Three row chromatic fingering?
#1
I don't expect to get my hands on the accordion I'm buying, for another two weeks or so (waiting for the cheque to clear etc), but I'm trying to use the time to get prepared for its arrival. I've found layouts as to what the 96 bass bottons are likely to be, but haven't found much for the right hand.

There seem to be lots of info for 5 row button accordions, but mine only has three, which means I'll have more patterns to learn. Does anyone know of any online resources which show the modified chord shapes for the 3 row instruments? The added complication, is that all the buttons are the same colour, so I'm not even sure it's C system (but its a Crucianelli, and I think they do tend to be, from what I've read so far)
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#2
(02-01-2020, 09:16 PM)AimlessWanderer Wrote: I don't expect to get my hands on the accordion I'm buying, for another two weeks or so (waiting for the cheque to clear etc), but I'm trying to use the time to get prepared for its arrival. I've found layouts as to what the 96 bass bottons are likely to be, but haven't found much for the right hand.

There seem to be lots of info for 5 row button accordions, but mine only has three, which means I'll have more patterns to learn. Does anyone know of any online resources which show the modified chord shapes for the 3 row instruments? The added complication, is that all the buttons are the same colour, so I'm not even sure it's C system (but its a Crucianelli, and I think they do tend to be, from what I've read so far)
http://www.korbo.com/piedcrow/DiagramIndex.htm
If you scroll down on this page you will find some fingerings and chord shapes that might help you get started. You'll have to figure out some things, but that might be useful in your overall learning.
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#3
(02-01-2020, 09:16 PM)AimlessWanderer Wrote: I don't expect to get my hands on the accordion I'm buying, for another two weeks or so (waiting for the cheque to clear etc), but I'm trying to use the time to get prepared for its arrival. I've found layouts as to what the 96 bass bottons are likely to be, but haven't found much for the right hand.

There seem to be lots of info for 5 row button accordions, but mine only has three, which means I'll have more patterns to learn. Does anyone know of any online resources which show the modified chord shapes for the 3 row instruments? The added complication, is that all the buttons are the same colour, so I'm not even sure it's C system (but its a Crucianelli, and I think they do tend to be, from what I've read so far)

Hi,

B system boxes are very rare in the UK, so you can reasonably expect your accordion to be C system. Your 3 row accordion will give you the chance to build up a solid technique without "cheating" on the 4th and 5th rows, and the three rows will make it easier for you to sight read, i.e. you'll only have one choice of button for each note. 

As for all the buttons being the same colour, most CBA players who become familiar with their instrument will eventually get the starting note by ear and your fingers will eventually respond according to which row you start on. It is pretty difficult to keep looking down at your buttons whilst playing, and in time it shouldn't matter which colour the buttons are. Your fingers will "remember" where the notes are in relation to each other. There is possibly a case for bi-coloured buttons in a formal setting where the player cannot afford to get the first note wrong, but for most of us if we start with a bum note we just grin and begin again. 

Not sure what you mean by "modified chord shapes". Is it the case that you already have chord charts for 4 or 5 row instruments? If you have, all you need to do is create a paper template of the relevant rows of your three row accordion, and work out where your fingers need to go when the chords are shown as having fingers on the 4th and/or 5th rows. The actual fingers you use will depend to a great degree on what you find most comfortable, rather than slavishly follow any rigid "system". The main reason that CBAs have 4 or 5 rows is to avoid "forked" fingers, where you end up with say your 2rd finger on row 1 (outside row), with your index and third finger on rows 2/3. Remember, a PA player has no scope to use additional repeat keys, and neither will you have on a three row. If they can cope with that then so can you, even if you find it awkward at first. Your advantage is there are no big stretches, and no keys higher off the keyboard than others, like there are on a piano keyboard. 

Most French CBAs only have 4 rows, and the pupils are generally taught to use the outer three rows only until they have built up a decent technique on those rows. In time they are allowed to use the 4th row when the teacher (if they have one) deems they are ready.  

You'll probably want to change to a 4 or 5 row eventually, depending on what styles of music you want to play.

The main uncertainty with CBA is which fingering to use. You have taken some of the difficulties out of that argument by having a 3 row, but the actual fingering you use will usually be dictated by whichever method book you opt for, if you intend to do it that way. If you decide to teach yourself without a method book be careful not to over use the thumb, as it will make your little finger lazy, and could actually make playing a 3 row a bit awkward. Try and keep your thumb off the third row, and you want your fingers to be as near 90 degrees to the edge of the treble keyboard as possible. 


I'm not a teacher or a pro player, but have dabbled with CBA for a very long time. I had to teach myself, and committed every sin known to man when learning. I found that out many years later when I decided to go for lessons. 

Edit:- The charts Stephen is referring to in the post below illustrate the difference between having to stay on the outer three rows vs having a 4th row. The "green run" won't be possible for you, but is a trick used by C system players if they want to play scales faster. In that position your hand is basically in the same position as a B system player's would be, but that needn't concern you at this stage.

In Europe there are two different types of C system, and three of B system. You'll occasionally see reference to them on here, but best to concentrate on what you have bought, as C system with C in the first row is by far the most common in western Europe.


Above all, have fun learning your new instrument.
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#4
Hello Wanderer,

The buttons on your CBA being all the same colour is an advantage, once you progress with your CBA study you'll notice monocolour buttons free your mind. 
If you stick to white and black buttons on the CBA, you tend to think there is only one basic key, C major. Because the white buttons happen to be the ones of the C major scale.

Having a monocolour buttonboard on your CBA is an advantage, not an obstacle.
I know this may sound strange to a CBA beginner. I'm in favour of monocolour buttons on the CBA.
In the late 19th and early 20th century most CBAs only had monocolour buttons. The children and beginners didn't need two different colours for the buttons.

In my humble opinion, having two different colours for the buttons will slow you down with your CBA study. 
Monocolour buttonboards ensure you of thinking in shapes, intervals, directions, orientations, ... 

This German music forum topic is about fast runs on (a five rows) CBA. Scroll for the pictures with the red and green markers on the CBA buttonboard. The red one shows a scale over three rows, the green one shows a scale over four rows (with another angle of your wrist !).

The link to the pictures with the red and green markings for the scales on the CBA:
https://www.musiker-board.de/threads/wie...on.698073/
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#5
Despite the French – just listen and watch the fingers, this might help:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIw0aVo8Fuw
He has lots more.
Some might say it’s a bit old fashioned.
Also you might like this:
http://www.thecipher.com/cba_c_row-sets_major.html
or not.
I thought it’d be easy to find a right hand 3 row keyboard – it wasn’t!
Find your own, then:
C chord – find c on 1st row, the other notes e and g are on row 2 move right one button.
A look at the chart – it’s the same shape.
Row 2 – G chord – find g then as for C chord – next row and across one gives gbd.
The same applies to all other major chords in rows 1 and 2.
For row 3 you have to reach back to row 1 – look for a D chord = d on row 3 then f# and A on row one.
For 7th chords just add the next button along – ceg and Bb is next door, gbd and f is next door
For minor chords Cminor: Row 1 c then next door Eb then up to row 2 for the g
Aminor – you do it.
Richard
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#6
Thanks for the input folks.

By modified chord shapes, as some of you recognised, I meant the shapes that the chords have to adopt, when your fingers can't fall onto the fourth or fifth rows. As pointed out by some, a major chord with root on the top row, would change to having the third and fifth on the bottom. In effect, there's two major chord patterns to learn, instead of just one.

It does seem like i'll need to figure this out myself, and probably make my own map/ cue card for these secondary, and possibly even tertiary chord shapes. I'm sure my fingers will "learn" them in time, but until then, it will be good to have a reference sheet to fall back on.

I completely understand, and agree with, the mono colour keyboards being freeing, rather than biasing towards the key of C, like a piano keyboard does. The only reason I mentioned it, is that it's not immediately obvious whether it'll have B on the bottom row with semi-tones DOWN to the right, or C on the bottom row with semi-tones UP and to the right. I'll figure that out when I get it though.
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#7
(03-01-2020, 08:38 AM)AimlessWanderer Wrote: Thanks for the input folks.

By modified chord shapes, as some of you recognised, I meant the shapes that the chords have to adopt, when your fingers can't fall onto the fourth or fifth rows. As pointed out by some, a major chord with root on the top row, would change to having the third and fifth on the bottom. In effect, there's two major chord patterns to learn, instead of just one.

It does seem like i'll need to figure this out myself, and probably make my own map/ cue card for these secondary, and possibly even tertiary chord shapes. I'm sure my fingers will "learn" them in time, but until then, it will be good to have a reference sheet to fall back on.

I completely understand, and agree with, the mono colour keyboards being freeing, rather than biasing towards the key of C, like a piano keyboard does. The only reason I mentioned it, is that it's not immediately obvious whether it'll have B on the bottom row with semi-tones DOWN to the right, or C on the bottom row with semi-tones UP and to the right. I'll figure that out when I get it though.

I'd put money on C being on the first row, and your semi tones will run downwards diagonally from right to left. If it is a standard B system then C will be on the third row and the semitones will still run downwards but from left to right.  

The only difference between standard B and C system is that rows 1 and 3 are transposed. Row 2 is exactly the same on both standard systems. As usual with accordions, there are variations on that theme, but I'm talking about the standard versions of B and C to keep it simple. 

The complicated version is, if we discount the Serbian "Dugmetara" B system, which has 6 rows of treble buttons, the main two variations are Finnish C system with C in the third row, and the Belgian (do2) B system, where C is in the second instead of the third row. If your accordion is one of those beauties then good luck, but I've never seen a Finnish C or Belgian Do2 in a three row version. Finnish C is almost invariably 5 row, and Do2 is 4 or 5 row. 

The country where the seller is based is probably your best clue as to which system you have bought.
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#8
Maugein96,
I'm buying it from a UK seller, but who they got it from, is anyone's guess. I hope you're right, and that it's a C pattern layout. However, even if it is an obscure variant, it won't be a significant obstacle. I still only have one keyboard layout to learn. I don't plan on buying multiple accordions, as I'm not faithful to one type of instrument, and dabble with strings, keys, and wind too. So as long as I can make sense of whatever this is, I'll be fine. It's like learning guitar in DADGAD instead of EADGBE. If that's all you're going to play, it's no harder learning one fretboard over the other, I'd have thought.

I've started building template documents to solve this little riddle. I'm putting together a sheet in a table format, which has the type of chord (major, minor, etc) in the left hand column. Column two has root note on the bottom row, column three has root note on middle row, and column four has root note on the top row. In many cases, the root on bottom and root on middle patterns will be identical, but more complex chords using all three rows, will have three different patterns to them. I haven't "coloured in" the keys yet, and won't be able to until I confirm what layout I'm adopting, but I can at least get the templates built.

I also intend doing something similar with major and minor scales, which again, by their nature of spanning all three rows, will have three different patterns to learn, depending which row the Do note is on.
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#9
(03-01-2020, 10:57 AM)AimlessWanderer Wrote: Maugein96,
I'm buying it from a UK seller, but who they got it from, is anyone's guess. I hope you're right, and that it's a C pattern layout. However, even if it is an obscure variant, it won't be a significant obstacle. I still only have one keyboard layout to learn. I don't plan on buying multiple accordions, as I'm not faithful to one type of instrument, and dabble with strings, keys, and wind too. So as long as I can make sense of whatever this is, I'll be fine. It's like learning guitar in DADGAD instead of EADGBE. If that's all you're going to play, it's no harder learning one fretboard over the other, I'd have thought.

I've started building template documents to solve this little riddle. I'm putting together a sheet in a table format, which has the type of chord (major, minor, etc) in the left hand column. Column two has root note on the bottom row, column three has root note on middle row, and column four has root note on the top row. In many cases, the root on bottom and root on middle patterns will be identical, but more complex chords using all three rows, will have three different patterns to them. I haven't "coloured in" the keys yet, and won't be able to until I confirm what layout I'm adopting, but I can at least get the templates built.

I also intend doing something similar with major and minor scales, which again, by their nature of spanning all three rows, will have three different patterns to learn, depending which row the Do note is on.

I too have played various instruments over the years, but the only two I've sort of stuck with are guitar and CBA accordion. They are as different as chalk and cheese, and if I was totally honest I found teaching myself CBA to be a bit of a tall order. I had made a reasonable job of teaching myself electric guitar, and presumed the accordion would be much the same. 

The accordion looks easy enough, and it probably is for those who have the aptitude for it. Hopefully you'll be of that calibre and come on in leaps and bounds. I struggled to get to about an intermediate stage (on the treble), but I still find the good old Stradella bass a bit of a handful. I can do simple accompaniment with alternating basses, and the odd bass run. If I was starting out on Stradella again I'd throw all the books away and just use three fingers like Brazilian players do. Of course that would be deemed as "wrong" by the purists, but the Brazilians don't care, and neither would I. 

Keep us posted when your box arrives. I was intrigued when you said it was a 96 bass. Most three row Crucianellis only have 80 basses arranged in 16 rows of 5 buttons (there are no dim7 chords on an 80 bass). You may have a bigger 3 voice box with 96 basses right enough, but you'll soon find out. 

These days I just play at home for my own entertainment, and am happy enough with that.
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#10
Yeah, I'd only be playing for my own benefit too, so intermediate level would easily be good enough for me. I will be self taught, as with my other noisemakers.

Its certainly 96 bass, 6 rows of 16. No apparent voice switches though, so just single voice from what I can tell. Treble side is three rows of 15/16/15 respectively.
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#11
(03-01-2020, 02:48 PM)AimlessWanderer Wrote: Yeah, I'd only be playing for my own benefit too, so intermediate level would easily be good enough for me. I will be self taught, as with my other noisemakers.

Its certainly 96 bass, 6 rows of 16. No apparent voice switches though, so just single voice from what I can tell. Treble side is three rows of 15/16/15 respectively.

Most Crucianelli 3 rows are two voice (one bank of reeds tuned to pitch, and the other bank higher to give an element of vibration to the sound of the two reeds together). 

You'll probably find a switch on the rear of the treble keyboard that switches between single reed and two reeds together. You'll also probably find that switch useful, especially in the early days before you have the confidence to play at full volume. 

If you're going to teach yourself the bellows will take a bit of getting used to. Most of us sort of fall into some sort of natural rhythm that tells us when to change direction, whereas others never seem to get it right and end up changing in the middle of a bar. For home playing that won't cause too many issues, although if you record yourself you may hear the odd occasion when you feel the accordion has run out of breath. Accomplished accordionists who have studied the instrument formally have to cope with "rules" regarding when to change the bellows. Only rule I worry about is keeping my beard out of the bellows folds! You get players who do everything spot on, often necessary in classical music, then you get players who prefer to play most notes on the draw. Certain types of music only require minimal movement of the bellows etc, etc. 

Hope I haven't made it all too complicated, but you will get a lot of fun after you have become familiar with how everything works. An old coal miner in my home village used to get so drunk he couldn't play his melodeon on a Saturday night, and he would throw it on the fire. After he had sobered up on the Sunday he would go into the city on the tram and come back with another one from a flea market there!
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#12
When I started on CBA (just over three years ago) I started off peering down at the keyboard, then realised what I was doing and made a cardboard "shield" so I couldn't see the keys. I only needed it for a few days. You don't need to look down and it's much better not to, as soon as poss. Your accordion may have certain buttons textured. If so you won't even need to look down when you start playing.

Sticking to three rows will give you the famed CBA transposition on a five row row box, just start on a different button and play the same pattern to go into another key.

There are only three scale patterns to learn.
It's a truly wonderful system!
Good luck!
Tom
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#13
Thanks again folks. I'll certainly have a look for that switch when it arrives. I got told today that the cheque has been banked, and the accordion (along with its travelling companions) should be despatched towards the end of next week. With a following wind, I might even have it by next weekend.

The monocolour keyboard, and only three rows, really don't phase me all that much to be honest. I'm in it for the challenge anyway, which is why I got a button rather than a piano. I don't think the piano layout would have been as big a learning curve. Apologies to any piano accordion players that take exception to that glib remark. If I ever get to intermediate stage with this instrument, I'll feel like I've won! If in three years, I can play a few simple right hand melodies over a corresponding bass chord, I'll be very happy indeed. In fact, only having three rows, and the accompanying shifting chord patterns, will just make it more rewarding to conquer the basics on. I also got this fairly cheap, so there may actually be one or two other challenges to face inside it, before I even learn to play the thing, although knowing what it should do matters in that respect too. Description I've been given is that all buttons work, but some reeds might need adjustment (but that could of course mean cleaning out, or even some valve work). I'll be doing all my own tinkering under the bonnet too.

As to the bellows, I (maybe naively) don't think that'll be a big issue for me. I have played wind instruments, so am familiar with having to plan where to breathe. Translating that to the box should be fairly intuitive once I get an appreciation of how IT breathes, and how quickly its lung capacity is used up by different parts of each keyboard.

It certainly won't be getting slung on the fire out of frustration Big Grin
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#14
Won't take you three years! ....and don't forget, changing the bellows direction within a phrase is often used as a decorative effect... the other Tom
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#15
Thanks Tom, I haven't started looking at ornamentation yet. Hadn't realised that could be decorative.
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#16
Hi maugein96

I am intrigued by your comments about playing stradella using 3 fingers  "just use three fingers like Brazilian players do" Could you elaborate a little please.

Regards

Tiposx
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#17
Tiposx,
I've no idea if this relates to what Maugein was referring to, but it does describe a three finger technique for Stradella bass Smile

https://www.rodstradling.co.uk/accordion...ebass.html
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#18
(05-01-2020, 12:52 AM)Tiposx Wrote: Hi maugein96

I am intrigued by your comments about playing stradella using 3 fingers  "just use three fingers like Brazilian players do" Could you elaborate a little please.

Regards

Tiposx

Hi Tiposx,

I haven't made any real study, as I have very little knowledge of music theory, but if you watch most Brazilian players they use fingers 2,3, and 4 to "walk" all over the Stradella bass rather than try and play the usual accompaniment.

If you watch this clip you'll get the idea. All of the bass is played without the little finger or the thumb. They manage to work it almost like a free bass. I don't know what if any "system" they use, but if you check out other accomplished Brazilian players on You Tube they all play like this guy. No pinkies, no thumbs, no problems about "right or wrong".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz0I74j6nxw
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#19
Great clip, John!
Thanks  Smile
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#20
(06-01-2020, 09:08 PM)Dingo40 Wrote: Great clip, John!
Thanks  Smile

Hi Dingo,

I've no idea what the guy in the clip is actually playing, but wish I could do the same. Playing basses towards the top of the instrument in the sharp keys appears to be fairly common, unless my lack of music theory has failed me again. 

The "three finger trick" on the bass side is possibly in keeping with Brazilian tempos and rhythms. You do get the odd player who occasionally uses the pinky, but most of the "cool" players I've seen prefer to keep it off the keyboard. 

Do they learn it from books? I just don't know. The general impression I get is that only "natural" players are capable of tackling Brazilian accordion. IMHO you cannot learn that stuff from books or sheet music. Hardly any two of them play a tune the same way, and that's the appeal of the music for me.
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