C#/D and B/C accordion

C#/D and B/C accordion

I’m sure this exists somewhere but I haven’t found an example. Does anyone know of a video that has a B/C box player playing a duet with a C#/D player? or even B/C and melodeon? I don’t expect anything special of the combination but it’s just one I don’t remember ever seeing.

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

excellent video Jeff - watching both player’s hands and bellows movements it looked like Jackie was putting in about 50% less effort than Joe for the same result -as the B/C system is a mystery to me, would B/C players say they have to work harder than us players of D tuned boxes?

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

The usual argument for B/C is the opposite - that everything is smoother and less jerky than on a C#/D. Of course it all depends on where the notes are, but also on the amount of bellows work. Dermot Byrne is a good example of a musician who has great bellows control.

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

I just watched it again, maybe it was more the right hand - Joe’s looked to be scuttling about like a crazy spider while Jackie’s was relatively static. I guess on a B/C you have to be constantly crossing the rows, while on a C#/D most of the notes are there for you on the D row.

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

I remember reading a thread somewhere a few years back about the number of bellows changes between the two. Somebody wrote a software script and analyzed a bunch of tunes. I can’t find the link now, but the result was that the C#/D was busier with the bellows by a decent amount, maybe 15%. Maybe somebody will remember the link or the exact numbers.

I think Jackie makes it look deceptively easy. He seems to use very small movements for everything.

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Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

On a B/C box I played Gallagher’s Frolics in G and then in C (which is the same fingering as would be played on a C#/D box). Played in C I found that the fingering was a little easier but with more bellows movement which goes with what’s been said. I think it depends on the tune as to whether one is easier than the other.

Differences discussed here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgZQcfMiyAg

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

[ I can’t find the link now, but the result was that the C#/D was busier with the bellows by a decent amount, maybe 15%.]

It was closer to 30% more over the 1600 tunes analyzed. The other thing that the script could have computed was how many buttons you would have to press using each system, to give an idea of the amount of mobility involved — the trade-off for fewer bellows movements on B/C being more finger and hand movement (in the key of D or Em anyway), as Christy observed in the first video.

https://thesession.org/discussions/38624#comment783490

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

There are not "fewer bellows movements on B/C." The myth that one system is "smoother" and one is more "push-pull" a complete misnomer, and is totally incorrect. Two-row bisonoric semitone systems such as B/C and C#/D are equally "smooth," and equally "push-pull." The sole difference is in WHICH KEYS they are smooth versus push-pull. The "B/C is smoother" misnomer got started because B/C’s smooth "across the rows" keys include the typical mainstream sesh keys, whereas the typical mainstream sesh keys are "push-pull" on a C#/D.

These systems are "push-pull" or "old school one-row style" in the name keys of their rows, plus the IV of the name key, and kinda in the V of the name key, along with the relative minors of those keys.

Hence. On C#/D you will play "old one-row style" on your D row, in D [b minor], G [e minor], and kinda in A [f# minor]. You will also play "old one-row style" on your C# row, in C#, F#, and kinda in G#, and their relative minors. (Note that these keys are the biggies in the typical D-tuned session.)

On B/C you will play "old one-row style" on your C row, in C [a minor], F [d minor], and kinda in G [e minor]. You will also be "old one-row style" on your B row, in B, E, and kinda in F#, plus their relative minors. (Note that the B/C’s push-pull keys are useful for "flat sessions." Your C row will be push-pull in an East Clare C sesh. And your B-row keys will be push-pull in a "B piper" sesh. But in a typical D-tuned Irish sesh, B/C will play "between the rows" in a smoother manner.)

This is a generalization, but old-style push-pull players tend to prefer to play push-pull. And they switch boxes more often in order to keep playing push-pull rather than play "smooth". [Jackie Daly doesn’t count. Somebody like Jackie can play any key in any style. He mastered B/C first and won the All-I on it before tossing it into the bin in favor of old one-row style.]

B/C players tend to learn both push-pull AND smooth "between the rows" keys and keep playing their B/C when the keys change. On B/C if you master both push-pull AND smooth between-the-rows fingering, you get a world of versatility for Irish music. That is, so long as you don’t mind playing smooth. I think it is Mairtin O’Connor who quipped that he switched from B/C to C#/D because he was sick of using his air button (in smooth keys for B/C like "A", where you can almost play the whole tune in one direction).

With C#/D, some of its smooth "between-the-rows" keys are exotics less used in Irish tunes. So from that point of view, B/C is the more versatile system in terms of making it worth your while to learn both push-pull style and smooth across-the-rows style, so you can use one little box and not switch around or sit out tunes in keys you aren’t adept at. But again. That would be, so long as you don’t mind playing smooth in lots of keys.

The current trendy style du jour is that there is a lot of lip service being given to old push-pull style. I personally think it shines only with extremely melodically simple, un-notey tunes which are for dance—polkas, slides, slip jigs, jigs, the simple dance reels, and sounds kind of ham-fisted once the tunes get notey and less dance centered. Whereas, smooth across-the-rows style might be a little demure for your polkas, but really shines for the notey composed Paddy Fahey, Ed Reavey type stuff. So it’s all about, choose your weapon.

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

In the clip early in this thread, Joe and Jackie are playing an E Minor tune. On a B/C, E Minor is not wholly push-pull, and not wholly "smooth." It’s kind of 6-to-1, half-dozen-the-other in terms of whether it’s smoother or more push-pull.

On a B/C, the key of E Minor features E and B, both of the B/C’s "magic notes," which is what box players sometimes call the 2 notes on a semitone bisonoric that are common to both rows, but fall "Push" on one row, and "Pull" on the other. With magic notes, an experienced player can learn to choose whether they want to go with the "push E" or the "pull E," or the "push B," versus the "pull B," depending on whether at that moment they wish to switch directions for a punchier sound, or keep their phrase going in one direction, for a smoother sound. I haven’t literally tracked the individual notes, but Joe Burke seems here to be choosing his E and B magic notes to inject movement into the phrase line—-it’s a big, hearty style.

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

Thanks Ceemonster that’s very informative

Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

Except Jackie was apparently C#D before his competitive stint on BC and then returned to C#D. Dermot Byrne is a BC to C#D move and as I’m sure will be verified he can play in any key and may suggest taking a simple tune and taking it "through the keys" in order to establish a comprehensive understanding of one’s box, which is equally valid on any box.

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Re: C#/D and B/C accordion

Yes, I certainly didn’t mean Jackie was the only Irish box wiz who could play in any key on either system. He’s just the example that jumps to mind. Dermot certainly, and there are others. There’s an anecdote quoting B/C wizard Billy McComiskey when asked what he does when the sesh goes into E-flat, as replying, "Well, play it in E flat, of course." Or G-sharp or something. I don’t have that literal word-for-word but the story was something like that.