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Melodica footpump

Phil Edwards 08 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM
Leadfingers 08 Nov 11 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 08 Nov 11 - 09:32 PM
Jack Blandiver 09 Nov 11 - 04:19 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Nov 11 - 05:25 AM
JohnInKansas 09 Nov 11 - 03:47 PM
JHW 10 Nov 11 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Nov 11 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,strad 10 Nov 11 - 09:54 AM
GUEST 10 Nov 11 - 07:36 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Nov 11 - 04:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 11 Nov 11 - 05:07 AM
Manitas_at_home 11 Nov 11 - 07:19 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Nov 11 - 09:51 AM
Manitas_at_home 11 Nov 11 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,punkfolrocker 11 Nov 11 - 10:37 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Nov 11 - 11:01 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Nov 11 - 02:31 PM
Dave the Gnome 14 Nov 11 - 03:31 AM
vectis 14 Nov 11 - 09:02 AM
Tootler 14 Nov 11 - 05:53 PM
Greg B 14 Nov 11 - 07:09 PM
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Subject: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM

Does anyone have first-hand experience of playing melodica 'blown' with a footpump, either directly or with a bag?

I'm intrigued by this experiment, but it looks rather fiddly - I suspect if I tried it I'd end up with a dissected cork and a ventilated wine-bag.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:28 PM

Doesnt Sid Kipper play a Bagpipe Practice Chantter and a foot pump ?


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 09:32 PM

a wine bag would be plenty strong enough;
but for trad English folk
a stale bag from an indigenous cider box would make the melodica smell more appropriate..


.. and if an additional early music style rasping drone is required -

try a Whoopee Cushion.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:19 AM

What you need is a Hohner Dronique, or something similar. With keyboard instruments, the bellows has always fed a windchest rather than a bag; although we have a small ultra-portable lap-tap style Indian Harmonium that uses the reciprocal bellows more typical of a Shruti Box - Rachel's playing it HERE. Alas there are issues that make it problematic: 1) It's fiercely loud and needs careful muting. 2) As with other Indian instruments, it's several cents sharp of concert so we can't use it with the Kaossilator, which is fixed to concert. 3) The workmanship is so bad it's a miracle neither of us have suffered serious injury from the razor sharp sheet-aluminium decorations. 4) The interface between bellows & windchest needs constant attention and maintenance, which also goes with point 1) about the muting. As a result, Rachel's more or less abandoned it and now uses guitar instead, which is all part of the Folk Process I guess, but such is the potency of this unique little organ we keep it for occasional studio & session work where concert isn't an issue, and it's perfect with my Indian pocket trumpet & military-pitch clarinets which I hope to get back in touch with once my dental bridgework is completed in the new year...


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:25 AM

For a day or two I was convinced that a small Indian harmonium was going to be the keyboard of my dreams (I dream in chromatic) - it's good to hear about the drawbacks!

I've got a three-octave melodica on order; I'll soon be finding out how long I can hold a power-chord without fainting, and for that matter how long the reeds will sound (if at all) without constant air pressure. And then I'll almost certainly be experimenting with a cork, a scalpel, a footpump and an airbag...


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 03:47 PM

I don't see any real reason to mess with a foot pump, since most vacuum cleaners (at least the "cannister" kind) can be hooked up to blow instead of suck, and there are any number of other "blowers" from acquarium pumps on up to industrial style compressors.

I'm not really familiar with the Melodica, but I would expect that when you're not playing a note, the airflow is stopped completely, so your "pump" must not exceed the pressure that the valves can withstand. (Most bellows actuated instruments (accordions etc) need a relief valve to be used when you want to move the bellows without making a noise.)

A bagpipe generally has drone pipes that sound constantly, but more importantly they provide a place for the air to go so you don't make something explode when the melody pauses. I wouldn't expect the normal use of the Melodica to include drones(?).

You might need a pressure regulator or relief valve if you use a constant flow compressor big enough to supply the maximum air flow, and you'll probably want a fairly large reservoir to help with stabilizing the pressure. The little weight/pin assembly from maw's pressure cooker is a simple regulator that should be adequate, with proper sizing. You might have to bore the seat hole in the weight out some to get a little lower than the 10 psi typical for the original design.

Of course, for most mechanical compressors you'll probably want about 100 feet of hose so you can set up the compressor where it won't make too much noise at the place where you're performing; but since you'll want a battery/inverter to run the compressor in "portable mode" you should plan on a sturdy cart so that hauling the whole rig around isn't a problem and the hose won't add much to the rest of the load.

We'll definitely need some good numbers for the flow and pressure requirements for the instrument. (Don't forget to tell us about what kind of music you plan to play, so we can calculate duty cycle requirements for the compressor.)

Or, we could probably suggest something fancy.

John


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: JHW
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 07:54 AM

How about the air pumps used to aerate fish tanks?


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 08:51 AM

I think, Pip, if I understand your needs rightly, that what you really need here is a little rustic symphony-style diatonic hurdy-gurdy which anyone with the most rudimentary wood-working skills could knock out with a bit of time and patience. Something like THIS would do the job just fine. Thing is, over the last 30 years or so hurdy-gurdies have been reinvented as the reserve of virtuosos and master craftspersons, but the basic concept is simplicity itself and I feel a more folksy approach to such things is long overdue...


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 09:54 AM

In the past, Packie Manus Byrne used to play, at the same time, two whistles which had some holes cellotaped over and the whole issue connected via a bath shower hose to a airbed pump. As ever he was a joy to watch and listen to.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 07:36 PM

Another possibility is an inexpensive electronic keyboard. Even the entry level ones are not bad and usually have some decent basic voices.

I met someone at Whitby this summer who played one in sessions. It was a mini key Casio and he had it plugged into a small battery amp and played chords using the piano voice. He kept the volume down so it was audible but discreet and it made an effective contribution to the sessions.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:45 AM

anyone with the most rudimentary wood-working skills

That lets me out, then.

You're right, though - it's not a million miles away from the instrument of my dreams! The IOMD is something that

- will play a melody and a drone (at the same time)
- is not electric
- is portable
- has a range of at least two full octaves (chromatic for preference)
and
- is cheaper than the concertina I'm currently saving up for (by selling old vinyl on eBay, but that's another story)

A melodica ticks all the boxes, if only I could be sure I wasn't going to pass out playing it. (I used to busk playing the flute; half an hour at a time was plenty.) Hence the footpump query.

JohninKS - interesting point about drones. I don't think a melodica is a closed system in that way, although not having one to experiment with I can't be sure. Certainly my little Bontempi reed organ runs the fan constantly; if you don't press a key the air just escapes.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 05:07 AM

There is a pump that blows on both the up and down strke - I have only seen a hand driven version but I'm sure it could be modified to suit. Thta way the only time you lack air is when you change derection.

DtG


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 07:19 AM

You seem to be re-inventing the bagpipe.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 09:51 AM

Melodica arrived! It's a thing of great beauty, with three whole octaves of notes, all of which sound - and the wind-source doesn't make any noise at all. Proper job. Sustain is going to be an issue, though, as is the volume difference between the low and high ends of the scale - melody-over-drone sounds a bit like canary-over-HGV!

On the air pressure front, it's not set up to take constant air flow like a fan-driven reed organ, so I can imagine it might complain if I drove a lot of air into it forcibly. I suspect the constant pressure of a bag might be a better option than pumping it directly. (And there is an air button.)

Manitas - if I can reinvent the bagpipe with a £20 melodica and a wine box, I think I'll be well ahead on the deal. (I can even drink the wine!) Also, a chromatic bagpipe would be something to behold...


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 10:36 AM

I thought Northumbrian and Uillean pipes were chromatic with modern keywork?


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: GUEST,punkfolrocker
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 10:37 AM

I needed to investigate something like this when I had a fad for late 60s/early 70's fan driven 'Woolworths' plastic reed organs.
I love the sound of the 'chord' buttons, but not so much the noise of the fan constantly whirring away.

Can't remember how far I got beyond searching the Argos catalogue for cheap inflatable beach/garden/camping bellows footpumps...

In the end I decided to record the individual notes and chords
and 'denoise' them
to make up multi-sample soundsets for midi keyboards.

These days I forget just how enthusiastic I used to be for cutting edge music technology back in the late 90's...

I've not touched melodica for about 10 years, but do remember the aggressive rasping tones
I could get from forced hard blowing.

But a bit of a chore having to drain all the spit out afterwards...


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 11:01 AM

I thought Northumbrian and Uillean pipes were chromatic with modern keywork?

Really? I'll have to look into that. I love the sound of those things, too.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 02:31 PM

On the hurdy-gurdy front, I had to look twice to be sure that this wasn't Suibhne in person (it isn't). The top comment is ace - as indeed is the playing.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 03:31 AM

Stan Accrington used to play one at one time - He had a button to release all the gunk which he called the 'Barry Manilow' button. Press it and all the crap dribbled out...

:D

(Apologies to BM fans)


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: vectis
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 09:02 AM

I built an uillean melodica about five years ago using a tough plastic bag and an airbed footpump. It worked fine but the audience was in hysterics as the pump made loud farty sounds when taking in air between pumps, so make sure your pump will run silently unless you want a comedy instrument.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 05:53 PM

GUEST of 10 Nov 11 - 07:36 PM was me. I hadn't realised my Cookie had disappeared into the ether as such things are wont to do from time to time.

I believe that 17 key Northumbrian pipes are fully chromatic.

A shruti box will work with your melodica and might be more effective than messing about with foot pumps etc. It is possible to work the shruti box with your feet leaving both hands free to play the melodica or, alternatively use one hand for each if you are playing just melody on your melodica. I have used shruti box and harmonica in that way and that works fine.


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Subject: RE: Melodica footpump
From: Greg B
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 07:09 PM

Set it up with a fireplace bellows under one arm, and you'll have a poor-man's version of Irish bagpipes.


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