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Author Topic: Getting to the next level of (in)competence  (Read 9093 times)

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george garside

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #60 on: August 31, 2018, 09:07:20 AM »

It suprises me that a great many players  always play at one volume which is usually as loud as it will go!  A simple exercise is to hold a note and push hard for maximum volume then gradually ease bellows pressure until the note is down to a whisper ( if the note stops that is a bit quieter than a particular box will sound at).  It is then easy to establish the mid volume of a particular box  and to play the at around that volume so that you can go louder or quieter as best befits the tune  i.e putting some 'dynamics' into the proceedings. So doing improves most tunes  and is particulary beneficial for haunting slow airs.  With practice it also enables the volume to be increased or decreased on a single note or perhaps for a couple of bars or whatever.  To me the bellows are the very soul of the instrument.

. As Steve has said that's what singers do with the lungs!

george
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WestOz

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #61 on: August 31, 2018, 10:54:32 AM »

"As to playing crisply or staccato  it is simply a matter of getting some space between the button and the finger on every note. The amount of 'staccatoness'  can easily be regulated by the distance the fingers are lifted off the buttons between stikes.   I advocate this as the sort of default method of playing as it requires some practice."

Is it possible to define "some space" - it has been pointed out to me that I lift my fingers too high (and liable to lose control/accuracy)- I practice playing with little space, and find it difficult!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #62 on: August 31, 2018, 11:06:44 AM »

"As to playing crisply or staccato  it is simply a matter of getting some space between the button and the finger on every note. The amount of 'staccatoness'  can easily be regulated by the distance the fingers are lifted off the buttons between stikes.   I advocate this as the sort of default method of playing as it requires some practice."

Is it possible to define "some space" - it has been pointed out to me that I lift my fingers too high (and liable to lose control/accuracy)- I practice playing with little space, and find it difficult!

Keep practicing and it will become easy. Melodeons are like that. Impossible today, absorbed into the subconcious tomorrow (well, eventually).
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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

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #63 on: August 31, 2018, 11:29:15 AM »

Interesting that Steve sometimes gets his tutees to sing the tune.
That too was mentioned several times - 'sing it like you want it to sound...'
I have been doing this before playing a particularly awkward tune I need to get to grips with.
It seems to help me, and it's such an obvious thing to do that I'm staggered I haven't thought of it before!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

george garside

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #64 on: August 31, 2018, 12:24:39 PM »

getting some space between the buttons and the fingers ( on both ends of the box)  should become automatic if enough of it is done !  The only time I don''t use it is on purpose!

With practice it is easy to alter the length  of an individual note by the distance the finger is lifted off the button i.e. the higher the finger the shorter the note whilst still retaining the desired rhythm and speed.  i.e. the time a note is 'struck' remains the same  but the gap between it and the next note etc etc  varies by the amount of finger lift.  i.e higher  = larger gap. lower = smaller gap.

To quote a well known concert pianist '' the notes I handle no better than many pianists, but the pauses between the notes - Ah, that is where the art resides''

on a melodeon the way the 'pauses' are played comes entirely free of charge being governed simply by varying the amount of fresh air between the fingers and the buttons


george
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Julian S

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #65 on: August 31, 2018, 12:40:20 PM »

Singing it like I want it to sound would be a really bad idea in my case...! (Though might try it this afternoon alone in the house apart from a deaf cat...)
Of course, if you possess a number of different boxes with different responsiveness, then it might well be necessary to adapt technique to suit.
My Dino super 3v is difficult to play quietly (it probably needs fettling), whilst being great for playing loud for outdoor dancing. My Dony on the other hand is quite the opposite, much easier to vary volume, and perfect for mazurkas, and slow airs requiring more subtlety. My Pastourelle offers the best of both worlds.
Lots to think about...

J
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Dick Rees

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #66 on: August 31, 2018, 12:41:50 PM »

If I understand Dick correctly, he has mentioned an interesting thing that was mentioned on our recent workshop weekend.
How do we make the sound of a note?
i.e. it is more than pressing a button and emitting the sound, how do we 'make' the sound?
Do we start quiet then swell then reduce the volume; maintain constant volume; make it short and crisp; fade the sound....etc.

It was pointed out that other instruments such as woodwind, you have to make the sound whereas ours is ready made by activating the reed *but* you can still be creative and thoughtful about how the note is produced by, as Dick says, bellows control, button attack and think about what sound you wish to make.
As he says, be expressive in your playing.
Q

 I would add that notes/tones have a stop as well as a start and the silences between the notes (negative space?) are more important than the notes themselves.

Or not...

Edit:

It's possible to "bend" the notes on a box just like you do on a mouth harmonica.  Bellows pressure control and extremely precise touch are required.  I can do it for effect, but not in the flow of a tune of moderate/fast pace.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 04:53:20 PM by Dick Rees »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Getting to the next level of (in)competence
« Reply #67 on: August 31, 2018, 12:53:39 PM »

I am reminded that a favourite technique of Leveret's for coming up with new tunes, and remembering them, while out walking, is to sing them into their phones etc..
Andy played back his latest mutterings. He is definitely not a chorister. But it was a cracking tune.
Never lose hope.
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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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