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Author Topic: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)  (Read 4715 times)

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Tony M

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Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« on: December 29, 2009, 12:07:10 PM »

Hi, all.

I hope you've all had a good Christmas.

First, by way of introduction:

I've been playing the melodeon for about 6 weeks - a new D/G Pokerwork - and I'm quietly pleased with progress to date.

I've been teaching myself the PA for a few years - progressing slowly and still learning and, having made a start with the melodeon, I've also found I can now get a tune out of the anglo concertina I bought 20-odd years ago (it's made a nice ornament all that time).   :||:

I discovered this site a little while ago, and it's a real gem - such a lot of information and encouragement in one place!  This is only my second posting - there's a lot to read, and I haven't felt the need to add to the learned discussions!

Now - to the point of this posting:

I particularly like the TOTM idea -I've had a go with LIDL and Princess Royal (both of which I still need to perfect).  My confidence, both musically and with my computer, does not stretch to providing video evidence as yet!

Anyway, I thought I'd have an early look at the January selection.

Ashokan Farewell seems to be the favourite so far, but I see that there are a few bottom B's in there, and the Pokerwork doesn't seem to have any - so I'd like some advice.  In similar situations in the past (I used to play the tin whistle) I think I just gave up and moved on to another tune, rather than seeking a way forward.

One approach might be to take the entire tune up an octave - What would you suggest?

Many thanks,

Tony.

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Tony M

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 02:48:51 PM »

In the meantime (I'm not impatient - just not busy today!) I've transposed the tune (from the original D) into G (using the Folkinfo abc converter).

This seems to give me something I can play without gaps - once I've figured out the chords!

However, I still rather wonder if transposing a tune just to avoid individual problems isn't some sort of cheating?

Thoughts welcome.


Best regards,

Tony.
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ladydetemps

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 02:54:57 PM »

I've got the same problem and will be intrested in the answer.

GbH

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 03:13:47 PM »

However, I still rather wonder if transposing a tune just to avoid individual problems isn't some sort of cheating?


Given the limitations of the melodeon, such actions aren't cheating, just normal practice for getting things to work.  Plenty of TOTM entries have already used keys that were different from those suggested, so you wouldn't be the first.

Your options, well those that I know about, would seem to include:

1.  Play it up and octave.  On a D/G without a low voice, this could sound a bit high for many people's taste's, as there's already a 'top G' in the standard version.

2.  Transpose it.  The thing to watch out for here is that the choice of chords won't always transpose exactly, so you might find you need to get inventive (which isn't necessarily a bad thing...).

3.  Play the low notes with your basses.  I've just tried that with AF and it works nicely if you're already putting a bass line in anyway.  

4.  Change the tune slightly, so that you don't need those notes to be played at that octave.  Again, it works, although I guess some people might feel uncomfortable about changing the tune to that extent.

 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 03:15:47 PM by GbH »
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Tony M

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 04:39:35 PM »

Thanks for those thoughts, GbH.

I tried an octave up, and didn't really like the sound - it seemed very high, and didn't go so well with the style of the piece (and I found the fingering needed much more thought up there!).  It might be, of course, that it would have sounded better if played confidently!

Transposed to G, it seems OK.  I seem to have adopted the approach of figuring out how the tune goes from the melody line (helped by videos and abc navigator player), then working out the chords before I try to learn it - trying to avoid having to re-learn it to fit the chords afterwards. (It isn't a problem with the PA, of course - I'm having to exercise the brain a bit with the melodeon).  I'm still working on the chords for the transposed version of AF, but it seems fairly straightforward, apart from the F naturals that you end up with towards the end - I may need to leave the bass out on that bar.

Using the bass buttons to add the low notes hadn't crossed my mind (although, when I think about it, I've done this on the PA) - I'll need to remember that idea, 'cos it rather expands the possibilities. 

I did wonder about "re-working" the bars with the low B's in, perhaps just moving the B's up an octave, but, as you suggest, some might think that's going too far.  On the other hand, doing that and adding the B's from the bass end, might sound OK - needs more thought.

Thanks again for your input.

Best regards,

Tony.
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Theo

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 04:47:26 PM »

Tony,  your dilemma is a perfect illustration of why some players have their treble side arranged with the scale starting on the 4th button so you can have low notes and accidentals.    Low B is a note that crops up in many tunes in D.
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Tony M

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2009, 05:12:53 PM »

Tony,  your dilemma is a perfect illustration of why some players have their treble side arranged with the scale starting on the 4th button so you can have low notes and accidentals.    Low B is a note that crops up in many tunes in D.

Thanks, Theo. 

Looking in the back of my tutor book, Mr Mallinson highlights the choices for what he calls the "variable" buttons - there is clearly a fair bit of compromise in the way the instrument is set up.  I'll live with it for now - it's too soon for me to come to a view on what changes might be best for whatever I end up playing - but I can see why people might want things arranged to suit their particular style and choice of music.

By the way, I made use of your excellent description of how to modify the button travel on the treble side.  It gives a big improvement in the "feel" of the keyboard.  Many thanks for taking the trouble to provide that information.

Best regards,

Tony.
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Theo

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2009, 11:37:12 AM »

Prego! (:)
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Accordion Dave

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2010, 01:57:07 AM »

WDATLM?

Does this row of letters followed by a question mark look confusing?

Translation: What Do All The Letters Mean?

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Pete Dunk

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 07:02:19 PM »

Quote
WDATLM?

From the top:

PA = Piano Accordion
TOTM = Tune of the Month
LIDL = L'inconnu d'Limoise (TOTM no.2)
AF = Ashokan Farewell (TOTM no.4)
Prego! = Prego!  >:E

 :|glug
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Alison Scott

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 02:27:52 PM »

I started on AF by tapping the bass for the B's -- I use this approach all the time in faster tunes (the box I use for Morris has no low B, but the side's tunes have plenty!) but I am not sure it sounds right for this slow tune.

But eventually I solved the problem, er, by switching to the Liliput, which has all the notes I need (and some handy reversals which might help me out with my running-out-of-air problem with this tune).

ladydetemps

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 02:39:45 PM »

I'm starting to feel like this is some kind of punishment for not buying loads of melodeons in different configurations and keys. :(  :'(

Alison Scott

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 02:55:17 PM »

I'm starting to feel like this is some kind of punishment for not buying loads of melodeons in different configurations and keys. :(  :'(

Clearly you have Melodeon Acquisition Deficiency.

Ruaraidh

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2010, 03:15:49 PM »

My recent and only Melodeon Acquisition to date has more buttons than I can cope with... BCC# with 80 bass / chords.  Enough for AF if only I could find them in the right order. :-\
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Ollie

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2010, 04:54:15 PM »

For AF I just hold a D for the bar with a G chord. Works fine.

I may be eating humble pie soon about AF - it actually fits really nicely on the box!
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Andrew Culwell

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2010, 05:49:28 PM »

I'm starting to feel like this is some kind of punishment for not buying loads of melodeons in different configurations and keys. :(  :'(

Be glad you don't have the affliction!  It can mean for a lean pocketbook and a house full of Clackety Melodeons needing to be fixed and fed.
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2010, 05:57:25 PM »

I may be eating humble pie soon about AF - it actually fits really nicely on the box!

 ;D

I'm trying to commit the mortal sin of using my thumb for the low A at the beginning of the run up, probably because I'm struggling to find enough fingers!
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Ellie

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2010, 10:45:37 PM »

Quote from: tallship
I'm trying to commit the mortal sin of using my thumb for the low A at the beginning of the run up, probably because I'm struggling to find enough fingers!

Ah, I hadn't thought of that - I just have scurrying fingers and not enough air at the moment  :D Does it help, or hinder?  ;D

Actually, this tune just nicely reminds me of why I swapped to my current box - I'm really appreciating the 4th button start at the moment instead of lamenting the weight of it!

Pete Dunk

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2010, 10:38:31 AM »

Does it help, or hinder?  ;D

I'm undecided but I feel sure that more experienced players would advise against using the thumb, certainly at my level of playing ability. Once you get to be an advanced player of course anything goes and rules are just there to be broken.

The opposing argument would be that if you don't allow yourself to be restricted by convention from the off then you may just develop into a very able player indeed. Perhaps you should give it a go just to see how it feels but make sure your straps are well adjusted so you're not so reliant on the thumb supporting the keyboard on the push.  :D

edit: typo!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 02:26:02 PM by tallship »
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Accordion Dave

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Re: Short of buttons? (and a little ramble!)
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2010, 08:45:53 PM »

When I am short of buttons, I grab a 120-bass piano accordion.

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