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Let's Talk Accordions!

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GUEST,Sluefoot Sue 02 Aug 00 - 09:57 PM
alison 02 Aug 00 - 10:40 PM
CarolC 02 Aug 00 - 10:44 PM
GUEST, Banjo Johnny 02 Aug 00 - 11:04 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Aug 00 - 11:26 PM
GUEST,Hutzul 03 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM
GUEST,Hutzul 03 Aug 00 - 12:40 AM
Liz the Squeak 03 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM
Gypsy 03 Aug 00 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Owlkat 03 Aug 00 - 01:55 AM
Jon Freeman 03 Aug 00 - 02:00 AM
CarolC 03 Aug 00 - 02:29 AM
Bob Bolton 03 Aug 00 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Russ 03 Aug 00 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Sluefoot Sue 03 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM
Wincing Devil 03 Aug 00 - 12:38 PM
Wesley S 03 Aug 00 - 12:42 PM
GUEST, Banjo Johnny 03 Aug 00 - 01:36 PM
GUEST 03 Aug 00 - 02:03 PM
oggie 03 Aug 00 - 02:17 PM
Peter T. 03 Aug 00 - 02:34 PM
Bernard 03 Aug 00 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Hutzul 03 Aug 00 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Hutzul 03 Aug 00 - 03:07 PM
Jon Freeman 03 Aug 00 - 03:55 PM
Liz the Squeak 03 Aug 00 - 03:57 PM
CarolC 03 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM
Bob Bolton 04 Aug 00 - 02:14 AM
alison 04 Aug 00 - 09:28 AM
oggie 04 Aug 00 - 01:29 PM
Bernard 04 Aug 00 - 02:13 PM
Gypsy 04 Aug 00 - 11:42 PM
Little Hawk 05 Aug 00 - 12:17 AM
Bob Bolton 05 Aug 00 - 12:24 AM
CarolC 05 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Owlkat 05 Aug 00 - 02:29 AM
Roger in Sheffield 05 Aug 00 - 03:46 AM
CarolC 05 Aug 00 - 06:17 AM
Jon Freeman 05 Aug 00 - 06:29 AM
CarolC 05 Aug 00 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,fd weir 05 Aug 00 - 08:28 PM
CarolC 05 Aug 00 - 10:30 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 Aug 00 - 04:44 AM
harpgirl 25 Aug 00 - 12:09 AM
Skipjack K8 25 Aug 00 - 05:46 AM
CarolC 25 Aug 00 - 06:13 AM
Skipjack K8 25 Aug 00 - 06:30 AM
buttonbox 09 Dec 04 - 04:19 AM
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Subject: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Sluefoot Sue
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 09:57 PM

I'm in the market for an accordion. But I don't know much. What kind for cajun music? Old or new? What different qualities do the various instruments have? I like cowboy music as well. SluS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: alison
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 10:40 PM

Sue,

get one you can handle... it's all very well getting the sort that has all the special buttons and effects but if you can't lift it without a degree in weight liting it's not good for you....

I play smaller ones so as I can see over the top of them!!

one of mine is a kids Hohner, which is great if I am standing up playing on stage for any length of time. I have a bigger Scandalli which has a great sound.. but is heavier, much better for sitting down playing.... have fun

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 10:44 PM

Sue,

The House of Musical Traditions has a lot of really good information about buying accordions on its website. The web address is www.hmtrad.com Good luck, and don't let the accordion jokes get you down.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 11:04 PM

Accordion joke: It's the Law: USE AN ACCORDION, GO TO JAIL!

I'm with Alison on this one. I used to have a full sized job but I never got very good on it. It was like strapping on the front end of a Chrysler, so I never felt much like practising with it.

So now I have a little one with two octaves on the right and 12 buttons on the left. That is, 6 bass and 6 chords. All the chords are major, but I can get 3 minor chords out of them as well. This is plenty for folk music. Moreover I enjoy playing it, and even practising!

For cajun you would need a special kind. I have seen them with buttons and I think they probably have special reeds because they sound different (and louder).

Good luck with your squeezebox. == Johnny in OKC


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 11:26 PM

G'day Sue,

If you really want to do traditional Cajun, you should use a single row button accordion (or melodeon) with 4 old fashioned pull up couplers and some degree of distinctive voicing ... this does push you towards the particular rythms and 'accent' of the music. There are manufacturers in the Cajun area who either make from scratch or modify standard instruments. Specialised instruments always cost more than run of the mill types.

However, if you already play an instrument and know what sound you want, you ought to be able to come close with practice and perserverance. I know piano accordions do appear in Cajun - and far more commonly in Zydeco.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Hutzul
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM

Don't forget the main difference in accordians, chromatic or diatonic.

A piano accordian plays like, well, a piano. Bellows pushed or pulled doesn't change the note. Sharps and flats are available.

Buttonboxes generally have a different note on the push and the pull. (4 buttons give you an 8 note scale) Bass buttons are chords. Each row of treble is a specific key.

Then there's the concertina. Octagon shape or square. I think these have treble notes that alternate from right hand to left.

My favorite is my little 2 row Hohner from Germany. Light weight and easy to learn. Very versatile for Folk, tango, Cajun, Eastern Europe, etc. music. Mine was available in the Sears catalog in 1957 for about $75. Any my Dad couldn't believe they had gone up that much in price since he bought his!


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Hutzul
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:40 AM

Afterthought:

I recently used the term "Squeezebox" while conversing with a Cajun player. He told me that was considered a vulgar term in Lu'siana. But I had always heard that term in mixed company.

OK Catter's vent your purient opinions.

PS The CD set "Planet Squeezebox" is a must for fun accordian around the cultures.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM

SO has collectively 8 melodeons and piano accordions (including something laughingly called an electric accordion - looks like an accordion with the bellows taken out, and replaced by a shoe box), but he only actually ever plays 2. Pick the one that you feel comfortable holding, one that has changeable straps (we have one that is practically useless because the strap broke close to the box, but they are riveted to the damn thing, we can't remove them to fix it.....) and one that you like the look and sound of. And remember, just because you have three rows, you don't have to play all three....

Incidentally, there is a German company that makes miniature ones for children, only one row, but a really big sound. Small enough to fit in the average back pack and still leave room for a change of clothing. They are a jolly red and blue, and are very good value. If nothing else, they are a great introduction for those with weak wrists or backs, or who don't like to advertise the fact that they play the things.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Gypsy
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:07 AM

Piano, or button accordian? Piano is easier, but you need to be rather strong to play, they are HEAVY! Button boxes are considerably lighter, but take more coordination. Best bet: borrow, or rent for a couple of weeks, to find what works for you. In any case, when you go for the investment, buy really good, cushy straps. Makes a world of difference.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Owlkat
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:55 AM

Hi, I play a 12 button bass kids sized piano accordion. It's comfy, and sounds okay too. The big score, for me, would be a kids size 24 button bass, with voicing keys on the piano side. The big Chrysler sized ones are easy to find but brutal to gig with if you aren't sitting down the whole time. They do tend to have better tone though. Pricewise, you can find unbelievable deals at garage sales. Pawnshops are tending to price them high, now that more people are using them, and looking for good used ones Buying advice would be, for a starter, check the bellows. Make sure they aren't leaking air. Check all the keys to make sure they aren't horribly out of pitch, and that they sound the same pushing as pulling. Check the straps to see if they'll hold up. Here's another accordion/banjo joke. The definition of perfect pitch is heaving your banjo into a garbage dump, and hitting an accordion on the way in. Ciaou. Owl.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:00 AM

In addition to what Bob Bolton has said, I have a strong feeling that cajun is normally played on a "pull" scale rather than the usual scale, eg. a C tuned melodeon would be used to play in G.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:29 AM

Just one cautionary note to add to what Owlkat had to say. Wendy Morrison, the House of Musical Traditions resident accordion expert warns (on the HMT website) about some of the pitfalls of buying used accordions. She says you can sink a lot of money into an instrument you can't use if you don't know what to look for.

My accordion was, quite literally, bought from a guy selling stuff from the back of a van by the side of the road. My friend who bought if for me though he'd gotten a helluva deal. It turns out he paid just about what the instrument was worth because it's about twenty years old and the wax that holds the reeds in place has become brittle and needs to be replaced. Consequently, I get an annoying buzzing sound when I play some of the notes and chords. I understand that having an accordion rewaxed can be pretty expensive, maybe even more than what the instrument cost in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:25 AM

G'day again Sue,

I've just glanced down the answers and it occurs to me that I need to expand on what I said earlier.

The real Cajun box is a very limited device - it only has one diatonic scale (let's say key of 'C') and can only play this key and its related scales (strictly, modes) A minor, D minor (dorian) and G (myxolydian?). On top of that, it only has two sets of basses and bass chords - C and G.

That said ... the Cajun music turns these limitations into real strengths. Good players learn all sorts of tricks and work-rounds and let the rugged strengths of the system drive a really dynamic music with a strong regional accent. I don't play this style myself, but I enjoy it greatly and I see how many parallels there are to my own core interest of playing Australian traditional styles, which come out of a 19th century tradiitional driven by the push-pull instruments: Melodeon and Anglo concertina.

If you just want to enjoy Cajun tunes as part of a wider interest in all types of music, you will be attracted to a versatile instrument like piano accordion and probably be quite happy with the result. If you want to really get to the heart and soul of Cajun music, you will want to use the single (and simple) instrument that has, paradoxically, added very complex layers to a traditional that was originally rooted in the fiddle styles of Arcadia; French Canada.

It is a far more complex choice than it appears on the surface.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 10:30 AM

Larry Miller and Mark Savoy build great Cajun accordions. Can't go wrong with either. Check out: http://leebenoit.com/boncajun/ http://www.highplainsmusic.com/page2.html Mark doesn't have a home page.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Sluefoot Sue
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM

What wonderful information. But I have a lot of questions. What songs do you regularly play on the accordion , Alsion?
Where is the Scandalli made?

Johnny , what songs do you play? What do the reeds do?

Bob, what does the coupler do and what makes the voicing distinguished on a melodeon? Why does it push you towards a type of music like cajun or Zydeco?

Hutzel, is your favoirte diatonic or chromatic? How can I tell what I am getting in this aspect? What songs do you play?

What type is yours Owlkat?What songs do you play?

Jon, what is a pull scale?

Liz who is SO?

Gypsy, do you play one of those you mentioned?

Carol C, what songs do you play? any cajun tunes? ever played on hearme?

Bob, where can I find a used cajun box? Any ideas or should I check the website that Russ mentions?
Russ, what do you play?

Thanks in adavance for answers!!! And , sorry I have so many questions, but in my neck of the woods, not too many folks have answers to such questions...SlueS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:38 PM

My input on the matter:

Squeeze here

Wincing_Devil
Adopt a Sphynx: Think of all the money you'll save on Furrball remedies!


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Wesley S
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:42 PM

My question is - whats the difference between the button accordions that Celtic and Cajun musicians play ?? Or are they the same ??


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:36 PM

Hi Sluefoot Sue! What songs do I play? A little of this, a little of that. I use it to accompany my singing, and to trade off banjo when there are other banjo players around. I like chanteys, Irish, Italian, and other world styles. At the folk club, I do "Easy Tunes" to encourage beginners and children to play along, and visitors to sing such chestnuts as Home on the Range, Dixie, and What A Friend.

The reeds are the little metal blades that vibrate to make the sound. There are two reeds for each note: one for push and one for pull. For some reason they are called reeds, but they are metal, not cane, thanks to mercy. I -hate- cane reeds; I gave up the pipes 'cause I was sick of screwing around with cane reeds that wouldn't play. I think the usual accordion reeds are brass; the Cajun box reeds might be steel.

Speaking of the pipes, the highland pipe plays a "pull" scale, touching on another question. It is the mixolydian mode, which is like a major scale with flatted seventh. (In C major, play B-flat instead of B.) This scale is familiar in "Celtic" and other cultures.

Accordions are used around the world. (For tango, you really need a special "bandoneon".) For general purpose, I'd agree on starting with a piano-accordion.

The brilliant thing about accordion is that you have melody, harmony, and bass all at your fingertips, in a box that you can carry around, and doesn't have to be plugged in. Plus, you can sing along! Can't think of another instrument that gives you so much!

If the Nation is going to accept Cajun cooking as edible, the people in Louisiana might as well get used to the term Squeezebox -- they go together like jambolaya and Jolie Blonde.

A question for you: what "neck of the woods" are you in?

== Johnny in Oklahoma City


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:03 PM

There is only one problem in geting a melodian in cajun tuning that is the tuning sounds good for that music.A reasonable accordian can give you the ability to change your style as you progress. I guess what I am realy saying music is a very wide field enjoy having a go at playing it all,then if you are stil in love with the cajun sound specialise. Keith


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: oggie
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:17 PM

Irish button accordions are typically 2 row B/C or C/C# effectively mimicing the white and black notes of a piano. If you buy one make sure that the bass has been retuned to G/D so you can play the bass in those keys. There is a Paolo Sopranni brute that is 3 row, 11 couplers in B/C/C# that has a full 120 bass end (similar to the one Jimmy Shand plays) but it's hell to play.

Melodeons (and I own up, I play one) are usually some combination of G/D/A or C/F. I could never get the hang of the piano accordian bass and I find this more limited bass (8 or 12 buttons) ideal. More limited in some respects than a piano accordian the push/pull operation makes it a very punchy instrument for dance (or Cajun) and it's light enough to carry round!

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:34 PM

You should try a search here on Concertinas and Accordion threads. There have been some very informative ones, with links to other sites and everything. Just type in concertina (and/or accordion) into the Forum search (pull down the Quick Links at the top of this page, or go back to the Main page and do the same. You will be surprised at how much there is!! yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:38 PM

Someone is confused between button accordions and melodeons!

Button accordions, as played by Jimmy Shand are typically three row or five row chromatic (same note both ways), not diatonic (push-pull) like the melodeon.

The right hand buttons play diagonally in semitones, the three row being more awkward to play in some keys. The five row is really a three row with two of the rows duplicated for ease of playing. The left hand is as piano accordion, excepting that 96 bass is usually the most you'll get (though someone else probably knows differently!).

However, John Kirkpatrick put a spanner in the works by combining a three row melodeon with an accordion bass, so that it became a diatonic button accordion...

Most accordion, melodeon and concertina reeds are steel, only older/cheaper ones have bell metal reeds (like harmonicas). The better quality accordions and melodeons ones have two reeds (push and pull) per reedplate, cheaper ones are made like harmonicas with all the reeds on the same plate (a bugger to repair!).

If you've got an older box with leather valves (the flaps on the reedplates of lower notes), it's worth changing them for the more reliable modern plastic ones. You'll be amazed at how much 'tighter' the box plays - particularly important for melodeons.

My box is a 30 year old Hohner Musette IV 120 bass made in Switzerland, which I've had from new. If anyone wants to hear it, I can send you an mp3 file of a tune - it's an amazingly 'mellow' (what on earth does that really mean?!!) sound...


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Hutzul
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:00 PM


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Hutzul
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:07 PM

Lots of this info is getting way over my head. I just play my 2 row Hohner, 'cause that's what my father and my great uncle played and that's what was around the house.

Also, no one else I knew or played for had seen one before, so I was the best player they ever heard!

Bottom line for me is play happy, play loud and sing out.

Note: While he may be too comercial for some,Doug "Ragin' Cajun" Kershaw plays the Hohner 2 row diatonic. So I guess it's just what you make of it. Or how "pure" to the tradition you need to be.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:55 PM

Sue, With diatonic melodeons, it is usual to play a G row in G, etc and the root note starts with a push of the bellows. Cajun players tend to play in a different scale than the tuneing of the box and the scale starts on a pull note (as with a blues harmonica player). As far as I understand it, this affects the way the tune is accented.

Further details on different types of melodeons can be found at http://www.hobgoblin.com/faqmelo.htm.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:57 PM

SO = significant other - Paul in this case, used to play with a group called Les Lapins - pronounce it how you will, one is french for the rabbits, the other is a plumber in Northants.... He is merde chaud on the melodeon/accordion/button melodeon, call it what you will, there are collectively around 10 of the damned things playable and unplayable in the house. But don't tell him I said that, I have a reputation as a melodeon hater to keep up!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM

Sue-

Unfortunately, I'm not equipped electronically to participate in the hearme things, nor to listen to any of the music on the midi-pages (I assume that's what they are for, I haven't figured everything out here at the Mudcat yet.)

So far, I've been playing music out of the books that people around here play out of, mostly dance music. The books I have right now are The Waltz Books (I, and II) collected and edited by Bill Matthiesen, the Ruffwater Fakebook edited by Judi Morningstar, and the Portland Collection by Susan Songer and Clyde Curley. I also love some of the music from Finland and I've been bothering everybody around here trying to find some continental European music. I've been told that what I'm looking for is called "Style (pronounced steel) Musette". I haven't found any sources for this type of music yet.

For some reason, I find that I don't have the mental or physical agility to play the faster styles of music like Cajun or Irish.

I hope you can find some people in your area to play with. If not, you might want to get an accordion that allows you to play both the melody and the accompaniment (such as a piano accordion with a pretty good number of buttons on the left side). I mostly play by myself right now because piano accordions are considered disreputable around here. I still have a lot of fun just by myself, though.

Liz the Squeak-

I think you should send me some of your SO's button accordions/melodeons when he's not looking. Maybe then I could play music with some respectable people.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 02:14 AM

G'day again Sue,

I didn't see Alison answer about Scandalli - This is a well-known Italian maker. They do both piano accordion and various button accordions, both the European same note both ways chromatics and the different note push or pull diatonics (those pitched in one, or a set of, specific keys).

The couplers on a Cajun accordion are really "stops" as they are not 'coupled' together. There are usuallu 4 sets of reeds, in slightly different pitch (tremolo) or different octaves. Pulling up the stops engages the combination that you want.

I donm't think the particular voicing is particularly arcane. I think it is a bit 'dry' (the opposite to the clich‚ French 'musette' sound. It just suits their style and doesn't distract you with other sounds. This is the perennial balancing act with accordions - specialise or be eclectic.

Jon gave an explanation of the 'pull' scale above. This is what I referred to as the Myxolydian mode. It is a different arrangement of the seven notes of the diatonic scale. The normal minor key is a mode: Aeolian. The Dorian is another 'folky' minor mode, starting on another key (eg: D in a C scale instead of A for normal minor). Myxolydian is a more major variation (starting at G in a C scale) found often im Scots and other Celtic music but also as the "Blues Scale" ... and in Cajun.

I can't help you find a used Cajun box as I an in Sydney, Australia (except next month, when I retreat for the duration of the Olympics ... and come back in October to try and pick up the pieces!). I have friends that play in Cajun styles but they have not found it easy to get authentic boxes here.

I play Australian music - sticking to what has been collected from old time palyers and so it has come here in the 19th century, survived here, been adapted to local custom and usage and fitted in with changes and preferences in instrument ... and become Australian. I also play a wider range of folk styles, but my groupd <>Backblocks concentartes on an ustralian repertoire of (roughly) the 19th century, played on appropriate instruments. This doesn't mean that everyone else as to play this way - it just helps understand the idiom of the day.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: alison
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 09:28 AM

thanks Bob

yep my Scandalli is Italian.

I play everything on them from traditional Irish through to ABBA....... did YMCA with a fiddle, guitar and accordion... sounded great....*grin*

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: oggie
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 01:29 PM

Bernard,

I'm not totally confused about button acoordians - I know the chromatic continental system with the same note each way - however the three row Paolo also exists as our Morris Team musician (Pete Arrowsmith) also played one many years ago and I tried one out in the accordian shop in Perth a while back! And it was a brute!

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bernard
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 02:13 PM

Steve!

Ooops! Wasn't suggesting you were totally confused, but lots of people think Jimmy Shand plays melodeon, which he doesn't, and your message came across to me that way!

I know the three row Paolo exists - I've seen one - but, as with Kirkpatrick's, which probably inspired it, it's the exception that proves the rule!

West bishes,

Bernard


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Gypsy
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 11:42 PM

Nope, twas the husband who was playing accordian. Am surrounded by players, who can actually drown out my Hammered dulcimer with ease. If you are anywhere near Northern CA, the Cotati Accordian Festival is next month. Music, stuff, dance, food, loads of fun


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 12:17 AM

I know a female folksinger in southern Ontario, Nonie Crete. She's an excellent performer. She had a super accordion player a while back, and was doing a lot of Cajun-sounding stuff, but then I think she went back to playing solo for various reasons. Have any of you got to see her play?

Further to this, I once wrote a funny song (a parody, I guess you would say) to the tune of the theme from "Exodus". Remember? It's a very portentious piece of music, and was on the radio a lot in the 60's. Sing these lyrics to the them of Exodus:

The Accordion Song

I bought myself a big accordion I played it almost constantly The neighbours hated it They even prayed a bit That I'd stop, but I went on incessantly

I got myself a monkey with a cup And played outside the city hall Nobody asked me why They just kept walking by Till the cops came round and told me that was all

I said "You can't stop me, I have my rights!" "Oh, no," they said, "you must desist. We will impound your gear. You cannot play it here. We will put you on our public nuisance list!

And then we'll slap you with a heavy fine And take your monkey to the zoo You have no licensing To play that awful thing We demand that you remove it from our view!"

And so I went home with a heavy heart And put my accordion away But they'll be sorry Jack! Cos next week I'll be back With my bagpipes, and I'll blow them all away!!!

Copyright c 1995 George Coventry (lyrics only)


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 12:24 AM

G'day again,

I missed this point as I rushed through my last post to get it submitted before my browser decided I hadn't done anything for 5 minutes and disconnected. (I know that can be disabled, but I have disabled it in 2 places already and there is still another hidden place to find in Billy Gates' convoluted app ... or maybe it just refuses to believe that anyone could spend 5 minutes doing anything on the web and disregards my instruction!)

Bernard: I have heard a few people claim that the Jimmy Shand accordion was a 3-row Continental chromatic ... and it isn't so. Jimmy Shand started out as a melodeon man and progressed by the usual route to 2-row diatonic accordions, then 2-row chromatics and he ended up at (pioneered?) the 3-row British chromatic. The Shand Morino, in a 1957 Hohner catalogue in front of me, is in B/C/C#, with 46 treble keys, 117 piano accordion basses, 4 sets of reeds, 5 treble couplers and 2 bass couplers. The catalogue says it is "built by Hohner to his own specification ... the ultimate in 'British Chromatic' accordions". Oggie (Steve) is right in saying that his Paulo Soprani is like Jimmy Shand's instrument.

The 3-row (or 4, 5 or 6-row) Chromatica, or Continental chromatic is an entirely different system (or 3 ~ systems; A, B & C arrangements). They certainly are used extensively for dance and song music in Europe – as well as elsewhere. I did hear that Italian 'guest workers' in France, during the '20s and '30s, playing their chromaticas for local dances finally edged out the last widespread use of the musette, the small French bagpipe. This would not have been because the dances required something extra that the chromaticas gave, but because they could also play popular music in between, with its increasing chromatic diversity.

I mention this because it illustrates a common conundrum for folk performers ... the dichotomy between regional character, sound and accent on one hand and flexibility (universality?) one the other. The simple Cajun melodeon starts off making the basic sounds you expect in Cajun music (or many other folk traditions). The Piano Accordion starts off with lots of capability but no accent – the performer must supply this ... from their own understanding. When you really know how you want to sound, you can do it on almost anything ... pretty well.

Another point that I am interested in (from consideration of the effects of portable and improvised instruments on Australian styles) is the effect of weight. Small instruments tend to emphasise the rhythmic effect of push-pull styles – to good account in polkas, schottisches &c. Smooth styles (eg waltzes) come easier on large instruments ... I did most of my commercial bush dance playing on 3-row instruments but I love smaller instruments; 1 and 2-row accordions and 20 or 21-key Anglo concertinas. They really have their own voice ... and sometimes it pays to listen.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM

(I'm sorry. I just can't help myself.)

Wincing Devil, I've just seen the pictures of your cats. I think they should change the name to sphynxters.

Great song Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,Owlkat
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 02:29 AM

Hi, I sing shanties on my accordion. Slow, lugubrious ones are perfect. (I'm rather dour by nature) I also am working on Morris tunes and waltzes for band gigs. I also like to accompany singer-songwriter-folksingers. It works in the oddest places. I don't know if I mentioned it, but my accordion is a Paolo Soprani that I bought in Saskatoon from Ed's Music for a couple of hundred bucks. Owl.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 03:46 AM

CarolC what do you mean you are not equipped - please explain
no speakers? no software? what?
Just ask and someone will explain
Not me I don't no nuthin

as for playing slow - me too!! - and I still have to read the music too (very frowned upon!)
People keep telling me that one day I will be able to play along on the faster tunes and by the power of practice and Guinness one day I will!
RiS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 06:17 AM

Roger in Sheffield-

No sound card in my computer, no speakers, and no mics. Also, I've only been playing the accordion for a few months, so I should probably spend another year or two practicing (at least) before I attempt to play in public.

Maybe I should try some of that Guinness you're using.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 06:29 AM

Carol,

1. What computer do you have?

2. I always think that it is best to get out and play with others as soon as possible. Amongst other things, you will probably meet people who will help you improve more quickly that you would doing it on your own.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 06:45 AM

Jon-

My computer was slapped together from random parts by my brother-in-law, so I honestly can't tell you for sure what kind it is. I think it's a mut.

I appreciate the advice. I believe you're in the U.K. I don't know what kind of reputation piano accordions have over there, but around here, people don't take too kindly to them. And right now I have to admit that the way I play doesn't improve their opinions very much. I'm the only person I know of around here who plays one, but as I get better, I'm hoping to change that.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: GUEST,fd weir
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 08:28 PM

My favourite 'instrument' joke is by Larson. It shows an angel giving a harp to a 'new arrival'..."Welcome to heaven..here's your harp!" The next panel shows the devil handing an accordian to somebody...the caption is "Welcome to hell...here's your accordian!" I THINK so!


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 10:30 PM

Harps are nice, but I like the way accordions vibrate better.


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 04:44 AM

Roger in Sheffield - I have a whole repertoire that I learned in a particular state. Science has proved that if you are in a particular state - i.e., happy, miserable, pissed,whatever, you will remember things you learned in that state better when you reachieve that state.

This is why we only ever eat kebabs when drunk, because no one sober would do it, and we forget, when drunk, what we learned when sober..... The law of gravity is another example.

If you learn a tune drunk (or slightly merry.....) you will probably remember it better when slightly piddled... learn it totally blasted, and you will only ever be able to remember it blasted.... that's why no one ever remembers the words to rude songs the next day, trying to explain to the SO what you were singing at 2.am....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: harpgirl
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:09 AM


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 05:46 AM

Thanks, Harp. I completely missed this thread as I was away on the good ship Skipjack when it was born. Just read the whole durned thread.

CarolC's outrageous thread creep in Explaining the Unexplained got us onto squeezeboxes, and she's threatening to start a new thread on one of my favourite subjects.

Which bit of the world are you in Carol? If feel like coming round with Phil Cunningham and slapping a few locals. JUst keep practicing, and when you feel the time is right, give 'em your best tune, and leave 'em wanting more. The world will look a little kinder to you then.

I think we see distaste when it's really indifference.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 06:13 AM

You're too late Skipjack, it's already done. And in my opinion, it's a good one, too. Check it out. It's called "Can we talk about accordions please?"

P.S. West Virginia


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 06:30 AM

Mountin Momma - there, more jigijig!

Take me home!

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Let's Talk Accordions!
From: buttonbox
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 04:19 AM

new BC button box tutor book coming next year - will also provide comprehensive tuition for 3 row BCC#. Expressions of interest to me via mudcat personal message (no obligation but will enable me to let you have furthur info when ready)

BB


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