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The chromatic accordion C griff

smokeynichol

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I'm a beginner with this type of accordion-i own the Hohner Rivieri VI Deluxe and i'd like a few tips on beginning how to play-some chords in G, C, D, F, A, Eb, Ab thanks for any help you can give me.
 

debra

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There's essentially two options:
1) Find a teacher who can explain everything and who can guide you throughout the learning process, or
2)Place your fingers on the right notes using fingering you feel comfortable with and teach yourself.
My wife followed method 1) and I followed method 2) and in the end we can both play the C-system pretty well and often end up with different fingering. (We played PA before that.)
 

donn

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Paul has fastidiously avoided mentioning a single bit of technical advice - no one ever agrees on it, which goes to show how much it's worth - but if you search the forum, you may eventually find it all discussed at length.
 
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maugein96

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Smokey,

If you are worried about any hang ups before you start, that's going to hold you back for a very long time. Some people download the solution for solving the Rubik's Cube, and still cannot manage it.

Paul De Bra has given the most concise and useful advice there is available.

There is no "correct" way to play anything whatsoever on the treble keyboard of a CBA. Even when you are quite proficient you'll often find you play the same piece with different fingering purely by accident.

As Donn has indicated, the forum is full of debate on the trials and tribulations of CBA fingering, and scarcely any two teachers will completely agree on the matter.

If tuition by a teacher is not an option for you, try and find a method book that was printed after 1980, use it as a rough guide, then give it away to another beginner once you realise that the fingering charts must have been made for someone whose right hand works differently from your own.

If you are a child with elastic wrists and fingers, you may be able to slavishly follow the fingering notation until the end of the book. If you are like the rest of us, the flexibility (or lack of same) of your adult wrists and fingers will place a degree of limitation on your possibilities. You therefore need to work out what is comfortable, and experiment as necessary.

Good luck, and I'm sure you'll do it. One of the best CBA players in the world only had 4 fingers on his right hand. He was missing his third finger, so what was the "correct" fingering for him?
 
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Geronimo

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maugein96 post_id=60275 time=1529183115 user_id=607 said:
If you are a child with elastic wrists and fingers, you may be able to slavishly follow the fingering notation until the end of the book. If you are like the rest of us, the flexibility (or lack of same) of your adult wrists and fingers will place a degree of limitation on your possibilities. You therefore need to work out what is comfortable, and experiment as necessary.

Good luck, and Im sure youll do it. One of the best CBA players in the world only had 4 fingers on his right hand. He was missing his third finger, so what was the correct fingering for him?
Rudolf Würthner had only 3 fingers on his right hand and played his B system accordion upside down. He wrote both C system and B system methods but I think his C system method is somewhat more sought after.
 

OuijaBoard

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The posters above are absolutely correct that there is no one "correct" fingering method. But I'll give you some advice anyhow, regarding the right-hand "treble" side. This counsel is not limited to chord formations.

Fortunate though you certainly are to be starting on a CBA like the Hohner Riviera that has five rows and all the choice that presents: If you are a beginner just starting out as described in your OP, I counsel sticking with the outer three rows and avoiding the two inner "repeat" rows for a hefty period of time. The outer 3 rows are the core of your fingering arrangements, and it's a good idea to gain fluency and fluidity with them before branching out into the alternate possibilities beckoning from the 4th and 5th row. The outer 3 will be your home base and default position. Once you're gotten very adept with them, you may venture onto the 4th on an "only when necessary" basis. After that, you'll slowly start to conceive fingerings using the 4th (or more rarely 5th) that may not be "absolutely necessary," but are just preferable to you.

As it so happens, chords are the area where the repeater rows are most helpful, and you will certainly be using them for chording. But nonetheless, give yourself a goodly period gaining fluency with your home-base, default-3 first.
 

xocd

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OuijaBoard post_id=60327 time=1529384572 user_id=1746 said:
I counsel sticking with the outer three rows and avoiding the two inner repeat rows for a hefty period of time.

Just be aware that with the approach recommended by OuijaBoard chord shapes are not 100% movable. For example you need to know two versions of a major chord. You will need up to three versions of more complicated shapes. If you allow yourself to use the whole keyboard, you need only one version of any chord (or melodic riff, or a scale).

To complicate your life, I am going to suggest that you start using the whole five rows.
 

donn

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Ah, I knew it - one tidbit of advice slips out, and Discord enters. I'm with OuijaBoard - I didn't learn 3 rows to start with, but I wish I had. More equal facility with the different button patterns, less stumbling over choices where neither is clearly better. Of course, I do other things besides chords - in fact, I tend to play chords with the left hand, and use the right to play more melodic figures. Transposing would be the last thing I'd worry about, I just see some advantage in a simple determinate system. And my heroes are French and Portuguese.
 
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Geronimo

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xocd post_id=60336 time=1529413325 user_id=2246 said:
OuijaBoard post_id=60327 time=1529384572 user_id=1746 said:
I counsel sticking with the outer three rows and avoiding the two inner repeat rows for a hefty period of time.

Just be aware that with the approach recommended by OuijaBoard chord shapes are not 100% movable. For example you need to know two versions of a major chord. You will need up to three versions of more complicated shapes. If you allow yourself to use the whole keyboard, you need only one version of any chord (or melodic riff, or a scale).

To complicate your life, I am going to suggest that you start using the whole five rows.
The reason to avoid that is that rows are not an inexhaustible resource. Five rows allow you to transpose 3-row pieces anywhere without changing the fingering. If you try to employ the five rows for simplifying chord patterns and only having to learn one fingering, youll be running out of rows (you need at least 6 rows to have this work with common chords). Running out of rows means having to jump 3 rows to get back into the action. These three-row jumps are disruptive to fingering patterns and can often not be done at speed.

So it pays to develop the fingering chops that allow you to stay on a three-row strip reliably. There are situations where a fourth row is quite handy in connection with chords. I have one piece with a C♯-A minor sixth running down one octave in chromatic run. I use the fourth row for that since it allows you to keep the chord shape. It turns out that doing the same on a 3-row accordion is a brain-twister but works out actually at least as smoothly since you dont have this 2-row jump of the whole hand to mask. I do prefer the 4-row version. The payoff would be greater if more than two notes were involved in that chord shape/run.

Starting work with only 3 rows allows you to develop the skills not to paint yourself into a corner regarding your fingering, something that is more likely to happen with the two-dimensional CBA layout than with a piano accordion.
 

xocd

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Geronimo post_id=60340 time=1529416338 user_id=2623 said:
The reason to avoid that is that rows are not an inexhaustible resource. Five rows allow you to transpose 3-row pieces anywhere without changing the fingering. If you try to employ the five rows for simplifying chord patterns and only having to learn one fingering, youll be running out of rows (you need at least 6 rows to have this work with common chords). Running out of rows means having to jump 3 rows to get back into the action. These three-row jumps are disruptive to fingering patterns and can often not be done at speed.
I am puzzled by your statement. Any pattern originally played on the first three rows can be moved around (as long as at least one note remains within the first three rows) using only five rows. One does not need six rows. An example of what you mean would be useful.
 
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Geronimo

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xocd post_id=60341 time=1529417171 user_id=2246 said:
Geronimo post_id=60340 time=1529416338 user_id=2623 said:
The reason to avoid that is that rows are not an inexhaustible resource. Five rows allow you to transpose 3-row pieces anywhere without changing the fingering. If you try to employ the five rows for simplifying chord patterns and only having to learn one fingering, youll be running out of rows (you need at least 6 rows to have this work with common chords). Running out of rows means having to jump 3 rows to get back into the action. These three-row jumps are disruptive to fingering patterns and can often not be done at speed.
I am puzzled by your statement. Any pattern originally played on the first three rows can be moved around (as long as at least one note remains within the first three rows) using only five rows. One does not need six rows. An example of what you mean would be useful.
If you want to learn only one fingering pattern for scales, this will take up 3 rows starting in a location controlled by the music rather than by yourself. For example, if you can only finger the G major scale pattern in the first 3 rows, for A major you will need to be playing your my-only-major-mode-fingering-pattern sequence in the last three rows. If you now want to play an E major chord starting from that scale that only uses the last 3 rows, the E that you start from will already be in the fifth row and youd need a sixth row to use a simple chord shape.

If you had bothered learning more than a single fingering, your A major scale more likely than not uses the first three rows rather than the last three rows and the E major chord starting from the second (rather than the fifth) row has no problems staying on the keyboard.
 

xocd

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Geronimo post_id=60342 time=1529417967 user_id=2623 said:
If you want to learn only one fingering pattern for scales, this will take up 3 rows starting in a location controlled by the music rather than by yourself. For example, if you can only finger the G major scale pattern in the first 3 rows, for A major you will need to be playing your my-only-major-mode-fingering-pattern sequence in the last three rows. If you now want to play an E major chord starting from that scale that only uses the last 3 rows, the E that you start from will already be in the fifth row and youd need a sixth row to use a simple chord shape.

If you had bothered learning more than a single fingering, your A major scale more likely than not uses the first three rows rather than the last three rows and the E major chord starting from the second (rather than the fifth) row has no problems staying on the keyboard.

This does not make any sense. If I know any scale, or chord, or arpeggio (major, minor, whatever) that uses only notes on the first three rows, I can start the same pattern on any other note on the first three rows and not need anything beyond the fifth row.

If you do not agree, an specific counterexample would be useful.
 
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Geronimo

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xocd post_id=60346 time=1529429480 user_id=2246 said:
Geronimo post_id=60342 time=1529417967 user_id=2623 said:
If you want to learn only one fingering pattern for scales, this will take up 3 rows starting in a location controlled by the music rather than by yourself. For example, if you can only finger the G major scale pattern in the first 3 rows, for A major you will need to be playing your my-only-major-mode-fingering-pattern sequence in the last three rows. If you now want to play an E major chord starting from that scale that only uses the last 3 rows, the E that you start from will already be in the fifth row and youd need a sixth row to use a simple chord shape.

If you had bothered learning more than a single fingering, your A major scale more likely than not uses the first three rows rather than the last three rows and the E major chord starting from the second (rather than the fifth) row has no problems staying on the keyboard.

This does not make any sense. If I know any scale, or chord, or arpeggio (major, minor, whatever) that uses only notes on the first three rows,
I quote you:
If you allow yourself to use the whole keyboard, you need only one version of any chord (or melodic riff, or a scale).
You explicitly recommend knowing only one scale. I have taken this premise, assuming that the single scale pattern you know on the first three rows is that of the G major scale. You allow yourself to use the whole keyboard in order not to learn any other scale and that means that you need to play A major on the last three rows. If you start a major chord pattern on your E (in fifth row) there, it extends into the non-existent 6th row.
I can start the same pattern on any other note on the first three rows and not need anything beyond the fifth row.

If you do not agree, an specific counterexample would be useful.
What about the specific counterexample did you not understand?
 

xocd

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Geronimo post_id=60350 time=1529437200 user_id=2623 said:
What about the specific counterexample did you not understand?

Your example does not use a single note on the first three rows, as I stipulated.
 

dunlustin

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Dear Smkyncl
Anyanka has given you some really useful advice.
Some of the rest is the indulgence of (sometimes) well-meaning experienced players tinged (sometimes) with a hint of mischief-making.
In my experience (as said elsewhere ) modern tuition introduces the 4th row quite early on where this makes for more convenient fingering.
On your question of chords:
Have you noticed that the D shape moved groundwards = F chord, moved one more is Ab (ie G#)
And an A shape moved one = C chord which moved one is Eb.
You can perhaps work out the link between an E chord, a G chord and a Bb chord?
In a few months you may wonder why you would learn a G shape scale on row two and move it around to get an A scale given that a C scale on row 1 moved one position is an A scale. In my opinion you would be right to wonder why. You may also notice that if you start your scale on G button row 2 and use the pattern for C or A from row one you end up with a scale in G.
And then you might decide not to play it that way after all.

But mainly welcome to the mad world of button enthusiasts and the decades of pleasure that are opening up to you.
 

WaldoW

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Smokey,
While Paul pretty much answered your question, the subject of starting out on only 3 rows is addressed elsewhere in the forum. Pretty much all the "Method" books take this approach. I u-tubed numerous master accordionists and discovered the majority of them pretty much stuck to the three outer rows with only occasional forays to rows 4 & 5. To my way of thinking, this was a waste of buttons. CBA playing is largely a game of patterns. As mentioned above, moving the pattern (tune) to a different root yields a different Key while still fingering with the same pattern.
The problem that emerges is the student learns the pattern for the tune, and changing said pattern in order to incorporate alternate buttons requires a re-learn of the pattern. What's the point? becomes the question. If you can play the tune on 3 rows, why complicate matters by changing what is already ingrained in your muscle memory? This accounts for why many master players only utilize 3 rows, but begs the question "Why not play a 3 row CBA instead of lugging around an extra 2 rows of weight and complication?"
Having 5 rows available on my accordion, I elected to "Center" on the middle 3 rows, as opposed to "centering" on the outer 3. This provides two "neighboring" rows, one above and one below. Search "centering" for the full discussion. This approach has worked well for me, still provides transposition and I use all 5 rows as required. Others may disagree with this approach as it differs from all the method books I've seen.
Chords: Anyanka gave the solution for chord patterns. Cool part of CBA is you learn the pattern for a major Chord and all the major chords will have the same pattern. Learn the pattern for a minor chord and you've learned the pattern for all the minors. This is known as "transposition". If you are incorporating all 5 rows in your playing, there will be 4 options (patterns) for every chord. Two will be relatively easy to form, and two that will be more difficult (and less useful). Learn both of the easy forms and you will find them to be useful options for fingering dilemmas.
Once you get the basics down, start fooling around with inversions. They are simple to learn and will provide a quick and easy way to vary the sound of your playing. To "invert" a chord, you drop the lowest (or highest) tone, the C (or G) in a C chord, and add the same pitch you dropped, only an octive higher (or lower).
An example would be a C Major chord = C, F, G, with the C as the root. The first inversion up would become F, G & C (Down: G, C & F), the second inversion up would be G, C & F (Down: F, G & C), the third would be back to a root C, only one octive higher (or lower).
If you are playing a I, VI, V (see circle of 5ths) rotation (as in 12 bar blues), you can change the root chords to inversions, which will add variety to your sound while staying within the Key. Very useful and easy. The patterns all move over the button board in a similar fashion. You only need to learn the patterns and how they relate to each other.

Good luck and persevere!
Waldo
 
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My personal "crossing the rubicon" moment in playing the CBA was when I decided to get rid of the white and black buttons, and have a unicolour buttonboard on the CBA.

That moment came in an early stage in my CBA study at music school, from the second year.
I freed myself from thinking in absolute names of music notes, and started to focus on the relations between the notes, the patterns.

I'm convinced that young starters are better off starting with a unicolour buttonboard on the CBA. (Many young children started on unicolour CBAs in France, and they made rapid progress).

Repeat rows are a matter of "direction" of the fingering passages.
You can play the inner rows "centered" style on a 5 rows, or you can stick to the outer rows.

Inversions of chords is becoming a simple matter of shapes, that can be transposed over the rows or buttonboard.

It can help a lot to draw these blanco shapes or patterns on a piece of paper, and then practice them on your CBA. (Don't write down the names of the notes ! It's not important to know the names of the notes, or even to know exactly what key you are playing in)
 

fphlpsnrg

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debra pid=57536 dateline=1529088935 said:
Theres essentially two options:
1) Find a teacher who can explain everything and who can guide you throughout the learning process, or
2)Place your fingers on the right notes using fingering you feel comfortable with and teach yourself.
My wife followed method 1) and I followed method 2) and in the end we can both play the C-system pretty well and often end up with different fingering. (We played PA before that.)

Paul De Bras response is the most useful, direct, and concise. Find a teacher. If you have played another instrument for several years and have confidence in your ability to learn new patterns, then get a hold of a copy of Das Knopfakkordeon C-Griff by Elsbeth Moser. At this time it is available only in German. Sikorski Musikverlag may be publishing an English version real soon. Prof. Moser utilizes a three–step process of “recognize – think – do”, to map out an approach to address and teach the different levels of musical representation equally.
 

saundersbp

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I'd second the above - it depends if  - "If you have played another instrument for several years..."

Speaking for myself, I have, and so decided to have a go at c system with both hands over the summer without a teacher. The Lars Holm book 'Music Box 1' (kindly recommended by a poster on here) got me going with a few simple pieces, very hard at first but started to feel more natural after a several weeks. I'm onto some nice trickier baroque music now and feel confident in fingering it, but I'd say that's completely thanks to the initial grounding of good fingering in the Lars Holm book for simpler music.

I thought that being a proficient piano player, and then going onto piano accordion, I'd be the last person to ever abandon keys for buttons, however I am a total convert: to me it feels so much more natural and musical than trying to play a piano rotated by 90 degrees. (And I can still really enjoy playing the piano!)
 
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