VIDEO EXAMPLES 7

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The Ease and Liveliness of Playing smaller Accordions 

This morning I discuss the advantages of small accordions, small nuances from the bellows in playing, reducing the impact of going to a higher note and even trying to make the most of even the most jaded tune by lightening up on its treatment.

In other words playing it like it was an amazing tune you had only just discovered instead of enthusiastically ramming your way through it at top volume plus an even louder exaggerated first beat in the bar.

With regard to simplicity the first tune I play is on just one reed. I always think you can tell if it is a good instrument by trying this rather than where several are playing together covering up for each other.

And also being especially careful in your treatment of tremolo and musette tunings. It can be done by playing tastefully even on extreme detuned instrumentss.

 

 


Distribute your left hand finger weight differently

Going back to the wonderful deep tones of my Victoria accordion today brought out a beautiful Sinatra song and a mix of different ways of playing the bass and of combining it with the treble part(s).

 

Everything from only using one part at a time in fact toplaying right hand chord with bass note and bass chord strenghening a short phrase. Also a reminder about using a continuous bass chord as a background to bass notes instead of relying as the note rows always taking precedence.

 

This merely means putting the weight of your fingers on the chords and dabbing lightly onto the notes as required

 

 


Practice Super smooth and fast Bass Runs

Guiding you through more effective sounding bass runs to help your music. About how to think about them if you have an awkward gap in the middle of a fast eighth note run.

 

And once you have done that making them sound more natural with your touch and bellows. I believe that if attempting anything like a walking bass effect on accordion it needs to be very legato, smooth and bellows controlled.

 

The note next to it as it occurs in the run may be a long way away. But keep your attention on the feeling of going between those close notes. Particularly when they are separated in the run it will help if you hold the feeling of the first one for placing its neighbour when the time comes.

 

 

 


It is Easy to have a special sound like this

I believe this very simple exercise will transform your accordion sound.

Take 5 minutes to try it!

 

 


Legato Repeated Notes or chords

Impossible right? No gap between repeated notes, note lifted and kept down at the same time perhaps? Schrodinger's repeats!

 

I think we all understand smooth transitions in the form of legato playing between DIFFERENT notes of your melody.

But what about repeating the SAME note smoothly and perfectly legato? That would be a unique sound were it not so obviously impossible, right?

Indeed it is a nice effect and here is how to add it to your repertoire of techniques to make your accordion sound more interesting to listen to and play!

 

 


Immediately Break  Free of Repetitive Bass

This is just a very short video which I think will release you quickly and easily from being a slave to relying on constant left hand patterns. Particularly if you have been playing too long doing the repetitive patterns of first ever accordion tutor.

 

Also sounds nice as a light variation to your playing even for non-slaves!

 

The downside of what makes starting to learn the accordion so easy is that the left hand becomes unable to break free of extremely repetitive bass, which is annoying distraction for the general listener.

 

In my view playing so lightly on the bass that you cannot hear it generally just covers up the problem and you should not be ashamed of the sound you are making there!

 

For those who have been unable to break free I think this will be a very very quick start to break freee.

 

Just start a waltz tune with no bass note, only chord chord on beats two and three and you can do this anywhere in the tune except possibly where there is no new note on the first beat of the bar in the tune.

 

 

 


Very effective Extreme minimalism in bass work

I do not think you would realise how little bass work is being done here to very good effect if you did not watch very very closely.

 

So a closeup view here so you can see how few notes are being played by the left hand this time. Even though it sounds differently and sounds like typical accordion music.

 

Some extreme minimalism on the left hand works well when it is backed up by complementary work in the right hand on a similar sound.

 

On a couple of popular waltzes of disttinctive character I demonstrate playing very effectively with just beats 2-3-1 in the bass or even just 2 and creating a very full bodied lively sound.

 

I suggest thinking of the music happening in the middle of the accordion so that both treble and bass work independently yet together and so you will also get the feeling of the bellows creating each note.

 

 


Minimalist Bass on livelier 4/4

Applying the principle of frequently leaving out the bass note particularly at the beginning of phrases to two or three tunes in 4/4. In other words not waltzes.

As always, I take time to warm up and the last one is the best. But that is why we practice isn’t it

The word I was searching for three quarters of the way through of course was syncopating, not synchronising!

 

 


Generating Staccato Sounds with Fingers or Bellows

It’s Accordion Awareness day exercises this weekend to give you automatically greater control of your sound.

 

Staccato or legato and whether the staccato is produced by the fingers not trying too hard to get to the bottom of possible travel to the Keybed or by the bellows. Or by both.

 

Even holding down the note and producing staccato just by the bellows is easy if you play slow enough but practice to find out how fast you can play only using bellows to separate the notes.

 

Like bellows shake this is of course easier to do with bellows nearly closed.

 

This should improve your awareness while playing and improve musicality and hence make it nicer to listen to

 

 

 

A different sound or key gives you a new song version

A very simple message today of how you can instantly freshen up your favourite tunes by merely trying another register or tab for the song.

Whether or not you detect the feeling of difference in the video, it will become clear to you when you try the method yourself.

 

 


New Sounds from Changing Octaves Demo

A very simple message today of how you can instantly freshen up your favourite tunes by merely trying another register or tab for the song.

Whether or not you detect the feeling of difference in the video, it will become clear to you when you try the method yourself.

 

 


Some interesting Detail in this lovely Tune

Mainly reminders about things we should be thinking about while playing and there are quite a few of them of course. And a nice tune of course to show them on.

 

There is contrast in music even in the middle of one song. There is trying to maintain contact with the keys even when playing staccato.

 

Also the nice smooth bass sound you can get by legato playing and releasing the bellows during the long note.

 

But mainly getting the feeling of playing all the notes in your right hand tune with the left-hand as it operates the bellows. That’s producing a well modulated and distinct control of the melody

 

 


Pauses or links between phrases

Discussing the appearances of pauses and links and demonstrations in this tune which epitomises the very idea - Until it's Time For You To Go.

 


An Individual Approach Tune by Tune

Accordion playing is taught to you as a One Size Fits All thing where if you play a waltz it is oompahpah or if playing in four beat bars oompahoompah and you know what I think of that one!

There are others of course for rhumba, tango etc but sometimes an individual one can be invented for a particular tune.

This example is for a lovely tune which is so slow and simple that it cries out to have a contrasting bass accompaniment.

Try this if you like it but remember it is mainly a reminder of different attitudes and techniques you can apply to your music. Not merely something to be copied but an invitation to look inside your own mind and make discoveries that will make your accordion sound uniique.

 

And remember that this pattern can be varied and simplified or even ceased at various points to allow the tune full impact

 

 


Is the Bass Volume Relative to the chord Constant?

This is an odd idea which occurred to me this morning and may, like many of my ideas be total rubbish.

 

That it seems to me that when you play loud and add the bass chord to the bass note it is not very strong and in contrast playing quietly the volumes seem to match better.

I amy be crazy but if you try and see if it works for you it will definitely increase your awareness of exactly how your bass sounds. Listening harder to your sound always results in making better music.

And that has to be a good thing for your music.

 

 

 


Some Bluesey Techniques for Bass and for Treble 

Bluesy accordion playing, not the first thing you think about with the accordion but definitely possible

Two tunes included I can’t stop loving you and My Cherie Amour at the end which I particularly like

Apologies where the sun sometimes washes out the right hand keyboard detail but there is much about how to get that feel in both bass and treble including a very awkward but effective bass variation you can try.

Clue on that blues feel it is often based on attacking a note from a semitone below making that note bending effect. Also up to two notes played together (making up interval called a third).

I also like to hold the top note and play a fast short chromatic run under it.

 

 


Really Minimal Bass Use But not an Apology

You can make special use of your accordion bass section by playing it less!

 

Extreme minimalism in the use of your bass buttons illustrated in two tunes

 

 

 

 


How to Start Harmonising your Right Hand Tune

This is quite literally an angle on how to harmonise your tune in the right hand. While harmony books tell you how to make chords they mostly do not tell you how to add them to a tune.

 

Starting by knowing what key you are playing in and piling thirds (alternate notes) under. You then can find other matching chords by moving either the bottom note or the bottom two notes down.

 

Whether the chords you find are major or minor will be automatic and also automatically correct for the key you are playing in. So you can learn harmony with simple finger movements.

 

I also show making suspended 2nds and 4ths by moving the middle note of your root position chord to either side. Again of course matching the sharps or flats of the key you are playing in.

 

A diagram is shown below this video

 

 

A Diagram which goes with yesterday's post about adding chords below your right hand melody. I also added right hand dots to add for additional shapes which will make up 6th and 7th four note chords.

 

The spacing shows the gaps between letter name notes (for example F to A leaving a one note gap between). The exact notes you play whether black or white notes depends on what sharps and flats belong to the key you are playing in.

 

These are of course only the beginning and some more subtle tunes or harmonies may vary which sharps and flats are used. For example if a part of the tune temporarily moves to another key.

 

These Hand shapes can get you adding right hand harmony enrichment to your tune.

EXTRA TIP: -- BE CAREFUL ABOUT HAVING ALL THE NOTES IN THE BOTTOM OCTAVE, WHICH MAY MAKE THE SOUND TOO GRUFF OR GROWLY!

 

 

 


What Makes a Good Tango Pattern

Get the passion into tango accordion with these easy to follow basic hints.

 

Easy bass patterns, remembering the accented fourth beat in the bar and or the syncopation at the beginning of the bar and taking the tune firmly in hand avoiding soggy half hearted playing even when giving the bass a rest.

 

This is done of course by defining the right hand notes with the left hand on bellows.

 

 


Increasing Bellows Control of Individual Notes

I think this will make a lot of difference to your playing even if you think you have not quite managed it.

 

Let’s try improving our sound from bellows control and synchronisation with the tune in various modes and increase the speed at which we can do it.

 

This will help you define your melodies better too and you will even be able to do cleaner or lighter chord glissandos

 

 


Get Musical Clarity by Letting each part be Heard

In order to communicate with your listeners and get an appreciative audience you need to play with musical clarity.

 

And after listening to some playbacks of my own videos it occurred to me that if you do something important to the music in the left hand buttons you should make sure it can be heard.

 

It is fairly well known that while fast more complex right hand parts are being played it is usually good to stop playing the left hand for clarity and freedom of phrasing in the right hand.

 

But linking left hand parts can also be obscured by right hand notes hanging on at the end of a phrase. These might be a special bit of melodic bass you have worked on but two or three simple notes and/or chords can be equally important if they link to push the music along.

 

It all goes back to really listening to your own playing and making these videos gives me a chance to go back to watch and listen to my playing more closely

 

 


Four Beats In a Bar Does not have to be so Boring

Playing four in a bar can be one of the most boring things ever but here is how to make it interesting again with a touch of swing derived from a typical drum part.

 

Note that this does not stop it being a smooth rich and full sound however

 

 


Creating a Smooth Rich Bass

 

Creating a new gloriously full sound on your accordion by reversing the system and having a lovely sustained bass with a livelier more pointed right hand chorded sounded.

The art is both to overlap the bass notes even though the bass chord is being played between the start of them and to ease off in the bellows after the first and third beats of the bar

Apologies for occasions where I was so anxious to continue that special bass mode that I forgot to stop bass or treble when needed to let the other part be heard as explained in the previous video!

The trouble with one subject videos! Be sure to mix in all the techniques as you need them when you play.

 


Different sounds and how to do Sliding Chords

The very common tune I play at the beginning is there so you can watch out for special accordion techniques to produce special sounds.

 

All about once again exploring the control we have over our instruments in ways unique to the accordion.

 

From producing each note separately with the left hand arm movement on the bellows to using the same reduction of the movement to introduce an extra part under a long note of the melody which does not distract too much of the tune.

 

And how do you execute chorded glissandos and land up on the note and the chord you intended? This happens so fast it is difficult for me to know how it happens but it has to relate to anything which is common to both chords. Notice the difference between a palm resting against the edge of the keyboard which is smoother but more blurred and dragging the fingers over the black notes which will give you amazing chord changes instantly on the way up or down.

 

Incidentally the way to have a clear idea of the relative positions you are moving between (on treble or bass for that matter) is to concentrate on the initial position when you are there. In this way you may even be able to come back to it securely three or four movements later!

 

ERRATA includes I said sliding between first and second beats of the bar when I meant first to third!

 

 


Roy Orbison and a Lively Apparently Incomplete Bass

I think you will enjoy this. A nice lively tune from the Roy Orbison catalogue which I think demonstrates that rhythm comes from a combination of bass and treble and that not every bar needs a bass note on the first beat.

 

 


A Simple and Seemingly Stupid Idea

A very simple and seemingly stupid idea can transform your playing and free up your playing into a much livelier style.

 

Remember when your first teachers stressed you had to play the left and right hands together? Well stop it!

 

In particular you can swing easily by playing lots of notes of the tune after the beat and a good start is with the first beat of the bar on an opening phrase. Sometimes further into the phrase it could be early instead of course.

 

Additionally the more phrases that start without a bass part the better as long as you leave enough “connected” ones with bass along the way to give continuity.

 

 


 

An Old Style of 6/8 Playing Enhanced

This is about the type of 6/8 that a friend thought my post was about a week or two ago and suggested an old old solution for a 6/8 March or Tarantella.

 

Not wrong but I think I have improved on it here by not always doubling the third note of the triplet with a chord in the bass. Instead I sometimes use the second and demonstrate it going from the obvious at a very slow speed right up to the sprightly almost Neapolitan effect when fast.

 

Try it yourself working up to speed It almost sounds like an impossible bellows shake but rest assured that it is not.

 

You will also probably enjoy the couple of old favourite 6/8 tunes I try at the end

 

 

 


There are of course six other video pages here on this website.

 

They are divided up in order not to overload your web browser too badly

 

Video Examples Page One - Video Examples Page Two - Video Examples Page Three

Video Examples Page Four - Video Examples Page Five - 

Video Examples Page Six - Video Examples Page Seven

 

Examples are not in the order of dificulty so for examplethe first video in Page one may give you as much thought as those on page seven. 

 

This is Video Examples Page Seven