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Author Topic: accompanying  (Read 4084 times)

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Peter G

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accompanying
« on: September 09, 2008, 02:51:33 PM »

Hi all
Anyone any tips for playing accompaniment to singing?
I imagine it involves chords which are a bit beyond me at this stage?
 :) :-\
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george garside

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 03:25:21 PM »

Hi all
Anyone any tips for playing accompaniment to singing?
I imagine it involves chords which are a bit beyond me at this stage?
 :) :-\

the first thing to do is to learn to play quietly and delicately  making full use of the dynamic qualities of the box.so you dont drown out the singer - remember the singer is the artist and you are the accompanist -

Make sure you are not 'pushing' the singer & be careful to follow the singers phrasing of the song/tune.  This is done by careful observation of the singer so that you can anticipate the beginning & end of pauses etc.  I would not normally use the base when accompanying 1 or 2 singers.

as to whether you play just the melody, melody + chords or just righ thand chords is up to discussion with the singer  to ;find out what he or she prefers &  perhaps a little trail & error.  Putting  a few  right hand chords into the melody can sound good provided  you are quieter than the singer!  don't forget that on the push any combination of buttons harmonises & on the pull nearly all do also playing 'octaves' 4 apart on push & 5 apart on pull.

on the other hand  if you are accompanying a pub full of drunken persons just get on with the tune & hope for the best as with a bit of luck they will follow you!

self accompanyment I know nothing at all about  as  I find it difficult to speak let alone sing when playing.

hope this of some help
george
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Dazbo

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 03:53:19 PM »

I believe (although I'm quite prepared to be proved wrong) that John Kirkpatrick advises not to play the tune when the singer is singing it.
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Darren

george garside

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 03:59:45 PM »

I believe (although I'm quite prepared to be proved wrong) that John Kirkpatrick advises not to play the tune when the singer is singing it.

I too have heard this but it may possibly be more in respect of self accompanyment

george
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Lester

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 05:55:29 PM »

I believe (although I'm quite prepared to be proved wrong) that John Kirkpatrick advises not to play the tune when the singer is singing it.
Exactly the advice he gave at a c******ina workshop I attended. He was quite vehement on this point.

Falseknight

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 06:44:42 PM »

Interestingly, Martin Carthy (with whom he worked extensively) said, "Play the tune".
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Tyker

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 08:28:17 PM »

I have found just using the air button the best policy
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Nick Hudis

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 09:48:48 PM »

Though I am just a sprog melodeon player, I've accompanying singers for nigh on thirty years on strings and keyboards.

I think  that its really important to know the song (words and music) though and through even if someone else is singing it.

There are really three factors:  The shape of the song, the scope of your musical imagination and your technical proficiency on the instrument.  It is best to stay well within your capabilities.

Best thing to do is to play the tune over and over and let the the accompaniment sort of emerge.

Apart from chords, you can just play tune.  In the British folk revival scene this is probably the most common style of accompaniment. ( I think John K is the exception (and a very effective one) rather than the rule) There is enormous scope for subtle rhythmic or melodic  variation and nuance why nor going very far from the tune.  Bits of harmony, counter melody, drones etc can sort of slot in around the tune although as a general rule, less is more.

There are some nice simple melodeon accompaniments on John Goodluck's old album of Suffolk Songs "Speed the Plough" now available as a CD.  The box player ( I think its Chris Pakinson) is mainly playing the tune  but with a rhythmic kick to it.  Shows how you don't need to do anything elaborate to be effective.

The only traditional singer in England I know of who accompanied himself on the box was of course the wonderful Bob Roberts who played a wheezy, out of tune Erica ( how it survived on his barge I don't know).  Bob usually just played the tune with the odd bit of bass.  It its context it works very well.  You can here bits on him on various Topic albums.  his LPs are unobtainable.  My copies are some of my most treasured possessions.



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Nick

Nick Hudis

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 11:15:53 PM »

forgot to say, there was some really clear advice on song accompaniment by Squeezy himself on an old Spiers and Bonden forum.  Can't track it down now, but maybe someone else remembers where it was an can post a link.  Anyway Maestro Bonden is someone whose advice I'd take seriously.
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Nick

Nick Hudis

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 10:40:59 AM »

Found the link.  this is what Mr Boden says:

"Especially if you're accompanying yourself - it's best to keep it simple as the melodeon is such a strident instrument that it's often off-putting to the song if you play the way you would for, say, a dance tune.

For slower songs - block chords can provide a backdrop wash that the song sits on top of.  Use the right hand to make more complex chords than the left hand alone and you can intersperse the RH chords with little trills, bits of the song tune etc. (You can find diagrams of lots of right hand chords for the D/G at www.melodeon.net
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Nick

finnhorse

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 03:05:27 PM »

Bernard Loffet accompanies himself singing on his youtube page.  It's in a French and a wholly different style of music but if you're starting from scratch, I think anything might be helpful:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=berldiato

I have four John Kirkpatrick CD's which include him singing over the box, and I listen to those extensively.  My own philosophy is that if I want to learn something, then I watch and listen to others doing it as much as I can and then attempt it myself.  Shortly after getting my box many of the first tunes that I learned were old broadside ballads.  They were the melodies I know very well.  First I doped out the melodies to learn where the chord elements were, and then put a bass rhythm to them.  While singing (and I do like to sing), I vamp the chords (or half-chords) in time while playing melody in between verses at intervals.  It was easier than I thought, and many were in 3/4 time which for me is somehow much more intuitive than 4/4.  You don't always have to play whole chords, and you can cross the rows to play the same note on two buttons for a stereo effect, etc.  Just play around with it and it's all under your fingers.

I'm starting to 'translate' more of what I know from the concertina now, but I still have to play the simple melodies in order to continue training my left hand.   
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Matthew B

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2008, 03:28:17 PM »

Another interesting approach is used by Brian Peters.  On his CD "Beast in the Box" there's a great old song Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy, which he accompanies using mostly left hand chords without thirds, and what I suspect are a few bass notes to drone away in the background.  In the gaps between the lines of the song he throws in a bit of decoration with the right hand.  The overall effect is great, and was a revelation to me when I first heard it. 
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brianleach

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008, 03:49:34 PM »

this is what Mr Boden says

Just to put the records straight it was actually Mr Spiers.

Brian
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Nick Hudis

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2008, 06:11:20 PM »

Quote
this is what Mr Boden says

Just to put the records straight it was actually Mr Spiers.

Brian

apologies to Mr S and Mr B for mispellings and mix ups.  Was having a bad dyslexia day.

Nick
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Nick

Peter G

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Re: accompanying
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 11:53:23 AM »

Thanks everyone for this advice. For my own amusement (and occasionally for a gathering of friends) I have sung the odd song or two, bashing out a few chords on the guitar  :P , which I never really progressed with. My intention is to get much further with the 'box' so will revisit the songs sometime. Lots of ideas there and as usual the licence to experiment.
Thanks  :)
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