Author Topic: Why Melodeons?  (Read 61431 times)

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Offline Gower Flower

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Why Melodeons?
« on: Saturday, November 24 2007 09:06PM GMT-1 »
Hi Squeezy

May I just ask, what persuaded you to take up playing the melodeon? I gather you played (still play?) for a Morris side, and I seem to remember reading that it was a family history thing...

It's just that as a young man playing squeeze boxes can't have been the coolest of choices as a lad. :-X But I dunno.  ::)

Just curious.  :P
All along and down a lea!

Upcoming gigs:
 
Cropredy, August 7 - 9
Simpson Cutting & Kerr, 23.09. Cardiff
10cc, 8th October, Swansea Grand Theatre
Show of Hands, Cardiff, November 20th
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Offline Oxford Trunkles

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #1 on: Saturday, November 24 2007 09:33PM GMT-1 »
Hi Squeezy

May I just ask, what persuaded you to take up playing the melodeon? I gather you played (still play?) for a Morris side, and I seem to remember reading that it was a family history thing...

It's just that as a young man playing squeeze boxes can't have been the coolest of choices as a lad. :-X But I dunno.  ::)

Just curious.  :P

Oh, Good question....

Offline Ollie

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #2 on: Saturday, November 24 2007 11:10PM GMT-1 »

It's just that as a young man playing squeeze boxes can't have been the coolest of choices as a lad. :-X But I dunno.  ::)


Everyone at school seems to be pretty impressed  ;)
"Tradition must be respected, convention can be broken; but only when you know which is which."

Offline firebird

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #3 on: Monday, November 26 2007 01:11AM GMT-1 »
Surely unusual is cool during school days? I must admit to be totally fascinated by various squeezeboxes these days, though I have suffered poorly played accordians in the past, which may have coloured my initial reaction a bit   :-[ Intrigued to hear the answer!
Morris teams: HuMP and Taeppa's Tump

Offline Fi

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #4 on: Monday, November 26 2007 11:30AM GMT-1 »

I believe Squeezy initially had a piano accordion (shh) before the melodeon.

You can see his Dad playing out with Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers, though they are quite elusive  ;)
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Offline Squeezy

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #5 on: Monday, November 26 2007 11:42AM GMT-1 »
I didn't start playing melodeon until I was nearly 20.  So there was no school pressure not to do so!  I was at university and it was one of those things that made you different in a good way.  However - the prime reason for playing it is that it sounded brilliant to me - it's true that I graduated from piano to piano accordion (coz it was cheap and small and had a piano keyboard) and then to the melodeon (because it sounds better for dance music and is even smaller).

The more I think about it - maybe it's just because I'm lazy and didn't want to carry round heavy instruments - but then again I now need lots of instruments for a gig which is more heavy and awkward.

Offline Gower Flower

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #6 on: Monday, November 26 2007 10:31PM GMT-1 »
Surely unusual is cool during school days?


Not sure I agree with you there, Firebird. I think during schooldays one doesn't want to stand out or be seen as different - at a certain age in any case.

Anyhow...topic drift alert. :o

Squeezy, I assumed you had probably started playing much earlier than at the age of 20. Surely you have been playing for more than five years? ;) ;D

(Where is the "grovelling" smiley?)

I agree, it is a good sound, but I think I have dim dark memories of piano accordians many moons ago. A very different sound entirely. :( (Well to my ears anyway).

I for one am fascinated in watching you play the melodeon, concertina etc. Not being musical at all, I am amazed at the range of sounds you can produce from these instruments.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. :D
All along and down a lea!

Upcoming gigs:
 
Cropredy, August 7 - 9
Simpson Cutting & Kerr, 23.09. Cardiff
10cc, 8th October, Swansea Grand Theatre
Show of Hands, Cardiff, November 20th
Bellowhead, Cardiff, 26 November

Offline Ollie

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #7 on: Monday, November 26 2007 10:50PM GMT-1 »
Surely unusual is cool during school days?


Not sure I agree with you there, Firebird. I think during schooldays one doesn't want to stand out or be seen as different - at a certain age in any case.


I think this is MY department... I'm always trying to stand out from the crowd. Why the hell d'you think I'm on HERE!  ;)

Squeezy - thanks for replying. I'm just starting out on the melodeon - getting one after Christmas (just in case you're interested, I'm getting a Scarlatti Nero) and is all your fault!  ;) I too love the sound of the instrument. It's just right for me. The piano accordion is a bit loud and, dare I say (sorry if I offend anyone), a bit too French for my liking. And the concertina is a bit weak and not very bassy, whereas the melodeon is just right. Any tips and tricks would be very helpful.

Cheers

Ollie

"Tradition must be respected, convention can be broken; but only when you know which is which."

Offline firebird

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday, November 28 2007 01:33PM GMT-1 »
The more I think about it - maybe it's just because I'm lazy and didn't want to carry round heavy instruments

You and the rest of the world! I started off on flute, and have graduated down to a Piccolo - perfect! (now if only I could play it a bit better...:D)

Ollie - good for you!
Morris teams: HuMP and Taeppa's Tump

Offline Gower Flower

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday, November 28 2007 01:43PM GMT-1 »
Okay Ollie, it must be said that you DO stand out from the crowd for a young 'un, and good for you!!  8)

(But this is a forum and it doesn't have "departments") ;)
All along and down a lea!

Upcoming gigs:
 
Cropredy, August 7 - 9
Simpson Cutting & Kerr, 23.09. Cardiff
10cc, 8th October, Swansea Grand Theatre
Show of Hands, Cardiff, November 20th
Bellowhead, Cardiff, 26 November

Offline Joe

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #10 on: Friday, February 22 2008 04:35PM GMT-1 »
I kind of kept the morris and melodeon playing thing a secret when I was at School, but after a while I didnt care what people thought! Play it loud and proud! haha!

The melodeon is perfect for playing for morris teams,it has so much more rhythm than most other instruments! I play the fiddle as well, but getting a rythm on that is more difficult! For a starter I would recommend playing with and in front of people as soon as possible - I play & dance for Bampton and played as a not very talented 15 year old in front of loads of people!  I think in 'folk' (grr) circles even if I was rubbish people appreciate younger people 'keeping the tradition alive'!

Offline Ollie

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #11 on: Monday, February 25 2008 12:39AM GMT-1 »
I was just wondering John, what melodeons do you have and what do you use them for?
"Tradition must be respected, convention can be broken; but only when you know which is which."

Offline Squeezy

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #12 on: Tuesday, February 26 2008 12:08AM GMT-1 »
I have a pile of melodeons in the corner and they are:

Old Saltarelle Connemara II in D/G - 2½ rows 12 bass - Use it for almost everything - sounds best! (Jack Robinson, Rambling Sailor, Brown Adam)
Backup new Connemara II in D/G - sadly rubbish in comparison to the old one - use it when the other is being repaired.

New Connemara II in C/F - use it for all the songs Jon can't sing in D or G - sounds nice (Courting too slow, Dawn Chorus, Rambling Robin, lots of Eliza's numbers in Bb, Brown Adam when Jon has a bad throat)

Oakwood Model 7 in D/G - 2 rows 8 bass - Use it for raucous songs & tunes - punchy sound (not a patch on the one that got stolen in 2004 though - that was a beauty), for Prickle Eye Bush, Rochdale Coconut Dance & Sloe Gin amongst others

Hohner Pokerwork tuned to Gmin/Dmin (by myself) - Dry tuned pokerwork in a silly tuning that means that a fingering usually in G major becomes G minor - use it for Copshawholme Fair - Shropshire Miner - Rigs of the Time & Hopkinsons Favourite

Hohner Pokerwork in D/G - use it for fun, morris, sessions, workshops

Dino Baffetti Red Pearl III in E/A - Doesn't get used much - very low pitched - used with Eliza sometimes - good keys though

Bernard Loffet 3 Row 18 bass in D/G/accidentals - New to me - very good system although a bit heavy - I'm using it on some of the new S&B stuff and all of Pete's new numbers for Bellowhead because it's completely chromatic and so's Pete's stuff!

Hohner Lilliput club in Bb/Eb - Miniature club model - lovely old Hohner tone - doesn't get used much, but is on Tunes for the Stoney Steps Hornpipe)

Streb E-melodeon 2½ row - MIDI melodeon - has been used live with Bellowhead abroad in conjunction with my apple laptop to trigger sample banks I have made from recording my melodeons - it works - but I'm currently working with the inventor to help make it "feel" more like a real melodeon and iron out some problems.

I also have a 4 row Jeffries anglo-concertina in C/G, 3 bandoneons, a Bandonika (bandoneon bodywork & reeds but melodeon fingering in C/F) which I'm currently
tuning.

It's a bit of an embarassment of riches to be fair - I remember dreaming of my first "posh" melodeon when I only had a rubbishy 1 row and the Pokerwork my dad now plays.  But one of the joys of being a pro musician is that they're all tax deductable!!!

Cheers

John S

Offline Joe

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #13 on: Tuesday, February 26 2008 10:00AM GMT-1 »
One or two then, some of us just have to stick to the pokerwork ... although it is the best!

Offline brianleach

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Re: Why Melodeons?
« Reply #14 on: Tuesday, February 26 2008 11:14AM GMT-1 »
Thanks very much for that John.

It's very interesting to know which instruments you use for which songs/tunes.

I too have just started with a "Chinese" pokerwork having struggled with an English concertina and been disappointed with the rather thin sound.

It's coming on but I'm still having difficulty working out how to accompany a song. If you have a mo could you just give a few tips as to how you approach it.

Also I'm finding the D/G a bit of a problem in some ways because I find I can't play some songs I know because not all the notes are there. If I was to look for a second model would you suggest a B/C or a C/F or is it not that simple.

Brian