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Melodeon and concertina


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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.

 

But Irish button accordions, which nowadays usually have the two rows tuned a semitone apart, are chromatic, not diatonic.

 

There are lots of variations in the way the English language is used around the world, and most of the time we manage to communicate on this forum without too many misunderstandings. Usually, it is obvious from the context or the user's profile which particular local variation of the language they are likely to be using. An example which frequently crops up on here is the American usage of "alternate", whereas a Brit would say "alternative" ("alternate" having a slightly different meaning in UK English). Nevertheless we usually manage to make ourselves understood.

 

Coming back to melodeons, if you are discussing matters where the number of rows or the way they are tuned is relevant, it is usually helpful to clarify the terminology at the outset. In a discussion like this, which is comparing playing anglo with playing a button box, it doesn't matter that much and I imagine that most people (even you, Dick :) ) will understand the term "melodeon" even if it differs slightly from their own local usage.

 

Getting back to the original topic, I came to melodeon (by which I mean a 2-row quint Vienna accordion) after already playing anglo, so I found it very easy to pick up. The similarities help, but somehow the differences don't confuse. It's rather like switching between different tunings on guitar, my brain automatically makes the adjustment and knows to use the correct fingerings for that tuning.

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Ok so back to the orignal thread on learning. How Dare I

 

What would you qualify as helpful to the learning curve;

a. the seperation of Diatonic concepts from the physical medium of the concertina

b. More time in practice on Diatonic systems altogether, since you now have two?

c. none of the above ?

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So far as I was concerned, the immediate advantage was the similar fingering, at least when playing along the rows, and being already accustomed to having my two hands doing different things simultaneously.

 

On the melodeon/button accordion/diatonic accordion/organetto/whatever there is the advantage that the left-hand chords are pre-formed, so all you have to do is hit the buttons without worrying about individual notes, and this can help to build up a sense of rhythm and an awareness of what the chords should sound like, which can be transferred to the anglo.

 

However, I think you can get some benefit from playing any other instrument, even one that is not closely related. You will inevitably reach a plateau at times when your playing doesn't seem to be progressing, and this can be frustrating. When this happens, I often find that concentrating on another instrument for a while will allow me to make progress on that one - when I later come back to the concertina I am refreshed and ready to make more progress. And ideas which you are exploring on one instrument can often be adapted to another, or will at least inspire new ideas.

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However, I think you can get some benefit from playing any other instrument, even one that is not closely related. You will inevitably reach a plateau at times when your playing doesn't seem to be progressing, and this can be frustrating. When this happens, I often find that concentrating on another instrument for a while will allow me to make progress on that one - when I later come back to the concertina I am refreshed and ready to make more progress. And ideas which you are exploring on one instrument can often be adapted to another, or will at least inspire new ideas.

 

I absolutely agree!

 

Most of my music is improvised over familiar melodies. And improvisation tends to be influenced by the instument you're doing it on.

Some instruments have ready-made chords, like accordions and autoharps. Some are very melodic and chromatic, like mandolins and duet concertinas. Some have easy and difficult keys, like guitars, banjos and Anglos. So the improvised arrangement of a given tune will be quite different on each, because each suggests a different treatment. So when something sounds neat on, say, the guitar, you can try it on, say, the Anglo, and you'll find that you have to do things that would never have occurred to you with the Anglo in your hands - but often you can find a way to get there. This keeps you as an arranger from becoming a slave to one instrument.

 

One of my favourite methods of "composition" is to develop the melody on the mandolin (fully chromatic, easy to play scales on) and harmonise it on the autoharp (ready-made chords that you can try out in quick succession until you find the right one). I can then take it to the Crane duet or Anglo, put melody and chords together, and then start optimising.

 

This probably does not apply if you play exclusively from sheet music scored for your instrument.

 

Cheers,

John

 

(Edited for typo)

Edited by Anglo-Irishman
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What would you qualify as helpful to the learning curve;

a. the seperation of Diatonic concepts from the physical medium of the concertina

b. More time in practice on Diatonic systems altogether, since you now have two?

c. none of the above ?

You left out

b½. both of the above (a. and b.)
;)
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This keeps you as an arranger from becoming a slave to one instrument.

Which is relevant to anyone who fancies themself an "arranger".

 

Is it relevant to someone who is really just trying to learn to play a particular instrument... or two?

Maybe.

If you're simply trying to teach yourself, it might lead you to discover possibilities you hadn't thought of on your own. (LDT, does that apply to you?)

 

But if you're trying to learn to play a particular style, as some of our Irish-oriented members seem to desire, then it could lead you "astray".

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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.

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.

Actually, that isn't the Irish "definition" of a melodeon, which is more specific than "1 row diatonic accordion" - though the name may sometimes be used more loosely like that. It's a subject that got aired in this thread only a few days ago.

 

For that matter (speaking historically), though the single-row was commonest (read cheapest!), plenty of old melodeons had two rows, including the first B/C's, and I have pictures of a five-row one. :blink:

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Actually, that isn't the Irish "definition" of a melodeon, which is more specific than "1 row diatonic accordion" - though the name may sometimes be used more loosely like that. It's a subject that got aired in this thread only a few days ago.
according to Comhaltas competitions it is.and whether you like it or not,it has made it become popular usage. :P

Dick,

 

I'm puzzled by your reply, and at why you're sticking your tongue out at me - did you follow my link to the other thread? There I mentioned Bobby Gardiner telling me someone was recently disqualified from an All-Ireland Melodeon Competition for playing a single-row diatonic accordion, instead of what a Comhaltas adjudicator, or Bobby, or I would "define" (in the strict sense) as a ten-key melodeon... :huh:

 

But I also conceded, in the text you've quoted, that not everyone in Ireland makes a distinction between them. Maybe you've misunderstood something? :unsure:

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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There has been some discussion of this on melodeon.net.

Has anyone there suggested they change the name of the forum? :unsure:

jolly good idea, Jim,away with melodeons, :lol: bring in diatonic accordions

Actually, isn't the one-row bisonoric box -- what you're calling a "melodeon" -- the only truly "diatonic" accordion? With more than one row, you always have at least one accidental, so though not fully chromatic, it's also not limited to a purely "diatonic" scale. B)

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... away with melodeons, :lol: bring in diatonic accordions

And here's me, recently been all the way to Louisiana to buy myself a new melodeon! :(

 

P10304302.jpg

 

Looks nice Stephen.

 

Did mine smite you?

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P10304302.jpg

looks like a lovely GADGET

Dick,

 

I posted the picture mainly to clarify what is properly termed a "melodeon" in Ireland, or for Comhaltas competitions - you get a lot of "bang for your buck" with a good Louisiana one, and that's only the plain version (which I'd prefer), the fancy one (figured exotic timbers and more inlay) costs an extra $500, but it doesn't sound any better...

 

But isn't gadget a bit of a dismissive term to use for somebody's instrument? ponder2.gif

 

GADGET - a small technological object (such as a device or an appliance) that has a particular function, but is often thought of as a novelty. Gadgets are invariably considered to be more unusually or cleverly designed than normal technological objects at the time of their invention. Gadgets are sometimes also referred to as gizmos.

I don't know about it being "thought of as a novelty", but it certainly does have "a particular function" - in that there's nothing better for bringing a smile to people's faces, or getting them up dancing! :D

 

what a good excuse for going to Louisana,Im off to louisana to see my susianna ... I hope you met some nice susiannas

Actually, if you must know, I really went to Louisiana "my CarolAnn for to see", not any Susann(ah)s, and I didn't have a banjo on my knee either! :lol:

 

But, seeing that it wasn't possible to bring her home with me, I had to make do with a new melodeon instead... :(

 

Mind you, I also went at the invitation of some French friends who've bought a house there, and to visit Dan Worrall in Texas. I got to hear some great music along the way, including New Orleans and Hot Club jazz, blues, klezmer, reggae, old timey, honky-tonk, cajun and western swing, and managed to avoid going into any "Irish" pubs too, despite the best efforts of many well-meaning people that I met... :rolleyes:

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Looks nice Stephen.

 

Did mine smite you?

Chas,

 

I really enjoyed having a few tunes on the lovely C melodeon you made (on the course in Stowmarket) when we were both at the SSI, but I wasn't as smitten as I am with my "new baby" - being in D, with a good bit of tremolo, she really "kicks ass"! :D

 

Mind you, the guy that made her has had a bit more practice at it too - Marc has only been building them since 1960! ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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