Piano or cromatic accordion?

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Geronimo
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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:19 am

Dingo40 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:38 am
lucaluigi72 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:17 am
Hallo I'm Luca from Italy
I have studied for some years piano and I love to play recorder. I like balkan, irish and folk musik.
I started to learn accordion in june renting a piano accordion but I'm attracted to learn cromatic accordion.
A friend of mine lent me a cromatic accordion 2 weeks ago and it is difficult to learn but not impossibile.
It is beautiful making progress but I'm afraid it will be really more difficult to improvise!
I would like to have some advice from piano and cromatic accordionists about
Seems to me that coming from a piano background, piano accordion is a no brainer!🙂
With that logic, you'd not want to learn violin when having started with piano already, but hurdygurdy. Because keyboard.

I started out nitpicking your response but it's sort of pointless: the main problem here is that you are not talking out of actual experience and get stuff wrong enough to trigger my nitpicking defenses, sometimes subtly so, sometimes glaringly. So let's just skip to the end for now: we can still discuss single points later on when there is actual interest, but most things have already been said in different contexts anyway.
While I love to hear the CBA in action (Johnny Meyer springs to mind), I find it miraculous that there are in fact so many impressive maestros of the genre!
Good for them!🙂👍
To put the miraculosity into perspective: I think last year or so was the first time in something like 20 years that a piano accordion player won the soloist category of the Klingenthal accordion competition. Piano accordion restricts the player in range, instrument handling, chord width. It even prevents you from playing quite a bit of piano music since the accordion does not allow for inconspicuous sharing and continuation of voices like the piano with its single keyboard does, making the CBA reach necessary for doing some music justice.

A converter instrument player playing piano accordion will have 58 notes in his weak left hand also taxed with bellows control on (comparatively tiny) buttons, and at most 45 notes in his strong right hand on keys.

For me, the CBA makes more sense as a musical instrument than a PA, and the uniform keyboard layout is only part of the whole instrument geometry making more sense for what amounts to a portable hand-pumped harmonium. Of course, I have previously played violin and guitar but it's not like I had problems working a piano keyboard when starting with PA. I still decided after few years to switch to CBA rather sooner than later and would not see a point in going back.

What I'll readily admit is that if you are playing a Midi accordion and want to play percussive samples like an actual piano in between, buttons and the associated hand positions are not at all helpful for differentiated attack. Form and arrangement are a good choice for valving action but not that much for striking.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Stephen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:28 pm

A marriage made in heaven: the finto cromo accordion:
http://www.karlssonsmusik.se/mm_dragspel_18.html
Aquila finto cromo accordion

Most of the members will recognize this website with historical information about the Caramuel / Janko layout of the keyboard:
http://www.le-nouveau-clavier.fr/english/

The choice between a 6+6 or 4+4+4 layout.
4+4+4 is more ergonomical, the best choice for accordion I think.

Pianists looking for a chromatic keyboard layout, will prefer the 6+6 layout.
The 6+6 is a chromatic piano layout, the traditional 7+5 is the traditional diatonic piano layout with the "abnormal" sharp/flats.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by maugein96 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:30 pm

The mention of Johnny Meijer brought back many pleasant memories of listening to him.

Sadly, he fought a long battle with alcohol, and was often obliged to play in the bars in Amsterdam for drink money. The style of music was the Amsterdam schmaltz of the day, at which he was very good, although he probably threw in as many jazz numbers as he could get away with.

His bass player was a neighbour who was far from an accomplished musician, and Meijer would often scream abuse at him in choice amsterdamse vocabulary, which I cannot post here. One night, somebody asked Johnny why he bothered to suffer such an incompetent bass player. His answer was, " I know he's the worst bass player in Amsterdam, but he lives in the house below me and he has a car!" That was a clear indication that Johnny was dependent on the guy to see that he got home without falling in the canal!

He could have achieved greater fame had he taken up the offer of touring and recording in the USA. However, he got drunk and failed to make the required meeting with the agent concerned.

When he died his son, a drug addict, stole Johnny's accordion and sold it. The people in the Jordaan neighbourhood had a whip round for Johnny's funeral, and it too disappeared.

He was a natural for jazz and his trademark was to move his hand in circular motions on the treble keyboard, slurring the notes as he played.

Mind you, he did manage to reach the age of 80, so he didn't do too badly. His big Accordiola accordion was later snapped up by an enthusiast, and still makes occasional appearances today, complete with cigar burns (Johnny routinely smoked whilst he played) and treble buttons out of alignment.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by donn » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:22 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:19 am
I started out nitpicking your response but it's sort of pointless: the main problem here is that you are not talking out of actual experience and get stuff wrong enough to trigger my nitpicking defenses, sometimes subtly so, sometimes glaringly. So let's just skip to the end for now: we can still discuss single points later on when there is actual interest, but most things have already been said in different contexts anyway.
To be fair, we're talking about such an extreme range of human endeavor that it might as well be two different things. There are an awful lot of accordion players, and would-be accordion players, who not only will never suit up for Klingenthal, the apex of ambition is to appear in any public performance ... and who have a rudimentary grasp of the piano, and can run with that while they come to grips with the mysteries of the Stradella bass. The point about multiple buttons for a note, I can verify as someone who does play CBA - as he notes, "especially early on."

While I don't regret choosing CBA from the start, it isn't a simple choice where one's better than the other.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by henrikhank » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:41 pm

Personally, I think PA is a better choice. The reason: it has piano keys so playing melodies on the PA will help with playing melodies on the piano.
Some people just don't wanna play piano so they go for CBA. Not wanting to play piano is weird!

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:52 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:41 pm
Personally, I think PA is a better choice. The reason: it has piano keys so playing melodies on the PA will help with playing melodies on the piano.
There are very few people renowned for playing both organ and piano well in spite of both of them having piano keys for both hands. And a PA has piano keys only on the right hand.

Can you name a few people renowned to be good on both piano and piano accordion?

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by donn » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:02 pm

None of the musician types I know are really renowned at anything, actually. Clearly took the wrong path somewhere.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by george garside » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:14 am

as I have mentioned earlier the continental makes a lot of sense for those with no 'piano' keyboard experience or with little competence thereon.

However the problem comes in that most people including non players can visualise the linear progression of a scale on a pino keyboard but the continental looks like a motley collection of buttons.

This is compounded by the lack of cheap second hand continentals on which to test the water so borrowing or hiring one for a month is probably the best way to make the decision. This is exactly what I did many years ago , somebody kindly lending me one while he was away on holiday. Armed with nothing more than a keyboard chart aand a daily dabble (or two!) that months worth left me in no doubt of the ( to me ) advantages of the continental over the piano box - it was just so easy in comparison!

I wwent completely continental for about 5 years but returned to my first love, the British Chromatic, as the continental did not offer the same challenges!


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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:03 am

george garside wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:14 am
as I have mentioned earlier the continental makes a lot of sense for those with no 'piano' keyboard experience or with little competence thereon.

However the problem comes in that most people including non players can visualise the linear progression of a scale on a pino keyboard but the continental looks like a motley collection of buttons.
I always have a whole lot of problems with "visualisation" arguments since the principal connection to an instrument to me is a tactile one, and stuff like "linear progression of a scale" does not make a whole lot of sense on string instruments, modern brass instruments (excepting cornets in first approximation), and even woodwinds become increasingly "nonlinear" in higher ranges, never mind the almost keyboard-like arrangement of flaps.

One advantage I'll admit is that common notation matches the black-and-white key arrangement of a piano quite better than a chromatic keyboard, and as opposed to guitar (where there are tablatures), no execution-oriented notation style has been able to establish itself in parallel with standard notation.

Even without the intermediate step of visualization, this makes the mapping of notes to execution less straightforward, particularly regarding polyphonic play. It probably evens out again once you reach the state where you can add improvised elements while sight reading: that kind of functional score reading likely benefits from the rather functional approach of a CBA keyboard. But there are rather few players at that level. For the typical player, the more tenuous relation to notation will be a disadvantage, but there are advantages in other respects.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by george garside » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:11 pm

there are of course a considerable number of box players of all systems who make little or no use of notations, the dots or whatever you want to call them.

Knowing the 'route' or linear pattern or whatever of a scale is however an essential bit of knowledge for all players whether dotists or earists - otherwise how can you play a higher or lower note and combinations thereof?

george

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by dan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:31 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:03 am
I always have a whole lot of problems with "visualisation" arguments since the principal connection to an instrument to me is a tactile one, and stuff like "linear progression of a scale" does not make a whole lot of sense on string instruments, modern brass instruments (excepting cornets in first approximation), and even woodwinds become increasingly "nonlinear" in higher ranges, never mind the almost keyboard-like arrangement of flaps.
Some things are easier for me on one instrument or another and visualization may have something to do with it.

CBA has consistent chord and interval shapes. That usually helps with playing by ear. When I hear a perfect fifth I can visualize where to go relative to the previous note (in a row and down two buttons). It doesn't help for reading music. Sometimes two lines apart on the staff is a perfect fifth, sometimes not.

It doesn't help when harmonizing a melody. That was easy on PA and surprisingly difficult on CBA. I'd get a feel for how far to reach for a third, and if I'd warmed up with the key signature, I would automatically adjust to stay in key.
On CBA it becomes apparent that "thirds" come in two varieties, and I'd either need to listen harder for the difference, or wrap my head around the zig-zag pattern of the permissible notes for a key signature. Scale practice wasn't doing me much good, since I thinking more about the order of fingers than the layout of notes, so I spent some time staring at a keyboard chart and practicing scales in triplets (CDE DEF EFG etc). Once I could visualize the layout of a major scale in C position, Jitterbug Waltz became much easier.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Stephen » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:42 am

For harmonizing melodies, I use chord shapes and patterns, visual aids.

If you take the basic triads and seventh chords from The Cipher, you don't need to know the names of the notes.
(I don't use the ciphers inside the circles/buttons, the black colour is enough to memorize the shapes)
http://www.thecipher.com/cba_c_and_b_system_triads.html

Using a 1 (tonic) to 7 (leading tone sus-tonic) numbering (diatonic scale) on the theciper.com layouts, is also an aid to learn scales and chords.
(The "chromatic" numbering 0 to 12 is more complicated )

But maybe the easiest is to use no numbers at all.
Memorizing the black shapes/patterns works fine for me when adding chords or harmonizing melody.
Root position, first inversion, second inversion, ...

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by wout » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:57 am

Geronimo wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:52 pm
henrikhank wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:41 pm
Personally, I think PA is a better choice. The reason: it has piano keys so playing melodies on the PA will help with playing melodies on the piano.
There are very few people renowned for playing both organ and piano well in spite of both of them having piano keys for both hands. And a PA has piano keys only on the right hand.

Can you name a few people renowned to be good on both piano and piano accordion?
Well there is yann tiersen, not the most impressive music but certainly renowned and a less famous guy named dave thomas. He started out as a yann tiersen imitation but has his own music now. But agreed i dont know many. Most youtube artists i see who play piano as a first instrument play the accordion rather static.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by WaldoW » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:00 am

Some good stuff here!

Dingo40:
While intimidating and confusing at first, the layout of CBA’s is all about the theory behind music (circle of 5ths, 3eds, 7ths, etc.)., whereas, the piano keyboard is only linear. The linear layout presents the successive notes more clearly, BUT, the finger combinations necessary to form all the chords, in all the keys are legion.
When starting out, I went into a music store in order to purchase a book that showed the various chord forms necessary for piano keyboard (my chosen instrument). I was shocked to find a magazine size book that was 1/2 “ (12mm) thick. There were 100’s, if not 1000’s of forms to learn.
This experience led me to investigate other accordion systems. The CBA (for me, C griff) quickly became the system of choice, for the reason given above.

Once one key pattern (3 if you confine yourself to the 3 outer rows) is understood and mastered, all keys are the same pattern. The same is true for chords. Once a chord form is learned, it’s the same for any key.
What this boils down to is this:

CBA: Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished = 4 forms for all keys
Add 7ths = 4 forms for all keys
Add 9ths = 4 forms for all keys
(Add 11ths, 13ths, etc for jazz) = 8+ more forms

Add the first 3 for a total of 12 forms.


Piano: Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished = 4 forms x 12 keys = 48 forms
Add 7ths = 4 forms x 12 keys = 48 forms
Add 9ths = 4 forms x 12 keys = 48 forms

Now, I’m not a piano player and there may be some overlap between forms, but it doesn’t require new math to figure out which system is going to be easier in the long run. 12 looks a whole lot easier than 150 plus!

With respect the multiple button/note options, it is just that, that makes the instrument as easy to play as it is [might get some feedback on that statement]. This is also where the black and white button board debate re-emerges.

Geronimo & George:

I think we may be applying the term “linear” differently.
George’s post “Knowing the 'route' or linear pattern or whatever of a scale”
contradicts my understanding/application of the word “linear” (or “straight or in alignment”). I’m in agreement with the “route” part, as every CBA scale requires the route, but Zig-Zaging back and forth between 3 rows is hardly linear, whereas, moving left and right on a piano keyboard is linear. It is this very distinction/difference that gives the CBA it’s versatility. One could argue the piano keyboard is likewise offset with the black keys set back, but the point would then be missed.
A single string guitar would be linear and would suffer the same issues. All the notes would be there, but playing them would be awkward in the extreme.
I suppose the key of C major could be considered “linear” in the sense of the notes being “without sharps/flats”. But then, what do I know about it.

With respect the “Visualization” issue, I used to build Rose Parade floats in Pasadena, California. The concept for the float was a “rendering”, or artists conception of the finished product, that was presented to the client. Once sold, we floor personnel were tasked with turning the two dimensional rendering into a three dimensional object. If you couldn’t visualize the end result before bending the metal, you didn’t last long. And I saw many come and go over the years.
It was this obvious application of visualized patterns to the buttons that sold me on the CBA. Now, if I could just get those patterns to land on the proper buttons, all the time, I’d be complete.

P.S.
thecipher.com is a big help for beginners. Learn/visualize the patterns, then practice the triad forms in one key. Once you can efficiently go from one form to another, then practice moving around the button board applying the various forms learned. Never mind how it sounds, just learn how to maintain the different hand/finger shapes while moving about. While you’re at it, learn the I – IV – V patterns on the 'board, and intersperse the various forms [Major, minor, diminished and augmented] into the rotations (I use the 12 and 16 bar blues rotations for practice). It’s tough at first, but becomes automatic quite quickly. I haven’t become proficient at 7ths yet, but apply the same approach.

Press on….

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Glenn » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:33 am

As an aside to this discussion we cannot ignore the history of how these keyboards were designed around solving a technical issue, namely how to get the right force to the right part of an instrument at the right time. You couldn’t imagine a mechanical piano or harpsichord with button keyboard as the mechanics of linking the buttons to the hammers and picks cannot be achieved purely mechanically in such a small space. In addition the form of keyboard was influenced by what musicians wanted to achieve musically which may be a chicken and egg argument but needs to be factored in.
1) Ballone Burini 46C (4+5) cassotto (LMMH) 3/3 PA; 2) Accordiola Piano V (5+5) cassotto (LMMMH) 3/3 PA;
3) Roland FR8X; 4) Hohner Vox 4k (LMMH) 3/3 CBA

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Geronimo » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:14 am

Glenn wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:33 am
As an aside to this discussion we cannot ignore the history of how these keyboards were designed around solving a technical issue, namely how to get the right force to the right part of an instrument at the right time.
That seems like revisionist history to me. The accordion started its evolution with one-row diatonics which were rather simple mechanisms.

The big historic jump was to a unisonoric system identical on push and draw and this basically forked the development: one faction favored a new button layout (B system, incidentally, for example on the treble of Schrammelharmonikas retaining a bisonoric diatonic bass layout), another basically thought "if we are going unisonoric anyway, we might as well use a piano keyboard like on a harmonium".

"Getting the right force to the right part of an instrument at the right time" was already a solved problem for buttons at the time unisonoric accordions came into being. And harmoniums actually had always had piano keyboards but they were always "unisonoric", the more expressive ones working with pressure and the more affordable ones with suction. So piano keyboard construction for valved instruments was not starting from scratch either, but of course size and weight considerations had different priorities.

The basic jump was one in size: not only did you want to accommodate all chromatic notes but you also had only one note (rather than two) per reed plate. The revolutionary trait of a Stradella bass at least managed to make it into instruments of both types: there were a few attempts in history to produce left-hand piano keyboards but they never became popular enough to survive.

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by george garside » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:10 am

not only both types but three types as the British Chromatic(which is both chromatic and diatonic) mainly uses stradella bass

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by Stephen » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:42 am

This website has a blanco 3 rows chromatic fingering chart for downloading or printing:
http://accordionfiles.blogspot.be/2010/11/

go to "chromatic 3-row fingering chart" and click to enlarge.
They can be used for B-system or C-system players.

Or you can make some charts on your computer.

If you use black for the chord shapes in root position, first inversion, second inversion, ... it's easy to memorize.
And in a split second, you know how to finger the chords on every music note.
This helps a lot, and it's fun to do.

You can add 2 rows to have the full 5 rows blanco fingering charts for CBA

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by losthobos » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:39 pm

WaldoW wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:00 am
Some good stuff here!

CBA: Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished = 4 forms for all keys
Add 7ths = 4 forms for all keys
Add 9ths = 4 forms for all keys
(Add 11ths, 13ths, etc for jazz) = 8+ more forms

Add the first 3 for a total of 12 forms.


Press on….
Any chance you've link to pattern sheet for the 9th chords...11s, 13's 6/9s etc
I'm self taught but would love some verification I'm on the right track re extensions/voicings
Thank you kindly...
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

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Re: Piano or cromatic accordion?

Post by WaldoW » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:32 am

LH,
Go to joelmabus.com
Click "workshops" in left bar
Then "Chord workshop"
Then "Interval Chart" below
Then scroll down to bottom of document for chord breakdown.

Some of the other stuff on chords is useful as well.

Press on....

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