French Basses.

Music you like and want to share - post the links here.
Post Reply
Geoff de Limousin
Star
Star
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:28 pm
Location: Centre of France

French Basses.

Post by Geoff de Limousin » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:55 am

I'm sure somebody will have already posted this link to James Lesueur playing Perles de Cristal on the bass side of his accordeon. Ok, it is a party piece but does demonstrate the use of those three bass rows of the french system.

https://youtu.be/9OLYrmncgBs

User avatar
debra
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2267
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:45 pm
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: French Basses.

Post by debra » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:14 pm

He indeed does do it very well, but this can "easily" done with the traditional 2 rows of base notes. He hardly ever reaches for the top row. I have one accordion with 3+3 layout and just because I have learned 2+4 for so long I never use that third row of base notes at all. That 3rd row is very handy for music written in minor, but Perles de Cristal is in major so few minor thirds are needed.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

Geoff de Limousin
Star
Star
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:28 pm
Location: Centre of France

Re: French Basses.

Post by Geoff de Limousin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:39 am

I see your point Paul but he does use the 3rd row, even if only for one or two notes and it does 'compact' the hand movement and give alternative fingerings.

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

Re: French Basses.

Post by maugein96 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:08 am

Geoff de Limousin wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:39 am
I see your point Paul but he does use the 3rd row, even if only for one or two notes and it does 'compact' the hand movement and give alternative fingerings.
Geoff,

My party piece on the box is just to be able to sit down with the accordion the right way up!

I hadn't seen or heard James Lesueur playing for some time and hardly recognised him. He seemed to get "stuck" in a sort of samey semi-jazzy style way back and I stopped listening to him, as everything he played tended to sound much the same.

He's now a different player entirely, and that left hand is quite something, regardless of how many rows he used.

The 3x3 "French" bass will probably remain uncharted territory for most of us who live in the English speaking world. In fact, of all the French method books I've seen, I've never been able to discover any exercises that were specific to the 3x3 system, and it seems to be left to the individual to work out how to make use of that inside row. All of the French boxes I've owned have been "international" 4x2, and I wouldn't even attempt to go for a 3x3 these days. I've recently started to take lessons in an effort to improve my left hand, and find that after about 6 lessons, I'm now able to wave goodbye to my teacher with that lazy left hand.

User avatar
jozz
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 737
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:03 am
Location: Hilvarenbeek, The Netherlands

Re: French Basses.

Post by jozz » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:23 pm

thanks for sharing, very inspiring to get my left hand skills up a level

also sort of depressing comparing him to myself..

donn
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:42 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Portuguese Basses.

Post by donn » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:34 pm

I think for 3/3 bass stunts, young Andreia Cabrita has him beat in this performance of Rosinha dos Limões, a classic light fado about a girl who sells lemons in the market.

Geoff de Limousin
Star
Star
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:28 pm
Location: Centre of France

Re: French Basses.

Post by Geoff de Limousin » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:14 am

Indeed Donn, that is a wonderfull performance on all counts. Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed that !

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

Re: French Basses.

Post by maugein96 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:18 am

It seems that the accordion music of Portugal is destined to remain virtually unknown outside of the country.

The repertoire of the players tends to be very localised, and the first few times I heard it I detected a Spanish flavour, which was perhaps understandable. However, we often tend to lump countries together, and I would now say that it sounds like Portuguese music, with any similarity to Spanish being by its obvious proximity to there.

Aside from the classics, Portuguese players don't seem to be interested in moving into the world of more international music, and their preference for French spec CBA accordions with that 3x3 bass configuration has probably contributed to the fact that very few accordionists play Portuguese accordion music, other than the Portuguese themselves. In fact the only Portuguese tune I've heard that has had any international appeal on any instrument at all is Coimbra, or April in Portugal. No doubt somebody will have a list a yard (metre) long, but that is my own experience.

Portugal probably has more CBA virtuosi per head of population than any other country in the world. I've posted quite a few video clips on the forum that draws attention to that virtuosity, but the parochial nature of the material means that there has been very little interest.

I've heard the young lady before and her playing is fantastic. If the lemons had been on sale in a market in Montmartre or New York she might be a millionaire by now. However, I have to take my hat off to Portuguese accordionists, who are content to excel in one of the more technically demanding but little known accordion styles in the world. There probably is a bit of a crossover with some Brazilian styles, but again the accordion music of Brazil is little known either.

As an example of what I'm talking about, have a listen to this guy. I'm not even going to post his name, as I'm willing to bet that only Donn and one or two others will have even heard of him. Most "world class" pros couldn't lace this guy's boots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqj74mpLnvQ

donn
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:42 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: French Basses.

Post by donn » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:55 pm

Yeah, he's even good enough to outweigh his performance mannerisms!

They seem to manage, doing their Portuguese thing, which I guess may speak well for their culture - I mean, I don't know that virtuoso accordion pays good money, but there must be some reward in it. As far as what they do for repertoire, some of the sort of recital type videos I've seen have included an occasional musette type tune, sort of going along with the obvious guess that there has been some cross fertilization between Portugal and France for some reason.

By the way ... in the context of an array of buttons or whatever, the notation "3 x 3" means 3 wide, 3 high -> 9 buttons. There's no standard notation I know of for Stradella bass rows vs chord rows, so you can use whatever you want - 3:3, 3/3, 3-3, 3+3 ... but, I would think, not one that means something very different outside of a very obscure context.

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

Re: French Basses.

Post by maugein96 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:17 pm

Hi Donn,

Yes, I'd rather listen to him than watch him. He's apparently a renowned teacher in Portugal, although until I found that Beltuna demo I'd never heard of him.

I use the French method of describing the bass arrangement, and most French boxes are typically referred to as 3x3, 4x2, and 2x3. I appreciate the mathematical connotations of that "x". Here in Scotland, it's easy, as all you'll find in the stores are 4 rows of chords and two rows of single bass notes, whatever they are called in official terminology. (I have trouble remembering, but the words "fundamental" and "counterbass" spring to mind.) I tend to refer to them as boring and countersunk, but I suppose everything has a proper name in the music world. I used to think that a Diminished 7th was a sports team with a player missing. I had never heard the term until I encountered the accordion. I mainly use that row when I hit a button in error whilst trying to play a 7th. Wish I'd started out on 3/3, and left dim7 in the factory.

donn
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:42 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: French Basses.

Post by donn » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:51 pm

Yes, I think the Stradella system is probably easier to pick up with only 3 chord rows. It isn't like you lose your diminished chord - really that's the third chord row, only transposed one column to also serve as dominant 7. The third bass row has a convenient but not really essential role, and if I disdained to use it, that would at least keep me away from the register switches that are a little too easily operated by accident.

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

Re: French Basses.

Post by maugein96 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:39 am

Donn,

A lot of older French players never used anything other than 5 rows of basses, arranged 3/2, to the point where 60,80, and 100 bass instruments were common, even with pro players. The modern tendency is to follow the trend for 3/3, although I'm seeing more and more 4/2 instruments, both new and used, being advertised for sale in France.

I must have seen at least a dozen of the older French method books and none of them offered any suggestions as to what to do with the inner row of a 3/3. Some French music publishers used to offer sheet music of single pieces aimed at players progressing in their studies, and again I never saw anything other than bass lines for boxes with the basses arranged 3/2.

I seem to remember one volume saying that the inside bass row was to be used at the discretion of the player to avoid awkward fingering positions, and that was the sum total of the instruction. If I was starting out again I think I'd be inclined to just go for 80 bass, and not worry about the fancy fingerwork. From what I've seen, relatively few players bother to make full use of the inner row on a 3/3, with the probable exception of Portuguese players, who seem to make the most of it.

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

Re: French Basses.

Post by losthobos » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:17 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:39 am

I seem to remember one volume saying that the inside bass row was to be used at the discretion of the player to avoid awkward fingering positions, and that was the sum total of the instruction.
I'll go with that......and a very welcome safety net it is too for more than the odd tune or two.....
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

donn
Should get out more!
Should get out more!
Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:42 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: French Basses.

Post by donn » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:14 pm

Well, of course ... there is the obvious convenience for the kind of idiomatic accordion bass line, where you might use "counter" and "alternate" bass notes - the other notes in the chord triad besides the root. That is, the counter bass is the 3rd of the triad, and you will find that on the 3rd row for a minor chord. I have to assume that the French and Portuguese must have discovered the use of minor chords in their music, while the English and Germans fell under the influence of the "three chord trick" school.

For example ... I'd play Rosinha dos Limões in D minor, in my simple way with oom pah bass on the left hand and melody on the right, and it would start off like

Dm / / / A / / / Gm / A / Dm / A /

(A might be technically A7.) In the first 8, for the Dm and A, I might alternate the root with the 5th, but on the Gm I'd certainly go up to the 3rd, Bb on the 3rd bass row, before dropping back to the A (and then on that A I'd take the 2nd row counterbass C on the way to Dm.) It's a lot of words, but hearing it I think it would seem rather obvious. The Stradella bass system puts a real bass line right at your fingertips. In terms of the bass row number for the non-root notes:
Dm 1 Dm 1 A 1 A 2 Gm 3 A 2 Dm 1 A 2

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests