I need to know how improve my play

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Sounds fine to me πŸ™‚

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Well Played Sir - Yes, I also think that your bass playing, although all the correct chords, is a bit overpowering. I also play Stradella bass and find that it sounds much better if played like a bass guitar. Have a look at Piano Box player Richie Kelly’s left hand in the enclosed link. He seems to be working in unison with his bass guitarist, and I’m sure if you look around Utube you will find other examples of good bass playing. At least you play the bass notes, many button box players think that they are only there as ornaments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ93kThjf7Q

Re: I need to know how improve my play

sounds fine by itself but you’d probably be better to simplify your left hand sound when playing with others

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

You might be able to get some ideas from piano accordion player Karen Tweed. She has two excellent solo recordings of Irish music:
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1046
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1047

This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hoe1Yekf5Nw might also be of interest, although Karen is playing with another piano accordionist, so it may not be that easy to pick out her bass technique.


Despite what free-reed says, I think it is worth listening to the way a lot of (diatonic) button box players use the basses - which is often very sparing. What is wrong with using them as ornaments? As you are already very accomplished at playing the right chords and bass notes, learning to be sparing with them will give you a wider palette to choose from.

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Excellent playing, The advice about being more sparing with the bass I would echoe.
I would suggest that you think about ornamenting your tunes , Much as I enjoy a sparse rhythmic performance you might consider varying the right hand second time round with cuts and rolls. and perhaps some more triplets.
Dont over do it and lose the drive you have, just a few touches here and there.
Back to the chords, If you start without them perhaps for the first tune, or minimal, when you shift to the 2nd tune and bring in the bass and chords you will have more dynamic effects.

I might also suggest, working on taking some notes out, for first times round, say instead of a crotchet you can use a quaver rest/ quaver , or a full crotchet rest, intimating or suggesting the note rather than playing it..
great stuff. keep at it.

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Good music for set dancing but leave out the bass if playing with others in a session.

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Too run-on, legato, and dynamically flat… The bass is too boom-chuck, stuck and repetitive. Don’t flatten the music like a steam-roller, something a lot of accordion playes do, run all the notes together in a non-stop flat flow… You need to find ways to better define the phrasing and rhythm inherent in this ‘dance’ music, to make it ‘dance’ rather than lay flat and play dead…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

your playing is very good.
as a player of a similiar instrument,the English Concertina.
I would make the following suggestions,re your right hand.
try and introduce ,via finger attack a little more staccato.
listen to Bobby Gardner[Button box player].
try introducing, repeated note[on same button],type ornamentation,starting by changing a quaver into two semi quavers,either with same finger,or different fingers [whichever you prefer].
because of the nature of the instrument,finger attack,and seperation between notes[ imo] is very important one ,
you see many bc, c#d ,dg,button accordionists would be reversing the bellows more than you are,so to get more lift,you are left with finger attack.
your basses are fine,and your playing would be fine for dancing.Dick Miles

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

~ ‘running’ all the notes together… And ditto on the idea of using bass more sparingly… Another point often missed is ‘volume’, but there’s no way to really know what you are doing there without other instruments present. That is an art often missed by accordion players ~ being able to blend instead of feeling the need to lead and dominate. Blend meaning that you can hear the other instruments present…

Great fingers, so the potential is high, just remember courtesy, and humour, to and in the music as dance music, to the other musicians present, and to dancers if you’re lucky to have that happening locally too, something to work towards…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

"I would make the following suggestions,re your right hand.
try and introduce ,via finger attack a little more staccato." Yes!

But I don’t agree with those that say this would be good for dance. As a dancer I disagree. It hasn’t the lift of clearly defined rhythm and phrasing. For me it is too muddy, which is that ‘legato’ problem I mentioned earlier…

Yes, the BASS is firm, so you can follow that as a dancer, but melody is equally important, that phrasing. If you can move dancers with just the melody, then you would have what I’m saying is missing…the landscape of the music, the interest inherent in the melody and the form…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

This style of BASS playing is more akin to English ceilidh…which sometimes beats the music to death…

It exhausts the ears…

Actually, for me, as a dance and a musician, the melody, rhythm and phrasing is of first importance, most important, not equally… Bass is just a potentially pleasant or disasterous extra, and unnecessary…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

ceolachan,I agree, Improvement could be obtained through improving right hand finger attack.
but the original poster is doing well ,with an instrument,that is not as naturally rhythmic as the push pull /button accordion.Dick Miles

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

You are right, I may have not said it loud enough, but I’ll quote myself ~

"Great fingers, so the potential is high" ~ !!!

I wouldn’t have bothered commenting except I see hope, and because he’s willing to be so brave and subject himself to this bull ring.

I’d love to see another recording of just your right hand RoLuPiN…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

I think you sound great! I like some of the suggestions above but I’m a fiddle player so I don’t know much about specifics. I’m just impressed with what you got now!

Re: I need to know how improve my play

The idea of being more sparing with the bass buttons - I’ve seen a lot of good accordianists (various sytems) who have used the bass buttons like a piper would use the regulators - to punctuate at key points in the tune. In other words, most of the time, just don’t play them! then they have more effect when you do.

Personally, as another comment, I would have preferred it much slower, giving more of a chance for ornamentation, punctuation, variation and a bit of bounce and lilt. Try doing the same tunes, literally half the speed, and with only very occasional use of bass buttons, and try to make it still sound interesting and have drive. Even if you don’t end up playing like that, it would be a good exercise.

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

Hi.
Thank you for your advices.
Ceolachan, I will try to play without bass, but because I used to play with them, it won’t be easy for me. Bass give me a more dynamical rythm.
I will say you when the video is ready.

Re: I need to know how improve my play

When I read though the replies, you can almost put them into once sentence, "Fine play but too much bass".

I think your playing is great! I’d say that you are trying to change your style much more than improving playing.

As for the bass, it sounds really cool! I agree though that when playing with others it could be overpowering, unless you have a whole bunch of melody instruments and you are the whole rhythim section!

Re: I need to know how improve my play

The reason for all the advice about using the bass hand less has a strong reasoning foundation. And that is that the tunes should stand on their own. Everything about the music, every last little drop of it should be contained within the tune line itself.

You say it won’t be easy for you because the Bass gives you a more dynamic rythm. What you need to concentrate on is transfering that dynamic rythm into the tune so the bass becomes the accompanist. At the moment the tune and the bass are fighting.

Mantra for the day:
The tune is king
The tune is king
The tune is king

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

RoLuPiN, I like the explosive sighs and the "ah merde" at the end of the clip. (Reminds me of my wife in a bad mood.)

I liked the rest of it, too. OK it doesn’t sound like a B/C accordion, but so what? The bass hand does give tremendous drive… it would be overpowering in a session, that’s the main downside for me. In solo playing, I have no problem with it at all - who needs a guitar or piano.

The suggestion I would make would be to introduce more variation into the melody. It quickly gets dull hearing the exact same notes every time through a part of a tune.

As for hitting the same button with different fingers, Dick, he’s doing that already - there are natty trebles in the second part of the Banshee.

Re: I need to know how improve my play

RoLuPiN ~ just to confirm, I’m commenting because basically I like what I see, and your bravery too. I read your note just above ~

"Bass give me a more dynamical rythm."

& a response formed in my head immediately ~ & then, along cam llig:

"You say it won’t be easy for you because the Bass gives you a more dynamic rythm. What you need to concentrate on is transfering that dynamic rythm into the tune so the bass becomes the accompanist. At the moment the tune and the bass are fighting."

YES!!! ~ that is basically the seed of what formed in my head, well said Michael, "The tune is King!"

Another way to think about this is to see the Bass, as it is now, taken for granted and given the job of being your ‘dynamo of rhythm’, is as a crutch. It has crippled the melody, to the point that you have put all your rhythm on that side and have slipped into what I’d call sloppy paying, neglectful of the melody. Michael is right on with this, you don’t want the Bass leading, you want it accompanying the melody. But, there is an inherent problem with a lot of accordions in that the large reeds of the bass side are also LOUDER and can drown out the melody. That is also why some players are light on the Bass side, treating the buttons as almost hot, you hit them and release almost as soon as wind take the reed. Some have even been led to dampen that side to lessen the volume or to achieve a better balance between the two sides ~ instead of an explosive bass side chopping everything up and stomping all over the melody.

This sounds harsh. I love bass, and I love octave playing, where you have the melody being carried above and below by two musicians or more, an octave apart. I also like well chosen bass use on the pipes, but there seems, with better made pipes and reeds, a better balance on the whole than with accordions, but then the pipes do not have the luxury of the spectrum of dynamics an accordion or free reed instrument can pull off.

So, two great contributions just now, Ben’s (benhall) & Michael’s (llig)… You may actually have to lay off the bass for awhile, to really get in and appreciate what you can do on the other hand, including driving and lifting the music through what is inherent in the melody and the wide choice of ways you can articulate the dance and life of the tunes. Master that, slowly at first, as rushing only covers up the cr*p we are capable of letting slip by quickly. Enjoy that side and learn to appreciate it without the bass. The really tough part of this is, once you gain that understanding ~ you will probably also have to completely rethink and relearn your bass… But, it will be so much more fun and you will find so many more possibilities in the music, what excites it and excites us, as musicians and dancers…

Best of luck, and apologies for my rants and rambles. Ben & Michael have put it forward well, so well both contributions brought a big rediculous grin to my face, and a deep chuckle…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

another very good feature of your playing:
your playing is very steady,the tempo you finished,was the same as the tempo you started at.
[As for hitting the same button with different fingers, Dick, he’s doing that already - there are natty trebles in the second part of the Banshee.]quote from JeevesTones].
correct,but [imo]if he hit them a bit more staccato it would be more noticeable and more effective.

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

RoLuPiN

I’ve remembered a terrific example of some of the best left hand box playing I’ve ever heard. It’s on a Kevin Burke record called "If the cap fits". Two reels, just fiddle and box, Kevin Burke and Jackie Daley. The Mason’s Apron and Laington’s.

If anyone hear knows of the track, you’ll know what I mean.

RoLuPiN,
if you are not familiar with it, e-mail me your regular e-mail address and I will e-mail you an mp3. (Or an mp4 if your system can handle it - bigger file size, better sound)

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

"Kevin Burke: If The Cap Fits"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/210

This is a favourite early recording of Jackie Daly, still available on CD last I checked and recommended:

"Jackie Daly: Music From Sliabh Luachra"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/212

The recording he did wish Seamus Creagh is another one worth having:

"Jackie Daly And Seamus Creagh"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/942

One of the things that always impressed me about the man was his blend, he would goose the music now and then, but he listened and he never dominated, a gentleman box player… There are others, but rather than a list of many, I’m following Michael’s lead…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Yes, Jackie Daly really is a truly great listener. The three fiddle players he has played and recorded a lot with - Kevin Burke, Seamus Creagh and Frankie Gavin - are all so so different. Yet his box matches them so well. It’s a good axample of where the heart of this music is. If you can say to yourself that the majority of your music is listening rather than playing, you have learned a good lesson.

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Re: I need to know how improve my play

Another idea, to have fun, would be to try emulating the sound and action of a melodeon or anglo concertina, for example as played by the likes of Jackie Daly or Tom Doherty ~

CD: "Jakie Daly: Music From Sliabh Luachra"
~ already listed, he plays anglo concertina on this as well…

CD & cassette: "Tom Doherty: Take the Bull by the Horns"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1210

I’ve been trying to remember the name of a certain Finnish musician that we used to know, he plays the same kind of accordion as you and he’s brilliant, on both hands, and played a lot for dance. Also, the Finnish music does have a few correlatives, even if it isn’t identical to Irish… Some of the shared time signatures and traditions are 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 ~ and sets of quadrilles, like "The Lancers"… It has been a long time so my brain may not be able to dig out that information. I’ve been trying, and looking to see if I’ve anything written down. If I find it I’ll send you that via email, in case you might find it interesting…

Re: I need to know how improve my play

This is a compilation from old 78s, 25 tracks
CD: "Melodeon Greats: A Collection of Melodeon Masterpieces"

Here’s another, Bob Cann, English, using the bass side similar to you but he doesn’t let it dominate the melody, the melody leads…

CD: "Bob Cann: Proper Job: Melodeon Playing From Dartmoor"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/2441

anglo concertina, from Clare:

http://www.free-reed.co.uk/

The Clare Set ~ a box set of 6 CDs
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/anclar-06
6 CDs in the box =
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar01
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar02
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar03
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar04
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar05
http://www.free-reed.co.uk/fclar06

Re: I need to know how improve my play

Just a thought: it seems to me that, since Rolupin plays a double-action box (continental chromatic, in case some of you haven’t noticed πŸ˜‰ ): for a style to emulate he’d be better off listening to hotshot piano box players than "melodeon drivers" πŸ™‚ and other two-row exponents.

What about Jimmy Keane of Bohola? Simply amazing drive, phrasing and variation.