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Author Topic: Blank Slate  (Read 4018 times)

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playandteach

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2019, 09:39:22 AM »

The reasons I'd get a Vienna style is that (having only held a one row 4 voice once) I found it difficult to hold as the bass end has a growl box (I believe it's called) which is a different shape to the 'normal' box left hand end, and only has 2 basses (but in both directions changing pitch). These tend to be used percussively rather than having the ability to suit several chord choices.
Others, of course, use this style of box to great effect. But it doesn't currently appeal to me. I also don't like the weight of 4 voices.
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butimba

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2019, 09:59:58 AM »

Re the cross-rowing & rhythm debate, I confess to being a hard-wired cross-rowing player, but part of the reason I do it is so I can add the rhythm back into a tune how I want it to be, not so it's dictated by bellows changes. I think this allows me to add rhythm where I like, e.g. by playing staccato or by using Andy Cutting's 'pulsing' technique, and the idea that you 'lose the rhythm' when you cross-row a lot is a fallacy.

However, I appreciate that push-pull playing gives a different type of rhythmic effect, which is arguably more pronounced, and I might just be saying all this because my push-pull playing sucks.
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butimba

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2019, 10:03:20 AM »

Back on topic - I'm not sure there's anything I'd do differently but one thing I'm really glad I did do is go to workshops and summer schools. They were useful for little bits of technique but more than that they really helped to inspire me and motivate me to keep playing.
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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2019, 10:17:22 AM »

The reasons I'd get a Vienna style is that (having only held a one row 4 voice once) I found it difficult to hold as the bass end has a growl box (I believe it's called) which is a different shape to the 'normal' box left hand end, and only has 2 basses (but in both directions changing pitch). These tend to be used percussively rather than having the ability to suit several chord choices.
Others, of course, use this style of box to great effect. But it doesn't currently appeal to me. I also don't like the weight of 4 voices.

as any combinations of buttons on the push harmonises and all exept one pair on the pull will harmonise so there is scope for both right hand chords and/ or beating extra rhythm with a spare finger.  With 4 voices in play a 3 note chord will in effect be 12 voices in play with air consumption to match!

george
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2019, 10:22:17 AM »

I might just be saying all this because my push-pull playing sucks.
No, it definitely does not. I've heard you play.  (:)
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richard.fleming

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #45 on: February 17, 2019, 11:14:20 AM »

Thanks everyone for your replays so far, this is really good stuff to hear, keep it coming!   
It is really helping me to distill down exactly why I want to tackle the melodeon, and for me it is the rhythmic quality of the English tradition that is the draw :||:.  I have tried to imitate the sound on my piano box, but it is the push pull nature of the melodeon that seems intrinsic to the creating the rhythm.
I think it depends on whether you want to derive the rhythm from the way you play the tune with your right hand (ie, rhythmically) or you try to get the rhythm by waggling the bellows. No prizes for guessing where I stand on that!
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #46 on: February 17, 2019, 12:32:17 PM »

I think it depends on whether you want to derive the rhythm from the way you play the tune with your right hand (ie, rhythmically) or you try to get the rhythm by waggling the bellows. No prizes for guessing where I stand on that!
I think it is perfectly feasible to do both. And yes, I can guess where you stand on the matter  ;)
But ultimately it is always the melody which drives the rhythm; basses and chords are supplementary. I think that holds true whether you are playing a fluid Irish reel or a lumpy Lincolnshire hornpipe. It's how you play the melody which brings rhythm to the music.
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Julian S

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2019, 12:52:02 PM »

Well said Steve. Yep, bass and chords can add so much(or subtract!), but getting rhythm into the melody is crucial.

If I had my time over again, I reckon I should have forked out on a metronome along with my first pokerwork. Leaving it for 35 years was a mistake - I have never learned not to play too fast and avoid speeding up. Ho hum.

J
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2019, 12:54:40 PM »

I think it depends on whether you want to derive the rhythm from the way you play the tune with your right hand (ie, rhythmically) or you try to get the rhythm by waggling the bellows. No prizes for guessing where I stand on that!
I think it is perfectly feasible to do both. And yes, I can guess where you stand on the matter  ;)
But ultimately it is always the melody which drives the rhythm; basses and chords are supplementary. I think that holds true whether you are playing a fluid Irish reel or a lumpy Lincolnshire hornpipe. It's how you play the melody which brings rhythm to the music.

I will probably sound dim, here, but I don't see how you can play anything rhythmically, without using the bellows rhythmically. Anything else is just a sequence of notes on a single level.
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Greg Smith
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The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2019, 01:20:06 PM »

I will probably sound dim, here, but I don't see how you can play anything rhythmically, without using the bellows rhythmically. Anything else is just a sequence of notes on a single level.
OK here's an example:

Try playing the E minor section of Rochdale Coconut Dance (see attached). Ignoring the LH chords, it is possible to play it all in one bellows direction on the pull. Just because it is all on the pull direction, it doesn't mean that you have to smear all the notes one into the other. Use your fingers to play the notes differently while under a constant bellows pull. Some might say to treat the buttons as if they are red-hot, but that simply produces a uniform staccato sound which can also get boring.

Think of these 'made-up' words to the tune: "|: taya ta-ta tah ta | taya ta-ta tah ta | taya ta-te taya ta-te | taya ta-te tah tah :|
Having thought of those words in your head, then sing them, and then, finally play them. Hopefully you will then be playing rhythmically without waggling the bellows and you will understand how it is indeed possible to play NOT "just a sequence of notes on a single level".

Hope this helps...

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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2019, 05:16:19 PM »

I will probably sound dim, here, but I don't see how you can play anything rhythmically, without using the bellows rhythmically. Anything else is just a sequence of notes on a single level.
...Hopefully you will then be playing rhythmically without waggling the bellows and you will understand how it is indeed possible to play NOT "just a sequence of notes on a single level".

Hope this helps...

Well, yes, but it dosn't become rhythmical until you start varying the bellows pressure. "Waggle the bellows" seems a very dismissive way to describe using them to play with subtlety and control.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2019, 06:41:33 PM »

rhythm can be applied in 'layers'  which if done well can add to the proceedings and which if done badly can  detract from the proceedings.  As others have said the way the buttons are pressed AND released  can add an inherent sense of rhythm to a tune.  Tapping a 'non tune' harmonising button(s) can add another layer of rhythm and a very fine 'pulsing' of the bellwos when playing a series of notes in one direction can add yet another. Somebody has mentioned Andy Cutting doing this  , Dir Jimmy Shand also used it as and where it added something.


Good rhythm on its own whilst improving (?considerably) the way a tune sounds  is not a stand alone method of  making a tune sound good.

 There ae two other 'ingredents' - Dynamics ( variations in volume controlled by bellows pressure variation and not by how a button is pressed)  and phrasing (the musical equivelent of punctuation  - minute pauses  orf gaps  maade by trimming a tiny bit off a note at the end or beginning of a phrase ( or both) to creat a tiny gap (full stop or comma) that does not interfere with the timing of the music  but works in much the same way as an orator works the spoken word.


to me the bellows are to the box player what the bow is to the fidler  and good 'bellowing' is an art form

Rhythm - Dynamics - Phrasing  turn the right notes in the right order into interesting music

george



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richard.fleming

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2019, 07:43:27 PM »

I think it depends on whether you want to derive the rhythm from the way you play the tune with your right hand (ie, rhythmically) or you try to get the rhythm by waggling the bellows. No prizes for guessing where I stand on that!
I think it is perfectly feasible to do both. And yes, I can guess where you stand on the matter  ;)
But ultimately it is always the melody which drives the rhythm; basses and chords are supplementary. I think that holds true whether you are playing a fluid Irish reel or a lumpy Lincolnshire hornpipe. It's how you play the melody which brings rhythm to the music.
I will probably sound dim, here, but I don't see how you can play anything rhythmically, without using the bellows rhythmically. Anything else is just a sequence of notes on a single level.
If you're not playing the tune rhythmically with your right hand, no amount of bass or bellows rhythm will improve the situation. If you can't do rhythm on the right hand I'm sure you can't do it on your left either. And yes, you can play rhythmically on just the right hand just as you can play rhythmically on the tin whistle without bass or chords being available.  Apart from that, what George says above seems to me to make very good sense because he mentions some of the many subtleties that make a tune sound better.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 08:03:51 PM by richard.fleming »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2019, 07:52:33 PM »

Well, yes, but it dosn't become rhythmical until you start varying the bellows pressure.
I think we are starting to split hairs here, but yes - varying the bellows pressure is a good skill to develop and use, and of course it is a way of bringing further refinement to the music. But my previous point was that it is perfectly possible to play rhythmically on a single bellows direction, even with no pressure pulsing or variation. It doesn't have to be merely a 'sequence of notes on a single level', to quote your earlier phrase.

Think of a spinet or harpsichord. The design and construction of the instrument means it is impossible to vary the loudness or softness of the notes or the atack. Pressing a key on the keyboard causes a string to be plucked at a constant strength, regardless of how hard or fast the key is depressed. The player can only vary the note lengths and the gaps in between. Yet a good player can play very rhythmically and sensitively even with these restrictions, even on a single line melody.
The opening aria here, is mostly just two lines of music going on and every note is the same degree of loudness. No bellows control available here, yet the player - the musician - plays rhythmically and superbly.

And just to bring the thread back on topic - if I had my time over again I would learn to play a proper keyboard instrument (I never had access to a piano when I was a child) so that I could play this sort of music by the baroque and earlier renaissance composers, which I never tire of hearing.

Edit:
Agree with what Richard posted too!  (:)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 07:54:28 PM by Steve_freereeder »
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playandteach

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2019, 08:42:02 PM »

Steve
If I can take up the melodeon at 50, then you can take up the keyboard / piano.
Sure I haven't even scratched the surface on the melodeon of what I could do on the instruments I learnt formally, but I still make progress and get enjoyment.
I think you'd love it.
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2019, 10:33:39 PM »

Well, yes, but it dosn't become rhythmical until you start varying the bellows pressure.

...I think we are starting to split hairs here...

...but yes - varying the bellows pressure is a good skill to develop and use, and of course it is a way of bringing further refinement to the music...

Think of a spinet or harpsichord.

I don't want to labour the point, or split hairs,  but, in essence, I think I'm saying much the same as George, but I think that dynamics and their timing are an essential part of rhythm, not just an adjunct to it. I'm not talking about airy fairy special effects. Just the things that all decent players do, even if they don't realise.


 I did play  harpsichord and I believe that the lack of control over the dynamics was probably their biggest weakness and the reason why they lost out to the pianoforte.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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playandteach

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2019, 11:19:36 PM »

One of the most important aspects in wind instrument playing is to feed the instrument with air. Without the right air delivery even the fingers suffer in execution.
The things in the way of the air (such as the tongue) are what give the character to the attack of each note and can be hugely varied. In some ways the tongue and even fingers on some instruments are like taps in a water supply. They can all allow a certain amount through, creating - as we know with hose pipes, very different results depending on aperture etc.
I think that with some players on melodeon, the fingers can also create the rhythm and bounce because of the way they allow air through. That doesn't mean that the bellows aren't providing just the right amount of air, but that the air can be controlled at both ends of the system: the supply of air and the release of air.
None of this disagrees with what's been said already, but I think it is one reason why players can appear to do things subtly and intuitively with air.
Back on thread:
On my melodeon journey part of me wishes I'd taken it more seriously at the start, but the whole reason in taking it up was to do something without the pressure of achieving the standards I had been used to. I have to remind myself of that from time to time.
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2019, 11:30:13 PM »

I think, if I could make one change, I would make a point of recording myself playing from the start. When I started doing this I found the  feedback a complete eyeopener. It was excruciating at first, but I have got used to it.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #58 on: February 18, 2019, 12:41:13 AM »

I don't want to labour the point, or split hairs,  but, in essence, I think I'm saying much the same as George, but I think that dynamics and their timing are an essential part of rhythm, not just an adjunct to it. I'm not talking about airy fairy special effects. Just the things that all decent players do, even if they don't realise.
I think we are all saying much the same thing really; perhaps I'm being over-analytical.  :Ph
Quote
Just the things that all decent players do, even if they don't realise.
Yes - agree with this completely.

Quote
I did play harpsichord...
Now you're making me jealous.

Steve
If I can take up the melodeon at 50, then you can take up the keyboard / piano.
Sure I haven't even scratched the surface on the melodeon of what I could do on the instruments I learnt formally, but I still make progress and get enjoyment.
I think you'd love it.
Believe me, I have tried, but never could really get the hang of reading two staves at once and coordinating my hands together.
I am in awe of pianists who can just plonk a piece of music in front of them and sight read it. I remember the accompanist I had for grade 8 clarinet (too many years ago :o); who just sight-read the piano part for the Brahms 2nd sonata, just like that. As for organists who have three staves to read and have to do things with their feet as well as both hands...
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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #59 on: February 18, 2019, 02:58:34 AM »

Believe me, I have tried, but never could really get the hang of reading two staves at once and coordinating my hands together.
Just saying that without context that sounds like excuses for giving up on the melodeon.  >:E
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I'm playing all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the wrong order.
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