CBA fingering Mantova style



CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby maugein96 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:09 pm

It seems that some folks are new to C system CBA and are a bit unsure as how to proceed with fingering. I pointed some members in the direction of the Swiss player, Jean-Yves Sixt, who has posted free lessons on You Tube. Whilst his lessons are invaluable, his technique is based on the French system which tends to require frequent use of the little finger. That can be difficult to master, especially for more mature students, or converts from PA.

The attached clip is not exactly an instructional video, but there are several good shots of Gino Daeder's right hand technique. This is typical of the Italian CBA fingering, particularly in Emilia Romagna and surrounding areas, where they play accordions which are basically the same spec as those in France (stepped "mushroom" bass buttons, and treble couplers mounted on the rear of the treble keyboard), albeit with different tuning, and more usually 4x2 rather than 3x3 French bass arrangement. There were pages of discussion on this matter on the forum some time ago, so I'll not go into it again.

If you watch the shots that concentrate on his right hand you'll see him make frequent use of his thumb, mainly on the first and second rows. His little finger is used occasionally, but not as often as it is by French players.

This was the style of playing I started off learning, but I later decided it wasn't "French" enough, and I switched to one of their methods. With the dubious benefits of hindsight, advancing years, and osteo arthritis, I would have been better sticking to it, as that little finger of mine never really made it as a major player in the French League. I've since began to work on my playing in an effort to get back to the fingering I started with, as I'm finding difficulty getting all my fingers to work properly after a long layoff from playing.

Just something to consider for those of you who might be struggling a bit (like me).

Finally, the trivia on Gino Daeder is that he is/was also a professional flautist and sax player. Don't think he's retired just yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LyJsvgXZtI

EDIT:- Player's name is Gino Daeder, and not Bruno. Bruno was our last dog's name!
Last edited by maugein96 on Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby Geoff de Limousin » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:37 am

Thanks for posting this Maugein96.

A fingering that looks something similar to my attempts on the CBA and gives me the courage to continue . One friend has been trying to convince me that thumbs are just not agile enough for more than the odd bit of pivoting duty on the outer row but I think I am beginning to change his mind .
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby maugein96 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:49 am

Thanks Geoff,

I think it would be fair to say that both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and in days gone by quite a few Italian players like Gigi Stok, Vittorio Borghesi, Wolmer Beltrami, and others, played without using their thumbs at all.

I don't know a whole lot about Italian accordions or their history, although it seems to be the case that CBA playing with the thumb became more popular after WW2, with the most famous exponent probably being the late Carlo Venturi. A whole host of players, including Gino Daeder, use the same or a very similar fingering method to Carlo Venturi, and it is very rare these days to see an Italian player with their thumb on the side of the keyboard.

I love the popular Italian accordion styles, although the tunes are often bulked out with triplets and quadruplets, which can get a bit predictable. The other night I selected a number on You Tube named "Sandalo Cinese" ("Chinese Sandal") which is part of the Italian musette repertoire, and is quite a pleasant break from the norm. The first few bars started off with double stopped notes and it had the promise of being something different. However after a few bars away the player concerned went with those blasted triplets and it could have been any other "valzer", until a few bars from the very end, when it sounded oriental again.

Glad the clip was of use to you, and hopefully it will encourage others to gain more confidence by realising there is more than one "correct" way to play CBA. I'm pretty sure most players in other countries use a technique similar to the one used by Gino Daeder.

That just leaves the question of which row should be used and when, but I think most of us would say that is entirely the prerogative of the individual once the basics have been learned. As a 4 row player I have less options to worry about.
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby JerryPH » Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:26 pm

maugein96 wrote:I think it would be fair to say that both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and in days gone by quite a few Italian players like Gigi Stok, Vittorio Borghesi, Wolmer Beltrami, and others, played without using their thumbs at all.

... and there is nothing wrong with that. As great as they were, they simply never did anything that required the thumb, so never used it. But, because of this, in a small way, they limited their ultimate musical possibilities. For example, let's see any player do a 2 octave stretch with fingers #2 and #5, then try and see how simple it is using the thumb and #5.

I'm not a button player, yet to me the choice is obvious. I see many great button accordion players use the thumb a lot, to do things with it that are simply more difficult or impossible without it.

The choice should be a choice and not a prejudice. Use the thumb every time you need to, to attain a musical goal and if you never need to, then don't use it. The saying that the thumb is any less important than say (for example) the little finger, or any digit, is just an excuse to limit your possibilities. :)
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby losthobos » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:28 pm

Here's my BASIC RULE OF THUMB....
the most important thing is to be able to BLOCK OUT the chord with your fingers..ie make a chord shape (much the same as you would a barre chord on guitar)... this BLOCK will change shape as you move up and down through the arpeggio of the chord....you'll need to find and make the shapes for the 1st,2nd,3rd row...muscle memorise these shapes... this is so important later on and i wish i'd absorbed this reasoning earlier...rather than concentrating on melodies or scales...
So now when you chose a melody to explore see that your most favourable finger (pinkie or 4ht) has access to highest note of melody...then work backwards from there...this will often allow the thumb to be rested on the fingerboard as a pivot for the other fingers...then as your playing advances you may find that you wish to embellish the melody some what with some rundowns etc, at this point i use my block chord as the anchor and release the thumb from the side of the accordion to perform the rundowns/embellishments...
hope this makes sense...i certainly don't advise using the thumb on a low note as an anchor as possibilities may become limited later..
I don't really know if this is GOOD adice but it works for me andallows mothin below the melody with the thumb and perhaps above with the pinkie...
experiment, enjoy...as Bruce Lee said..invest in loss... the more often it goes wrong the more likely you are to drop techniques that don't work...
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby maugein96 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:25 pm

Terry,

Interesting that you work your fingering out based on chord playing, and that must take a fair bit of thought and preparation. I wouldn't have the patience for that, so my fingering is based on the melody, and if I can get the odd 4 or 5 finger chord in then that's a bonus. I often find myself just doubling two notes up or playing three note chords here and there, as I'm probably going too fast to worry about anything impressive with chords, depending on what I'm playing.

As a 4 row player I might decide that for the sake of convenience, certain chords need to be reduced from 4 notes to 3 in any case, as I lack the ability to play well with "doigts forchu", or forked fingers, as it is known in France. You may have encountered this yourself when you try and play a 4 or 5 finger chord where one or more of the middle fingers is on the outside row, and an adjacent finger needs to be in the third. The natural way to get around that is to "go inside" and move the middle finger(s) to the 4th row. In most cases 4 rows is adequate for me but if I played in your style with a lot of chords I'd want 5.

As I've mentioned in other posts I'm gradually trying to go back to playing the Italian method I started out with, so the thumb is getting plenty of use, whether as a pivot on the outside, or on the second row when I'm also using the 4th. It very occasionally gets to move "infield" onto the 3rd row, but don't tell anybody!
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby losthobos » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:53 pm

Maugien...for sure four rows I plenty..hence me happy to trade my five across to the four...the chord shape approach is something Medard Ferraro (or something like that) taught I his tutor but I was too slow to grasp the importance of when I was tackling his book...
My style is perhaps based on illusion a like you i'm pretty chuffed if I manage three note chords...I think it's important to try an choose the right notes than add just for the sake of adding more...can sound good but can also stray to far from t melody....
What I was perhaps trying to get at is important to know the relation of the notes in relation to the chords....mostly because it can allow you to pre empt escape routes when things get a little wirey...perhaps I overthink a much as i've i've tendency to overplay...
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby maugein96 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:54 pm

Did you end up with the Piermaria then? Can't wait to hear it. Three out of my four boxes are 4 row, and they are pretty rare beasts in the UK as you know. I've mentioned this before, but if I started all over again I'd have gone for an Italian box over a French made one. I'm sitting with two very expensive but not very great French boxes (Cavagnolo and Maugein), a pretty mediocre Italian one (Marinucci), and a Chinese (Hohner) that I might put candles in and make a Chinese lantern out of for Christmas. It's still not played in yet, but does not show a lot of Eastern promise of being anything other than what it is. It is very loud for such a small instrument, but the quality is just not there, just like my playing!

In Scotland nobody will touch a 4 row CBA with a barge-pole, as the very few remaining teachers (if there are any) tend to take their pupils straight across 5 rows with one fingering for every day of the week. CBA is actually called the "Continental 5 row" up here, and no Scotsman is willing to pay for an accordion that is missing a whole row of buttons.
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby dan » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:18 am

losthobos wrote:So now when you chose a melody to explore see that your most favourable finger (pinkie or 4ht) has access to highest note of melody...then work backwards from there...this will often allow the thumb to be rested on the fingerboard as a pivot for the other fingers...then as your playing advances you may find that you wish to embellish the melody some what with some rundowns etc, at this point i use my block chord as the anchor and release the thumb from the side of the accordion to perform the rundowns/embellishments...
hope this makes sense...i certainly don't advise using the thumb on a low note as an anchor as possibilities may become limited later..

Hi Terry,
I find this very interesting. Useful for harmonizing and embellishing melodies as well as getting chord tones under your fingers for improving. Do you recommend practicing chords and inversions without the thumb?
(i.e. 2 3 4 for a triad, 2 3 4 5 for a seventh chord)
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Re: CBA fingering Mantova style

Postby TomBR » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:04 pm

Interesting clip, thank you. ;)
Maybe worth a reminder that you can slow the play speed on Youtube with the little gearwheel icon, either half speed with slowed sound, or quarter speed without sound.
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