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Author Topic: Bellows  (Read 3412 times)

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george garside

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2019, 04:14:36 PM »

  'bellows' work involving rapid ins and outs where required notes are on the backside of  each other requires considerable skill and dextrousness  to execute with aplomb  and just as much skill as  using different buttons. 2 different but legitimate ways of doing it 

george
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Re: Bellows
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2019, 05:04:16 PM »

normal for Morris or a way of getting round not being dextrous enough on the right hand.

OOOH, that's fightin' talk!!  >:E
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2019, 05:27:01 PM »

Normal for Morris?
Is that the "musical" for normal for Norfolk?
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Howard Jones

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2019, 11:42:25 AM »

A D/G plays differently compared with a semitone box more usually used for Irish music. Irish music played on D/G, even by those familiar with the genre and style, will usually sound different from it played on a semitone box. Also English music makes less use of ornaments, so there isn't the same attention given to them as there is by Irish players. 

English music is usually played in the home keys, which allows for both up-and-down and cross-row playing. As Steve has said, most competent players will use both, but there is no assumption that cross-row is necessarily better, and up-and-down can help to give the music 'bounce', especially for morris. Choosing which to use depends as much on the effect you want to achieve as ease of playing.  It may not be a question of lacking dexterity (sometimes playing across the rows is the easier option).

Someone attempting an unfamiliar genre will almost always fail to achieve the 'correct' style, particularly when they are not using the conventional instruments. The same goes for playing English music on a semitone box.


richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2019, 02:12:50 PM »


Someone attempting an unfamiliar genre will almost always fail to achieve the 'correct' style, particularly when they are not using the conventional instruments. The same goes for playing English music on a semitone box.
An interesting reply, which I mainly agree with, though I am not at all sure that one couldn't play  Morris dance music on a semitone box and sound 'right', supposing that one wanted to. The player in question played D/G not after weighing up the options but because they hadn't heard of Morris music being played on anything else. But maybe that is how tradition works -a DG is as much a part of the whole as bells and ribbons.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 06:11:04 PM by richard.fleming »
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boxer

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2019, 04:29:52 PM »

I can play most of the morris tunes I used to play on D/G on my B/C boxes that have "modern Irish" basses with as good a (fairly rudimentary) left-hand accompaniment, but that's only because the tunes are all in G major.  D's a bit trickier on the left hand side of a B/C if you've only got eight buttons there.  You can do a lot, but not quite as much as in G.

As for the articulation of the tunes, it's possible to make a B/C sound like a D/G, but it's by no means effortless.

 
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2019, 05:31:34 PM »

I can play most of the morris tunes I used to play on D/G on my B/C boxes that have "modern Irish" basses with as good a (fairly rudimentary) left-hand accompaniment, but that's only because the tunes are all in G major. 

Over half the tunes we play are in E minor

Quote
As for the articulation of the tunes, it's possible to make a B/C sound like a D/G, but it's by no means effortless.

and why would you, if you could have a D/G in the first place?
 
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Greg Smith
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Howard Jones

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2019, 07:28:28 PM »

I am not at all sure that one couldn't play  Morris dance music on a semitone box and sound 'right'

It is of course possible, but as boxer has admitted it won't be effortless.  Things which fall naturally on a D/G box and are an intrinsic part of the English sound will require effort and application to play on a different instrument - and vice versa.  The same applies to other instruments.  For example, the English concertina is in many ways more suitable for Irish music, but a style has developed using C/G anglos and EC players must therefore try to imitate that.  Boehm flutes v wooden ones is a similar situation.

Anyone wanting to play morris or other English music will be advised to get a D/G because that is the instrument the style is based around. To play it on anything else will mean making compromises, and whilst you might get close it will be a challenge.  Similarly, anyone wanting to play Irish will be advised to get a semitone box (although there is then a debate over which keys).  If you want to play French or Cajun you really need something else again to sound right. Horses for courses.

Rees

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2019, 07:49:04 PM »

If I was ever asked to play for the Morris and the only box available was a B/C, I would play in the key of C or Dm.
Surely that would work?
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Lester

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2019, 07:51:55 PM »

If I was ever asked to play for the Morris and the only box available was a B/C, I would play in the key of C or Dm.
Surely that would work?


Yes it would, and would sound better in my opinion than playing it in G.


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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2019, 08:05:03 PM »

If I was ever asked to play for the Morris and the only box available was a B/C, I would play in the key of C or Dm.
Surely that would work?

Yes, playing alone. Border favours bands and these days it tends to be the bigger the better. The only Border Morris band I know of that plays in the C major/D minor is Beltane (other styles of morris are available, of course but border is what I know about).
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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: Bellows
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2019, 10:30:52 PM »

  'morris' was being danced long before DG boxes were 'invented' so the  their suitability is a relatively recent  thing.  Also there is no single brand of 'morris'  but several with different  traditions and different music . Cotswold, NOrth West, Border, Rapper etc all come under the broad umbrella of morris  and each tradition has its own distinct musical requirements.

Whilst the DG melodeon is indeed and rightly popular there are a goodly number of piano boxes involved and other instruments eg concertina in verieties, whistle, flute, drum, fiddle and maybe the occasional banjo or brass band instrument all contributing to the rich tapestry of  'morris  music

As  to the suitability of BC  boxes  they are fine played mostly treble ( unless like me you have one of the rare hohner double rays with 12 stradella (same both ways) bass.  And then there was  the late Andy Banks from Birmingham who played a genuine Shand Morino  BCC# 105 bass box to great effect for a morris side.etc etc etc!

george

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Peadar

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2019, 10:48:26 PM »

If it was me it would definitely be a way of getting round not being good enough on the right hand!
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Howard Jones

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2019, 11:32:58 PM »

A B/C/C# with stradella basses is another thing entirely and offers possibilities which are not available to either the D/G or B/C player.

My point is that there are good reasons why certain types of boxes are preferred for particular styles of music. Whilst that is not to say that they can only be played on those boxes, to play something different will probably lead to differences in playing style which may raise eyebrows or even provoke hostility amongst purists (if you don't believe me, look for the discussions about the suitability of the English concertina for Irish music, which arouses strong passions among ITM purists).

The other point, which is independent of the instrument, is that a musician who is not familiar with a particular style will struggle with some of the nuances, especially when they are improvising how to play them on the fly. A musician who is unused to playing Irish ornaments, who doesn't fully understand exactly how they are played, and is trying to do so on an instrument which may not be best suited to Irish music is unlikely to be able to play them in good style, no matter how competent they may be in their own genre.

GPS

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2019, 05:24:31 AM »


The other point, which is independent of the instrument, is that a musician who is not familiar with a particular style will struggle with some of the nuances, especially when they are improvising how to play them on the fly. A musician who is unused to playing Irish ornaments, who doesn't fully understand exactly how they are played, and is trying to do so on an instrument which may not be best suited to Irish music is unlikely to be able to play them in good style, no matter how competent they may be in their own genre.

Absolutely right. I know an Irish box-player who plays a 4th-apart box (he learned on a 1-row) and sounds spot-on when he's playing in his comfort zone; if I try to play along with him, even though I might be familiar with the tune, there is no way I can mimic what he's doing. Conversely, if I'm playing in my English-style comfort zone, he struggles just as much to stay with me. Nothing to do with technical competence, just familiarity with the nuances of the style.
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Mike Hirst

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2019, 06:24:07 PM »

If I was ever asked to play for the Morris and the only box available was a B/C, I would play in the key of C or Dm.
Surely that would work?
... or B and C#m  >:E
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george garside

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2019, 07:31:27 PM »

on an 8 bass BC the um pa bass played throughout the proceedings  is only possible in C

george
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Mike Hirst

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2019, 08:16:41 PM »

on an 8 bass BC the um pa bass played throughout the proceedings  is only possible in C

george
not on my GDR  era Meteor
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Stiamh

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2019, 10:33:04 PM »

on an 8 bass BC the um pa bass played throughout the proceedings  is only possible in C

george
not on my GDR  era Meteor

Well, as you yourself said earlier, George, the D/G box is a relatively recent addition to the Morris tradition, so generations of dancers must have managed without um-pa basses pretty successfully.

The other advantage of a semitone box, to my mind, would be that you could play some of the moodier tunes in the original keys (or at least, the keys in which they were printed in the black book). I am thinking of little gems like the Cuckoo's nest in Gm and Old Molly Oxford in C (was Sherriff's Ride in Dm?), which I learned in those lovely moody keys when I played fiddle with Towersey Morris in the 1970s (the main musician at the time was a PA player).

Should I duck now?
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richard.fleming

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Re: Bellows
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2019, 11:42:40 PM »

The only Morris team I ever danced with danced to the pipe and tabor of Russell Wortley, so maybe that may help me to say I'm no fan of oom-pah basses anyway without getting too much opprobrium heaped upon me.  We didn't need them at all. I just don't see why one should play in the 'wrong' key to make them possible.
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