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Author Topic: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C  (Read 993 times)

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Angienever

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Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« on: June 28, 2018, 10:20:23 PM »

Hey, players!  It came to my attention last week that I've been playing right through some special chords in my songs.  I've confessed my lack of musical knowledge to you all before, so it really should come as no surprise that I really didn't understand that playing E major and E minor were not the same thing, considering I only have one button that I understand to be E.  I went through the songs I thought I knew and came up with 10 chords I've been playing improperly.  Can anyone help me understand how to play these so they're correct?

(I'm writing them here the way they're written in the sheet music, to avoid confusing anything further.)

Fmaj7
Em
Dm
D7
G7
D-7
D7sus2
E7
C7maj
Em7

Thanks in advance for any and all help with this.
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Eshed

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2018, 10:39:17 PM »

So, the bad news is that a melodeon is quite limited in the chords it can provide.
The good news is that at least in some of the cases we can fake chords, or use the bass of one chord with another chord:

Fmaj7 - F chord with E bass
Em - G chord with E bass (it's actually Em7, but it's good enough)
Dm - F chord with D bass (it's actually Dm7, but it's good enough)
D7 - mostly impossible, use D instead
G7 - G chord with F bass
D-7 - is that just another way to write D7?
D7sus2 - again, mostly impossible I believe
E7 - mostly impossible, use E instead
C7maj - impossible, use C
Em7 - G chord with E bass
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 10:52:47 PM by Eshed »
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Angienever

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2018, 10:43:56 PM »

Eshed, this is super helpful!  When you say (for example) to play the F chord with E bass, do you mean I should play that simultaneously or like (in a waltz) F chord, E bass, E bass?

I think maybe that D-7 is Dminor7?

I wonder why the impossible chords would be included, since I'm using music made for the G/C.  Do you know if they show up on a 3 row?
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Eshed

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2018, 11:00:24 PM »

When you say (for example) to play the F chord with E bass, do you mean I should play that simultaneously or like (in a waltz) F chord, E bass, E bass?
Both are entirely valid options.
When the chord is "right" and the bass is "wrong" though (as is the case in G7 for instance), it usually sounds better when they are simultaneous.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2018, 11:23:31 PM »

What Eshed says but I have interpreted some differently.

Some options (others are available) for a standard 8 bass button instrument. You are, more or less, forced into playing particular inversions.

Fmaj7 = E bass : F chord (notes are E,F,A,C)

Em = standard approach is to cheat and play Em7

Dm = standard approach is to cheat and play Dm7

D7 = C bass : D chord  (notes are D,F#,A,C)

G7 = F bass : G chord (notes are G,B,D,F)

D-7 (Dm7?) = D bass : F chord (notes are D,F,A,C)

D7sus2 = hmm tricky. (notes are D, E, A, C) Sus 2 means substitute the second note in the scale (E) for the usual third in the chord (F#). Easy to add the E but hard to get rid of the F#. The notes are all next to each other on the treble keyboard and all on the pull. Uses up all your fingers if you just press those. You can mix and match basses and trebles. You can use your thumb. You can play two notes with one finger.

E7 = D bass : E chord  (notes are E, G#, B, D)

C7maj (Cmaj7?) =  If that is Cmaj7 you need a B. Playing a C chord  and G chord together give something close, but it has an extra D. Maybe play one on the treble G row?

Em7 = E bass : G chord

Are you sure you need all those chords? Some of these are standard. Some are...esoteric on this instrument, but possible to play, just about. Why do  you feel you need all these? If it's because someone scored them out for a chord (guitar?) player, or something that doesn't mean you have to play all of them.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 11:37:11 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2018, 11:29:32 PM »


I wonder why the impossible chords would be included, since I'm using music made for the G/C.  Do you know if they show up on a 3 row?


What is the music you are referencing?

Maybe it includes right hand chords and mixed bass and treble chords, or could it be arranged for an accompanying instrument?

Edit: As far as I know, C7sus2 on the basses is just as tricky on standard 12 bass instruments.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 11:35:52 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Dick Rees

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2018, 11:39:54 PM »

Cmaj7 or 9   C bass/G triad   Push

Dm7             D bass/F triad   Draw

Em7              E bass/G triad   Push

Fmaj7            F bass/Am triad  Draw

G9sus4          G bass/F triad  (includes the 7)  Either

G6/9 variant   G bass/Am triad   Draw

Am9sus4         A bass/G triad  (includes the 7)   Draw

All these have both the bass note and the triad in the same direction.

Then there are more you can hint at by filling in with the RH and phrasing/harmonizing things to lead the listener to expect a tone which you either imply or (omit) within the flow of the piece.  Given that music is more than just the notes, there are amazing things to be accomplished within the seemingly limited scope of the two-row diatonic.  The most severe limitation seems to me to be lack of imagination coupled with the attitude that "I can't do that".

Go for it!  Leap joyously into the void!
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 11:46:32 PM by Dick Rees »
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Chris Rayner

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2018, 09:55:36 AM »

All musical instruments have their limitations.  This is why musical groups of different instruments are popular.  I play several instruments, regrettably none to my satisfaction, but that’s my problem.  I learned about chords and harmony from playing guitar.  There are chords you can play on the guitar that melodeonists have never dreamt of.

What you can do with a melodeon is play a bright piercing melody with lots of twiddly bits.  The bass and chords range from barely adequate (that’s single rows with spoon basses) to just about covering the bas(s)es with an 18 bass or even stradella instrument.  Fact is, for the majority of tunes you can manage quite well with eight basses on a fourth apart tworow.  You have the so-called three chord trick in both keys, admittedly better configured for the inner than the outer row, you have (usually) the relative minor for the inner row, and can fudge a couple of minor seventh chords using different basses with existing chords. 

I learned a lot of what I know from my vague tilt at jazz guitar using this https://www.scribd.com/doc/2088025/Chord-Chemistry-by-Ted-Greene.  There is more in this book than you need, and it is guitar based, so not so,easy to transfer to a melodeon, but if you’re interested.....
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 10:52:26 PM by Chris Rayner »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2018, 11:51:20 AM »

It would help to know what the book is your working from.

All musical notation is a compromise. An attempt to capture sound in symbols. It is good to know the music that is the starting point.
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fc diato

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2018, 12:07:44 PM »

Now that you have gotten the basic idea, you might find useful a left hand C/G chord chart, like here (not very pretty, and the caveat that there might be mistakes still holds):

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,8849.msg233518.html#msg233518
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Angienever

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2018, 02:38:36 PM »

I can't thank you all enough for all the guidance being offered here.
Trust me when I say I'm not just chord collecting for academic purposes - I have enough work to do on this instrument without fussing for no reason.
In case it helps, here's a list of the songs these chords show up in:

- Dm -- in Jig Tard, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- D7 -- in Cercle Circassien, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- E-, G7, D-7, Fmaj7, A-, D7sus2 -- in Tout N'a Qu'un Temps from Milleret's online course
- Em, Dm, G7 -- in Valse Label 5, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- Em, Dm -- in Kiproko, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- Fmaj7, E-, D-7, G7 -- in Le Petit Sorcier, from Milleret's online course
- Dm, Em -- in Chiche Kitch Scottish, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- Dm, Em, E7, -- from Jusqu'a La Prochaine Nuit, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 2
- Em -- from L'alambic, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 1
- D7, G7 -- from La Malheur du Bout de Caillou, from Milleret & Pignol's Vol. 2
- Dm, C7maj, Em7, Em -- from La Mal Aimable, from Jean-Luc Larive

It looks like maybe Stephan Milleret is my problem, huh?  ;)
It's interesting because in most of these songs he tabs out what chords he wants you to play, and he's not indicating anything different between a D7 and a D, between a G7 and a G, between an Em and an E, etc. 

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Anahata

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2018, 03:23:59 PM »

You won't spoil the music if you play a major chord instead of a 7th, e.g. D instead of D7.
For any major chord where your box has a minor or vice versa, you could miss the chord out and play the bass note only.
Sometimes a RH note will make the chord you want.
In many instances you can substitute a different chord that works musically.

It's impossible to give hard and fast rules about what to play when your instrument doesn't have the exact specified chord: you have to try various choices (including playing nothing on LH) and decide which sounds most musical to your ears.
Those minor 7ths (like A + Cmaj for A minor) may work in some places, in others the chord wont sound right in context.

Also no disrespect to Milleret etc. but sometimes music editors add questionable chords to tunes that weren't knowingly written with any chords, and you are  free to ignore them and play what suits you.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2018, 03:41:27 PM »

If you think of the box as one instrument instead of two (LH/RH), you'll see how tonal shading with "chords" can be shared between the hands...and what doesn't seem to work when standing alone can be very workable "in the flow".  It's as much arrangement and phrasing as anything else.  And...

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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2018, 03:42:55 PM »

The only one of those that's out of the ordinary is the Cmaj7. The maj7th note is a B. Play that on the treble over an ordinary C chord.
You sometimes see this sort of chord as part of a progression. Maybe from the major chord to the maj7 chord and back to the major. Trying to think of an example I think Everybody's Talking At Me does something like this. It's not something you need to worry about. If you have a recording of the the feller who wrote the score listening to that might clarify things.

Looking at the chords you ascribed to him.I think Milleret is innocent of any extraordinary chording. All straight forward.

Mostly, if  get a 7th chord you add the bass note a tone below the root note of the chord to the chord (e.g., F bass with a G chord)

The minor seventh chord is what passes for a minor chord on an 8 bass melodeon (except for the A minor, on a GC, your given that one). It is made by playing the bass note of the minor chord root  plus the relative major (e.g., D bass with an F chord). The relative major is the one that has the same key signature as the minor key the chord is in.

A maj7 chord is made by adding the 7th note of the major scale of the chords key to the chord. Trickier to do on the basses for any chord (on a standard 8 bass GC) except for F major 7. Where you can get this by adding F bass to the available A minor. You can do it in the right hand.

Confused yet?
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Dick Rees

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2018, 03:50:37 PM »

Greg...

There's a functional Cmaj7 in the LH using the C bass and the G triad of g/b/d.  No third and an added 9th, but very usable.
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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2018, 04:21:36 PM »

Greg...

There's a functional Cmaj7 in the LH using the C bass and the G triad of g/b/d.  No third and an added 9th, but very usable.

Thanks,
I thought I included that in my list of possibilities.

If not, apologies. I may have discarded it because of the added 9th. I got caught up in working out possibilities mixing left and right hand note.

Only one rule. If it sounds good, use it. If it don't, don't (:)

Edit: Yes I mentioned it, then forgot it  :|bl
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 04:24:18 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Tyker

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2018, 04:46:56 PM »

In the Milleret-Pignol books , Vol 1 , on page 5 , he strongly advocates removal of the 3rds to give neutral chords. As a result major/minor is immaterial.
In Vol 3 , he moves on to the complicated 'composed' basses.
I think what is expected is Dm , just play D with 3rds removed.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2018, 06:49:29 PM »

Greg...

There's a functional Cmaj7 in the LH using the C bass and the G triad of g/b/d.  No third and an added 9th, but very usable.

Thanks,
I thought I included that in my list of possibilities.

If not, apologies. I may have discarded it because of the added 9th. I got caught up in working out possibilities mixing left and right hand note.

Only one rule. If it sounds good, use it. If it don't, don't (:)

Edit: Yes I mentioned it, then forgot it  :|bl

My bad for replying without quoting.  I was replying to your post just prior to mine rather than your first response where I see you mentioned it.  I thought I'd try to clarify just in case since there is a possibility of confusion between several statements in reply.

Sorry.  I'll quote next time.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2018, 08:45:08 PM »


My bad for replying without quoting.  I was replying to your post just prior to mine rather than your first response where I see you mentioned it.  I thought I'd try to clarify just in case since there is a possibility of confusion between several statements in reply.

Sorry.  I'll quote next time.


S'OK. You were right I get confused too easily (:) Happy to stand by my other comments, though.
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Greg Smith
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Re: Playing basses that don't exist on the G/C
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2018, 10:28:41 PM »

I tend to bodge a lot and use the thirds control slide to produce suspended chords, which I can substitute for either major or minor chords on the left hand side. This allows me to play convincingly in Am, Bm and (very less accurately!) E. It's surprising what you can get away with if you try!
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