MORE VIDEOS OF ACCORDION PLAYING EXAMPLES (PAGE TWO) 

 



 

Now a video about various ways of showing 12/8 compound time

 

About playing in 12/8 again, a compound time signature where four beats are subdivided into three quavers (or quarter notes modified to fit) instead of the normal two to a beat.

 

The first part is for left hand only, the second for the right hand doing some of the work and the third example trying to put them together in a tune.

 

You may notice with the combination method that it is the nicest sounding. Also that when the tune is rattling out the triplets the bass can relax into a very basic note chord note chord pattern.

 

When the tune stops on a longer note or is paused the left hand can move in with triplets. Sometimes only the first and third note of the triplets is needed in the bass to nudge the music on a little. This is similar to a dotted note but more relaxed.

 


A Video on the real meaning of the Dotted Crotchet and Quaver

 

 

This is about the most misunderstood part of playing in rhythm . The accordion is probably the easiest instrument to explain this on so just watch and I think you’ll get it. It is playing 1 1/2 beats followed by half a beat and then onto the next beat or as music readers understand it a dotted crotchet followed by a quaver

 

Although the concept of one and a half beat note followed by a half beat note note is indeed simple, as has been helpfully pointed out to me, there is a gap between that knowledge and actually playing it correctly without worry and effectively. 

 

Through my life in teaching and playing I have seen the nervousness as the "fast" note approaches. leading to it being played early, in the wrong place or not at all and this always is apparent if accordion club members attempt to reconcile the results in group playing.

 

In fact the accordion can demonstrate the correct use of dotted notes very clearly due to the basic habit of playing a left hand part on the beat. Note that you can only hear how long a note is after you have played the next note of course, so I will have to give you an extra beat after to clear it up.

 

If you are in 3 time and need to play a dotted crotchet and quaver from the first beat the count is 1 (2) & 3 where the left hand only plays (2). I believe there is a basic failure of logic that gets into your mind trying to tell you that because any kind of crotchet or quarter note is less than two beats it must go before you count 2. But wrong when an extra half beat is added to the note, as THE DOT IS ON THE COUNT OF TWO. You count two to represent the dot half beat and only after that does the next half beat note have permission to play.

 

In practical terms it means you just use BOTH hands then Left - then Right - Then BOTH for the note after. Better watch the video which explains that side of it pretty thoroughly and easily.

 

In the video I point out that music notes are not in fact classified as FAST or SLOW and this illusion only comes about depending on the order they are placed in inside the music.

 

Music Notes are LONG or SHORT in various degrees of value of course. The short ones have to wait until the full duration of the LONG note before they can sound and once played have to be replaced very quickly by the next note or leave a vacuum after them, even if it is a very LONG one!

 

The Long note csn therefore arrive at any speed but takes a long time to depart. The short note can arrive at any point as soon as there is a place for it but ALWAYS DEPARTS QUICKLY.

 

f you have a lot of short notes together therefore you get what SOUNDS LIKE a flurry of FAST NOTES, replacing each other very quickly until you get to a LONG NOTE which of course sounds pretty stationary.


 

A video on Practical Use of Left Hand Chromatic Scales

HOW AND WHEN TO USE THEM

 

The how when and why of using chromatic movements there. Not just for decoration but to pull the chords in. The clue is that the root found in the bass row is just one semitone above the third in the counterbass of the chord key next above in stradella bass.

So there is a natural connection there to be pointed out by the bass line.

From there on this tune I have gone from a D major harmony to a D minor one and this means that that the F# is changing to a F natural. The next movement is to E in the bass. In the second phrase the movement is A G# G F# and on the third phrase I have not gone all the way down the run to make it less obvious as a kind of musical twist to the plot as it were.

The other part of the explanation is that to avoid ending way up (vertically) on the bass buttons you can cheat a little at the beginning by backtracking down vertically to the counterbass. This starts the chromatic run upwards with a full tone but has the effect of keeping you within a smaller range of the keyboard. It keeps you within easy reach of your main key chords and except for extreme sharp keys is still possible on a 72 bass accordion.

 

EXAMPLES for the simplified chromatic bass runs

G A Bb B C (optionally on to C# D)

D E F F# G (optionally on to G# A)

Other things you may notice. The note-for-note run up in the bass middle section is neither chromatic nor the same as the right hand but one third below it.
E F# G# bass against G# A B in the treble.

 

There is also a very short chromatic run in contrqry motion at a couple of points, if I remember rightly it was C C# D

Then of course, although the same bass movements are not possible in the contrasting middle section of the tune, the contrast is further enhanced by a different bass and treble treatment altogether. This makes for more interesting listening.

 

 


BRINGING IN THE LEFT HAND AFTER A RUN - TWO WAYS

The conventional way is to start on the first beat of the first complete bar after the run.

 

You can also in a more relaxed style wait one beat or more, as shown in this brief video. The first bass note may be a chord rather the conventional bass note or various combinations of note and chord, even with all chords, or all on notes.

 

 


A WALTZ DOES NOT HAVE TO ALWAYS BE PLAYED EXACTLY THE SAME WAY

 

This is your 35th video I think and this time on some variations on threefour time commonly known as waltz time or three in the bar. I tried to bring the accordion in as close as I could for you so it was not the ideal playing position.

 

First the basics, then a bass only playing in three and then a demo of putting It all together. At the very end you will notice one or two especially nice textures by sharing the chords between right and left hands. But you will probably have left by then!

 

 

 


FINDING YOUR FULL TONE AND SEMITONE DISTANCES ON STRADELLA BASS INCLUDING LITTLE EXERCISES TO HELP

The semitone distance is as close as you can get on a keyboard on our system of music. The tone goes to the next name, eg F to G, D to E, Eb to F etc but jumps over a black note in between.

A tone may also miss out a black note as on Ab to Bb, C# to D#, F# to G# etc. Be aware also of the different possible spellings of these G# to A#, Db to Eb, Gb to Ab etc

In Western music there are generally more tone distances than semitones. This is probably not true for Eastern European music

 

 

ERRATA

I say missing out the Bb, I meant of course missing out the F key to go to the Bb key!

Stay with the video for the useful exercises.

 

Exercises here are note

First C D C B C (also usable as G A G F# G, F G F E F and many more)

The most basic, an easy obvious tone up then an easy obvious semitone down

 

Full tones G F G A although it could be done all on the same row a neater less spread out version is shown, using the knowledge that you can go a tone up by going down to the counter bass button missing out just one key area. Although both going up and down are jumping over only one key this movement feels more of a stretch because you are also changing rows.

 

After a slight false start I give you G A Bb A G (a G minor chord version) with the Bb played by the 5th finger (ouch). Perfectly easy to do though if you prepare the phrase by covering all notes, particularly the 5th finger in position before you start. Also if you have difficulty moving your little finger think of it as just squeeaing the hand together at that point instead of pumping the little finger up and down!

 

Other versions of this last one are of course F G Ab G F, D E F E D etc but all you have to do is do the shape.


 

Two simple to play Riffs you have probably never used

 

On close examination these are just minor and major runs but with the last two notes reversed. But quite effective and a good way to make sure you are flexible in your bass playing. 

 

Here are the diagrams for the video. NB  REVERSE NOTES 4 and 5 AND YOU ARE BACK TO PLAYING STRAIGHT RUNS.

 

 

Very basic, but try playing one straight after the other and you have something else, and very good practice material.

 


About Playing Musically, Understating and Even Playing Economically

A little about playing and arranging musically this morning. Trying to make points about the value of understating notes, freeing the right hand to do interesting stuff by not playing bass against it, a little on varying the bass too.

 

Also on the importance of having your fingers over as much of interesting treble runs before you start and some successes and failures in this video. You have to think of as much of it as possible first to do this and ideally have a good idea of what it is going to sound like!

 

About understating while playing rather than ramming the sound down your listeners' throats, paricularly in regard to relaxing the bellows movement after initial impact, especially on long notes. This has been mentioned before here of course, in relation to making a nice smooth almost bell-like tone.

 

My videos do not always end up being about what I thought they would cover!

 

 


RIGHT HAND MOVING CHORDS DEMONSTRATION

 

There are written explanations with suggested fingerings on the RIGHT HAND IDEAS page of this website. You may find this easier to follow, just by watching it being done. Particularly useful of course for non-readers.

 

 


CLARIFYING SEMITONE AND BASS MOVES iN THE LEFT HAND

 

Watch out for the useful exercises to try from about 3:18 in this 5 minute video. Perhaps because they are still fairly basic in character this makes them ideal to match up to use between song phrases in many different instances.

 

This starts out as a video to clarify the relationship between notes, particularly the full tone move and the semitone move on your stradella bass, both the obvious and the less obvious. Sometimes my spoken description strays a little

 

It may be a little basic and obvious to you to begin with but be patient and it may present ideas clearer than you have had them before

.

Most importantly stay with this video for useful little exercises to consolidate practical use of knowledge about stradella bass tone and semitone moves

 


 

ABOUT SYNCOPATION

Some thoughts on what syncopation is, both obvious and subtle versions. With examples from five different songs in different idioms.

 

I hope you can tell the differences between the “before and after” versions as they often contaminate each other. When trying to show how not to do something I can end up doing it and instinct can also take over.

 


 

DECONSTRUCTING MY VERSION OF A WALTZ ACCOMPANIMENT

 

I thought it was time that I did a deconstructing session on the way I play and arrange so this is a simple waltz.

 

My basic principle is to avoid the constant annoyingly repetitive oom pah pah waltz bass habit and allowing the right hand to fill in by itself if the tune is there to do it.

 

And to try not to offer the same solution too many times consecutively. Unless you particularly want to emphasise some notes by playing together. The first beat of the bar is mostly played hands together however.

 

I tried to make the second version as similar to the first as possible but as I do not work from the script there will be variations


 

MY TANGO PLAYING METHOD ON ACCORDION

It employs more dotted beats than most people use, though possibly the straight four effect only applies to one type of tango. There are two main types.

 

To my mind it is much livelier and gives a more foot-tapping feel to the music. But use your own discretion of course.

 

A simple way of making a Tango extremely recognisable by the way is to accent the fourth beat of the bar, pulling towards the first beat of the next bar.

 

 

 

PLAYING WITH EXPRESSION

I regard the accordion as one of the most expressive instruments in the world, not just as a purveyor of recognisable tunes
 
This video dives into more restrained use of the bellows for long notes or phrases, phrasing differently to create a fressh approach to a tune, holding back from using the bass to allow the nuance to show through. And using that almost chiming gentle percussion effect.
 
Extra good news here is that the most effective tones for using for this style of playing are on ALL accordions, even 3 voice, not just my lovely Italian Victoria accordion.
 

 

Try these methods to absolutely break the hearts of your listeners (in the nicest possible way of course!)

 


Some Thoughts on Playing a Boogie Bass Line

And exact fingering and when you might want to use your fifth finger, although not compulsory.

 

For best results you might want to strap on your accordion while watching this video. Very direct instruction is included

 


 

Playing in two parts on Accordion Treble Keyboard - Easy Lesson

You can particularly easily add an extra part against a long note on your treble keyboard. If the long note is being played with the little finger you can do a little run which is loweer in pitch, or if withg the thumb, over it.

 

It is better if the bellows pressure is lessened to make the run lighter than the initial melody note and it can be futher separated from being mistaken for the melody if the extra part is played more stacatto.

 

Although normally the extra part may be confined to about an octave from the melody note, if you hold the long note for a reasonable time going beyond this range may still work. There is an example of this also in this video

 

The video should get you going on this technique at a simple level with just two or three extra notes in the second part, which you can work towards making longer.

 


 

A FIRST WORLD PROBLEM - FINDING AND USING ALL THOSE REGISTERS

An alternative way of getting around those registers if you are lucky enough to have a large well equipped accordion

 

The usual method of matching the treble tab positions to memorised particular notes on the keyboard by them is I feel far from ideal. Apart from all the individual different keys to remember how do you judge whether they are aligned or not? They are not the same widths for a start.

 

My solution only compares the treble tabs to themselves as I try to explain here, using my 15 register Victoria A420V accordion as an example

 

 


A LITTLE CHA CHA PLAYING

Or as I say Cha Cha Chachacha

 

The basic beat for this is a count of 1 2 3&4 which might go with the notes 

(Bass) Note Chord NoteChordChord or possibly Note Chord NoteChordNote.

 

There are many possibilities including leaving out the bass as usual where the right hand is busy and reverting to the most basic form of playing, with just alternate note and chord after you establish the general feel of the rhythm.

 

Just have as much fun experimenting with this as far as you can without losing the gerneral sense of the rhythm.

 

The five beats that slipped into a bar early on in the demonstration are not cxompulsory by the way, nobody is perfect!

 

 


An Easy Way to Add a little variation and extra movement to your bass by tweaking the rhythm a little

Just a little variation on the notes and chords you are already playing. A technique which can be practiced without even your accordion with you!

 

 


THAT SPECIAL ACCORDION CLIPPED MELODY DECORATION

This is a nice accordion method of making a note sound distinctive but it needs to be done well and requires excellent synchronisation to make the best sound.

 

When you lead into a note from the semitone below it, the bellows timing is crucial to make sure they are not blurred together and that the main note you hear is still correct, not the lead up to it.

 

 

 


Exchanging ideas between left and right hand parts

This video shows a fairly normal mode of playing for me. Note the left parts momentarily giving way to a busy right hand part, or a melody bouncing off or starting after a held bass chord. The rhythm holds back until the first beat of a bar and there is room for it or until it is no longer obscuring a quite busy right hand part you need to hear.

 

At least that is the intention!

 

 


 

Learn to play the highly effective basic bolero rhythm accompaniment

This is not the version from Rabel's bolero but a much simpler one with intermittent triplets. It is a very effective build up effect for the end of a piece, often in 12/8 compound time but also as a modification for a normal four in a bar.

 

The repeating format is Doo - Dobedy - Doo - Dobedy - Doo - Dobedy Dobedy Dobedy - Doo repeating

 

Believe it or not this will make sense when you follow this video!

 

At the end of this video is a quite effective arrangement of Poinciana which uses this, although not continuously of course for the sake of musical variety.

 


Some easy triplet and chord only shifts to try

Some effective movements for momentary chord shifts for bass decoration.

 

You do not even have to leave your basic chords for this! Just reorganise them a little.

 


A well known little tune to try on bass buttons alone

Just a little demo with a little annotation of playing a little snippet of a well known tune, or the complete verse on bass buttons. To help you try it you can watch it and the notes below. The notes a e and b are written in lower case to remind you to use the counterbass row. I forgot to use bass and snarled up on the third phrase and reverted to normal bass accompaniment on the third line!

 

The notes
GCbCDeFG GFG GFG GFGaFGe
GCbCDeFG GFG GFG GFeFDeC


Then this repeats of course

 

You could also have played some or all the Ds on counterbass I think but the fingering would probably not have worked so well for you

JUST A LIITLE FUN WEEKEND EXERCISE

 


How to play easily and confidently

Your listeners will enjoy your playing still more if you sound really confident and they do not have to worry if you are going to manage OK. It is so simple to play easily by organising yourself just as if you had to play the snippets of melody as chords. Your hands will hardly need to move.

 


A tune I call YOUR WALTZ

 

Perhaps you know it?

 

 

A bit of fun and an interesting puzzle for you with this video to see if you have another name for this tune.

 

Also a new suggestion for playing. When deciding to play a solid bass and chord as a good background for a tune, which is itself providing the necessary movement and indication of the beat, try adding the chord halfway through the first beat of the bar.

 

The bass note can either be continued along with the chord or released at some point. The sooner you do this the lighter the overall effect, but of course if you release it instantly you may not even hear it. This could also be what you are after. You be the judge! It is your tune you will be playing.

 

 


Increasing your speed with the Hanon Virtuoso Keyboard System

 

How it works by releasing you temporarily from following music while concentrating on velocity and hand movement.

 

The important part is probably the part the listener is least aware of, where the sections join up as the thumb is pulled up into a new position and the other fingers reset to match.

 

 


How to fill in those awkward gaps in the music with useful easy bass rhythm and not variations

These may be triplets inside the beat (note chord note), most likely on the 4th beat or perhaps the 2nd. Count 1 2 3 4 and a 1 etc the next harmony may be unchanged or it does form a very strong lead in to a change of chord.

 

A subtle distinction is simply to use the half beats. You might have 1 and 2 3 4, most useful with 1 and 2 as note note chord. Also during the first or third beat it could well be (3) AND 4 AND with note chord note.

 

This is instead of the right hand note decoration system or bass run system which are also possible solutions.

 

 

 


Beguine or Rhumba Basics and my particular recommendations for Practical Usage

There is also a tune I would like to know the exact name of at the end of this. And a few remarks on bass fingers I use.

 

 


Finding, Recognising, and Playing Right Hand Chords in Arpeggios

Illustrated with a well-known tune which takes you through some different inversions.