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Author Topic: Swapping between D/G and G/C  (Read 3273 times)

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Chris Cartwright

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Swapping between D/G and G/C
« on: May 25, 2011, 03:32:39 PM »

Hi All

I started my melodeonning on a G/C as I wanted to focus on continental cross-row technique.

Now feel the need to get a D/G to be compatible with UK sessions, workshops etc (or is that just an excuse to go MAD?).

Obviously playing by ear/from memory swapping between them will be no problem, but I'm a bit concerned that my brain is going to go into meltdown when reading dots. I've got used to where an F# is on the G/C and now it's somewhere completely different.

Does anyone have any tips/wisdom/horror stories or whatever to share on how to deal with this challenge?

Thanks, Chris.
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george garside

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 03:39:56 PM »

probably not highly relevent but I manage to get round Dg & BC(C#) without any undue problems, possibly because I prefer mainly on the row stuff on the DG & obviously use of both rows on a a BC is not a matter of choice (unless in B & C!)

george
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Theo

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 04:35:26 PM »

Just read the stuff pretending you are on the G/C, and the D/G will transpose for you.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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HallelujahAl

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 05:15:53 PM »

Yes, as Theo says, it's best not to think about it too much. Pretend you're on the G/C and let the box do the rest for you.
 ;D
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Hasse

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 06:17:32 PM »

Simply learn some tunes in D, first play them on the D row, then start doing some cross row playing and soon your fingers will get the hang of both the D and G row, (long before your brain start to kick in). So yes:
Yes, as Theo says, it's best not to think about it too much. Pretend you're on the G/C and let the box do the rest for you.
 ;D
But do not pretend you are playing on your G/C box, thats just a wast of easily gained potential!
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Chris Cartwright

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2011, 08:31:02 PM »

Thanks for your thoughts all but I'm not sure I made my question clear enough.

I'm currently reading a tune written in D (say), and playing it on the G/C. This is perfectly possible, but not particularly easy as it doesn't lie easily under the fingers.

If (as you suggest Theo) I 'just read it pretending I'm on a G/C and the D/G will do the transposition', then everything I play will come out a 5th higher than written.

If I used a D/G, I could play a D tune much more easily, but obviously the fingering would be completely different. That's my issue.

If I write the D tune out in G (ie transpose it), and play it on the D/G 'pretending it was a G/C' (in other words using the fingerings I'm already familiar with) it would come out in D. That's fine where the opportunity exists to do the transposition. But not in a sight reading situation. And obviously I'd spend a lot of time writing out tunes, even if I didn't neet to be able to sight read them (which I do).

Thanks, Chris.

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Theo

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 08:55:29 PM »

Ah, I understand that better now.    It appears that its nose to the grindstone time then  :o , you simply need to relearn the way you read!  I can't think of any shortcuts, sorry.  :'(
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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BCC#er

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 09:29:14 PM »



If (as you suggest Theo) I 'just read it pretending I'm on a G/C and the D/G will do the transposition', then everything I play will come out a 5th higher than written.


Aye it is. That's what I do with the whistles. I learn any tune with the D whistle fingering and play it in any key I need just changing the instrument. It was the problem for the first time but I used to it shortly. I don't think it would be much difference with the boxes (:)

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Hasse

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 09:32:47 PM »

Thanks for your thoughts all but I'm not sure I made my question clear enough.

Maybe I was unclear as well! (as normal ;) )
But as I suggested:
Simply learn some tunes in D, first play them on the D row, then start doing some cross row playing and soon your fingers will get the hang of both the D and G row. But do not pretend you are playing on your G/C box, thats just a wast of easily gained potential!

I guess that's not a shortcut, but I'm pretty sure you'll get there in no time  (:)
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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 11:17:31 PM »

I understand your question, Chris,  and fully sympathise.
Myself, I can read the dots fairly fluently at the chin end of a D/G, and the knee end of a G/C (at least on the G row) but it's all a bit hazy after that. At least with G/C & D/G you are playing mainly at different ends of the box, so you can concentrate on learning the chin end of your D/G (which is maybe the less familiar end of your G/C?)
I think it's all a matter of practice. In the meantime, all you can do is transpose or learn on your G/C.
It's helpful if you can train yourself to read a melody line by reading the intervals between the notes rather than the actual notes themselves, so that you get the shape of the tune without necessarily knowing what each note is.
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GbH

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 11:27:04 PM »

Well, this sounds like the same sort of situation that I (a D/G player) get when I try to learn tunes from scores that have been notated for G/C instruments.  Obviously, on occasion, there are times when such music can be played by just reading it at concert pitch, but, more often than not, it only really works if I pretend my instrument's a G/C and thus finger it accordingly.

Personally, I've found it very difficult to learn to sight read in regular D/G mode, so I certainly struggle to do the G/C transposing in anything like real time.  What I do try and do is fix the notated interval between the two systems in my head and to then imagine notes appearing at that spacing on the score.  I think this helps a bit, but isn't really a substitute for being able to do it instinctively.  Another thing I sometimes try is to concentrate more on the bass notes, as I seem to find them slightly easier to transpose (not sure why...) - and then hope that the treble magically follows.  Oh - and a lot of the time, G/C music has tab notation included too, so that can certainly help a confused D/G player.  For anyone going the other way, though, I suspect that there's much less tab music (any?) created specfically for D/G boxes.

I suppose the other way to think about this is simply to ask how much you really need to be sightreading notation anyway.  Fourth-apart boxes, assuming that you're playing them fully with appropriate basses, seem particularly troublesome for sightreading anything more than simple tunes, as there's so much thinking ahead involved when it comes to bellows direction and button choice.  Personally, although I use notation a lot for initially learning how a tune goes, I try to do as little actual playing from notation as I can manage, which then makes switching between instruments tuned in different keys a much easier proposition.  At a guess, though, I can imagine that band members might have a definite need for regular sightreading, so I suppose it depends on circumstances.
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Rees

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 11:43:30 PM »

This is the way I do it. Start by learning every note on the C row, D row and G row e.g. when you pick up a C box you instinctively know that 4th button push is an E, etc. Then, whether it's G/C or D/G you always know what note you are playing. This must become second nature - after that, sight reading in all three keys is a piece of cake.

For instance, I regularly play one-row melodeons in D and C. Tunes can be swopped between boxes willy-nilly and to all intents and purposes they are the same. However, when playing the C box I am consciously aware of playing notes in the C scale and likewise a D scale on the D box.

Learn them buttons well  :|glug
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Chris Cartwright

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 11:51:30 PM »

Thank you all for some really great insights.

I'll digest overnight but just wanted to say "Thanks" before bedtime. I love this forum!

Cheers, Chris.
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george garside

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 09:20:02 AM »

I find it difficult to site read on a DG ( being a not very good reader anyway)  but a great deal easier on t Bc (or BCC#) probably because the C row can be visualised as akin to the white notes on a pino and the 'black notes' picked up on the B row., which is fairly logical  compared withdiving all over the place on a 3 row 4th aprt box.

george ;)
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 09:31:05 AM »

I recognise this problem, Chris - I play mainly D/G, and so have learned to play from dots relative to this tuning system.  However, occasionally, I use an old C/F Club.  My solution, rather than trying to relearn all the dots for this instrument, has been to treat the C/F as a 'transposing instrument', i.e. use Musescore to transpose the score up a tone for my purposes into D or G, and then play it on the C/F as if it's a D/G box, giving the other members of the band the untransposed version.   You've got more of a leap for G/C, but might this work?
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Tyker

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 03:33:11 PM »

I made the move in the opposite direction , D/G to G/C. I can sight-read on DG but use tablature for the G/C .

If you use the G/C fingering on the D/G , and so transposing the tune , and you have only 2 voices on the D/G , then the tune will sound too high and alert the dogs within   10 miles.
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Graeme - North Hampshire,UK

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Alison Scott

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2011, 05:07:06 PM »

If I write the D tune out in G (ie transpose it), and play it on the D/G 'pretending it was a G/C' (in other words using the fingerings I'm already familiar with) it would come out in D. That's fine where the opportunity exists to do the transposition. But not in a sight reading situation. And obviously I'd spend a lot of time writing out tunes, even if I didn't neet to be able to sight read them (which I do).

It's perfectly possible to get the hang of reading in the new key, and it's a useful skill. I needed to learn to sight-read on C and F recorders (and I do occasionally mix them up when tired).

On melodeon, I tend only to sightread the sketch of a tune, and rely on listening to others to fill in the details; which has the benefit of making the sight-reading much easier.

Chris Cartwright

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2011, 05:24:39 PM »

Thank you all for sharing your wisdom and experience.

I guess the summary, as I feared, was 'there are no short cuts'. People have lots of different angles depending on their particular circumstances.

My question was primarily about sight reading in a band context and, as some of you have said, melodeons are a challenge to sight read on at the best of times. I think the most profitable line to pursue for me might be the suggestion about concentrating on patterns and shapes rather than actual notes, and visualising the notes shifted up/down the stave (a 5th being 2 lines). If one makes a point of always playing D, Em tunes on the D/G and G, Am tunes on the G/C then one can learn a smaller number of scale finger patterns more thoroughly and hopefully be able to relate these to what is appearing on the page. Since I often don't even try to solve for bellows direction when sight reading (one less problem) this pattern-based approach might work ok.

I'm tempted by Rees' recommendation to learn each row names by rote, but fear this is more appropriate for an along-row style. For me playing cross-row, the G row on a G/C is performing an entirely different role to the G row on a D/G so I'm not sure it would help that much.

and then there's the same problem with the bass end. Aaaaargh!

Oh well, hopefully it will seem less daunting in 6months.


Thanks again, Chris.
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Rees

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2011, 12:10:24 AM »



I'm tempted by Rees' recommendation to learn each row names by rote, but fear this is more appropriate for an along-row style. For me playing cross-row, the G row on a G/C is performing an entirely different role to the G row on a D/G so I'm not sure it would help that much.


Yes, it would seem that way but I don't find it a problem if you really know the notes well enough.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Swapping between D/G and G/C
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2011, 08:07:11 AM »

Just adding to my earlier suggestion about 'transposing instruments', as I understand it the reason that brass and woodwind music is written like this (i.e. in the 'wrong' key) is that it allows a player to have several different instruments in different keys, and to learn only one set of fingerings that will apply to all.  So a tenor sax player can switch to an alto sax (or even to some extent a flute or clarinet) and still immediately know which button to use for each note without having to relearn years of work.  This seems to me to be much the same principle as this thread about boxes in different keys - without checking through the melnet keyboard layouts in detail I'm guessing that for a quint box the relationship between notes in adjacent rows, and with the standard bass layouts, is usually pretty similar independent of the keys?  This is certainly true of my C/F Club vs a D/G.  Of course, you will get octave switches if the keys are very different, and maybe start on different buttons, but these changes are probably fairly easy to cope with? 

I would guess that Theo can get a tune out of pretty much any quint box that he gets sent in his workshop, for example?
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