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An amateur's harsh meeting with an electronic accordion

Simon Max

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Hi,
As I am a recent beginner with a Roland CBA (fr-1), I experienced some kind of flashback to an experience I had over 40 years ago. 
One of my mentors /idols bought a Douvox II, and let me try it. It was set with the brush sound on the bass notes, and as my playing wasn't very metronomic, it sounded terrible.

As I am playing around with the drum sounds on the FR-1, I realized that the precision needed with the timing on the Bass side is much stricter if you use the bass as the percussion, instead of some mushy accompaniment / fill sound. 
Most people who took music lessons probably had their teacher require them to play with a metronome, and might not have this difficulty.

When I played the Yamaha PSR I also had to get used to the idea of being bound to the rhythm of the accompaniment, but for some reason it seems more difficult for me now, maybe it's the age. :)  

Simon
 

Alan Sharkis

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Simon Max said:
Hi,
As I am a recent beginner with a Roland CBA (fr-1), I experienced some kind of flashback to an experience I had over 40 years ago. 
One of my mentors /idols bought a Douvox II, and let me try it. It was set with the brush sound on the bass notes, and as my playing wasn't very metronomic, it sounded terrible.

As I am playing around with the drum sounds on the FR-1, I realized that the precision needed with the timing on the Bass side is much stricter if you use the bass as the percussion, instead of some mushy accompaniment / fill sound. 
Most people who took music lessons probably had their teacher require them to play with a metronome, and might not have this difficulty.

When I played the Yamaha PSR I also had to get used to the idea of being bound to the rhythm of the accompaniment, but for some reason it seems more difficult for me now, maybe it's the age. :)  

Simon


My teacher insists on having that “clock” in your head because a metronome becomes a crutch. I reminded him that some of us are better than others in that regard. There ts that joke about knowing when a drummer is at your door because the knocking keeps speeding up, but he insisted that it remains a joke because good drummers don’t do that. My own playing used to be that way but isn’t any more. I guess I’ve developed that “clock” by counting to myself, as he suggested.

However, my teacher, a working accordionist who has worked with some of the best studio and live musicians around, is also a trained arranger and composer and freely admits that metronomes have a place in the process of arranging and composing music.
 

jozz

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I wouldn't worry about it too much, other than to appreciate that keeping time will help improve your playing in general and make it nicer to listen to. Today, if I record myself without the click, I will end up seconds away from the target at the end of the song.

So dive in and try to enjoy it, because it will take some ..... time.

nb. For what it's worth, -everybody- in the industry is on click track, mainly drummers, but also others that dial click into monitor mixes when performing. But certainly also for live tracking in the studio.
 

JeffJetton

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Both things are true, I think. You do have to develop an "inner metronome". It probably won't be as perfect as a real metronome--lots of fantastic musicians (and even entire bands) will end a song at a slightly different tempo from where they started. But ideally it will at least keep you in the ballpark, plus help you get through rests, long notes, and mistakes without the beat going completely out the window.

The idea is to quite thinking of rhythms as "short note then long note then two short notes..." and instead think about how those notes relate to that fixed, internal beat ("the 'and' of one then land on beat two then subdivide beat three precisely in half...")

But, you also have to be able to play with a metronome, which requires that you pay attention to an outside reference while also paying attention to your own playing. It trains you to constantly evaluate how you're doing (rushing, dragging) and quickly adjust accordingly.

This is a non-negotiable skill for any musician, IMNSHO, because if you can't play well to a metronome, you can't play well with another person. This has less to do with how good your time is and more to do with how well you can "sync up" with something other than yourself.
 

Mr Mark

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My new Roland has also enlightened me as to the not so (previously) subtle timing issues of my left hand - it is amazing how precise these instruments are.

I appreciate the enlightenment and challenge to be better all at the same time as not beating myself over the head about it...the most important thing of all is to enjoy playing, and as far as timing goes, it is all about having a time as opposed to being perfectly on time!
 

jozz

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does the Roland have something like swing or humanize for its drum patterns?
 

Mr Mark

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Not the FR3s.  This model doesn't even have drums (thankfully!)  :D ...it seems to be the model with the least amount of features...although aesthetically it is also (I think) the only model without a V on the bass buttons which I do like ha!  


I cannot speak to the other models.
 

VSantos

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I once had a student (classical piano) that become dependent on her metronome and could only play with it ticking away...

My tips would be:
1. Only play the piece at a tempo that allows you can play it 100% perfectly. i.e. usually a ridiculously slow tempo... :)
2. Don't practice the piece in it's entirety again until you've troubleshooted all your errors. Otherwise you'll just end up practicing your mistakes (it's so tempting to do this....)
3. Once you have control of the piece at a slow tempo, slowly practice the piece without a metronome and bring in rubato, swing etc as appropriate.
4. Use the metronome to increase your tempo and identify errors, but make sure that most of your practice is done without a metronome.
5. For popular/folk music try practicing with a backing track or chord app.
5. Practice your scales, arpeggios and technical exercises with a metronome. Treble and Bass. Boring as hell, but you'll be amazed at the control it gives you.
 

oldbayan

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jozz said:
does the Roland have something like swing or humanize for its drum patterns?

There is no drum machine! Just drum and hi-hat sounds allocated to the bass buttons.
 

simonmax

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Thanks to all for the great advice. I tried some and failed dome, as can be expected.
Every challenge is an opportunity for advancement.

Simon from the Holy Land
 

Keymn

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Beat Buddy has a setting for human drummer. You can set it beat to how How “sober” it is. It really does some strange things when not too sober!
 

JerryPH

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simonmax said:
Thanks to all for the great advice. I tried some and failed dome, as can be expected.
Every challenge is an opportunity for advancement.

This has a very special name... its called growth and having a great attitude... keep it up!  :)
 

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