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2.5 row layout


Hello fellow Melodeoners and Melodeonettes

I'm toying with the idea of getting a 2.5 row to increase my musical scope, especially with regard to french music.

I've looked around and I've noted that several manufacturers offer a 2.5 row melodeon with a "standard" layout for the accidentals, which presumably they have chosen for a reason, but that supremo's such as Andy Cutting and John Spiers and Brian Peters use different layouts and seem more than happy with them.

In my ignorance I'm tempted to go for a standard layout, but does anyone have any helpful suggestions or arguments for or against any other layouts?

My current favoured manufacturer is Saltarelle.

Clive Williams:
You'll find quite a few example layouts here: http://info.melodeon.net/info/layouts/club

One of them is my favourite, can you guess which?  :D

There's no right or wrong here - it all depends on what you want to do, and how much effort you want to put into your playing. I think melodeon layout design should start on the chords, and then figure out the treble half row to go with it. The two manufacturer systems here, castagnari and saltarelle, take very different approaches and have different advantages. Castagnari's has more distinct chords, and is hence more flexible in what you can play - it's just not very flexible in *how* you play it, since many chords are one direction only, and force the treble to be played in a certain way as a result. Saltarelle's allows more flexibility in giving more chords in both directions (notably G and A), at the expense of the extra chords, so it is more flexible in how you play, but not in *what* you play. Does that kind of make sense?

For personal taste on a 'conventional' 12 bass layout I'd go for Saltarelle's (I actually prefer unisonoric basses, but that's a whole other can of worms), but Saltarelle's 21+5 layout on the treble needs tweaking to fit - why they don't do it like this initially, I really don't know - swap the direction of the F/Eb buttons (all of them!) to Eb/F, and change the C/F accidental to something more useful like C/D. The reason is simple - F needs to have an F chord to match with, and that's on the pull, and Eb is most commonly played (by me, anyway) with a B major chord (i.e. B minor without the thirds).



Clive - that's a good summary, much better than I could have done!

All I will add is that I too prefer to have reversals on the half-row giving E on the push and D on the pull, both of which I find very useful. Otherwise, my half-row layout [Eb/F] [Bb/Ab] [E/D] [Eb/F] [Bb/Ab] follows Bernard Loffet's rather logical layout of accidentals and preserves the normal melodeon 4-button spacing between octaves. My layout also gives me F, Bb and Eb treble notes to go with the corresponding LH bass/chords in the same bellows direction.

In the end there is no right and wrong - you soon get the hang of your own layout and find out its particular strengths and weaknesses. The trouble comes when you try to play someone else's melodeon with a different layout!

My layout is here: http://info.melodeon.net/files/site/mory_steve_fr_layout.jpg
Bernard Loffet's layout* is here: http://diato.org/pdf/2+6r12b.pdf

* This is for a G/C melodeon. To transpose (and translate!) the RH layout for a D/G melodeon use the following mapping.....

Do --> G
Re --> A
Mi --> B
Fa --> C
Sol --> D
La --> E
Si --> F-sharp

Whoops! This post became longer and more complex than I originally intended ;)


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