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Author Topic: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ  (Read 731 times)

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Gareth Sprack

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I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:27:28 PM »

Forty years ago, on a whim I bought a Hohner 114C, but I never learnt to play it until I started to give a it proper attempt from Christmas.
I play mainly 19th and early 20th century songs and tunes and improvement is slowly happening, but my left hand remains static as I don't know what to do with it during a song.
I can vamp during made up morris dancie-ish type tunes, but only if both hands mirror each other, I haven't mastered independent hand movements yet.
I will never be able to afford another box so I am stuck/blessed with the one I have, and am happy playing as I am, getting to the end of a piece without a mistake is always a major triumph, but I do wonder if there is some technique or trick I should try and learn that might improve the overall performance, my wife is very patient, bless her!
I can't as yet read music, so all tunes are dragged out of my head and murdered, until I think I've got it.
Still thats me, thanks for reading this and any advice you might give.

Gareth
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Clive Williams

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 01:56:50 PM »

Main advice - just keep playing! Funny thing about the left hand - it seems melodeon players are doomed to spend ages learning how to link the left hand with the right hand playing, then spend ages learning how to unlink them again, if that makes any sense.

Dick Rees

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2018, 02:01:27 PM »

Main advice - just keep playing! Funny thing about the left hand - it seems melodeon players are doomed to spend ages learning how to link the left hand with the right hand playing, then spend ages learning how to unlink them again, if that makes any sense.

I try to link both hands to the tune.  Both hands to the middle.
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RobH

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2018, 05:02:18 PM »

When I started out, my technique was to get one tune so that the right hand was on auto-pilot and only then think about adding the left in.  Adding a left hand vamp to other tunes became pretty straightforward after that. It was several years before I tried to do anything clever with the left hand.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2018, 06:37:04 PM »

When I started out, my technique was to get one tune so that the right hand was on auto-pilot and only then think about adding the left in.  Adding a left hand vamp to other tunes became pretty straightforward after that. It was several years before I tried to do anything clever with the left hand.
A potential issue with that, at least on a two row, is that when you go to add the left hand in you may find that the chords are in the wrong direction and you need to change which row certain right hand notes are on in order to get the right left hand chords. In my experience it's easier to hash all that out while first working out a tune rather than having to relearn the right hand after getting it to "auto-pilot".
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Rob2Hook

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2018, 07:26:50 PM »

Happily with a four-stop the LH can only be used to add some grunt and rhythm to the melody line.  There are times when the available grunt is dissonant.  Sometimes that's OK, at other times you may like to stop the bass either for that one jarring note/chord or for the whole of the phrase.

Rob.
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baz parkes

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2018, 11:37:14 AM »

Happily with a four-stop the LH can only be used to add some grunt and rhythm to the melody line.  There are times when the available grunt is dissonant.  Sometimes that's OK, at other times you may like to stop the bass either for that one jarring note/chord or for the whole of the phrase.

Rob.

Indeed...there's much debate about left hand technique, which fingers etc, how to make it "interesting" etc etc...none of which happily apply to the good old growl box on a 1 row. I tend to think of it more as percussion rather than melody....


And a 4 stop C would be my Desrt Island Box.... :|glug
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2018, 12:33:07 PM »


,,,I will never be able to afford another box so I am stuck/blessed with the one I have, and am happy playing as I am...


Never say never, Gareth. They can cost a lot less than you think. Then you may find someone happy to borrow your 114 and lend you their two row (I would jump at that chance). There are nice people around who will just lend to the right people (that's what happened to me when I started).

Having said that, I don't think your going to need another box for a year or three, if ever (:)
 
Don't fret to much about the left hand thing, though. Keep making yourself try to do it and you'll find that your brain will burn the necessary pathways needed to make both hands work. Takes a little time. It has to happen at your brains pace, but when it when it comes it will probably happen suddenly and the feeling that your wading through treacle vanishes, pretty much overnight. Soon become a hazy memory.

Don't worry about the dots, either. They're only essential for people with slow ears, like me.

You're doing the right things already, by the sound of it. And the harmonica experience gives you a massive head start. Enjoy.
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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.
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Gareth Sprack

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2018, 01:17:12 PM »

Thank-you one and all, at least I am not rushing down a blind melodeon alley. 
I will keep up the practice and we will see what has happened in another six months.
My advantage as I see it is, by being completely ignorant of what I should be doing, I thoroughly enjoy what I have achieved.  :||:

Gareth
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Winston Smith

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2018, 01:54:35 PM »

"I thoroughly enjoy what I have achieved."

IMHO, that's what it's all about! One row playing (it's what I do best) is a constant source of joy, mainly (I think) because it's easy so to play tunes that you already have in your head.
For the past three years or so, I've also been mightily frustrated at not being able to multi-task and play basses and treble at the same time, but it is finally, although still slowly, coming together.
As the bloke in the dark glasses on the telly says, "Stress not!", it will come of its own accord, eventually.
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Barlow

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2018, 07:29:41 AM »

When I started out, my technique was to get one tune so that the right hand was on auto-pilot and only then think about adding the left in.  Adding a left hand vamp to other tunes became pretty straightforward after that. It was several years before I tried to do anything clever with the left hand.
A potential issue with that, at least on a two row, is that when you go to add the left hand in you may find that the chords are in the wrong direction and you need to change which row certain right hand notes are on in order to get the right left hand chords. In my experience it's easier to hash all that out while first working out a tune rather than having to relearn the right hand after getting it to "auto-pilot".
I agree.

A piano player will rarely learn a tune just playing right hand. The melodeon is an idiosyncratic instrument indeed that you can choose to play bass or not, and how. I know a good player who has disconnected and removed all basses (for lightness too) and others whose whole playing is based around the bass. (I'm sure this has been discussed plenty on the forums.)

For my part, I struggled to make a tune out of the right hand and distinctly remember saying to myself that to play both was for me an absolute impossibility. I can't imagine now, 2-3 years later, ever playing a tune without some bass. Often it comes without thinking. Not brilliantly, but it is there. I think my poor brain was ready for a rest but it's getting a lot of hard work these days.

I am amazed that for such a restricted instrument there are so many options for bass eg. just playing bass, playing bass and chord, just chord, just bass.  And then the use, sometimes from necessity, of a disonant bass.

A piano accordion is so much easier - all those rows of bass notes and chords! but the obvious 'Oom pah' - in always the correct chord,  push or pull - seems always to be the choice.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 07:32:31 AM by Barlow »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: I play my melodeon like a mouth-organ
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2018, 09:30:59 AM »

What happens in the brain when we learn something new? Some food for thought:

The brain actually rewires itself and prepare to adopt the new things by activating various portions of brain(synaptic changes).

At first, the new skill might feel stiff and awkward. But as we practice, it gets smoother and feels more natural and comfortable. What practice is actually doing is helping the brain optimize for this set of coordinated activities, through a process called myelination.

    Fact: When you learn a brand new skill your brain gets larger in size.
    (Fact: When you precede a statemnt by saying "Fact", it makes it sound more credible.)

Myelin is a white stuff (matter), a fatty tissue that fills  50% of the brain.

Myelination increases the speed and strength of the nerve impulses by forcing the electrical charge to jump across the myelin sheath to the next open spot on the axon(a part of neuron, a long “cable” that reaches out and interacts with other neurons' dendrites.
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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
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