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Which way up is your brain?

OldSqueezer

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I read somewhere for the first six weeks of life, you see everything upside down, but then the brain kicks in, translating the retinal image so that things make spatial sense. I wonder whether something similar happens in understanding the accordion buttons and keys, since most tutor diagrams present the instrument as if you are looking at someone else playing it. But my mental image of the buttons is from my perspective, looking down on the bass buttons (not that I can actually see them), with the chord rows to my left and bass to the right. And the order of the buttons top to bottom is also reversed. The simplest way of describing it is that you take the normal representation of a Stradella keyboard on the page and you rotate it through 180 degrees. Then you have a diagram which shows what you would see if you had the accordion in the playing position and tilted it towards you just enough to view the buttons.

Of course, this is of virtually no import once you have internalised where things are and developed associated muscle memory, but I found it helpful at the start to construct a diagram showing the playerโ€™s perspective. I suppose tutor books consider it less confusing to use the view with which newcomers to the instrument will be most familiar, ie as an onlooker, and clearly people donโ€™t have too much (any?) difficulty making the mental transition. But imagine trying to learn to use a computer keyboard by watching someone on the opposite side of a shared table do so, rather than someone sitting alongside you. Not so helpful.

Odd, innit?
 

jozz

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my brain works with: 'inwards' and 'outwards'

funny thing is, on stradella going from maj -> minor -> 7 feels like going inwards,
while the finger goes outwards from the center of the instrument...

up and down on bass has no meaning anymore, I just hit the chord that I need and think in terms of scales, modes and natural progressions
 

OldSqueezer

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@jozz
Fascinating. I look forward to the day when I can say something like your last paragraph, though I fear I shall never think in terms of modes. But on that I am cheered by the fact that Barry Harris doesn't reckon 'em. On the other hand he is in such an advanced musical state that he has earned the right to say such things. I am not, and alas never will be! Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Doug
 

Dingo40

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Actually, providing you're young enough, you can "reset" the way your brain sees things (up/down, left/right) in just a few weeks.
You can even ((eventually) teach it to play the accordion: it's pretty adaptable!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘
 
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Chrisrayner

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Actually, providing you're young enough, you can "reset" the way your brain sees things (up/down, left/right) in just a few weeks.
You can even ((eventually) teach it to play the accordion: it's pretty adaptable!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘
But, but... Dingo, you live in the antipodes, so your brain is upside down. As is mine to you.
 

losthobos

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Barry Harris is the man.... Whoever he was a boy before and probably had a sniff at scales... Abd the standards all follow similar chord progressions so he was never really stabbing in the dark.... ๐Ÿ˜‰
 

Scuromondo

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I read somewhere for the first six weeks of life, you see everything upside down, but then the brain kicks in, translating the retinal image so that things make spatial sense. I wonder whether something similar happens in understanding the accordion buttons and keys, since most tutor diagrams present the instrument as if you are looking at someone else playing it. But my mental image of the buttons is from my perspective, looking down on the bass buttons (not that I can actually see them), with the chord rows to my left and bass to the right. And the order of the buttons top to bottom is also reversed. The simplest way of describing it is that you take the normal representation of a Stradella keyboard on the page and you rotate it through 180 degrees. Then you have a diagram which shows what you would see if you had the accordion in the playing position and tilted it towards you just enough to view the buttons.

Of course, this is of virtually no import once you have internalised where things are and developed associated muscle memory, but I found it helpful at the start to construct a diagram showing the playerโ€™s perspective. I suppose tutor books consider it less confusing to use the view with which newcomers to the instrument will be most familiar, ie as an onlooker, and clearly people donโ€™t have too much (any?) difficulty making the mental transition. But imagine trying to learn to use a computer keyboard by watching someone on the opposite side of a shared table do so, rather than someone sitting alongside you. Not so helpful.

Odd, innit?
I find most bass diagrams to offer a confusing perspective which is not helpful. But I do like the bass diagrams used in the old Sedlon books; those seem much more useful and intuitive to me.
 
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