Where did you come to melodica from? What were your expectations?

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  • #4977
    AvatarKevin
    Participant

    In some of our forum discussions on expression and construction I’ve noticed that we are coming from many different backgrounds. I’m going to ask the general question where did you come to the melodica from? What were your expectations of it before you got your hands on one?
    It seems some of us are harmonica players, some come from accordion, many from the piano. Maybe some were horn or woodwind players? I myself have an organ background and think of the melodica as a small reed organ. I approach it in that manner and that’s my expectation, a small reed organ that has the advantage of expression over volume and attack and tremolo.
    I’ll also point out in this ongoing discussion of how and why melodica. I’m old enough to remember a time when portable electronic keyboards were not as ubiquitous as they are today. it was really great to have a small portable keyboard to work out melodies and chord progressions or ear-training. the thought of sound quality and playability were really secondary to it’s handiness.

    #4980
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    I like this topic. I started as a percussionist and moved to piano in the late sixties because I felt I could not express myself as I wanted. As the years accumulated, I have gone back to percussion and feel I can express myself, it all depends on your mind set to the music you want to create. I come from a Jazz background, but played in a lot of different types of musical groups. In the sixties I played a lot of latin Jazz, early seventies I moved more into progressive jazz. Once I left home and went out on my own I needed to pay the rent so I started playing in R & B bands so I could work in night clubs. I eventually moved into disco, pop, rock and even punk/new wave music. As I changed the music I performed, I always played it as I felt it should be played or my interpretation of how it should be played, which I feel is part of “my expression” I, like Lowboy owned and played the B3 and just about every keyboard popular during my time as a working musician. The Melodica never made it into the gig bag for me it was only a tool for ear training in the sixties and at that time I felt that the melodica was in the same class as the Kazoo with little to no expression possible. I did not pick up the melodica for almost 25 years and now I play it everyday. I now disagree that the melodica is a non expressive instrument, I do believe that expression can be achieved without special effects, but I strongly believe that if Mozart would have had a Moog synthesizer or Fender Rhodes with a wah-wah pedal he would have used it. When you hear a sound in your head the mind wants to create it and that is when expression is born, the instrument is only the tool. Does a better tool (instrument) create a better sound or help you with more expression, to an experience player more than often to a beginner almost never. I always tell everyone start on a cheap melodica and see if you like it before you jump in and wind up tossing a $500 Hammond melodion in the closet. I experiment quite a bit and most of the times I play the same song with many different melodicas to see which one I feel I can achieve the best performance. This method works for me, will it work for everyone else, probably not, just do what feels right.
    Melodica-Me
    Monsters of Melodica

    #4988
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    I’m from a piano background. Piano’s all about playing the whole thing on one instrument – the bass, guitar, vocals, harmonies and string section! As a composer I’ve become more interested in minimal music, and solo melodies. Melodies sound a bit plain on a solo piano.

    So the melodica serves as an expressive melody machine which I can take places to join with other melody players.

    I first discovered the accordina, while at music college, and spent a while learning that while I should’ve been studying other things. But I realised I’d never have the confidence I have with the piano style keyboard I’ve grown up. I swapped to Vibrandoneon and Clavietta, which I use in recordings quite a lot, as they mix well with conventional instruments.

    I then went through a period of exploring every melodica, determined to find the one which ticks all the boxes…

    #5032
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    I come from playing accordion and singing. As an accordion player I’m quite good, as a singer I’m what you’d call reliable – but I never had the capability of letting my breath flow freely (which in my opinion is the most important premise to put your soul into singing).
    I’ve always had a strong affinity to wind instruments and tried out some without finding MY instrument. Yet one thing I discovered was that while playing a wind instrument I can do with my breath what I can’t do when singing.
    One day I purchased a cheap Piano 36 at a local flea market which was Step 1 to my rage for melodicas. It gave me what I searched in sound (free reeds, accordion-like tone) and playability (keyboard plus breath). But only when I discovered the Vibrandoneon I really knew (no, I found out during the last 3 ½ years!) the true possibilities of a keyboard harmonica. And I say this being aware of all the issues of the Vibrandoneon or the melodica in general – and maybe this is another part of the fascination that instrument brings to me, that it is still developing, technically as well as musically, and that it brings me to develop my skills.

    #5038
    AvatarMark O’Trumea
    Participant

    The first instrument I learned was they keys, about 24 years ago. I’m always looking for new instruments, I play about 13. Just got my first melodica last november. I’m surprised how many people have wanted me to play with then vs when I present myself on other instruments. Got plenty of gigs and offers for gigs now that I play the melodica! It’s wonderful because I just have to show up with a light instrument on my back, sometimes a mic and stand, then just play the gig!

    #11174
    AvatarPál Krammer
    Participant

    (* reviving an old thread here *)

    I’m new to the Melodica, coming to it as a tenor sax player. However, I also have dabbled in recorders and harmonicas for years and have learned to appreciate their capabilities. My interest in the sound and flexibility of the Hammond B3 led me to study the accordion, which eventually led here.

    Thanks to reviews and videos on this site, the P-32D I bought a few weeks ago seems to be just what I need. The sound is pleasant and its F3-C6 range is perfect for playing around in.

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