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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:31 pm 
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Hi
I'm looking at buying a two row C#/D button accordion. Is this a usual key? What keys can be played with this configuration?
How many left hand buttons should an Irish style accordion have?
What keys are the instructional videos usually done in?
Thanks
Margaret


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 pm 
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squeezebox99 wrote:
Hi
I'm looking at buying a two row C#/D button accordion. Is this a usual key? What keys can be played with this configuration?
How many left hand buttons should an Irish style accordion have?
What keys are the instructional videos usually done in?
Thanks
Margaret


Hi Margaret,
The B/C is more common, but the C#/D is becoming more popular. I almost bought a C#/D, but opted for the B/C instead because there are instructional DVD for this tuning. I have been able to play in C, D, E, G, and A. It is also possible to play in B, but I haven't found any Celtic tunes yet in B. Most Irish button accordions have 8 bass buttons, however 12 is not uncommon. There should also be a bass stop to remove the thirds.
I got my Irish Dancemaster accordion last Friday, and I love it! Michael is a great guy to work with. He is a big fan of the C#/D.
Take a look at my thread about My New Irish Dancemaster" there is a picture of it there.

TM


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:42 pm 
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TaylorMartin wrote:
squeezebox99 wrote:
Hi
I'm looking at buying a two row C#/D button accordion. Is this a usual key? What keys can be played with this configuration?
How many left hand buttons should an Irish style accordion have?
What keys are the instructional videos usually done in?
Thanks
Margaret


I almost bought a C#/D, but opted for the B/C instead because there are instructional DVD for this tuning.

TM


This is very true. I believe the reason there are almost no instructional videos for C#/D is that you don't need any. C#/D is mind bogglingly intuitive and easy compared to B/C when it comes to Irish tunes. :)

Doc

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:16 pm 
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squeezebox99 wrote:
Hi
I'm looking at buying a two row C#/D button accordion. Is this a usual key? What keys can be played with this configuration?


C#/D is the way of the future Margaret :-) Despite the absence of instructional material. (Definitely a gap in the market there!)

What keys can you play in? Anything with between 1 and 3 sharps is home territory for a C#/D. (Don't know about "mind-bogglingly intuitive", though, even in comparison with a B/C.)

Add or subtract accidentals and it generally gets progressively trickier. But with a bit of application you actually can play in just about any key. There's a waltz I've been hearing a lot recently in both G and A. So I learned it in those keys and then decided to try it in F and Bb as well, and found it's quite doable in those keys too. Eb was getting to a bit of a pain, though, especially in the lower reaches.

You may want to read this thread for a few more opinions on the differences between the various systems:

http://chiffboard.mati.ca/viewtopic.php?t=30848

Cheers
Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:05 pm 
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squeezebox99 wrote:
Hi
I'm looking at buying a two row C#/D button accordion. Is this a usual key? What keys can be played with this configuration?
How many left hand buttons should an Irish style accordion have?
What keys are the instructional videos usually done in?
Thanks
Margaret


As others have pointed out, B/C is the most common instrument for Irish Trad, but C#/D is not very uncommon either. In fact, I would say it is probably the instrument of choice of those who want to concentrate on the polkas and slides of Kerry Music. Jackie Daley, Sharron Shannon and Tony McMahon all play this style (though I believe Tony McMahon actually plays D/D#, but plays all his tunes a half step sharp from the normal).

8 buttons on the left hand are normal, but you can a long way in ITM with out ever touching the left hand, so I wouldn't stress about this (in any case, less important than the number of buttons is the layout, make sure they are chords that work with tunes in D, G and their relative modes).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:10 pm 
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A couple of years ago I was asking myself the same question and ended up with a BC from Dancemaster and every tutorial that I could get my hands on. It seemed that the BC was more of the modern system that most people played and was were all the teaching materials were at. I read all the arguments and talked exstensively to Michael at Dancemaster who prefers the C#D. BC could mimic the fiddle ornaments better, less bellows work, more for sessions etc were all the arguments I heard.
(not from Micheal. He will never try to sell you on a BC)
For me the accordion has somewhat of a steep learning curve and after a year or so on the BC I didn't feel that I had gotten very far! I started playing around on the C row pretending that I had a C#D and soon I convinced myself that the C#D was the system for me. Some of the tunes I had learned in BC fingering seemed to do very well on the C#D!
They say that BC has less bellows work but I always found myself overextended on the bellows and needed to close them up so that I could keep playing. I found that BC playing needed more fingertip gymnastics, especially in the second octave.

So here it is 2-3 years later. I still play a C#D and dabble a little with BC fingering to keep myself in shape. I don't regret getting the BC at first and switching over later because I think I have a good idea what both fingerings can do. Some tunes just rock on the C#D like Tobin's favorite, but I wouldn't attemt it in BC fingering! Honestly, I like both and wish I could afford to have a BC again. I love to play in G on a BC.

I wish there were more tutorials for the C#D. I am sure that there are ornaments and techniques that I could learn from a master that would be really helpful. Doc said that "C#D is mind bogglingly intuitive and easy compared to B/C when it comes to Irish tunes" I am going to step out hear and say that Doc is a whistle/flute man and probably doesnt' have that much experience on the B/C or C#D. There is some truth to what he said. The C#D is more intuitive and easier to pick out tunes by ear (in the beginning, with the right tunes!). As you progress to more of a variety of harder tunes I wouldn't say that it is easier. Some tunes work better than others on both systems. Obviously the C#D is mostly straight up and down the row so that might seem easier at first. It can be hard to go fast and smooth with a C#D depending on the tune because of the in and out of the bellows. It still takes alot of practice on a C#D to get that smooth speed that is required at a session or even to lead a traditonal dance. You can play both fingerings on either system, they just might be in unusual keys that you wouldn't play with other musicians at the session. If you get a BC the usual keys are D,em,and G. Am is a little more difficult and not as common. If you decide to dabble on the straight row you will be playing in C, C#m and F.

If you get a C#D you can play on the straight row (using the outside row for extra notes to complete some scales and a few of the same notes that you have on the straight D row. You get D,em,G and A. Dabble in BC fingering you will get E,F#m,A. There are more keys that you can get on both but I tried to stick with the more common keys or fingerings. Hope this is not to confusing. It is hard to explain it unless you have actually played an accordion in a few different fingerings! I am just a begginer trying to figure this out myself! Hope I don't come accross like a snob!

Nate

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:36 am 
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Good points Nate but our original poster _is_ probably totally confused now!

I don't understand where the notion comes from that the B/C allows better emulation of fiddle ornaments. After all they are basically the same instrument, just in a different key.

You can do a five-note two-row roll just as easily on a C#/D, and in fact it's very tricky to do one on an F# on a B/C. So, I don't get it this fiddle ornaments business (quite apart from the fact that one of these standard rolls sounds nothing like the way most people play rolls on a fiddle). Also, the practice of imitating fiddler's trebles (triplets on one-note) was introduced by C#/D players, esp. Tony MacMahon (all right, D/D#) and Jackie Daly.

Another thing: most of the prominent C#D players today (Jackie D and Seamus Begley notwithstanding) are not from Sliabh Luachra and don't play lots of polkas and slides.

The extra bellows work on a C#/D is often cited as a minus by B/C proponents. (Of course C#/D players regard it as giving more character to the music.) The corollary is that the B/C involves a lot more mobility with the right hand. An example: 1st-octave scale of D can be played using 4 buttons on a C#/D. On a B/C, you need 7.

And as Nate hinted at, the greater number of buttons involved makes passages involving high g, a and b more demanding.

So Margaret - did you get it? :wink:
Steve


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:15 am 
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I played B/C for a few years, but I'm mostly happy about having switched to C#/D. I love the whomp and drive the instrument has, and I find it very easy to learn tunes on. What kind of box are you looking to buy?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:59 pm 
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actually some of the most beautiful b/c players out there do not do full five-note fiddle rolls a la the style of joe burke or the late paddy o'brien of nenagh. many use very clean ornaments such as same-note triplets or half-rolls.

i have an unprovable theory that the c#/d "movement" is in part folks who are responding to how beautiful a cleaner sound works for accordion, an instrument on which ornaments are much louder & potentially invade the melody much more than they do on the fiddle or flute.

to me, the biggest diff between the two tunings is that c#d, at least in the main irish dance tunings, where more "back and forth" notes fall at key oomph points in a dance tune, gives a lot of lift and life. you can really hear this with jackie daly's kerry dance tunes, or tony macmahon's dance playing....

but on the other hand....."punch" is not the only traditional way to express the music. there is also "flow," a la the ballinakil flute players or the east clare fiddlers. and the box that gives you "flow," in many keys at least, is b/c. i don't care much about b/c's alleged capacity for rolls and ornaments. it's the flowing melody line that makes me a b/c player...many of my fave players are c#/d, and there was a point where i almost switched, but i am really glad i have stayed with b/c.....


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:15 pm 
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How about C/C# does anyone play one? I would think that there would be a greater range than either the C#/D or B/C.

Any thoughts?

TM


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:39 am 
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I don't think range is much of an issue really. The point about C/C# is that you would be playing "from the outside in" and I'm pretty sure (though I haven't having spent much time exploring the issue) that playing "inside out" as on B/C and C#/D does make cross-row fingering and executing various ornaments easier. Though I (and all the legions of B/C and C#/D players) could be wrong about that.

The only "inside out" system that still has a critical mass of proponents is the Irish-American D/C#. Although most of the original players are either passed on, or very elderly, younger people are taking up system in the US, France and particularly Quebec (largely inspired by Joe Derrane), and they swear by it.

PS C/C# boxes do get used by B/C players, but as "Eb boxes". Same for D/D# boxes in the hands of C#/D players.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:39 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think range is much of an issue really. The point about C/C# is that you would be playing "from the outside in" and I'm pretty sure (though I haven't having spent much time exploring the issue) that playing "inside out" as on B/C and C#/D does make cross-row fingering and executing various ornaments easier. Though I (and all the legions of B/C and C#/D players) could be wrong about that.


I can't really address the ornamention issue, since I have just started learning them, but I would think that one could do the pretty much same ornamentaions by playing them "backwards". My B/C accordion has just under 2 octave in the D scale. My D harmonica has 12 holes, and has three complete octaves, which gives me the ability to play tunes that I find uncomfortably high in the middle octave. On a C/C# box there are also three octaves in the D scale.

TM


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:36 pm 
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TaylorMartin wrote:
Quote:
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:39 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think range is much of an issue really. The point about C/C# is that you would be playing "from the outside in" and I'm pretty sure (though I haven't having spent much time exploring the issue) that playing "inside out" as on B/C and C#/D does make cross-row fingering and executing various ornaments easier. Though I (and all the legions of B/C and C#/D players) could be wrong about that.


I can't really address the ornamention issue, since I have just started learning them, but I would think that one could do the pretty much same ornamentaions by playing them "backwards". My B/C accordion has just under 2 octave in the D scale. My D harmonica has 12 holes, and has three complete octaves, which gives me the ability to play tunes that I find uncomfortably high in the middle octave. On a C/C# box there are also three octaves in the D scale.

TM


I wouldn't worry too much about the notes the B/C accordion doesn't have. Sure it can't reach all the way from the low D up to the high D, but then again it doesn't really need to. Not many Irish tunes reach above the high B. And it also goes a fair bit lower than Whistle and Flute players can, so all in all, for Irish Music, the B/C accordion is rarely found wanting. Probably why very few makers offer extended keyboards. Heck quite a few players get along fine with 21 button boxes and never see the need for the extra 2 buttons on the more standard box.

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Last edited by Liam on Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: B/C and C#/D
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:26 am 
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Hi -

This topic has been very interesting for me to follow, although some has gone right over my head. I did order a Dancemaster C#/D accordion after talking with Michael, listening to lots of music and thinking. We learned on B/Cs in class so the C#/D will be new territory for me, but at least it won't be a completely foreign animal. I'd like to get both the Browne and Hernon videos, but after emptying my pockets on the box, can only get one to start with. Any recommendations on one over the other for a new player?

Now that our guest teacher has left for Chicago, I'm on my own, using the Hanrahan book and cd. I'm also looking at tunes in the Ireland's Best Session Tunes book. I listen through the tune lots of times, then start looking at the sheet music and then start picking out the notes on the buttons, trying to decide what finger works best. It seems like which finger to use for which note depends on which notes are coming before and after, and so there are no hard and fast rules about fingering. I'd welcome any other tips or ideas for new players.

Sorry if these questions are very basic, but with no formal music training, that's where I have to begin. Also have checked out lots of music theory books from the library to go at learning the box from that angle as well. The entire effort is quite a lot of fun in a twisted sort of way.

Thanks,
Jenny


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:58 am 
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Hi Jenny

Twisted is right! :) I haven't seen the Hernon video but judging from what you say, if you're looking for basic help on fingering and playing tunes, the Browne video (which I have) is not what you want immediately. It concentrates on ornamentation, much of it on the advanced side, and some of it on the pure clever-dickery side (e.g. "syncopation").

AFAIK there is nothing for the C#D box either in print or on video. Damien Connolly is preparing a book which he says will include stuff for C#D players but that might not be out for a while.

As for fingering, it does seem that everybody works out a style that suits his or her hand and inclination. But you can always learn tricks from others. There are a few pieces with suggested fingering for C#/D on Han Speek's page ( http://www.xs4all.nl/~hspeek/irishbox/index.html) although I'd advise you not to follow them :D because I am firmly in the don't-use-your-4th-finger-unless-you-have-to (and not even then) camp.

I started a thread with some of my own "discoveries" about fingering a while back, thinking others might chime in, but it doesn't seem to the kind of subject that gets people very excited. Here it is anyway http://chiffboard.mati.ca/viewtopic.php?t=40219

Steve


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