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Has Anglo runed me for melodeon?


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I played button accordion off and on (mostly off) for three decades and a couple of years ago started playing Anglo. Now I'm having trouble with melodeon because the pull notes are higher than the push notes, which is opposite of what it is on the Anglo. To make playing melodeon easy again I'm afraid I'd have to abandon the Anglo for a while and then I'd have to relearn Anglo at some point. Is it just that my aged, hard-wired synapses just can't be flexible enough to deal with both systems at the same time? Anyone else have this problem and can offer suggestions?

 

Noticed typo in title - should be "ruined".

Edited by Twizzle
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It rather depends what key melodeon and what key Anglo, for the same octave. There are quite a few here play both.

Try playing an octave up or down on the concertina, for a start (depending on where you're playing at present).

 

Let us know what boxes you have, and maybe what music you want to play on the concertina, and I'm sure you'll get lots of advice!

 

PS Having seen your photo, let me guess at D/G Melodeon and D/G concertina? I'm right you will have a problem on the G row but not on the D row.

Edited by malcolmbebb
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It's not a problem - though it may be difficult to keep things straight. It will keep your brain flexible. Keep on with both.

There is great value in being forced to learn different ways of doing things.

I say this as an old guy myself ....

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I played button accordion off and on (mostly off) for three decades and a couple of years ago started playing Anglo. Now I'm having trouble with melodeon because the pull notes are higher than the push notes, which is opposite of what it is on the Anglo. To make playing melodeon easy again I'm afraid I'd have to abandon the Anglo for a while and then I'd have to relearn Anglo at some point. Is it just that my aged, hard-wired synapses just can't be flexible enough to deal with both systems at the same time? Anyone else have this problem and can offer suggestions?

 

Noticed typo in title - should be "ruined".

 

I play B/C accordion and C/G anglo concertina. For me it's a pretty easy switch. I play the B/C accordion mostly on the C row with the B row for accidentals. I can transfer that to the concertina pretty easily as the keys line up. If you play the D/G accordion and concertina then this probably means nothing to you but I figured I'd put in my two sense.

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It rather depends what key melodeon and what key Anglo, for the same octave. There are quite a few here play both.

Try playing an octave up or down on the concertina, for a start (depending on where you're playing at present).

 

Let us know what boxes you have, and maybe what music you want to play on the concertina, and I'm sure you'll get lots of advice!

 

PS Having seen your photo, let me guess at D/G Melodeon and D/G concertina? I'm right you will have a problem on the G row but not on the D row.

 

Malcolm,

I'm playing mostly Morris and English tunes mostly on the right side of the Anglo. My melodeon is an A/D and my concertinas are G/D and Bb/F. But I play everything as if it's in the same key pretty much.

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I'm just on the point of going out for a couple of days, so I'm not in a position to work out the key combinations! But I'm no spring chicken, and still at beginners stage. So suggestions:

 

1) Play different tunes on different boxes - that way, once the keystrokes are in your head and you've learnt it for that box, it doesn't matter what notes they are, they're just keystrokes. Sticking to it isn't so easy LOL

 

2) Choose the keys that you play in according to the fingering. Probably requires you to be able to move between hands, not something you have to do on a melodeon, but I don't find it too difficult. Might not work in a session, but should be doable on your own.

 

3) Persevere. I have D/G melodeon, D/G Anglo and C/G Anglo. The brain is starting to recognise that I've swapped from the C/G Anglo to the D/G and compensate for different position of the pull notes. It's not slick, but its happening.

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What you've said about the pull notes being higher than the push notes is only true for the lower octave of the melodeon. Once you move into the higher octave the reverse is true. The lower octave on the melodeon is the same fingering as the left hand on the anglo (playing up and down the row), and the higher octave is the same fingering as the concertina right hand.

 

Lots of people play both. Usually they seem to start with melodeon and then take up concertina. I did it the other way round, I began playing melodeon after many years playing anglo. So far as I can recall I never found it a problem making the switch between the two, neither do I have a problem with playing across the rows on both, even though the interval between the rows is different. However right from the beginning I thought of the melodeon as a new instrument, rather than a variation on concertina. The anglo gave me insight into push-pull playing and use of the bellows and air-button, but that's all.

 

I agree with the advice not to try to play the same tune on different boxes, at least to begin with. Practice the two instruments at different times, so you can concentrate on just one system at a time. Think of them separately, rather than trying to adapt what you've learned on melodeon to the anglo. Playing on both rows of the anglo rather than strictly up and down should also help to break fingering patterns you've become used to from melodeon.

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i played and studied b/c box for some time prior to embarking on same with anglo concertina. and i guess anglo has somewhat "ruined" me for b/c but not in the sense that there is a problem going back and forth. the issue is that with anglo, there is more phrasing and articulation choice because while on b/c box only two notes recur on both push and pull, thus giving you more choice than on a one-row melodeon, on concertina many more notes recur in this manner. and i love that choice.

 

fiddle, of course, has total choice. you can sawstroke every other note, or slur every note in a "long-bow" style. your only boundaries are the far polar ends of the wide spectrum of choice you have without going so smooth you're not within irish traditional phrasing/articulation style.

 

 

one-row melodeon and harmonica have no choice. you have to go push or pull where the tune notes fall on that row regardless of what how you want to express the tune.

 

two-row semitone bisonorics have two notes that fall in both directions, so tunes with those notes have more scope for being "long-bow" or "sawstroke" as you like, within those outer parameters in the irish style.

 

30 and 39-button concertina, while not offering the choice offered by the fiddle, has a bunch more choice than melodeon, harmonica, or two-row bisonoric box.

 

now, many irish anglo teachers don't want you to use the leeway the 30 and 39-button anglo gives you. they slap you with a ruler if you want to play "long-bow." they claim to be cross-row experts, but try to box you into the "one-row" or "sawstroke" end of the acreage. but i love the choice, and think it's the whole point of the 30 and 39-button concertina, and i am a "long-bow" type, or in pipe terms, an "open" type.

 

so i guess in that sense i'm a bit "ruined" for b/c box now. i don't like being, er, boxed in. i love the choice you get on the concertina, and am even playing CBA because it is so much fun to articulate like paddy carty or peadar o'loughlin or the smooth, flowing end of the the acreage of choice in traditional flute playing...

Edited by ceemonster
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I began with anglo, and then went to EC. I subsequently dropped EC after a few years--even though I love it and feel it's really the "perfect" instrument--and went back to anglo because playing melodeon and EC was too "cross"-intuitive for me. Melodeon and anglo, OTOH, I find complement each other easily and my intuition on both seems to be about equal--I find adjusting between the two very easy. I play loads of different instruments

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It's such an elegant size for a fully chromatic instrument--on which we can play such a wide variety of music. I always say that my "desert island three" instruments are fiddle, concertina and flute

 

I always wanted to play CBA for the same reasons--always wanted just "one" instrument on which I could do it all...actually struggled with PA for a while to this end

 

Alas, it's anglo and melodeon for me though

 

- I spent years going round and round with which instruments to play....so many choices, and compromises...this is how I arrived at my "Desert Island 3" ;)

Edited by catty
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i have been playing cba for about two years now and love it. actually, if i had realized how graspable it would be, i probably wouldn't have left PA for a long detour into bisonorics. playing cba is what has interested me in taking on a unisonoric concertina system--the idea of having a small cba-type package. i was never interested in EC or duet before embarking on cba, so it's funny that i've come to it more from wanting a small cba than from wanting a unisonoric conertina....:) hayden is perhaps the unisonoric concertina whose layout is most like cba, but i am currently leaning towards tenor EC. the investigation is ongoing...we'll see....

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I've managed to arrange on DBA most of the music I liked to play on PA -- Satie, French tunes... -- so I can manage without CBA at this point, but...there are of course some musics that sound "best" on certain instruments: fiddle for fiddle tunes; harp for harp tunes; etc. I have not found a suitable way to play zydeco and a big, polyphonic instrumental approach to blues--than with PA

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Do my C/G Anglo ruin the melodeon for me? Yes, I guess in some ways, because I blame the Anglo for no longer appreciating the limitations of the melodeon that I used to love, and I blame the Anglo for hardly ever using the bass side on the melodeon any longer. (Maybe I ought to point out that I mainly prefer to play melody style on the Anglo).

 

But I guess it's only a matter of more instrument practising and less instrument repairing... and BTW who really cares? Because CONCERTINAS RULES! ;)

Edited by Hasse
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