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Author Topic: Bellows  (Read 3057 times)

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richard.fleming

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Bellows
« on: March 17, 2019, 12:10:39 PM »

At a session the other day a D/G player, basically a Morris musician, appeared to be trying to get round the difficulty of playing rapid sequences such as triplets by rapid in and out bellows movements rather than fingerwork. I say 'appeared' because I don't know whether it was thought of by the musician as good practice or as the only way they could play the tune.  I tried it when I got home; the reeds 'sound' in a different way if you do that, and I'll not disguise that I don't like it. I was wondering if it is approved of in Morris or indeed English folk circles, when technique is being discussed?
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Winston Smith

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 12:20:09 PM »

Perhaps he learned on a 1 row?
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 12:31:21 PM »

Or, perhaps he likes playing up and down the row. For my sins, I prefer that style of playing for morris. If it didn't sound right, maybe he's not very experienced, or playing too fast.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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Lester

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 12:55:17 PM »

Or, perhaps he likes playing up and down the row. For my sins, I prefer that style of playing for morris. If it didn't sound right, maybe he's not very experienced, or playing too fast.


Wot he said ^^^^^^

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 01:09:13 PM »

I think the best melodeon players can switch between push-pull style and cross-row style at will, depending on how they interpret the particular music being played. Neither method is superior or inferior to the other; they're just different, they complement each other and allow you to create different effects. Brian Peters is an absolute master of the two styles.

Rejoice in the fact that the melodeon is an instrument that allows you to do both.  (:)
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richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 01:32:20 PM »

I can't see that playing on a 1-row would make any difference. You can still do triplets and such-like on a one row using the fingers alone if you want to and - and here's the point - if you think it sounds better. I think the bellows technique means that the notes produced this way by the bellows have a different sound quality from all the other notes in the tune and that is a bit disturbing to my ear. But it is sounding as if people may actually like that technique with the bellows when playing for Morris?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 01:41:32 PM by richard.fleming »
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Lester

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 01:39:58 PM »

I can't see that playing on a 1-row would make any difference. Surely one can still do triplets and such-like on a one row using the fingers alone? 
Begins to sound as if people may actually like that technique with the bellows when playing for Morris?


Depends on the notes in the triplet surely?
Playing for morris is not a thing, many people play in many ways for morris.

richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 01:44:25 PM »

Not a thing, but maybe a genre?
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Tufty

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 01:58:48 PM »

Not a thing, but maybe a genre?
I don't think so. I play for two teams and get to see lots of teams. There is a wide variation in styles of playing, in part depending on the type of Morris (Cotswold, Border, Longsword, Molly etc). Also as most of the musicians also play in other settings they bring varied musical backgrounds with them. I am not quite clear if you mean the person was playing fast in/out on the bellows or repeating in the same direction?
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 02:06:38 PM »

I was assuming (never make assumptions young man) that the OP is talking about up and down the row playing, rather than specifically about  triplets and stating 1. my personal preference and 2. why it may not have sounded...as good as it can, based on my assumption. I may well have it wrong.  ;D
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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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Re: Bellows
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 07:13:42 PM »

I can't see that playing on a 1-row would make any difference. You can still do triplets and such-like on a one row using the fingers alone if you want to .

Well, no, you can't if the triplets contain a note which is in the opposite bellows direction, which in the vast majority of instances is likely to be the case.   On a 1-row you have no choice in regard to bellows direction, as each note is available in only one direction.

Can we clarify  what you mean by "triplets"?  Do you mean a group of 3 notes as part of a melody, such as half a bar of a 6/8 tune, or are you referring to a decorative "twiddle"? 

Graham
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richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2019, 08:28:17 AM »


Can we clarify  what you mean by "triplets"?  Do you mean a group of 3 notes as part of a melody, such as half a bar of a 6/8 tune, or are you referring to a decorative "twiddle"? 

Graham
I don't really make much distinction between them. In the music I play I think a lot of what you might call  'twiddles' are an integral part of the music. I don't see it as basic tunes plus twiddles, though I do agree that even with a tune where the rolls, crans, triplets and so forth are part of the melody it is possible to add some more if so inclined, if you think it tasteful to do so, which (imho) it often isn't..
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 11:32:53 AM by richard.fleming »
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boxer

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2019, 10:07:04 AM »

perhaps the box player was mistakenly trying to do a "bellows shake" - something that piano box players use, I'm told
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 11:00:22 AM »

Just out of interest, Richard, what was the musical genre that the session centred on?
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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

richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2019, 11:34:42 AM »

Irish, so the Morris player referred to may have been playing outside their comfort zone.
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Stiamh

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2019, 12:12:37 PM »

I can't see that playing on a 1-row would make any difference. You can still do triplets and such-like on a one row using the fingers alone if you want to .

Well, no, you can't if the triplets contain a note which is in the opposite bellows direction, which in the vast majority of instances is likely to be the case.   On a 1-row you have no choice in regard to bellows direction, as each note is available in only one direction.

Can we clarify  what you mean by "triplets"?  Do you mean a group of 3 notes as part of a melody, such as half a bar of a 6/8 tune, or are you referring to a decorative "twiddle"?

One a one-row box in D a run of triplets such as

(3gag (3fgf (3efe could be played as written - which would require 9 bellows moves

or they could be (and often are) played as

(3gbg (3faf (3ege  - which would require 3 bellows moves


Edited to add: on a C#/D box you could use the outer row f# to play the sequence as written with 3 bellows moves, and on a B/C, you would have to do exactly that.

On a D/G I think you could play it as written in a single pull sequence, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Phrase it as you like... but if you're going to play it on the row, you do need to have good bellows technique if it's not going to sound horrid.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 12:17:13 PM by Stiamh »
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george garside

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2019, 01:21:08 PM »

Or, perhaps he likes playing up and down the row. For my sins, I prefer that style of playing for morris. If it didn't sound right, maybe he's not very experienced, or playing too fast.


Wot he said ^^^^^^

seconded!
george
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george garside

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2019, 01:41:46 PM »

a couple or even a triplet of further thoughts!     How a triplet is played depends on a number of variables including the tuning of he box, i.e. semitone or 4th apart., the number of notes in the triplet,  i.e. 1 note or a combination of 2 or3.  where a particular triplet occurs in a particular tune I,e, what is the availability of fingers for the job which can be governed  by the notes before and after the triplet.  The skill of the player eg at very fine bellows control including very rapid but   even reversals and/or the strength of the fingers to rapidly eg press and release a button 3 times or similar using more than one button.

And the choice of the individual player as there are no hard and fast rules as to how triplets the playing of should be done.

george
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2019, 03:06:08 PM »

... How a triplet is played depends on a number of variables including the tuning of he box...the number of notes in the triplet...where a particular triplet occurs in a particular tune...the skill of the player... even reversals and/or the strength of the fingers...

And the choice of the individual player as there are no hard and fast rules as to how triplets the playing of should be done.

All of that, plus no one says you have to do it the same every time, or even every time through.
What I still don't get though, is exactly what was going on on this occasion. My feeling is that the gentleman involved may not have realised what he was letting himself in for.

Two nations divided by a common musical heritage that gets executed rather differently by each. To totally misapply a well known phrase: Vive la difference!
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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

richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2019, 04:00:47 PM »

.
What I still don't get though, is exactly what was going on on this occasion. My feeling is that the gentleman involved may not have realised what he was letting himself in for.
[/quote]
By no means. It's just that with genres I know less well I'm less sure of what people are trying/failing/succeeding to achieve. I was genuinely trying to find out if a particular technique was regarded as normal for Morris or a way of getting round not being dextrous enough on the right hand. And of course there's the question of the way the reeds respond/sound when the bellows are used to create the 'ornament' rather than the fingers, and whether that is thought of  favourably. So thank you all for your thoughtful and considered responses.
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