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Running out of notes on a PA

wirralaccordion

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What do you do when you run out of notes? A typical example would be the Swing-Valse by Gus Viseur which goes down to the E below the bottom note ( F ) of a 41 treble key piano accordion and way up beyond the top A!
 

debra

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What do you do when you run out of notes? A typical example would be the Swing-Valse by Gus Viseur which goes down to the E below the bottom note ( F ) of a 41 treble key piano accordion and way up beyond the top A!
Start learning to play the bayan maybe? Actually, a "smallish" button accordion like the Bugari 540/ARS/C we have (stands just 40cm tall in the playing position) already has 52 notes (low C# to very high E)...
 

Gonk

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Barring learning a new instrument as Paul said (or buying a 28lb 140 bass with a huge keyboard), you're left with creative use of octave transposition, quick use of register switches, and adding in notes from the basses for the low end.
 

debra

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Barring learning a new instrument as Paul said (or buying a 28lb 140 bass with a huge keyboard), you're left with creative use of octave transposition, quick use of register switches, and adding in notes from the basses for the low end.
Actually, although not "mainstream" you can buy not so heavy piano accordions with either 45 or 47 keys and "just" 120 bass buttons in Stradella only. Typically 45 notes is from low E to high C and 47 is from low E flat to high C sharp. There is one piano accordion with 49 keys, from low D to high D, but that one only exists with convertor and is thus more expensive and heavier.
Don't just look at the (on-line) catalog of manufacturers. They really do make more models (on demand) than they list in the catalog.
 

JeffJetton

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For that bit that goes down to E, you could modify the melody to put that E (and the F leading into it, otherwise it's a bit wonky) one octave higher. That actually sounds pretty good, IMHO.

Or do what singers do when the melody has notes they can't hit... play it in a different key. A whole step up to G major would do the trick, for example.
 

debra

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But then you'd run out of notes at the top end!
The range of the keyboard is chosen with a certain type of music in mind. Jazz accordion players on PA sometimes have an accordion that goes from low G to high C, to not have an overly large keyboard (42 keys, not 45 or 47) and this allows them to go high enough on the L register which is used a lot in jazz.
In the case of Gus Viseur (of Belgian origin, lived in France most of his life) he learned to play the button accordion and as a result he composed music for his (type of) accordion. The "standard" range on button accordions is 46 notes (low E to high C#) but the French style button accordions (with very slight tremolo, only about 5 cents or so) often have 49 notes (low E to high E) or 52 notes (either low C# to high E or low E to high G). When you try to play music written for a different instrument than yours it is not surprising that the range of notes used does not match what you have on the PA. I arrange a lot of music written for other instruments, often orchestral music, and parts written for piano, viola, cello... are always trouble. A viola goes lower than the M register can do, but luckily the L register helps. The cello is a real problem as it goes too low for the L register on a PA and often goes too high for a bass accordion. The piano of course is potentially a complete disaster as it goes from A0 (the lowest accordion reeds that exist and are used in a bass accordion are C1) and goes up to C8 (accordion reeds, made for the H register, go up to C8#). Luckily notes below C1 are rarely, if ever, used, and with the register changes we can go all the way up, but not on a standard 41 key PA. My arrangements include hints on what to do when you have what I call a "small accordion", meaning "only 45 notes, or even less...
 

JeffJetton

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But then you'd run out of notes at the top end!

Judicious use of octave transposition will work there too.

I have to do from time to time with some of my students when we get into Palmer-Hughes Book 5. That's when the music starts to require a full 41-note piano accordion range. If they have a 72-bass (usually with just 34 notes in the RH), we get to be a little creative. :)
 

rob3rto

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For that bit that goes down to E, you could modify the melody to put that E (and the F leading into it, otherwise it's a bit wonky) one octave higher. That actually sounds pretty good, IMHO.

That's what I do (both the F and the E). That's a common resolution in jazz phrasing and agree that it sounds nice and tasteful.
 

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