I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS WEBSITE


My name is Alex Govier, a professional musician on accordion, piano and organ for over 50 years.



On this website I am sharing stuff to

  • Improve your technique
  • Help you get to know your instrument better
  • Play more easily and more confidently
  • Try new accordion bass methods
  • Integrate bass and treble sounds in different ways
  • Learn how to make better music
  • Gain popularity with general music listeners and not just fellow accordionists. 

And yes, ALL CONTENT ON THIS WEBSITE IS FREE.


Simply because I would like more general appreciation of this wonderful instrument.


Because by playing a little more thoughtfully we can reach new audiences and get more recognition. 


Find when there is new stuff on this website by joining our new Facebook Community

ACCORDIONWISE FRIENDS


Here you can also

  • interact with this website on Facebook
  • Ask questions
  • Request more detail on an accordion subject
  • Suggest a new subject
  • Tell us your own ideas and more.

The Accordionwise Friends link


You can find my personal playing sites on

www.weddingpiano.net

www.playing4u.co.uk

ACCORDIONWISE.COM

The Accordion Player's Guide

 

Play better sounding Accordion Music with more than 100 playing hints for Accordionists

Accordionwise is all about your accordion playing

You might regard it as being subtitled:

"Things about playing music that your music teachers never had the time to tell you, even though they subconsciously knew most of it"

You do not need to have lightning fingers of steel to make better music on your accordion. Just thinking about the sounds you are making will work wonders!

 

More people will love to listen to your music with just a little more thought from you about what you are playing and why.

 

Play the way great arrangers have made their orchestral music appeal to millions.

 

The accordion is a musical instrument, so methods that make other music sound "right" will work accordionwise too!

 

The accordion is NOT an exception to the rule of playing in order to communicate with your audience. If you play to tell a story to your listeners this attitude will transform the way your music is appreciated.

 

But yes, you may need extra knowledge and techniques along the way so that is here too.

On this free website accordionists can expand your playing ideas with new and established tips, tricks, techniques and musical principles to sound even better and keep your interest in playing fresh.

Either remind yourself of what you already know or have seen others do or even find out stuff you did not realise you could achieve on the accordion.

Suggestions on this site are based on a theory that what works for other instruments may well also sound pretty good on accordion, and are written from the perspective of a long time professional keyboard player and accordionist.

 

Also diagrams and explanations to help you know your accordion even better.

 

THIS IS THE WEBSITE CONTENTS PAGE

Regard it as the first page of your book about improving your playing Accordion players can now browse through here and find that accordion playing tip you were looking for on these easy direct links. You knew it was here somewhere, right?

 

Pink accordion

PLEASE NOTE ALL 100 PLUS ITEMS FOUND HERE

ARE FREE TO ACCESS RIGHT NOW

THIS IS AN OPEN TOTALLY FREE WEBSITE

 

Use this page to look for individual items

or proceed page by page in the Menu

and read it all in logical sequence.

 

 

 

 On the Page: BECOME A GREAT PLAYER

This page is pointing up new ways you can use your accordion to play more effectively and make more of an impact on your audience

Why The Accordion is special 

The accordion can do stuff most instruments cannot. Here is a reminder to make use of these in your performances.

The importance of playing with Attention

You will sound so much better if you pay attention to the way you are playing. Even though you think you do not need to now

Better Musical Expression

Create more engaging music by using the musical expression your acordion is capable of. And that means happy listeners

MAKE THESE INSTANT IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR MUSIC 

Play without music

You probably think you always need the music. You do not. Here is how to start!

The importance of Developing independence 

The hands should be able to work together but independently too. This website will show you how.

Why you should Really use the Sounds on your Accordion

Proud of your accordion? Then Really get to use its facilities

GETTING AROUND YOUR INSTRUMENT

How to find your registers

Not just the standard advice and why the usual advice probably will not work

GOING BEYOND THE OBVIOUS USES OF YOUR REGISTERS

Playing style and Sound

The style you are playing in will affect your interpretation of the sound you are listening to. This can be put to use.

Vary the use

Getting new sounds by mixing sounds and styles

WHO WOULD NOT WANT AN EXCITING NEW ACCORDION?

A better accordion FREE

Use the one you have got in this way, and you have virtually got a new free instrument

WHY AN ACCORDION IS BETTER THAN THE MOST EXPENSIVE AUTOMATIC PLAYING KEYBOARD

Better than a keyboard

With the accordion you have a freedom of movement that a keyboard player does not have, despite all the clever flashing lights

THE ACCORDION HAS MANY POSSIBILITIES, IF YOU USE MORE OF THEM YOUR MUSIC MAKING BECOMES SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING!

Put contrast in

Twentyone ways you can put more contrast and variety into your music. Yes 21 READ THESE SLOWLY

HOW YOU CAN ACTUALLY USE THIS INFO BEST

How to Use This Info

There is a lot of info here that will not yet affect the tunes you already play. But you can use them right now like this

CONTACT ME ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR INTERESTS

Let Me Know

I may have not covered your interest adequately or clearly. You can let me know how I can improve by contacting me here.

 

 

On the Page IMPROVED SOUNDS 

The Items you will find on this page are shown below

Easy Ways to Improve Your Sound start here

The very thing that helped you to start playing the accordion in the first place could be your biggest disadvantage for producing good sounding music.

What is the heart of the accordion and what happens when you access it

The heart is for breathing and for adding emotion, so what is it?

Basic Bellows Technique and Usage

The conventional way to make sure of a smooth reliable sound

Or an alternative method

A crafty alternative method to extend the range of the bellows

How to operate the bellows easier with less fatigue

Yes, it can be tiring playing the accordion, here is how to make it physically easier moving in both directions.

How to Add musical expression in the right hand

Some pointers as to what is going to need to be brought out in your melody

How Varying the phrasing should be done to enliven your performance

Including what can prevent your being able to phrase at all!

Sometimes a phrase can be only two notes

This often happens in Mozart, but this is another well-known piece with a lot of two note phrasing.

How to treat slow smooth tunes

So short and simple an explanation you will miss it if you blink, but it is very easy and works if you try it

And How to vary your slow smooth accompaniments

The use of right hand chords for excfeptional smoothness and variety

How to sound better with less detail

Sometimes when you relax, so can your listener

More fluid playing carries the music along

And here is a way to make your listeners go with the flow

Leading into the next bar

How to lead into the next bar successfully

Pruning the bass pattern helps the music grow!

A bass pattern that repeats even though you have already got the idea of what it is trying to tell you is very annoying

Balance between treble and bass

The balance between treble and bass is not just achieved with the bass and treble registers

A special lighter accordion sound

Showing you how to even achieve a more pianolike or even glockenspiel like effect

A variation on the normal technique for achieving musical expression

This reverse technique can be very effective, thoughtful and pognant

Playing Bass chords only

Pros and cons of playing bass chords only without bass note rows

A still light alternative to playing bass chords only

This can have the advantages of both ways of playing

Putting the Emphasis on the left hand

There are occasions when you really want to hear what the left hand is doing

Emphasise one bass note

A very novel method to add zing to one particular note in a bar or tune

Practice to Play Fast and Reliably

What everybody wants to know

Correct practice technique

The kind of practice that gets you to play the whole piece well

Play well continuously

PROBABLY I SHOULD HAVE EXPLAINED THIS FIRST it is so important!

Sound in control of your music

If you tend to feel less and less confident after playing the first line of music, this is for you

 

 

 

On The Page PLAY BETTER ACCORDION BASS 

See what is on that page by clicking above or on the list below

 

Does Your accordion bass sound too loud against the melody?

A check list for what is probably the number one accordionist's fear.

Vary your bass line to keep the interest going

Leave that automatic bass behind to add interest to your music

More Fluid bass playing

Make a mixture of note values hand to hand

Create more interest

Allowing the more interesting bits to shine through

Deliberate delays

Sometimes quite simple adjustments can prevent a stodgy arrangement

Play like Sinatra sings

The classic singers knew how to create a pleasing flowing melody line and you can copy them

95 Ways to avoid bass monotony

Read these slowly - NINETY FIVE thoughts on ways you can vary your bass on the accordion! And keep coming back because these can increase weekly!

Attractive note and chord bass patterns in waltz time

Presented in both diagrams and music examples for readers and non readers

Four in a bar patterns

Some different ways you can divide buttons up in four to the bar, shown for non-readers and readers

Never Break The Rule of Three

Whether in bass or treble NEVER break the Rule of Three

A slow waltz arrangement

This is an actual well known easy waltz arrangement, written to show how some of these principles might be applied

 

On the Page BASS NOTE TRICKS

Here we not only start to get a bit crazy, but provide a lot of diagrams of how to get around to differently spaced notes on the bass buttons. And some musical examples lettered for non readers.

 

Be a bass button wizard

Transform your effectiveness by extending your bass button playing

A Map to show you around

A diagram showing how to get most of the note intervals on stradella bass buttons

What is the purpose of the Bass buttons

Some thoughts on how they fit into and support the music

Doing less can be effective

Some times when it is better to leave spaces in the music

Using Short melodic bass runs

Using melodic scale-like passages to link different chords and more

Not just one note to a beat

Faster notes that will keep the music flowing

Stopping playing the bass

Points in the music effective for breaking off playing bass

Playing the Melody on the bass

Taking over the tune on bass is dangerous but can allow you to play amazing accompaniments in the treble!

Using bass notes without chords

This can allow impossible chords for the bass to be played on the right hand and much more

Outlining chords with bass notes

You can use notes to outline the chords or simulate a bass line without the chord buttons used

Shadow the tune

Shadowing the tune in thirds or sixths, with a musical example to try

Make Bigger chords by combining with the right hand

The amazing sound of playing a different chord in the right hand

Simulate full accordion arpeggios

Use both hands to simulate chords and notes moving from bass to treble, with written music examples

An accordion waltz with both hands

This is a written musical example of sharing the waltz accompaniment between left and right hands

The strange effects of Listening with the brain

Try out this strange example of playing and listening to arpeggiated chords that are not there! With musical diagrams

Seem to play an incredibly fast bass chromatic run

This is an illusion which will amaze your listeners and convince them you are a superspeed genius

Play an impossible bass arpeggio

An amazing musical illusion that can be done with your most used bass buttons, including diagrams

A minor bass arpeggio around the minor chord

A diagram to help you play this minor bass arpeggio

The usual accordion boogie bass

This is the music for the generally accepted accordion boogie style bass, though it is not strictly accurate

Using those notes in this pattern

This selection from the faux boogie bass form up in this musical example

True boogie bass with alternative fingerings

One of the fingerings will give you a chanbce to try out your fifth finger if you do not usually use it

Other uses for mini bass arpeggios

Some more usggestions for using these

Bass chords in different inversions

In some instances this can actually be done with sufficient knowledge

What the bass chords actually consist of

Because of the use of the reeds in the accordion manufacture they are modified

Extra uses of seventh chords

Extra possibilities because of the allocation of the notes in the seventh chords

Play diminished chords on 60 or 80 bass

Good news for owners of five bass row accordions

Diagram of what your accordion is really playing

The real versions of the bass chords

Melodic snippets in chord changes

The shifting notes inside the chords will sometimes produce interesting results, but not the same in all keys

Practice Chord only changes

It is a different feeling when you are not using the note buttons so try these

Finding the note one tone away

This is a diagram of how to easily locate the next note in two different directionsl

Bass buttons a semitone apart

This diagram will also start to show you the chromatic scale 

Play a chromatic scale

More about the chromatic scale

Chromatic and almost chromatic diagram

A variation on the full chromatic run, a nice diagram with notation examples

Chromatic moves for better harmony

How moving down one semitone at a time can lead and support the harmony

Chords and chromatic bass in contrary motion

A useful reminder of this interesting sound with music notation

A Fast chromatic run to try

A little chromatic bass run to have a go at, in notation and note names

A Chromatic run with chord

Combining a chord with a little chromatic run alongside notation and note names

An interesting semi chromatic riff

In notation and with note names for non readers

Chromatic bass note to add emphasis

An unusual but quite easy effect to try

Minor and major 3rds diagram

A nice easy diagram to help you see the gaps between buttons that make up these intervals

Avoiding minor key panic with a different bass note

When you do not feel like reaching for that awkward note with a minor chord these easier buttons to find sound pretty good too, sometimes better as less obtrusive

Some easy bass runs good for links

Some easy bass moves in one simple button diagram with examples of the notes they will give you

 

ON THE PAGE EXTRA CHORDS

This is the page to reassure you that there is a lot more subtlety of harmony to use, hidden in the way you use your bass buttons. You can do a lot more than Major, minor, 7th and diminished.

 

Play More chords than you thought possible

You are not limited just to major, minor, 7ths and diminished chords

Naturally occurring chord variations

Chords that appear as soon as you add the melody

A new chord from bass note and chord combined

New chords can also be produced by unfamiliar combinations of bass note and chord

Suspended 4ths and augmented 4ths

Just what are these things anyway? An explanation

How to produce an augmented chord on bass buttons

It is well known that the augmented chord is the only one you cannot play in the bass on the accordion. Well, as it happens......

Diminished 7th chords for 5 bass row instruments

Apparently impossible on your 60 or 80 bass accordion, but in fact EASY!!

Different 7th inversions on 6 row bass

It is easy to find an alternative 7th chord on 6 row accordions. You might like this one better (or not)

Bass note only plus right hand chord

This used to be the standard jazz accordionist's method that made any chord shapeable in the right hand possible

Bass note and chord with treble chord

This opens up the way to really magnificent chords of all types, even including exciting discords sweeping their way into lush mellow sounds and more

A list to help you make right hand chords

As the accordion mostly provides chords played by one button in the left hand many accordionists understandably do not know how to build up a chord one note at a time. So here is a list showing how to make the spacing correct for 10 different types of chord.

 

 

ON THE PAGE RIGHT HAND IDEAS

This is the page with suggestions for different ways you can spice up your treble sound

 

Reasons you may not sound professional and confident

Identify the two most likely main causes and learn how to easily put them right

List of 17 different ways of playing right hand

Seventeen ideas worth studying and thinking about!

Adding Right Hand to Enhance Rhythms

How The left hand chords can be helped to sound more lively

How to add syncopation to give a lighter smoother feel

Syncopation is not what you imagine - here is how to use it for a more flowing and yet authoritarian feel to your music

The Infamous Semitone shift played really fast

More co-operation between the hands, with a short example to try

Add Arpeggios under your tune

How you can add movement and interest this way

Playing in thirds

How it works, staying in key or not and fingering principles 

Chromatic thirds fingerings

Fingering examples, short and a samplemore extended version

Playing in Sixths

Playing in sixths and some suggested fingering on a sample

Fingerings for chords

Some suggested fingerings for three note chords in right hand moving to logical close positions

Arpeggio playing for small hands

You can span more distances than you think. Here is how

Do your arpeggios Fade?

Sometimes the most brilliant arpeggios may fail because they somehow do not really show. Hints and reminders to avoid this

Dealing with the accordion keyboard difference

With a normal keyboard your playing is helped by gravity which keeps the hand in close contact amongst other things. One way to keep close during thumb crossings.

A new chromatic fingering

Chromatic right hand scales are easy except that they need a lot of troublesome thumb movement. This can be reduced by this method derived from chromatic accordion playing.

The Lizst fingering

Everybody knows that once you get to the fifth finger you have nowhere beyond it to go. The Liszt fingering, derived from the famous pianist composer disagrees. How and when to use it or not.

The Glissando

Sliding to the next note is an art in itself. As is deciding how often to use it. Some guidelines as to how and when to use it. 

 

COMING SOON, SOME RIGHT HAND DECORATIVE RUNS, PLAYING IN TWO PARTS etc

 

In The New ACCORDION QUIZ PAGE

 

 

This is a challenging Quiz based on the principles and information contained in this website. Trying this will do much to remind you and train you in thinking, including getting around the bass buttons with renewed confidence, while probably driving you slightly crazy in the process.

 

It is brand new, but will include a hidden answers section so you can check your progress as you go through.

 

 

ON THE PAGE MAINTENANCE

This is the page with suggestions for keeping your instrument in tip top condition while playing and even for no risk easy ways we have used to cure common problems.

 

PUT AWAY THAT SCREWDRIVER NOW!!

 

Sometimes these will be all you need. If these do not work for you though, please consult your expert repair man.

 

Before you start to play each time

Keeping your reeds in good condition and responsive each time you start playing

Preparing a new or neglected instrument

The running in period of a new instrument can be used to really get it going. Or a neglected instrument that needs conditioning.

You are playing and your accordion suddenly sounds out of tune

Always worth checking this while you are playing!

A note not working or sounding bad

This may not be as bad as you think. Put that screwdriver away and simply try this

Stuck bass notes or chords

The bass button mechanism is a very delicate mechanism. But sometimes just a little encouragement in the right places can cure stuck bass buttons.

 

 

ON THE PAGE WHICH ACCORDION 

This page helps you decide on what size of new accordion will suit you best, whether you are beginning or wanting to try a different size

 

GENERAL POINTS TO THINK ABOUT

Some general things to take into consideration

An overall look at the possibilities

Things you may want to check

A checklist of various items to consider

Are the keys you can play in important

Key availability in different accordions varies according to your tunes

Reasons for wanting a bigger accordioni

Main advantages of having a larger bass button range

Other Advantages of larger instruments

Different facilities available on the larger accordion sizes

 

THE INSTRUMENT SIZES

12 bass

The basic one mainly shows you what a good idea it is to go bigger now you have got the main idea

24 bass

At least you have minor chords now, but still very limiting

32 bass

Four rows gives you a little more chance

4 row 48 bass

The one that gives you reduced playing facilities in a wider range of keys

6 row 48 bass

With full playing facilities in a limited range of keys

72 bass

An excellent compromise and a light versatile accordion in a medium range of keys

80 bass

As many keys to play in as 96 bass, 5 rows that can be used as 6

84 bass

A 6 row light weight accordion which may have as many bass notes as you need

96 bass

The normal alternative to the maximum size instrument

120 bass

The full size instrument with many options to choose from

 

 

THE WHAT'S NEW ACCORDIONWISE BLOG PAGE

This is where to go if you have already managed to read everything so far on our pages, as it will tell you what is new by date so you can catch up.

 

It also has my blog on it, which includes my latest thoughts accordionwise of the day. What my accordion has told me about playing methods and ideas at my morning practice in fact.

 

Sometimes useful reminders of what is on the other pages and how to implement them, and sometimes something totally new to the site

 

THE LINKS BELOW WILL TAKE YOU DIRECT TO THE SECTION DESCRIBED

 

Blog Tuesday May 15th 2018

Eight ideas highlighted in practice today.

Easy alternative bass notes and pattern variations

Reversing notes and chords

The sixth as bass notes

Rolled effects on bass for emphasis

The light and subtle effect of using chords only

Bass affected by bellows

Effective right hand arpeggios

Remembering tonal beauty

 

Blog Saturday May 19th 2018

Today's four ideas

Avoiding obscuring special treble parts

Playing chord buttons without bass note buttons

Two very different ways to emphasise part of a melody

Making better listening by making the song  structure clear

 

Blog Wednesday June 13th

Thinking about today

Syncopation and how it gives you a more relaxed feel

Pozzibillities of disconnected playing

Incorporating shorter note values in flurries in bass accompaniment to avoid that boxy feel to you music

Dont think you cannot play that fast!

Shifting chords, likely and unlikely progressions or finger movements

Dont forget the possibilities of fewer of slower notes or chords..

 

Blog Sunday June 24th

Thinking about today

Plain fast bass accompaniment playing (5 points).

Playing different chords in the left and right hands

Why do it and how to do it effectively

Be shameless about it!

 

Blog Friday July 6th

Thinking about today

Maybe synchronising notes between the hands does not always produce the best results. The benefits and technique of playing with each hand INDEPENDENTLY.

 

This is a short description for an interesting subject covered here.

 

Blog Sunday July 8th

Thinking about today

Easy to play the relative minor chord (F#m from A for example). How to play it without leaving!

 

Blog Monday July 10th

Thinking about today

Are you actually under-using the possibilities of your easiest left hand button positions?

Using chord only bass buttons and their effects

Plus ways to handle those awkward gaps in the tune

 

Blog Saturday 14th July

Thinking about Today

How right hand chords work.

And how to play richer sounding chords

And how to use them, what to do afterwards.

 

Blog July 21st

Just a thought

Could you use words to generate original tunes?

 

Blog July 23rd

Today's technique

Slip-sliding away with glissandos

Sliding chords for rich big band style sound

Simple happening that will prevent you succeeding with them

Suggestions for usage and two main methods for doing them