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Resources for Free Bass Accordion (Quint & Chromatic Systems)

Thank you Jerry for showing us The Complete Technique Book for the Piano Accordion, no doubt it will be an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the foundations of MIII technique. Good share!

By the way, I received another book through the post last week. It's a selection of 12 "easy pieces" by Beethoven, adapted for accordion by Ivano Battiston. Again, as it's an Italian publication, the book is dual system: written with piano accordion and button accordion (C system) in mind and with fingering for both system. Also the free bass system of 5ths (Quint) and system of minor thirds (chromatic - C griff) are fingered. 20230911_184144.jpg
I have some more special music on its way, that I hope to share it in due course. There is a world of wonderful music out there prepared especially for us by some truly gifted and dedicated musicians.
 
Looks interesting!!!

Thank you Jerry for showing us The Complete Technique Book for the Piano Accordion, no doubt it will be an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the foundations of MIII technique. Good share!
It's one of those books that when Saunders sees, his left and right pointing fingers form a cross... lol
By the way, I received another book through the post last week. It's a selection of 12 "easy pieces" by Beethoven, adapted for accordion by Ivano Battiston. Again, as it's an Italian publication, the book is dual system: written with piano accordion and button accordion (C system) in mind and with fingering for both system. Also the free bass system of 5ths (Quint) and system of minor thirds (chromatic - C griff) are fingered.
I have some more special music on its way, that I hope to share it in due course. There is a world of wonderful music out there prepared especially for us by some truly gifted and dedicated musicians.
When they arrive, let me know what you think. :)
 
Thank you Jerry for showing us The Complete Technique Book for the Piano Accordion, no doubt it will be an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the foundations of MIII technique. Good share!
I will order a copy immediately to placed alongside Oolon Colluphid's "trilogy of philosophical blockbusters" :)

(only English readers of a certain age will understand the reference!)
 
Other nice 2 part stuff is all over the place -less well-known is the minuet 1 from Partita no.1 in Bb. Personally I'd avoid the 2 part inventions as they are played to death and so associated with the piano and harpischord so its nice for the accordion to claim some of the less well known but equally great Bach.

Indeed, there are wonderful pieces out there for the accordionist and they don't need to be difficult to play - though Bach is rarely very easy to play. :)

Every so often though, just when I'm not expecting it, I stumble across something quite delightful! So there I was, on YouTube, minding my own business, listening to a recent CD of rather sophisticated baroque music performed by my no1 American accordionist William Popp, when this little music video further down the list caught my eye...

It is a miniature piece called Musica piccola I. Prelude by William Popp

This little gem would be super for any free bass accordionist (especially beginners) to perform. I love it!




P.S. Actually, I'm just going to include all of Popp's miniatures here. He is the most savant accordion composer I have discovered in quite some time. Extraordinary!



 
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Indeed, there are wonderful pieces out there for the accordionist and they don't need to be difficult to play - though Bach is rarely very easy to play. :)

Every so often though, just when I'm not expecting it, I stumble across something quite delightful! So there I was, on YouTube, minding my own business, listening to a recent CD of rather sophisticated baroque music performed by my no1 American accordionist William Popp, when this little music video further down the list caught my eye...

It is a miniature piece called Musica piccola I. Prelude by William Popp

This little gem would be super for any free bass accordionist (especially beginners) to perform. I love it!




P.S. Actually, I'm just going to include all of Popp's miniatures here. He is the most savant accordion composer I have discovered in quite some time. Extraordinary!



Wow, those are really nice, thanks!
 
Every so often though, just when I'm not expecting it, I stumble across something quite delightful!
I agree - those miniatures are super, clean, american, naive - and all those words I mean as compliments.

I also explored his baroque playlist and unusually for me I knew all the pieces! He plays like someone who has also studied organ or harpsichord properly and very cleanly with a lovely accordion sound. If only you could buy a new accordion that sounded like that! He also has a nice kind face. I'm a Popp fan too now. Enough said!
 
Sometimes, when we least expect it, we discover a musician or composer that really inspires us. The dedication and belief they have in their instrument makes us want to work harder and go further. I recently has this experience upon discovering the work of William Popp of Colorado. He is a man dedicated to playing and composing for the accordion. A lot of the music (below) is stylistically and technically advanced. However, the suite Musica Piccola is very approachable. Most of this music is written for free bass accordion and it varies greatly from the tonal, modal and atonal. Also, as the music does not have specific fingering added, it would be necessary for the performer to work out the best fingering for their particular accordion system. However, I am sure it is playable on all free bass accordion designs.

I have communicated with William Popp and sent him some of my music and he very kindly sent me the fantastic collection of works here. This quietly thoughtful man also took a great deal of time and effort to analyse my pieces and write a commentary on them. After the brief communication I had with William Popp, I have now decided, under my own steam, to undertake a short course at Cardiff University (online) in Music Composition. The course information advises it is for students "writing in a contemporary Western art music classical style in an acoustic instrumental and/or vocal idiom". The course started last week and I think it will be ideal for free bass accordion. My interest is to write music in a style that is inspired by the traditions, music and folklore of Scotland, but with a new approach.

I don't know where this journey will ultimately lead, and I guess that doesn't really matter, but I certainly have already discovered a wealth of musical resources from Italy, America, Slovenia (shown in the previous postings). I also would thank my friends in England and Canada (Ben and Jerry) who have also provided me with terrific musical resources for the accordion too. Much appreciated.


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Sometimes, when we least expect it, we discover a musician or composer that really inspires us. The dedication and belief they have in their instrument makes us want to work harder and go further. I recently has this experience upon discovering the work of William Popp of Colorado. He is a man dedicated to playing and composing for the accordion. A lot of the music (below) is stylistically and technically advanced. However, the suite Musica Piccola is very approachable. Most of this music is written for free bass accordion and it varies greatly from the tonal, modal and atonal. Also, as the music does not have specific fingering added, it would be necessary for the performer to work out the best fingering for their particular accordion system. However, I am sure it is playable on all free bass accordion designs.

I have communicated with William Popp and sent him some of my music and he very kindly sent me the fantastic collection of works here. This quietly thoughtful man also took a great deal of time and effort to analyse my pieces and write a commentary on them. After the brief communication I had with William Popp, I have now decided, under my own steam, to undertake a short course at Cardiff University (online) in Music Composition. The course information advises it is for students "writing in a contemporary Western art music classical style in an acoustic instrumental and/or vocal idiom". The course started last week and I think it will be ideal for free bass accordion. My interest is to write music in a style that is inspired by the traditions, music and folklore of Scotland, but with a new approach.

I don't know where this journey will ultimately lead, and I guess that doesn't really matter, but I certainly have already discovered a wealth of musical resources from Italy, America, Slovenia (shown in the previous postings). I also would thank my friends in England and Canada (Ben and Jerry) who have also provided me with terrific musical resources for the accordion too. Much appreciated.


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Thanks for this info Stewart, you and William are an inspiration. I hope the course serves you well.

As far as Ben and Jerry, my favorite is the perennial classic “Cherry Garcia.”
 
Well, I would be prepared to spend a little time, effort and money so that the music resource I choose is focused on my particular instrument as it saves me having to work out the fingering and I can just spend time practicing instead. I think there is some value in a book with specialised fingering by people who play what I play, and so know the technique well, and I can hopefully learn from.

Speaking of resources for free bass accordion, today was a red-letter day for me because I received a very special little parcel all the way from Alexandria, Virginia in the good ol' United States of America.

Three books arrived in perfect condition and very promptly from Ernest Deffner Inc. I will definitely buy from them again!

The books are:

Palmer - Hughes Instruction Book for Converter Accordion
Palmer - Hughes Selections for Free Bass Accordion Book 1
Palmer - Hughes Selections for Free Bass Accordion Book 2

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I would like to highlight these books as a brilliant resource for learners of accordion with Quint free bass system. As I write these words I realise that probably many accordion players in America already knew about these books long before I was born and are sighing in relief that the penny has finally dropped for me. Still, I would like to write a few sentences about them because they are quite excellent study books.


The Instruction Book for Converter Accordion is a must have for anyone who wants to start on Quint free bass (also known as Palmer - Hughes free bass) because it gives lots of information, practice drills as well as tunes by people like Pergolesi, F. Schubert, J. Haydn and more, to learn from. This book, along with the Italian introductory book at the top of the thread would be excellent to get anyone started.

We then have a series of two little books of music to enjoy learning that are simple to start with and are in a slowly progressive order (simple to slightly more advanced). The selections in the books are frankly a triumph and I adore these books. Some of the tunes near the end of book 2, though not hugely difficult, did make me slightly nervous...

Selections for Free Bass Accordion Book 1 contains:

Donkey Dance by Palmer-Hughes
The Buffoon by Kabalevsky
Rigaudon by Handel
Minuet in G by Beethoven
Sonatina by Clementi
Prelude by J.S. Bach.

Selections for Free Bass Accordion Book 2 contains:

Elegie by Massenet
Prelude, Op. 28, No. 2 by Chopin
Minuetto Giocoso by Haydn
Passepied (Le Roi s'amuse) by Delibes
Ich Liebe Dich by Grieg
Rosamunde (Ballet Music) by Schubert

I generally have a preference for Renaissance and Baroque music on the free bass accordion, but I guess the occasional foray into the Romantic and Classical will also prove a useful learning experience.

I was really impressed listening to the piano performances of some of the pieces named here and actually many of the accordion transcriptions are remarkably close to the piano versions. I was struck by the sophistication and style of the music produced by Palmer - Hughes. I guess it's a welcome to the world of grown up music for me... still, I might just start with Donkey Dance, you know, just to get me started.​

Here's Elegie by Massenet on piano:


Prelude, Op. 28, No 2 by Chopin:

Thank you for this! I just ordered those 3 books from Ernest Deffne. They have a huge catalogue of music for accordion. Several other CBA instructional books.
 
Thank you for this! I just ordered those 3 books from Ernest Deffne. They have a huge catalogue of music for accordion. Several other CBA instructional books.
They are very good music books. Unlike a good story, they're not page turners. I've spent ages working on just a tune or two because I never get tired of them - I'm forever playing Massenet's Elegie and Handel's Riguadon and now I'm really torn what to choose next... diving into Delibes' Passepied or Chopin's Prelude Op.28 No. 6.
 
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Haha, I think we might have a slightly different definition of "A little bit challenging" :ROFLMAO:
I would have placed BWV 934 into "Advanced/Concert repertoire" category.
I wouldn't be practising it right now if it were "advanced repertoire". It's "just" notes running at constant speed, with a few reversals where you get long notes in the right with the running notes in the left, and about 4 isolated passages of about 4 note length where the notes are running in both hands. Except for the finishing bars of first and second half, you never play more than one note per hand.

Apart from very few embellishments, you never go faster than eighths. For "concert repertoire" it is kind of ungrateful because of the vast difference in required skill between "accessible to the player" and "enjoyable/impressive to the listener". There are brilliant pieces where just getting all the notes right makes for a stunning performance. This isn't one.
 
Lovely choice @dak, BWV934 is delightful - there is simplicity in this piece, though it's not simple.
 
Indeed @tcabot little Prelude in C minor (BWV934) is not for the complete beginner. The music in the third book mentioned above, Antologia I, is of increasing difficulty, and this piece is surely a little bit of a challenge. However, a beginner learning Quint converter should ideally be working on the first book, Introduzione Allo Studio Dei Bassi Sciolti, by Eliana Zajec, in addition to learning the standard bass accordion, which is really just a single octave of the same system (on the left hand). I hope to share some information about Raccolta di Studi per Fisarmonica a Bassi Sciolti (Sistema per Quinte e Cromatico) shortly, which is also by Eliana Zajec. This book is written with both Quint and Chromatic systems (C griff) in mind. This writing convention is reasonably frequent in Italy.

A little note about the piece in the video (BWV934), because I like it so much. :) This is a lovely work to discover because, like much of Bach's music, it has the effect of developing the hands in the right way. Now, so often we hear people saying - I like playing in G, D, A major etc on the piano accordion, but often they also don't enjoy playing in Bb, Eb or Ab major, this is because they have not become comfortable with the fingering and hand positions associated with these keys. To borrow a friend's phrase (thanks Ben), a piano keyboard is 'an irregular chromatic keyboard', as opposed to the regular keyboard on a chromatic button accordion, like a B or C system.

Bach in BWV934 writes this (fairly uncomplicated) piece in C minor (3 flats: Bb, Eb, Ab) however, when you play the piece through, you realise that he weaves into the melody all of the chromatic notes (all white keys and all the black keys). He is really teaching the 'irregular keyboard player' (piano accordion included) how to become truly comfortable on their tricky keyboard. What can I say, he was brilliant!

So, no, that piece isn't as easy as the pianist makes it sound. But it is really worth learning (when the time is right) - regardless of whether you play a delightfully helpful keyboard like the CBA (that nevertheless requires great accuracy to play well) or an uncompromising (but very tactile) keyboard, like on a PA.​
Hi Walker, I took your suggestion and am working through the Introduzione Allo Studio Dei Bassi Sciolti. It's helping a lot. Thank you for that. I am wondering what you thought of Raccolta Di Studi Per Fisarmonica a Bassi Sciolti? What level of study/playing is it? Do you think it worthwhile for a quint system learner?
 
Hi Walker, I took your suggestion and am working through the Introduzione Allo Studio Dei Bassi Sciolti. It's helping a lot. Thank you for that. I am wondering what you thought of Raccolta Di Studi Per Fisarmonica a Bassi Sciolti? What level of study/playing is it? Do you think it worthwhile for a quint system learner?


Hi harmonikadave,

I bought the book Raccolta Di Studi Per Fisarmonica a Bassi Sciolti fairly recently. It comprises a collection of 24 short study pieces written both for piano accordion with Quint free bass and button accordion with chromatic free bass, by Eliana Zajec. It is a short but beautifully written book that's really worth having. Get it and once you've got over the shock of seeing so many notes in one place you can always start the first few pieces - but only when you feel ready.

The thing is, this work feels like a gateway to the otherworld of free bass accordion. The early studies are luring and fairly accessible but the deeper you get into this book the more you forget about the merry old land of stradella, strange things start to happen in this realm and you discover altogether new ways of playing notes in places of the bass board you barely knew existed.

This book and many of the others above are special and they make the familiar accordion feel new and vibrant again. These books can lead to a lifetime journey of discovery. Get them when you can and enjoy them for years to come.​


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I bought the book Raccolta Di Studi Per Fisarmonica a Bassi Sciolti fairly recently.​
Where did you purchase it from, Stewart? The one place that I found had it, was selling it for $38+tax+shipping which to Canada would come out to a little over $100cdn!
 
Where did you purchase it from, Stewart? The one place that I found had it, was selling it for $38+tax+shipping which to Canada would come out to a little over $100cdn!

Hi Jerry, I bought a copy from sheetmusicplus.com. It was $15.99 (plus $5.99 shipping/handling), total $21.98. It took several weeks to arrive but I had lots of other material to work on too.

I'm currently in the process of ordering some individual pieces by Ciconia (Late Medieval), Dowland (Renaissance), Franck (Romantic). Seems I'm always behind the times... :unsure:
 
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Out of interest, I was reading a little about Eliana Zajec (1935 to 2018). She was a very impressive person and a pioneer of the classical accordion in Italy. Amongst many other things she was a renowned accordion teacher that fought for the admission of the accordion into conservatories in Italy. Also, it seems the work bearing her name is highly regarded in Italy.

I didn't know this, but one of her students was Prof. Corrado Rojac, a world class accordionist and teacher who is one of the few accordionists I know of who plays both the piano accordion (160 bass Quint system) AND button accordion with chromatic converter.

Piano key with Quint converter

Button accordion with chromatic converter:

Incredible talent (and great training no doubt).
 
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