An Inside and Out Update – Sibylla Brand G/C/F

Hello all!

Some of you may recall that back in March I did my second Inside and Out on Malcolm Woods’ Sibylla Brand G/C/F. Well, it is now the property of someone known only as “Daddy Long Les”, who has just released his version of the story of his new box. There are some interesting shots that I didn’t have, so do take a look. Take a look also at the rest of his videos on playing the melodeon, inspirational stuff for anyone starting out. Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 4 – The Shruti Box

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another installment of “Inside and Out”. To those wondering if the pain will never end, fear not! This is a post rather different from the previous three, for it is not on a melodeon, nor even an accordion, but a Shruti box. It is also a short post, because it is late and I have to go to bed, and because the Shruti box is a simple instrument. Continue reading

Melodeon Reed Transients – An Indicative Study

Over the last year, I have been looking at the acoustics of the Charango, a small stringed instrument from the Andean region of South America, using a Polytec Laser Vibrometer. Now that this is all done (got a distinction in it by the way) I got permission to use the equipment for around 5 hours in one day to try and take some measurements of melodeon reeds. Unfortunately I did have only 5 hours and didn’t have much equipment other than the vibrometer, so I was limited in what I could do. In addition, I don’t have MATLAB on this computer, so I am limited in the analysis as well. I hope however that the following is of interest to those intrigued by how the box works. I haven’t concluded anything game-changing, however I hope that this study shows that within 24 hours, interesting experiments can be carried out. If there is anyone out there attached to a research centre who is interested in studying these instruments then please get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you. This is not a formal report, this is not a formal study and nothing should be taken to be conclusive. I think however that it can be considered to be indicative. Continue reading

A Question of Classification

The text of today’s sermon is on classification. One of the most common questions that I am asked as a melodeon player is “What is a Melodeon?” and its supplementary relative “What’s the difference between that and an Accordion?”. Today I will be trying to answer both those questions. The classification of instruments is loose even compared to that of species, so nothing here is “right”, even as none of it is “wrong”. What I am outlining is a system which makes sense with the instruments that we have and is broadly similar to what most other free reed musicians understand. One note before we start – all of the below classifications are based on the treble end only. There are a number of boxes with different systems for bass and treble end. Since the treble end is generally the tune side, as opposed to the chord side, it is this side which will be classified. Bass systems are for another day… Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 3 – The Schwyzerörgeli

Hello everyone! I am back! I handed in my Part IIB Project today and am free as a bird until my final presentation next week. So I thought that I would indulge myself by writing a blog post, and as it happens I have a genuinely riveting topic to talk about. Yes, it is indeed, the third instalment of “Inside and Out”, the blog series for melodeon nerds and pretty much nobody else, and today’s topic is the Schwyzerörgeli.

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Inside and Out Part 2 – Sibylla Brand G/C/F

Hello and welcome back to the second installment of the series which literally tens of people are waiting to read. This time, because I haven’t had time to write the long, wordy post that I was going to post, we are looking again at the inner workings of the melodeon, this time this rather lovely Sibylla Brand, a three row G/C/F 12 bass belonging to Malcolm Woods (no relation). All photos are taken by him and I’m grateful for him allowing me to use his instrument in this series. If you have an instrument that you would like to see featured here then please do get in touch. Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 1 – The Super-Preciosa

This is the first in a series of posts on the workings of the melodeon.

I am very interested in the melodeon and would like to share some of the thoughts that I have on the design. I think that the best way for me to do this is to investigate the detail of how specific instruments are put together. The first of these is my own Super-Preciosa. I have 3 or 4 instruments after this one lined up, but if you have a box which you think is interesting then please do get in touch and I will write about it! Especially if you have a Lõõtspill… Continue reading