About this blog

Three boxes - letterbox

Welcome. The primary objective of this blog is to organise and share video recordings* I have made of my favourite accordion and melodeon tunes, covering:

A secondary objective is to provide occasional accordion and/or melodeon related Articles , the first two of which are a look at My Current Instruments and Comparing Aspects of Accordion and Melodeon.

There is information about my music background on the About me page.

The blog is mostly about piano accordion and DG melodeon, but Continental Button Accordion (CBA) does get a mention. I have preceded all the links to tune-sets with either (A), (M) or (A) (M) so if, say, you only want to look at melodeon recordings then only click on links including an (M).

I got the blog up and running on 30 March 2018 with 17 new videos and 28 videos from the past few years. My intention is to add new recordings and the occasional article on an ad-hoc basis, hopefully every few weeks.

You may find the Links page of some use, and you can Contact me here.

Sandy Flett

* I strive to make my music lively, expressive and rhythmic and to find interesting tunes and combinations. I hope that comes across in the recordings and compensates for my rather rudimentary recording and editing skills, occasional fluffed notes and playing head down so often (I never had a teacher to beat this out of me).

Comparing aspects of accordions and melodeons

Given the name of the blog, it seems appropriate that an early article should look at how I, as a player of both accordion and melodeon, feel about them as related but quite different instruments. I have done this through the followings lists of “likes and limits”. I end the article by providing a number of twin recordings showing where they can both do the same job well.

What I like about the piano accordion:

  • All the treble notes for everything, and you can play in any key you wish
  • All twelve bass notes enabling any bass runs
  • Wide range of bass/chord combinations
  • Less bellows effort than melodeon’s push/pull on fast tunes
  • Large enough body to give some resonance to the sound (I find larger melodeons hard work to play)
  • I can read music straight on to the piano keyboard (but not the melodeon, for which I have to get the tune in my head first)

More challenging aspects of piano accordion:

  • You have to work harder to get near to the sort of liveliness, bounce and expression that comes much more naturally on a melodeon
  • My accuracy on accordion is sometimes less than I would wish, and I tend to play looking at the keyboard (which I would prefer not to do, if only for appearances sake); I do not have this problem on melodeon.

What I like about the melodeon:

  • The intrinsic liveliness, bounce and expression that comes naturally with the bellows push/pull
  • I love being able to play it totally intuitively
  • It is relatively easy to do chording and multi-noting on the treble as the notes are mostly in harmony on both the push and the pull
  • The limitations of the melodeon design can lead you to musically interesting effects (eg different combinations of bass notes and chords)
  • It is smaller and lighter to cart around than an accordion

Limitations of the melodeon (for me):

  • The smaller melodeons give the greatest playability, but their body size do not give the richest sound
  • The smaller melodeons do not always have all the notes and accidentals one would wish
  • Getting a melodeon big enough to give the richest sound starts to impact on the playability, and can require quite a bit of strength to maintain the pushing and pulling that gives the bounce
  • You can only play in a limited number of keys on any one melodeon
  • I can play much more complicated tunes on accordion than on melodeon. I can also play tunes faster on accordion, and can play slow tunes more expressively

I find some tunes go better on accordion (eg Scottish reels) and some better on melodeon (eg polkas and hornpipes). But there is also a sizeable middle ground where they can both do a good job. To illustrate this I have compiled the following twin recordings.

(A) (M) Portobello + Linhope Lope

(A) (M) Hunt the Squirrel + Fiery Clockface

(A) (M) ‘Irish Reels’

(A) (M) Family’s Pride + Badunga

(A) (M) The Sands of Kersal (a slow air)

(A) (M) 2 SKINT Scottisches by Stony Steiner