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Starting anew.

Alan Sharkis

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East Meadow, New York, USA
I’m 83. I’ve been playing PA on and off since I was seven or eight. Some years ago, I found a teacher who was incredible, and I can say that because I spent over thirty-three years teaching kids of all ages in all subjects. My accordion teacher and I parted ways, however, about nine months ago. The reason for the split had nothing to do with music. Since then, I played sporadically, and with little enthusiasm. I needed something that was new to me.

I have an acoustic accordion and an AxE-Cordion, both strictly Stradella bass. But I also have a Roland FR-4x, which is capable of doing not only 2-4 Stradella and a bunch of 3-3 Stradella layouts, but also five free-bass layouts. The free-bass seemed to me what I was looking for, but which layout? The choices boiled down to either quint (which Roland calls ‘Fifth’) or C-system (which Roland calls ‘minor third’ for obvious reasons.)

I read that starting quint after doing Stradella would be easy and familiar, but it had some shortcomings down the road. On the other hand, C-system seemed to be a very logical system on paper, and if I live long enough, I reasoned, would make transition to a C-Griff CBA an easy choice.

So, I found a pdf of the Ellegaard method on line and started to work with it yesterday. Guess what? it gave me the motivation to not only learn C-system free-bass, but at the press of a button, I could go back to Stradella and continue to review my PA playing. Today, I’m ready for more of both.

I see that many of you have posted practice materials or sources of materials for free-bass. While I’m not ready for them yet, I want to thank you in advance for posting them and I’ll be sure to take advantage of them when the time comes.
 
I am delighted to hear you are giving free bass accordion a go.

I have spent some time on both systems (PA with Quint fb and CBA with Chromatic fb). I think both Quint and Chromatic systems can be good and both can open up a vast new world of music for you. Some music is suited to one system better and some music is more suited to the other.

You should just follow your passion and enjoy the journey.

Good luck.
 
hey Sharks

glad you are squeezing again

u know whatever helps someone to play more enjoy more stay stoked
is fine by me

i guess luck was with me, being so PoP and song oriented, all i have ever needed
to stoke me up on a boring day is to search for another hit.. whether in an old
Fake Book from my wall of music (the silver cover one.. i think #15.. that was the best
except for the original of course) or just flipping through the immense
gigabytes of MIDI files, i just noodle until something catches me and then
i go with it.. happy as a clam ..

it was cool in my 20's flipping those pages and playing or sight playing in my head
then taking one on.. most songs i had never heard before.. no idea as a rock and roll
Hippie where most of that old music came from or who played it.. but i would fall
for some lyric or riff.. maybe hear the original recording 20 years later and think
OH, or (very occasionally) i liked my arrangement better and just smile..

for instance, Dansero.. loved it right off.. still play it to this day..
thank God for good tunes.. good hooks.. good lyrics.. good fans
who like to hear us play this stuff.. keeps me wanting to always be
learning a new one to add to the pile in my head and in my fingers
 
Hello Ventura,

Dansero, eh? Takes me back to when I was a teenager and a bunch of the guys walked around humming it, or attempting to sing it. All in all, it's a good song to play, even now.

As far as fake books are concerned, I have tons of them on my NAS drive. If I'm in the mood, I copy a song that I want to play by just enlarging it or even re-doing it in MuseScore 4 (which, by the way is so good and feature-filled that I dropped my Sibelius subscription.) And all the time that I was only playing sporadically, I was learning more and more about accordions, thanks to this site and others.

When my so-called band was alive and kicking, we'd dabble in pop in between the klezmer, Israeli, Yiddish theatre and Ladino songs. But now, three of the five of us are gone, and the fourth has Parkinson's so he's not playing.

Yes, I managed to get in practice sessions two days in a row, and I'll continue tomorrow. Thanks for the encouragement/
 
Way to go Alan! I have no recommendation for you, never venturing beyond Stradella, but I wish you luck and great fun!
 
If I'm in the mood, I copy a song that I want to play by just enlarging it or even re-doing it in MuseScore 4 (which, by the way is so good and feature-filled that I dropped my Sibelius subscription.)

I'm still on MuseScore 3, in fact just before checking the forum I was using it to simplify "Beer Barrel Polka". I did initially move to MuseScore 4 but I found it buggy. Maybe I should try again - but I have hundreds of tunes I've transcribed so I am a bit hesitant to move.
 
I'm still on MuseScore 3, in fact just before checking the forum I was using it to simplify "Beer Barrel Polka". I did initially move to MuseScore 4 but I found it buggy. Maybe I should try again - but I have hundreds of tunes I've transcribed so I am a bit hesitant to move.
There are differences in commands, layout, keyboard shortcuts, etc., between 3 and 4. You may want to get the manual for 4 (which is up to 4.1.1) for a comparison. Good luck with it!
 
I'm still on MuseScore 3, in fact just before checking the forum I was using it to simplify "Beer Barrel Polka". I did initially move to MuseScore 4 but I found it buggy. Maybe I should try again - but I have hundreds of tunes I've transcribed so I am a bit hesitant to move.
If its not broke, don't fix it! ;D. :D
 
If its not broke, don't fix it! ;D. :D
Now, an engineer might say, "If it ain't broke, take it apart and fix it."

Truthfully, MuseScore 3 works well, and there's nothing wrong with using it. But MuseScore has so much more, that once you learn it, you'll never want to go back to 3. At any rate, there are some accordion-specific things that I like about 4. Did you know that you can have both on your computer at the same time? If you do, and you're in 4 and do somwhing that's exclusively from 3, it will automatically take you back to 3? Interesting for some; confusing for most:(
 
I am not really a user of Musescore, I did install it so that i could print out a file to PDF one time, but thats it... and that was a good 2 computers ago, so a long while ago.

I'll place my very limited focus in to doing other things nowadays. :)
 
So, I found a pdf of the Ellegaard method on line and started to work with it yesterday. Guess what? it gave me the motivation to not only learn C-system free-bass, but at the press of a button, I could go back to Stradella and continue to review my PA playing. Today, I’m ready for more of both.
That's just what a normal acoustic converter accordion does. At a price.
I see that many of you have posted practice materials or sources of materials for free-bass. While I’m not ready for them yet, I want to thank you in advance for posting them and I’ll be sure to take advantage of them when the time comes.
With free bass in one form or another, don't underestimate harvesting piano scores. A whole lot of them work out of the box. Sometimes there are range issues, sometimes the instrument sound is not a good match, but overall there is a lot that works in some manner or other. And old piano scores are all over yard sales: the modern generation is more comfortable with replaying music in bulk with a touch screen rather than note by note on keys or buttons.
 
With free bass in one form or another, don't underestimate harvesting piano scores. A whole lot of them work out of the box
This kind advice isn't quite a rabbit hole but its misleading. The instrumentation its better to look to is the harmonium as its geared to sustained reed sound. Its especially important musically because some of this repertoire is all but forgotten but absolutely superb, take for example L'Organiste by Franck, some of his very best two stave music written toward the very end of his life. Tons of repertoire on IMSLP.

I personally find stunts with people attempting three stave organ music ( which was very popular in Russia) somewhat irksome. IMHO better to look to Bach partitas, and the other wonderful 2 stave harpsichord music like 48 preludes and fugues etc. They simply come to life on the accordion.
 
This kind advice isn't quite a rabbit hole but its misleading. The instrumentation its better to look to is the harmonium as its geared to sustained reed sound.
Well, it depends on how much the percussive nature of the piano (and independent accents) comes into play. Chopin is problematic, Mozart works pretty well, Bach tends to not even care.
Its especially important musically because some of this repertoire is all but forgotten but absolutely superb, take for example L'Organiste by Franck, some of his very best two stave music written toward the very end of his life. Tons of repertoire on IMSLP.
But not on yard sales...
I personally find stunts with people attempting three stave organ music ( which was very popular in Russia) somewhat irksome. IMHO better to look to Bach partitas, and the other wonderful 2 stave harpsichord music like 48 preludes and fugues etc. They simply come to life on the accordion.
Well, one thing I tend to forget is that piano music might work better on a CBA than on a piano accordion because on a piano you can easily pass material from one voice between hands, and on an accordion that's conspicuous. With regard to organ music: there is a bit of a temptation to use the converter layout with lower manual notes on the 4 chord rows while putting the pedal bass into the remaining 2 Stradella rows. I've experimented with that on my accordion, but with the separate free bass towards the inside rather than on the outside as with a converter, that gets awkward more than I suspect it would be with a converter proper. And, of course, at my skill level it's ridiculous anyway, but that has never been much of a deterrence.
 
With regard to organ music: there is a bit of a temptation to use the converter layout with lower manual notes on the 4 chord rows while putting the pedal bass into the remaining 2 Stradella rows.
Folks do it, but its a pale imitation.
 
Maybe not accordion as a substitute for organ music, but its cousin, the bandoneon. Today, the mention of bandoneon creates an image of tango dancers, but the original purpose of the bandoneon was as a substitute for the organ, and Youtube has several examples of this.
 
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