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FREE BASS

Tom

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I'm with you all the way, Walker, it's the musician, not the instrument that makes the music. Some people are impressed by really difficult technical musicianship, and some people feel really good when they achieve it. Nothing wrong with that. And there are aspects of instrument construction that make the tecnical easier/possible.
 

JerryPH

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...but he's wearing a wrist glove on his left hand, - y'no, one of those "...things for cissies." :rolleyes:
;)
LOL... I wish I had one when I was younger, my left hand wrist and forearm had no hair on it for YEARS, looked like I shaved that area every day, in fact it was rubbed off from the accordion strap. My mother made a couple for me now, and though I don't wear them often, I really appreciate how they make big jumps and slides from top of the Free Bass down several octaves back and forth so much easier and effortless.
 

bluesette

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The majority of chinese accordionist do play the PA.
Among the few chinese CBA free bass player , the majority of them do play russian B system,
but

Tian Jian is a chinese CBA free bass C system virtuosa and she is 28 years old :


 
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JerryPH

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I'm with you all the way, Walker, it's the musician, not the instrument that makes the music. Some people are impressed by really difficult technical musicianship, and some people feel really good when they achieve it. Nothing wrong with that. And there are aspects of instrument construction that make the tecnical easier/possible.
Seriously, you hit on a bit of a point with me.

When I was younger and played a very hard technical piece, I felt this feeling, like a high. One even that I really recall, had this one exercise that I had finally mastered (its the tremolo exercise in the Wizard accordionist exercise book... the day that my teacher made me take those 4 pages and play them 20 times in a row non-stop and pushed me until I experienced lactose build-up pain in the fingers and forearm of the right hand so intense that I could not wiggle a finger for a couple minutes afterward), THAT gave me such a buzz that to today I can't forget that feeling, it was like the marathoner's catching their 2nd wind, then 3rd wind and totally burning out. I*never* was one that cared about what others thought (except teachers and parents... lol), for it was always mostly about how it made me feel in those conservatory days.

I think that maybe this is what I am kind of looking for again, that "buzz" from attaining a tough goal, it always signalled a kind of plateau for me... maybe 2022 will surprise me. :)

The clip with Grayson just shows why he won so many world championships, the man is absolutely incredible.
 
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bluesette

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Tell me what you think of the free bass technique of Grayson Masefield in this clip...
Grayson Masefield is for shure a virtuoso on PA (RH) with free bass quint system (LH).

Other well known free bass quint system maestro's are:

Richard Galliano (CBA C system)

Dr, William Schimmel (PA)
He is the accordionist playing tango music in the movie "Scent of a woman"
 
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Walker

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Bluesette, you know your accordions! Please tell me - who are your favourite accordionists (with free bass)?
 
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bluesette

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Hi Walker, well, too many to mention all, but :

With quint converter :
Richard Galliano (CBA C sys), Grayson Masefield (PA). Frank Marocco (PA) (I'm not so shure if Frank did play the quint converter but I suppose so because the quint conv. was/is still the most popular free bass system in the US.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Marocco

With chromatic converter :
Tian Jianan (CBA C sys), Peter Soave (CBA C sys), Vincent Peirani (CBA C sys) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Peirani

Richard Galliano, Tian Jianan and Peter Soave : all 3 started learning accordion on PA and eventually moved to CBA.

With standard bass :
Johnny Meijer (CBA B sys) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Meijer
Nini Flores (CBA C sys) https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nini_Flores

IMO:
There are 2 keyboard families : Melodic and Harmonic
- Melodic : PA, CBA, Reuther are melodic keyboard (chromatic scale moves up & down smoothly and scale notes are close together),
- Harmonic : Stradella std. bass, and free bass quint converter are harmonic keyboard (harmonic notes like (maj.) third, fourth and quint are always close to any tonic note). The quint converter is an extended Stradella std. bass on 3 (or 4) octaves.

The advantages (+) of the (melodic) chromatic converter (B or C sys) becomes more or less the disadvantges (-) of the (harmonic) quint converter and inversely.

Chromatic converter (melodic) :
+ Tessitura up to 5 octaves
+ Same fingering as CBA right hand keyboard (if mirror layout)
+ Easy to finger (chromatic) scales, chords and arpegios (if CBA mirror layout & previous experience on CBA std. bass)
+ Easy to finger major, minor, 7th and especially diminished chords (if CBA mirror layout & previous experience on CBA std. bass)
- Can not play std. bass chords while converter is activated
- Heavier (because more complicated) left hand box part resulting in more difficult bellows control
- More difficult to finger open chords (notes spread on several octaves apart) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_and_open_harmony

Quint converter (harmonic) :
+ Easy to play std. bass and maj. chords while quint switch is activated (if previous std. bass practice)
+ Lighter (because easyer built) left hand box part resulting in better bellows control
+ Easy to master maj. scales, maj. chords and maj. arpegios (if previous std. bass practice)
+ Easyer to finger maj. open chords (notes spread on up to 3 octaves apart) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_and_open_harmony
- Tessitura limited to 3 (4) octaves
. Octave jump is not linear for all keys (different fingering) along the 3 (4) octave (imposed by standard bass requirement)
- Fingering is different from right hand keyboard (PA or CBA) (if no previous std. bass practice)
- More difficult to finger (chromatic) scales
- More difficult to finger minor chords and much more difficult to finger diminished chords
 
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Chrisrayner

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Then there’s the Harmoneon.
Harmoneon_cavagnolo.jpg
 

bluesette

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Hi Chris,

Yes the harmoneon is a free bass system invented by Pierre Monichon https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonéon
These C system free bass accordions without converter (both keyboards are melodic) were mainly produced during the 50'-60' by "Fratelli Crosio" and "Cavagnolo" in Italy and France.

Advantage : left hand buttons size and spacing are identical to those for the right hand.
Disadvantage : left hand lowest notes starts at bottom and ends up on top (similar to russian bayan B system left hand).
The fingering is then not the same (like for the piano) as for the right hand and the bellows control is harder.

This free bass system aimed to get popularity in France during the 50'-60' but was rapidly outmoded by the C system (parallel / mirror) converter.

One of the best known harmoneon virtuoso is Alain Abott https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Abbott
 
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bluesette

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Hi Saundersbp
Regarding good free bass videos - I think this student is excellent
I do fully agree with you.
For me, musicality is more important than velocity (optimum would be musicality and velocity).
I think he's playing CBA B system with (russian) left hand system (low notes starts at bottom).
 

Walker

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I have enjoyed reading all of the posts in this free bass thread. In many ways I think there is strength in the diversity of the free bass accordion. If I may, I would like to engage in a little speculation about the future development of the free bass instrument. It's only a bit of fun, and at the end of the day it's all a guess, nothing serious. I would be keen to hear all views.

Here goes... I think that the piano accordion will remain very steady over the coming years, particularly in three variations. Firstly, with quint converter free bass system, I believe piano accordion will continue to be valued in North America, Italy, and New Zealand, both at an academic level, but also elsewhere in Europe, for the creative artist who is less concerned with serious music. The serious musician will want 47 keys and 160 bass etc, but not the creative artist, who I suspect will be satisfied with 120 bass and 3 octaves, perhaps extendable to 4. The key characteristic here is the free bass lightness (light - like it's not there), good handling and greatly increased music potential of the extra octaves in stradella form - truly minimal learning required here.

I believe Mr Hinterseher uses both 41 key and 47 key quint converter accordions with 120 bass.

I believe in Western Europe the piano accordion with C system converter will still be a valid option. However, I suspect that much of the strength will be towards C system button accordion or B system button accordion with Russian bass. They are very ergonomic. I would not be surprised if there is still a tendency to only have the very best piano accordionists remain on this system, at academic level. I think the C system (treble and bass) may dominate though.

In Russia the B system button accordion with Russian bass will still rule. However, I actually believe the piano accordion with Russian bass will get stronger all the time. I think there might be greater respect for the piano accordion with converter bass in Russia than there often is in the west. I see the piano accordion regularly featuring in the finals of world championships nowadays, and particularly with Russian converter free bass. I cannot see the C system making big inroads here – just a hunch.

I would perhaps leave speculation on MIII, Kravtsov and the more unusual variations on the chromatic converter bass (stepped etc) to others. They certainly have their strengths. Regardless of system, I think it partly depends on what accordion teachers and institutions want their students to play. It is also about manufacturers continuing to offer new instruments with various systems. I sense some accordion manufacturers would reduce the options available, if possible. Take quint converter for example, this system is advertised on quite a few accordion manufacturers/brands websites. Brands like Titano, Petosa, Victoria, Zero Sette, Beltuna and Giustozzi all mention quint converter, but other names like Pigini and Scandalli do not - though they can easily make this bass system on request. In fact, I would rather like a Scandalli BJP442 with quint converter - but new free bass accordions are very expensive, even moderate ones. My own Pigini is a quint converter, and I am pleased to own something that is fairly rare outside of Italy.

Finally, what would be my second choice?

Well, if I could not have piano accordion with quint, I would choose C system treble and quint free bass. I would go for a Galliano style Victoria Wc420v or something similar. I would be happy with a standard 47 notes and 87 buttons. No giant 64 note button accordions for me, as serious classical music is not my genre. The wildcard option - Kravtsov keyboard but again with quint bass. However, I do not believe this to be a serious idea. The Italian manufacturers, it seems, have not taken to Kravtsov system, with the exception of Victoria, and I think that was quite a while ago now...

The bottom line for me – choose what you enjoy most and play good music.


But what do you think?​
 
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Tom

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I have enjoyed reading all of the posts in this free bass thread. In many ways I think there is strength in the diversity of the free bass accordion. If I may, I would like to engage in a little speculation about the future development of the free bass instrument. It's only a bit of fun, and at the end of the day it's all a guess, nothing serious. I would be keen to hear all views.

Here goes... I think that the piano accordion will remain very steady over the coming years, particularly in three variations. Firstly, with quint converter free bass system, I believe piano accordion will continue to be valued in North America, Italy, and New Zealand, both at an academic level, but also elsewhere in Europe, for the creative artist who is less concerned with serious music. The serious musician will want 47 keys and 160 bass etc, but not the creative artist, who I suspect will be satisfied with 120 bass and 3 octaves, perhaps extendable to 4. The key characteristic here is the free bass lightness (light - like it's not there), good handling and greatly increased music potential of the extra octaves in stradella form - truly minimal learning required here.

I believe Mr Hinterseher uses both 41 key and 47 key quint converter accordions with 120 bass.

I believe in Western Europe the piano accordion with C system converter will still be a valid option. However, I suspect that much of the strength will be towards C system button accordion or B system button accordion with Russian bass. They are very ergonomic. I would not be surprised if there is still a tendancy to only have the very best piano accordionists remain on this system, at academic level. I think the C system (treble and bass) may dominate though.

In Russia the B system button accordion with Russian bass will still rule. However, I actually believe the piano accordion with Russian bass will get stronger all the time. I think there might be greater respect for the piano accordion with converter bass in Russia than there often is in the west. I see the piano accordion regularly featuring in the finals of world championships nowadays, and particularly with Russian converter free bass. I cannot see the C system making big inroads here – just a hunch.

I would perhaps leave speculation on MIII, Kravtsov and the more unusual variations on the chromatic converter bass (stepped etc) to others. They certainly have their strengths. Regardless of system, I think it partly depends on what accordion teachers and institutions want their students to play. It is also about manufacturers continuing to offer new instruments with various systems. I sense some accordion manufacturers would reduce the options available, if possible. Take quint converter for example, this system is advertised on quite a few accordion manufacturers/brands websites. Brands like Titano, Petosa, Victoria, Zero Sette, Beltuna and Giustozzi all mention quint converter, but other names like Pigini and​
Way above my pay grade. Seems like the natural evolution is to CBA with free bass. Isn't that how it all started anyway, kind of like back to the future?
 

Walker

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Hi Tom, that's a simple theory and a bold prediction, wow! :)

I think piano key is too international to leave the stage, it's too visibly connected to the keyboard family of musical instruments. Miss Sidorova and Mr Levickis prove this. You can have 100 great button accordionists, but the great accordionists with the recognisable keys - they reach the mainstream world of classical music...

However... I am going to also suggest one last thing - the piano accordion is not a threat to the button accordion, because it is too different! However, the Bayan (B system) and C system button acccordion, maybe they are competitors.
 
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lordzedd

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While we are discussing amazing bass playing, let me bring up Antonio Figueroa:
I've just watched this video and I have to share it.
He is Antonio Figueroa from Argentina. Absolutely amazing!

Pretty amazing what he does with Stradella layout.

Way above my pay grade. Seems like the natural evolution is to CBA with free bass. Isn't that how it all started anyway, kind of like back to the future?
I think I saw a discussion on GoldAccordion where a Russian player in the mid 20th century had predicted that all professional players would move to strictly free bass within X number of years. I have no prediction myself, though I would like to get a converter instrument to learn on in the next few years.
 

Walker

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Antonio Figueroa is an excellent musician, and is clearly having great fun with the stradella bass.

I would like to get a converter instrument to learn on in the next few years.
Great idea!

If you prefer button accordion, here are two inspirational musicians - in fact, forget the first bit, it doesn't matter which system you prefer - here are two accordionists who can inspire anyone to take up free bass, regardless of the treble or bass keyboard:



Maybe there is something in what Tom said... The accordion's future is entwined in its past - but at the start, well, the accordion was a descendant of the sheng. Maybe the great Chinese accordionists will play a significant role in the future of the accordion...
 
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JerryPH

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While we are discussing amazing bass playing, let me bring up Antonio Figueroa:
You know... one of the magician's greatest mantras (besides never tell them how its done), is not to repeat the same trick all the time. I really like Figueroa, but he's a bit of a "one trick pony" in that every video he puts out is near the same beat, near the same style and he does the same "big trick", meaning he plays on the Stradella with his right hand, over and over.

Nice to see, GREAT to hear, but I think I would start to look for the nearest exit about 45 minutes after hearing him play for an evening. I'd love to see him play *1* song start to finish that isn't a speeding Forro and keep his right hand ON his right keyboard. :)
 

Walker

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We live in an age where it is so easy to find sources of information. I frequently view the Pigini Talks on Youtube. I think these short videos give unique insights into the thoughts of great musicians, teachers, composers etc.

I have owned many different makes of accordions and have no particular attachment to any brand. However, objectively speaking, I think Pigini are, by a considerable distance, the most forward thinking of all makers in the free bass and classical/contemporary sphere. This is why they are numero uno! Now I love Hohner, Bugari and Scandalli, but I honestly think Pigini wears the crown - not because they make the best accordion, but because they are good at listening and understanding their customers, especially at academic level.

Now, we live in a world where everyone is a critic, and he who shouts loudest will be listened to. However, Pigini understand the bank of knowedge of its performers. These people may not shout the loudest, but I believe they have much to give.

Here, Marko Hatlak shares some of his views on music and the accordion. I think he is very interesting and worth listening to.

 
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