Accordionwise Explanations video examples

These videos are mostly done by the author of this website. They are musical examples will hopefully help you with some of the more difficult to explain and yet not necessarily difficult to do principles on this website.

 

REMEMBER TO UNMUTE THE SOUND FROM THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE VIDEO FRAMES


ON PLAYING FREELY, PHRASING TO SET THE MELODY FREE NOT MATCH UP EVERY BEAT BETWEEN TREBLE AND BASS

 

Here I have tried (only partially successfully) to show the difference between a literal reading of music and setting the melody line free to phrase in the best way for musical expression

 

The most effective part is probably showing you how to sound awful by precisely following the music part.

 

 


NOT AS DIFFICULT AS YOU THINK - A BOOGIE STYLE BASS WHICH IS A PERECT MATCH FOR CHATANOOGA CHOOCHOO

 

Basically a demo of how to do the Chattanooga Choochoo bass riff in two different ways. The literal one with all notes is easy except possibly for changing positions. Once you have heard it you will more easily identify the one where a chord is substituted for the 2nd note or the 2nd and 4th notes if you use the substituted one afterwards.

 

Here is a diagram which may help.

 

 

As usual for me of course please note this shows THE ORDER PLAYED and not fingering to use! The diagram also omits another version of the easier to move notes part where you can substitute the chord on the 4th beat as well as on the 2nd beat.

 

EXTRA HINT If you are not totally convinced by the second version, playing the first version first will get the listeners ears accustomed to it.

 


REMEMBER TO UNMUTE THE SOUND FROM THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE VIDEO FRAMES

 

CHARADE BY HENRY MANCINI

 

Illustrating Glissando chords joining up the melody

 

So this features mainly the concept of sliding glissando chords. These make practical legato widely spaced chords accompanying the melody in the right hand. They add smoothness and practicality and variation of the phrasing so are not used all the time.

 

Mainly these chords are done here well into the keyboard over the black notes. This may not be the easiest method but lets you use black and white notes equally, no stretching over towards the black notes.

 

It is also the "cleanest" method as you will miss some notes with odd fingers and open out the harmony with unesxpected chord transitions.

An additional technique here you may notice is the occasional flick of the wrist which is a diagonal wrist movement. 


Of course the easier method you may want to start with is at the outside edge of the keyboard where the palm continuously rests on the outside of the white notes. Even with that you may experiment with flipping the hand over during the gliss.

 

All kinds of interesting variations are possible, including intentional overshoots and returns to the intended chord. This will still sound interesting even if unintentional!

 

 

BONUS ITEMS

  • You may also notice the sliding chords technique is not used ALL the time! variety of approach stops it being annoying or taken for granted by the listener
  • Some chromatic right hand runs to embellish or join up the melody
  • At the top of the melody use of the little finger which allows an extra part to be played simulatneously by the other fingers down to the thumb
  • On lowest note you are on thumb and have the other fingers to use at top
  • If doing this you can retain the emphasis on the melody line by using less bellows after the initial impact of the long note in the tune
  • One example of a last beat divided into two quavers (eight notes) to pull you towards the next bar


Underneath The Arches

Illustrating a lighter approach to the arrangement, for a tune often played without any special ideas.

 

The main principle here is leaving the right hand lead ins to different phrases of the song without bass accompaniment. This creates a lightness to the arrangement rather than the usual stomping approach!

 

It is much used for jazz playing as it allows for a more free interpretation of the tune, but this I feel is useful in ALL playing rather than shackling bass notes and chords with melody notes in a blocky formation.

 

You can even add extra notes to the lead in without having to decide which they are to be played with.

 

Think of all the slightly more modern favourites, Quando Quando, Shadow of Your Smile etc where I trust you would not dream of starting the accompaniment with the first few notes, but would wait until the first note of the next bar.

 

This extends that principle to make a point of not ramming the notes down your listener's ears!

 

 

BONUS DETAILS ILLUSTRATED

 

Also note

  • Contrasting sliding chordal introduction
  • Embellishments to the solo line, chromatic join ups, short trills etc
  • Stopping playing bass sometimes later in the phrase avoiding heaviness
  • Bass variations, not always note chord note chord, and sometimes axtra quick parts of the beat
  • Chordal gliss for the ending between different melody notes and chords

 

 REMEMBER TO UNMUTE THE SOUND FROM THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE VIDEO FRAMES

HOW TO DO EXTENDED UP AND DOWN ARPEGGIO ACCOMPANIMENT SIMILAR TO A PIANO STYLE PART

2 mins 50 seconds - there is also a section in the bass playing page here with some diagrams

 

 

In addition to the explanation from the video copied in below I would also point out that just one of thes can be adapted to enliven a dead spot in a normal accompaniment section, and not necessarily in this time signature.

 

 

In other words, you can pop just one of these or part of one of these into the middle of a tune, and it is still musically useful.

 

This is a video explanation of the how to play a seemingly impossible triplet full octave arpeggio accompaniment on the bass notes section covered elsewhere here.

 

Most of the explanation in the actual video but I will add the actual notes played here. To help further I will put the notes from the counterbass in lower case letters. CeGCGe aCeaCa FaCFCa GbDGbG and repeat it. For the sake of musical completion I also added a C chord at the very end after the repeat.

 

Notice that the minor arpeggio of Am here (the second one) is not based around the Am chord position or the counterbass notes indicated by the small letters would be in different places, possible to do but much more awkward with the wide spaced left hand fingers.

 

The main basis of the system is of course the ear being guided to hear the key note in either the lower or higher octave by the direction of the notes pointing to it. Just as in continuous bass scales, but a little less expected.

 

 

The F and G chord arpeggios featured are also of course Major Arpeggios, so done the same way as the C arpeggio.

 

Once the key note is played a second time you retrace back one at a time to the previous button played. Also possible to think of each note by name as you play it to make sure it is in the right order, but I think this will slow you down considerably!


Fingering example for the useful accordion sound of playing in thirds on the treble keyboard

As thirds are basically just alternate notes played together (though normally both following the key signature) the basic fingering is obvious, use alternate fingers like 1 with 3, 2 and 4, 3 with 5.

 

However this would restrict you to playing only 3 successive notes (because the lower fingers are used for the third below) so this can be extended by starting out with separated 1 and 2 and dragging the thumb up with the 3 for the next instance of 1 and 3. Similarly you might extend similarly at the top of the keyboard. You can also use crossover points similarly to playing scales.

 

You may notice the example, though primarily in C also includes chromatic movements to D#F# and I think I may have used 2-4 to 3-2 to get there. If I had started the run with 1-2 this would not have been needed at that point. Both are useful techniques however.

 


 

More extended use of parallel thirds in LA PALOMA

 

This is an example with close up throughout of fingering of thirds throughout the tune LA PALOMA.

 

Due to the proximity of the camera to the treble section to show you detail the sound of the bass is a little faint. If it balanced at a higher level, you would better hear the useful effect of adding thirds to enhance the harmony without having to use exotic alternative chords.

 

 

Principles are pretty much the same as the previous example, so here is a bonus picture of some suggested fingering written examples.


Another Tune with parallel thirds in tune
O Sole Mio or It's Now or Never

 

Illustrating perhaps better the pleasing sound of thirds on the sound this time as although not quite so good for observing the fingering you should hear the build up of the sound between treble and bass.

 

Because the camera and microphone or not so close to the treble keyboard but more evenly distanced from both.

 

In combination you can now hear the thirds enriching the chords automatically even when the bass line is the most basic chords.

 

 


A demonstration of an unusual upward chromatic scale fingering

Demonstrated that the thumb is not being used by holding the thumb on the start natoe while the other fingers play the chromatic run

TURN ON THE SOUND BY THE WAY!

 

 

PLEASE NOTE ALSO BY THE WAY THAT I DO NOT HAVE LARGE HANDS!

 

YOU, YES YOU, CAN TRY THIS!

 

This video is by way of an explanation for how to play chromatic scales upwards without using the thumb. Sometimes it saves me strain on my thumb and it is a useful technique derived from stepping the fingers as in chromatic accordion playing.

 

I hope you can follow what I am doing in the close-up video which follows. I am holding the thumb with a note that you can still hear sounding while the chromatic scale is played over it.

 

This proves of course that I am not free to use the thumb in the demonstration and if you do the same trying it will ensure you are not accidentally cheating either!

 

It also points out at the end that it may be useful generally so that you can add extra comments musically over a melody note held by the thumb. You do not necessarily have to include the whole chromatic scale Or even a chromatic scale in this addition to the arrangement at all of course.


REMEMBER TO UNMUTE THE SOUND FROM THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE VIDEO FRAMES

 

ARPEGGIOS ALTERNATIVE FINGERING AND THE LISZT FINGERING

 

A bit more explanation by way of demonstration of the arpeggio fingerings on the Right Hand Ideas page.

 

To clarify the arpeggio uses the 4th finger stretching out on the 4th which starts this arpeggio so that without any fuss you can get further than an octave on your way, in fact the distance of a tenth. It is then necessary to ensure you come back exactly the same way, the point of no return being to get the thumb crossed over early enough.

 

My justification is that you get a more solid start to your arpeggio, which is not automatically turned into triplets as with the conventional fingering.

 

Note that I have only averagely small hands and the accordion here is at least a 19" keyboard model

 

 

With regard to the Liszt fingering this means crossing over on the 5th finger, normally beyond the point of no return as far as extending the rqnge of the hand by crossing the thumb etc.

 

It is not difficult if you are crossing from a white note (set lower than the black) to a black note or to another white note. The other way round is very awkward and even from black to black is a little more hazardous with the dizzying drop between those notes!!


 

AN UPSIDE DOWN ARRANGEMENT TO DEMONSTRATE MULTI OCTAVE TUNES PLAYED ON BASS BUTTONS

 

 
Notes on bass go from C up to B, so having two different octaves in a bass tune is impossible, but is it?
 
A lot depends on perception and guidance as to what you will hear by the manner of playing. After all it is possible to play scales on the bass and you hear the scales because it is expected.
 
My conclusion was that once you are playing a sound which preferably includes reeds playing in three different octaves you can move the octave around to suit by creating the expectation that it will rise or fall.
 
The method I came up with is to play more gently and legato towards a note which is intended to fall but make a break and play harder the note which is to be perceived as higher.
 
Several different examples of the note being moved both up and down are in this video.
 
Incidentally this works just the same without the distraction of the right hand adding a new part. I included a right hand part just to make it more interesting and demanding to play.

REMEMBER TO UNMUTE THE SOUND FROM THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE VIDEO FRAMES
 
A SUBJECT I SUDDENLY GOT THE COURAGE TO COVER THIS MORNING
 
Doubling up inside the beat, reversing the direction of bass note to chord, and shifting harmonies and note changes inside chord to chord changes without an intervening bass note.
 
Suggestions include going between alternately placed bass chord buttons eg C to Bb, using alternate major to minor or vice versa for smoothness and avoiding changing the key actually which I did not mention on the video, or even how you can get away with almost any chord between the main chord as long as you come back quickly to the main note.
 

 

I wonder what will come next, there are several fascinating accordion music subjects I have not felt adequate to cover yet!

 

 


 

I AM NOT SURE IF THIS ONE IS A VIDEO OR AN ANIMATED DIAGRAM

 

However in the future these may be substituted to illustrate concepts on other pages, but here is the first of these anyway

 

HOW TO PLAY A CHROMATIC RUN

 

Very simple as it repeats continuously with exactly the same alternate movements. Therefore it does not have to be put in a never ending diagram.

 

The disadvantage of course is that you end up a very long way from your key or chord centre. I have pointed out that this can be controlled at least short term by faking the run initially with the first two notes played a note apart. If it is an upward run you can go back down a tone to the counter bass row version, well better save all tht for later.