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Popularising the accordion!

Tom

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Meanwhile, on my facebook wall this morning, Mimmo is celebrating 100,000 followers, Bia Socek has over 370,000, many of their videos have over 1,000,000 views. Perhaps more people are actively watching and involved in accordion music than ever, even in the "glory years"? It's just the venue that has changed.

Maybe not every Tom, Dick and Harry are struggling to learn "Lady of Spain" between ages 6 and 12 but the instrument has powered on in a new way.

20201117_093139.jpg
 
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donn

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I play a number of different instruments, and the accordion is the only one on which you can't see what you're doing.

Same is not true here. I play mostly wind instruments - tuba, saxophone. Can't see my fingers at all. Even the rudimentary fipple flute that they use for elementary music in the public schools, mine was called "flutophone", I don't think you could clearly make out what your fingers are doing - nor would you need to really. On electric bass I can see my left hand or my right, but can't really see them both at the same time to any meaningful extent. I don't see this as a major issue.

On the tuba, I have to do something akin to whistling the tune while my fingers press the right valve combination - not literally whistling, but same idea. Then there's the trombone, where you must do about the same and also bring the slide to the exact right place. Or violin & family, also requiring exact placement. The pedal steel guitar, where you do that with multiple strings and also change the string pitch with your knees and feet - now there's a hard instrument, and you'll rarely see them look up from their instrument.

The accordion is an easy instrument to get started with.
 

pentaprism

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I'm sure the legendary Lawrence Welk played a big part in the popularity of the accordion in the 50s and 60s. I have a copy of this book, edited by Mr. Welk himself. The book, IMHO, is very good. Unfortunately, it's not very useful for me because it's for PA (I'm learning CBA) and the bass fingering is 3-2 (I'm following 4-3).


USSOM_PA_Course.jpg
 

pentaprism

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Also this series - 1950.

What is interesting about this series is that it consisted of 100 issues, each was priced at 35 cents and was about 6 to 8 pages.

OahuPACourse.jpg

OahuInside.jpg
 

Ventura

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accordion schools here in the USA ran huge numbers of students through
their doors, and many families lived paycheck to paycheck

12 bass accordions were rented for a nominal fee, and often "music"
for take home lessons was free (including clever printouts from adding machines)

3
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this OAHU course, broken down into small, more affordable sizes was likely
designed with this in mind

in my area, the SELDON course was the most popular, featured at Volkweins which was
THE downtown Music store in Pittsburgh where the independant private teacher shopped,
and of course the Palmer-Hughes course was huge being featured by the Deffner publishing house...
we also had Alfreds and Belwin.

the idea of barely making money on the students and families was offset
by the rather huge profits made from eventually getting them to buy a glitzy Student
Accordion and then getting them quickly to trade up through more expensive models

but you had to get them "hooked" first

the organized competitions were largely designed to boost that need for families
to commit and improve their childs chances with a better quality instrument... they
were huge events for the times and required some travel, often held in Summer
in the rented pavilions at Amusement Parks and the like

in my case, i went directly from a 12 bass rental that i swung around like a lunch pail
(so my teacher remarked) up the 4 flights of stairs to the Dempster Studio on top of
the old Movie Theater buildng in McKees Rocks, directly to a 140 Bass HubCap grill
Scandalli which my Uncle loaned to us for a year... i still miss that accordion

at the time there were a million private label accordions because you could find
accordion schools on every other corner it seemed and they all had to have
an EXCLUSIVE brand name accordion to hawk and sell, and if a school could not
afford to buy a container (and thus get their own name hung on the box) then
the manufacturers/factories often had numerous sub brands under their control
so they could sell to more than one school in a market area

and then came the Beatles

ciao

Ventura
 

Pipemajor

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Same is not true here. I play mostly wind instruments - tuba, saxophone. Can't see my fingers at all. Even the rudimentary fipple flute that they use for elementary music in the public schools, mine was called "flutophone", I don't think you could clearly make out what your fingers are doing - nor would you need to really. On electric bass I can see my left hand or my right, but can't really see them both at the same time to any meaningful extent. I don't see this as a major issue.

On the tuba, I have to do something akin to whistling the tune while my fingers press the right valve combination - not literally whistling, but same idea. Then there's the trombone, where you must do about the same and also bring the slide to the exact right place. Or violin & family, also requiring exact placement. The pedal steel guitar, where you do that with multiple strings and also change the string pitch with your knees and feet - now there's a hard instrument, and you'll rarely see them look up from their instrument.

The accordion is an easy instrument to get started with.
But on any wind instrument (Wood or Brass), your hands don't move. The fingers just cover or uncover holes or keys, so there is no point in looking at your hands. Some even have hooks on the back to slide the thumb in to hold it steady.
Keyboards on the other hand !!!
 

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