• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

French Bal-Folk

hais1273

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
Messages
365
Reaction score
8
We had the immense pleasure of seeing Duo Synkro in Hadleigh, Suffolk, UK. They played for a French style Bal-Folk with Dave Shepard, Anna Pack and local band BOF!


I think the accordion was a Borelli 4 row chromatic with a 5 row bass ( I think). The softer sound of the accordion complimented the pipes and the hurdy-gurdy ( Vielle a roue) nicely. Whatever, the technicalities were they played very well indeed and were easy to dance to. A good mix of dances as well.
 

george garside

Prolific poster
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
0
A useful tune book for Bal Folk and covering many French regional dance is 'musiques pour danses de Bal folk written by one Fanny Lhotte!! and published byeditions CARUIHEL 2001.

It is written for diatonic boxes but the dots will work just as well for a piano, continental or whatever box

george
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
8
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
Snap - I saw Duo Synkro on Sunday at the 'Les Batons' dance in Hollingbourne (Kent)! Completely agree: they were very good to dance to, and rather pleasant for listening as well. I bought one of their CDs as a teaching aid; his bass playing was really good. Do you happen to know if it was a Stradella? He played a lot of single bass note runs that sounded as if they went beyond the range of one octave.
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,325
Reaction score
5
Location
Seattle, Washington
In the video mentioned here, sure looks like Stradella - but doesn't sound like an accordion, so I suppose the left side was MIDI. I don't know how accordion MIDI works, it might be possible to choose various configurations. If the controller hardware is installed behind the buttons, then yes, but if it's installed on the other side of the bass machine with the reeds, which I think would be more likely, then no.

The meters were funny. 5 sounded more natural than 8 - their 8 seems to be alternating 5 & 3, rather than the even division we'd expect. Do people in this region of France commonly have unequal length legs?
 

JerryPH

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
2,948
Reaction score
39
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
donn said:
In the video mentioned here, sure looks like Stradella - but doesnt sound like an accordion, so I suppose the left side was MIDI.

My opinion is that it was all stradella bass. After watchng the video 3 times you can tell that all his bass notes comes from the top 2 rows and chording comes from the buttons under the bass/counter bass rows. Free bass playing is very easy to spot by hand position and what the fingers strike. They will concentrate a lot on the bottom 3 rows and use multiple fingers for chording. He was pressing single buttons for chords and never once did he hit a register, a move that a converter accordion would need.

No MIDI either, I believe. If an accordion has the electronics for midi, it is like 99.9% of the time installed with internal mics as well, and we can clearly see that the mics are of the external temporary styles that can be transfered to other instruments on the fly.

I dont find anything that doesnt sound like an accordion when he plays, sounds like an acoustic box to my ears. :)
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
8
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
donn said:
The meters were funny. 5 sounded more natural than 8 - their 8 seems to be alternating 5 & 3, rather than the even division wed expect. Do people in this region of France commonly have unequal length legs?

:shock: The tunes are 5-time and 8-time waltzes, 5+3 is how the second one is danced. Im still trying to get my head (and legs) around that rhythm. French folk dances are very very varied, regionally diverse, and much more subtle than other countries habits (that I am aware of). Slinky, too.
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
8
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
JerryPH said:
My opinion is that it was all stradella bass. After watchng the video 3 times you can tell that all his bass notes comes from the top 2 rows and chording comes from the buttons under the bass/counter bass rows. Free bass playing is very easy to spot by hand position and what the fingers strike. They will concentrate a lot on the bottom 3 rows and use multiple fingers for chording. He was pressing single buttons for chords and never once did he hit a register, a move that a converter accordion would need.

Thanks. Its not so obvious in that video, but when I saw Duo Synkro on Sunday, there were a lot of interesting bass runs that made me wonder how he did them. Its difficult to watch accordion hands while waltzing rpund a crowded room though ;) A lot of French accordions have 3 rows of single notes, but I dont know how theyre configured. Usually theyre six-row basses though. I think.
 

losthobos

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
1,156
Reaction score
90
Location
Essex UK
I'm less that 25miles from Hadleigh so sorry not to have broadened my horizons with this one...perhaps you could nudge me if anything similar happening again (providing we're talking about Hadleigh Suffolk) thanks
 

hais1273

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
Messages
365
Reaction score
8
Hi, Im pleased this clip went down well. I dont think the accordion had a midi unit, I may be wrong of course. I just think he is a really good musician. You can hear the assorted bass runs and other left hand virtuosity clearly on their CD

This event will be repeated next year over the weekend of 7-9 April. 2017 Concert on Friday night, dance and music workshops on Saturday PM , Bal on Saturday and a muisc session on Sunday afternoon. Its held in the United Reform Church hall. Hadleigh. Booking is helpful.

Keep an eye on http://www.bof-frenchdance.co.uk for more details

BOF also run a small dance club in the Colchester

Sadly, we didnt get to any of the other events as my wife is recovering from surgery and is still a bit under the weather.

Some of the dances, can be a little strange, I cant say Im overly fond of 5, 8 time or 11 time waltzes, zweifachers (from the Alsace) can be challenging as well, a strange and seemingly random combination of 2/4 and 3/4 time. Mazurka-waltz can be aggravating too. ( Im rubbish at dancing mazurkas). Mind you some of these tunes can sound glorious when played well.

Once youve started French and Breton traditional dance there really is no hope for you, its a slippery addictive slope, most people seem to collect dances and look forward to learning more. And then like myself they start to laern to play an instrument!

It seems musicans like playing at Bals or Fest Noz, because the dances are not called in the way English, Scottish, and I guess American are. The dance is announced, the musicains launch into the tune, and the dancers dance, the novices copy or follow or may get a helping hand from the experts. So more music is played and more dance is danced at a French Bal or Breton Fest Noz. Sorry, Ive started rambling.
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,325
Reaction score
5
Location
Seattle, Washington
Anyanka said:
A lot of French accordions have 3 rows of single notes, but I dont know how theyre configured. Usually theyre six-row basses though. I think.

Youre right - they dont mind giving up one chord row out of four, since the way they do the last one serves for both dominant 7 and diminished, but they dont love the third bass row enough to drop to two chord rows. Its just the primary row shifted up 4, so a modest advantage if you want some notes in a flatwards direction from the root. No extra notes.

JerryPH said:
No MIDI either, I believe. If an accordion has the electronics for midi, it is like 99.9% of the time installed with internal mics as well, and we can clearly see that the mics are of the external temporary styles that can be transfered to other instruments on the fly.

I dont find anything that doesnt sound like an accordion when he plays, sounds like an acoustic box to my ears.

hais1273 said:
I dont think the accordion had a midi unit, I may be wrong of course.

Maybe we were listening to different videos. The treble is reeds through an external microphone, yes. Theres no microphone in sight on the left, is there? Just a cord. And when he hits a bass note, I hear something kind of like a muffled kick drum and a sustained electric bass, which is a relatively unusual sound for a reed instrument. I just wonder if the MIDI controller is velocity sensitive.

[ edit - see and hear clearly in Duo Synkro en bal - Rondeau at 3:50 ]
 

JerryPH

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
2,948
Reaction score
39
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Yes, now I can tell what you mean... but watch the left hand fingers and listen to that "muffled kick drum", they don't always match. I don't hear that sustained electric bass at all (must be age... lol). The drum sound is very familiar, like one of those hand held irish drums (sorry I don't know the exact name), so it could easily be someone off stage doing that manually too).
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,325
Reaction score
5
Location
Seattle, Washington
When I had a good look at his fingers, they seemed to match fine for me, minus a possible slight synch problem with the video, though I'd look at a specific spot if you have one. Sounded much closer than someone off camera could follow, and anyway what kind of a "duo" would that be? And there is a bass tone that's considerably more like an electric bass than an accordion. And there's no visible microphone.

I'm leaning towards a velocity sensitive setup, because it seems to me that sometimes he puts his finger down and gets a tone without much thump, and other times the thump is very noticeable. Wonder how long it would take to learn to operate that.
 

JerryPH

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
2,948
Reaction score
39
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I don't know, I'll just take your word for it. :
About how long it would take to learn something like that, as a midi accordion player, in my experience is that it did not take long at all. We're talking perhaps a few days to learn what sounds work best for your preferences, and the technique to play background instruments is very easy. In fact about the only challenging part is to get comfortable enough so that all the different sounds don't distract you, and that faded for me in a few hours.
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,325
Reaction score
5
Location
Seattle, Washington
By "velocity sensitive", I mean, what comes out depends on how you strike the button. A MIDI piano keyboard would have this feature, I guess, so you could play loud or soft - the harder you strike the key, the higher the velocity output signal. (Maybe, I'm not really familiar with this stuff.) A MIDI implementation for accordion in general would take volume control from the bellows, of course, but in this case where it would be the left side only, it would arguably be better to have separate controls, where the right depends on bellows and the left depends on button velocity, so you can control the two independently.

But you'd need to learn to hit the buttons softer or harder according to the desired effect, where with a normal accordion it makes no difference.
 

Similar threads

Top