Re: [Harp-L] Scottish/Irish tunes

That style is known as 'melodeon style,' as it comes from the single row 4
stoppered melodeon. People like Martin O'Conor and Jackie Daly use it, C
sharp D tuning instead of the old standard of BC style configured playing.
While BC accordions give you a few notes on the same breath (depending what
key) giving a legato sound, it is awkward to play in keys like D for
example. Irish traditional dancers prefer the punchier sound of the
melodeon or melodeon style for dancing to.
I think it depends what was mostly available, BC accordions prevailed in
the old days.

To keep close to the traditional however, the melodeon win out altogether.
It is diatonic and therefore modal. Irish music is modal based, not
chromatic and so accordions break further away from the tradition. Nowadays
C sharp D accordion are readily available and becoming more and more
popular. There are two camps however the C shape D and the B C. For me it
has to be the C sharp D that was out, it sounds jazzier, punchier and
easier to play and becoming more and more the choice of weaponry for people.

Harmonica player extraordinaire Tom Bryne from Donegal however has a
different slant on things coming from the BC background he plays a C
chrome. Here is a quote from Tom on the subject of what harmonica and what
key to play in for Irish traditional dance music here:
"Playing a C chromatic a lot at present and in my opinion with a fair bit
of practice it is a great instrument for trad music. Playing loads of tunes
on it in d, e, Bb, a. Keys of g, c, f and related minors and corresponding
flat and sharp keys are all handy. Going to record a video for u tube in
new year."

Cathal Johnson

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 9:41 PM, Winslow Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> Some 2-row diatonic accordionists nowadays play C#/D, where in previous
> times they would play B/C, which gives smoother same-breath note strings.
> C#/D is punchier.
> Brendan Power used to make C#/D CX-12s for Irish music.
> By the way the CX-12 is not the only cross-tuned chromatic. Hohner 16-hole
> chromatics are cross tuned, as are the Chrometta series, and Suzuki SCX-48,
> G48, and Sirius 64 models. All Hering and Seydel chromatics are straight
> tuned, as are the Hohner 270-based models and the Meisterklasse.
> Winslow
> Winslow Yerxa
> Author, Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
>             Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
>             Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
> Resident Harmonica Expert,
> Instructor, Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
>   ------------------------------
>  *From:* Cathal Johnson <cathaljohnson@xxxxxxxxx>
> *To:* Harp-L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>; brian.irving@xxxxxxxxx; moorcot@xxxxxxx
> *Sent:* Monday, December 2, 2013 9:23 AM
> *Subject:* [Harp-L] Scottish/Irish tunes
> Hi Brian and the Harp L community!
> I have retuned my CX 12 chrome in D to C sharp D. This allows me to keep
> closer to the tradition, allows me to follow fiddle rolls and triplets and
> other ornamentations too. Instead of going up a semi tone when the button
> is pressed it goes down a semi tone. This is in keeping with the tradition.
> I find it I can't go to a session without it really. Normal tuned chrome
> just don't cut it like a customized chrome in C sharp to D. Also with the
> CX 12 you cannot simply turn the slide up side down, so you have to
> re-tune it altogether. Also unlike other chromes the CX 12 sharp reed criss
> cross from top plate to bottom plate. Others simply have all the sharps on
> one plate and so on…
> For me this is the ultimate in playing Irish music.
> If you learn it well a C sharp - D can cover all keys needed for a normal
> regular Irish session, as most tunes are in the keys of D and G and their
> associated keys, including on some tunes F sharp minor, which the odd tune
> can go into for a second part for maybe a few bars. So on a D you can play
> tunes in D, A, Bm, F shape minor, tunes in Em and some tunes in G that are
> modal. Also in G, D, Am, Em and so on or just transpose from the above…
> If anyone play chromatic in D and G it is a good idea to change the tuning
> of the sharpened set of reeds from, on a D Chrome from D Sharp down to C
> sharp to D. A famous/well known chromatic player called Eddie Clarke used
> to play in this style. He has passed now, sadly but here is Facebook page
> set up by his family and friend. His music can be purchased. He played with
> the button pressed in and releasing it for triplets and ornamentation etc.
> And/Or he switched the slide up side down. He is considered the best. Eddie
> has played with famous Irish bands such as Altan and has a few great
> recordings available. Check him out. Here he is playing with Joe Ryan, as
> you can hear from the recording the two play as one, very close to each
> other that they sound as one. This can only be achieved with the tuning or
> harmonica set up as I have described above and below:
> Steve you said: 'But replacement reedplates are either impossible to get or
> else they cost anything from the price of a whole harp up to more than
> twice as much (even then the prospects of getting what you want are very
> limited)." If you are really stuck you can send your XB 40 to me for
> repair. I have a stock of Hohner reeds I got of Hohner for this reason.
> They endorsed me as Harmonica Repair Tech for All Ireland and I've been
> trained to a high standard by Brendan Power. I repair harmonica now for
> years… I am sure it will be cheaper than reed plate replacements and the
> price of a new one. Especially if you have more than one. So keep that in
> mind, there is a good answer to your problem.
> Please click on the Facebook link below and join Harmonicas Ireland. This
> is a site for harmonicas in general and Irish harmonica playing.
> Thank you Harp L
> Kind regards to all
> Cathal Johnson
> Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 12:40:53 -0000
> From: "brian.irving" <brian.irving@xxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [Harp-L] Scottish/Irish tunes
> To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Message-ID: <45A96132BC1C4AD597AFB363C9729E6A@nc4200>
> Content-Type: text/plain;      charset="us-ascii"
> A question for all you trad Celtic musicians!  Which are the commonest keys
> for Scottish/Irish traditional tunes?  So far, from my limited collection
> of
> recorded tunes I've identified D and A with some in C.  So harps in A, C
> and
> D would cover them.  Any other harps essential for a gig bag for celtic
> jams/open mics?
> --
> Cathal Johnson

Cathal Johnson

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