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Accordion as Fill-In for Folk Group

V

VintageIorio

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Im looking for a good way to learn to just fill-in with an accordion sound to a folk music group. By that I dont mean making the accordion the instrument that holds the tune. Just background sounds. Not like the background of a rhythm guitar but more like the a guitar player would fill in the spaces between the vocal phrases with a little lick now and then and maybe the accordion can do a little droning while the singer sings. Not sure how clear I am about what Im asking.

We have a folk group that plays in front of our stained glass store on First Fridays and I would like to join in with the accordion. Subtly. Im not great at playing and Ive always played by myself but it would be fun, I think, if I could join in for a song or two. Heres an example of what Im getting at:


He plays better than I can but you get the idea. I would want to practice a bit before stepping out in public. The one thing I thought of was to know the chords and sing the song myself while I tried the fill-in stuff (at home). If I can get that I might be OK on the sidewalk as I know guitar chords and would know which chord by watching the guitar player.

I was just wondering if there was someone out there who does what Im thinking about and can give me a tip or two. Thanks in advance! ;)
 

Glenn

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This sounds a bit like comping on the piano. I imagine you will basically be playing treble only and playing block chords in various positions to support the singer. You can introduce a bit of rhythm using bellows. Sounds like a fun thing to do and a great learning experience. Go for it.
 

george garside

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I assume you have asked them if they want to add an accordion to their renditions . If you havn't that's the first thing to do!

Assuming agreement has been reached as to what they want some private practice with them would be great as it would enable you to get the hang of blending in which can take both time and practice in that its very different to solo playing.

george
 

TomBR

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One method would be to use Youtube to listen to various versions of songs you know are in the repertoire, or songs in a similar style.

On the matter of fills.....
In a lot of cases the singer will be holding a note at the end of the line, either against a single chord, or hold then change chord. A very simple start is to just do an arpeggio or pattern on the notes of the chord. Next simplest, just a little run of notes linking the main notes of the chord. Theres a good chance the new chord shares a note with the old, so have a sequence ending on the shared note.

No idea what style youre looking at, but heres a classic song (plus classic cartoon!) that shows how things can work at a very steady pace.

(I will just say that my experience of this is all on fiddle, not accordion.)
Good luck,
Tom
 
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acordiansam

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Well try staying away from full trad cords. A lot of or 1-5. Lay off the bass. A little bass now and then. It all depends on what type of music they play.

There is always the cord overlay. Simple keep it under the band. If they are playing acoustic beware you can over power the hole group. It can be hard due to the accordion can over power most string insterments.

Most of all relax and have fun!
Sam
 
V

VintageIorio

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Thank you Tom, Sam, George and Glenn--

All good advice. I would ask the group before hauling out an accordion. But it's such a friendly, informal group that I'm sure they would be willing to try it at least once. I'm sure we'll know right away if it doesn't work! :eek:

I know the accordion can be overpowering against string instruments so I would have to be really careful. The group is always different each month but consistently we have a guitar, one or two hammered dulcimers, a hand drum and upright bass. The guitarist occasionally plays bagpipes. He has two sets. Highland pipes for solo work and a smaller set that is less loud and can play with other instruments. Rarely there is also an English concertina player who is learning and usually just finds the chords and plays along. Hers is subtle background fill in like I would like to do on PA. I'll watch her and learn next time she is there.

Tom, I think what you said would work fine. Just a few notes of the chord and then be ready to move to the next chord. I listened carefully to the Jumbalaya tune and I see what you mean. Your fiddle experience helps. One thing I've noticed when watching fiddlers is that, say on a slow song, while the singer is singing the verse the fiddler will just do a soft drone on 2 strings. To me, it adds nicely to the sound. And thanks for the vintage cartoon. When I was a kid my father had a collection of 8mm silent cartoons that we loved to watch. Your YouTube brought back memories. :tup:

I think maybe that's what Sam was saying, too. No big full chords maybe just 1 and 5 of the chord?

And like Glenn said, no melody, just a little background.

I thank you all for your help. This is a great forum. I'll have some fun with this all summer! --Loren
 

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