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Author Topic: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players  (Read 2110 times)

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Barlow

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2019, 01:32:49 PM »

Hah hah! No sir, not at all. I was being entirely introspective.

I have huge respect for Steve's musicianship from playing, teaching, fettling/fixing, and more than ever now - scribing!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2019, 02:05:22 PM »

Hah hah! No sir, not at all. I was being entirely introspective.

I have huge respect for Steve's musicianship from playing, teaching, fettling/fixing, and more than ever now - scribing!

Actually, it suggests to me that you got the message from your music teacher completely wrong. He was suggesting a way for you to make an income out of doing something you loved. Not an easy thing to do.
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Greg Smith
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Barlow

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2019, 02:24:12 PM »

Yep, he was doing exactly that. I wish I had taken more notice.
I dropped music O' level for technical drawing. In the glorious vision of hindsight that was a big mistake.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2019, 10:11:03 AM »

Smiley, I've thought about this a lot, and started a thread about using 'mnemonics' in notation a few years back, as I was unhappy with the complication and duplication in some of the standard melodeon tablature notation systems.

I use standard staves with guitar chords (bass notes in brackets where necessary), and experimented with various alternatives before settling on what I now do.

It seemed to me that one of the main difficulties with notating for the box is that you get alternative ways of playing a given note and chord combination, and the bigger the box, the more opportunities you get.  This makes learning quite difficult, unless you learn patterns of fingering at the same time as you learn to play the tune.   So a system of notating this could refer to the row number and/or the fingers to be used.  The problem is that reading all this at speed begins to get beyond the brain's capabilities, so it is highly desirable to use it only where necessary, to avoid repetition of meaning, and to devise a simple ergonomic system.

Most of the time I therefore now use push/pull notations above the note for passages, but only where I think I may get into difficulties.  So my music now sometimes contains the following:  V ---,  ^---, V^V^, and ^V^V.  (V meaning push, ^ pull).  I usually try to rationalise my fingering into one of these patterns so that my brain recognises the fingering for a given passage when I see those symbol combinations, and I can automatically play a pre-learned fingering pattern for that sequence of notes.  Sometimes more complex patterns are necessary. (I've noticed this is particularly so for tunes in Dm on my DGAcc boxes.)  Very occasionally I will use row or finger numbers for bits that require very unusual fingering.

I find this all works, and it has greatly helped my sight-reading.  The trick is to coach the memory into selecting the right fingering combination for a pattern of notes, because then one glance tells it which one will work.  I now find that I need to annotate music less than I used to, because I have incorporated more and more of these standard fingerings into my playing.  And most importantly of all, I fall over much less often than I used to! - it minimises the times when you give yourself unnecessary problems by having to unlearn inadvertently wrong fingerings.

Does this make sense?  I can by all means give some examples if it helps.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2019, 10:50:46 AM »

Chris that makes absolute sense!
In both our ways we are trying to learn the tune using our preferred combined finger pattern and chord choice at the start of the learning process.
That's what I aim to achieve to reduce unlearning/re-learning later on.
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Chris Brimley

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2019, 02:06:44 PM »

Yes, when I started playing bigger boxes I realised early on that I needed a way round mastering the greatly increased opportunities.  The idea of using common patterns of pushes and pulls deliberately is perhaps anathema to those who simply regard the straightforward pushy-pull sound of the diatonic played along a row as always an advantage (because working rhythms into tunes is much more complicated than that), but it was for me an attempt to distil the essence of the concept.  I think I've come to realise that actually, there's usually two basic regimes - legato and 'bouncy', and when working out how best to play a tune, the important step, having worked out the melody and the LH accompaniment you'd like, is to select the dynamics, by starting in this way.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2019, 02:34:58 PM »

Having never ventured beyond 2 row 8 bass, it never occurred that your fingering opportunities increased with larger instruments, but if course it must do!
My brain works in triangles of notes, coming from English Concertina. Right at the start I always thought across the rows and built that into chord selection . Therefore as said, indicating direction of bellows helps me to remember my opted choice of notes.
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Martin P

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2019, 07:26:37 PM »

You might consider looking at Ed Rennie’s system. Buttons numbered from chin end, even on inner row, odd on outer row. Red for push, Blue for pull. Basses in Black (Direction normally dictated by RH) but I underline bass note/chord with red line if push. Works for many beginners. Then eventually you just learn to sight read and can play without the notation.
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Barlow

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2019, 10:56:24 PM »

Daddy Long Les has a system too, and quite a few Youtube learning videos.

All these systems are fine, but I think many learners would be as well spending the time learning the instrument rather than a system. And preferably learning by ear. I say that as a music reader and find that it is a handicap and finding it nigh on impossible playing anything without the music.

To compound the problem, I am finding I need the music to be able to play a tune even when I don't have my reading glasses and can't read the notes - I still need that music there. But I suppose that is a whole new subject.
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playandteach

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2019, 11:14:53 PM »


 I say that as a music reader and find that it is a handicap and finding it nigh on impossible playing anything without the music.

To compound the problem, I am finding I need the music to be able to play a tune even when I don't have my reading glasses and can't read the notes - I still need that music there. But I suppose that is a whole new subject.
I feel your pain. Fellow sufferer.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2019, 12:05:19 AM »


 I say that as a music reader and find that it is a handicap and finding it nigh on impossible playing anything without the music.

To compound the problem, I am finding I need the music to be able to play a tune even when I don't have my reading glasses and can't read the notes - I still need that music there. But I suppose that is a whole new subject.
I feel your pain. Fellow sufferer.

I don't know any dots only melodeon players who don't have a secret yearning to be an ear player. Have a peek at this. When I first came across it it totally repelled me, but I watched it out of fascination and started to realise it was actually very good. Very, very good.

It is limited in  all sorts of ways.It concentrates on certain genres (that I don't care about) and, within those, on tunes  in the key of C major. What held me is that the basic ideas are right, easily developed for other types of music and other keys and transferable to just about anything I am likely to play. I wrote out a simple summary of what she says and found I had a set of guidelines that are becoming very useful to me.

Note, this the first video in a sequence. It's quite easy to find the rest, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOxo6V7HTSc

[Health Warning:This is, superficially, rather crass]
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 08:20:29 AM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Greg Smith
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Winston Smith

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2019, 06:42:25 AM »

Thanks for that video, Greg, it struck a few chords with me. When playing to an audience (it's just our folk club friends, no need to get excited!) I used to get absolutely stumped as to what to play.
I was really embarrassed, once, when I'd done my turn and exhausted my mental list of planned tunes, to be asked to finish the night off with more sing-a-long tunes. I had to refuse, as my lame brain couldn't produce even one which wasn't a hymn tune!
If I'd been a music reader, I would doubtless have had a few sheets of music in my box to which I could have turned. Being a "by ear" player only, turned out to be a handicap in that circumstance.
After watching that video, I'm going to start a list of the tunes which I know well enough to have a go at on the melodeon, and keep it with my melodeon travelling bag. Thanks again!
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smiley

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2019, 03:26:23 PM »

Quote from: Chris Brimley link=topic=23664.msg282105#msg282105
The trick is to coach the memory into selecting the right fingering combination for a pattern of notes, because then one glance tells it which one will work.  I now find that I need to annotate music less than I used to, because I have incorporated more and more of these standard fingerings into my playing.  And most importantly of all, I fall over much less often than I used to! - it minimises the times when you give yourself unnecessary problems by having to unlearn inadvertently wrong fingerings.

Does this make sense?  I can by all means give some examples if it helps.the

Thanks Chris, that rings true for me too. I guess I'm using the extra prompts in my sheet music to help me internalise the optimal finger patterns etc needed to play each passage . The process can literally take me years. I've got a folder full of tunes that I periodically have a play through in the hope that I might finally get a breakthrough which will lead to me getting a piece to a playable standard. Can't help wondering if old age is  slowing down my progress these days ...
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2019, 03:58:39 PM »

If I'm looking at a new tune these days, unless it's very simple, I always settle on which chords would be appropriate first, and then read it through to decide on the v's and ^'s, and then annotate the score, before I even pick up the box.  I hate playing a 'wrong' chord simply because it's inconvenient to play anything else, or missing out accompaniment because it's difficult, so I will spend some time working out the effect the chords may have on pushes and pulls - particularly relevant if you want diminished or major seventh chords, say.  Then when I pick the box up, I first try out the fingering through the complex bits, and change the annotation where necessary.  Only then will I start trying to learn it.  The aim is always to avoid learning it wrongly, which takes three times as long to put right later!
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Barlow

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2019, 11:35:01 PM »

I don't know any dots only melodeon players who don't have a secret yearning to be an ear player.
My yearning is no longer secret! But I think the others think I'm a bit simple. They may be right.
But I honestly never thought it would be this difficult to learn to play by ear. I have played some pieces (say a jig) 100s of times but still need those damned dots to play down 't pub.
That is why I would suggest that any beginner or their teacher should consider the initially longer route of learning by ear and get the memory working from day one.

Thanks for the Youtube link. I have come across her before. Circle of 5ths and all that. Very good and captures the attention. Nutty as a fruit case but they can be the best to get a point across. 

(Lots of great posts in this thread btw. Thanks all)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 11:36:42 PM by Barlow »
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playandteach

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2019, 11:49:33 PM »

Here's my take.
I was very good at what I did for a living. I am very average at playing the melodeon.
I would love to be good at playing by ear, and from memory, but those very skills might have made my professional career less successful.
All a balancing act.
The only thing that matters for me now is to have the desire to make progress in my weaker areas without losing identity with the very things that made me good as a musician.
Striving for progress is not the same as being ashamed at what I've achieved.
I wake up hungry but not embarrassed.
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smiley

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Re: Adapting sheet music notation for melodeon players
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2019, 10:31:39 AM »

Then when I pick the box up, I first try out the fingering through the complex bits, and change the annotation where necessary.  Only then will I start trying to learn it.  The aim is always to avoid learning it wrongly, which takes three times as long to put right later!

I'm impressed by your analytic approach to learning complex tunes, Chris.
When I think about it, I realise that I often take liberties with the written melody notes (or at least the timing of notes) to make the tune easier to play with the basses available on my box. Its a fluid thing which involves changing the way I play the tune as I try out different things. I suppose its basically down to each person's style of playing.


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