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Melodeon and concertina


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i hate to say it, LDT, but when are you going to cut your nails? on the melodeon it might not be a problem (an example of melodeon playing NOT helping), but i can see your tips of your fingers collapsing unbelievably every time you play a note. now, i'm not saying i have never done this, or that there are certain times in the development of technique where it can be helpful, but i wonder if you cut your nails if you would automatically straighten up your fingers a little bit.

 

think of it like the piano--no piano teacher would ever let you get away with collapsing your fingers to half the angle that you are on the concertina. on the concertina, in order to get the best control (provided you have good finger strength), you use your finger tips, not the pad of your finger. it may work well on your box now, but if you ever want to increase then speed, or try to play a metal-buttoned concertina, you will have a lot of trouble adjusting.

 

</unsolicited comment>

the playing, on the other hand, is very nice and steady.

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LDT has already explained to us that she has double-jointed fingers and this is very clearly domonstrated on her two splendid performances of ' Bobby Shaftoe'. The length of her finger nails does not now appear to be excessive but I would think that it is of far greater importance that she should have an instrument with the lightest possible touch and action to reduce her very evident finger-tip strain to an absolute minimum. She must avoid at all costs the clicking finger joints to which she has previously referred. I would have thought that any repetitive clicking of her finger joints is a warning of further trouble in store. Can anyone offer any further practical advice. I guess that her Melodeon may be exerting even greater finger-tip strain than her Concertina ?

 

Rod

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LDT has already explained to us that she has double-jointed fingers and this is very clearly domonstrated on her two splendid performances of ' Bobby Shaftoe'. The length of her finger nails does not now appear to be excessive but I would think that it is of far greater importance that she should have an instrument with the lightest possible touch and action to reduce her very evident finger-tip strain to an absolute minimum. She must avoid at all costs the clicking finger joints to which she has previously referred. I would have thought that any repetitive clicking of her finger joints is a warning of further trouble in store. Can anyone offer any further practical advice. I guess that her Melodeon may be exerting even greater finger-tip strain than her Concertina ?

 

Rod

 

thank you for explaining this to me. i still wonder if reducing the length of her fingernails may help, especially since she needs to work harder than most of the rest of us to keep her fingers from collapsing.

 

the reason i pointed it out is because i have spent the last couple weeks exactly on this problem. my fingers tend to collapse when i play, and i have finally gotten to the point where they do not collapse. now i am working on finger placement. i find that when my fingers collapsed, i always hit the buttons but found that when i was playing so my fingers did not collapse, that my fingers were not strong enough to move accurately and i actually started missing buttons with my pointer (strongest) finger in home position.

 

i have found the best way to build finger strength and prevent collapse is to hit the buttons dead on from the top, which means that the button encroaches on the joint between the finger and the nail. the reason i think the nails may be too long is that if you play on your finger tips instead of your pads (which prevents collapsing) this drives your nails straight towards the instrument.

 

i have actually gotten several new nicks on my BRAND new concertina because i kept my nails a millimeter or two too long. since i have cut them just that little bit (which was seriously no more than a millimeter or two), i have not had this problem. the action on my concertina is very high in comparison to many, and definitely in comparison to hers, and my nails are very short yet still caused a problem.

 

the only way to reduce finger collapsing is to increase finger strength. the easiest way to do this is to play in a way that does not cause them to collapse. on the piano i find there are multiple ways to attack each note that does not cause your fingers to collapse (i dont know which is "right" as far as technique goes), but i find when you use the pad of your finger instead of the tip on the concertina it will inevitably cause your finger to collapse, regardless of your finger strength. this is simply because you cannot adjust the position of your hand relevant to each button.

 

taking out my old stagi, i can use the pads of my fingers to prevent collapse if i intentionally do so, but this only works for some buttons. the inside row on the first finger is a lost cause, because of the angle the strap/palm rest cause your finger to be at--your pointer finger will automatically collapse unless the tip of the finger is used. i still have a little difficulty preventing finger collapse because even though i have my nails very short, the natural overhang of my pointer finger is too long for my stagi (again, just about a mm).

 

although i dont know what it would be like to have double jointed fingers, i would expect one would have the same problems another would have, just have to work harder to correct them. i have a friend who has double joints in his leg, and he has to lift weights to prevent his legs from bowing, yet they are the same exercises those of us with average joint movement should be doing anyways.

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i hate to say it, LDT, but when are you going to cut your nails?

I do have the cut..gotta try and get an appointment at the beauty place for a manicure but they keep locking the door (no really and there's no one on the front desk to wave at and get in.). :huh:

I do cut them but then by the time I record a video they've grown again. :blink:

 

</unsolicited comment>

the playing, on the other hand, is very nice and steady.

 

Thank you :D

 

taking out my old stagi, i can use the pads of my fingers to prevent collapse if i intentionally do so, but this only works for some buttons.

I always know when its time to cut my nails coz my nails get stuck in down the sides of the buttons. lol!

 

this is very clearly domonstrated on her two splendid performances of ' Bobby Shaftoe'.

Thanks Rod :D

Edited by LDT
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i hate to say it, LDT, but when are you going to cut your nails?

I do have the cut..gotta try and get an appointment at the beauty place for a manicure but they keep locking the door (no really and there's no one on the front desk to wave at and get in.). :huh:

 

that sounds like something from a tv show. start playing your concertina and maybe they'll come to the front door and beg you to stop. usually works for me, :rolleyes: .

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  • 1 month later...

So here's the thing....I can now play the g row on melodeon by looking at music..but can't get the D row to log in my brain....whereas on concertina I can play the C row but my brain can't grasp the G row.

I only had the C row click on concertina once I got G row on melodeon.

Weird huh? Anyone else find this?

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If you can't make the effort to explore and play the 'simple' ancestral diatonic mouth organ you have not gained the right of passage to play any other push/pull squeezy diatonic instrument. It's like launching out on pipes or a flute without first picking up a a tin whistle and serving your time! Get your gums warmed up and stop smoking!

 

 

Can't we just call it a harmonica? I was really confused what you all were talking about.

Edited by DavidFR
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Is this a fair comment ?

 

If you can't make the effort to explore and play the 'simple' ancestral diatonic mouth organ you have not gained the right of passage to play any other push/pull squeezy diatonic instrument. It's like launching out on pipes or a flute without first picking up a a tin whistle and serving your time! Get your gums warmed up and stop smoking!

No.
B)
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Is this a fair comment ?

 

If you can't make the effort to explore and play the 'simple' ancestral diatonic mouth organ you have not gained the right of passage to play any other push/pull squeezy diatonic instrument. It's like launching out on pipes or a flute without first picking up a a tin whistle and serving your time! Get your gums warmed up and stop smoking!

No.
B)

 

I agree, it's not a very fair comment.

There's not much point in using the tin whistle as a pre-stage to learning the bagpipes. That's what practice chanters are for! And the mouth organ is not "ancestral" in the sense of predating the diatonic bellows free-reeders, is it?

 

However, I must say that I am glad I messed about with a mouth organ (my father's Hohner Echo Harp in C/G) as my first introduction to music. When I finally got my first Anglo concertina, it was not a "musical Rubik's cube", as someone called it - it was an open book. I had the Richter scale hard-wired in the musical part of my brain.

(All I had to learn was how to uncouple my lungs from the concertina bellows <_< )

 

Cheers,

John

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There's not much point in using the tin whistle as a pre-stage to learning the bagpipes. That's what practice chanters are for!

Except there's no such thing as a "practice chanter" for the uilleann pipes, so the tin-whistle would be considered a pre-stage to playing them in Ireland. I remember, years ago, the maker Matt Kiernan wouldn't even sell you a practice set (bag, bellows & chanter) if you couldn't play some tunes on the tin whistle for him... :huh:

 

... the mouth organ is not "ancestral" in the sense of predating the diatonic bellows free-reeders, is it?

The mouth organ (in the strict sense, or "as we know it"), or harmonica, developed around the same time as the accordion and concertina, in the early 1830s, it didn't predate them. However, the ancestry of all three instruments can be traced back to the æolina/æolian type of primitive mouth organs (in the looser sense).

 

(All I had to learn was how to uncouple my lungs from the concertina bellows <_< )

I know a few people who have experienced that problem...

 

edited to add links

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Except there's no such thing as a "practice chanter" for the uilleann pipes, so the tin-whistle would be considered a pre-stage to playing them in Ireland.

 

Someone once told me that it's common practice in Ireland to start beginners on a tin whistle with an extra hole for the thumb cut into the back. I don't know if that's true or not?

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Except there's no such thing as a "practice chanter" for the uilleann pipes, so the tin-whistle would be considered a pre-stage to playing them in Ireland.

 

Someone once told me that it's common practice in Ireland to start beginners on a tin whistle with an extra hole for the thumb cut into the back. I don't know if that's true or not?

I can't say that I've come across that - all the pipers I know play regular tin whistles.

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...as far as I am concerned melodeons have one row.

What, Dick? Denying your British origins?

 

In any case, LDT lives in England, where the word "melodeon" most commonly denotes a 2-row button accordion with the rows in keys a fourth apart, not in Ireland (or Sweden), where many understand the word to imply that there is only one row. Her usage is correct for where she lives.

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I started on harmonica, playing straight (first position) folk medlodies. That made picking up the 2 row melodeon quite easy, and although I never got very sophisticated at crossing the rows to find alternative harmonies, at one time I was a moderately competent melodeonist.

 

When I decided I wanted a concertina, "logic" told me I wanted the fully chromatic English, but I tried both, and listened to both being played by experts, and I fell for the Anglo, despite its limitations.

 

I made a policy decision to start off as I meant to go on, crossing the rows, and finding the harmonies. I've made reasonable progress.

 

But now I can't play the melodeon to save my life!

 

The reason is that the right hand of the Anglo is similar to the top octave of the melodeon, whereas most of what I used to play on the melodeon was in the bottom octave. I find all my ins and outs are the wrong way, and I keep reaching across to the next button when I don't need to.

 

I did try to address this problem by buying a 1 row 4 stop. With the bass reeds, it is possible to play in the top octave without squeaking too much. However, the novelty soon wore off and I decided the best plan was to play the Anglo more!

 

Now the melodeon helps me with the Anglo only because it makes an ideal footrest.

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With the bass reeds, it is possible to play in the top octave without squeaking too much.

It is often adviseable on the English/Irish centered, but world wide forum, to specify that you played melodeon tuned to high d/g. And you had 2 reeds per voice. That's why you only played in bottom octave, depriving yourself of better harmonies and more cross row choices. A G/C, favored by French, is played mostly in the high end of the keyboard, and mostly on the pull. This playing does transfer to Anglo perfectly. With the only difference, that it is the Anlgo that squeaks.

We need to keep in mind, that many people, picking up either Anglo or Diatonic accordion, have no clue of what the key is, and what implication a key has on playing methods.

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...as far as I am concerned melodeons have one row.

What, Dick? Denying your British origins?

 

In any case, LDT lives in England, where the word "melodeon" most commonly denotes a 2-row button accordion with the rows in keys a fourth apart, not in Ireland (or Sweden), where many understand the word to imply that there is only one row. Her usage is correct for where she lives.

I am English ,not British,but after 20 years in Ireland I have gone native :rolleyes: :lol: :P ,it may be correct for where she lives ,but this is an international forum .

There has been some discussion of this on melodeon.net. The fact is there is no international consensus on what these boxes should be called, so it is incorrect to suggest that the Irish usage is any more, or any less, correct than the English one. In the US, "melodeon" can even mean a reed-organ. You just have to try to decide from the context exactly what is meant.

 

For that matter, there is no international consensus on what "concertina" means either.

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if we all accept language is about communication[which I assume we do]the least confusing description is to call them what they are: 2 row diatonic accordions,and 1 row diatonic accordions,it may be long winded,I suggest a useful, abbreviation would be my two di or my one di.

 

However democratic (or "correct") the language used, some people will inevitably still get confused. As most people on this forum would probably accept that melodeons can have 1, 2 or 3 rows, why not just continue to call them melodeons (prefixed by 1, 2 or 3 row if you want) and keep most people happy?

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