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Dutch Reversal

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A while ago, I fell in love with a 20-button instrument. But I missed having A/G reversals — so I made my own, by swapping some notes, mostly on the C row.



I later learned that this is a fairly common move on melodeons, where it's called a "Dutch reversal."


I ended up liking it a lot. To be clear, it's terrible for playing in C, and I'm sure it's bad for cross-row Irish. But it's fantastic for other styles:


  • Harmonic style in G — it's a total game-changer. Playing morris tunes in G went from being a massive pain in the neck (Jody Kruskal once very politely asked me "Why are you doing this to yourself?") to feeling totally natural.
  • Chris Droney/Frank Edgley style — it's a nice improvement. Your "home row" barely changes and your "helper row" gets a bit more helpful.
  • "House dance" octave playing — it's a nice improvement. The basic technique doesn't change, but a few tricky fingerings get better.  


One weird downside of that layout is both G3's are in the same direction. But since I was no longer using the lowest C anyway, I swapped it out and did a little more fiddling to put a push G3 and a pull G3 on the same button. So now I had a drone key, and a free space I could fill by buying a loose reed. I chose a pull E4.




In fact, I like this layout so much that I did the same swaps on my 30-button instrument. I didn't need the reversals, but it's still worth it for the improved fingerings and the way it makes harmonizing in G more convenient. So here's what I'm playing now:




Tl;dr: If you like historical Anglo styles, or if you want to play morris tunes in G and Irish tunes in D/G on the same instrument, the Dutch reversal might be for you!

Edited by Leah Velleman
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