Old accordion videos

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Morne
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Old accordion videos

Post by Morne » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:36 am

I don't recall seeing these posted before. They are from a YouTube channel called British Pathé. Those old designs sure fit in nice with that time period.

They have a lot more, but here are a few:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zszdTYAGGM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYupPtjRa14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x609dePQj6w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLGsVZyee_A

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by Geronimo » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:56 pm

Well, the audio quality in those recordings (magnetic wire?) can't keep up with the fast instrument play: took me some time to even recognize "Leichte Kavallerie" by von Suppé in Jaconelli's play. One of the Larsen brothers is playing a full-blown Belgian system (Belgian bass, in the treble CBA in B system style, but with G in the outer row). The other brother a usual piano accordion. And "Larsen" does not even sound Belgian. Danish? Interesting diversification for brothers.

It's a pity that there are no higher quality recordings from that time available. And even finding out some of the CV of those players is likely tricky.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by jozz » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:00 pm

thanks nice find, actually gave me inspiration for some music choices for a new show

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by TW » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:19 pm

A post from 2015 titled:-
Re: Are there ANY valued old piano accordions
discusses and shows a Ranco owned by Ernesto Jaconelli, now owned by his nephew.
I have played this accordion but it was very fragile though still operational.
Ernesto's life and times are well known locally.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by Keymn » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:23 pm

Are we being replaced? Check this out!
https://youtu.be/rwh_acqT6J0
Larry Roberts Entertainment
http://www.larryrobertsent.com

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:20 am

With regard to the clip posted by morne featuring the "Larsen brothers", I believe, but cannot be 100% certain, that the guy playing the "Do2" B system CBA with Belgian basses is Willy Larsen, who was actually a Finn. His surname and his B system CBA possibly indicates some sort of Norwegian connection. I've not been able to establish whether or not he actually had an accordion playing "brother", but you never know. Stage names of the time were often simply invented to wow the audiences.

In Norway the accordion stores (yes there are a few left!) offer three different types of accordion. Norsk system (B CBA), Svensk system (C CBA), and piano system to cater for the minority of players who may have learned piano or keyboard but want to play accordion. The vast majority of Norwegian accordion tutor books refer to standard B system studies. I've never seen anything but normal "Norsk B system" accordions in Norway, and they would be easy to spot as they almost invariably have black and white treble buttons.

In Finland the Finnish C system CBA is the preferred tool with C being in the second row. This forces the player to make greater use of the inside row(s). Again these are easily identified on account of the two colours of buttons.

The Belgian Do2 system (known as Charleroi system in Belgium) could possibly be compared to the Finnish C system, as it appears to have the same effect on players. It also requires them to use the inside rows more on account of the amended configuration of the respective treble systems. It would be my guess that Willy Larsen, assuming he was in fact a Finn, experimented with the Belgian Do2 system whilst he was still living in Europe and stuck with it. Only two countries I know of where Belgian basses were popular were obviously Belgium, and Italy (where it was confined to the area around Modena and called "modenese").

From the very limited info available on the web it seems that Willy Larsen emigrated to the USA from Finland in the early 20th century, and most of his recordings were made there. I cannot find any mention of him having had a brother at all, although of course I could be wrong about his identity!

Anybody with a decent knowledge of the Finnish language might be able to find out more from this link to the Finnish Accordion Institute. Good luck if you're not a Finnish speaker. The language is, or rather was, entirely without certain common consonants, but these have gradually crept in with official "loan words". "Finland" is actually the Swedish word for the country which is known to Finns as "Suomi", except that minority of Finns who are Swedish speaking!

http://www.harmonikkainstituutti.net/

EDIT:- Finnish system has C in the 3rd row, as observed by Paul DeBra. Should have concentrated on the accordion element instead of waffling on about the peculiarities of the language!
Last edited by maugein96 on Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by Geronimo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:03 am

maugein96 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:20 am
In Finland the Finnish C system CBA is the preferred tool with C being in the second row. This forces the player to make greater use of the inside row(s).
Well, that had been my theory as well until I bothered actually checking with various videos from Finnish players. Nope. Apparently they predominantly use the outer rows like everyone else. So my theories now are that they prefer other keys and/or fingerings (it's not like C major is all that great on a C system CBA unless you employ the thumb). Or that this arrangement allows them using the reed blocks/range from (5-row) B system instruments without modification.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:57 pm

Hi Geronimo,

I should have mentioned that I've no experience of playing either the Finnish C or any of the two Belgian B systems, and I was expressing my opinion only.

In defence of my self opinionated theory, here is an example of what it is based on:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9voJve6hLC0

You'll see there are not a lot of "outside row" buttons used in that particular number.

Also, one of my old heroes in the days when I was learning was Edourd Duleu, a French player from Wattrelos, near Roubaix, and he played Do2 B system with Belgian basses. It was only when videos of him playing became available that I realised why I couldn't play like he did (aside from the fact I never had his ability!)

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

Admittedly, there is more use of the outside row, but you'll see him use the 4th and 5th rows quite regularly. Not many French C system players or Belgian B system players even have a 5th row.

Perhaps the most famous Norwegian player ever, Toralf Tollefsen, played the "Svensk" C system and he had a tendency to play from right to left, like a B system player, whenever he could, or so it would appear from the videos I have watched.

With the benefit of hindsight if I was starting out all over again I think I'd go for a standard B (Liege) treble system with Belgian basses, as most of the players I liked used that system, whether it was popular or not.

Despite its relative popularity I don't find the C system CBA very user friendly at all, but it doesn't really matter now as I took the decision to stop playing last year.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by Geronimo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:10 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:57 pm
Despite its relative popularity I don't find the C system CBA very user friendly at all, but it doesn't really matter now as I took the decision to stop playing last year.
I don't have the comparison (and likely few people have played both systems), but here are a few observations:
a) C system wants additional rows more than B system: if you take a look at most chord shapes in the treble, you often have two nice and one really awkward chord shape across just 3 rows. In contrast, B system has three tolerable chord shapes (either using adjacent rows or fitting the hand curvature whereas C system has both or none).
b) the free bass/converter system and the fingering in general on C system corresponds to the free bass/converter system on the majority of piano accordions so equipped, so in PA dominated diaspora, it may be easier to come by capable teachers for C system.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:25 pm

Hi Geronimo,

The awkward and sometimes seemingly illogical C system fingering and associated hand and wrist positions ended up causing me problems after I sustained a bad hand injury.

I tried to overcome them for many years afterwards, but eventually decided things were not getting any better and gave up. I simply wasn't able to play as well as I could after the accident, and that was that. Fortunately I never played as a pro or it would have been a lot worse.

At least one member on here had a similar problem and decided that a switch to B system would help him. I cannot remember now who he was but I hope it worked for him. If I was a tad younger I might also have considered that, but the notion has now left me.

CBA teachers of any description in the UK are now very few and far between, having never been all that common here in Scotland in any case.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by debra » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:53 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:20 am
...
In Finland the Finnish C system CBA is the preferred tool with C being in the second row. This forces the player to make greater use of the inside row(s). Again these are easily identified on account of the two colours of buttons.
...
If I'm not mistaken the Finnish C system has the C on the third row, not the second.
Just watch the beginning of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpX5Bjj4tjA
(only bass side being played so you get a good view of the keyboard without the hand obstructing the buttons).
The second and fifth row have 3 white keys, then 1 black, so that is the row with B D F G#. Given that it is a C system that then means the 3rd row is the one with the C.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by Geronimo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:22 pm

debra wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:53 pm
maugein96 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:20 am
...
In Finland the Finnish C system CBA is the preferred tool with C being in the second row. This forces the player to make greater use of the inside row(s). Again these are easily identified on account of the two colours of buttons.
...
If I'm not mistaken the Finnish C system has the C on the third row, not the second.
Uh yes. That's why it's called G system. The "C in second row" C system variant is "D system" I think since calling it "B system" would be even more confusing.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:19 pm

Sorry Paul,

You are correct (again!). Finnish C system has C in the third row. It's been a while since I last saw one. I should have picked my error up when I posted the clip of Maria Kalaniemi, but I had already convinced myself that C was in the second row after seeing the unusual B system box featured in the Larsen Brothers clip.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by dan » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:38 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:25 pm
Hi Geronimo,

The awkward and sometimes seemingly illogical C system fingering and associated hand and wrist positions ended up causing me problems after I sustained a bad hand injury.
Could you give an example of a bad fingering and wrist position common on C system so I know what to avoid?

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:16 pm

Dan,

Unfortunately I'm self taught, and worked through various French method books from the days when the thumb was not allowed on the treble keyboard, until the recent reversal of that theory, where the thumb is used from the outset. French C system CBAs tend to only have four rows with the 5th row being optional, so all of the method books only cater for 4 row CBAs.

I've never actually played a B system accordion, but the hand tends to be able to remain in a relatively comfortable position with fingers generally pointing downwards. There do not appear to be any situations where that "comfortable" wrist and hand position is compromised, although there may be people who can enlighten me on that score.

With C system it really all depends on the method you are studying. The Italians tend to prefer to keep the fingers as far as possible at right angles to the edge of the treble keyboard, and they will use fingering techniques on any available row to try and achieve that. The only widely available Italian method book was written by Davide Anzaghi, and it is a dual purpose PA/CBA book with fingering for CBA chosen to suit the Italian method. It is a very old book and can be expensive, if you can find it at all.

The older French methods tended to cater for the more staccato type of playing and button trills associated with the French musette style of the 40s through to the 60s, and students were expected to play exclusively on the outside three rows until they were deemed proficient enough to utilise the 4th row. I've never seen a French method book which covers the 5th row at all.

The French style of playing often requires fast upward chromatic runs and this pushes your wrist up towards your chest at what can be an awkward angle for some. If you watch PA players they seldom need to move their wrists into that position. I suppose if you start young enough the requirement to use the wrist as a pivot will come naturally, but it will often depend on the individual.

The one "bad" situation to avoid is what the French call "doigts fourchus", and this occurs when your first and third fingers are on the third row, whilst your middle finger is on the outside row. Although the "3 row rule" is sacrosanct for beginners, most people will find it preferable to move the middle finger over to the 4th row to make life a bit easier. Even so, there are divided opinions on this, but if you watch most pro players they will often do just that. I've seen at least 10 different French method books over the years and no two of them use the same fingering. Different teachers will argue amongst themselves which is the best fingering to use. The truth is the best methods have been "invented" by various players of tremendous ability after they were good enough to master the keyboard.

Best advice I can give you, assuming you aren't about to specialise in any particular genre, is to find a suitable method book in whichever language you are comfortable with, and stick to it rigidly until you have built up a solid technique. With time you'll be able to experiment all over the keyboard, but it's easy to get lost in the early days. Some methods will require you to work in strengthening your little finger, which is very useful, but it seems to be the case that most C system CBA players tend to make do with their thumb and three fingers, with relatively little use of the little finger. In other words they apply PA type fingering to C system CBA.

One of the most successful C system players ever was the Norwegian Toralf Tollefsen. The most common CBA in Norway is B system and Tollefsen appeared to have been influenced by players of that system. He tended to work on all available 5 rows of his accordion with his hand in the B system position wherever possible. I've never seen any analysis of his technique, but he seems to have developed an alternative fingering system which suited his own particular morphology. Then again, he was probably one in a million, and as far as I know he never passed his method on to other players, who may have had difficulty with it in any case.

Keep playing and if you stick to a recognised method you'll eventually overcome the problems I was talking about. The awkward wrist position on C system is partially avoided when you use the right thumb to finger the chromatic scale. In my particular case I find use of the thumb can be problematic and lead to inaccuracy in playing, but that's because I "schooled" myself in the old French methods where the thumb was used on the side of the treble keyboard to stabilise the right hand. That particular method is obsolete now, so I wouldn't get too hung up on things.

Here is an example of Tollefsen playing. I dare say if you had the patience you could work it all out, which I would have tried if I had been keen on his style of playing. I was more into the flashy, trashy, French and Belgian styles of playing, but wasn't able to make much of a job of either due to the fact that very few other people in the UK played those styles, and I had nobody to learn from in the days before You Tube etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxWy8BUbvSk

If you study this modern style French player you should be able to see the different hand and wrist position that I mentioned. You'll see that he makes rather more conservative use of his thumb which also has to double as a treble coupler changer on his French system accordion. Personally, from a comfort point of view, Tollefsen's style is more relaxed, and is easier on old wrists and fingers like mine. However, this young guy learned to play like that and it will come as second nature to him. I've watched French players since You Tube has become available, and with hindsight I would now have chosen B system to play French musette.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_Sj3f5SftE

Sorry for the obvious French bias, but that's just about the limit of my knowledge. I've never bothered to study classical music, as I had a hard enough job trying to teach myself some of the more manageable French musette tunes. The old French styles of playing are gradually disappearing and I believe we are heading towards a more universal approach to CBA, consistent with better media coverage on such facilities as You Tube.

Above all, have fun playing, and don't worry too much about the technical stuff.

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by dan » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:40 am

Thanks for the explanation, Maugein.
maugein96 wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:16 pm
The French style of playing often requires fast upward chromatic runs and this pushes your wrist up towards your chest at what can be an awkward angle for some. ...
If you study this modern style French player you should be able to see the different hand and wrist position that I mentioned.
Yes, I see now. Anchoring the thumb on the edge of the instrument does seem to require a lot of wrist motion and hand stretches.
The one "bad" situation to avoid is what the French call "doigts fourchus", and this occurs when your first and third fingers are on the third row, whilst your middle finger is on the outside row.
I've used Galliano's method book and like the structure and the tunes but find some of the fingerings uncomfortable. His C scale fingering uses both forked fingering and an odd little crossing of ring and index finger. 12342345 on the outer three rows. Also don't like bringing pinky up to third row, which strains hands.
Best advice I can give you, assuming you aren't about to specialise in any particular genre, is to find a suitable method book in whichever language you are comfortable with, and stick to it rigidly until you have built up a solid technique. With time you'll be able to experiment all over the keyboard, but it's easy to get lost in the early days.
Good advice. Settling on a method book will be the difficulty. I've tried several.
Here is an example of Tollefsen playing. I dare say if you had the patience you could work it all out, which I would have tried if I had been keen on his style of playing.
Seems to me that he's sticking mostly to the inner three rows. Interesting

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:38 am

Hi Dan,

Before I start waxing eloquent about CBA I'd better say that I'm an amateur player, and have no experience of teaching the penny whistle, let alone the accordion. Most of the information I have accrued over the years has been obtained from various French language publications concerning the accordion, and I'm not a qualified translator either.

I awaited Galliano's book with interest, just to see what the content was. Truth is there isn't really a lot of content there at all, although he spares us from the legion of technical info usually found in profusion in French method books. I never really studied Galliano's fingering, as I'd already been playing for a long time, and although Galliano is rightly acknowledged as being a world class player I'm not a fan of his style or his music. He is to be credited with injecting some life back into French accordion in the 90s, along with a handful of other French players who were mainly from an Italian background, but the style of music which evolved became a bit too technical for me. If I told you that I've been listening to French accordion since the 50s and I'd never heard of Galliano until he and his friends created their "new wave" musette in the 90s, hopefully you'll understand what I'm talking about. All of a sudden the once simple and straightforward music became top heavy with jazz and classical influence. Nevertheless, the popularity of the instrument undoubtedly increased as a result of their efforts.

Anyway, your question concerned the CBA accordion in general without requiring me to start raving about French musette (again).

The old "forked finger" situation is an unfortunate problem with both B and C system CBA, and is probably one reason why the treble keyboard has those two extra rows. Most teachers will tell you to persevere with the forked fingers at the start until you have learned the notes on the first three rows. After a while they allow you to move "inside" to the 4th and 5th rows. The odd little crossover you mention between the ring and index finger comes as second nature to those of us who have been schooled in any of the older methods which forbade use of the thumb. In fact, I cannot imagine being able to play at all if I never made almost constant use of that movement. With practice, you should be able to move from any finger to any other, and I think that is a problem that PA players who convert to CBA might have. Instead of trying to stretch your hand and fingers into uncomfortable positions, remember you can cover an area greater than an octave on a CBA in an area little bigger than a fist. If you work on trying to build up strength in your pinky so that you can use it on that third row, or wherever Galliano wants you to, then you'll be well on your way.

You've obviously already discovered that some of the fingering can be a bit tricky, but I can assure you he's used that fingering for a reason.

It sounds as though you may be a convert from PA, or have started off on a different method from Galliano's. If it is the case that you have more than one method book you need to consider making a choice over which is the most comfortable for you. I chopped and changed for years between a selection of methods, before I settled into the Medard Ferrero method, which was fairly standard, but decidedly old fashioned.

Unfortunately I don't know of any English language method book which concentrates solely on C system CBA, as I've never really been interested in finding one. The fact is in the English speaking world there is no country I know of where CBA is very popular, so finding an English language method book might be a tall order. I've heard people on here talking about "Palmer Hughes", which may be dual PA/C system CBA, but I'd never heard of it before I joined the forum.

No matter how awkward or unorthodox the fingering may appear, then it is probably there to make you develop strength and flexibility which you don't already have in the fingers concerned. I seem to recall one or two other members saying they too were unhappy with Galliano's choice of fingering, which I believe he will have devised independently from any other French language method. I can assure you that there is no quick or "easy" way to learn CBA. I don't know enough about the teaching aspect to advise you on what the "best" method would be. I could only manage to get to about an intermediate level after 30 years, but I had a lot of fun (and frustration) on the way. Maybe if I had been able to find a teacher I could have made better progress, but if I was honest I never really looked very hard, as I knew there weren't any here in Scotland for the style I wanted to play.

Good luck, and if progress seems slow, then that might be considered normal where CBA is concerned.

An old Scottish CBA teacher, whose name I cannot now remember, devised a fingering system for C system CBA, for use in conjunction with the Sedlon Accordion Method. I had a copy of it, complete with fingering diagrams, but I never had either the time or money available in those days to travel to his home address for lessons, and I ended up giving the book away.

In any case I had already discovered that Scottish and French CBA accordion techniques were different enough for me to decide to opt for the latter. Don't get me wrong, you can play any type of music on a CBA, but if you decide to specialise in a particular genre, IMHO you are as well to consider learning by the method(s) used by exponents of that particular style.

Here endeth today's sermon!

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by dan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:18 am

You are correct about the ring and index finger crossover, it is a useful move that gets easier with practice. I like the Galliano method and will take your advice and give the printed fingerings a chance

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Re: Old accordion videos

Post by maugein96 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:12 pm

Hi Dan,

From what I've been able to work out most CBA players go on to develop their own way of playing after they have conquered the method books, and the best fingering is largely the one which suits their purpose.

If I was honest I probably started to experiment with alternative fingering a bit too soon, and being self taught I probably thought I was being clever.

I sometimes find that I get all mixed up because I have used a combination of different fingerings in the method books I've used. There are also various fingering exercises which I probably abandoned before I had mastered them because I thought I knew better.

In the days when I was still in search of the Holy Grail for CBA, I bought a very expensive method, complete with CDs, written by the French accordionist, Manu Maugain. However, I found that his playing method and teaching style were too far removed from what I had already learned. Those three books are now in the local landfill or paper recycling system, as when I had an allotment I discovered that my granddaughter had used the CDs tied to pieces of string to keep crows off her little patch!

Method books are very useful, but only in the early stages, as in my experience they all tend to differ from each other.

Tommy Kettles, an old Scottish pro CBA player, told me that it is best to stick with one method and forget about the rest, as all I would find were contradictory opinions from the authors concerned. CBA is like that. Everybody thinks that they know best how to play.

I now wish I had stuck to his advice, as he regularly played French musette in places like Monaco, whereas I got to bore my family and friends at home with my decidedly mediocre offerings. I have played in front of French visitors from our twin town of Bailleul, but although they appreciated the gesture, they wondered when I was going to play some Scottish tunes. I never felt so embarrassed in my life as I hardly know the names of any Scottish tunes, let alone how to play them.

A local bagpiper saved the day.

At least I can say that I've read more method books than most people.

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