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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:09 am 
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I have a double row Paola Soprani accordion that I bought to learn how to play about six years ago. I believe it is a c/g key but I'm not absolutely sure. Anyway I've been told that for Irish music I should have a c box. I am limited to playing in c as I learn by note first and can only play on one row.

Withe these limitations what button box should I be looking for?

I will swap my 'like new' box for a similar Paola Soprani in the appropriate key or buy one if I can find one.
Any suggestions are welcome.

Jim


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Well Jim, the first thing you should do is ascertain what key your box really is in. To do this, open the bellows and grab a handful of buttons on any one row and push. You will get a major chord of the key that that particular row is in. The tonic will sound on the fourth button down from the chin end (third button on some boxes but in the case of a Paolo Soprani it's more likely to be the fourth).

Do the same for the other row and you'll have your answer. The convention is that the outer row comes first, i.e. on a G/C box the G row will be the outside one.

For Irish music, at least if you want to play with others, G/C isn't a lot of use because you'll be stuck for tunes in keys that have two sharps, which is a very big chunk of the Irish repertoire.

There are two main systems used for Irish music today - B/C (the most widely used) and C#/D. The merits of these two systems have been discussed ad nauseam in this forum, just browse through old posts and you'll find more information than you wanted.

Cheers
Steve


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:04 am 
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StevieJ wrote:
Well Jim, the first thing you should do is ascertain what key your box really is in. To do this, open the bellows and grab a handful of buttons on any one row and push. You will get a major chord of the key that that particular row is in. The tonic will sound on the fourth button down from the chin end (third button on some boxes but in the case of a Paolo Soprani it's more likely to be the fourth).

Do the same for the other row and you'll have your answer. The convention is that the outer row comes first, i.e. on a G/C box the G row will be the outside one.

For Irish music, at least if you want to play with others, G/C isn't a lot of use because you'll be stuck for tunes in keys that have two sharps, which is a very big chunk of the Irish repertoire.

There are two main systems used for Irish music today - B/C (the most widely used) and C#/D. The merits of these two systems have been discussed ad nauseam in this forum, just browse through old posts and you'll find more information than you wanted.

Cheers
Steve


Thanks Steve for the info.
The outside row is definitely lower than the inside. I'm just self taught and in that process still so I hope you will bear with me. I don't know what system (keys) my accordion is by using your method.
I've heard of a tuner sort of like a tuning fork, except electronic, I think.
Do most players of Irish music use both rows or do some use only one on a double row accordion? I can only play on one row.
Of course with a one row accordion all is well.
I'm not good enough a player to play with the big guys and stick to waltzes and O'Carolan tunes.
In my rural area there are few sessions. There is one place where the 'leader' of the session goes around the semi-circle and gives everyone a chance to play and the others join in or sing or whatever. That's great and they asked me to join them but when it was not my turn to choose I'd be sitting there like a dummy and that would be most of the time as there's usually about 12 or 15 players. Sorry to complain but I don't want to spoil it for them in any way.
It's my own fault as I'm not confident enough just go for it regardless, as I've seen some players do when they were not up to par so to speak.
Anyway thanks for your help.
Jim


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:44 pm 
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si beag si mor wrote:
The outside row is definitely lower than the inside.

Unfortunately, Jim, that doesn't really answer Steve's question ... which, as he points out, is the first question you need to answer.

You need to determine for sure the actual notes that each row produces. If you can't do that by ear, you can use an electronic tuner.

Set the register switches to the driest (purest) possible sound. Then, while pushing the bellows in, and starting somewhere in the middle of the row, press each button of the row in sequence, and record the note names that you hear, or that the tuner reports. 3 buttons in sequence are enough to determine the key. Do the same on each row.

A C row will give you a permutation of the following notes: C E G.
A G row will give you a permutation of the following notes: G B D

If that's what you get, then you know you've got a C/G box. If you get something else, then report the notes here, and we can tell you which keys your rows are tuned to.

If you don't have an electronic tuner, you can install the free Shakuhachi tuner on a PC: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~tuner/soft/TUNER_E306.zip

Let us know ...

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:58 pm 
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[Do most players of Irish music use both rows or do some use only one on a double row accordion?]

everybody who plays two-row box uses both rows at least a LITTLE. even if you stick to keys that play "on the row" of your name row, you're still gonna take a dip to the second row a tad to get accidentals now and again. that would be the bare min. [otherwise, just get a one-row. then you won't HAVE the accidentals and you'll have to do creative setting-adjustment to get around it.]

from using your second row a LITTLE, there's the next level, which is, you still stick to playing in keys located mainly on your home row, but in addition to dipping down to the second when necessary for accidentals, you ALSO now and then use the second row when NOT necessary, to "smooth" certain passages, get longer phrases without doing a bellows switch. contrary to popular stereotype, some supposed "on the row" players do this quite a bit even when playing in the name key of their home row (like, playing in D on a c#/d). these days, half the c#/d players out there sound pretty darn smooth even when playing in D....in any case, how much you avail yourself of these "smoothing opps" is a stylistic choice. you can play in D on a D row of a C#/D pretty much always yanking it back and forth like a one-row, or you can smooooooth it here and there. i smooooooooth all the time when playing D tunes in C on the C row of my b/c, because i'm a smoooooooothie. i want my phrasing to sound like conor tully & paddy carty, not like a one-row. but it's a choice that's totally up to you. for polkas, you can send mobs of people into mass frenzy by never using the second row and always yanking it back and forth "on the row"....... :twisted:

then, the NEXT level up is, you start playing in keys that aren't mostly "on the row." keys that use both rows, so by definition, you're playing smoother. or, keys that go almost ALL in one direction, so you use your air button a lot. like, eminor or aMajor on b/c. somewhere i read that mairtin o'connor commented that he switched from b/c to c#/d because he was "sick of playing it all on the draw," or something like that. well, he must have meant, for certain keys. because c#/d has the exact same # of keys you'd play "all on the draw" as b/c does. they're just different keys.

so it's your choice---depends on what KEYS you choice to play in, and then also depends how much/little you want to do optional alternative fingering using both rows to get a smoother versus back-n-forth-ier sound....


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:37 pm 
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You need to determine for sure the actual notes that each row produces. If you can't do that by ear, you can use an electronic tuner.Quote

MTGuru,

I will try the online tuner and see what happens. Thanks for the info.
Jim


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:46 pm 
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[otherwise, just get a one-row.

ceemonster,

I have an old Cajun one-row that has had it's day but you're right, since I can only play on one row I think I'll get a good one-row.

Do you have any suggestions as to what make would be good.

I don't know if Paola Soprani made one row boxes. Would a c box be best for one row?

Thanks for the info.
Jim


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:05 am 
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Well, I found out that I have a C/G box. The inside row is in C. If I play on the inside row only would it ok for playing with other musicians at a session?

My friend said a D box is what I really need because all the tunes I learned by note would have D as the third button on push in. That sounds right to me.

I'd hate to get rid of my Paolo Soprani so I can buy a D Melodeon. Maybe the old one can be repaired even though is has a broken spring and leaks and the base is just about useless.

What say you guys.

Jim


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:07 pm 
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Well ...

If you're playing for yourself only, and you play melodeon-style on a single row, then you can keep doing what you're doing. :-) You have access to all the modes relative to C (D Dorian, G Mixolydian, etc.) and can transpose tunes to one of those modes as needed.

If you're playing with others, and want to play tunes in their common keys, then playing on your outer G row would be most useful. You have access to the many tunes in G Major and their related modes. You can also play many common D Major tunes, centered on the 3rd button on the push (which is D). You lose access to F#, so you have to work out melodic substitutions when necessary - which is part of the melodeon approach to playing. Especially when playing with other instruments, this can actually be quite effective.

As for your Soprani box ... These boxes are still in considerable demand by Irish players. So trading it for something less desirable seems like a bad idea. Instead, if I were you, I'd have a qualified accordion technician retune the outer row from G to B, and voilĂ , you have a standard B/C box. You can also have the basses retuned to one of the standard Irish B/C configurations.

This is not necessarily cheap. Only 2 of the G row pitches (B and E) can be reused for B tuning. But you'll end up with a very desirable B/C box for much less cost than a new B/C box of comparable quality. And you can play 100% of Irish tunes without compromises, and fully explore the standard B/C playing techniques.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:35 pm 
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MTGuru wrote:
Well ...

If you're playing for yourself only, and you play melodeon-style on a single row, then you can keep doing what you're doing. :-) You have access to all the modes relative to C (D Dorian, G Mixolydian, etc.) and can transpose tunes to one of those modes as needed.

If you're playing with others, and want to play tunes in their common keys, then playing on your outer G row would be most useful. You have access to the many tunes in G Major and their related modes. You can also play many common D Major tunes, centered on the 3rd button on the push (which is D). You lose access to F#, so you have to work out melodic substitutions when necessary - which is part of the melodeon approach to playing. Especially when playing with other instruments, this can actually be quite effective.

As for your Soprani box ... These boxes are still in considerable demand by Irish players. So trading it for something less desirable seems like a bad idea. Instead, if I were you, I'd have a qualified accordion technician retune the outer row from G to B, and voilĂ , you have a standard B/C box. You can also have the basses retuned to one of the standard Irish B/C configurations.

This is not necessarily cheap. Only 2 of the G row pitches (B and E) can be reused for B tuning. But you'll end up with a very desirable B/C box for much less cost than a new B/C box of comparable quality. And you can play 100% of Irish tunes without compromises, and fully explore the standard B/C playing techniques.


Thanks for the info. MTGuru. I'll have to check out prices and decide.

I have a question re dots and lines notes. The dot under the bottom line I call D and take it from there. So if I had a C/B box what would I call that dot?
I always use the third button down on the squeeze as D. I hope this is not confusing.

Jim


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:11 pm 
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Sorry to chime in late on this.

If the third button down on the squeeze is what you use as your D (fundamental or tonic) then I'm not at all sure I would be in a hurry to have the instrument converted to B/C. If it is a "third-button start" then it is likely not to be one of the highly prized models from the Paolo Soprani glory days of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, which all had 23 treble buttons and thus a "fourth-button start". Post a pic of your box if you want confirmation of this.

If you want to stick with playing on the row, get a one-row in D rather than C. If you want the ability to grab accidentals and be able to play anything in the Irish repertoire, or at least lots more of it than you can on a one-row, then - I would say - go for a C#/D.

B/C is a great system but definitely harder to learn, esp. if you're used to playing on the row. (Brendan Mulkere, the well-known teacher in London, has reportedly said that moving from one-row to B/C requires a "brain transplant".)

And if you do decide you need a two-row, I'd say forget your G/C and get something that's already in the key you want.

Cheers,
Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:00 am 
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StevieJ wrote:
Sorry to chime in late on this.

If the third button down on the squeeze is what you use as your D (fundamental or tonic) then I'm not at all sure I would be in a hurry to have the instrument converted to B/C. If it is a "third-button start" then it is likely not to be one of the highly prized models from the Paolo Soprani glory days of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, which all had 23 treble buttons and thus a "fourth-button start". Post a pic of your box if you want confirmation of this.

If you want to stick with playing on the row, get a one-row in D rather than C. If you want the ability to grab accidentals and be able to play anything in the Irish repertoire, or at least lots more of it than you can on a one-row, then - I would say - go for a C#/D.

B/C is a great system but definitely harder to learn, esp. if you're used to playing on the row. (Brendan Mulkere, the well-known teacher in London, has reportedly said that moving from one-row to B/C requires a "brain transplant".)

And if you do decide you need a two-row, I'd say forget your G/C and get something that's already in the key you want.

Cheers,
Steve


Thanks Steve,
sounds like good advice. Been away from computers for a few months hence the delay in replying. I'm on the lookout for a one row D box but don't have many places to look.
Anyone on here have any suggestions?


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