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A touch of virtuosity ?

Dingo40

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A touch of virtuosity (not always appreciated, I see) :)

She’s another of those who plays chiefly on the draw and hardly, if ever, actually activates the bass buttons. (One wonders if there is a bass mechanism at all?) :huh:
Moreover, she appears to play with the lower bellows strap fastened.

 

Tom

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Thanks Dingo! I've been watching Ms. Sbarra for years on the Fisa.rmoncando show. She plays (here) in that virtuosic contemporary Italian style that uses no basses with the backing track. This one has more soul than some.
 
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maugein96

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Dingo40 pid=68612 dateline=1576463265 said:
A touch of virtuosity (not always appreciated, I see) :)

She’s another of those who plays chiefly on the draw and hardly, if ever, actually activates the bass buttons. (One wonders if there is a bass mechanism at all?) :huh:
Moreover, she appears to play with the lower bellows strap fastened.


Dingo,

I think what draws a lot of us to the accordion is its traditional association with easier compositions, and many players never really progress past a sort of intermediate stage. Personally, I have neither the ability nor the technical musical knowledge to manage the complicated stuff, but nevertheless still get pleasure out of bungling through on various instruments. I listen to lots of different accordion music, and the focus with soloists tends to be to put on displays of virtuosity. Whilst I do appreciate listening to what they are capable of, I tend to prefer listening to tunes that I might just have a chance of managing to play. 

In Scotland there was a duo named The Alexander Brothers, who specialised in playing the sort of material your grandparents would sing along to, although Tom was rather in the shadow of his brother Jack, who was a vocalist. In fact, at the risk of being crucified (again), I would say that most Scottish accordion music is in that same vein. Yet, when Tom Alexander was allowed to play solo he revealed himself to be a very accomplished accordionist, well capable of playing a varied repertoire.  


What Ive noticed over the years is that many of the top notch musicians survive on natural ability, and the very notion of asking how others play their choice of instrument is of no interest too them. They automatically find their own way without worrying whether they are doing things properly. Chances are a Brazilian player wouldnt have the first notion of how to play Bach, but in the same way that would be out of his comfort zone, not many classical players with walls papered in diplomas would be able to touch the Brazilian player in his own genres. 

I have the greatest respect for musicians who have put years of study into music, and there is no doubt that gives them a distinct advantage when tackling various styles and genres. They have the keys to most of the doors, but it can take years to master some of the most basic folk style accordion techniques which arent in the books. 

Dick Dale made a lot of money out of playing electric guitars left handed with the strings upside down, incorporating Lebanese traditional music and associated oriental scales into the American surf style. Nobody could teach him to play like that, but the jurys out on whether he was a true instrumentalist, or whether he was just a passing gimmick. As recently as last year his most famous hit, Miserlou, was getting a lot of air time. 

Quite a few accordionists Ive seen play with the bottom strap fastened, and players in the Emilia Romagna area of Italy, and elsewhere, also mainly play on the draw. Debora Sbarra in the clip has been playing pro accordion for quite some time. She is also a northerner from Stradella, and maybe its just the case that northerners do it differently. I dont really know.

Years ago I watched an old VHS video of Italian accordion students in Milan. One entire lesson appeared to be centred on how to breath when playing. Dont know who the teacher was, but the whole thing looked pretty scary. Sorry, Roberto, youve failed the exam. You sneezed when it said cough in the score. 

Incidentally, French boxes dont have bellows straps, so Debora Sbarras style wouldnt work there. 

Nice clip though, and thanks.
 

debra

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Lower bellow strap closed indeed. There used to be teachers (40 to 60 years ago) who taught their students to play with the lower bellow strap closed, and they were training new teachers who then went on to teach this to there students... and the result is that there are now generations of players who simply refuse to even try to play with the bottom strap open, and who can therefore not even try a ricochet even when they encounter a composition or arrangement that requires it. And they also refuse to open the strap when they are badly running out of air on long notes too.
This is a sad situation.
 
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maugein96

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debra said:
Lower bellow strap closed indeed. There used to be teachers (40 to 60 years ago) who taught their students to play with the lower bellow strap closed, and they were training new teachers who then went on to teach this to there students... and the result is that there are now generations of players who simply  refuse to even try to play with the bottom strap open, and who can therefore not even try a ricochet even when they encounter a composition or arrangement that requires it. And they also refuse to open the strap when they are badly running out of air on long notes too.
This is a sad situation.

Paul,

I've been looking for a video of a CBA player who doesn't use his thumb, plays with the lower bellows strap closed, and sits without using shoulder straps. If I find one I'll ask the player if he can be my teacher! :D


One or two old Irish PA players prided themselves in never moving the bellows more than a few cm and keeping the lower strap closed. That way the Guinness and the whiskey glasses stayed upright on top of the body of the accordion, and they never spilled a drop. ;)
 

debra

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maugein96 said:
...
Paul,

I've been looking for a video of a CBA player who doesn't use his thumb, plays with the lower bellows strap closed, and sits without using shoulder straps. If I find one I'll ask the player if he can be my teacher! :D


One or two old Irish PA players prided themselves in never moving the bellows more than a few cm and keeping the lower strap closed. That way the Guinness and the whiskey glasses stayed upright on top of the body of the accordion, and they never spilled a drop. ;)

Good luck finding that video. It must be old, not only because nowadays almost everyone uses their thumb but also because most CBA do not have bellow straps. (My bayan does not have them, and the Bugari CBAs we have only have bellow straps because on one we ordered it specifically  and on the other I installed them myself.

The Irish players can do what they do because Irish music never has any long notes. If you only play fast with short notes you also never hear that the accordion has gone out of tune.
 
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maugein96

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debra pid=68622 dateline=1576519270 said:
maugein96 pid=68621 dateline=1576517443 said:
...
Paul,

Ive been looking for a video of a CBA player who doesnt use his thumb, plays with the lower bellows strap closed, and sits without using shoulder straps. If I find one Ill ask the player if he can be my teacher! :D


One or two old Irish PA players prided themselves in never moving the bellows more than a few cm and keeping the lower strap closed. That way the Guinness and the whiskey glasses stayed upright on top of the body of the accordion, and they never spilled a drop. ;)

Good luck finding that video. It must be old, not only because nowadays almost everyone uses their thumb but also because most CBA do not have bellow straps. (My bayan does not have them, and the Bugari CBAs we have only have bellow straps because on one we ordered it specifically  and on the other I installed them myself.

The Irish players can do what they do because Irish music never has any long notes. If you only play fast with short notes you also never hear that the accordion has gone out of tune.

I have three CBAs and the only one with bellows straps is an old Marinucci.

If you put bellows straps on a Cavagnolo it wont fit in the manufacturers case. 

Here is the Gallowglass Ceili Band stretching those bellows to their very limit (Irish style):-


No danger of the Walls of Limerick falling down there.

These days of the swing tuning and those bellows are coming out a bit further (sometimes). Guinness tumblers well out of the accordionists way there!


Left shoulder strap redundant, and guitarists headstock very close to Guinness tumbler in front of him. Apart from those criticisms, not bad at all!
 

Dingo40

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Thanks all for responding with your informative and entertaining posts :).
They all help with my education regarding everything accordion related!
Thanks, John, especially for the link to the Gallowglass Ceili Band: very like Jimmy Shand’s music. Quite toe-tapping. I like it! :)
Alan Kelly, of the Allan Kelly Quartet seems to be a convert to the Northern Italian school, in that he appears to be ignoring the bass buttons and playing on the draw. Amazing how these things get about! :)

Some more of Debora Sbarra:

 

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