Piano or cromatic accordion?

To discuss / ask questions about learning methods/styles/teachers/techniques etc.
User avatar
losthobos
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:21 am

Thanks Waldo....similar chart to one I working from...
Was hoping to find chart of fingering shapes for extensions really....but I think I'm on the right track making my own up....i find more important is the transition between the chord shapes than ending with big gap leaps...all a lovely learning curve for me....
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

WaldoW
Expert
Expert
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:56 am

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by WaldoW » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:47 am

I downloaded blank button charts from TheCypher.com (a useful site) and made my own. Remember, when forming these big, wide chords, "inner" notes can be deleted in order to accommodate the additional notes. It's the note(s) that make up the 9th, 11th, 13th, etc that needs to be present.

Press on....

User avatar
losthobos
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:06 am

Thanks Waldo...we're in the same place then....I'm always checking in case I've misunderstood something...
Harry Hussey had suggested methods with these outside notes before and went something like
For C11 play C Chord left hand add Bb triad right
For C13 play C7 chord left hand and add Dm triad right
Generally when I work a tune out from a headsheet I work with little finger and add harmony/chord notes below with other fingers and try and let the motion lead beneath the chord changes...im learning slowly and methodically that way
But when it comes to comping beneath another player that's when id really like to have a tight handle on my shapes...
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

george garside
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:05 pm
Location: Isle of Anglesey. North Wales. UK.

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by george garside » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:44 am

its wonderful how we have developed the art of complicating relatively simple things! All that is needed to get the hang of a continental chromatic , assuming you are coming from piano keyboard experience of some sort, or are the proud possessor of some fairly basic music theory/experience is a keyboard chart and familiarity with 3 scales ( on a five row one scale will do but in the long run learning three is preferable for all sorts of reasons) .The other bit of knowledge that is required is simple the combination of notes required to provide the various chords .

Working in the early stages with a keyboard chart in front of you enables you to get to know where the 'black notes' are in relation to the 'white' notes so lo and behold the chords can be played when required and in time the keyboard chart dispensed with.

To put it in perspective it is dead easy in comparison with learning the British Chromatic three row - all white buttons everything exept GDA available in either bellows direction and every note and the choice thereof governed by bellows direction.

I played continental regularly for about five years as my main box and wnet back to the British Chromatic because I found the continental too easy and boring!

The continental is however a wonderful instrument when compared to a piano box!
george :evil: ;)

User avatar
losthobos
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:30 pm

Thank you for your frank reply George....sadly to say I am not one of the gifted few to whom musical advancement comes easy and I find I have to practise endlessly and constantly ask for advice and knowledge...
Secretly I'm probably jealous of anyone who can just pick up any instrument and become so proficient a player as to become a great bandleader with just three chords under their belt...hats off!!!
Music maestro please...
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WJEfEubf9yI
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:18 am

george garside wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:44 am
its wonderful how we have developed the art of complicating relatively simple things! A
I played continental regularly for about five years as my main box and wnet back to the British Chromatic because I found the continental too easy and boring!

The continental is however a wonderful instrument when compared to a piano box!
george :evil: ;)
George,

I think you and I both need to remember that we represent niche interests on the forum, and whilst I share your interest in what are perhaps the less sophisticated styles of music, have we any right to condemn the interests of others, or their choice of instrument? No matter how much you or I try and persuade people to take an interest in other subjects, they will make their own choices, regardless.

I know next to nothing about the British Chromatic accordion, but I did live very near to the man who was accredited with being its finest ever exponent, and that was Will Starr from Croy, here in Scotland. He will hardly be a household name these days, but everybody I knew in my younger days held him in great esteem, and his renditions of French musette tunes were one of the main reasons why I opted for that style. However, when the technical aspects of his accordion were explained to me I decided it would be beyond my capability.

The fact is that the British Chromatic accordion is a very difficult instrument to play without suitable tuition, as you have indicated elsewhere, and that's probably the reason why not many people tend to go for it these days.

I can be as outspoken as anyone else on here, and have the scars to prove it, however I couldn't work out why you put that post on. Jazz accordion is not my bag either, but the members were only discussing a mutual interest.

I was reticent to become involved in this discussion, but nobody else seems to have picked up on what is going on.

Stephen Hawkins
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1297
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Lancashire.

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:50 am

Hello John,

Thank goodness I play Piano Accordion, rather than these pesky button boxes.

It is with some difficulty that I have been trying to follow this thread, and I'm still not sure I understand much of it.

I did enjoy the video clip provided by Terry, though it was not without its little mistakes. Still, it was a decent effort, and has left me feeling a little better about my own modest efforts and small accomplishments.

Kindest Regards,

Stephen.

george garside
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:05 pm
Location: Isle of Anglesey. North Wales. UK.

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by george garside » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:27 am

maugein96 wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:18 am
george garside wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:44 am
George,

I know next to nothing about the British Chromatic accordion, but I did live very near to the man who was accredited with being its finest ever exponent, and that was Will Starr from Croy, here in Scotland. He will hardly be a household name these days, but everybody I knew in my younger days held him in great esteem, and his renditions of French musette tunes were one of the main reasons why I opted for that style. However, when the technical aspects of his accordion were explained to me I decided it would be beyond my capability.


quote

There are several youtube vids of the late great Will Starr and his 4 row 3 row box is now back in circulation having been kept by his sister for years. It is now in the very capable hands of Scottish Accordion Champion (all types of accordion) Brandon Mcphee and there are some youtube vids of Brandon playing it.

The 4 row 3 row came about , I think, for a bit of fun as Will had a 4th row of dummy buttons fitted to his standard 3 row Shand Morino to make it look like a continental!!??

george

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:01 am

Hi George,

I think it's great that the box is still on the go, and I've heard Brandon playing it to good effect, even if it's not really my style.

I know there are other current players who favour the instrument, and several people played them in the towns and villages round about North Lanarkshire, where I'm from, and in neighbouring East Dunbartonshire where Will Starr lived. Quite a few wanted to play like Will Starr, and he died far too young. He was unfortunately altogether too fond of bottles that had my name on them (Johnnie Walker), and there were a lot of tales about him in that vein.

Most local accordionists knew about that fake row, and it was the general consensus that players of any "big" button type accordion were "superior" to their PA counterparts. I think I've seen Emile Vacher and other French players with a "fake" row as well. I have no idea whether "mixte" accordions are still played in France, although at a guess I'd say they probably still have their devotees. I appreciate there is probably a difference between British Chromatic and "mixte", but I wouldn't know anything about that.

User avatar
losthobos
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:55 am

Thank you for noticing John, it's fine...I've grown quite accustomed to certain members throwing in their totally irrelevant sixpenath worth....Waldo has helped me graciously and with that I'm very content...this learning curve is almost becoming a bloody circle for me...
Yes Stephen a very interesting clip indeed from some one who has obviously mastered an "easy and boring" instrument to such a degree that they've become brave enough to handicap themselves enough yo play in a style and skill that they'd be politely asked to move along should they try it in any town centre....same things were probably said of me when I packed up professional guitar playing to become a hamfisted amateur accordion owner...
We have sayings round here like "the proofs in the pudding" and "he talks a good fight"
And just for the record I do not consider myself a Jazz musician....those of you that have my CD will have heard a varied bunch of tunes and realise my real aim is to achieve seem less motion between harmonys and chord progression...
I am still very much a beginner striving to achieve a beautiful sound...thankyou
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:18 pm

Terry,

Let there be music! Let there be love! was the title of a tune once (I think).

I too gave up taking money (usually converted to pints!) for playing the guitar in a third rate band. I've seen us sharing pints at times, we were that bad.

Thought I'd try the accordion for a taste of French wine. Bloody dear stuff French wine, especially when you have to buy it yourself!

There are pros, and there are those...... I fall into the latter category (with a big clatter!)

Geronimo
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:00 am
Location: Germany

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:37 pm

wout wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:57 am
Geronimo wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:52 pm
Can you name a few people renowned to be good on both piano and piano accordion?
Well there is yann tiersen, not the most impressive music but certainly renowned and a less famous guy named dave thomas. He started out as a yann tiersen imitation but has his own music now. But agreed i dont know many. Most youtube artists i see who play piano as a first instrument play the accordion rather static.
I find it sort of funny to see how much of a CBA zealot I've become. I'm almost personally offended when seeing someone from France or Russia play piano accordion: they have no excuse for doing so. Of course that may just be the usual zealot deal at work here: if your own example does not cut it, preach to others.

You certainly picked a valid example. Even if I wish it would not have been from France...

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:31 pm

Piano or Chromatic?

Last night I was browsing through some websites offering CBA accordions for sale in Belgium, and Northern France.

Now as far as I'm aware, a PA is a PA, at least concerning the treble side.

Here are the typical CBA instruments offered for sale in Belgium, and those parts of France near to the Belgian border:-

Do1 (C system), known as Bruxellois

Do2 (B system with C in second row), known as Charleroi

Do3 (standard B system), known as Liegeois

Secondhand (used) all of those boxes are available with International basses arranged either "International" 4x2 or 3x3 (in two different layouts), or with the more usual (in Belgium) Belgian basses.

Is it any wonder that CBA often struggles to attract players, as trying to match your instrument with a local teacher (remember them?) might be a tall order, depending whereabouts in Belgium you live, and the accordion is still relatively popular there compared with English speaking countries.

The situation in Belgium would appear to be that Do2 is no longer offered as an option with new instruments, and fewer European manufacturers (and little or no Asian ones) seem inclined to offer the Belgian bass. So it would appear that players in Belgium are gradually being forced to adapt to more "standard" instruments. Was a time when a lot of French players from the "Nord" (Larcange, Verchuren, Duleu, and others) played with Belgian basses, but they were never in the majority.

Is it the case that CBA may well be on borrowed time altogether, at least in those vast majority of countries where PA is more popular? Obviously I'm not talking of any imminent changes, but all the facts seem to point in that general direction for the future. Or am I completely wrong (again).

Geronimo
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:00 am
Location: Germany

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:21 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:31 pm
Is it the case that CBA may well be on borrowed time altogether, at least in those vast majority of countries where PA is more popular? Obviously I'm not talking of any imminent changes, but all the facts seem to point in that general direction for the future. Or am I completely wrong (again).
My perception is the other way round: I find that CBA makes inroads into countries "traditionally" just playing PA, possibly because of the Internet's ability to spread grassroots propaganda, giving zealots such as myself more visibility than they might get elsewhere. At the same time, I do see more piano accordions than I expect in those countries known to be "button accordion country".

For some reason, in Russia women appear to be seen more often playing piano accordion than men. Is it due to the uncompromising weight of the Russian bayan?

What I do see is a starkly declining ratio of active musicians. Music media distribution and consumption habits leave a lot less incentive to become an active musician yourself. Schools here try to buck the trend by making instruments and music lessons available to pupils, but many musical skills go dormant after graduation. This is, of course, not all too dissimilar with other school skills like mathematics and languages, but it's still important to get that foot in the door early for the few that actually do follow up: some skills are just not the same when you start exercising them late in life for the first time.

For dabbling, the similarity of a PA to a piano keyboard probably known to, well, dabblers may be a superficial advantage. Maybe part of your observation is due to the increasing ratio of "dabblers" as opposed to obsessive musicians?

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:54 pm

Hi Geronimo,

It's difficult here in the UK to get the true picture, where PA seems to have always been the preferred option for "serious" players.

CBA has been on the go here for quite a long time, although it does face a lot of competition from the other various "button" diatonic type instruments, mainly in the folk and traditional genres.

My own experience is that they are getting scarcer here in Scotland. 35 years ago there were hardly any teachers willing to offer CBA tuition. If I was honest I don't really know what the current situation is, but would be very surprised indeed if there were more than a handful of CBA teachers in the whole of the UK.

I appreciate things may be different in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. I used to subscribe to a French accordion magazine which was full of articles about superb young players, but it would seem to be the case that most of those youngsters have either gone to ground or have to be satisfied to play at lesser venues, where they exist at all.

CBA is very much a minority pursuit here and unfortunately I don't see that changing much anytime soon. All sorts of people worldwide keep talking about accordion revival, and it certainly needs to be revived pretty quickly. Those of us who are old enough to remember the days when accordions of any type were popular are now struggling to remember the names of our children!

Stephen Hawkins
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1297
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Lancashire.

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:54 pm

Hey Terry,

I have never been a big fan of jazz, though I do like Ella Fitzgerald, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball & a few others.

As previously stated, I don't know much about button boxes. PA's are (I think) much more popular in the UK, making my choice of instrument(s) quite simple.

I make no exaggerated claims about my ability, except to say that I can knock out a couple of dozen tunes without reference to musical notation, and at least the same number when I have the notes in front of me as an aid memoire. (though I may only glance at them occasionally to stop me going wrong)

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:00 am

Hi Stephen

I met Kenny Ball in Scarborough about 1975. He was playing in the Spa ballroom, but there wasn't an accordion in sight. I was still about 8 years away from starting on the accordion, but being that we were both trumpeters, he and I both struck up a conversation about fellow musicians, including Acker Bilk, who was planning to make an album in Hungary (which he finally accomplished in 1979.)

Kenny told me a story about a lady in London, who had the misfortune to get her toe stuck in one of her bath taps. She managed to bang through the wall to her neighbour and asked him to call a plumber due to her predicament.

In due course the plumber arrived, and the lady suddenly realised that she was naked in the bath, which she had drained of water. In desperation she looked around for something to cover her modesty, and the only thing she had within reach was a black feather duster on the end of a bamboo cane.

She duly placed it in a suitable position to cover her pubic area, and the plumber entered the bathroom. She asked the plumber if he could get her toe out to which the plumber replied "I'll certainly get your toe out, but I don't know what I can do about Acker Bilk!"

That's jazz!

User avatar
losthobos
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:14 am

Woo....i never knew you blew horn John
My favorite musician of all time is still Chet Baker...the honesty and delicacy with which he blew and sung such beautiful tunes with a subliminal tone affects me everytime I listen...
Stupid as it may seem but I want to play accordion with the same soul he blew horn....
That's jazz....
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:06 am

Terry,

It was Scarborough Civic week (or whatever title it had then), and I was part of a Royal Navy helicopter display team which toured the UK on a recruitment drive.

We were introduced to Kenny Ball at the function to celebrate the end of the week, and being an ex-plumber it was me who told him the Acker Bilk joke! He actually pretended he couldn't understand my thick Lanarkshire accent, but one or two of his bandsmen were in fits. Acker Bilk did make an album in 1979 called "Made in Hungary" and I wore the cassette tape out playing it night and day. I threw that bit in to make the story seem more realistic.

Only trumpet I ever played was two years at school where they booted me out for swinging classical tunes out of boredom. I never played trumpet again after that. The teacher was a jazz player and warned me not to copy what he did, but I couldn't resist it. He eventually told me to try and find a jazz band as the school orchestra was definitely not for me. I eventually found Kenny Ball, but he had no vacancies for a failed school orchestra type.

Gotcha!!!

maugein96
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1854
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:56 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:46 am

Terry,

Your playing certainly comes through as being "from the heart". First couple of times I heard you I thought the tunes were a but heavy on chords, but after I became acquainted with what you were doing the penny dropped.

Believe it or not I started to work more on chords after I heard you play those old sentimental numbers, and I now wish I had paid more attention to chords in the early days. I tend to experiment by adding notes or taking them out, and although I've no idea what I'm doing in the technical sense, my ear will usually tell me whether it's right or wrong.

Funny thing is that most instruments of a traditional orchestra have no scope for chord study. At brass lessons they would get three or four of us to play different notes, and that was it for chords.

Cheers,

Captain Hornblower

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests