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: 2 row DG layout for Irish music  (Read 485 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

CAB

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
2 row DG layout for Irish music
« on: February 13, 2020, 10:43:55 PM »

I’m hoping for some lay-out advice.  The instrument is a D/G Castagnari Stephania – 21 buttons 4th button start + 2 helper buttons as a mini 3rd row, linked to the chin end accidentals.  I’m using it for Irish music and it’s proving ideal except for the lack of a couple of notes.  So I’m trying to cram those in.  Ideally, there would be F natural and G# in both octaves.  Using the octave numbers from the lay-out charts on this site, the chin end/helper buttons give me Fnat 5 and G# 4 as you’d expect (one button has Bb/G#4 and the other Eb/F5).
 So I’m trying to add F4 and G#5.  I hope that makes sense.  Having no skills in fettling, I’m not sure what may or may not be possible.  One obvious solution is to sacrifice the Bb and Eb and substitute the missing notes.  For the music I play, the F and G# are important while the flats are a bit of a luxury.  But it might be possible to keep them if the desired reeds can be fitted elsewhere:

G#5: could this replace one of the “squeaky end” reeds on either of the last 2 G row buttons?  It has been suggested to me that there may not be enough space for that reed block at that point. 

Fnat4:  as it makes sense to have a full low G scale (a la Anahata), the only other place for Fnat4 is in place of the pulled low A on the D row, which seems mainly useful for right-hand chords.  The pushed A is still there.  The two reeds operated by button 2 would then be almost an octave apart (G3/F4).  Is that a problem?  A bit extreme but just an idea!

Any thoughts welcome.
Logged

george garside

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4958
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2020, 11:43:32 PM »

There are many who play ITM on a standard 2 row DG box

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

CAB

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2020, 11:57:13 PM »

I know George.  I'm currently one.  But with a few minor adjustments to the instrument, I wouldn't need to avoid certain tunes and alter others.  Of course there's a discipline to working within the confines of what you've got.  But when the instrument contains notes you never use and lacks the ones you need, why not change it? 
Logged

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6438
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 12:31:01 AM »

The Castagnari Stefania is a great instrument but the one 'problem' with it is that the chin-end accidentals are connected by a mechanical linkage to the 2-button helper row; there are no separate reeds for the helper row. So as you have discovered, you cannot have the chin end accidentals and the helper row tuned to different notes.

if you really must have Fnat 5 and Eb 5 (standard accidentals) and Fnat 4 and Eb 4 there will be difficulties unless you severely compromise the basic layout of the main rows, as you have mentioned.

Quote
G#5: could this replace one of the “squeaky end” reeds on either of the last 2 G row buttons?  It has been suggested to me that there may not be enough space for that reed block at that point. 
I agree with this - the reed blocks are quite short at the high pitched end and would not be able to accommodate the longer G#5/Bb5 reed plates unless you or somone made a substantial rebuild modification to the reed blocks.

My recommendations (which you probably won't like the idea of at first) are either:
(i) leave the instrument as it is and live with its limitations
or
(ii) swap the instrument for a Castagnari Dony, which is a 2-voice 2.5 row with 5 buttons on the half row. You can have these specified to ensure that all the accidentals are in both the useful octaves 4 and 5. There is a slight weight gain on the Dony, 4.1 kg, as opposed to the Stefania, 3.6 kg. But in practice you would hardly notice the difference. The Dony is a lovely instrument to play. The slightly larger casework gives a slightly mellower, rounded sound.

I expect someone will come along dreckly and encourage you to take up a semitone-tuned box  ;)
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Microbot

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 263
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 08:47:57 AM »

Hi CAB,

...I also play Irish music on a 2-row DG. For me, the low F nat is one of the most important buttons allowing loads of really great tunes.

My solution is a bit odd  ... I have F in place of the standard G# giving F/Bb on first button of D row. I have high G# on press and draw on 11 th button of the D row. Putting a G# "up that end" requires a bit of reedblock work, but its minor. For me, the high G # is much more important than the standard, lower G#...if I hit a tune with that standard G# note I play G and think modal, or otherwise fudge. But the high G# is nice to have.

I like the Bb and Eb notes as they are.

Your idea is fine, although getting a reedplate to play G/F with almost an octave jump would be hard and the tone might be a bit weird, but still playable.

...or if the Bb is not important to you, why not have F/G# on 1st button D row ....

You could then have F/G# high on Ist button G row, which you could reach because of the linked button you've got.

Final point... Steve is right that the Donny is a lovely instrument, but I didn't  find it worked for Irish music, for me anyway.

In the end it's down to the tunes you play and your style....But be cautious about alterations that involve woodwork ...they can devalue a box even if done well.

Cheers!

Mike R
Logged

CAB

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 10:33:23 AM »

Thanks both - really useful.  Funnily enough I used to own a Dony, back in the days when they were a cheaper option with machine-made reeds.  Bought it in 1986 and had it stolen a decade later.  When I finally recovered from the trauma (which turned me into the flute-player I've been since  then) I bought a Verde Cork 8 (2.5 row 8 bass, 3rds-out stop) for occasional ceilidh use, for which it's been fine.  But my decision to try Irish on the box prompted a search for a light, agile instrument and the Steph seemed like the best option: I really like the helper buttons rather than having to reach the usual row-end accidental buttons.
Mike, one of your suggestions is pretty much what I was thinking (i.e. sacrificing the flats and having an F and a G# on each of the two chin-end buttons, a low pair and a high pair).  I could live without an Eb on this box though losing the Bb would be a shame.  Your other idea is certainly food for thought - yes, I see the high G# is much more useful than the low one.  Could well be the best solution, especially as it obviously works for you.  I'm encouraged that you've got a high G# fairly close to where I was thinking.
Yes, I could always think about a half-step box but after 40 or so years of row-crossing on a DG, I'm not planning on trying another system.
Thanks again both.
Logged

smiley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 736
  • Folk music: it's not as bad as it sounds
    • a few sound clips
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 07:30:09 AM »

I've mucked around with various button layouts on my 2 row D/G boxes for years, trying to solve the sort of problem CAB has.
There are so many compromises involved. It's like banging a round peg into a square hole: it might sort of fit but there'll always be little bits missing.

My 2.4 row pre-war Hohner Erika D/G feels like the best solution I've yet discovered, with a low Fnat on the pull at the chin end of the G row and the high Fnat on the helper row (in both directions). I think an Erika D/G fettled by Mike Rowbottom would give you a good session box with a much better chance of playing a wider range of Irish tunes than the Castagnari Stefania.
Logged

CAB

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 03:49:46 PM »

Compromise is indeed what it's all about, smiley.  The trick is identifying the notes I'll never use and replacing them with ones I will, especially bearing in mind this is a genre-specific box.  When I want to play Purcell, klezmer or something else needing, say, an Eb, I'll go back to my other box.  I've rarely played an Eb on any instrument in 20+ years of playing ITM (except maybe as a fancy ornament).  So some of the suggestions already made should work just fine.

Mike persuaded me of the Erika solution when I spoke to him some months ago, before buying the Steph.  I'm afraid that it's a personal thing: fine as they are Hohners often seem to set my teeth on edge (no offence intended! It's only when I try to play them myself.  I have an old one-row pokerwork in G that I just can't bear to play.)  And after decades of playing two-and-a-half-row boxes, I'm after the simplicity and light weight of a two-row (albeit + 2 helper buttons to make life easier).  So I'll be sticking with the Steph (whose sound I love) and approaching my local fettler to make some of the suggested changes.
Logged

richard.fleming

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 465
Re: 2 row DG layout for Irish music
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2020, 04:31:34 PM »


I expect someone will come along dreckly and encourage you to take up a semitone-tuned box  ;)

The very idea! :-X
Logged
Old Paolo Sopranis in C#/D and D/D#
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