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The elusive "key of F" accordion

Hi gang,

Been thinking a lot about a key of F squeezer these days, mostly because it would fit my vocal range way better than a C or D (I'm a baritone). So much I'm considering having one custom made.

But perhaps, not the usual LMMH configuration <<< that's where it gets tricky.

I'm thinking that with such a high key, the H reeds may be so small they could only produce a teeny tiny high pitched squeal, barely noticeable compared to the other L and M reeds, which are way more powerful for our human ears. So wouldn't those H reeds on a F box just be a waste of real estate and iron? What y'all think?

I know Randy Falcon has made an F box with LMMHH (doubling the H reeds) configuration, which is a smart way to overcome the problem.
But wouldn't it be just as smart to build a LMMM accordion? And while we're at it, throw in some spacey tremolo, a couple cents each way for a thick full sound, or even 10 or 15 cents each way for a totally sickening warble (LMM+M-)?

Lastly, why not a LLMM? But I'm opening another can of worms here.

Tell me people what you think about those ponderings in the key of F.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

No. I've played all three that you're asking about and getting rid of the H (piccolo) set of reeds and replacing them with more M (clarinet) reeds makes the F loose most of its sparkle. LLMM sounds good in a throaty kind of way, if that's what you're going for.

On a related note, one accordion maker has a habit of bending the last piccolo reed (on the push) in so it doesn't sound at all. Claims it isn't noticeable and done because that reed tends to go out of tune first, but its the first thing I notice when I play an accordion set up that way.

John

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

I have never heard or seen that done.

Interesting.

I favor bagging the piccolo reeds altogether.

I see no advantage to an LL MM box.

I am in favor of LMMM

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

I'm with John. I wouldn't want an accordion for cajun music that doesn't have at least one of a LMH. If LMMH was sharp overload, I'd suggest adding an extra L or M. I think it would really be missing that critical sharp punch without the H reeds.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

If you need an extra "L" in a high F accordeon, get a low F accordeon.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Thanks for the answers!

My ponderings were only theoretical, so I'll listen to the folks who have actual experience.
Actually, I picked up my G accordion, shut off the L and M+ reeds (leaving on only the M and H reeds) and played a few tunes. This sound is a step higher than an F accordion in LM configuration. And I could feel some sizzle was missing, especially after playing my C box.

Still, I'm pretty darn sure an F accordion in LMM+M- with wide tremolo would have an interesting tone, with thick high mid range and no woofiness (which I don't care for on a G accordion).

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Hey Boodreaux, do you know what key you'd be in if you were playing lets say "La Porte Den Arriere", "The Crowley Two Step", or "T'en a u Tonnerre a Peu", "The Hicks Wagon Wheel", "Chere Tout Tout", or "J'etais au Bal" on that "F" accordion? You'd more than likely play them in the 2nd position which would be in the key of "C" on that F accordion. The fiddle players with the down tuned fiddles F,C,G,D would love you! Every time you played in the 2nd position, they could easily drone their fiddles on the smaller high strings G,D and make the song sparkle with them highs more.

When you'd play in the 1st position, for songs like "Les Grande Bois", "La Valse de Famille", "The Kaplan Waltz", "Vien Me Chercher", "Te Monde", or "Dying in Misery" you'd be in the key of "F" and the fiddlers could still drone the two middle strings C,G very easily. Yes, I think you'd be a hit at the jam sessions!

You should go to Martin, Falcon, or Acadian and ask to play on an "F" accordion to see how it sounds to your ear and if the volume is satisfactory. If you go to Savoy and play on that "F" accordion, ask someone there to play along on their fiddle (they all play the fiddle) and see what they tell you. Interesting!

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Crowley Two step, isn't that both in first and second position?

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Depends on how you play it B. But yes, that weird alternate A part switches to the 1st position key of "C" on a C accordion. But the way I play it tends to favor the 2nd position and ends in the key of "G". I only play the alternate A part if it calls out or screams to me to be played and the other musicians with me are capable of the switch. LOL, which is dam seldom because I play alone 98% of the time. My preferred version of the Crowley Two Step incorporates a good bit of the licks of Angelas Lejeune when he recorded the "One Step a Cain". But I got a lick or two in there that he didn't do. Put em there myself LOL.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Hold on...wait just a minute. You're on to something here Bryan. I went grab the accordion and played the Crowley Two Step in every way I know. Got dam you're right! The song is just as much a 1st position song as it is a 2nd position song. I never realized this. Thanks for the heads up. Its another conundrum! "A" part is in 1st position and that quick little nasty turn switches to 2nd position, or the turn can be done in 1st position also. Crowley Two Step...a hard song to do well.

Just letting you guys know something I recently did to my "C" and "D" accordions. I went and took a dry erase marker and went on each valve cover finger (near the far end of each finger...top half) and put the musical note for both the push and the pull that each button produces. To see these notes happening as you play in real time is enlightening to say the least. It improves accuracy and even instantly confirms the system of which buttons produce the correct double and triple octaves and chords. Would be real helpful for a brand new player to be able to see. Would clear up a whole lot of guessing and ignorance associated with beginner play and even the bad habits of more experienced players.

I believe Steven Riley learned his accordion in this very manner. The dude was modulating to all kinds of keys on that accordion when he was still wet behind the ears and shouldn't possibly have know how to do that. This is the only explanation! That and he had someone who knew the fiddle very well to help him along with the accordion. Choice of songs played a pretty important part too I'm sure.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Ok, dammit, I'm enspired. Once you label each finger with its perspective notes go ahead and play Tommy Mclain's "Sweet Dreams" on your "C" accordion. There's a whole lot of doubles that can be done on the accordion with a few single button combinations mixed in with this version of Sweet Dreams. Good luck!

Another song that will knock your socks off on the "C" accordion is Joel Sonnier's "Tomorrow Never Comes" done in the keys of "G" "C" and "D" or 2nd,1st, and 4th position. It will even bring awareness to you of the mystical 4th position!!!! It is very rare and I only ever heard it on KRVS.org "Encore" with Megan Brown @ 45 minutes into the program on the date of April 28th, 2018. It's really worth your time to go have a listen!

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Sorry, Joel's "Tomorrow Never Comes" goes in the order of "C" "G" then "D". You can play the "D" part on your "D" accordion if you have a hard time finding it on your "C" accordion. Don't have a "D" accordion? Then tough it out and find it on your "C"! It's worth the discovery!

http://krvs.org/post/encore-april-28-2018

Don't know which link will work? The one with the http, or the https. You really need to listen to this @ 45:13 minutes into the program if you know what's good for you! LOL

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

WTF ?

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

LOL Jeff, I'm seeing a pattern with you. You seem very frustrated lately. Am I jumping around too quickly and muddying the waters too much? Getting off point without any information to tie up the loose ends? Causing confusion? Have you reached a plateau with Cajun music and find that you are getting angry because of it? Are you beginning to see the faults of the Cajun genre that you love so much? LOL

Swamp Pop is Cajun Music. And you would not believe how much it has influenced the playability and approach of the Cajun accordion. Take your time and breath slowly Jeff. It's going to be alright man!

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Ok, folks...I feel like I need to say this one more time. If you don't want to do it, then you're on your own to suffer the hard way around.
GO GET YOUR C AND D ACCORDIONS LABEL EACH FINGER WITH A DRY ERASE MARKER WITH THE PERSPECTIVE MUSICAL NOTE FOR BOTH THE PUSH AND THE PULL. That will be two musical notes per finger. Push closest to you, Pull farthest away, but on but on the end of the valve fingers that's farthest from you the player. And play staring at the musical notes as you play.

THEN PLAY ALONG WITH TOMMY MCLAIN AND JOEL SONNIER FOR THE TWO SONGS I POSTED until you can play them note for note using double and single notes where they seem to fit.

C Accordion
Push/Pull
1. E/G
2. G/B
3. C/D
4. E/F
5. G/A
6. C/B
7. E/D
8. G/F
9. C/A
10.E/B

D Accordion
Push/Pull
1. F/G
2. A/C
3. D/E
4. F/G
5. A/B
6. D/C
7. F/E
8. A/G
9. D/B
10.F/C

Take your time with the labeling so not to mix it up or you'll suddenly be visually and audibly learning the wrong notes due to your got dam impatience and lack of attention to detail! Jerry, for guys like you and me you may need to take out your cheater glasses to make sure the labeling stays neat, evenly spaced, and consistent for all the fingers. LOL You can even label the number of the finger with the top most finger being number 1 and the last button at the bottom being number 10. It may seem novice OR EVEN TROUBLESOME, but go ahead and do it and watch and see what happens to your understanding of the accordion.

I've been going at the accordion for 25 years, and when I did this just recently, it surprised me. When I did it with the two songs I posted, it excited me. I finally saw the true potential of the accordion and the accordion player materialize right before my eyes, ears, and mind. Life Changing.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

Not quite. A D accordion has a C# instead of a C and a F# instead of F.

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

LOL, you're killing me Smalls! Well, I just put a C and F because I didn't have much room to write with that fat marker on the end of them fingers. Musta wrote and rewrote those dam letters 3 times before I finally liked the way they looked to my eye while I was actually playing and looking down at them. Gotta write them on the top half of the finger so you can see them good while playing. But you can only see them when you actually hit each button and the perspective finger rises from the rest to show it's musical note. I had seen this done before, but the teacher had put the notes on a piece of manila that he glued to the accordion right next to the end of the fingers. To hell with that! I aint putting glue on my dam accordion!

Now as an accordion builder...Bryan, have you memorized each note for the push and pull yet for the C and D accordion? That would put you ahead of the game!

Re: The elusive "key of F" accordion

I have. I would think most players who've been playing a while can id the notes on their basic accordion, especially if that's the one they learned on, at least the guys I've been around can. It seems easy on a C, but anything else seems not as easy to remember. I can remember the D just because I've tuned so many.

Knowing the notes of my accordions was pretty critical when I was learning songs in the 3rd position, it helped with the transposing since it seemed so unnatural to me to play in that position.



Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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