Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Underused left hand  (Read 738 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

frankie55

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Underused left hand
« on: February 09, 2020, 09:29:30 AM »

I have been playing around with my d/g box for the past 2 or 3 :Ph :Ph :Ph :Ph years after a largely unsuccessful attempt at a b/c box. Now let me say from the start that I am never going to be a great player I have no musical background whatsoever but the truth is I just love my melodeon and play it for my own joy and pleasure. I have no ambitions to play along with others I'm happy trying to bash out simple tunes for myself to hear. Now here is the point of my post, I can not master playing bass end and melody at the same time in any constructive way ,I've tried melody first then bass , learning both at the same time all to no avail , my right and left hand do not co-ordinate at all . So my dilemma is, do I forsake the left hand altogether, do I do what I do now and throw in a few basses and chords as I go along, or do I strive for the standard of playing that many of you out there have achieved at the risk of loosing some of the fun I get from just sitting down and happily playing a tune to myself , or do you think that I merely  lack the ambition to '' get it right '' ? . I would appreciate any views from the great and not so great box players who read this post.   :Ph
Logged

playandteach

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2837
  • Currently a music teacher in a high school.
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2020, 09:46:13 AM »

No right or wrong answers.
My thoughts are:
1If your playing tunes for fun is still at the searching for the right notes stage and slightly out of time (and I do understand that this is still enjoyable) then leave the basses alone.
2 Or play tunes for fun and practise some coordination exercises which can be a different type of fun.
3 As often pointed out here it can depend on what type of music you play. Is there a particular tune you want learn?
Logged
Serafini R2D2 GC, Castagnari Sander DG

Squeaky Pete

  • Squeaky Pete
  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 322
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 09:51:44 AM »

If you are throwing in a few basses and chords as you go along and it sounds ok, then carry on. Other ways of playing will come along later as you get more familiar with your instrument
I struggle to play at a steady rhythm if I'm not doing an oompah type bass. I'm finding it difficult to break free of this.
Logged
Poker work DG. Erica GC,
Pariselle 2.6 DG, Ex-Club IIIBS CF,
Matching Liliputs in CF and DG,
Lots of sickly Hohners needing TLC,
Bassoon, Various Bagpipes........

Little Eggy

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 115
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2020, 10:48:59 AM »

I’ve been playing for 3 years and a bit.  Simple bass/chords came reasonably easily but more complex stuff like bass runs take a while to learn.  I’m still weak on 3/4 tunes on the left hand.   If you’re enjoying playing that is the main thing.  There are thousands of great tunes out there.  Many of them don’t need a bass/chord accompaniment.  I’m actually often finding myself doing without them and trying harder to perfect the melody.  At a recent session a fiddle player played Ashokan Farewell - no chords or basses required!  Rothbury Hills is a pipe tune that also sounds beautiful without any basses or chords.  Loads of fast Irish tunes of course are only played with the right hand.  I’m not a teacher but if you’re happy with what you’re doing then you don’t need one!  If you DO - maybe subconsciously - want to add more left hand work to your playing then I’d start with simple tunes like Speed the Plough! and practise, practise, practise!!!
Logged

The Oul' Boy

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 127
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2020, 10:59:35 AM »

I have been playing around with my d/g box for the past 2 or 3 :Ph :Ph :Ph :Ph years after a largely unsuccessful attempt at a b/c box. Now let me say from the start that I am never going to be a great player I have no musical background whatsoever but the truth is I just love my melodeon and play it for my own joy and pleasure. I have no ambitions to play along with others I'm happy trying to bash out simple tunes for myself to hear. Now here is the point of my post, I can not master playing bass end and melody at the same time in any constructive way ,I've tried melody first then bass , learning both at the same time all to no avail , my right and left hand do not co-ordinate at all . So my dilemma is, do I forsake the left hand altogether, do I do what I do now and throw in a few basses and chords as I go along, or do I strive for the standard of playing that many of you out there have achieved at the risk of loosing some of the fun I get from just sitting down and happily playing a tune to myself , or do you think that I merely  lack the ambition to '' get it right '' ? . I would appreciate any views from the great and not so great box players who read this post.   :Ph

As someone who has been playing for just over a year and who initially (i.e. for about 5 months) struggled to coordinate the right and left hands, here are some thoughts.

First you have to want to do it, as it's not initially easy and takes a fair bit of work to get, meaning that you can't just play what you want whilst trying to learn to do it (in fact, playing what you want just with the right hand is an easy way of rewarding yourself and convincing yourself that you are making progress). I too began by being happy to bash out tunes with my right hand, but realised that that was actually rather limited and was a way of avoiding getting to grips with harder stuff.

The best way to learn to use both hands in my experience (I was helped to come to this realisation by comments on here) is to slow everything down, learning a bar at a time if need be. For a long time it sounds (and feels to be honest!) rather painful, but slowly, slowly all that practice of getting bars right starts to come together, then one day WOW, you can do it (at least in a simple way) without really thinking about it. Then comes the next challenge of course, moving the left hand around different notes, which also takes a bit of mastering. I'm now trying to master not just doing simple oom-pahs with the left hand, and again it is proving tricky, but I want to do it and am more than happy to put in hours of trying to get it right (and sounding awful!) in the knowledge that it will eventually come (I don't think I'm any better at music than your average person, and at 46 I'm not exactly a young starter).

Anyway, just some thoughts, but don't assume you are any less able than anyone else. It will eventually come if you make yourself do it (and it is very enjoyable too).
Logged
Warren M (Edinburgh, formerly Tyneside and Tyrone)
Hohner Pokerwork D/G

Tone Dumb Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2592
    • Dartmoor Border Morris
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2020, 11:41:20 AM »

As others imply, perseverance is the key.

Some people get it quicker than others, but, once it's got, it stays got.

It's very much a pat your head and rub your stomach type thing and feels very strange when your burning the neuron pathways in your brain (yes I know that's probably a poor description of what's really happening, but it feels a bit like that). Once it starts to happen it starts to feel natural very quickly.

I play with a friend who did what you are doing-playing the right hand almost exclusively and not really doing anything with the left-for a few years. This year it seems to have clicked, suddenly, for some reason and he's sounding more and more...competent.

If your playing Irish style it doesn't seem to matter but if you're playing in English there is another level of fun to be had with the band in a box thing. You don't have to (you don't have to do anything), but the rewards for persistence are immense.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 11:42:58 AM by Tone Dumb Greg »
Logged
Greg Smith
DG Pokerwork, DG 2.4 Saltarelle, CF Hohner, Pressed Wood 1040C

Chris Rayner

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 305
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 04:09:35 PM »

I have been playing around with my d/g box for the past 2 or 3 :Ph :Ph :Ph :Ph years after a largely unsuccessful attempt at a b/c box. Now let me say from the start that I am never going to be a great player I have no musical background whatsoever but the truth is I just love my melodeon and play it for my own joy and pleasure. I have no ambitions to play along with others I'm happy trying to bash out simple tunes for myself to hear. Now here is the point of my post, I can not master playing bass end and melody at the same time in any constructive way ,I've tried melody first then bass , learning both at the same time all to no avail , my right and left hand do not co-ordinate at all . So my dilemma is, do I forsake the left hand altogether, do I do what I do now and throw in a few basses and chords as I go along, or do I strive for the standard of playing that many of you out there have achieved at the risk of loosing some of the fun I get from just sitting down and happily playing a tune to myself , or do you think that I merely  lack the ambition to '' get it right '' ? . I would appreciate any views from the great and not so great box players who read this post.   :Ph

As a decidedly mediocre melodeonist myself I have found that practicing tricky passages very slowly over and over may yield gratifying results.  Or not.  But my experience is that this will often fix problems which prove resistant to other approaches.  You may find that if you practice in a building with other occupants you may need to time your sessions to periods when you are alone.

 If I were you I would try a simple piece which you can play fairly reliably.  If you play D/G then one in G major.  4/4 rhythm is probably best, with a tune which is played pretty much on the beat throughout.  Winster Gallop would do.  Just bash out the rhythm in the left hand using the lower outer two bass buttons.  Don’t worry too much about which chords you play.  Just get used to alternating ‘ooms’ (the lower button) with ‘pahs’ (the upper one).  This is equivalent to playing a single row melodeon with spoon basses.

You will not achieve the heights of harmonic sophistication, but if you persevere, taking it slowly at first, you should begin to develop an independent rhythm keeping facility on left.  Once you can do that then you can begin to dodge about between the various notes and chords available.  On an eight button left hand that’s enough for an awful lot of tunes.

Good luck.  If it all proves too much then just play the tune.  If you are doing it for your own pleasure and you have achieved that without the left hand, jolly good.  Most Irishmen playing halftone apart boxes never play a note on the left and they’re quite content, even cheerful about that.  However I suspect you feel you may be missing something, and I’d be inclined to agree.  I’m sure a dogged simplified approach will lead to your gradual acquisition of an almost unconscious sense of rhythm in the left hand which will only serve to increase your pleasure with the box.
Logged
Elderly amateur musician hoping to stave off dementia by learning to play the melodeon.  Main instrument a Tommy, also D/G and G/C pokerworks,  a single row 2 stop Hohner, and a new addition to the free reedery, a rather splendid Paolo Soprani four voice 120 bass c-system chromatic button accordion.  Very shiny, very loud, and about the same size and weight as a small car.  Now I’ve traded me Benny with (ahem) a cash adjustment, to a three voice 60 bass Castagnari K3.

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11553
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2020, 04:44:35 PM »

There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing the melody side only. 

If it makes you happy then it's right.
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

MikeK

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 150
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 05:08:46 PM »

Due to arthritic fingers on left hand,I down-sized from a 3 row 96 bass box to a 2 row 8 bass.
I found since I stopped using the bass I am playing the melody much much better although
 I will never reach the level of playing I will be comfortable with.
Logged
I always respect my elders but they are getting fewer in numbers.

george garside

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 4965
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2020, 05:38:44 PM »

Agree with Theo  that playing the bass is not compulsery   and indeed some tunes or parts of tunes sound better , to me, played treble only.

Broadly speaking there are two types of bass accompanyment -  long(ish) bass and or bass notes or chords  with the aim of best possible harmony rather than a good steady rhythm.  This method involves  considerable row crossing to get the bellows going in the right direction for the most appropriate bass note/chord.

The other and probably the most used in the UK is  to use the bass to drive a rhythm that will  help to 'move' dancers, marchers or whatever ( the cascara of  the bass world!)

 a steady um pa 2/4, 4/4 or 6/8  or um pa pa 3/4  forms the  very foundation of  'dance '  type of music  ( with or without actual dancers)  and  the following may help to get it sorted.   Start off by LIGHTLY  tapping a simple um pa rhythm eg just using the bottom outside row 2 buttons ( on standard DG box)   -synchronise the um pa's with the tapping of the foot and when this is working play a melody ( that you have previously learned treble only)  over the  bass that you are already tapping steadily.  In other words  start with the bass rhythm and then , while keeping the rhythm dead steady bring in the melody  and continue the foot tapping as a sort of built in metronome.

Much easier to do than to explain!

george
Logged
author of DG tutor book "DG Melodeon a Crash Course for Beginners".    Available on ebay as a 'buy now' item. Put in melodeon tutor book for full info.  Melodeon DG & BC and piano accordion tuition

Dick Rees

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 447
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2020, 08:19:03 PM »

There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing the melody side only. 

If it makes you happy then it's right.

Yup.

I would add a couple of things:

1.  Beginners often don't realize how many things they're learning simultaneously, so I recommend exploring the instrument with music/tunes that are already a part of you, be it Twinkle Star, Happy Birthday, 3 Blind Mice or whatever.  Starting from a "known" cuts the task load in half.  Learning both the music AND the instrument can be a bit daunting.

2.  As a corollary to #1...LISTEN.  Listen to examples of what you want to do.   You can never do too much listening.  Ask others for box tunes they've found particularly friendly.

3.  Furthering what Theo said, play the right hand only for as long as it takes.  If you never get to both hands it makes no never-mind.

Good luck, have fun.
Logged
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...Thelonius Monk

Geolocation: directly above the center of the Earth.

frankie55

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2020, 10:09:21 AM »

 :Ph Thanks for all replies to my post , I found all comments to be most helpful and will endeavor to follow the advice given by all, those suggestions made have given me the incentive to try and make more of an effort with my left/right hand co-ordination whilst still enjoying the
fun I get from bashing out a tune or two so once again thanks for your advice and encouragement - PATIENCE- PERSISTENCE - PLEASURE !  :Ph
Logged

george garside

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 4965
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2020, 10:54:53 AM »

There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing the melody side only. 

If it makes you happy then it's right.

Yup.

I would add a couple of things:



1.  Beginners often don't realize how many things they're learning simultaneously, so I recommend exploring the instrument with music/tunes that are already a part of you, be it Twinkle Star, Happy Birthday, 3 Blind Mice or whatever.  Starting from a "known" cuts the task load in half.  Learning both the music AND the instrument can be a bit daunting.

2.  As a corollary to #1...LISTEN.  Listen to examples of what you want to do.   You can never do too much listening.  Ask others for box tunes they've found particularly friendly.

3.  Furthering what Theo said, play the right hand only for as long as it takes.  If you never get to both hands it makes no never-mind.

Good luck, have fun.

agree with all that and would add  start with slow tunes eg waltzes, aires  (eg daisy daisy,  oh dear what can the matter be,  waters of tyne,  or  similar slow tunes you can hum or whistle. Slow tunes played  at more or less correct speed sound much better than fast tunes played slowly ( save that for later)

george
Logged
author of DG tutor book "DG Melodeon a Crash Course for Beginners".    Available on ebay as a 'buy now' item. Put in melodeon tutor book for full info.  Melodeon DG & BC and piano accordion tuition

Hugh Taylor

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 243
    • Band web site: http://www.tumblingtom.co.uk
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2020, 10:59:48 AM »

In sessions where I'm playing a tune that someone else has started and there are other melodeons in the room, I will often not play my bass end. Also if there is a decent guitar player in the room, my adding limited basses to their creative playing doesn't seem beneficial. If I'm starting my own tune on my own, I will invariably play basses. If I'm starting with other musicians as a performance, I'll often only bring my basses in after once through the tune, or later. I find that some players who um-pah will play their melody end in the same 4-square way, and dropping the basses all together should free up their melody playing.
However, as Frank Lee has told us often, the melodeon is all about the basses, and that deciding on which basses to play should be the start of learning any new tune. Apart from anything else, playing the decided on bass will often help you in remembering whether to pull or push.

frankie55 - It isn't an easy thing to learn to do. I agree with Dick in that playing a tune you have already internalised, such as Twinkle Twinkle, makes learning easier. To come to grips with the bass end, I would suggest learning Winster Gallop, as its melody tends to follow very much an um-pah feel. Play it slowly. The first note of the tune will be the 'um', the next note the 'pah', and so on.
Good luck!
Logged
Castagnari Mory D/G, Castagnari Tommy D/G, Saltarelle C/F
Tumbling Tom Band

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8173
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2020, 02:26:48 PM »

Key for me was to get play on the right somehow “automatic” and then to start experimenting with left without having to think about the other end. This is very much favourite tunes only to start with.

Another tip is to stick to notes in the scale of your tune, and play on pull if possible for an 8 bass. ie in G, or modal (using C) Em you have a great run E > D > C and can even extend that to > B Once you’ve sorted rt hand play to be on push for the final 1/2 bar. It’s even worth changing a tune note or two to make that work  ;)

Be brave in the notes you play! So long as you restrict to the diatonic scale (here GABCDEF#G) all are “legal” though they make the tune feel quite different

An avoid is your A major chord when in G or Em modal. It contains C# 😳 and is there for D and E dorian tunes.

If you can take 3rds out - no bother. Otherwise just play A bass alone.

And watch Anahata’s viseos. A left end genius on 8 bass!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 02:30:37 PM by Chris Ryall »
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Dick Rees

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 447
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2020, 03:51:33 PM »

:Ph Thanks for all replies to my post , I found all comments to be most helpful and will endeavor to follow the advice given by all, those suggestions made have given me the incentive to try and make more of an effort with my left/right hand co-ordination whilst still enjoying the
fun I get from bashing out a tune or two so once again thanks for your advice and encouragement - PATIENCE- PERSISTENCE - PLEASURE !  :Ph

You can also work on two-handed tasking by simply patting out the basic beat with your LH
 ( 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, etc) and patting the overlying melody with your RH.  No box required!
Logged
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...Thelonius Monk

Geolocation: directly above the center of the Earth.

Steve C.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1617
  • Pokerwork, Erica, Streb, Morse Anglo
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2020, 01:10:32 PM »

Cannot remember who, but does not one of of the net members have a LH "tune book"?  I feel like I have seen the pdf.
Plus there is also, I think Lesters, LH chord charts...
Each gives the LH a work out.
Logged
Located in Central North Carolina, USA; credit for picture: livingplanet.ca

Chris Rayner

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 305
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2020, 04:59:18 PM »

Cannot remember who, but does not one of of the net members have a LH "tune book"?  I feel like I have seen the pdf.
Plus there is also, I think Lesters, LH chord charts...
Each gives the LH a work out.

There’s also http://spinningpathmusic.co.uk/books/ this.  I found it useful.
Logged
Elderly amateur musician hoping to stave off dementia by learning to play the melodeon.  Main instrument a Tommy, also D/G and G/C pokerworks,  a single row 2 stop Hohner, and a new addition to the free reedery, a rather splendid Paolo Soprani four voice 120 bass c-system chromatic button accordion.  Very shiny, very loud, and about the same size and weight as a small car.  Now I’ve traded me Benny with (ahem) a cash adjustment, to a three voice 60 bass Castagnari K3.

The Oul' Boy

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 127
Re: Underused left hand
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2020, 05:30:00 PM »

Here's how I learned to do it after struggling for weeks:

- Play a 4/4 tune (in my case the Winster Gallop) which mostly consists of crotchets (best to start with a bar of 4 crotchets if you can).
- Force yourself slowly to play the G/D bass button at the same time as the first crotchet, the G/D chord button at the same time as the second, bass again on the third, chord again on the fourth. It doesn't matter if it doesn't sound like music at this point.
- Repeat this bar ad nauseum until you can do this automatically and it sounds like music (of a sort).
- Repeat for each bar, indeed having to go through the whole process slowly again for ones with minims (these came easily enough), quavers (not too bad to get) and dotted crotchets (I found these last ones a pain to get right for ages) to make sure you can do those types too.
- Repeat all of this for days, even weeks.
- It might seem as boring as death, but it will become easier and easier and one day you'll play through a whole tune (or at least the A part) doing this with the G/D bass/chord buttons automatically.
- Once that happens you're away! Many challenges will remain of course (e.g. right now I'm struggling to break away from oom-pah and am having to go through this tooth-pulling process with other bass patterns), but that's all part of the fun.
Logged
Warren M (Edinburgh, formerly Tyneside and Tyrone)
Hohner Pokerwork D/G
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal