Melodica range

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Alan Brinton 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #7522

    Quetscher
    Participant

    Hi Joseph and welcome to melodicaworld,

    unfortunately these terms (alto, soprano, tenor, bass) are not too exact and they vary from brand to brand. When you want to buy a New model just have a look at these three charts:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51KmFYVmK9L._SX522_.jpg

    This is for Hammond models and the next one is for the Suzukis:

    http://www.suzukimusic.co.uk/products/melodion/images/melodion-range.gif

    And finally, the range oft the Yamahas:

    http://image.rakuten.co.jp/shimamuragakki/cabinet/100412/pianica_img4.gif

    Apart from that you can find information on this site:

    http://skmt.cooktone.com/text_kenhamo/catalog_e.html

    I’m not sure if this is a reliable source, I’ve got the impression that he counts an octave lower than it really sounds…

    Greetings, Quetscher

    #7523

    Quetscher
    Participant

    Joseph wrote:

    “Hello I am unfamiliar with melodica models and types I just wanted to know if the words alto, soprano, and tenor actually denote the octave range of these instruments or are they just used as catchy names for the different brands, because I was planning on purchasing to melodicas one a standard model and the other in a higher register, I just want to make sure not to purchase to of the same range just because of a naming mix up.
    Thank you”

    Hi Joseph and welcome to melodicaworld,

    unfortunately these terms (alto, soprano, tenor, bass) are not too exact and they vary from brand to brand. When you want to buy a New model just have a look at these three charts:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51KmFYVmK9L._SX522_.jpg

    This is for Hammond models and the next one is for the Suzukis:

    http://www.suzukimusic.co.uk/products/melodion/images/melodion-range.gif

    And finally, the range oft the Yamahas:

    http://image.rakuten.co.jp/shimamuragakki/cabinet/100412/pianica_img4.gif

    Apart from that you can find information on this site:

    http://skmt.cooktone.com/text_kenhamo/catalog_e.html

    I’m not sure if this is a reliable source, I’ve got the impression that he counts an octave lower than it really sounds…

    Greetings, Quetscher

    #7524

    Quetscher
    Participant

    Joseph wrote:

    “Hello I am unfamiliar with melodica models and types I just wanted to know if the words alto, soprano, and tenor actually denote the octave range of these instruments or are they just used as catchy names for the different brands, because I was planning on purchasing to melodicas one a standard model and the other in a higher register, I just want to make sure not to purchase to of the same range just because of a naming mix up.
    Thank you”

    #7526

    Quetscher
    Participant

    Hello Joseph and welcome to melodicaworld,

    unfortunately these terms (alto, soprano, tenor, bass) are not too exact and they vary from brand to brand. When you want to buy a New model just have a look at these three charts:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51KmFYVmK9L._SX522_.jpg

    This is for Hammond models and the next one is for the Suzukis:

    http://www.suzukimusic.co.uk/products/melodion/images/melodion-range.gif

    And finally, the range oft the Yamahas:

    http://image.rakuten.co.jp/shimamuragakki/cabinet/100412/pianica_img4.gif

    Apart from that you can find information on this site:

    http://skmt.cooktone.com/text_kenhamo/catalog_e.html

    I’m not sure if this is a reliable source, I’ve got the impression that he counts an octave lower than it really sounds…

    Greetings, Quetscher

    #7527

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Good information from Quetscher. To simplify: The standard 32 or 37 key melodica typically starts at the F below Middle C. The octaves are numbered. The F below Middle C is F3. Middle C is F4. The range beginning at F3 is commonly referred to as Alto. For the most part, this is the easiest range to play on a melodica, especially the range of the 32 key model that ends at A-5. By easiest to play, I mean that on a melodica it is, other things being equal, easier to get good sound than in a lower or higher range.

    The most common range referred to as “Soprano” on current melodicas begins at F-4. A good soprano is harder to find. Some people speak highly of the Suzuki S-32. Suzuki also makes an MX-27S. In my collection I have a few vintage sopranos, and a I prefer couple of the older Suzuki sopranos over others.

    I’m speaking of Japanese brands. Older Hohner models are differently identified, with “soprano” used for models beginning at B-3, which is closer to alto by the Japanese standard.

    #10591

    Rahul Savani
    Participant

    I made the following image when considering whether to get one of the Hammond Melodions with pickups, which are the top three in the image.

    I own one of each of the remaining bottom four melodicas.

    The image clearly shows the distinction between Hohner and Japanese meanings of “soprano” that Alan was referring to.

    Happy to share the LaTeX source of this in case it’s useful to anyone.

    #10592

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Hey that’s great, Rahul! Thanks for sharing it. What did you decide about a Hammond? All three models significantly extend the range. Your key identifications in the chart don’t look right, though. Am I reading it wrong?

    The soprano I like best is the Suzuki Study 25 that corresponds to the regular alto Study 25 (“New Study” A-25, 1972-85.) Its range starts exactly one octave above the alto, at F4. I’m very keen on both these models, for their action and distinctive sound.

    #10593

    Rahul Savani
    Participant

    Hi Alan

    > Hey that’s great, Rahul! Thanks for sharing it.
    > What did you decide about a Hammond?
    > All three models significantly extend the range.

    I decided that the Hohner Alto range, and maybe a bit below, is what I really care about, so that if I went for one it should be one of the Hammond 44s. On my wish list for now..

    > Your key identifications in the chart don’t look right, though. Am I reading it wrong?

    The staves and keyboard labels are all borrowed, and I didn’t change anything there. The note labels just below the keyboard are Scientific Pitch Notation (SPN), with middle C being denoted as C4. I hadn’t even heard of SPN before I made this diagram.

    I just augmented the diagram with the 7 melodicas, where I used notation for the end notes inspired by the notation used in marketing materials (where c1 is middle C, f is the one below middle C and F the one below that one). So the notation on the keyboard and on the ends of the “melodicas” is different. After a quick google, I now see that those using this second notation, with c1 as middle C, as probably just adapting Helmholtz notation, writing c1 for c’.

    What did you think is wrong in particular?

    > The soprano I like best is the Suzuki Study 25 that corresponds to the regular
    > alto Study 25 (“New Study” A-25, 1972-85.)
    > Its range starts exactly one octave above the alto, at F4.
    > I’m very keen on both these models, for their action and distinctive sound.

    They look nice indeed, though I mainly play stuff in the Hohner Alto range as mentioned.

    Cheers,
    Rahul

    #10596

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    It’s the C1 as middle C that threw me off, I guess, Rahul.

    I agree in preferring the alto range and “a little lower.” At least that’s the range where I find it easiest to get good sound.

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