Key of G on C#/D

Key of G on C#/D

I hear that just as the key of A can be difficult on as B/C ,I hear that the key of G can be difficult on a C#/D.But how difficult? I know it’s a bit like how long is a piece of string but I am interested in hearing is it really difficult or is is just a bit of a myth and that playing in the key of G is tricky or not worth the effort. Any insights?

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Speaking as a B/C player……Generally speaking, the Key of G is an easy key on a B/C box. Once you know the fingering of course. The key of C is just ‘up and down’ like on a one row melodeon. The key of A is generally regarded as difficult because most of the notes in that key are draw notes. Consequently if playing a tune in A you could end up with the bellows opening to such an extent that you ‘run out of bellows’ Before we learned about music if you played a tune in A it was referred to as ‘Playing on the draw’ The fingering of the key of F on a B/C takes a bit of practice, because you would never have to use it for Trad for a start. Just the odd Waltz or maybe to accompany a singer or such like. Now pick up a C#/D box. To play in G you need to use the F fingering, and to play in A you use the G fingering, and the key of D is just ‘up and down’ That’s why, for a B/C player, A and D on a C#/D box are easy and G needs plenty of practice and there are a lot of Trad tunes in G.

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Yes but what can you do with a B/C player who has decided that his favourite key is C#major? I know such a one. Poor troubled soul!

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Playing in G is still handy enough on a C#D, i made the leap a while ago from BC, partly because i found tunes in A uncomfortable, but you can still play with plenty of bounce in G on the C#D.
mind you i had a few tunes in Dm and F on the BC so it wasn’t completely alien to me, i’m glad i made the switch now anyway

Re: Key of G on C#/D

well, the original question kind of has the comparison backwards….

A on b/c isn’t really comparable to G on b/c. Rather, A on b/c equals B on c#/d……(a minor/mixyl/modal-ish tunes are great on b/c, & b minor-ish stuff such as "otter’s holt" are great on c#/d—-A MAJORISH stuff on b/c to me isn’t really awkward….but you do need to get used to playing a lot on the pull🙂

in any event, the more applicable comparison is as follows:

G on b/c equals A on c#/d……


G on c#/d equals F on b/c.

this is because: he c#/d is a D melodeon with an accidental row. the b/c is a C melodeon with an accidental row. Since D & C are one "whole step" (or two semitones) apart, a tune on c#/d transposed DOWN one whole step, fingers the same on b/c…..and, a b/c tune transposed UP one whole step fingers the same on c#/d……capeesh?

so to return to the question about G on c#/d, speaking from my experience as a b/c player with F——-i am a b/c player who finds F on b/c to be awkward and unwieldy. but it is definitely playable. besides which, F is very much a b/c key, i.e., an old "one-row" C melodeon key, same on the c row of the c/g concertina, the "old people" played it on the c row routinely, and part of being a b/c player involves being able to play the old flat keys……you can absolutely do it, and thus you can absolutement do G on c#/d.

but having said all that, i just learned ":the concert reel/hare’s paw/garrett barry’s" in F from "they’ll be good yet" by west clare concertina player kitty hayes & piper peter laban, and transferred it up to G the very second i had it firmly enough in my head…..🙂

Re: Key of G on C#/D

sorry, i have a typo there in the second paragraph….i’m saying that per the original question, A on b/c is not really comparable to G on c#/d…..rather, as i go on to explain, the apt comparison is, G on c#/d equals F on b/c…..(G on b/c equals A on c#/d)….

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Ahh, but do you mean A major, or perhaps A mixolydian, or A dorian? The plot thinkens. 😉

Ceemonster, We need GaryAMartin to drop in and do the math for us. He always gets such discussions back on track (or at least he says things that I don’t understand in such an erudite manner, so I think they are back on track).

To try to answer the question, G is an easy key on BC, and since A is the equivalent key on a C#D, it is just as easy. Myself, as a BC player, I had some initial trouble with A, but have found that the E on the outer row, that plays on the pull, can make many A phrases a lot easier, as can that B on the outer row that plays on the push. Learning to use those alternative notes can make some tricky phrases much more simple. G on C#D box would be like playing in F on a BC, which is not terribly difficult, I suppose it is just a matter of learning how to do it……

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Ahh, but do you mean A major, or perhaps A mixolydian, or A dorian? The plot thinkens(thickens)

It’s at a time like this that I’m glad I progressed to a three row B/C/C#. Now I can play quite comfortably in B/C/C#/G/D/A/E/F/Bb/Ab and whatever you’re having yourself. Plus the fact that I have bass for all the keys.

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Thinkens? Where did that come from? Ooops.
Is that three row box one of those ‘chromatic’ boxes, Free Reed? There is an older guy around here that plays a three row box, he also has it rigged with electronics so his bass buttons can sound like a piano, the other buttons like a banjo, etc, etc, in other words, he can do just about anything with it…

Re: Key of G on C#/D

unlike boxes with a D row, every fiddle key is relatively difficult on B/C

this is good, as more unusual keys (when they are needed) present little more of a challenge than G or D

A is my favourite key on B/C

boxes with a D row offer a comfort zone of up and down the row that I wouldn’t want to get trapped in though others seem to cope well with this.

B/C/C# boxes always feel a bit sluggish to me probably because of the extra weight - especially the stradella bass models

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Re: Key of G on C#/D

AlBrown - Think of a three row as playing a B/C and a C/C# box combined. By playing left and right of the C row you cut down on the pull and push of the bellows. Take for example the note F#. On a B/C that note is a ‘bellows push’ note on the outside row. On a C/C# it is’ a ‘draw bellows’ note on the inside row. For instance if you were playing the first sequence of notes of the ‘Harvest Home’. AF#…DAF#A…DAF#A -you can play those notes without having to change bellows direction. The same applies to notes C# - E - G# you have a choice of which way to play those note depending on the tune, so that makes playing in A and D easier than on a B/C two row. Lastly because of the Stradella (PA type) bass) it’s easier to have the box fitted with midi. You can then get a bass guitar effect on the left hand. Very effective for band work. That is probably what ‘your older guy’ has fitted. The disadvantages are the weight, but you get use to it. Apart for ITM the satisfaction of being able to play old accordion classics such as Reine De Musette (A-D-E -A) and The Martelette Polka (D-A-G-D) does it for me.

Re: Key of G on C#/D

G isn’t difficult on C#/D although it can seem so when you’re a beginner because notes tend to be less bunched together than when playing in, say, D major.

As simple a tune as Willie Coleman’s involves a fair bit of leaping about and this can be a bit of a challenge at first. But once you get sure-footed with your fingering patterns the difficulty fades away fast. Same goes for initially tricky passages such as d-cnat-A which you get in e.g. first part of Sean Reid’s.

The basses an 8-bass box are pretty useless for G because of the glaring absence of a C chord. That’s why I moved to a 12-bass machine.

Re: Key of G on C#/D

[Ceemonster, We need GaryAMartin to drop in and do the math for us.]

my math was just fine, thanks, though input from all math whizzes always adds to the fun. admittedly, 🙂, my verbal rendering of my math was kinda longwinded & had a confusing typo in it, but the analysis is sound.

to attempt a more succinct restatement:

it is inapt to make a "difficulty comparison" between A on b/c and G on c#/d, because (fingeringwise) the correspondence of these keys is the other way around on these boxes.

to wit: A on c#/d equals G on b/c (fingeringwise).

corollary: the applicable b/c comparison for G on c#/d is as follows:

G on c#/d equals F on b/c (fingeringwise).

re the 3-row: early this year i started teaching myself chromatic button accordion, initially with an end to using it for tango & paris musette music. at first i was using itm tunes as Hanon-type exercises to help me learn the fingering. but i have to say, it’s the Devil’s Toy. the seductiveness of this box as a candidate as my itm accordion is proving hard to resist…..yes, you lose a tad of that "push-pull soul sound," but only a tad (at least, compared to b/c fingering. the difference with "press-draw" fingering is somewhat, but still not hugely, greater.) and….you gain so much in terms of stress-free basses, & being able to play with equal ease in all keys……certainly, if you’re considering a 3-row i would look into cba. it’s no more difficult to learn, and a 3-row is going to sound like a cba anyhow……they are making compact 12-pound cbas now, and it is simply sick how much fun they are to play.

Re: Key of G on C#/D

Free Reed and ceemonster, Thanks for the explainations of the two different types of button boxes, very interesting stuff!