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Author Topic: Bellows pressure  (Read 1366 times)

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Jesse Smith

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2019, 11:03:12 PM »

I think the basic thing behind my question deals with the necessity of maintaining pressure sufficient for the bellows to pick up and amplify the rhythmic pulse of the tune.  This might be perhaps one of the major differences coming with experience, but is it ever directly addressed in workshops?  I've learned on my own and have not attended any classes or even sessions of box players.

I would assume many workshops cover bellows dynamics (I've not attended any either) but I haven't found much coverage of it in the beginner tutor books I've seen. In fact, when I first started playing last year, I very briefly had the idea that it was ideal to maintain constant pressure on the bellows and just use the buttons to start and stop the notes. That didn't last long as I quickly realized the great scope for shaping each note using the bellows, but it was something I largely had to learn on my own.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2019, 11:21:33 PM »

I think the basic thing behind my question deals with the necessity of maintaining pressure sufficient for the bellows to pick up and amplify the rhythmic pulse of the tune.  This might be perhaps one of the major differences coming with experience, but is it ever directly addressed in workshops?  I've learned on my own and have not attended any classes or even sessions of box players.

I would assume many workshops cover bellows dynamics (I've not attended any either) but I haven't found much coverage of it in the beginner tutor books I've seen. In fact, when I first started playing last year, I very briefly had the idea that it was ideal to maintain constant pressure on the bellows and just use the buttons to start and stop the notes. That didn't last long as I quickly realized the great scope for shaping each note using the bellows, but it was something I largely had to learn on my own.

My focus in posting is more towards reed response, tone production and "live air" than just dynamics.
For me, there's a point where the bellows "push back" and both expression and control are at maximum efficiency.  I suspect that subtle and/or subconscious venting with the air button plays into this as does RH touch:  valve opening speed and degree of open-ness.  I favor an "unlimited" keyboard for this reason.

But that's just me and my hazy subjective attempt to describe the point at which I feel the box come alive.  It's not an issue of mere volume.
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playandteach

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2019, 08:53:01 PM »

One thing I have seen (perhaps with less experienced players) is only applying bellows pressure for the moment of the button press, which I find less enchanting. As an ex wind player, I think the air stream needs to be primed to a greater or lesser extent.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2019, 09:03:27 PM »

I've been thinking about what I actually do when I'm playing, rather than just get on with it, and I realise that I often play a note before the beat and give a little tweak to the bellows as I hit the bass.
I think I usually do an intro like this too. Even a swell chord and in can have a rhythm to the chord with enough unstated timing to get everyone to come in together and at the right tempo.
It's quite novel too after learning NSP where constant bag pressure is paramount.
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george garside

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2019, 11:06:45 PM »

I th

I would assume many workshops cover bellows dynamics (I've not attended any either) but I haven't found much coverage of it in the beginner tutor books I've seen. In fact, w .

My beginners tutor book  '' DG Melodeon a crash course for beginners'' has 2 pages covering   use of bellows to provide dynamics.  see below!

george
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Dick Rees

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2019, 12:02:18 AM »

I th

I would assume many workshops cover bellows dynamics (I've not attended any either) but I haven't found much coverage of it in the beginner tutor books I've seen. In fact, w .

My beginners tutor book  '' DG Melodeon a crash course for beginners'' has 2 pages covering   use of bellows to provide dynamics.  see below!

george

Once again, my intent was to examine air pressure in the bellows beyond simple dynamics.  For instance, the relationship between pressure and RH touch on the buttons. 

I liked the mention of wind instrument air stream and NSP bag pressure.  Perhaps my question lies somewhere between...
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george garside

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2019, 09:46:01 AM »

developing the relationship between bellows pressure and button touch is something that is ( or should be) developed by experimentation and listening as it is part of the 'feel' of a box  and will differ to a greater or lesser degree according to the way  the reeds are set up, the quality of reeds, the quality  and smoothness or otherwise of the mechanism, the quality of the pallets etc etc together with the players finger dexterity  and ability to 'play' the bellows rather than just pumping them.

for example it should be possible to highlight an individual note in a fast tune  by a subtle increase in bellows pressure  or to gradually icrease or decrease the volume of notes in eg a slow air.  Also to pulse a very gentle background layer of rhythm  using carefully controlled minute changes in bellows pressure.

The buttons simply lift the pallets of holes to allow air to go to or come from the reeds.  varying the amount a button is pressed makes little difference as they are more like on off switches so eg releasing /lifting finger off button gently will make little or no difference to the sound  that being done by sometimes minute varyations in bellows pressure.

george
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Dick Rees

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2019, 01:29:58 PM »

developing the relationship between bellows pressure and button touch is something that is ( or should be) developed by experimentation and listening as it is part of the 'feel' of a box  and will differ to a greater or lesser degree according to the way  the reeds are set up, the quality of reeds, the quality  and smoothness or otherwise of the mechanism, the quality of the pallets etc etc together with the players finger dexterity  and ability to 'play' the bellows rather than just pumping them.

That's a good way to put it and gets to the gist of what I was feeling.


Quote
The buttons simply lift the pallets of holes to allow air to go to or come from the reeds.  varying the amount a button is pressed makes little difference as they are more like on off switches so eg releasing /lifting finger off button gently will make little or no difference to the sound  that being done by sometimes minute varyations in bellows pressure.

george

While valve control may make "little" difference, it does make some and in the full context of playing can make a qualitative difference as opposed to a quantitative one...so it seems to me.  And it would also seem to be dependent to a greater or lesser degree on the style of the music, for instance:
fingering attack for a polka or reel would seem to differ from that of a slow air or waltz melody.  Then there's the issue of the amount of percussive "clack" from the keyboard mechanism as well as any "clap" from the pallet closing.

As to the speed of attack/release I DO think that is absolutely involved in emphasis.  The "snap" you get from articulating the note when you are on the same button but changing bellows direction to get the next note is markedly different from playing across the rows while playing the bellows in the same direction.  But it is the release, the speed and timing of the closing of the pallet which can really make a note stand out.  Note duration is intimately linked to phrasing and the stopping of the note can sometimes make it stand out like a sore thumb with no change in bellows pressure.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 01:33:49 PM by Dick Rees »
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george garside

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2019, 10:40:29 PM »

 eg the difference between playing a piano and playing a box is that on a piano its how you press the keys that's important anad on a box its how you let go  of buttons or keys that  important

george
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Mark Leue

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2019, 11:38:29 PM »

I've spent a few days borrowing a friend's anglo concertina (R. Morse)  an d it's interesting how different the bellows response is from my 1930's Hohner pokerwork.  I don't know how much is the bellows size and condition, or the tightness of the pallets, and how much the reeds, but with the concertina I can imitate fairly closely the sound of George Harrison's backwards recorded guitar solo on "I'm only sleeping" buy starting the note softly, making a quick swell with the bellows and snapping the pallet shut, it sounds backwards!
I can get a little of that effect on the melodeon, but it's not pronounced at all.
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george garside

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2019, 09:55:18 AM »

it may be down simply to the fact that smaller bellows  contain less air  which is therefore easier to  compress suddenly .  Also that concertinas are single reed  so the swiftly compressed ( or decompressed) air has only one hole to get out of so to speak.  This also applies to some degree to  small single voice melodeons eg castagnari lilly

george
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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2019, 10:29:46 AM »

I think bellows use is so much more than just how hard or softly you push / pull. I try use the bellows in a sort-of pulsing way to give my playing a more rhythmic feel. I don't really like vamping basses (I don't mind it when anyone else does it, it just sounds really silly to me why I try to do it!). If you're not vamping you can use bass pulsing to emphasise the rhythm in a tune...
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george garside

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Re: Bellows pressure
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2019, 11:42:16 AM »

I think' of the bellows being to the box player what the bow is to the fiddler  in that they are the source of a great deal of 'expression'.  and  as well as controlling the dynamics  the 'pulsing' ( not shaking) of the bellows provides a very useful extra layer of rhythm to many tunes or parts of tunes.  The pulsing can be particularly useful to add background rhythm to haunting slow aires  if they are being played either without bass or using the bass as a 'drone'


george
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