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 Post subject: Squeezebox II
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:16 am 
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Some time ago I asked about accordions. Later, I changed my mind, since they play so few keys, they are big (and my hands are not), etc. I decided I wanted to play the concertina instead. After some research on the internet, I got VERY discouraged since I'm saving money for my own wedding and most concertinas cost at least 10 000 SEK.
But, I was lucky, very lucky, because I just happened to come across a used English concertina for a VERY good price in a music shop in Göteborg. It has 56 keys, had no thumb straps so I made new ones in denim (but will order straps in leather from some online site). One button is missing but it's one that I'll never use because it's one of those really high notes that just doesn't fit in anywhere.
I've started learning from some layout and chord chart picture I found at concertina.net. Then I'm using sheet music to know what notes I should be playing, and I'm getting on pretty well, it's a really fun little instrument and it sounds so good!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:26 am 
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I really want to take up some kind of box. I'm looking at button accordion (the limited number of keys doesn't bother me much). Looks like it's going to have to wait a long time, though, because I can't even afford to play the instruments I'm already learning! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:04 pm 
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Congratulations wrote:
I really want to take up some kind of box. I'm looking at button accordion (the limited number of keys doesn't bother me much).
if you're looking for Irish tunings, there's usually only 23 buttons X 2= ... on a C#/D or B/C and they're chromatic too.



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 Post subject: Accordion.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:22 pm 
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Many years ago I used to play,very poorly,on a piano accordion so I knew something of the fundamentals...this year. over 40 years later, I got a 72 bass piano accordion.....very disciplined and spend at least one hour per day learning , including the proper fingering...and have really surprised myself 6 months later.....use it for I T and English folk dance music...cant get out as I am a full time carer...but boy...you should hear me in the garage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!still have me whistles as well....great way to spend some time. Les. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 6:37 pm 
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Apparently good imports that are re-made in the US. http://www.irishdancemaster.com/accordion.html

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:02 am 
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Hi Ennis,

good to hear you got yourself a bargain, and are happy squeezing!

Melodeons are usually limited to playing in two keys, D/G, C/F etc, but have a few extra buttons for the accidentals at either end of the keyboard, and you can get boxes with an extra row or half row to give those extra accidentals.

Button accordions (the same thing, just different tuning) are tuned with the two rows a semitone apart, so you can play in any key, but only have the bass buttons for a couple of keys, so most Irish players don't use the bass buttons at all.

Piano accordions of course have more bass buttons available, and like an English concertina, play the same note on ths push and draw

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:48 am 
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...sorry to bother you, I'm absolutely new to boxes.

Lixnaw, Martin, do you mean that there are no tuning differences between a B/C or a C#/D. I'm considering starting with the button box to play ITM only and need some information as it is hard to find any players here.

Would you recommend any sites to start with?

Cheers

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:02 pm 
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Sylvester wrote:
...sorry to bother you, I'm absolutely new to boxes.

Lixnaw, Martin, do you mean that there are no tuning differences between a B/C or a C#/D. I'm considering starting with the button box to play ITM only and need some information as it is hard to find any players here.

Would you recommend any sites to start with?

Cheers
good on you Sylvester :D
C#/D and B/C are both fully chromatic with 23 buttons.
C#/D in the key of D is played straight on the inner row, with the outside for ornamentation. there's no proper tutor to find anywhere, Peter Browne says he covers C#/D on his dvd, only for triplets and so on...not many people play C#/D, but i like it!

this C#/D layout is fully chromatic push/pull:

inner row D/G Fs/B A/Cs D/E Fs/G A/B D/Cs Fs/E A/G D/B Fs/Cs

Cs/Fs F/Bb Gs/C Cs/Eb F/Fs Gs/Bb Cs/C F/Eb Gs/Fs Cs/Bb F/C E/Eb

BASSES: A/E A/E D/A D/A

Fs/B Fs/B D/G D/G
just make sure your box is tuned like this if you like C#/D.



B/C is played across the 2 rows in D, wich might look more difficult, but isn't at all. it's not too hard either to play fully chromatic on a B/C box. there's a few dvds on B/C, most Irish players play B/C.
sorry, i've no B/C layout.
if i where you, i'd start out on a 2 voice box, they're lighter and easyer to play than a 3 voice. John Brosnan in Ireland always has some second hand boxes handy in Irish tuning.
he has no internet, you'll have to ring him at 003536443047.

and there's some more "talk about the box" here http://www.aimoo.com/forum/categories.c ... zb=8661985
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/irishbox/
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/IrishTradAccord/


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:35 pm 
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Thanks so much Lixnaw :)

This is the kind of information I need to make basic concepts clearer. Does anybody know where John Brosnan lives? I've got a couple of friends in Galway and Dublin, maybe they could make it and have a look.

B/C seems more appropriate since there is learning stuff, doesn't it?

Another stupid question: is the number of voices in a box proportional to the potential volume?

Last but not least. Lixnaw mentioned a second hand instrument. Granted that I have a limited budget, but I'd never go for a cheapy one... What are my chances then?

Thanks again

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:49 pm 
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Just to elaborate on what Martin and lixnaw have said...

Firstly, as far as B/C and C#/D boxes are concerned, you need to understand what that "fully chromatic" means in this context. It does mean that every note in the scale is available to you. So you can (theoretically) play in any key. But it does not mean you can play _easily_ in any key.

Both systems can handle most of the keys used in ITM easily enough. B/C has been the standard since the 1950s but C#/D has made a big comeback in recent years and is no longer a strange choice!

B/C is more comfortable with keys that have fewer sharps and even a flat or two. D minor and F are easy. A major is a bit awkward.

C#/D is better with sharps. E minor and G are easy. A major is easy. D minor is quite possible but a bit awkward.

In most of the the common keys B/C will involve less changing of bellows direction, giving a smoother, more flowing feel to the tunes. C#/D will tend to be punchier, more driving. (It's a little more complicated than that, depending on the particular key and on whether a tune is built around linear note progressions or arpeggios, but it's still a fair generalization.)

In choosing between the two systems you should consider first and foremost the style you want. Examples of prominent C#/D players: Mairtin O Connor, Jackie Daly, Seamus Begley, Dermot Byrne, Sharon Shannon (although she plays the other system too).

B/C players: Joe Burke, John Williams, Billy McComiskey, Derek Hickey, and loads of others.

As lixnaw has said, there's nothing in the way of tutorial material aimed at the C#/D, but there are a few videos and CD-Roms for B/C.

Hope this helps.

Steve

BTW I don't agree with Martin when he says that basses are only available in "a couple of keys" on Irish systems. On my 8-bass C#/D box, for example, I have chords of D, G, A, E, B and F# - either as major or "thirdless" chords. This allows you to provide I-IV-V chords for the keys of D, A and E and some kind of accompaniment for the other common keys in Irish music (there's the glaring absence of a C chord for playing in G but a thirdless A will sort of pass muster a lot of the time).

The reason Irish players tend to ignore the basses is partly historical: for a long time manufacturers supplied B/C boxes with basses tuned to the outer row, making them entirely useless for the way Irish musicians were playing them (on the inner row). The other reason is that harmonic accompaniment is less important in the Irish tradition than in others. Even today, the best players tend to use the basses more in the way a piper would use the regulators than to provide a constant or vamping harmony.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:53 pm 
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Sylvester, you replied while I was scribbling.

Don't worry too much about volume. A modern two-voice box is plenty loud enough. For example I have a Saltarelle Irish Bouebe and it is very powerful. I also have an old Hohner Double-Ray (or "Black Dot"). It's quite a bit softer, but still very suitable.

In a session a box player has to be careful to play at a moderate volume so as not to overpower other instruments.

Steve


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:57 pm 
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Sylvester wrote:
Thanks so much Lixnaw :)

This is the kind of information I need to make basic concepts clearer. Does anybody know where John Brosnan lives? I've got a couple of friends in Galway and Dublin, maybe they could make it and have a look.

B/C seems more appropriate since there is learning stuff, doesn't it?

Another stupid question: is the number of voices in a box proportional to the potential volume?

Last but not least. Lixnaw mentioned a second hand instrument. Granted that I have a limited budget, but I'd never go for a cheapy one... What are my chances then?

Thanks again
my pleasure! John Brosnan lives in south Kerry, but i don't know what town. but you can thrust John, he's honest. Mairtin o'connor sells Saltarelle in Galway, but i'm not sure if he also has second hand.
the number of voices has nothing to do with the volume. but a 4 voice box is much harder to push and pull, you could pull out a few stops, and it will sound like a 2 voice box, but it's still heavier and bigger.
i ordered an extremely light "2 voice Cairdin deluxe" at http://jomahony.50webs.com/range.html
you could play these all night, and you won't get tired, and the bellows action is firm and very fast!
or go for a Saltarelle Irish Bouebe.
whatever, i'd never go for a stepped keyboard, make sure it's a flat keyboard.
i wouldn't buy Peter Browne's tutorial yet, it only covers ornamentation for advanced players on B/C.
P.J. Hernon's tutor is better suited .
and here's a note on how to look after your box http://www.hobgoblin.com/info/freecare.htm
i get my box tuned dand dusted every 3 years.
anyway, don't play in windy allys, barns or at roaring campfiresand such,... your box won't last very long with all that dust.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:37 am 
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Sylvester wrote:

Another stupid question: is the number of voices in a box proportional to the potential volume?



In fact three and four voice boxes can be quieter than 1 and 2 voice boxes - a lot of it depends on the construction, but also the amount of air you need to pump through the reeds to get them to sound. With three voices, the air from the bellows has to be shared between the three reeds, so they can sound quieter. The bigger the box, the more you have to shift around as you play, and of course the more you have to carry to the gig.

I play a Castagnari Lilly D/G, which is a 1 voice box with a stepped keyboard, but it's plenty loud for the Morris dancers I play with - and you can imagine the noise they make with their stomping and stick bashing and, er hanky waving. I have a second box, a 2-voice Studio, for practise, and it's a heck of a lot heavier and bulkier than the Lilly. If I was marching around town with Morris Dancers, I know what I'd rather carry.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:38 am 
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Martin Milner wrote:
Sylvester wrote:







I play a Castagnari Lilly D/G, which is a 1 voice box with a stepped keyboard,
that sure's a nice box for Morris music, but for Irish music, most people choose a flat keyboard.
if you like the sound of canstagnari, or Sharon Shannon, who plays flat and stepped keyboards...
a Castagnari Tommy comes with a flat keyboard if you put it in your order.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 1:32 pm 
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Thank you (all) very much for all this input. I think it is too much for just one day and I a while to consider it all.

BTW, does anyone have any reference for unseens112's link at the top of the page? Not willing to seem like untrusting. I'd just like know if anybody from you has ever played a box by them. What's the sound like and so on.

I actually received a couple of mails just as long as kind from the owner. He's a dance and box teacher, he remakes the boxes himself and really seems to know the ropes. Especially kind that he hasn't tried to make the most selling anything to me but just to answer my enquiry. He's given to me a lot of info and suggestions mostly reinforcing what you have said so far (he's more on the C#/D side I must say)

I love John Williams playing. I learnt a few tunes from 'Stream'. He plays a B/C. Do you know what does Mick McAuley from Solas play? On the other hand, that puchy effect more common to C#/D's is appealing to me as well. In fact my flute playing has more in common (if any) with that rithmical, breathy northern style.

Thank you for your patience :puppyeyes:

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