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Do You Play Melodeon?


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I play for the morris with a newish Hohner Compadre in GDA, it is not what I would call a heavy box and with two shoulder straps it's easy on the back. How they can knock out a box so cheaply amazes me. I also have a very potable raucous little beast in the shape of an Excelsior mini special which cost 3 times the price of the hohner. I use it in noisy sessions when the concertina is lost in the mush.

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[[[This post is about the Chemnitzer, but is the principle similar to what you're talking about?]] ha, i don't want to be cuffed for going off topic, but in tango bandoneon at least, the done thing is to play it largely on the draw, wielding the air button to push back in without sounding notes, before drawing again while playing notes. examples abound on on yt. i think what i was saying about how phrases are long even if you play bidirectionally was not specifically in the sense of your post, but more, the instrument does not loan itself to wiggling around like a one-row melodeon. it's like trying to turn around the battleship potemkin.


a truly proficient bando player would insist that good players do play bidirectionally and they do, and you do hear the bisonoric air movement.....but the phrasing is vastly more "long bow" than most bisonoric instruments, that's all i meant. compared to say, joe derrane, it is more unisonoric-sounding whether bisonoric bando players would admit this or not.... :ph34r:


i am sure that argentine players have strategies for how to play chordally in both directions, but i don't know anything about them. a famous old-school argentine bando player who did play on the out and on the in, ciriaco ortiz, was more of a melody player. a fave of mine.


interestingly and kind of weirdly, some of the unisonoric tango bando players ALSO play tango largely on the pull, ALSO using the air button to push back in without sounding notes, and then starting again on the pull while playing notes. i don't know if this is to mimic how the bisonoric bando players phrase and articulate, or if it is because "chromatic" (unisonoric) bando is ergonomically hard to grip playing complex stuff on the push. but the upshot of it is that for tango, unisonoric bando and bisonoric bando don't some wildly differeny, imho. again---whether the bisonoric bando players would admit it or not.... :ph34r:

Edited by ceemonster
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I find them easier to play standing up than concertinas.

I would love to hear more about how this is so.


I have never tried a melodeon because I did not think that my neck, shoulders and back could take it. But I do like the sound.



With two shoulder straps the thing is basically attached to your chest and your arms are free to do the work while free from having to bear the majority of the instruments weight. Yesterday I played melodeon constantly for two hours outside while standing. I love playing concertina (anglo) but find that playing standing up is difficult whatever position I try and I cant keep it up for long. I put it down to how you have to support the instrument with your hands, I always find the instrument wants to rock forwards away from me and inwards. playing sitting is fine though. And as I say the musical range of an anglo is better than that of the average 2 or even 2.5 row melodeon so I always saw it as a trade off, each with its own advantages and disadvantages which might not matter to some but might to others.


Some play melodeon with only one shoulder strap, I never really understood that.


If it would be a larger box you might experience a sour left arm as I did, mainly when playing PA, but at times with the 3-row and "club" melodeons too. However, as I play the concertina mainly in a sitting position, I can't really check one situation against the other, albeit playing EC whilst standing up for some tunes never felt similar to that accordion/melodion experience...



my melodeon is a small 8 bass one, with which I manage fine. I can see why the bigger the bass end the more work your left arm must have to do though. Hmm I will stick to the small one then! this bloke plays a melodeon with four extra bass buttons, and with one strap! Though from general session chat I have heard he does experiance back problems because of this. Which is rather in support of what you are saying.




In response to various posts about volume:


I have heard some concertinas that are louder than my melodeon. When in sessions with Chris Timson of this forum his jeffries is easily the loudest thing in the room when he really gives it a work out. But then it is a jeffries.


Melodeons tend to come with a tremolo tuning, which as I have heard was origionally done as an attempt to make louder instruments (i may be historically wrong here) but the fact of the matter is a melodeon tuned with more tremolo is generally louder. But then concertinas do get a lot of volume from being "higher pressure" instruments than melodeons, which I believe is due to their smaller bellows.


In conclusion: In my experience most melodeons are louder than concertinas but not all.

Edited by Jake of Hertford
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I play a little 1-row melodeon. I've taken a shot at playing 2-row but it didn't grab me, and I briefly owed a C#/D before realizing that I was pretty much just playing it as a 1-row in D with the occasional chromatic (which is apparently not how such things are meant to be used).


Right now I have a little 2-stop Hohner 1-row in D, for whenever I eventually get off my tail and start going back to Irish pub sessions. I also have an adorable little 1-row Chinese toy melodeon which has been re-fitted with quality Italian reeds, and re-keyed in D, by Irish Dancemaster, and it is actually a really nice piece of gear and quite compact and handy.


Despite being able to play 1-row melodeon well, I just never warmed to playing Anglo. Shameless plug, but if any fans of half-step melodeon want a fun curiosity, I have a Bastari re-reeded in C#/C kicking around Cnet's classified exchanges that I can let go very inexpensively, like "a couple of rounds at the pub" inexpensively if anyone finds the idea fun.

Edited by MatthewVanitas
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Yep, but I can trim a few bucks off since it's not moving quickly. Rather a niche item. :P


My little Hero re-reed though, that I'm holding on to. Here's a clip of me seven years back playing (melodic stuff) on it up in Newfoundland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3e7iYw7jj4

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