Slow music on stradella

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Geronimo
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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:40 pm

debra wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:51 am
Geronimo wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:26 pm
...
Your instrument (is that the Akko?) has the kind of "boxy" bass that I don't really get warm with all that much. ...
The video was made using a Bugari 505/ARS. They do not list the model on their current website. It is like a 508/ARS but 5 voice instead of 4. The bass only goes down to A, not E.
I cannot play the same song on the AKKO because I'm running out of air on that one. The first 4 measures of the piece must be played without changing bellows direction, and the AKKO simply uses too much air to achieve this. In fact, the Bugari 505 and its PA sibling the popular 285/ARS are the only instruments on which I have been able to play this song.
You know what's funny? Half the time I end up getting overextended at measure 8 because I forgot to switch after measure 4.

Locked out of the big room, I wired up my equipment in the office and got to play a bit with the MS40 arranger. I found that I actually got a kick out of playing around with Jingle Bells after all (using Jazz Waltz and some sax sounds). I also found that just letting the "Jazz Blues" drums run in a loop worked staggeringly well with "Turks Fruit". It's sort of a laid-back triolic pattern, and matching the Turks Fruit into it gives the latter a duolic character. Letting the arranger deliver more than the drums was not convincing, however.

What's also interesting is that with the big accordion, a number of registrations work fairly well, including using LM bass (though just one chord reed) with a single reed on the right.

In contrast, my small accordions can't be used with single reed on the right: that gets plastered over by the bass, never mind that the bass of the big one is more powerful. It just feels like it has a larger acoustic space to place all the sound in. That does not seem to make a whole lot of sense but I cannot describe it much better.

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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:32 am

Ok, so with a whole lot of apologies to Paul, I've squeezed out a few rather error-ridden versions with different registrations of the first few bars of his "Turks Fruit" arrangement. This gives a few workable registrations. On the Excelsior, I need to take the prescribed MH in the treble, on an Amati IIIM I need to revert to MM (ugh) to let it work with the bass, there is a Morino Artiste VID that I can reasonably manage with (octavated) LM over a low bass or just octavated L over a high bass (L is the only reed set having a cassotto effect), and the final instrument with a free bass manages several versions with just a single reed comparatively nicely. Its bass side does not have as merged a sound quality as the standard bass Morino, however, its reeds being selected for being able to carry a voice.
[media]https://youtu.be/UXutZ7I-oow[/media]

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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by debra » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:47 pm

Nice try, Geronimo! Good to see someone else struggle with the bass fingering...
The Amati was hopeless of course (bellows way too small) but the Excelsior and the Morino VI D had enough air. Of course when you want to add some interesting dynamics to the performance you start using even more air...
And yes my observation is also that on a free base accordion (Morino or other in fact) the stronger base makes it much harder to cope with the air consumption and also harder to not overpower the right hand side. It would sound better with LMH an octave higher than the prescribed MH but then air consumption is killing (unless you try to stay at pianissimo). The attempt (around minute 11) of adding reeds left and right clearly shows that excess air consumption and the need for a very long left arm and more bellow folds. The "high" versions use less air but I don't find the sound acceptable.

Thanks for this very nice illustration of the difficulties in playing slow songs with drone bass and not drown everything in the bass and not run out of air either.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 pm

debra wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:47 pm
Nice try, Geronimo! Good to see someone else struggle with the bass fingering...
I suspect it gets worse afterwards. I mean, it's just 4 pages, so I should give it a try, but it will take months for me to get anywhere.
And yes my observation is also that on a free base accordion (Morino or other in fact) the stronger base makes it much harder to cope with the air consumption and also harder to not overpower the right hand side.
Air consumption did not really faze me until I pulled in two chord reeds in a low setting on my main one. Usually I just use one chord reed there and then it is rather handy that I can move the octave break around. It would be better if it were more realistic to move it in-piece. I suspect that might have worked better on those versions of the mechanics having seen more use and testing.
It would sound better with LMH an octave higher than the prescribed MH but then air consumption is killing (unless you try to stay at pianissimo).
Adding the piccolo reed (not available on my free bass though) does not really make much of a difference at that pitch regarding the air consumption in the treble with its single sounding note. The problem rather is the air going through fatter chord registrations. Lower notes take more air, and a single reed set immediately adds three reeds per chord as consumers.
The attempt (around minute 11) of adding reeds left and right clearly shows that excess air consumption and the need for a very long left arm and more bellow folds. The "high" versions use less air but I don't find the sound acceptable.
The 11 minute attempt basically was going for a bombastic sound without pulling the tutti stop (which would just drown out the bass notes in chords and suck air like anything) by adding rather low chord sets. A "real" accordion does not offer chord reeds starting at A2: that's just silly.

I find the sound for the standard bass Morino and the high bass setting an option that actually matches "Dat mistige rooie beest" at least in category of mistigness. Of course I'd have to evaluate the rest of the piece in order to see whether this can make sense. With the free bass Morino which essentially plays all the same notes in the last example, the resulting texture is not finely chiseled/homogenous enough to be equally compelling: the single notes stand out more.

The Excelsior actually had a similar high bass register but it worked even less, and without a cassotto reed there just wasn't a fitting subdued light with a twinkling edge for cutting through the mist in a subtle manner available.

For a similar reason, I used octavated L and LM on the Morinos instead of the prescribed MH even when the latter would have been available: MH was too noisy.

It's likely that a lot of those subtleties get lost in recording, but I'm actually not too unhappy about how these recordings worked out when played over reasonably accurate speakers (for one thing, the low bass settings of the Morinos are pretty unimpressive if your speakers do not reach there).
Thanks for this very nice illustration of the difficulties in playing slow songs with drone bass and not drown everything in the bass and not run out of air either.
Air management is probably among the worst aspect of those recordings, but I was loath redoing stuff when something worked more or less, and air management was low on the list of "ok, you really need to redo this one". You can see lots of cuts/transitions and of course the parts where I am repeating stuff again and again and muttering curses under my breath are taken out.

Maybe in half a year I'll be able to make a useful take, and of more than just this fragment.

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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by debra » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:19 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 pm
...
Maybe in half a year I'll be able to make a useful take, and of more than just this fragment.
I'm looking forward to seeing you do that!
I have played this arrangement in public a few times (both on PA and on CBA), usually even playing by heart! When there are any accordion players in the audience they tend to be dazzled by all the strange double chord juggling. It's great fun!
I haven't done it in a while as I sold the Bugari 505/ARS and the only accordions we still use all have either MIII or convertor and the bass side is too loud and uses too much air. (And I'm not good enough to do it on melody bass to avoid the lowest reeds.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 pm

debra wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:19 pm
Geronimo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 pm
...
Maybe in half a year I'll be able to make a useful take, and of more than just this fragment.
I'm looking forward to seeing you do that!
I have played this arrangement in public a few times (both on PA and on CBA), usually even playing by heart! When there are any accordion players in the audience they tend to be dazzled by all the strange double chord juggling. It's great fun!
I haven't done it in a while as I sold the Bugari 505/ARS and the only accordions we still use all have either MIII or convertor and the bass side is too loud and uses too much air. (And I'm not good enough to do it on melody bass to avoid the lowest reeds.)
I'd lend you the Morino Artiste VID for a year on condition that you play it often enough to get annoyed at reeds with imperfect pitch and/or uneven response and fix them as reasonably possible (the plates are nailed on leather which probably favors "working through a keyhole" more than you like. On the plus side, no cassotto. Well, the Umlenkstimmstock). Of course with an option to buy it afterwards if desired.

I really like what it brings to the table, even if it has just three bass registers and a hard octave break (E is lowest in all reed sets). As a standard bass instrument, I find it pretty good at being powerful without overpowering in the bass section. And the mushroom buttons are better for more complex stuff than straight ones I find.

If you don't like the sound of the high bass register in general (rather than just in the context of this piece), however, you'd be down to two usable bass registers and that would be a bit too limiting.

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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by debra » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:54 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 pm
...
I'd lend you the Morino Artiste VID for a year on condition that you play it often enough to get annoyed at reeds with imperfect pitch and/or uneven response ...
That would probably take less than 5 minutes (to get annoyed at reeds being out of tune or with wrong voicing)...

My main dilemma is that I find an accordion without melody bass too limiting, yet accordions with melody bass often have a melody bass that is a bit overpowering. Generally a powerful bass is often a good thing, but for the slow music on Stradella it is not ideal.

We still have two more balanced accordions, without melody bass, but they are both PA...
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:22 pm

debra wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:54 pm
Geronimo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 pm
...
I'd lend you the Morino Artiste VID for a year on condition that you play it often enough to get annoyed at reeds with imperfect pitch and/or uneven response ...
That would probably take less than 5 minutes (to get annoyed at reeds being out of tune or with wrong voicing)...

My main dilemma is that I find an accordion without melody bass too limiting, yet accordions with melody bass often have a melody bass that is a bit overpowering.
My main dilemma is that I have too little money and too many accordions. I definitely acknowledge that this Artiste VID brings something to the table that my main instrument doesn't (also because it is LMMH rather than LMMM). But if I have to choose, I'll keep the one with free bass.
Generally a powerful bass is often a good thing, but for the slow music on Stradella it is not ideal.
The low bass of the Morino has quite little of its fingerprint in common with typical treble passages, so its comparative power does surprisingly little harm. I have one passage for my current "Adios Nonino" version on my main instrument where I play MMM at rather low range (C3 and above). At that range, it manages overpowering the bass in 4-reed registration (E1, E2, A♭3, A♭4).
We still have two more balanced accordions, without melody bass, but they are both PA...
I had a great little LMH Contello with 41 small keys and 120 basses. Its M was dreamy (tipo a mano, leather valves, very smooth oboe sound), its LMH with the power of a distorted electric guitar. Sold it off for something like €700, just a few days ago saw one like it for about $2000. But I wasn't playing it any more since changing to CBA. I have an MM Maugein with 80 basses and 3 rows as singing performance substitute, but it's not really the same. But where is the use in keeping an instrument that's holding you back?

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Re: Slow music on stradella

Post by Geronimo » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:40 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:40 pm
Locked out of the big room, I wired up my equipment in the office and got to play a bit with the MS40 arranger. I found that I actually got a kick out of playing around with Jingle Bells after all (using Jazz Waltz and some sax sounds). I also found that just letting the "Jazz Blues" drums run in a loop worked staggeringly well with "Turks Fruit". It's sort of a laid-back triolic pattern, and matching the Turks Fruit into it gives the latter a duolic character. Letting the arranger deliver more than the drums was not convincing, however.
Post Scriptum here: it's actually not too bad using the arranger voices as well. The Midi electronics had been left in a rather low setting for the bass notes accidentally. One needs reasonable playback equipment: on my laptop speakers I cannot even hear the bass.

Now my setup has no dynamics at all involved here, bellows or pedal. But the instrumentation makes all the voices rather well-separated and balanced. Which is sort of sobering: this is rather old (though digital) electronics, and one has to employ a lot of playing technique and instrument and recording technique to get anywhere close acoustically. Paul's recording, for example, is likely done using his Zoom H2, and for this kind of piece, one needs better bass recording and better channel separation than this device provides to get a rendition with a better distinguishable bass part without pasting over the treble.

With an accordion orchestra, instrument separation is easier to accomplish, but with a single instrument you'll need to pull out more stops from the recording toolbox to make the rendition of a polyphonic piece transparent enough.

I already posted this video on the Cordovox thread: apologies for the repetition here where it actually originated.
[media]https://youtu.be/6A0R0kCXljY[/media]

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