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Duets And Keyboard Music

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The English concertina, which has been my lucky choice, enables me to play melody with added harmony in what I use to call "interwoven" quality. I take the two sides as one larger keyboard, maybe even more as it would be the case regarding a Duet concertina, with its "overlapping" zone asf.

Another thing I believe is true is that the "interwoven quality" of the EC leads to another characteristic which (as I understand it although you'd naturally be the definitely more competent person to comment) of the EC which is both a blessing and a curse, namely, the ability to slur melody notes across hands. Would you agree?

The suspected use (or, even worse, advocating) of "slurring" crossed my mind once again. Just to obviate a misunderstanding regarding my concept of "interweaving" notes: which isn't meant to describe seamless (if not overlapping) melody playing but intertwining of melody and harmony notes combinded, made possible (and sort of natural too) due to the lack of independency between the two sides; one single consistent keyboard to be shared by eight fingers, with the harmonic significance meandering from the bass to near the bass notes to near the melody notes to the melody itself, or just filling a smaller gap between bass and melody...


Best wishes - Wofl

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Perhaps using organ arrangements rather than piano arrangements would be better on the duet. The organ works on the same "equal air pressure for all notes" principle as the concertina.


I had an interesting chat recently with a qualified Church organist - whose late husband was a concert pianist - about pianists playing the organ and organists playing the piano. Organists are typically very heavy-handed on the piano, suggesting that they don't learn to play loud and soft, as pianists do. My organist friend said that this was a false impression: an organist can balance the bass notes against the treble notes by playing the bass notes shorter. (Haven't we heard this tip many times in this forum with regard to Anglos and Duets?)


So, Wolf, it is perhaps playing style, in the sense of the fingering techniques used, that help the melody to float over the harmonies. Pianists press more gently, organists (and concertinists) press more fleetingly in the bass.


I also have a feeling (not yet empirically verified) that not every bass note will drown out every treble note. Could it be that there is a differnce between cases in which the low note is the octave of the high note in question, or the fourth or fifth below it, or some less fundamental interval? If this could be put on an empirical basis, it could be taken into account when arranging for the Duet.

Does anyone know if Bach had anything to say about this re the organ?




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Maybe the less confusing word than "interweaving" to describe the EC will be, that it is more "mono" than "stereo"?


This would be true IMO - apart from the fact that I'm talking about a certain style of playing as evoked or enabled or favoured by the consitent - and "mono" sounding" - layout...


A "stereo" Duet concertina may be played with chords on the left and melody on the right side, either leaving a huge gap in between, or even doubling notes in the zone of interlapping, or playing chords reaching beyond (or "above") the melody. The English, in my understanding, is favouring consistent harmony by spread chord (including the melody)...


Best wishes - Wolf

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you're raising interesting topics here.


First, from my experience I wouldn't say that any bass note will drown the melody, it's low intervals or even chords that are tending to have that effect. The tightest interval I usually play in the bass is an open fifth. Anything tighter will not only tend to in fact "drown" the melody notes but sound more or less messy. Major triads I would, as you say, only apply fleetingly.


Apart from that, I generally try to shorten bass notes as you're suggesting but love my occasional "mi" or leading tone sustained too. Luckily I have a very well balanced instrument for my playing... :)


As to organ and piano players, I've been both, and while the organ is requiring even more sensitivity in a way (as mentioned in your post), it would still be my guess that a mere organist will most likely lack the "anschlagskultur" (culture of touch?) of the really good pianists.


Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor
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I don't have a ton of insight to add here, but I will say that part of the whole reason I got a concertina was that I really like those small pump-harmoniums used in South Asian music. I wanted something similar, but more compact, and that let me play with both hands rather than tie one up with the pump. So in a way I got a concertina because I wanted a portable reed-organ.





I still haven't gotten very far in learning Indian harmonium melodies as I intended in this earlier thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16295

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