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Which is harder to play?

wauhti

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Is a piano accordion easier to play than a button accordion? I could imagine that a button accordion would be easier to play than a piano accordion, because on the piano accordion my fingers don’t want to go to the next note.
 

debra

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Is a piano accordion easier to play than a button accordion? I could imagine that a button accordion would be easier to play than a piano accordion, because on the piano accordion my fingers don’t want to go to the next note.
Each has its own benefits and difficulties. Children can learn piano accordion or button (any system) rather easily. For adults it's "a bit harder" but again, on all systems. Button is in some sense more logical because it's a chromatic pattern over 3 rows, no complicated messing with the differences between white and black keys, with black keys sticking out also...
The way music is traditionally composed however, the white keys often do have importance, and music sometimes contains a "white-key-glissando" for instance, which is impossible to do on a button accordion. (On the other hand, a chromatic glissando is impossible on a piano accordion.)
The most important difference however is that distances on a button accordion are smaller, so you can reach further. Can can easily play three of the same note, each an octave apart, but on a piano accordion nobody can do this as we cannot span two octaves. So when you have large chords and large jumps, a button accordion is easier. When you want to play simple songs, mostly in keys of C, G or F, then piano accordion is easier as you will be using mostly white keys...
My wife and I played piano accordion for decades and switched to button accordion (C system) 13 years ago. So we have extensive experience with both systems. It took around 6 years with quite some time practicing to get back to our "old" level, but now that we are used to button accordion there is no going back.
 
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The thing for me is that I know that if I pick up a piano accordion, I will, more than likely, be able to play it (the exceptions being freebass but I suspect on piano accordions, they are a bit like hen's teeth).
With a button accordion, who knows what system it is until you pick it up and try to play it (or is there a secret way to know? They all look the same to me!)

However, as far as learning is concerned, I suspect both button and piano are equally difficult for the beginner.
 

debra

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The thing for me is that I know that if I pick up a piano accordion, I will, more than likely, be able to play it (the exceptions being freebass but I suspect on piano accordions, they are a bit like hen's teeth).
With a button accordion, who knows what system it is until you pick it up and try to play it (or is there a secret way to know? They all look the same to me!)

However, as far as learning is concerned, I suspect both button and piano are equally difficult for the beginner.
I play in a good accordion orchestra with mostly piano accordions and a few button ones. I estimate that about 1/3 of the accordions are convertor instruments and thus have melody bass (which is hardly ever used in the orchestra).
With a button accordion there are two situations: some have all buttons in the same color, no textured keys, no "secret" dots on the side to indicate which are "black" keys... but by far the most have black and white buttons just like piano accordions have black and white keys. The direction of the diagonals indicates whether it is a C system or a B system. When an accordion is C system it can be international (outer two rows have a pattern of 2 white, 2 black and the third row has 3 white and 1 black) or Finnish system (the 3 white and 1 black is the second row instead of the third). Likewise with a B system it typically has 3 white and 1 black on the first row but if it is "Do2" (mostly found in Belgium) then the first row has 2 white and 2 black.
In almost all cases a C system accordion has a mirrored C system melody bass and a B system accordion has a mirrored (European) or non-mirroed (Russian) B system melody bass. There are exceptional cases where a B system accordion can have a C system melody bass, and there are "quint convertors", most popular in north America.
 

oldbayan

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One advantage of the CBA is the density of notes! Even a smallish CBA will have at least one treble octave more than the same size piano accordion. For example, on a Roland FR-1x there are 27 notes, the same size FR-1xb has 38! For full-size instruments it's 41 v. 60+ notes, which makes a difference. The down side is that more reeds = more weight, so the big CBA may be "harder" to play.
 

AdamJoseph

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I recently picked up a Fr-1xb. I wanted check out the CBA. I am about two weeks in with the instrument. I find the CBA more intuitive, while the PA is more familiar. As someone who plays several instruments, it is just about muscle memory with where the notes are. I would not say any instrument is harder than another (except maybe the violin). I just find that certain music is easier to play on certain instruments. As example, I exclusively play the English concertina for technical pieces with sheet music, while I play the Anglo concertina exclusively by ear. I am not sure why it works that way for me.
 

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