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Push and pull in Bologna

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maugein96
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Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:37 pm

I know I've spoken about this before, but for some reason CBA players in Bologna prefer to do most of their playing on the draw, and shunt the bellows closed at every opportunity to achieve that. I've watched several CBA players from the area on You Tube, and they never make use of the air button to close the bellows. If I try that on any of my boxes, the bellows resist any attempt to force them closed like that.

Edmondo Comandini on the "sistema francesa" Cooperfisa (French style stepped mushroom bass buttons and treble couplers behind the treble keyboard), rarely plays much at all on the push, like many CBA players from that area.

Roberto Scaglioni on the Ropa PA seems to want to do the same but is hampered by the bigger instrument, so he compresses the bellows at the top to get a faster return.

Has anybody come across this particular bellows technique before? It may not be unique to Bologna, but most pro CBA players there seem to make use of it.

Ropa was a small manufacturer of top quality accordions in Bologna, but I believe they are now defunct.

Tune is "Fuego", an old Bolognese tango.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4bsIh13pMc

In case you thought I was imagining things, here is Tiziano Ghinazzi doing the same, albeit in a more subtle fashion. I could post more clips of other players, as there is quite a number of them who use the same technique. I know he's not playing the basses. Relatively few Italian players now bother with the basses when they are part of a band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKRjwDdk5ls

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Tom » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:09 pm

Looks to me like both CBA players are actually playing notes on the push, making it possible.

maugein96
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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:38 pm

Hi Tom,

I think they do play the odd note on the push, and that might explain it. I just needed somebody else to watch what they were doing. However, a while ago I posted several clips of Barbara Lucchi, who shunted the bellows without playing a single treble note on the push. She was a student of the iconic Carlo Venturi, and he did the very same:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPwdmXW_lAA

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Tom » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:24 am

Hmmmm, post the link again and I'll take a look...

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Corsaire » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:40 am

Maugein wrote:Roberto Scaglioni on the Ropa PA seems to want to do the same but is hampered by the bigger instrument, so he compresses the bellows at the top to get a faster return.
I seem to remember someone posted a video of a Russian player who played on the pull then bought his/her right hand up in the air to push the bellows in using the air release button.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:51 am

Sally,

Carlo Venturi's left hand stays in the centre of the bass strap, well away from any air button I know of on his box. The movement of the treble keys/buttons must be enough to allow the bellows to be returned, and it's just a case of working out how they manage it. Looking at the video of him again, there are always treble buttons being depressed when he slams the bellows shut, and it must have been something he developed as an individual. The majority of CBA players in that area do the same, and I've seen quite a few French players do their own version of it, but only if they aren't playing the basses. I'm not saying I want to change my style, but I was just curious.

I used to watch Venturi and other Italian players from Emilia avidly, and the result of that is my left hand is pretty poor. My right hand isn't too bad when it's working. I can just about manage that beloved Italian "oompah" of yours with my left, but am currently working on improving my bass playing. As far as I'm aware, Carlo Venturi never wrote any method books. If he did there would have been a couple of blank pages that dealt with the bass side. I'm sure I've seen him playing good bass, but I can't remember if it had strings on it.

Tom,

The clips are contaminated by adverts at the beginning over here, and sometimes we need to click "skip ad" in the lower right to play the video. Other times we need to wait for the ad to run the full 20 seconds or so before the video plays. Don't know if it's the same your side. The links work fine here, but there is a delay at the beginning.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Corsaire » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:19 am

John

They don't open the bellows very far either. Perhaps a question of trying all the different techniques to see which one suits the player best. It's always interesting to see how the pros play even if sometimes it looks a little weird.

The slamming shut of the bellows is a distinctive style which is understandable for diatonic players. But I wonder why chromatic players do it.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:47 am

Sally,

I can just see my teacher's face if I tried that one out. He's very thorough, and I'm always getting told off for the several hundred faults I've acquired through 30 odd years of self tuition. He's gradually come to terms with the fact that I could never play a tune "straight" if my life depended on it, but nevertheless there is always a wince when I put something in that shouldn't be there or if I miss something out.

He is so impressed with my bellows technique that nearly every score has little markings on it to remind me when to pull and when to push, and he makes me pull those bellows right out. I had developed a tendency to be lazy with my left hand and never moved the bellows much either. Next time I see him I'll ask him if he's aware of the "Bologna shunt" technique. Don't think it will be on the teaching agenda though. As I say, some of the relatively few French players who don't play bass seem to do the same.

No straps, no left hand, no playing on the push. Might just go for one of those chromatic button keyboards they sell over your way. Then again..........

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Corsaire » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:04 am

I'm not sure I follow any rules when playing - it's done more by feel than worrying too much about technique. The shunt looks complicated and as far as opening and closing bellows goes, as long as the change is smooth and unnoticeable, I don't see that it matters when you do it. I generally pace myself with the bellows and opening them a little less is more restful.

If you play with other people, you can get away with skipping notes in the left hand. Often the left hand is hardly heard anyway, bu perhaps that depends on the recording or sound set up.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:28 am

Sally,

Over the years I had got over the tendency to run out of air, and sort of developed an instinct when to change bellows direction, to the point where I rarely, if ever, got caught out. As I seldom play along with other musicians I had fallen into the trap of believing I had it almost off pat. Only reason I opted for lessons was I knew that left hand wasn't up to much, and I was lazy with right hand chords. Things are improving (slowly), and years of playing by myself has been detrimental to advancement. I pay lip service to the bellows direction guidance, and tend only to conform when I'm playing along with the teacher.

Quite often if you watch two players tackling the same tune their bellows movements aren't coordinated, and on that basis I agree that it's all about playing to suit your physical preferences.

You mentioned playing with others. When the opportunity arises playing with others is undoubtedly more fun than playing with yourself, and I still need an annual eye test on account of the time I've spent doing the latter!

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Tom » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:13 pm

Hi John,

Yeah we get the same ads on youtube. It's annoying. I download all the videos I want to watch repeatedly. I meant peace repost the link of Barbara Lucci. Thanks!

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:28 pm

Tom wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:13 pm
Hi John,

Yeah we get the same ads on youtube. It's annoying. I download all the videos I want to watch repeatedly. I meant peace repost the link of Barbara Lucci. Thanks!

Tom,

Dino Lucchi :-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4NHB1SQvfM

Daughter Barbara (using air button):-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkgHWNVlzXU

Dino again, but playing basses and no "shunt":-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rFkjVB04o

Both Dino and Barbara are using the air button, but the others (venturi etc) do not appear to be using it.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Corsaire » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:12 pm

Maugein wrote:You mentioned playing with others. When the opportunity arises playing with others is undoubtedly more fun than playing with yourself, and I still need an annual eye test on account of the time I've spent doing the latter!
:lol:
I stopped playing for 15 years because I got fed up with playing on my own. When I lived in the UK I played in a folk group which was great fun and I really missed it over here.
However, moving to Brittany has changed all that and rekindled the fire. Unfortunately I'm nowhere near the standard I was, but perhaps that's because I play for enjoyment and am not currently having any tuition. However, I suspect some lessons for diatonic will be necessary !

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:31 pm

Sally,

I'm tested once a year as my mother had glaucoma, and so far so good. I just couldn't resist a play on the words.

I've given up several times, largely because I chose not to get involved with fellow players, and ran out of ideas on how to progress. You'll know I'm not a fan of the local fare and on the very few occasions I attended any accordion focused meetings here it was wall to wall Country Dance music with the odd "novelty" Continental offering. I just cannot sit through that, even if I'm listening to good players.

I lost a significant degree of agility in the third and fourth fingers of my right hand as a result of a car crash over 20 years ago, and I almost gave up completely on account of that. I've got most of the movement back, but have hardly any nerve endings left in the back of my hand and I was getting sudden cramps without warning for a while. Fortunately that has passed, but I'll never be the player I was before the accident. Luckily I managed to get a job inside for the last 5 years as rolling around the street was getting scary with only one good hand.

The lessons I'm now taking have definitely brought me on a bit, and my reading is way better than it was. Teach is also very adept at working out alternative fingerings when I cannot manage the version he uses. He's conceded that I am more comfortable staying on the outside rows, while he likes to use all 5.

I had started to get into Italian Liscio (their version of musette), but was having trouble with that right hand articulation the Italians use. I had developed a very lazy style of playing that was all slurs and grace notes with hardly any right hand chord work, and my efforts sounded about as Italian as Beef Chow Mein. I've now been taught to get the fingers moving off the buttons sharpish and everything is getting a lot easier. I still hang onto the basses too much instead of snapping them, and I don't think I'll ever really get that the way the teach would want it. He says I'm getting better, but he would, otherwise the 110 mile round trip I make twice a month to line his pockets with gold would just not happen. I can't believe that I've been taking lessons for nearly 6 months now.

Not sure what sort of lessons you'd get for a diatonic. You might be able to get by watching You Tube videos, but don't watch those Italians from Bologna or you'll end up throwing the box on the fire! I do believe that some diatonic players also prefer to play mostly on the pull, but I'm not really sure.

Last time I was in Rennes it was pouring with rain, and it was full of red haired women that wasn't out of a bottle. Had to check I wasn't in Argyle Street!

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:54 pm

Just to confound the issue, here's Daniele Donadelli playing basses and shunting when the opportunity allows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amnG6MFYx44

If I never had any family commitments I reckon I'd take a year out to visit Emilia and immerse myself myself in the accordion culture there. No doubt I'd be able to solve the issue of the shunt, and maybe even work out the logic behind it.

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Dingo40 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:42 am

Looking at various clips of the “Bologna Shunt” exponents one has to wonder how exactly they manage to expel relatively large volumes of air in such a short time, which would seem impossible even when using the average kind of air button provided for an average accordion. Moreover, it seems impossible to do so (using any number of treble buttons in play) without simultaneously causing an unwanted spike in volume. (Try it for yourself)
It is a mystery!😯
Also, during the performance of some passages by some exponents, this expulsion is made as soon as after one or two measures, others nearer the full bellows extension.
The whole idea does seem rather weird. Could it be a relic of the older, diatonic days? It certainly looks, for all the world, as if they’re playing chemnitzers!😄

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by maugein96 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:54 am

Dingo,

There are/were a few online Italian accordion forums on the go, but I find that Google translate is pretty inadequate (same as my Italian) for anything a bit technical. Some years ago when I first became aware of the technique, I had a look to see if there was any mention of it, but drew a blank.

If it was only the odd player I probably wouldn't even have noticed it, but just about every CBA player from the Bologna area seems to participate. I don't watch as many PA players, but they all seem to get those bellows back in pretty sharpish too. However, they usually do that by compressing the bellows "top first".

I had considered that they had possibly taken the bass reed blocks out, as I've never seen Barbara Lucchi play basses since she was a young pupil of Carlo Venturi, and in fact that Piermaria of hers started to lose bass buttons over a period of time, and she never bothered to replace them. She slams those bellows shut with a vengeance, but you can usually see her finger going onto the air button. However, Carlo Venturi and others don't appear to use the air button at all.

There may be a clue, however. There exists another little instrument in the area called the "organetto bolognese". It is a chromatic (not diatonic like other organettos) instrument with 4 rows of treble buttons and no basses. It was the precursor of the CBA in Italy. It's small size permits acrobatics with the left arm when required, and they eventually made them a little bit bigger in accordion format, but again with no bass buttons. They made a handful of PA versions, but I would doubt if they are still manufactured, as most modern players of the genre use normal CBAs or PAs. Stocco and Crosio are the only two makes I know of.

A guy called Leonildo Marcheselli (what do you mean you've never heard of him?) was credited with being the inventor of the "Filuzzi Bolognese" (Bologna Smooth) dance style, playing and developing the organetto, and also achieving virtuoso status on it from the 1920s onwards. The style was/is the Bolognese equivalent of the French musette style developed in Paris for dancers, but without the Bolognese sauce! It is obviously a simple little instrument that doesn't offer much scope for variety, but in the hands of a good player it is amazingly versatile. Leonildo's son, Marco Marcheselli, is probably one of the very few players who still plays the instrument regularly, and he's now in his early 70s.

Local big name players like Carlo Venturi were obviously influenced by Filuzzi, but opted for full sized CBA, which is the most common type of accordion found in that immediate area today.

All may be revealed some day, and I appreciate it is yet another niche interest of mine, but it pays to ask a "round", as you can't ask a square.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGiW7tNs4S4

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Re: Push and pull in Bologna

Post by Dingo40 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:59 pm

John,
Thanks for that: most informative and interesting, as always!🙂👍
And thanks for the clip. I found it enjoyable 🙂.
I keep being amazed at the variety of different free reed instruments out there, each with their dedicated band of virtuosi!👍

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