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any ideas what to do with a melodica?

GUEST,kitandcutter 22 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM
Phil Edwards 22 Jan 09 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jan 09 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Jan 09 - 05:52 PM
Liz the Squeak 22 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Jan 09 - 06:08 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 22 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM
Jack Campin 22 Jan 09 - 08:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jan 09 - 09:42 PM
vectis 23 Jan 09 - 08:38 AM
Zen 23 Jan 09 - 08:44 AM
Brian Hoskin 23 Jan 09 - 09:14 AM
nutty 23 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM
Flash Company 23 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM
Ptarmigan 23 Jan 09 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Jan 09 - 11:29 AM
G-Force 23 Jan 09 - 11:34 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 12:29 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Jan 09 - 01:30 PM
Jack Campin 23 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,PeterC 23 Jan 09 - 01:50 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Jul 09 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM
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Subject: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,kitandcutter
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM

i got a melodica for xmas and don't know how to make it not sound like a child with a xylophone. i used to play the piano so am not totally inept with instruments. anyone know of some people that use melodicas successfully that i could listen to for inspiration?


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:20 PM

Xylophone? I would have thought if you held a note for a couple of beats it would stop sounding like a xylophone pretty much immediately.

Melodica used to be used a lot in reggae; I think there's one on the Clash's Armagideon Time. The Beta Band used it on a few tracks, too. Dunno about folk, although if your fingers are quick enough you shouldn't have too much trouble making it sound a bit like a concertina. You might want to invest in one of those squashy tubes to put in the mouthpiece, so you can have the keys flat in front of you.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM

one of my favourite instruments..

the highlight of many live gigs I've enjoyed
from Gang of 4
to the Handsome Family
and a fair bit of UK Dub Reggae...


yes.. I definitely gotta melodica and a new Boss 'Roland Space Echo' FX box


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melodica_in_music


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:36 PM

Listen to the master: Augustus Pablo


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:52 PM

I've used one for years - not so often live, of late, but on most of my albums (and always use one as a tool for explaining about notes, melody and chords at workshops).

I don't practice the accordion much these days, the angle of the keyboard is not ideal with my talons (acrylic nails), but the tube extension (does yours have one?) allows me bring the melodica to the front like a piano, and tip it slightly - which is much easier. I also made a new mouthpiece (adapted from the nozzle of a garden fountain, since you ask) which fits the lips better.

I use a lot of 'pedal' technique - holding notes down longer than necessary to get a smooth legato effect with brief drones and chords for good measure. I do sometimes play full chords, but this needs a lot of breath, so you need to develop your breathing, as any wind player or singer must.

I use quite whistle techniques on it too. You can tongue and trill notes, to achieve effects that no bellows ever could.

I used to hang out with Gang of 4 in the Fenton pub. Jon King - what a fine man (where is he now, anyone know)? Ron Sexsmith's bass player uses one as well.

Great instrument, not to be sneezed at.

Though on second thoughts.....!!

Tom


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM

Limpit has one... it makes a great book rest.

LTS


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:08 PM

Hi Tom.. I was never personal mates with Gang of 4,
just one of the minor 'players' in and around the Leeds scene
at that time..
remember our little chat here about Agony Column a couple of years ago..?

any further news about any existing recordings ???


Leeds was such a special place for folk and punk/new wave


..and melodicas

back then in the grim late 70's/early 80's..


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM

"any ideas what to do with a melodica?"

Ooh heck, LOADS, but Joe would get awful cross with me if I told you... :0)

(Well, *someone* had to say it) ;0)


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 08:59 PM

Apart from reggae, it's also been used in the accompaniments to Scottish 18th century music by David McGuinness (of Concerto Caledonia). I think he's used it both with David Greenberg the fiddler and Chris Norman the fluteplayer.

I had one once. Got rid of it. Don't like the sound.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 09:42 PM

A mate of mine plays Stranger on the Shore on one to a backing track- as part of his act. It sounds quite good to me.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: vectis
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 08:38 AM

I still use one for sessions at festivals. It's a lot lighter to carry around all day than my accordion.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Zen
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 08:44 AM

The rock/pop group The Magic Numbers use them on several numbers I seem to remember.

Zen


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 09:14 AM

I seem to remember Rees Wesson playing melodica on occasions during his stint in Edward II (and the Red Hot Polkas), so there might be some melodica playing on their album Wicked Men.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: nutty
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM

Sid Kipper plays his with the extension tube attached to a foot pedal.
He then plays it like a normal keyboard instrument which, as it is polyphonic, makes it a very useful and easily portable instrument.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Flash Company
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM

Saw one used as described by nutty by a saxophonist in a Jazz Club. Sounded unusual!
Lizzie Cornish... Oooh you are AWFUL! But I like you!

FC


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM

But then again, depends on the Melodica. My preference is the Hohner Melodica Alto, with buttons rather than keys. Hohner used to do a bass melodica - a mighty beast indeed; they crop up on ebay from time to time.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:14 AM

I would put it here!


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:29 AM

Here's an unusual variant:

Andes flute melodica

(Spot the deliberate mistake)!


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: G-Force
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 11:34 AM

One can be heard very clearly on David Bowie's 'Space Oddity', I believe.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 12:29 PM

What you hear on Space Oddity is a stylophone. But I do like that Andes Flute Melodica - in fact, when my daughter was little she had something similar from the Early Learning Centre, circa 1985, in essence a plastic pan-pipe with a keyboard giving a diatonic scale - a miniature pipe organ! Beautiful, but long gone... Must look into it.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM

169 for the Andes 25F - I think not somehow...


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM

Yes the famous solo is a stylophone (another instrument I've been using for yonks) - though there could be a melodica as well, I wouldn't put it past Tony Visconti. The original demo only had stylophone I believe, then Rick Wakeman was drafted in for the hammond parts which mirror the stylophone.

I think.

If the Andes was an octave lower I might be tempted.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 01:30 PM

yeah.. I'd dearly love to own a portative organ..
but no way will i ever be able to afford one from the early music shop

so that Andes 25F got me thinkin..


I've already got various pitch shifting & sampling gear and software..


but then I also saw the price £169 !!!


bugger..


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM

I can't find the link any more, but a few years ago I came across a website for a guy in France who did hand-made wooden-bodied melodica-like instruments with a C-system button keyboard like the treble side of a chromatic button accordion. They sounded fantastic but he was not far out of the prototype stage, only a handful of them existed, and they must have been very expensive.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 01:50 PM

You could lend it to Jim Causley


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 09:26 PM

There is a guy in the US I bought a VHS and book of with plans to make a portative organ - not at home, so can't dig it up ATM.

My suggestion that would improve the ease and speed of construction, is that he had designed the pipes to be based on real organ pipes and they were not easy to make - I suggested that simple whistle fipple pipes could replace them.


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Subject: RE: any ideas what to do with a melodica?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM

I see that the guest who started this thread never came back. Don't you love people like that?

In case anybody's interested, another use for an instrument like a melodica is to play early music. I once saw a professional musician get up on stage with a toy instrument even simpler than a melodica. He played a beautiful, solemn air from about the year 1100. The audience was spellbound.


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