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13 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

Be it cello or guitar, one major difference with the melophone would be the absence of “open strings.” Unless the internal machinery is much more sophisticated than it looks, you can’t rely on the thing to play an A (for instance) if you’re not pressing any of the buttons in the row that corresponds to an A string. This would make playing the melophone much more complicated than playing either the guitar or the cello (both of which I play).

 

6 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

Mind you, classical "strings" players would normally try to avoid playing "open strings" anyway...

 

When it comes to classical guitar, open string are a relatively constant and integral part of every performance. While not in constant use on violin, viola, and cello, open strings are always used when required by the music, such as when two, three, and four part harmony is played or hinted at.

 

David's point about the lack of "open strings" on the melophone making it more complicated is well founded. A good musical example of this that everybody has heard is the Prelude from Suite #1 for cello by J.S. Bach. Much more complicated to play on a melophone.

 

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3 hours ago, Jim2010 said:

When it comes to classical guitar, open string are a relatively constant and integral part of every performance.

 

I made no reference in my post to the the classical guitar (an instrument I used to play, but am no longer able to) which is not one of the "strings" in the orchestra - the term only implies the coventional orchestral bowed instruments.

 

Quote

While not in constant use on violin, viola, and cello, open strings are always used when required by the music, such as when two, three, and four part harmony is played or hinted at.

 

I guess I should have added a winking smiley (or an "irony alert"?) to my post, to show I was speaking "tongue-in-cheek" in reply to David, though nevertheless my statement that 'classical "strings" players would normally try to avoid playing "open strings" anyway' is irrefutably correct, as confirmed to me by my classically-trained violinist partner. It by no means rules out "double stopping" and "special effects".

 

Quote

David's point about the lack of "open strings" on the melophone making it more complicated is well founded. A good musical example of this that everybody has heard is the Prelude from Suite #1 for cello by J.S. Bach. Much more complicated to play on a melophone.

 

Not that I suppose anybody ever tried to play Bach's sublime cello suites on the melophone, he was pretty much forgotten about in the years (1840s to 1860s) the instrument was popular, but there's no feasible way you can make a free-reed instrument play exactly the same as a bowed one. It was a new instrument based on the fingering of stringed instruments.

 

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I'm sorry. My mistake. I missed the irony. Thank you for clarifying.

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2 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

I made no reference in my post to the the classical guitar (an instrument I used to play, but am no longer able to) which is not one of the "strings" in the orchestra - the term only implies the coventional orchestral bowed instruments.

 

 

I guess I should have added a winking smiley (or an "irony alert"?) to my post, to show I was speaking "tongue-in-cheek" in reply to David, though nevertheless my statement that 'classical "strings" players would normally try to avoid playing "open strings" anyway' is irrefutably correct, as confirmed to me by my classically-trained violinist partner. It by no means rules out "double stopping" and "special effects".

 

 

Not that I suppose anybody ever tried to play Bach's sublime cello suites on the melophone, he was pretty much forgotten about in the years (1840s to 1860s) the instrument was popular, but there's no feasible way you can make a free-reed instrument play exactly the same as a bowed one. It was a new instrument based on the fingering of stringed instruments.

 

You didn't say orchestral strings, you said classical strings,  which includes the guitar, lute, tromba marina, banjo etc..  "Avoiding" open strings implies a choice .

  "irrefutably correct"?  Please.....  😜

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9 hours ago, Jim2010 said:

David's point about the lack of "open strings" on the melophone making it more complicated is well founded.

 

4 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

I guess I should have added a winking smiley (or an "irony alert"?) to my post, to show I was speaking "tongue-in-cheek" in reply to David

 

1 hour ago, wunks said:

You didn't say orchestral strings, you said classical strings

 

Notice I’m staying out of this...

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1 hour ago, wunks said:

You didn't say orchestral strings, you said classical strings,  which includes the guitar, lute, tromba marina, banjo etc..  "Avoiding" open strings implies a choice .

 

Strings are what you put on stringed instruments, whilst (at least where I am) the "strings" is a shorthand for the bowed instruments section of an orchestra.

 

Classical violinists are trained to generally not use the open strings, for both tonal and tuning reasons - the latter being that, in performance, wind instruments tend to go sharp, and "strings" go flat, and the worst thing you can be is flat, so the "open strings" can sound badly flat as the violin section is forced to play higher on the fingerboard to be in tune with the wind section.

 

Can we go back to talking about melophones now? 

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To move things on, nobody has yet commented that Regondi's early concerts in Germany were reported as him playing the melophone rather than the concertina.

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On 8/7/2020 at 5:12 PM, wes williams said:

... To move things on, nobody has yet commented that Regondi's early concerts in Germany were reported as him playing the melophone rather than the concertina.

 

I hadn't mentioned because it's a fallacy Wes. What was normally meant by melophone/melophon/melofon in central Europe was the English concertina, and that continued to be the case into the first quarter of the 20th century.

 

The confusion seems to go back to the French melophone virtuoso Louis Dessane causing a stir with the then new instrument (patented 1839) on a tour of Germany, and Regondi's concertina being described in the same terms when he toured there shortly afterwards.


It's a subject that Douglas Rogers and I researched in the early '90s, and he eventully published the results of that in his 1994 articles "Giulio Regondi: Guitarist, Concertinist, or Melophonist?" in Guitar Review magazine.

 

I'll see if I can find my notes on all that when I'm back home later in the week.

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
Updated after dinner, as promised.

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