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.




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.





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!




  • 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!





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



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.