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Author Topic: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist  (Read 3694 times)

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hambone

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Hi Folks,

Please forgive me if I screw up.  I'm really new to this.  I have a tad
of experience with a piano accordion.   Is the Melodeon primarily an
instrument that is used to accompany other instruments.  Can it be
played as a solo instrument?

Regards
Hambone
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2008, 09:02:54 PM »

Hello hambone, welcome to the forum. Yes, the melodeon stands up on it's own and there are many fine players, as a random example check out Brian Peters playing traditional music. Like any other instrument it can be played in many styles of course but not all melodeons are fully chromatic. Are you tempted to try one?

Pete.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2008, 09:09:02 PM by tallship »
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hambone

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2008, 04:41:59 PM »

Pete,

Thank you.  Yes I am.  I am interested in American folk and traditional music.  Can you tell me what you mean by "fully chromatic"?

Hambone
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Stiamh

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 08:41:49 PM »

For most purposes a fully chromatic instrument is one that can play all twelve notes of modern Western music - all the white and black keys of the piano, if you like.

Any two-row box with the rows tuned a semitone apart (e.g. B/C, C#/D, D/D#, C/C#) is fully chromatic by this definition, as are "quint" boxes (C/F, G/C, D/G, etc.) that have a sufficient number of accidentals (extra sharps and flats) on a third row or half-row.

(A B/C/C# system, as played by a few enthusiasts on this forum, must be more than fully chromatic because it has every accidental twice - for people who like to be fully insured 8)  )

The other way of looking at fully chromatic would be to ask whether such instruments, even though they have all the notes, can play in every possible key signature with reasonable ease. I'd venture to say that all the systems I mentioned above would fail this test, because on all of them some of the uncommon key signatures with lots of sharps or flats will be tricky to play, even if can be done with sufficient application.

In fact even the piano accordion would probably fail this test because of the difficulty of mastering every possible key signature on the piano keyboard. The only really fully chromatic accordions would be 5-row continental button boxes, because on those you can change keys simply by shifting your hand position. But you don't really want one of those to play folk music :-)

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Pete Dunk

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2008, 10:38:40 PM »

Can you tell me what you mean by "fully chromatic"?

Hambone

Steve Jones answered this question better than I could have. The melodeon is well suited to folk music and is pretty intuitive if you prefer to play by ear rather than read music (although it's well suited to that too). The major difference between it and the piano accordion you played before is that each button plays a different note when you push or draw the bellows, like blow and suck on a blues harp. One way to find out if this might suit your style of playing is to buy a blues harp and see how you get on with it. Adding your location to your profile might help too, there could be a forum member in the vicinity willing to let you 'have a go'.  :)
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Pushpull

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 09:29:42 AM »



In fact even the piano accordion would probably fail this test because of the difficulty of mastering every possible key signature on the piano keyboard. The only really fully chromatic accordions would be 5-row continental button boxes, because on those you can change keys simply by shifting your hand position.


I agree with Steve in general and I'm guessing this last bit is somewhat tongue in cheek. The difficulty of playing an instrument doesn't really enter into whether it's chromatic or not. You have to learn to play it. Of course the continental chromatic is undoubtedly the most logical of any layout, but you would still want to learn more that just one scale pattern. Ideally you want to be able to play one with free bass too (!!). I dabbled with one briefly and was highly impressed but decided to stick with my D/G - morris tunes don't come in many flavours.

Roy.
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Theo

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 09:56:50 AM »

The only way to really appreciate our strange and wonderful instrument is to try one.  If you could tell us roughly where you live someone may be able to put you in touch with local players.
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hambone

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2008, 02:45:00 PM »

To all who answered!

Many thanks for the welcome and the information.  I would very much like to chat with a player.   I live just North of Birmingham, Alabama.   I should think there would be a player somewhere in the Northern part of the state. 

Again, thanks to all of you. 
My Warm Regards to all!!
Hambone (my daughter's nickname for me)
I am actually Jim Horn
 
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Rees

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 03:29:37 PM »

Excellent! If you can't find anyone in Alabama you'll find several thousand players just down the road in Louisiana.
The single row melodeon is the main instrument used in Cajun and Zydeco music.
They call it an accordion not a melodeon though.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
Gungrog, Welshpool, Wales, UK
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Québécois

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 04:10:37 PM »

If you can't find anyone in Alabama you'll find several thousand players just down the road in Louisiana.
Errr... remember that distances in USA are not like in UK! What you call "down the road" is about 120 miles!
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hambone

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2008, 05:20:22 PM »

quebecois,

First my apologies for butchering your name.  I don't know how to appy the necessary accents. 

Second - Well said!  We visit NO from time to time but it is a four hour trip at the rate I drive.   Here in Birmingham we have a large number of people (myself included) that appreciate Zydeco.   Throughout the summer there are numerous music festivals in the area.

Regards,
Jim "Hambone"   
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hambone

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2008, 05:26:38 PM »

Rees,

Sir,  You have some of the most beautiful instruments on your site that I've ever laid my eyes upon.

Regards,
Jim "Hambone" 
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Rees

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Re: Hello and a question from a new member and novice accordionist
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2008, 01:10:51 AM »

I know it's a long way to anywhere in the States having toured there in the early 90s. We did 600 miles between gigs every day and sometimes 1500 miles which took two days so we had to skip a gig.
After 10 weeks of that I left the band!
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
Gungrog, Welshpool, Wales, UK
www.melodeons.com
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