Melodium - a part of ITM?

Melodium - a part of ITM?

Is the melodium best left for English folk music?

I know the accordion makes its appearance at sessions, but given that this family of instruments is from Germany, aren’t the pipes the more traditional instrument to provide a melody line backed by a chord in ITM?

I’ve seen single row C major versions of these with three left hand buttons for children (or adults looking for a little fun) very cheaply at on-line auctions (made in China). It seems that they have a great deal in common with the harmonica, save for the capability of a backing chord or bass note.

For the few dollars, its tempting, but for ITM? (Please don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against concertinas. They’re charming. I haven’t seen melodiums in use, and don’t have anything against them. I was just reflecting on the wisdom of sticking with what I already am trying to learn to play (piano, flute/whistle, guitar/ukulele, chanter) and leaving the melodium for others. I would enjoy some insights into this instrument and its application.

Thanks!

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Irish music is all about melodium. Harmonium is much less important and many feel it is best implied 😉.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Well played, Mr. Tones.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

I know music has been found for a harmonium.

Or something like that.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Arthur, I think you mean a melodeon?

In England, a melodeon is a two-row button accordion, usually tuned in D and G (a fifth apart), sometimes with a third row for accidental notes not found in those keys. It is probably the dominant instrument for morris dancing.

In Ireland, I believe a melodeon is a one-row button accordion. There are also two row button accordions in common use, but these boxes are generally tuned a semitone apart (e.g. B and C, or C# and D) unlike the English boxes, which makes them fully chromatic.

A D-G English style melodeon is certainly usable in ITM, but most people would argue that a B-C or C#-D is a better choice. One thing, though: if you are playing any of these instruments in an Irish session, you would be best to keep your left hand for pumping air and leave the basses and chords out of it — the oom-pah sound is great for morris dancing but just gets in the way of most Irish music.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Imodium is also good for fast runs.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

And Relanium for the jumpy parts.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

bc_
I think they found the harmonium for the music… maybe.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Melodiums? Can you relyonum?

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Don’t buy a big one - get a medium melodium. Play it well, but not too often - just play a melifluous modicum of medium melodium.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Anybody heard of Johnny Connolly??

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Johnny’s the very model of mellifluous melodium.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

>I think they found the harmonium for the music… maybe

Nah, they just found a set of really annoying might as well be scales in different keys.

Loose the Harmonium again for fecks sake before someone starts it up.

- chris

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Take Imodium if ya get sickofem

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

I cannot find melodium on the standard periodic table….

Posted by .

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Interestingly, Wheatsone’s early free reed instruments looked like one end of a concertina, but with a mouthpiece - basically a button melodica !

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

I’m having difficulty finding pictures on-line at the moment, but Hohner used to sell an instrument which was essentially the button part of one of their one-row accordions attached to a mouthpiece. Don’t recall if they called it a melodica or not…

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

Some people had melodicas (as described above) in my junior school. They looked much more interesting than the recorder that I had.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

But seriously folks,
The main problem I see with these is that they are in the key of C. These things are toys, but sound surprisingly good and are relatively well made. (not that you’d expect much for $20)
I currently have one torn apart in my garage in an attempt to retune a few reeds to make it key of D.

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

that upgraded "toy" certainly has it’s charms

Re: Melodium - a part of ITM?

The melodeon has a long history in Irish music. It was invented in Germany round the mid c19, and the toy industry there adapted to mass-producing it. I think the Germans kept the lead in making and exporting them, but they fairly soon became used throughout Britain and Ireland and the instrument crossed to America, either made there or imported from Europe. As well as the basic one-row, two-row instruments were made. I don’t know what tunings were used for these in the late c19, say, but imagine quite a few were experimented with.

However, I can’t help feeling, looking at the relatively fragile old melodeons one comes across, that the industry continued to manufacture them as toys rather than as serious musical instruments. (The concertina and piano-accordion had more cachet and Classical music capacity, and so were at least sometimes produced to higher standards.)

After WW2 the Paolo Soprani and maybe other makes started producing button-boxes in two or three rows - and probably one-rows also - that were high-standard, powerful musical instruments. These naturally attracted Irish players. But they had to take what Soprani provided. There was - as far as I know - no indigenous maker in Ireland or the UK at the time. (Though I might be quite wrong here.)

Soprani majored in B/C boxes because they met the musical needs of much of Europe, I guess; they didn’t habitually turn out boxes in D or D/G, because in Europe these tunings were only popular in UK / Ireland. So Irish players took up the B/C in a big way. Had Soprani devoted itself to supplying the Irish with whatever they wanted at a reasonable price - which commercially of course they had no reason to do - there might have been a lot more uptake then of the C#/D, D/D# and D/G, for instance.

Hohner in Germany *did* start - or continue - producing the D/G melodeon for the postwar British and Irish market, especially English folkies: the numbers of buyers in England will have made this economically worthwhile. But Hohner’s main D/G model, the Pokerwork, was still not much more than a toy. Irish trad players vastly eschewed it for this reason if for no other. I don’t know to what extent the D/G tuning *as such* is seen by Irish box experts as unsuitable or inferior to B/C, C#/D tunings for playing Irish dance music, but I can think of reasons why it might be.