• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

C-system Button Accordion Literature

G

GregShelton

Guest
Hi,

I'm not sure if anyone can recall my last post but I was searching for a button accordion - the good news is I found an old, but very good value Hohner and I'm now ready to get learning.
I've had a tentative go with the new format and can play a c-scale well enough but the whole idea of having duplicate notes is completely alien to me and I don't know how to get the best out of the buttons yet. I've realised that I need a helping hand and that I'm not going to pick this thing up just by playing around.
I've already ordered the Médard Ferrero teach yourself book 1 online, which is in French. I'm quite happy with that as I am currently teaching myself French so it should be like killing two birds with one stone but I wondered if anyone else had tracked down anything in English just in case? I really couldn't find anything!

Thanks,

Greg.
 
R

Russ

Guest
At this point don't bother with rows 4 and 5 stick with the first three rows.

Try this fingering for your C scale from the outer row C thumb = 1, pinkey 5
Remember just rows 1,2, and 3

C Pentatonic CDEFG, GFEDC
12345, 54321

C Major Scale CDEFGABC, CBAGFEDC
12342345, 54324321

This should hold you till your book arrives

Remember there are many different fingerings out there

I think Lucien et Richard Gallianos book is the best tutor out there:
Methode Complete D'Accordeon

There are other methods out there, and I must admit I have not seen the Médard Ferrero book you have ordered so I can not compare it, but of all the tutors I have used I would pick the Galliano as my favorite - It is also in French but you dont need French to understand it, maybe a dictionary to look up a word or two, it also comes with a CD that plays some of the songs and exercises for you.

have Fun
Russ
 

george garside

Prolific poster
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
1
I agree with Russ about learning on the outside 3 rows as it brings advantages later on.

I use a different fingering method ( and there is no particular 'correct' one as the tutor books vary on the matter. My preferred fingering for the C and A scale is

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 2 3 4 2 1(4 if going no further)

this version has the advantage that the thumb ( finger1) is on the higher C ready to start the next octave with the same fingering but finger 4 can be used if going no further.

the fingering down the scale is simply a reversal of going up

Obviously things can differ when playing real tunes so prodding out a few simple little tunes as soon as possible is helpful. eg saints go marching in, or anything simple that is going round in your head.

It can be advantageos to try a few little tunes or even bits of tunes from memory/by ear to familiarise yourself with the keyboard before adding the complications of the dots!

george
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
9
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
I tried to stick to the outside rows, as advised, but it made playing unnecessarily hard. The whole point of having duplicate notes (in my opinion) is that you do not need to contort your hand. Most of the time, I play across at least 4 rows, using thumb and little finger on the outer rows for the lowest and highest notes of the tune, and the inner rows and longer fingers for the middle range of notes. To start with I found the duplicates confusing, but they enable speedier, comfortable playing once you get accustomed to the system. For me, intuitive playing works well on the buttons; rather than figure things out, I just play a tune till it feels right...

I also have a 3-row C-system accordion (which is like having the outer 3 rows only) and find that much harder, esp for all the Morris tunes in G which start on a low D.

Having said that, I watched two great Finnish button accordion players on B-system not long ago, and noticed that they never used the innermost row AT ALL, and also that they twisted their thumb around to reach the second-to-innermost row, which looked awkward.
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,347
Reaction score
21
Location
Seattle, Washington
Hm, I have never seriously thought about the influence of Morris tunes on my technique, but coincidentally I use (all) 4 rows too. And I don't use my thumb, though I always thought the outer-3-only types were mostly from the 4-finger French/Portuguese tradition.

I don't know, I guess the extra difficulty of crossing over a row, to get a note that may also be played in the adjacent duplicate row ... it's probably not such a big problem if you get used to it from the beginning, but if there's a reason to do it, I believe it isn't the one you most often hear. The advantage I hear usually touted for a 5 row keyboard is that you'll be able to play a tune in any key - if you've trained yourself to confine your playing to 3 rows at a time. Maybe that's very useful for a few players, but my guess is, not for that many. But one reason it might (I guess) be good for a beginner to play on 3 only, is that you don't encounter any choices while playing, when you have only one button per note.

Not everyone's brain works the same. I infer that for Anyanka, choosing a path across 4 rows with 1 duplicate is the least of her problems while playing, but I have to admit that for me, where an instrument presents two or more choices for the same note, at least in the beginning that tends more of a stumbling block than a help. But again, of course not an insurmountable one.
 
R

Russ

Guest
I still find fingering confusing using just three rows – look at the multiplicity of ways to play the C scale.I started out playing across many rows, playing a lot using the inside rows and playing across 4 rows. It became so confusing trying to remember which C in which row I started from, what scale pattern I was using when I played, I found it hard to develop any real muscle memory. Now if some one tells me it is in the key of C or whatever there is no question of where my scale is and which direction to go. Theoretically, If the song is set better for a different key finger pattern I can play C scales in the D position or the G position, and likewise I can transpose a song to any key. This of course is easier said than done. I also like the way my hand position is consistently much straighter across the keyboard making larger movements and jumps more consistent. This being said I have heard musicians better than me that play across the keyboard, and some Serbian players that look like they are playing across all SIX rows. I will say It does make playing in doubles notes (thirds) over 4 rows much easier.
 
G

GregShelton

Guest
Thanks for everyone's response. I have now received my Médard Ferrero book and I will go along with it until I find a need to look elsewhere but I will also come back to this thread and follow all your tips. Thanks!
 
R

Russ

Guest
What is the fingering for the C scale that Médard Ferrero uses in his book?

Donn says "I guess the extra difficulty of crossing over a row, to get a note that may also be played in the adjacent duplicate row ... it's probably not such a big problem if you get used to it from the beginning, . . . ."

I agree with Donn, The only time I find the fingering across three rows really difficult (practice practice practice) is in playing the the D pattern arpeggio and using the pinkey for the high D (D,F#,A,D - 2345) which can be remedied by using the 2123 fingering. Galliano also uses the 4th row fingering for the D row arpeggios and I have seen him comp chords all over the keyboard, which make sense as it is so much easier to go from a CM7 to a C#M7 just shifting over a row than changing the block pattern, However for myself it is better at this time to learn all the block patterns in three rows, that way I have all my choices at hand over all 5 rows. My converter only has 3 rows of freebass so this is helps me in mirror playing as well.

This post inspired me to try Thirds over 4 rows

First, here is Gallianos fingering of the C scale in thirds, notice it can continue consistently up two or more octaves and returns just as consistently without using the same finger from one set of thirds to the next. CE, DF, EG, FA, GB, AC, BD, CE - etc.
14, 23, 14, 25, 34., 15, 23,14 - etc. elegant, consistent fingering, but requires practice for fluidity (but doesn't everything).

So I tried C scale position in thirds over Four rows and got this far. ((in brackets) = 4th row) CE,DF,EG,F(A),GB,(AC), BD, (C)E, DF, EG then continue
14, 23, 14, 2(3), 14, (23), 14, (2)5,34, 15 then continue to the 23,14 pattern.

There are, I am sure, better ways to play thirds across 4 rows and I would be appreciative if others would post their ways of playing scales and especially thirds over 3 and 4 rows.
 
G

GregShelton

Guest
Hi Russ,

I can't talk with any authority about the fingering in the Ferraro book as I have only just commenced learning the button accordion and using this book.
The first lessons are restricted to the first 3 rows. I have begun at the very start, studying C (or DO) Major. It is fingered in 2 ways: CDE - 234, FGA - 234, BC - 34 or CDE - 134, FGA - 341, BC - 31.
Hope that explains something!
 

george garside

Prolific poster
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
1
just goes to confirm that there are various ways of doing it, none of which are any more ''correct' than the others!''


george
 
R

Russ

Guest
Thank you I like that first all finger pattern without the thumb.
 
G

GregShelton

Guest
I am already both confused and excited by the potential fingering patterns of the button accordion. I continue to play the piano so it will be great to compare and contrast the possibilities.
 
D

Deleted member 48

Guest
Books, tutors and videos are useful tools in addition to a personal live teacher or mentor.
If you really want to learn the CBA accordion (c-system or b-system), or want to follow a course to switch from piano accordion to CBA, a real accordion teacher is a must. A live accordion teacher can not be replaced by selfstudy or books. Personal support and enthusiasm by a teacher, in my experience, are priceless.

Suggestion:
try to find a real CBA teacher, he or she can help and adjust fingerings etc. where needed.
use a good tutor, and try to put all variations, scales, parallell intervals into tunes/melodies you like. Only scales and intervals Czerny etudes are dull. These are necessary, but can be incorporated into cheerfull tunes you like. (The German and especially Russian accordion tutors use this technique, variations on popular tunes)
Repeat on your own, but also try to find friend(s) to make accordion duos and trios, this can help. Play cheerfull tunes together with 2, 3 accordionists (playing the same system you play), or play with other instrumentalists.

Try to make a CBA school that offers special courses for CBA, like eg the CNIMA in France:
http://www.cnima.com/fr/photos-de-stages
The Cnima can offer courses at personal level. There is off course a price to pay, its a private music school. But they have international experience.

The UK and USA could create similar accordion institutes, for private or public tuition for CBA.
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
9
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
Easier said than done, Stephen - I've tried to find a CBA teacher, but couldn't find anyone on C-system near me. Other than fingering, however, accordion is accordion, and bellows technique, bass technique etc are the same on PA or CBA, so I'm still having regular lessons from Paul H.
 

george garside

Prolific poster
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
1
I agree with Anyanka and honestly can't see why people are getting their knickers in a twist about moving to an instrument that is easier to play than a piano box and on which it is not rocket science to work out viable fingering. Or are we in an age where health and safety dictates that one is not able to operate a whatever without full instruction and a chit to prove it!

george ;)
 
R

Russ

Guest
The benefit of PA over CBA is that fingerings are much more standard and there is a ton of literature out there devoted to it. There are so many ways to finger a piece that for a beginner with little or no experience it becomes very confusing. I can spend more time trying to figure out the best fingering than practicing it. then finding a better fingering the next day. Although I am a chromatic player and know all the arguments for CBA if I had a lot of time in on PA I would not switch
 

george garside

Prolific poster
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
1
Russ said:
if I had a lot of time in on PA I would not switch


I agree Russ, the key words being lot of time . I remember being given similer advice in the 60s by the demonstrator in a very large Scottish accordion dealership who advised me to stick to the system I knew well which was the British Chromatic. It was 20 or so years later that I went continental and whilst I get on fine with that system I still get more satisfaction and enjoyment from the British Chromatic.

However for anybody who is just dabbling with a piano box or who has not made a great deal of progress or for that matter for anybody taking up box playing from scratch ( unless very proficient on a piano keyboard) I suggest that serious consideration be given to starting on a continental.


george
 
D

Deleted member 48

Guest
I would like to hear and read the opinions of accordion teachers of public music schools and higher music conservatories in the UK, USA, continental Europe, Russia, and other countries and regions.

What one can observe and is public information to all, is the website of music conservatories and accordion teachers at conservatories worldwide.
There is a very large majority of official accordion teachers at conservatories that play CBA accordion. You can check the photos on the web, lots of times their accordion is in the photo/picture. By checking the black and white buttons, if not unicolour, you can see if c-system or b-system.

How many accordion teachers are here on this forum?
It could be helpful to hear the opnions of the teachers... After all, it's these official teachers that are in a position to influence students and starters.

There seems to be a big gap between the teachers and many older amateurs, what can be explained from historical facts (absence of official accordion education and teachers, the dealer-teacher system, lack of international communication in the past, etc).

In my opinion, piano accordion players need not to worry. When one would try to count all (amateurs, beginners, professional) accordion players all over the world, the number of PA players can reach up to 80%, 90%, maybe even higher than 95%. Because of the global character of the piano and piano players (pianoforte, electronic piano keyboards, ...).
The piano can attract some more pianists to the accordion, via the piano accordion, and this is helping the accordion industry a great deal, possible supply of new accordion amateurs/buyers. So piano accordions are very welcome to the accordion scene.

When you read the articles in "Modern Accordion Perspectives", edited by Claudio Jacomucci and the Pigini accordion company, note the photos of the authors, almost everyone of them with a CBA accordion. Many born after 1970, so still young teachers, the new generation.

I play c-system CBA for over 20 years. If I would have been a piano accordion player for more than 20 or 30 years, and be able to play every tune I like on my PA, why change to CBA? Just stick to the piano accordion and be happy.

CBA is more attractive to new starters, having no or little piano playing experience, and to young accordionists who want to go to music conservatory.
If you play the PA, and do want to change to CBA, I talked to people having done that. It took them about 6 months to 1 year to change to CBA, but individual flexibility and talent also come into play.

An accordion teacher, having passed the accordion curriculum at higher music conservatory, is a good guide for this transition process. It's important to correct invalid fingerings as soon as possible. Otherwise the student will learn bad habits, and these habits can be very hard to correct if waiting too long.
Did you know Russian master class CBA teachers still had to correct bad fingering habits of some of our accordion teachers (not only students, but also teachers!), when our teachers followed summer courses and masterclasses from the Russians. Because our first generation of accordion teachers on the continent, learned the accordion by selfstudy or with the 4 finger technique adopted by the French old musette players.

The 4 finger technique (without the thumb, thumb resting behind the keyboard) is a remain of the diatonic accordion, where the thumb is used for stability. Because old diatonic accordions had no shoulder straps or only 1 shoulder strap.
This 4 finger technique was transposed (without thorough evaluation or analysis) to the CBA accordion, even when these CBA accordions had 2 shoulder straps. This is explained in Russian texts about the history of accordion playing.
Every player at Conservatory level uses the 5 finger technique, including the thumb.
So starters need good accordion teachers with international experience, I mean who have studied at national and international music conservatories. The best practices have been compared by these teachers.

If you do only selfstudy , you lack the discipline to compare and to correct yourself. You need a teacher, or better some teachers.
It's too tempting to skip sturdy, dull or difficult music pieces, and only do cherry picking. A good teacher can save you from cherry picking :)
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,347
Reaction score
21
Location
Seattle, Washington
I have book-marked a few online videos of accordion playing I particularly admire, and I bet a quarter that every one of the players would stand to be corrected by your Russian grand master. In terms of their ambitions, perhaps its a shame they didn't have that opportunity, but I'm just short of 60 and would be most gratified to get anywhere close to what they're doing with their bad habits, before I'm too elderly to bear the weight of that thing.

I'm not saying it isn't worthwhile to get lessons, if the opportunity presents itself, or read books etc. It's just as a narrow and perhaps philosophical point - if you're disposed to work it out yourself, it's still going to be possible to play tunes on the thing and entertain your neighbors, so in those terms a teacher isn't strictly a "must."
 

Similar threads

Top