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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:57 pm 
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Location: North Antrim

A friend of mine has just splashed out on a single row *D* Castaghnari like this one:
CASTAGNARI

I was just wondering how many folks here play these wonderful sounding boxes?

Here's a clip of Damien Mullane playing reels on a one-row melodeon.

New Mown Meadow/Bonnie Kate

Here are a few interesting video clips too:

Melodeon Tune
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7-f6Folp0U

Schottis #51 e K J Björklund in 1 row old 2 stop Hohner G:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUjUaTr1tSI

Rheinlender after K J Björklund played on 1 row Hohner box C:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bEYOjzujP4

Polska #10 e K J Björklund on 1 row 3 stop Hohner G:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulCI7i3fef8

Obviously, one of the main men in this field is Johnny Connolly:
http://www.iol.ie/~ronolan/connolly.html

You can learn a little more about them here:
Irish Melodeons:
http://www.iol.ie/~ronolan/melodeon.html

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:18 am 
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Hello,
Thanks for the very nice Damien Mullane played reels!
I play a custom made dry tuned D melodeon by the Cajun melodeon builder Marc Savoy. It was made specially for Irish music and is tuned with that in mind. It is a lovely instrument and a lot of fun to play.
I also play a B/C accordion. Different animals for sure but each has it's own rewards.
I once saw Damien Connolly play at Malloy's in Westport . He played both B/C and a Casti melodeon to great effect. Check out his CD "tippin' away".
All the best,
Brian


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:27 am 
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You know what, Ptarm - I think melodeons are probably more fun to play than to listen to.

Come to think of it, that's probably true of accordions in general.

No wait - that summarizes Irish music altogether!

Seriously, I agree that they make a glorious racket and that having only a single diatonic scale forces players to admirable heights of creativity. My problem is that I don't like the racket that much and even after half an album by someone as good as Johnny Connolly, the creativity pales and the limitations start to grate - I've had enough, basically.

My reaction may be coloured by living in Quebec where these boxes abound and there are players who can do stuff on them that makes your jaw drop. But it's not rare for me to find myself at a house party or session where five or six of them are going full tilt, along with rifle-shot double-foot-tapping of course. Glorious yes but it gets a bit much pretty quickly!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:25 am 
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Not sure how I missed this thread the day it was posted -- my wife and I have a lovely 1950s Hohner 4-stop in G which is our main portable accordion. Around the house I usually play our old C/G Hohner (we don't have a case for it, so it just sits on a table next to the piano waiting to be played); 99% of the time I play it like it is a one-row that thoughtfully lets me choose from two different keys.

As for listening -- I dunno, I love hearing the things. I find that almost any single-instrument album gets boring before the album is over -- the only exceptions I can think of are a few truly great fiddle or flute albums. On the other hand, albums like Frank Maher's -- most tracks feature him playing 4-stop, but with three different instruments, varied arrangements with the rest of his band, and several songs thrown in -- are wonderful listening.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:56 am 
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I have a couple, but I don't play them.

I'm not a big fan of the "big" sound, so all those stops don't really interest me, and otherwise the instrument feels like half a 2 row melodeon.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:43 am 
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Martin Milner wrote:
... feels like half a 2 row melodeon.


Martin, I'm tempted to ask, what does a single-voice accordion sound like half of? :twisted:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:31 pm 
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I like playing one-row boxes, but I usually also play one-voice boxes (just one reed per note, no stops, etc...). With the two-voice Hohners I usually tape over one set of reeds.

I do like the simplicity of a one-row. And, there are probably more tunes that can be played on one row than I'll have time to learn, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on much.

I'd love to get a Castagnari Max/Melodeon some day. It sounds really nice on Michael Darby O’Fatharta's "Bosca Bideach" recording. (not quite so BIG of a sound) But, I probably still wouldn't play with all the voices often.

-Brett


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:37 pm 
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Bretton wrote:
I'd love to get a Castagnari Max/Melodeon some day. It sounds really nice on Michael Darby O’Fatharta's "Bosca Bideach" recording. (not quite so BIG of a sound) But, I probably still wouldn't play with all the voices often.


That's one of the nice things about that CD; he varies the voicings so it's not just "pull out all the stops" on every tune. When he does the four-voice sound, it's refreshing to hear, really lifts the jigs in particular.

The bassoon + piccolo reed setting is a nice effect, for example -- but definitely needs the nice Casty action and handmade reeds to sound even.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:18 am 
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Yes, I agree. I play using 1 reed as much as 2 and 3. All reeds going the least.
The Binci pro reeds don't hurt either.
B


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:15 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
Martin Milner wrote:
... feels like half a 2 row melodeon.


Martin, I'm tempted to ask, what does a single-voice accordion sound like half of? :twisted:


Half a 2-voice, or a whole concertina?

Actually, I rarely notice that the Lilly has only one voice, nor do any of the dancers - I don;t think they're even aware, it's more important that the playing is steady and danceable. When you have the bass and chords playing underneath, there's still plenty of sound coming out, and a lot of people play Lilly Melodeons for Morris. It's a lot more important to me that I can carry it, along with my fiddle and Morris kit, without ripping my arms out of their sockets. I chose the Lilly for portability. The other musicians in my Morris side only have to carry one instrument, I have two. My fiddle only has four single strings too, but I don't consider that sound inferior to a mandolin.

I also have a Studio which has two voices, and practise on that at work, but it's that bit bulkier and heavier that I wouldn't want to lug it around all day at a Morris event. Plus of course I have a Streb e-melodeon, that can have any number of voices you want, but don't take it out of the house. I usually play that set to sound like a Hohner Pokerwork, because that's my favourite of the pre-set melodeon sounds.

I'll have to record some Morris tunes with the Lilly and then the Studio, and see if people have a preference.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:55 pm 
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-I have a two-row but play it more like a one-row for the moment, only one tune crossing the rows. More will come. A few good ornaments have burst forth by accident and the lab is analyzing them for replication.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 2:19 am 
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What's your tuning on the 2-Row, Brian? Presumably D/G or something akin?

For Morris, almost everything we play is in the key of G, which is starting to get tedious. There are Morris tunes in D (and the related minor keys), but we play even those in G for some reason. This usually means very little row crossing, only required to get the E above bottom D of a whistle, as that note doesn't appear on the G-Row.

I'm slowly adding D tunes (all my Box tunes are from the English tradition btw), which almost always require some row crossing, bto use the G chord, and the A chord for some notes on the pull.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:19 pm 
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-Its a B/C box, Martin, still being broken in. I like chromaticity but have little facility with it so it will be a while.


Last edited by brianormond on Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:59 am 
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Although you can treat a two-row box as a one-row, or even two one-rows side by side, they are really different instruments.

A couple of local musicians who are not only top-notch one-row players but equally good on three-row boxes have told me that the bellows technique is quite different and that, because of the compact form of the one-row, balanced on the knee and with a thumb strap for the right hand, they use rhythmic effects that they just can't duplicate on a two- or three-row box. They use the right hand as well as the left to put life into the music.

So it seems to me that if you are going to play on one row, you could do more with a one-row box.

Conversely, a few Québécois players are starting to play on C#/D boxes, but it seems old habits die very hard and most of them play them solely on the D row. A big waste it seems to me. You've only got two duplicated notes on the outer row, but learning to use them judiciously makes a huge difference to your playing.

On a D/G you have more possibilities for cross-rowing and I would think that once you go beyond m*rris tunes :devil: they are crying out to be exploited. Has anyone heard Tony Hall? The things he can do on a D/G are amazing - harmonies and counterpoint.

Around here the 3-rows in common use are ADG and GCF, and most players make excellent use of cross-rowing. Makes sense, because these are often quite heavy boxes!

And Brian, of all the 2-row diatonic systems to treat as a one-row, a B/C seems about the biggest waste.... :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:17 pm 
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-Well, it means I can play Irish one-row tunes in C for the growing Celtic/Cajun cultural nexus:
http://www.celticbayou.com/music.events.aspx

-But seriously, I just received David Hanrahan's "The Box" with its CD for a start on B/C. I've been going by instinct and in a rut with limited repertoire. ("limited"=nearly zip) -Want to learn a broad set of tunes and do right by them..


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