Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA



Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby maugein96 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:19 pm

J-Y Sixt will start using the thumb when he shows you how to play the scale of G. Can't remember what lesson that is. I'd forgotten to check which system you are using Mitch. I presume it's C system if you're able to follow J-Y's lesson. That's the thing with the Roland. You can set it up for either B or C system.

After reading Dunlustin's post It also occurred to me that basic method books are possibly not worth the trouble for an experienced musician like yourself, especially if they are written in a foreign language.

I've added a link to a downloadable series of exercises by Manu Maugain. If you decide to buy one, I reckon you'd be better with the blue book "Practice the accordion", as the brown one looks as though it is fairly basic.

I downloaded his jazz improvisation method, and will eventually try and work through the course. I'll need to develop my ear to cope with the nuances of the jazz melodies, but I am confident that I'll at least get something out of the study. Only downside to the download version is you only get a PDF leaflet with basic info. There is no "book" as such.
You need to first register on the site, which only asks for your e-mail address and a password, no other personal details. You then simply put your selection into the cart, pay by card, and almost immediately you get an e-mail with the download link. I haven't downloaded any of his other methods so don't really know what's in them. The jazz one gives a total of 74 MP4 video instructions, albeit some of them are a bit repetitive, and some backing tracks to play what you have just learned in the previous MP4 clip.

I'd better mention that he tends to only use three rows in all of his methods, although he does use a 4 row instrument with black and white treble buttons, which makes it (slightly) easier to work out what he's doing in the MP4 videos. 4 row C system instruments are the most commonly found CBAs in France, although you also get a few of them them in Italy, Sweden, and some other countries. 5 row instruments are by far the most common, and the little Roland will fit the bill there.

If I were you I'd stick with JY's freebies in the meantime until you finally get an instrument.

http://www.play-music.com/fr/accordeon/ ... ement.html

Until you get your instrument, here is a link that shows Samuel Garcia demonstrating the FR1XB. Don't worry about the treble buttons. Somebody has put them on wrongly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m4FImiEouc
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby JackieC » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:37 pm

I think the CBA format is very cool. I have played PA for about 24 years and it is natural to me. About 8 months ago, I bought a four row French style CBA-C and began the learning process. I won't ever give up PA as I have played professionally for about 25 years. But, I love a musical challenge and have been working on this and have found that I am learning this format. My CBA-C has all white buttons with the Cs cross hatched. I am learning to play by feel without looking down at my right hand. I am making good process and am having a lot of fun with it. On PA I play with a lot of harmonizing chord formations in the right hand. I find myself trying to create those same kinds of chords on the CBA. With patience, practice and repetition, I am learning. I do have a Roland FR-1x but in PA format. It is fun and very lightweight, but I really prefer the sounds of an acoustic accordion.
Petosa Cajun Special, Petosa Little Pro Xtreme, Titano Standard, Castiglione CBA-C, Roland FR-1X, Monterrey 30/48
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby mitchnc » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:22 pm

I wish I could find a good deal on a CBA...I keep checking estate sales.
But usually they are $1600 and up, and for $2200 I can get the Roland with the benefit of practicing in silence.

Then down the road I will either be worthy of an upgrade...or I won't.
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby debra » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:33 pm

My wife and I switched from PA to CBA nine years ago (hard to believe it has been so long).
I'm still struggling with very complex pieces but I have been happy enough with the benefits of CBA over PA to persevere.
We have made the switch completely, meaning we sold our PA's and now only play CBA, and we play it a lot. We only wish we had done it 10 years earlier at least.
We have always had CBA instruments with some marked (textured) keys so we can feel where notes are. (On most C and F are marked, but on my Hohner A, Cis and Gis are marked.) Without any reference it would be harder. The color of keys is totally irrelevant as looking at the keyboard is close to a mortal sin. We do have black and white keys (except on the Hohner with only white keys) but that is only nice for the audience to look at and for seeing whether someone is playing C system or B system (or another system).
Many people try to switch from PA to CBA and end up giving up after some time. We don't! And I hope more people will persevere as well!
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby JerryPH » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:57 pm

That's Nick Ariondo, a guy who's left hand free bass technique is pretty much legendary. :)
Yeah, he's pretty good on the accordion (calling him pretty good is like calling Franz Liszt a "fair" pianist... lol)

I know that I often say it, but Free Bass is another world for a whole different kind of player.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby Acon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:23 am

Can anyone provide the link of Jean Yves Sixt's tutorial series? I searched the Youtube but just found some of his performances, and they are all in French.

I'd learned piano for several years but couldn't get to a decent level. When I started to think about learning accordion I chose CBA right away for several obvious reasons:

*************
(1) It's much smaller and lighter (20% at least) than PA with the same note range!
(2) I like classical music more and many incredible classical performances on the Youtube are executed with CBA but not PA. Of course there are many excellent PA players as well but you can't deny that a greater proportion of the top classical players are CBA based nowadays. Modern free bass CBA is actually derived from Russia if my knowledge is right, and as you can see almost every Russian master uses CBA bayans. (B-system actually, and the C-system is just a tricky invention for avoiding the patent issue. They are both good systems though.)
(3) It's cooler to have a typewriter-like instrument. :lol:

After I actually bought and started learning CBA I found other critical advantages:
(4) As donn said all the buttons are in identical shape and height. This will give you less geographic struggling on the fingering compared to piano keyboard (although I don't think that would be a problem for mitchnc since he has already mastered the piano keyboard).
(5) CBA are easier for people with little hands like me. Now I don't have to stretch my palm to reach the octave anymore!
(6) Buttons on CBA are arranged in a very clever way that every button has exactly the same interval relationships with the 6 buttons around it. The result is you can use one specific fingering for every key signature (if you have a 5-row CBA and you are lazy :P ).

Even if you are not lazy you still have to learn only 3 sets of fingering pattern to cope with every key signature (with the root notes starting from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd row respectively. Please see the charts I attached below).

(7) With the same reason, the chord patterns can be divided into few simple groups, no matter which key signature you are playing. It's good for learning and memorizing.

*************
The only disadvantage I could find in CBA is you can't slide your buttons very quickly with your finger nails to form a fast C major scale like you can do on the piano keyboard. If you slide the buttons on the CBA that would be a series of notes with minor third interval. I don't know if you can call this a disadvantage but it sounds different, and some music pieces seem to need this "white key sliding" to sound right. You can see this video (PA player: Alexander Sheykin). Note the sliding at 1:34.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHAMpQEtGd8

For those who are confused about the thumb thing on CBA, you are not alone. I also have the same issue of using/not using the thumb. I learned piano before so using thumb seems to be a natural thing to me. Besides, I am a rock climber with constant finger training for over 6 yrs. If you do rock climbing you probably know you never train your pinky finger with same intensity (or you'll get hurt), so you got your thumb and other 3 fingers strengthened evenly year after year, but not the pinky finger! The result is that if a rock climber needs to choose 4 from 5 fingers he has to play an instrument, his instinct will tell him to abandon the pinky one.

I moved to Australia 6 months ago and couldn't find any CBA teacher/player here so I have no choice but to teach myself. I created some fingering charts for scales/chords to help myself. I've attached the scale part here. Hope these would make some senses for other beginners like me.
--------------------
Several notes:
(1) They are C-system based fingerings figured out by myself for right-hand treble and left-hand free bass. All 15 major scales ane 15 minor scales (natural, harmonic and melodic) included.

(2) Sorry about the Chinese characters, but they won't bother you too much. If you have some musical common sense you'll know how to apply them to your C-CBA immediately.

Red = Scales with root note from the 1st row.
Blue = Scales with root note from the 2nd row.
Green = Scales with root note from the 3rd row.
上行 = ascending
下行 = descending

(3) About the right-hand treble, as I mentioned above I use my thumb (1) a lot so you can see from the picture that I use it as a pivot to "transfer" other fingers (mainly 2 and 3) to the next notes so the scale can move on.

(4) But recently I found the thumb pivot causes obstacles to some degree when playing fast passages just because of the anatomic reason. So now I'm trying to create another version of this scaling chart. It's simple: use the 4th finger to replace the thumb. In this way you don't use thumb anymore on any scale. You have to twist your wrist to a different angle to apply the 4th one so it takes some time to adjust to it. Once you apply this 4th finger pivot to the actually playing you'll find yourself playing like these guys you saw on Youtube who don't use their thumb at all!

(5) Left-hand free bass fingering is completely different from the right hand because you can't use your left thumb too much. The principle is simple:
2 for 1st row. (2 = index finger)
3 for 2nd row.
4 for 3rd row.

Again I don't use my left pinky on scaling (except the harmonic minor on those starting from the 3rd row), but I use it in actually playing.

The color of left-hand buttons is just for recognizing when studying. They are usually all white in real instrument. And the visual size of them is also not so correct. They are actually much smaller compared to the right-hand buttons. Sorry for these bugs if you get confused which is right and which is left. ;)
--------------------

Any comment about my charts is very welcomed and appreciated. I know many guys of you have limited resource to study the CBA so I hope my ideas can help. Hope for feedbacks to improve this chart so everybody can benefit from it.

By the way, after 6-month searching, I finally found two Bayan players from Russian last week (they use B-system of course). They belong to a Russian culture group here in Brisbane. I'll meet them next week and see if I can get any insight of fingering from their instruments.
Attachments
C-CBA Right-Hand Scale Fingerings (Created by Acon Cheng).jpg
C-CBA Right-Hand Scale Fingerings (Created by Acon Cheng)
C-CBA Left-Hand Free Bass Scale Fingerings (Created by Acon Cheng).jpg
C-CBA Left-Hand Free Bass Scale Fingerings (Created by Acon Cheng)
Last edited by Acon on Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:59 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby maugein96 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:38 am

Well Acon,

Glad there is somebody who puts bigger posts on here than I do! I'll address your first question before I speak about the fingering methods.

Yes, the lessons are all in French, and that doesn't cause me too many problems as I can understand the guy enough to follow what he wants us to do. I am not fluent, but his Swiss accent is pretty slow and easy to understand. I appreciate that non-French speakers could have a bother there, but it is the practical nature of the lessons rather than his verbal description of them that I am interested in.

Here is a link to his first lesson, and it might be as well to ignore what he is saying and see if you can make sense of what he is doing on the treble keyboard. The other lessons should be easy to find once you have the first one on your screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIw0aVo8Fuw

You have obviously put a lot of time and effort into the study of C system CBA, and it would seem that you have reached the stage where you have decided what works best for you. The glissando effect possible on PA but not on C system CBA is well enough known. It can be done to a degree on B system, but obviously not to the same effect, as the maximum possible glissando only covers 5 notes from left to right.

With regard to your fingering charts I would firstly have to say that I am not a professional player or a teacher, although I have seen quite a few method books over the years. The fact that you don't use your thumb at all in any of the scales requires pretty quick finger movement that would probably take time to acquire. I don't think they would be suitable for an absolute beginner, or convert from PA. If they work for you then they are fine, although to be honest I've never seen any fingering charts that come close to resembling yours.

I can understand how the thumb pivot can make for awkward hand movements when we are playing fast, but the modern way of thinking is to use the thumb to actually attain greater speed and fluency on the keyboard. Providing you stay on the outside three rows when playing scales that pivot situation tends not to occur with any method I have seen. It's only when they ask you to play a scale using 4 rows that it became a problem for me.

The French accordion teaching doctrines are based on the fact that they formerly tended to use logic associated with stringed instruments. On the basis that a classical violin player is required to develop strength in the little finger so as to be able to play in any key, then the older French classical teaching methods concentrated on that same principle. The fact that violinists can additionally make use of "open" strings, effectively giving them a fifth "finger", appears to have been overlooked. Therefore the theory was, keep the thumb on the side to steady the hand and bring the wrist upwards so that the fingers were better placed to play the accordion from right to left, instead of from left to right like the B system.

If you place your hand on the treble keyboard of your C system CBA, without making a conscious effort to play, look at the position your hand falls into by default. If your thumb is on the keyboard already your wrist is pointing downwards with your fingers running from left to right, which would be great if you were playing B system. To play a C system chromatic run with whatever fingers you choose, you need to bend that wrist upwards. Now, I've watched a lot of players playing C system with their thumbs on every row, and most of them are pretty good. However relatively few of them have much strength in their little fingers, which is what the French methods require you to have. In fact the modern goal of French teachers is to achieve equal strength in all 5 fingers, and I appreciate not everybody will have the patience to work on that (especially rock climbers?). Only joking!

The French methods are not necessarily correct or the only option, it's just that most of the methods for C system CBA were devised there. I am naturally biased as I learned using French methods, although in my home country of Scotland pupils studying CBA are normally taught to use one fingering pattern across all five rows, which to be fair is what the 5 row was designed for. They naturally tend to make less use of the pinky, and play for a lifetime like that without any real issues. Over time they learn to use whatever row is easier for the tune they are playing, and the French teaching logic is simply not relevant to them. In fact they look on French players with scorn because their thumbs (probably the strongest finger we have) are mostly on the side of the keyboard. They liken the French method to boxing with one hand tied behind your back.

I'm sure you'll get other input on your post, and all I can say is that CBA teaching methods are probably essential to get you started. If, after a few years you decide to hit the odd note with your nose or your big toe, then it probably won't matter too much, as most players go on to develop their own ways of coping with the "typewriter with bellows" as one of my granddaughters decided to call it.
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby Stephen » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:42 am

Great input of information for this topic.

Anyone interested in fingering options for CBA layouts, I can refer to the article by the Russian bayanist Alexander Dmitriev on positional fingering.

If you have some time, it's also interesting in checking out the history of symmetrical/isomorphic keyboard layouts in other music instruments, eg the harpsichord/piano/organ/etc

This is nice overview of 6+6 regular layout (piano,...) , and 4+4+4 regular layout (CBA), and it is available in 4 languages. This is a great article to learn more about the philosophy and history of keyboard layouts:
http://www.le-nouveau-clavier.fr/english/

The sources are in the footnotes.
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby Acon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:17 pm

Hi maugein96,

Thanks for the link! I'll try to understand what he wants to tell in these videos!

And thanks for your comment and sharing of knowledge but I'm a little bit confused with what you mentioned about my chart and the fingering. Maybe it's because my two charts are just too similar so you confounded the left with the right (I just add some texts on them so it won't happen again). As you can see on my right-hand fingering I use a LOT of thumb on every scales! :) And I think this is a very natural way for someone who wants to shift from PA to CBA.

I do feel the thumb (I assigned number 1 for it) makes me feel more comfortable when using it. What makes the fingering harder for me is NOT using it. That said, using 2,3,4 fingers (with the 4 to replace the 1) for quick passages does make me feel the potential to achieve a more fluent and even outcome due to the anatomic similarity, and that's why I'm trying it.

And using 4 to replace the 1 on my right-hand chart makes the wrist to point downward, not upward. :)
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Re: Not totally new to accordion...considering CBA

Postby maugein96 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:43 pm

Sorry Acon,

Was looking at the bass chart as you have suggested! I did wonder why I couldn't make sense of it. For some reason I only saw one chart when I looked at your post the first time.

Okay, got it now. Yes, that fingering does work, although some people would say that you make excessive use of the thumb. Again, if that's what works for you, then it's great, and I would hazard a guess that it is a very PA friendly way to start CBA.

I cannot comment on the free bass as I have never used it, and at my age now, probably never will.

Just for the record, if we keep it simple (for my benefit) and just work on fingering of the C major scale in ascending order only, the normal thumbless fingering for that scale is something like 2-3-4-2-3-4-3-4. That's just one version, and of course there are others. Using the thumb I would do 1-2-3-2-3-1-2-3, but again that would not suit everybody. In normal playing my thumb is mostly used on the 1st row, although I occasionally allow it a very short trip onto row 2.

Old Jean-Yves Sixt worked under Freddy Balta, and he was definitely of the "old school". His fingering might not make sense to you, as it is more in keeping with the way I learned. However, it is not precisely the same and I have learned a few new "tricks" by watching his lessons.
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