of the relative minors. On the C#/D, though, the choices are much more restricted. I am not surprised most players seem to shrug their shoulders and ignore them.

What does surprise me is that manufacturers and influential  players haven't addressed this by developing and using more "popular" key friendly bass tunings. I can't help wondering what is going on. Is there a logical reason for this?

I don't know what diagram of C#/D basses you are looking at... A standard C#/D 8-bass box gives you pretty well a full palette of chords for any tune with 2 or 3 sharps in the key signature. The F#/B pair are what really completes this palette. I wouldn't sacrifice them to gain, see next paragraph, a C chord for example.

There is no C chord, which pretty well rules out using basses effectively in the key of G and Am (although in Irish A-minor, that is A dorian tunes, the lack is not so telling) and D dorian and D mixolydian (both common in Irish music). This can be fixed by going to 12 basses and adding an F/C pair to the standard setup.

IMO standard basses on a C#/D are really great for 2/3-sharp keys, and not great at all for 1-sharp keys. Standard B/C basses are ho-hum for either choice.  >:E

As for more key-friendly bass tunings, George will be along in a few minutes with his usual recommendations.  (:)

Aside from all this, Greg, you have to realize that basses don't matter very much in Irish music. The melody has always been the thing, traditionally played solo. Until comparatively recently accompaniment and chordal harmony were pretty much foreign to the tradition. Being able to produce notes outside the even-tempered scale was more important. Accordions and banjos and guitars have pretty much scotched that last possibility, but still, being able to make your accordion sound like a church harmonium is irrelevant to most players  :D
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 11:46:52 AM by Stiamh »
Logged

MarioP

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 197
  • Enjoying the MADNESS
    • AnyITsolution.Services
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 06:07:38 PM »

i've a Semi-tuned ADG treble but my local tech didn't know how to tune basses so I'd be interested to know how the basses are tuned ? if I can queeze this on this thread? otherwise I'm o.k asking else where. :o ::)
Logged
Hohner Corso A/D x2, G/C, Corona II A/D/G from the 60s.
Hohner Pre Corona II BsEsAs,Club IV C/F Pre-War, Liliput C/F, Mignon I (G) Piano from the 30s, Kromatica III from the 60s harmonica. Hohner Kids I. Pearl Forum series 80s, Zildjian, Sabían, Wuhan cymbals. Ludwig snare 70s.

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 10667
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 06:53:24 PM »

Mario -  ADG is not a semitone system.
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

boxer

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 328
  • B/C Pokerwork - ultimate ceili box
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 07:35:31 PM »

I don't play C#/D but as far as B/C goes, the further away you get from G major the less easily can the basses be used in the manner of English melodeon playing.  That doesn't render them altogether useless in other keys, but makes them less available for more of the time.  Irish players' tunes seem to flow seamlessly between passages where a functional bass or chord is available, and passages where they aren't.  How they cope with the radical change in bellows pressure between with-bass and solo passages beats me, but the melody seems to prevail, unhindered, at all times.  I suppose a lifetime's practice helps.     

Melodeon basses (ie bisonoric basses) only make sense when they match the key of the row they relate to - the bellows direction then dictates the availability of bass notes or chords that will (to some extent) match the notes available on the treble keyboard in either bellows direction.  As B/C boxes are normally used to play tunes in keys other than B or C, the logic of fitting melodeon basses to them breaks down.  Fitting D/G basses to a B/C box wouldn't be much use.

Stradella basses enable B/C players to imitate English style bass playing, and I would think that John Williams' 12 bass arrangement of bisonoric GDAEB and a single unisonoric C/F would give the most comprehensive range on B/C, within the limitations of reasonable cost.

Although I've got a B/C with 12 stradella basses, I still don't use them for Irish tunes because they disrupt bellows pressure too much and spoil the phrasing and pulse of the melody.  They make my Irish tunes sound English.  I should have started younger. 

 
Logged
Nuage, Tommy, Cairdin, 
Double Ray DLX 21x12, Black Dot,
Pre-Erica, Pokerwork
plus various stringed things

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1397
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, old CF Hohner
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 10:04:27 PM »


I don't know what diagram of C#/D basses you are looking at... A standard C#/D 8-bass box gives you pretty well a full palette of chords for any tune with 2 or 3 sharps in the key signature. The F#/B pair are what really completes this palette. I wouldn't sacrifice them to gain, see next paragraph, a C chord for example.

IMO standard basses on a C#/D are really great for 2/3-sharp keys, and not great at all for 1-sharp keys.

As for more key-friendly bass tunings, George will be along in a few minutes with his usual recommendations.  (:)

Aside from all this, Greg, you have to realize that basses don't matter very much in Irish music. The melody has always been the thing, traditionally played solo. Until comparatively recently accompaniment and chordal harmony were pretty much foreign to the tradition. Being able to produce notes outside the even-tempered scale was more important. Accordions and banjos and guitars have pretty much scotched that last possibility, but still, being able to make your accordion sound like a church harmonium is irrelevant to most players  :D

Thanks for a comprehensive reply, the chord diagram I was looking at was this one

http://forum.melodeon.net/files/site/CD21modernbass.gif

Having looked at this after reading your answer I have to agree that they offer a good range of chords for A but I thought that D and G were common keys and the options for these seem neither one beast, nor the other.

I understand that "the pure drop" favours unison melody playing, but much of the Irish music I have listened to since the sixties (and it's been a lot) has been free of this constraint.

Bass playing doesn't have to sound like church harmoniums. Done well it can add another dimension dance tunes and airs. There are a few Irish players doing this without sounding like they are impersonating English players. I just wonder why there never seems to have been a move to make life easier. I get an impression that there is an element of we don't do it because it's awkward and we don't need to make it easier because we don't do it.
 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 10:06:25 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2714
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 10:30:27 PM »

Having looked at this after reading your answer I have to agree that they offer a good range of chords for A but I thought that D and G were common keys and the options for these seem neither one beast, nor the other.

That "modern bass layout" adds an E push on the E/G button pair. I don't know anyone who thinks it's a good idea. It is basically copied from the "McComiskey" layout for B/C, which adds a D push on the same button pair, because on B/C you need D on both push and pull.

If you played a lot in E major on C#/D that E push might get used from time to time (against one note, G#), but in the real world, you're better off with G/G on that button (the bog standard layout has D/G, which is basically a waste, since it has D/A just next door).

So, consider the same layout with G/G and you will have what Jackie Daly considers the best 8-bass layout and he should know - he's a great player of the basses. (His extra basses on his 12-bass machine are F/C and E/C#.)

I don't know why you think the options for playing in D major are "neither one beast nor the other". What chords do you think you would regularly need that you don't have there? (Aside from the C for D mix, which I mentioned earlier.)

Don't overlook the F#/B pair. Both can provide very tasty substitutions when playing in D major and minor E modes, and they make playing in Bm a lot of fun - a key that I have read (on here) that D/G players tend to avoid, and one that B/C players have no bass options for.

I wasn't being entirely serious with the church harmonium remark. You may be correct in your impressions about not "doing it." But why are you concerned about what Irish players do or don't do with their basses, anyway? Fixing the problem properly would require going down the path of bigger instruments with more rows and more basses and before you know where you are you'd be lugging a Hohner Gaelic down to the pub on your bike. I think people have decided it's not worth it. I certainly don't think it is.

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1397
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, old CF Hohner
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 12:10:21 AM »

I guess I just don't understand it  (:)
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2714
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 12:54:10 AM »

I guess I just don't understand it  (:)

Irish and English box playing - two musical cultures divided by a common instrument!

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1397
  • DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, old CF Hohner
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 09:02:31 AM »

Irish and English box playing - two musical cultures divided by a common instrument!

 ;D
Logged
Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

gettabettabox

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 531
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 09:20:29 AM »

Regarding the F#/B pair...Jackie Daly has more to play with, but I wonder if he uses the B as frequently as his C on the draw.
I understand the sense behind keeping the 8 bass set up to a standard, (it's where I'm at,) but I know of a good player who prefers F#/C on this one. - irregular as it may seem.
Logged

richard.fleming

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 211
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 10:02:29 AM »

From an ITM perspective,  you could argue that you don't have basses on a tin whistle or a fiddle, so why on the box? A feeling strengthened by having heard a lot of English melodeon players at Upton Folk Festival last weekend giving full rein to their basses.
Logged

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4128
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 10:12:21 AM »

Stiamh - how true. A classic comment!

I'm sure I've seen Sharron Shannon has actually gone so far as to remove some bass buttons from her box ( Castagnari Tommy ) which illustrates the difference in approach between English and ITM.
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

MarioP

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 197
  • Enjoying the MADNESS
    • AnyITsolution.Services
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 11:41:14 AM »

Mario -  ADG is not a semitone system.

I believe I mixed semi dry tuned with the semitone system 😂
Thanks ...
Logged
Hohner Corso A/D x2, G/C, Corona II A/D/G from the 60s.
Hohner Pre Corona II BsEsAs,Club IV C/F Pre-War, Liliput C/F, Mignon I (G) Piano from the 30s, Kromatica III from the 60s harmonica. Hohner Kids I. Pearl Forum series 80s, Zildjian, Sabían, Wuhan cymbals. Ludwig snare 70s.

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2714
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 12:04:46 PM »

From an ITM perspective,  you could argue that you don't have basses on a tin whistle or a fiddle, so why on the box?

Brings to mind Séamus Tansey and his infamous remark about organs of lactation on a male farmyard animal...  :D

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2714
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 12:07:59 PM »

Irish players' tunes seem to flow seamlessly between passages where a functional bass or chord is available, and passages where they aren't.  How they cope with the radical change in bellows pressure between with-bass and solo passages beats me, but the melody seems to prevail, unhindered, at all times.  I suppose a lifetime's practice helps.

Nobody has picked up on this or the rest of your points but they are spot-on and well taken.  :|glug

There really should be a Like button!

gettabettabox

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 531
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 12:18:07 PM »

Ditto.
Blip basses/ chords are not too air-hungry, but I knows what you mean!
Logged

gettabettabox

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 531
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2018, 12:25:06 PM »

Also, speaking as someone who is still trying to "nail" the itm rhythm with the treble side, I am often tempted to remove the bass/ chord blocks for weight saving.
This is in contrast to the generally advocated method of employing both sides of the box from early stages in English trad.
Logged

boxer

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 328
  • B/C Pokerwork - ultimate ceili box
Re: Semitone basses
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2018, 09:01:58 AM »

thanks for your "likes" chaps.  Good point about two cultures divided by a common instrument.  Visually identical, but when you try to get a tune out of them, just about everything you've learned on the one makes absolutely no sense on the other. 

I stand in awe of people who display high skills on B/C and D/G concurrently.
Logged
Nuage, Tommy, Cairdin, 
Double Ray DLX 21x12, Black Dot,
Pre-Erica, Pokerwork
plus various stringed things
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.