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Author Topic: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss  (Read 2153 times)

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Winston Smith

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2020, 02:03:56 PM »

Thank you so much, Larry! At last someone who is willing to write sensibly in answer to the OP. I cannot help but notice that your reply is from a 1 row beginners perspective, and that, just maybe, most of the other respondents are rather "over egging the pudding" because  of their wide musical knowledge and possibly higher playing skill levels. (And not just for the sake of being antagonistic, heaven forbid!)
Thanks again?
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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2020, 06:54:16 PM »

...for me as a BC player, the concept of helper keys is a tad alien. So I'm not sure what the original question is, e.g. in when a button is called a "helper button" what does this mean?
The term 'helper buttons' is a hang-on from the original Hohner Club instruments, where there was an additional 'helper' row as well as the two main rows. The additional row could consist of a number of buttons but 2, 4, or 7 buttons was the most common. The notes consisted of accidentals and reversals. There are some examples here:
http://www.forum.melodeon.net/index.php/page,keyboard_25_row.html

Over time, 'helper row' has become a convenient synonym for 'half row'; I don't think it is applied to a full third row, even if that consists of accidentals and reversals.

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David Summers

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2020, 12:26:59 PM »

...for me as a BC player, the concept of helper keys is a tad alien. So I'm not sure what the original question is, e.g. in when a button is called a "helper button" what does this mean?
The term 'helper buttons' is a hang-on from the original Hohner Club instruments, where there was an additional 'helper' row as well as the two main rows. The additional row could consist of a number of buttons but 2, 4, or 7 buttons was the most common. The notes consisted of accidentals and reversals. There are some examples here:
http://www.forum.melodeon.net/index.php/page,keyboard_25_row.html

Over time, 'helper row' has become a convenient synonym for 'half row'; I don't think it is applied to a full third row, even if that consists of accidentals and reversals.
Thanks Steve, yes I guess that fits in with what I'd have guessed. If I was to summarise I say something like

"A row or a button, that is outside the standard layout, that gives access to either accidentals or reversals."

Now just writing that, has expanded the concept. What is "standard layout", to me for a melodeon its that a row on push gives the repeating notes 1,3,5 of a key, and on pull gives 2,4,6,7.

Standard layout, means that a 1 row player, can pick up a two row box, be that a fourth appart, or semitone, and play a tune on either of the two rows, and it will work - all be it in a different key.

And this has already reached a point where I don't understand the original question, on a semitone box, both rows have standard layout. So I wouldn't call either row a helper row.

But if we start from half row on a 2.5 machine, and its typically giving access to accidentals that aren't in the main keys of the melodeon, and their layout isn't standard (e.g. 1-3-5 and 2-4-6-7). And maybe this is what peadler was thinking of, a helper is a button that gives access to accidentals. If you take a semitone box, as being in just one key, then yes the second row is a row of acidentals, all be it in standard layout.

And this is where things differ, in fourth apart boxes, there the second row mainly gives access to reversals, so options to improve bellow motion. A semitone box necessary has the bellows going back and forth; whereas a fourth apart box, can have long draws on a phrase. So the second row is very different on a fourth apart box.

Whats interesting though, is that many fourth apart boxes, have buttons at the button each row that aren't in standard layout, indeed offten not even in the key of the device. These buttons truely do give access to accidentals that you wouldn't otherwise have. So why then wouldn't these buttons be called helper buttons?

And I guess this is where I'm coming full circle, I'm not sure "helper row" a helpful  expression to use in the context of a semitone box. Yes its how a player accesses accidentals, but for a semitone box player - its just how they access notes in a key outside the home two. And for a semitone player, the circle of fifth sharp and flats, on a semitone box are in a standard position on the box, due to both rows being in standard layout. As a player moves to keys round the circle of fifths, he just adds more notes from the second row - and this is just how the box works. I think this is why to me the original question that started this thread is flawed - it doesn't look at how semitone players use their boxes.
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gettabettabox

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2020, 01:13:17 PM »

If I'm recalling right from my youth in Tyrone, my dad and visitors who played his melodeon when they came on their ceilidh largely played on the row on his semitone box. None of them were fancy musicians, in fact I suspect they had no training whatsoever, but they certainly enjoyed 'knocking out' tunes on it. My dad doesn't play anymore, due to age and the state of the box (leaky as a sieve), but I might try to persuade him to give it a wee go to see if my memory is right.
Yep, the term  “knocking out a tune” would not be considered derogatory in my world.
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george garside

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2020, 12:12:28 AM »

[
[/quote]

I don't think it is at all helpful to look at the semitone boxes from the peculiar perspective of the DG player.  A B/C box is not used to play in B or C, or almost never. Once you have learned and understood the fingering it becomes a single keyboard, with different fingering patterns for different keys. None of the DG preoccupations like ('helper rows', 'chin end accidentals', 'fourth button start' and so on) have any relevance.
[/quote]
I totally agree with this - for me as a BC player, the concept of helper keys is a tad alien. So I'm not sure what the original question is, e.g. in when a button is called a "helper button" what does this mean?
[/quote]

I agree, the notion of helper row on a bc or bcc# is well off beam!   The logical way of looking a t a bc is to view the C row as akin to the white notes on a piano keyboard and the B row as akin to the black notes ( with a couple of spare white notes chucked in for good measure.   Viewed that way it is a simple matter to learn scales for FCGDAE on a BC box  whilst the same fingering on a C#D box will provide the equivelent 'flat' keys.   The BCC#  being if effect a BC and a CC# enables 12 keys for 5 scales/

george
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Alan Pittwood

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #45 on: February 17, 2020, 12:36:29 AM »

A B/C box is not used to play in B or C, or almost never.

Quite, the one marvellous exception being:

Rose Murphy  Milltown Lass  Old Time Irish Fiddle and Accordion  Topic Records 12TS316 [LP](1977)  Topic Records TSDL316 [digital download] (2010)

Rose Murphy (née Conlon) [sister of P J Conlon, who recorded in the USA] plays all the accordion tracks on the outside, B, row of her Hohner Double Ray Deluxe
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tirpous

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #46 on: February 17, 2020, 02:28:28 AM »

Quote
The logical way of looking a t a bc is to view the C row as akin to the white notes on a piano keyboard and the B row as akin to the black notes ( with a couple of spare white notes chucked in for good measure.   Viewed that way it is a simple matter to learn scales for FCGDAE on a BC box  whilst the same fingering on a C#D box will provide the equivelent 'flat' keys.

I don't really see a difference between what you're saying here and  "a semitone box is a 1 row with a helper row".  The C row is the 1-row and the B row is the helper row where you go get your accidentals.  Is it the term 'helper row' that is causing problems ?? 
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Winston Smith

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2020, 05:38:36 AM »

"The C row is the 1-row and the B row is the helper row where you go get your accidentals"

Never having tried a semitone box, and being chastised for entering the fray before now for that very reason, I'm somewhat hesitant to do so again, but; Tirpous's above stated opinion seems to be bolstered by Mr Garside's;

"A B/C box is not used to play in B or C, or almost never."

If it's not used as a normal (normal to 1 row and 4th apart players, that is) B row, and reversals aren't really needed to match the basses, which hardly seem to be played anyway, then surely its only purpose is to support the C row in a manner which makes it a "helper" row, i.e. "helping" the C row by offering accidentals, or reversals which allow faster or smoother playing.

Of course, it has been made abundantly clear that semitone box players don't
recognise this viewpoint, but I believe that the OP was directed at folk who 's understanding stems from the fact that they play either 1 rows or the 4th apart system, where such terminology is straightforwardly understood and accepted. 
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Chris Ryall

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2020, 07:26:50 AM »

Well, we’ve certainly discussed it. I hope Peadar might advise himself as to whether we answered the question

I think this is a matter of attitude. My half tone setup is very much used as a helper row, except in Bb blues … the scale goes like a rocket across my C#/D rows.

However everyone else I know with half tone setup plays the instrument as a whole. It seems to be much more of a “use the Force” way of playing. Amazing how fluid, and fast it can be!

There’s a theory of Irish v British music that one is melody based, the other chord based. My brain approaches music in chords. I think that underlies my ways.  It’s a totally different approach. I could perhaps have mentioned my Bb experience in the parallel “Ahah!” thread 🤔
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richard.fleming

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2020, 08:23:32 AM »

I believe that the OP was directed at folk who 's understanding stems from the fact that they play either 1 rows or the 4th apart system, where such terminology is straightforwardly understood and accepted.

All I, at any rate, have been trying to say is that while it is understandable for 1-row or 4th-apart players to see semi-tone boxes in the way suggested by Peadar, it is not at all helpful.
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richard.fleming

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2020, 08:28:17 AM »

Quote

I don't really see a difference between what you're saying here and  "a semitone box is a 1 row with a helper row".  The C row is the 1-row and the B row is the helper row where you go get your accidentals.  Is it the term 'helper row' that is causing problems ??



I think the point is that the 'helper row' idea arose to make up for some of the limitations of (say) a DG box. The semi-tone boxes don't need 'help' because they don't have those limitations. (Before someone jumps in, I'm not saying they don't have any limitations, merely that they don't need 'helper rows'). 'Going to get your accidentals' doesn't mean much either, because in any key on a semi-tone box the 'accidentals' are in a continuous sequence of buttons for whichever key you are playing, so you don't have to go anywhere else to 'get' them. I suspect, though I'm not that hot on musical theory, that strictly speaking many of these notes that melodeon players call accidentals are not really accidentals at all, but simply notes not in what is seen as the 'main' row. You'll correct me if I'm wrong, I hope.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 08:54:12 AM by richard.fleming »
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JohnS

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2020, 09:23:22 AM »

Quote
I believe that the OP was directed at folk who 's understanding stems from the fact that they play either 1 rows or the 4th apart system, where such terminology is straightforwardly understood and accepted.

If that's the way you want to think about it then you are free to do so.  No B/C player would ever describe it in those terms, any more than a piano player would describe the black keys as 'helper keys'.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 09:25:08 AM by JohnS »
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george garside

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2020, 10:51:38 AM »

could say more but won't!

george ;)
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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2020, 11:08:45 AM »

Quote
I believe that the OP was directed at folk who 's understanding stems from the fact that they play either 1 rows or the 4th apart system, where such terminology is straightforwardly understood and accepted.

If that's the way you want to think about it then you are free to do so.  No B/C player would ever describe it in those terms, any more than a piano player would describe the black keys as 'helper keys'.

But, I've always thought of the black keys as helper keys. That's what they are, aren't they?   :D

Enabling might be a better name than helper.
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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2020, 11:22:22 AM »

could say more but won't!

george ;)

Not feeling well George  >:E :|glug
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tirpous

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2020, 04:23:48 PM »

Quote
Quote
    I don't really see a difference between what you're saying here and  "a semitone box is a 1 row with a helper row".  The C row is the 1-row and the B row is the helper row where you go get your accidentals.  Is it the term 'helper row' that is causing problems ??

I think the point is that the 'helper row' idea arose to make up for some of the limitations of (say) a DG box. The semi-tone boxes don't need 'help' because they don't have those limitations. (Before someone jumps in, I'm not saying they don't have any limitations, merely that they don't need 'helper rows'). 'Going to get your accidentals' doesn't mean much either, because in any key on a semi-tone box the 'accidentals' are in a continuous sequence of buttons for whichever key you are playing, so you don't have to go anywhere else to 'get' them. I suspect, though I'm not that hot on musical theory, that strictly speaking many of these notes that melodeon players call accidentals are not really accidentals at all, but simply notes not in what is seen as the 'main' row. You'll correct me if I'm wrong, I hope.

Well, on a B/C box the inside C row is all straight notes and the outside B row is mostly accidentals that will HELP to play in other keys.

Granted on a C#/D there are C#s and F#s built into the D row, but again the C# row provides supplementary notes (you're correct -accidentals may not be the best term in that case) needed to play in other keys.
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Winston Smith

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2020, 04:30:08 PM »

Are flats and sharps not normally referred to as accidentals in other areas of music? "Other areas" being those not closely melodeon/accordion related. 
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Theo

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2020, 04:57:27 PM »

Sharps and flats are only accidentals if they are not part of the scale in which you are playing.  So for example if playing in D the scale includes C# and F#  so those are not accidentals, but F natural would be an accidental in the context of playing in the D.

And referring to Tirpous above if you were to play a tune in the key of B major then none of those notes on the B row would be accidentals in that context.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 04:59:23 PM by Theo »
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george garside

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2020, 05:49:04 PM »

Quote
Quote
    I
 quote]

Well, on a B/C box the inside C row is all straight notes and the outside B row is mostly accidentals that will HELP to play in other keys.

 .

the NOTES on the B row are not accidentals  they are sharps and flats  . They are there to enable rather than help playing other than in B or C in exactly the same way as the black notes on a piano.  Strange assortments of  ''Accidentals''  on 4th apart boxes  are often not entirely logical for a paaticular type of mussior to suit the desires of a particular player.   Tn other words on a  BC box both rows  are an integral  in the sense of enablling the box to be played chromatically  which ,as far as I am aware is not possible on a 4th aprt box - an instrument is either chromatic or it isn't - it can't be a bit chromatic!

george
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JohnAndy

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Re: A Semitone Box Is A 1 Row With A Helper Row: Discuss
« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2020, 06:28:23 PM »

Well, on a B/C box the inside C row is all straight notes and the outside B row is mostly accidentals that will HELP to play in other keys.

But it would be equally valid to say that the outside B row is all the straight notes you need for playing in B major, and the inside C row is mostly accidentals that you need for playing in keys other than B major!

(I'm not suggesting that you'd really want to think of it in that way, just trying to highlight the assumptions in your way of looking at it)

The point is that it's a question of mentality. The B/C player (with possible exceptions as noted earlier in thread e.g. East Anglian tradition) just doesn't think of one row as being "straight" notes and the other being "accidentals". Whatever key they want to play in, they'll find some of the notes on one row and some on the other row, and I guess one or two notes would be available on both rows. (Except of course if playing in C or B then they will find all the notes on the same row)

The D/G (or 4th apart) instrument is designed to play primarily in specific keys and any notes lying outside those scales of those keys will be thought of as an "accidental". But that way of thinking is not helpful for a B/C player.
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