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.

Stephen
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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.

donn
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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!

Geronimo
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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?

donn
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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.

george garside
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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!


george

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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.

george garside
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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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