B system, C system



B system, C system

Postby mitchnc » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:33 pm

This is a response I received to an ad I posted to find out if there are any local teachers. Looking for your comments!

"If you have not chosen between B and C yet, I may be able to advise you. I picked the B system because of the relative ease of playing chromatically. So, depending on the style you want to play in, one or the other system might be more approachable. I taught myself, and the B system has worked very well for me. B system is better for any sort of music that involves a lot of chromatic runs, such as tango music, jazz and such. I also find that I can play anything I want to in the system. Both systems are equal as to their ability to play in what would normally be the "awkward" keys, so they both can be learned much faster than a piano keyboard accordion.

I think the Roland is great for experimenting with both systems. You can teach yourself the same tune in both systems, and get an idea of how they compare."
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Re: B system, C system

Postby debra » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:59 pm

mitchnc wrote:This is a response I received to an ad I posted to find out if there are any local teachers. Looking for your comments!

"If you have not chosen between B and C yet, I may be able to advise you. I picked the B system because of the relative ease of playing chromatically. So, depending on the style you want to play in, one or the other system might be more approachable. I taught myself, and the B system has worked very well for me. B system is better for any sort of music that involves a lot of chromatic runs, such as tango music, jazz and such. I also find that I can play anything I want to in the system. Both systems are equal as to their ability to play in what would normally be the "awkward" keys, so they both can be learned much faster than a piano keyboard accordion.

I think the Roland is great for experimenting with both systems. You can teach yourself the same tune in both systems, and get an idea of how they compare."

A key element in the response is "I taught myself" which is not a good sign for you looking for a teacher. I taught myself the C system but I do not feel qualified to start training other people.
That B system is better for chromatic runs, tango, jazz and such is utter rubbish. Richard Galliano, Luduvic Beier and many others demonstrate the ability to do all that on the C system. Each system has pros and cons and some music is written specifically for one system. I tried some pieces by Novikov for instance and no matter how I try I just cannot find any hand/finger position for some parts (no matter how slow I try). These pieces can only be done on the B system. But likewise I'm sure there are pieces that can only be done on the C system.
The only part of the whole message that makes sense is to experiment with the Roland as you can try B and C system on the same accordion.
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Re: B system, C system

Postby JerryPH » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:01 pm

Wow, of all reasons to chose a system, that has to be the most uninformed one. Basically, *BOTH* systems make chromatic runs simple, the notes are separated by a semitone!

What is different is where the notes basically start. I know that is over-simplified, but here, look at this chart and you will see what I mean.

Image

BTW, I also use the "C-griff" system.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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Re: B system, C system

Postby debra » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:49 pm

JerryPH wrote:...

What is different is where the notes basically start. I know that is over-simplified, but here, look at this chart and you will see what I mean.
...

Note that that is a chart for the bass side.

For a PA in Europe the C system is most often used for melody bass. In Russia that would be the Russian B system (Bayan in the chart).
For the righthand side the B system is uniform (no difference between European and Russian). I chose C system for starting with CBA because I played PA before and the melody bass on the PA was C system.
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Re: B system, C system

Postby maugein96 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:16 pm

Mitch,

I've only ever known of one teacher who taught both B and C systems, and that was John Leslie of London, England, who passed away in 2015. John played and taught PA, and both B and C system CBA. He played a lot of different styles and was an adjudicator at the World Accordion Championships in various countries. He also gave lectures in accordion studies at the St Petersburg Institute of Art and Culture, in Russia.

I spoke to John on the telephone a few times, mainly concerning potential accordion purchases, and asked him why he preferred B system over C. He explained to me quite simply that the B system better suited him, and because of that he taught both his son and daughter to play B system. He was an admirer of the French accordionist, Andre Verchuren, who also played B system, although I think his decision to opt for B was mainly based on his classical music preferences. He ran an accordion shop in London, which I believe is still being run by his successors, and it was one of the very few places in the UK where you could expect to find a selection of B system accordions.

By the time I had spoken to him I had already played C system for a few years and he advised me not to change, as not many people could play both systems with equal skill. He qualified that by saying that he only taught C system up to a certain level.

The choice of which system to play is entirely yours, and you can experiment on the Roland with both. Just be careful you don't keep alternating between one and the other for too long, as it will hold you back in your studies.

In the days when it was possible to have "accordion idols" you simply tried to play everything they did on whatever instrument you had. I spent years trying to play tunes written by Andre Verchuren and Edouard Duleu on a C system, before I realised that they both played different versions of the B system. As Paul DeBra says some of the more technically difficult pieces are just about impossible to play on B if they were written for C and vice versa. Whilst I am nowhere near his level, I can say that most of the old French musette tunes fall more naturally to C system than B. Quite a few of the old French tunes were written for B system, but they can usually be adapted fairly easily to C, as they are not all that difficult.

Whatever you do, have fun with your experimentation. Jazz is jazz, and not all that many of us could play it on any kind of instrument at all. A lot of the best jazz accordionists in the world play PA.
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Re: B system, C system

Postby losthobos » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:27 am

https://youtu.be/_kkQS9aBpmY
Check out Paris Moscow Duo...Domi on c system, her husband Roman on B system
Now tell me which systems better...both world champions...
If anyone's interested they will be playing at th accordion festival in Eastbourne February
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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Re: B system, C system

Postby debra » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:49 am

losthobos wrote:https://youtu.be/_kkQS9aBpmY
Check out Paris Moscow Duo...Domi on c system, her husband Roman on B system
...

Likewise with the "Duo Jupiter": https://www.youtube.com/user/dvanajab/v ... =0&sort=dd
They both play a Jupiter bayan but one is B system and the other C system.
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Re: B system, C system

Postby Acon » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:12 am

Seems the discussion about B system vs C system will go forever. :lol:

For someone who is interested in the theoretical differences in music playing due to the different note arrangements in these two systems, you can check this link below which is the explanation I can find so far going deepest into this debate.
http://nydana.se/accordion.html#cbacvscbab
(you can also see a pdf here in which comparison between PA and CBA is included)

I play C-system but always want to try B-system because most of my idols use B-system (yes many of them are Russians) and I like the way they rest their thumb on the edge of the right-hand kayboard :lol:, but I prefer the note direction of the free bass arrangement on a standard C-system which is just the mirror of the right-hand side and it's easy for me to learn.

Besides any personal tastes, I believe once you start to be able to feel the limitation of one system you probably already have the experience and skills enough to overcome it. :lol:

And if you don't have a teacher around but have to learn by yourself, you will probably find more resources for C-system unless you can read Russian language.
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Re: B system, C system

Postby debra » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:40 am

Acon wrote:Seems the discussion about B system vs C system will go forever. :lol:
...
I play C-system but always want to try B-system because most of my idols use B-system (yes many of them are Russians) and I like the way they rest their thumb on the edge of the right-hand kayboard :lol:, but I prefer the note direction of the free bass arrangement on a standard C-system which is just the mirror of the right-hand side and it's easy for me to learn.
...

From the website you linked to:
"The C-system feels somewhat more like a piano accordion when you play it."
I also heard that and that was a main point in the decision to move from PA to C-system.
Another quote:
"The B-system makes it somewhat easier to stick to three rows (cf. playing D_F#_A_D on the first three rows of a CBA-C). B-system is also convenient in case you don't want to use your thumb at all."
My wife and I started using the 4th row almost right from the start because on the C-system indeed it is not so easy to stick to just 3 rows. And the B-system "advantage" of not using the thumb was not an advantage we wanted: we have 5 fingers to use all 5.

Regarding the direction of the bass side, that should not be a decider: the B-system is available in both orientations, called "international" versus "russian". But some B-system players I know who started on the international system (i.e. mirrored) later moved on to the russian system.

I too like very much what some of the Russian virtuosi play, and I for instance got the "French Ballad" (based on Autumn Leaves) by Novikov and it is simply impossible on the C-system. I cannot reach the notes (it's not a matter of skill, but of physics).
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Re: B system, C system

Postby Acon » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:15 pm

debra wrote:"The B-system makes it somewhat easier to stick to three rows (cf. playing D_F#_A_D on the first three rows of a CBA-C). B-system is also convenient in case you don't want to use your thumb at all."
My wife and I started using the 4th row almost right from the start because on the C-system indeed it is not so easy to stick to just 3 rows. And the B-system "advantage" of not using the thumb was not an advantage we wanted: we have 5 fingers to use all 5.

I don't exactly know the reasons for these differences. I've systematically studied the fingering shape and pattern of all scales(Major+minor)/arpeggios/common chords starting from 1 to 3 rows and I found the fingerings in B and C systems look equally easy (or hard) to execute.

The reason I said that is that human fingers have different length and strength so we inevitably face some awkward fingering patterns in which you need to put your index+little fingers on the upper row and middle+ring fingers on the lower one, but the chance happening there in these two systems seems to be just the same with opposite occasions. A fingering pattern comfortable in one system is just awkward in the other, and vice versa. And of course that's the time you want to use the duplicate rows.

So I don't know if B system truly makes it easier to stick to (or prefer?) three rows unless I can learn B-system from scratch and get to the same level I've already achieved in my C-system.

Speaking of the thumb, it seems to be true that B-system players use their thumbs less than C players according to many videos on the Internet, but that might just be the result of the training background. Like other members explained in this forum, many old C players in France they don't use the thumb at all. I like using my thumb but actually I can do all scales(Major+minor)/arpeggios/common chords with 5 fingers or 4 fingers only in my daily exercise, depending on the mood of that day. In real music I've forced myself to use only 4 fingers to play some pieces and found no problem at all. I even found that once I've played these 4-finger songs very well it's hard to apply my thumb into the already-built muscle memory.

So, who knows?

debra wrote:Regarding the direction of the bass side, that should not be a decider: the B-system is available in both orientations, called "international" versus "russian". But some B-system players I know who started on the international system (i.e. mirrored) later moved on to the russian system.

One reason I've heard about the advantage of Russian free bass system is not about the fingering but about the center of weight of the left-hand part of the instrument. Since larger reed units (and hence the lower notes) are located in the bottom side, so (according to some people) the handling of the bellow will be more stable due to the lower center of weight.

But still I don't know if this is true.

debra wrote:I too like very much what some of the Russian virtuosi play, and I for instance got the "French Ballad" (based on Autumn Leaves) by Novikov and it is simply impossible on the C-system. I cannot reach the notes (it's not a matter of skill, but of physics).

Paul can you provide the sheet of that specific passage? It's hard to imagine a melody only playable in one system.
Last edited by Acon on Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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