Which genre of music you look for?
Mar., 23, 2007
Back: - Kevin, Peter & Warren / Front - Mary, Margaret & Sue
Norvic Concordia play from a wide range of music in many different styles, ranging from classical music to music of the present day, but mainly in a light and easy to listen to vein. From this wide repertoire they are able to devise a concert programme to suit most tastes.
For further details please contact:
40, St. Michaels Way,
Phone & Fax : 01603 713565
Web : http://norvicconcordia.co.uk/
Mar., 23, 2007
The North Devon Accordion Club was formed in September 2003 with support from the
Tarka Country Millennium Awards scheme.
Its aim is to promote learning and appreciation of the accordion
amongst people of all ages and abilities within the area of North Devon .
The club meets at Westward Ho! for rehearsal on a weekly basis.
New members are always welcome and individual tuition is also available.
For further information please contact :-
The Musical Director on 01237 423678
The Secretary on 01237479352
Zevy Zions’ Olive Blossoms
Mar., 19, 2007
A few years ago, I inherited a fantastic collection of classic accordion sheet music. The arrangers’ names read like a “Who’s Who” of accordion masters: Deiro, Frosini, Magnante, Nunzio. However, most of the pieces were (and still are) far beyond my reach, so I was left wondering how “La Mariposita” and “Carnival of Venice” should really sound.Now I know — thanks to Zevy Zions and his excellent new album of accordion solos, Olive Blossoms. Zions is a student of the great performer and teacher Charles Nunzio who, in turn, was a student of the legendary Pietro Frosini. Most of the songs on Olive Blossoms were either written or arranged by Frosini or Nunzio and it’s clear that Zions has gone to great lengths to do them justice.From the start, Zions’ playing is impeccable, even on the most challenging material. But he’s no robot either; whether it’s the bouncy “Jolly Caballero” or the dreamy “Florette”, Zions handles the dynamics and nuances of each piece with care. The album’s centerpiece is his “Klezmer Suite” arrangement, which builds from a wandering, improvisational Doina to a rollicking Freilach.Variety is key to any album of solos (regardless of instrument), and Zions does a fine job showing the accordion’s versatility across styles and genres. The album’s 18 tracks range from waltzes to tarantellas, polkas to tangos, with a unique accordion arrangement of a Mozart minuet for good measure.There are no MIDI tricks here — just pure, beautifully executed renditions of accordion classics. Whether you’re new to these songs, or an experienced player seeking inspiration, Olive Blossoms would be an excellent addition to your accordion listening library.Buy Olive Blossoms by Zevy ZionsZevy Zions: Coquette Polka (MP3 download)
Relampago en Univision y Telemundo
Mar., 19, 2007
Relampago estara del 26 al 31 de Marzo del 2007 en Miami grabando los programas de Television de Univision y Telemundo.
El Lunes 26 de Marzo del 2007 estaremos en: "El Gordo Y La Flaca"
El Martes 27 de Marzo del 2007 estaremos en: "Primer Impacto"/ Acceso Maximo(Galavision) y LaMusica.com(Cable)
El Miercoles 28 De Marzo del 2007 estaremos en:"Frecuencia"(Telemundo)
El Jueves 29 De Marzo del 2007 estaremos en: "Despierta America" y "Tu Desayuno Alegre"
El Viernes 30 de Marzo del 2007 estaremos en: Escandalo TV (Telefutura)
**Sabado Gigante** no sabemos exactamente que dia pero puede ser le 24 o el 31 de Marzo yo les avizo.
Ojala que nos puedan acompañar en su televisor que estaremos mandando saludos! Gracias por el Apoyo!!
Tejano/Conjunto Festival 2007 **SCHEDULE**
Mar., 19, 2007
I found this in the San Antonio Express with the following picture of our very own, Joel Guzman online at:
Thursday, May 10
5:00-5:20 pm Opening ceremonies & TCF Poster Contest Awards
5:35-6:45 pm Bene Medina y el Conjunto Aguila
7:00-8:10 pm Oscar Hernandez & the Tuff Band
8:25-9:35 pm Paulino Bernal y el Conjunto Bernal
9:50-11:00 pm Joel Guzmán y Los Aztex featuring Sarah FoxFriday, May 11 "Puro Conjunto Pesado: Asi se baila en el valle"
5:00-6:15 pm Gilberto Perez y sus Compadres
6:35-7:50 pm Los Fantasmas del Valle
8:10-9:25 pm Ruben Vela y su Conjunto
9:45-11:00pm Los Dos GilbertosSaturday, May 12 "Puro Conjunto Pesado: The San Anto, Laredo, Corpus Christi Connection"
11:00-11:50 am Student Recital: GCAC/Conjunto Heritage Taller/Palo Alto College
12:05-12:55 pm Los D Boyz
1:10-2:00 pm Los Conjunto Kings de Flavio Longoria
2:15-3:05 pm Nick Villarreal y su Conjunto
3:20-4:10 pm Bernardo y sus Compadres
4:25-5:15 pm Linda Escobar y su Conjunto
5:30-6:20 pm Los Texmaniacs de Max Baca
6:35-7:25 pm Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers
7:30-7:50 pm Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Ceremony
8:00-8:50 pm Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto
9:05-9:55 pm Los Pavos Reales/Salvador Garcia y Eddie "Lalo" Torres
10:10-11:00 pm Mingo Saldivar y sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas
11:15-12:05 pm Flaco Jimenez y su Conjunto
Gary Blair 2007
Mar., 18, 2007
24th March - Greenock Town Hall
28th March - Kelso Accordion club
29th March - St Aloysius college
30th March - Woodside Halls glasgow
31st March - Milngavie Town Hall ( guesting with the band called '' Robbie shepherd's nightmare)
14th April - West Parish Church Rutherglen
19th April - St Aloyisius College
21st April - Kilmarnock
28th April - Melville Castle near Edinburgh
4-6th May - Scarborough UK Accordion Championships Gala Evening(also adjudicating)
19th May - Lenzie
26th May - Kilcreuth Castle Fintry
27th May - Bearsden Parish Church
30th May - Kuwait - Caledonian Society
31st May - Kuwait - Caledonian Society
1st June - East Kilbride
2nd June - Constable Country - Masterclass & Ceilidh with The Haywayners
9th June - Crieff Hydro Hotel
14th June - Seamill Hydro Hotel
15th - 21st June - USA Tour -Las Vegas Accordion Convention Nevada
29th June - Norton House Hotel Edinburgh
30th June - Pitlochry Perthshire
14th July - Glasgow
26th July - Woodside Halls Glasgow
28th July - Erskine Bridge Hotel
3rd August - Victoria Hall Dunblane
4th August - Bathgate
10th August - Kilcreuth Castle Fintry
11th August - Rutherglen Masonic
17th August - Glasgow
24th August - Greenock Town Hall
8th September - Hilton Hotel Glasgow
15th September - Glenfinnan
4th October - Caledonian University
13th October - Castle Rooms Uddingston
27th October - Moncrief Church East Kilbride
1st - 5th November - Caister Accordions International Festival Great Yarmouth
9th November - Campsie
10th November - Manchester
17th November - Stirlingshire
23rd November - London Bankers Ceilidh
8th December - Brookfield Village Hall
29th December - St Columba Club Paisley
31st December - (Hogmanay) Stirling Castle
6th - 18th February - "9th UK Southern Tour"
Contact Information for Bookings/Enquiries
Gary Blair Telephone Number is :- 07813 - 712594
The Accordion As A Chamber Instrument
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Robert Davine
Publication:Accord Magazine, USA. Reprinted courtesy of owner/editor Faithe Deffner. Back copies available.Date written: 1979
"Many people who love music never thought of attending an accordion concert, but go regularly to chamber music series," observes Frank Hohner of M. Hohner, Inc. Thus, an entirely new accordion concept is being fostered on concert-goers as the instrument finds its place in ensembles. Educator Robert Davine
, himself a concert performer, surveys this role.
Chamber music may be defined as instrumental ensemble music performed by one player to a part, as opposed to orchestral music, in which there are several players to a part. Emphasis lies on the ensemble rather than the single player. Instrumental ensemble pieces already existed in the late Middle Ages by composers such as Obrecht, Isaac, Hofhaimer, and in the 16th century by composers such as Willaert, Buus, and Padovano. Musicians to this day have continued to value chamber music, primarily because it permits a refinement and intimacy of expression that cannot be derived from a large musical organization.
Since the accordion has so many attributes that are conducive to chamber music, it is particularly suitable for this medium of expression. In essence, the accordion has all of the prerequisites essential to small ensemble involvement: sustaining power, dynamic sensitivity, articulated response, timbre and texture variance, and compatibility of sound with string and wind instruments.
During the Baroque period (1600-1750), chamber music with some type of keyboard instrument (small organ, harpsichord) became prevalent with trio sonatas. This kind of chamber music is written in three parts with similar range and design and a supporting figured-bass part. The trio sonata is usually performed on four instruments: two violins for the upper parts, a cello for the bass part, and a keyboard instrument for the bass part with the realization of the thorough bass (harmony) accompaniment.
The accordion, in the role of the keyboard part, maintains the clarity of sustained lines that are essential to the character of this kind of music. Playing the keyboard part on the accordion requires little or no modification - especially if performed on an instrument, which has the extended potential of a free bass system. Since the trio sonata was the most important type of Baroque chamber music, almost all composers of this period wrote for this medium. My performing experience has included the Trio Sonatas by Bach, Handel, Telemann, Corelli and Arne.
In the past 25 years, composers have utilized the accordion in a chamber setting with particular emphasis on its explosive dynamic power coupled with transparent sustained qualities. Examples of this kind of writing are found in Carmelo Pino's Concertino for strings and accordion, Night Music for string quartet and accordion by David Diamond, Movements for accordion and string quartet and Duell for accordion and percussion by Torbjorn Lundquist, Mosaic for flute and accordion by Normand Lockwood, Trio for guitar, violin and accordion by Jindrich Feld, Introduction and Allegro by Mathyas Seiber for cello and accordion and Trio for accordion, piano and cello by Ted Zarlengo.
For the serious accordionist, it is difficult to conceive of a more challenging and satisfying musical effort than the involvement in chamber music. Working with other instruments gives one a completely new perspective about the accordion's unlimited musical resources and sound control, as well as musical understanding of how one's own part contributes to the overall shape of the composition. The accordion's function as the sound producer and controller within the ensemble must be thoroughly understood to be used most efficiently as the medium of expression, since music, by its very nature, is a living, breathing art.
Among the benefits to be derived by utilizing the accordion in a chamber music setting is not only the musical content gained by the performer, but the fact that it also stimulates further special interest for other musicians. The use of the accordion in chamber music, for the most part, has remained obscure; its importance as an ensemble instrument has sometimes been misunderstood and many musicians, whose contact with this instrument has been limited, are unaware of its scope. To introduce the accordion to musicians and scholars, thereby removing the misconceptions about its quality and appeal, two things are necessary: musical understanding and sensitivity to and about playing a part, which while independent, should be amalgamated within the sound balance of the whole ensemble.
Obviously, there is no one formula of requirements to become a fine chamber player, simply because music is such a personal experience - a quality to be much esteemed in our mass production age - that each player and listener draws a different benefit from it. For the accordionist, a completely new and untapped medium of expression is to be uncovered through the performance of chamber ensemble playing. The challenge is even more exciting because this medium as not yet been fully explored.
The Accordion Plays Jazz
Mar., 16, 2007
Publication:General Date written:09 December 2000 The Accordion Plays Jazz - Italy Traditionally relegated within the confines of popular and entertainment music, the accordion suffered throughout the years a singular fate: as an outcast both in the world of "serious" music, which regarded it as not being noble enough, and in the world of popular music consumed by young people, who saw it as old-fashioned. To escape this situation the accordion has often had to pay a very high price.
While the bandoneon gradually came to be perceived as the instrument of tango in Argentina, the accordion was brought from Europe across the Atlantic ocean towards the end of the nineteenth century. Italian expatriates took it to the United States, where it found its cradles in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the accordion was used primarily in orchestral groups, although it also had its niche role in the ragtime genre. The pioneers of this early movements are Charlie Creath (who actually played a number of instruments) and the Italian-American Tito Guidotti. In neither case, however, we can talk about jazz yet.
Significant appearances of the accordion took place in this period thanks to Joe Smelser and Charles Magnante, two swing soloists who played in very prestigious orchestras, including those of Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. More or less all of the musicians mentioned above preferred a style ranging from the musette (a term which indicates a specific French accordion style) to the swing which was at its most popular in this period.
Other important artists of the time include Gus Viseur, Toni Murena and Joe Privat.
In Italy the jazz accordion is historically confined to the work of Gorni Kramer, a swing accordionist whose contribution was picked up, among others, by Wolmer Beltrami and Peppino Principe. The most important contribution to the modernization of the instruments was given by June Garner and Alice Hall (1917). The latter, Belgian by birth, might be considered the first "be-boy" accordionist, having played with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and was famous for the amazing energy that she used to put in her improvisations.
This takes us to the first real exponents of the jazz accordion era, and who deserve this label due to the fact that they were real leaders, capable of drawing to this newly introduced instrument a range of musicians of great calibre. The accordionists in question are Art Van Damme and Mat Mathews.
Van Damme recorded more than forty albums, and still plays live from time to time, while Mathews, the least "be-boy" of the two, heralded a style of evident Californian origins. Both accordionists have played with jazz musicians of international stature, including Joe Venuti, Archie Shepp, Kenny Clarke, Art Farmer and many others.
Italian-French accordionist Richard Galliano is currently the prime exponent of the jazz accordion world. His main merits consist in the ability of finding a balance between tradition and innovation, and of mixing several different genres: from French musette to Argentinean tango (which he knows full well, having been a student of Astor Piazzolla's), all filtered through his extraordinary virtuoso skills and trademark accuracy. The jazz accordion scene in Italy is currently represented by the opposing styles of Gianni Coscia and Antonello Salis. Coscia, formerly a student of Gorni Kramer's, has largely drawn from the accepted academic tradition of accordion interpretation; while Salis has taken a much more non-conformist approach to his style of jazz accordion and piano performance, and his moulding these instruments to his artistic goals.
The considerable distance that still separates traditional and avant-garde musicians suggests that the possibilities of the accordion within this musical genre are still largely to be explored.
In this sense, the main problem is that the accordion has been used very little so far to produce modern jazz and true innovation. Beyond doubt, the most influential avant-garde jazz accordionist of today is the Slovak-born American Guy Klucevsek (b. 1947). Klucevsek started experimenting with jazz in the seventies alongside John Zorn before achieving notoriety in the quartet led by Bill Frisell, and collaborates nowadays with the most important avant-garde jazz musicians of our time (as well as with Frisell and Zorn, he plays with Antony Braxton, Don Byron, Dave Liebman). In a movement whose territory is still largely uncharted, with an instrument whose potential is yet to be fully realised, there are many non-specialists and pseudo-accordionists who are taking advantage of a situation which (from the point of view of modern jazz) is still dominated by profound ignorance, and whose main lines of development still grow out of the traditional and surpassed roots of the accordion.
The main issue is that the accordion over the years has built its own "personal" world, largely isolated from the key instruments of jazz (trumpet, saxophone, etc.) which should in fact taken as a model both for their historical importance and for the personalities who managed to ensure their continuous growth.
Simone ZanchiniBack to
Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra 1984 Tour U.S.A and Canada
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Fay Schaw
Publication:Accordion Federation of North America NewsletterDate written: 1984
When President Aglora asked the New Zealand Accordion Orchestra for a "story" on its activities, he didn't dare hope for an odyssey. But here it is, a delightful and interesting account of the group's recent adventures.
A few years ago, this group, on its first tour in Europe, developed the concept of the camping/bus tour. Their bus is large enough to carry all their instruments as well as their camping gear, which certainly beats high hotel rates.
No one was named as the author of this report, but we assume it was a joint effort by the three directors: Harley Jones
, Heather Masefield
and conductor, Fay Schaw
This, the third International concert Tour for this group, was a wonderful experience for all who took part, for the warm friendships that were made and the many memorable sights seen.
The party left New Zealand in the cold of winter and walked down the steps of their aircraft into the sweltering heat of the Hawaiian summer. It took a few days for us to acclimatize. For our first concert, held at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, it was like playing in a sauna, with the temperature at 95 degrees. Three of the young players had to be carried from the stage. Never mind, we survived and the audience gave us a great reception. Our time in Hawaii was spent in sight-seeing and giving the final polish to our programme, prior to AFNA.
For most of our members, the AFNA Festival was a keenly anticipated highlight, since competitions here in New Zealand are on a much smaller scale. Our individual players did very well and our sponsors, Air New Zealand, were more than happy to carry our trophies home free-of-charge, a great relief for us as our baggage volume was an ever-present worry and the beautiful trophies certainly added to it.
We were delighted with the audience's reaction to our performance at AFNA. Receiving a standing ovation in the middle of our programme certainly made all the long hours of practice and fund-raising worth while. Many friends were made amongst the accordionists and it is hoped that many will visit New Zealand so that we may return the friendship and hospitality that we received. Thank you, to the executives of AFNA for hosting us so admirably.Seattle-Vancouver
While in Los Angeles we performed at Disneyland, a most exciting experience, not only to visit and enjoy the wonders of Disneyland but to be part of the entertainment as well. We also performed for the Pacific Travel Agents Association at Lawry's Out Door Center. This location is right next to a railway line and a long freight train went past for almost the entire length of the "Marriage of Figaro," an interesting experience. Our final appearance in Los Angeles was at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena.
The group received an invitation to visit a luxury home in Huntington Beach and were taken on a "house hopping' boat tour of the canals, visiting the homes of neighbours, a most enjoyable day.
Our tours are a little different from other orchestras' tours as we travel "under canvas." From Los Angeles, we flew north to Seattle to begin this part of our journey. At our first campsite, sleep was a little difficult to come by, as not only were the airbeds a trifle unfamiliar but it so happened that our camp was located in a commuters' triangle. On one side was Sea-Tac Airport, on the other, the railway line and on the third, the freeway. By morning we were convinced that Washingtonians didn't sleep, or at the very least had conspired to keep us awake.British Columbia - The Rockies
Morning came and we packed away our tents and headed for Vancouver travelling through lush green valleys and forests of tall spearmint-coloured pines. As luck would have it, our camp for our first stay in Canada was run by - wait for it! - an accordionist, and he traded us a performance at his weekly salmon bake for our accommodation, we were able to enjoy our first taste of fresh salmon, before it is crammed in to 425 gram tins, Yummy! In Vancouver we performed for the local New Zealand ex-patriots at a function organized by the America-New Zealand Society, and during the day took time to visit the famous city sights, such as Stanley Park.
From Vancouver we made an early start because we had a 12-hour bus ride to Prince George, way in the north of British Columbia. The Prince Georgians treated us like royalty and it was lovely to stay with the locals in their homes. A mayoral reception was given prior to our concert which was given to assist the local children's hospital. It was a proud moment for us as the audience rose for our National Anthem, this for the first of many times on our tour. We also made our first TV appearance here in Prince George. Montana - Idaho - Seattle - Los AngelesFour days were spent in Montana, two at the Double Arrow Ranch and two in Missoula. While in Montana we gave five performances and really enjoyed the western ranching atmosphere: spurs, denims, ten-gallon hats, log cabins and all. We all managed to survive a horse ride or two, and our thanks must go to our great friend Tom Collins for arranging this portion of our tour.
Our next journey was eastward to Jaspar National Park in the Rockies, where everyone after being scared silly by the ranger on arrival, regarding the BEARS, ended up being disappointed at not seeing one at all! In Jasper, the night temperature fell to -5 degrees, and our orange tents were turned white. The next day saw the arrival of more than one or two new sleeping bags and warm jackets in camp. Our concert was given at the Jasper Park Lodge, for the opening dinner of the famous golf tournament. We had the guests dancing in between the tables during some of our more lively numbers.
From here we moved on to the Banff National Park where we made the mistake of pitching our tents on the rather sparse patches of grass. After they were all pitched and anxious warden told us that the grass had taken THREE years to grow. This was completely beyond our comprehension as in New Zealand grass grows like the proverbial weed, up to two inches a week. For the record, we shifted our tents. While in Banff we gave a concert at the majestic and world famous Banff Springs Hotel.
For our stay in Idaho we camped in Coeur d'Alene, beside the lake. Here and in Spokane our hosts were the local Folk Clubs. They put on some most interesting functions, including a Square Dance. While in Spokane we were fortunate to be able to spend a day at the inter-state Fair. This was so interesting for us, as coming from a farming country we were able to see and compare the different breeds and machinery and of course we loved the atmosphere it was so American.
Our final stop in the northwest was Seattle, back at our rather noisy camp site. However by now we had learnt to deal with airbeds and sleep was not so evasive. Well-known accordionist Joe Spano arranged a most successful afternoon concert and we were filmed at the Seattle Center by TV Channel 5 for live 6pm NEWS broadcast. Our luck held contrary to all projections and the weather was crystal clear for the three days we were in Seattle. This allowed us to pack away all our camping gear ready for the flight home.
We spent the final two days in Los Angeles before the long flight back to New Zealand. For two years we had worked and saved for this tour and it had been even more successful than we had dared to hope. In five weeks we had given 23 performances and received 22 standing ovations. Thank you Air New Zealand for the support that made this tour possible. Thank you America and Canada. You have given us five weeks of memories that will stay with us forever, warm memories of beautiful scenery, of memorable occasions and most importantly of friendly people.
The Contest Learning Experience
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Faithe Deffner
Publication: Accord Magazine, USA. Reprinted courtesy of owner/editor Faithe Deffner. Back copies available.Date written: 1979Monica Slomski, the 1979 U.S. champion representing the accordion teachers' guild, previously won this title in the American Accordionists' Association's 1975 championship, after which her virtuosity earned her the silver medal, second place, at the 'Coupe Mondiale' in Helsinki. She took her bachelor's degree with accordion as her major in her hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Kansas city, Missouri.
The 1979 U.S. champion representing the American Accordionists' Association, 17 year old Don Severs, from Des Moines, Iowa, has studied accordion since he was six. For the past few years, he has traveled 400 miles to make the round trip from his home to the Kansas city campus of the University of Missouri for lessons in the school's music department.
Van Cliburn became an overnight American culture hero after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. His spectacular musical career was launched by a contest victory, confirming that competition has frequently been the springboard for the highest echelon of young instrumentalists.
Competition is known to bring out the best in us, to set goals and create standards, to goad us on to break existing records. History verifies that societies, which eliminate competition, invariably slip into mediocrity.
The accordion community has long been a staunch advocate of competition. For years, contest concepts have been employed to elevate standards at the international, national, local and intramural levels. The phenomenal growth of accordion competitions may well be a result of the instrument's yet undeveloped exposure possibilities in other areas.
Whatever the reasons for the importance contests have assumed among accordionists, substantial benefits have been derived through this activity. There is an obvious correlation to be found in the relatively rapid elevation of accordion playing standards over the past few decades, during which time competition has been a major source of musical input.
Educators cite many valuable learning benefits, which the student may gain from accordion competition. Teacher-accordionist Frank Mucedola of Auburn, New York, says there is no better application of the adage "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Educator Tony Dannon of Dearborn, Michigan, whose students are frequent contest winners, stresses that youngsters learn to function under pressure and this experience is then invaluable in all areas of life. Composer and concert accordionist Anthony Galla-Rini of California notes that a student is subtly propelled toward advancement in knowledge and technical ability as he progresses to the next higher contest category each year.
Tito Guidotti, a Los Angeles teacher, composer and accordionist, points out that students benefit from exposure to different types of literature which is frequently encountered for the first time at competitions. Frank Gaviani of Boston, a renowned composer and teacher, observes that competition helps the student because he is compelled to practice more intelligently for this special event.
The contest learning experience is indeed multifaceted. There is little question about its musical significance, but comments by sociologist Dr. Douglas L. White of the Henry Ford Community College, may shed light on aspects of personal growth which the contest offers to young competitors.
The sociologist sees a relationship to attitudes with respect to perseverance. Children learn to persist in the face of adversity. It is heartbreaking not to win a prize when one has practiced long and hard. And, it is at this time when the love and support of family is so meaningful. The family has an opportunity to demonstrate just how important each member is by being supportive of the one experiencing disappointment. Such introductions to, and development of persistence is of inestimable value. It teaches children how to lose gracefully
"Accordion competition helps to develop modest aplomb in youngsters. When one wins big in local, regional, or national contest, victory may go to one's head. Learning that one can never be too certain of his position, tends to temper excesses. To take the plaudits of the public graciously is an important skill. In other words, Sociologist White concludes, "children must also learn how to be winners". Contests stimulate and sustain interest among the younger musicians. Their far-reaching impact generates enthusiasm among students, teacher and parents, while creating educational and entertainment opportunities galore.
"Accept your losses proudly, acknowledge your winnings humbly and above all, continue to strive for the greatness with which you are blessed," says accordionist Ray Lewis, who teaches in West Covina, California, and believes that lessons in living, as well as in music, are to be learned from the contest situation.
Accordion contests today sport more than 100 competitive categories, some of which require prior qualifications and others are open to all accordionists. Classifications include solos, duets, combos, ensembles, bands and orchestras, representing all styles of music from classical to pop to ethnic, at age and study levels tailored to meet the needs of thousands of participants who receive cash prizes, trophies, medals, ribbons, certificates and lavish dollops of self-esteem.
In the United States alone, music school, state, regional and national contests bring together tens of thousands of contenders in accordion competitions and festivals which provide the place for young people to display their musical accomplishments while contending for prizes and distinctions in their "struggle for superiority or victory," as the dictionary defines "contest."
Aldous Huxley, the prominent English author said, "There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life." This statement is certainly borne out by the vast numbers of six, seven, and eight year olds who plunge fearlessly into accordion contests.
Why do thousands of accordion students spend countless hours in preparation for contests? Why do they travel hundreds and hundreds of miles by car, bus, train, or plane to enter competitions? Why do teachers devote substantial amounts of time and energy preparing soloists and groups for competition? Why do noted educators, composers, and performers offer their services as adjudicators? Why do parents plan holidays, weekends, and vacations to conform to contest schedules so they may accompany their youngsters to these events? Why do scores of local, state, national, and international associations become enthusiastic sponsors of regular competitions? The most apparent answer to all these questions is simply that contests offer spectacular returns. Indeed, contests stimulate and sustain interest. They generate enthusiasm among students, teachers and parents. They create educational, social and entertainment opportunities. There are significant benefits derived from contest-related travel, exposure to new and exciting experiences, and the lasting friendships found through contest camaraderie.
Composer and concert accordionist, Dr.William Schimmel, who wrote the 1979 world accordion championship test piece, The Spring Street Ritual, says, "It's true, there has been an increase in virtuosity due to contests, but not necessarily in artistry."
Most educators, however, concur that new heights of artistry and virtuosic standards have been attained in the accordion world largely through the stimulus of competition. In fact, young students today are proficient at playing many of the works, which only the most accomplished artists were competent to perform years ago.
Donald Balestrieri, a noted composer, editor, concert accordionist and faculty member of San Diego State University in California, is emphatic in stating, "Contests inspire students to strive for, and attain, better musicianship by focusing greater attention on musical details such as accuracy, phrasing, technique and other interpretive aspects. The younger student's interest and awareness is often intensified through exposure to advanced players at competitions."
Some teachers conclude that regular lessons can only point out weaknesses; contest preparation and adjudication indicate a more forceful demand for correction. Moreover, a deadline is set; the piece must be ready for perfect concert performance at a specific time.
Esteemed teacher and jazz accordionist Tony Dannon believes that students might "not remain long enough on one selection to learn it properly," were it not for the more stringent requirements of contest performance.
"The accordion is portable - marvelous as both a solo and a group instrument - ideal features which enable students to play with other musicians. The musical benefit and social stimulus of playing music with others is a unique advantage," says Harley Jones, who has frequently adjudicated at the Coupe Mondiale, the international accordion championship, and is a well known performer and teacher in his native New Zealand.
In recent years, members of the music community have been thinking deep thoughts about competitions in general and their very validity. Rosalie Leventritt, one of the principals behind the prestigious Leventritt International Competition (established in 1939 in memory of Edgar M. Leventritt, a New York lawyer and music lover), recently stated that "Competitions are breeding a kind of artist we are not eager to foster."
Ms Leventritt believes that competition winners all over the world are developing into skilled technicians who play everything by the book without imagination or commitment. They play for the jury, and they are not going to take any chances. Jury members, most of whom are teachers and, regrettably, sometimes pedantic in their musical outlook, get disturbed when a flaming temperament comes up, interprets in a highly personal way, drops notes, aims for a big line rather than precision. This is not musical playing, and adjudicators may frown upon such liberties being taken, according to Ms Leventritt.
All too often, contest hierarchies have been less than happy with some of the winners selected by adjudicators. The feeling was that they were talented but not yet ready for a major career. Sometimes, non-winners have been viewed as potentially superior. More and more contest sponsors are beginning to think that the maturation of a young musician may be of greater significance that the strongly technical skills which appear to impress many adjudicators.
No matter how loudly serious musicians may decry the concept of competitions, it is a fact of life that glamour, suspense and excitement are an integral part of the concert-going experience. One of the problems about musical life today is that we have too many serious musicians and not enough exciting ones.
Elmar Oliveira, who recently won a gold medal for his violin virtuosity at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, has found that both his schedule of concert engagements and his performance fees have tripled. Yet with all this, Oliveira faced a problem common to many skilled musicians - making a living. To help support himself he played in the pit orchestras of three Broadway shows, Irene, Applause and The Rothchilds.
"I've done a lot of freelancing," he comments. It's part of earning a living. It's not always easy - you have to keep the discipline of caring about how you're playing. Whether it's the Beethoven Concerto or Alice Blue gown, every note is important. If you have that attitude, the quality of your playing will keep up. When I was in Moscow, I discovered that some of the other American competitors had never played a commercial job in their lives.
"That seems unrealistic to me. Many great musicians have played in cafes and jazz bands. You learn from those experiences - you can't just sit in a practice room and develop into an artist. You grow from exposure to as much diversity as possible. I'm constantly being surprised at musicians I meet - and good musicians, too - who don't know who Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane are. They have no idea of what they can draw from their own instrument. I admire a man like Andre Previn, who's a tremendous jazz pianist, who can write scores, who's an all-around musician. That's what it's all about."
While Oliveira obviously appreciates what contest victories have done for his career, he stresses his own desire for a feeling of individuality. "Today there are more people playing more notes than ever before. I sometimes think that the element of a player's own style has faded. I try to draw on traditional playing and also on the phenomenal modern schooling that has developed." This 28-year-old musician believes that one's personality should be evident in one's playing. He wants people to say, "This is this guy playing - not just another good musician."
Some believe that the maturation of a young musician may have greater importance than the publicity and fuss over winning a major competition. Competition formats are in flux as other possibilities are being scrutinized. There are those who advocate a national jury selecting several highly talented musicians, giving them cash awards and performance opportunities, and hand-tailoring all events to the performer's needs. Others favor concentrating on young artists and subsidizing their careers for at least a period of time.
In some countries there is considerable subsidy, under government auspices, available to budding artists. Musicians receive special guidance and a great deal of performance exposure with everything geared toward developing them as top-flight artists.
The Western nations, however, have hardly matched Russia and other Eastern countries in providing a notable support system which can foster major careers through concert appearances, recording exposures and performance opportunities. Very recently, the American Accordionists' Association launched a modest but noteworthy program to bring its U.S. championship winners to public attention through concert exposures at world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. Dubbed 'Young Artists' Concert Series," the first program spotlighted the 1979 U.S. Accordion Cup champion, Don Severs, prior to his trip to Cannes, France, where he represented the United States at the Coupe Mondiale. Concert Series Chairman Frank Busso said that the AAA plans to further maximize its winner's performance opportunities by initiating numerous concerts across the country in collaboration with affiliated accordion organizations. It is hoped that other fraternities in the world of accordion competitions may follow this precedent.
Prominent music critic Harold C Schonberg recently evaluated the many aspects of competitions in an elaborate New York Times article, in which he examined the pros and cons before reaching his decidedly pro-contest conclusions. "Of course all competitions have built-in inequities. Of course justice is not always done. Of course there may be a severe psychological jolt to non-winners. Yet there still is a case to be made for competitions. They have many positive factors going for them.
"Entering a competition is, after all, a matter of free will. Nobody in the West has to enter a competition. Nobody is dragged in to it kicking and squealing. And competitions do help launch careers. Publicity has never hurt an artist. It may be that competitions do not themselves make careers. Only artists make careers." Schonberg concludes that first prize in a prestigious competition focuses a good deal of attention on a hitherto unknown (to the public) musician, and there is nothing like the bright light of publicity to make his face and his art familiar to all.
Creativita: la Forma "Fantasia" (1) (2)
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Renzo Ruggieri Publication:"Strumenti e Musica" (Ancona) Submitted from::Fisarmonica elettronica e MIDI Date written:
"L’insegnante vero non si vede con allievi di talento, ma in quelli mediocri".
Ho sempre bene in mente questa frase, che mi spinge continuamente a cercare le vie più efficaci e le soluzioni più durature per tutti i miei allievi, indipendentemente dalla loro predisposizione musicale. Dico questo per introdurre un tema pochissimo affrontato e che personalmente ritengo fondamentale per tutto il mondo dell’arte: la creatività.
Diffidate sempre da chi propone solo schemi e tiene poco conto dell’unicità umana.
L’elettronica si presta particolarmente ai nostri scopi per le immense potenzialità timbriche; infatti, tutti gli allievi hanno, prima o poi, proposto qualche situazione personalizzata elettronicamente.
Un altro vantaggio della musica elettronica consiste nella mancanza di un confronto diretto con i grandi compositori del passato; questo permette a tutti di poter, in qualche maniera, esprimersi senza l’improponibile paragone.
LA "FORMA FANTASIA"
Vi sono molti esercizi possibili per sviluppare la creatività; io ne uso uno in particolare che credo possa essere di comune interesse, per l’adattabilità alle varie circostanze e per fini strettamente didattici: la "Forma Fantasia" è il suo nome.
Ho pensato di definire una serie di consigli, per aiutare i giovani musicisti alla comprensione dei parametri fondamentali della musica e per l’uso della loro creatività.
Brani troppo lunghi non erano adatti, erano meglio brevi momenti musicali, che potevano descrivere una storia inventata dagli allievi stessi, ma guidata e corretta da me. In breve, ho dovuto organizzare una forma musicale, con un minimo di logica interna e con un rapporto tensione/rilassamento funzionale anche per l’ascoltatore finale.
Dalle prime prove venne fuori che cinque piccoli momenti, di circa ‘30 secondi ciascuno, erano una giusta soluzione; ogni parte doveva essere autosufficiente e quell’entrante doveva creare maggior interesse della precedente. Tutto questo, però, era inutile senza fissare precisi scopi didattici, per questo ho stabilito che ogni parte doveva sensibilizzare l’allievo ad un elemento strettamente musicale.
Con il primo momento parlo d’armonia e il ragazzo deve comporre una successione d’accordi concatenati liberamente; suggerisco d’usare nella mano destra tre-quattro note contemporanee (accordi liberi) e con la sinistra una sola nota per il basso.
Con il secondo introduco il concetto di melodia e lascio inventare una linea melodica a piacere. Paragono la melodia al parlare, limitando i miei interventi a piccoli aggiustamenti per l’eventuale quadratura musicale. L’allievo suona con la mano destra la linea melodica, mentre con la sinistra accordi ribattuti o arpeggi; naturalmente suggerisco qualcosa, qualora egli non proponga nulla d’efficace. Nei casi più disperati, preparo io stesso uno schema di otto-sedici battute usando giri armonici semplici e tutto si semplifica.
Nel terzo parlo di ritmo, mettendone in risalto la regolarità degli accenti. In questa parte evito di dare suggerimenti; chiedo soltanto di creare uno o più ritmi fra le mani, senza badare all’aspetto musicale in senso stretto.
A questo punto, avendo esaurito gli elementi fondamentali della musica, invito il ragazzo alla realizzazione di qualcosa di fortemente creativo. Suggerisco, di frequente, una forma moderna (es. un Blues) o scrivo un giro facilissimo di accordi diatonici. Lo studente sceglie uno stile musicale che trova nel proprio strumento elettronico e inizia ad improvvisare liberamente. Naturalmente la sinistra esegue gli accordi per l’auto-accompagnamento, mentre la destra cerca nuove melodie. Suggerisco qualche scala da usare o indico le note che sono fuori tonalità (note da non usare) per incoraggiarli. È incredibile come i ragazzi sono straordinariamente diversi l’uno dall’altro da piccoli e come con la crescita tendano ad uniformarsi: ecco la mia prima grande soddisfazione.
Per l’ultima parte parlo di tecnica strumentale chiedendo a loro d’organizzare qualcosa che è di difficile esecuzione. Questo naturalmente aiuta a chiudere il brano, ma soprattutto fa capire al giovane studente che la musica è fatta anche di questo elemento e che occorrono sacrifici per ottenere risultati. Suggerisco in genere qualcosa di rapido.
UN PROBLEMA INASPETTATO
Quando mi sembravano risolti tutti i problemi, ne ho incontrato uno nuovo ed inaspettato: "Ai ragazzi manca la scintilla per accendere la propria creatività".
Era necessario un nuovo elemento per l’ispirazione: una storia...
Il mese scorso ho accennato all’importanza della creatività e a com’essa può stimolare e aiutare gli studenti di strumenti elettronici (e non solo), nella comprensione dei parametri fondamentali della musica. Chiedevo a loro di scrivere cinque brevi momenti, per mettere in risalto alcuni elementi musicali come:armonia, melodia, ritmo, creatività e aspetto tecnico.
Evitavo accuratamente di suggerire melodie o armonie, limitando i miei interventi alle sole correzioni.
Nonostante tutto mancava ancora qualcosa che li spingeva attraverso il mondo della fantasia (nell’accezione meno musicale possibile, proprio per la mancanza d’obiettivi artistici, in senso stretto):mancava una storia.
Non potevo inventarla io ma neanche lasciare che la cosa si allontanasse troppo dalle mie intenzioni; per questo decisi di fissare dei punti dal quale loro sarebbero partiti. Diversi tentativi mi convinsero che la storia doveva descrivere una possibile situazione reale, scelsi, quindi, il seguente motto: "Con i sacrifici che fai oggi puoi essere musicista domani".
Descriverò, per una maggiore comprensione, il lavoro di un giovanissimo allievo - Diego di dodici anni -.
Armonia: i ragazzi sentono una successione di accordi come un qualcosa d’ampio e rarefatto. Suggerisco loro di iniziare a pensare ad una grande valle senza colore che essi devono riempire con il loro preferito. A destra (DX) devono suonare tre note contemporanee e a sinistra (SX) un basso. Diego mi ha proposto una valle piena di colori che lui ha musicalmente realizzato con timbri di voci elettroniche, usando in prevalenza accordi dissonanti e minori. Ha inserito sia crescendi, sia diminuendi che cambi di tempo. I problemi maggiori li ha affrontati quando ha dovuto collegare fra loro le triadi; dopo avergli suggerito di tenere i bassi in gradi congiunti è arrivato ad una situazione che lo soddisfaceva.
Melodia:indico che la melodia è come parlare, ad una frase deve corrispondere una risposta connessa. Per la storia, loro devono immedesimarsi in un personaggio o in un animale immaginario che cammina per la valle; quest’amico si dirige verso una direzione o un qualcos’altro che rappresenta la meta finale: la realizzazione di un loro desiderio. La SX esegue un ribattuto regolare di accordi (o un arpeggiato) e la DX crea una melodia. Diego ha inizialmente proposto una serie di frasi dal quale ho scelto le migliori; quando in seguito ha trovato la sua successione armonica, l’ho aiutato a combinare le cose. Qualche correzione finale per la quadratura musicale e la sua formichina passeggiava per la valle colorata.
Ritmo: un piccolo discorso sulla regolarità degli accenti e la proposta di creare problemi alla formichina, sono state le premesse per parlare di ritmo; la storia ha un riferimento alle difficoltà che incontrano gli allievi quando devono affrontare diverse ore di studio. Normalmente lascio, in questa sezione, completa libertà per la scelta delle atmosfere e delle sonorità. Diego, con un timbro di fiati digitali, ha creato il suo ritmo alternando seste fra le mani; ha concluso con due glissati (asc./disc.) e qualche grappolo di note ottenuto con i pugni chiusi. Perché?... semplice: la formichina aveva incontrato la forza devastante di un terremoto.
Creatività: quando parlo di creatività, innanzi tutto insegno a non attendere mai che le cose vengano dal cielo, poi cerco di liberare completamente la loro fantasia lasciandogli suonare tutto quello che desiderano, anche quando questo non è corretto o sensato. Ho scritto un giro armonico (Diego ha scelto un Blues) e una serie di note che non andavano mai fuori tonalità; la SX ha subito attivato lo stile relativo (auto-accompagnamento) e la destra ha iniziato... (inizialmente) a muoversi. La formichina nel frattempo, guardandosi intorno, aveva scoperto delle erbe magiche che buttate in terra calmavano immediatamente le ondulazioni terrestri.
Tecnica: quando parlo di tecnica intendo, non solo velocità delle dita, ma anche di pensiero; ossia il ragazzo deve cercare qualcosa che lo porti a lavorare sodo. La storia ha ovviamente una conclusione felice, con la formichina che raggiunge la meta e può gioire, nonostante le difficoltà passate. Il nostro piccolo artista ha scelto nuovamente uno stile a lui molto vicino (DiscoMusic) e, sopra un classico giro armonico, ha intessuto bicordi in sincope e semicrome.
I livelli di lettura sono molti e permettono allo stesso studente di ragionare su più cose contemporanee - sviluppo della creatività e dell’intelligenza quindi -.
Il nome "Forma Fantasia" mi sembra azzeccato perché, in qualche modo, descrive le intenzioni ed è famigliare ai giovani; la conferma è venuta proprio da Diego che ha chiamato il brano "Fantasy".
Sto provando, ora, l’esercizio con strumenti acustici sperando che, nonostante le maggiori difficoltà, funzioni ugualmente.
LA FORMA FANTASIA (motto: "Con l’impegno di oggi puoi diventare musicista domani".
5° TECNICADX = accordi
SX = basso
DX = melodia
SX = accordi
ribattuti o arpeggiati Creare uno o più ritmi usando entrambe le mani
DX = improvvisazione
SX = auto-accompagnamenti
DX = melodia difficile
SX = auto-accompagnamento rapido
Grande valle senza colore che l’allievo deve colorare con il colore preferito.
Un essere (personaggio o animale fantastico) si muove nella valle dirigendosi verso una meta desiderata.
Durante il cammino l’essere ha delle grosse difficoltà a proseguire.
Dopo diversi tentativi viene trovata la soluzione al problema e il nostro amico può proseguire.
Raggiunta la meta, l’essere inizia a correre e a saltare di gioia. Back to
How an Accordion is Made
Mar., 16, 2007
Publication: Accord Magazine, USA. Reprinted courtesy of owner/editor Faithe Deffner. Back copies available.Date written: 1983 Spring
Few people realize the intricate and detailed steps required to produce an accordion. About 6000 parts are combined in a process involving hundreds of man hours to bring an accordion to life.
The better factories embark on the construction years before the instrument is actually fabricated. Fine, precut woods are patiently stored a minimum of three years, under rigid temperature, humidity and air current control, to assure the full seasoning cycle before they will be used to build a future instrument.
An average of 300 square inches of prime suede and kidskin will be used for each accordion. These leathers must be dated and ideally stored for additional aging of at least two years before careful selection is made for use.
Celluloids, specially formulated for accordion fabrication, are ideally of extra heavy grade with deep color pigmentation to permit the multiple sanding and buffing required to obtain the rich gloss finish. Celluloid, too, must have years of aging under ideal conditions to eliminate the material's tendency towards shrinkage.
The reeds of a quality accordion must be vibrant Swedish blue steel, hand-fitted, riveted on precision duraluminum plates, and individually tuned for brilliant voicings. It is a formidable realization to conceive that the usual accordion with four sets of treble reeds and five sets of bass reeds has no less that 448 single reed tongues to be painstakingly tuned by a craftsman who specializes in the time honored skill.
In these pictures and captions, Accord conducts you on a guided tour through an accordion factory in Italy. Not all phases of accordion production are pictured, but enough are shown to give the reader an idea of how an accordion makes its way into the world of music.
Engineering and design problems take endless hours as the instrument's evolution results in advancements. Here, in an informal European atmosphere, countless years of experience in accordion construction are pooled to arrive at solutions which will enhance the accordion's position in the music world.
These are various stages in the assembly of the accordions' treble keyboards - similar in either piano key or button style. The treble plates must be carefully channeled for trouble free operation. Great skill is required to assemble a first-class keyboard mechanism and even more care must be taken if the treble includes tone chamber construction.
Skilful craftsmanship and carefully chosen materials are vital components of a fine quality accordion. No short cuts are possible when producing instruments which are truly responsive and capable of the most magnificent musical range and colorations.
Injection molding produces the black keys for sharps and flats. Precision dies are used to make a variety of functional and ornamental components of the accordion.
Great effort is required to make the treble registers respond instantly by activation the slides which open and close appropriate tone holes, permitting the desired reed combinations to sound. Here, the molded levers are fitted to the treble switch assembly on the grille and the inner mechanism of the treble registers is adjusted for smooth operation.
The Many stages of bass case construction require much careful work, such as this painstaking shaping on a circular spindle cutting machine, the final woodwork detailing, and trimming the smoothly-contoured plastic covering.
Few musicians can rise above the limits imposed by their instrument. A fine accordion will unleash creativity through its increased musical capacity and potentially expanded musical scope.
The sea of bass buttons, which confounds the novice, is no mystery to these craftsmen who carefully assemble the intricate bass machine mechanism. Rods and pistons, brass pins and mechanical-noise insulators are individually positioned to create the wonderous bass machine, some of which provide innovations such as convertor or chromatic free bass and pedal tones in addition to the stradella system.
The various reed operations are numerous, beginning with a huge power press which die-stamps the plates, the making of the multi-chambered reed blocks, the precise die-cutting of the reed tongues, selection provino-tuned reeds and carefully waxing them onto the blocks to assure air-tight fit.
The bellows, which enable the instrument to offer an amazing range of expression, are constructed of special cardboards, lined with fabric and leather "diamonds" which are positioned in the corners of each fold. All outer sides have folds tape-reinforced, bonded with specially formulated hot glue and finished with precision pinched chrome corners. Here, electroplating the bellows' corners in a chrome bath and pinching them into positions shown.
After the treble and bass selections have been assembled, the reeds in each are tuned by a craftsman. Following this, the instrument will be fully assembled and both sides will be tuned to each other to complete the process.
When purchasing an accordion there are many points to consider. The instrument represents a sizeable investment which warrants careful study.
Some important considerations are enumerated below. Most of them are equally significant whether the accordion is brand-new or an older, second-hand instrument.
Keyboard and Action
Fast action is important; released keys must close firmly, their pads must cover without leakage and be fastened securely. Avoid keys which bind, stick, or are warped - keyboard must be level, not too high, have uniform action, and no mechanical noise.
Basses and Action
Basses must be responsive; buttons should come up quickly and firmly. Chord buttons must produce complete, accurate chords. Mechanical noise must be eliminated.
Reeds and Reed Blocks
The accordion must be able to play a sustained note very loud or very soft and respond instantly to the slightest bellows movement. Response of all reeds should be balanced on a chord. Blocks must be seated perfectly to avoid air loss or waste, They should have multiple coats of high-lustre varnish to enhance tone and protect against warpage.
Check for accuracy to be sure the accordion is in tune with other instruments as well as itself - both hands and in all reed lines.
Bellows, Gaskets and Pads
If these are poorly attached, badly made or mal-fitting, the instrument will "leak" and require extra hard pumping instead of the normal easy pressure required to play a sustained note.
Registers and Plates
When plates are warped or badly fitted, registers cannot work smoothly and air loss may result. Examine for excess "play" and be sure registers and slides close ports fully.
Legitimate dealers provide service facilities. The best source for student instruments is a dealer who offers a planned program of music education with good lessons, expert service and future aids. Maximum advantages are available from a reputable dealer who is able and willing to serve customers' musical needs.
Factory Name Brands
Avoid "fake" brand names. Trace the name to be sure that a real manufacturer and a known factory of good reputation actually stand behind the instrument. Brands which are the name of the importer usually are not produced in a reputable factory and therefore cannot offer consistent quality.
Notazione "actual pitch" e notazione "loco tastature"
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Paolo Picchio
Publication: Date written:2001
I fisarmonicisti che hanno cercato di approfondire i problemi relativi alla notazione delle partiture scritte per il loro strumento, si saranno trovati di fronte a due diversi "atteggiamenti" di scrittura; questi due differenti modi per codificare i suoni producibili con lo strumento "fisarmonica" sono stati denominati con due termini inglesi: "Actual pitch" e "Loco tastature".
"Actual pitch" sta ad indicare la grafia dell'altezza reale del suono che si vuole ottenere, lasciando poi all'esecutore lo spostamento di ottava necessario con i vari registri al fine di ottenere l'altezza indicata
Infatti l'esecutore deve tenere ben presente che tutti i registri dei manuale destro che contengono il 16' piedi danno un risultato sonoro di un'ottava inferiore rispetto al riferimento del tasto che viene premuto (ipoteticamente ponendo tutto in relazione a quello che viene considerato il "Do centrale").
Caso esattamente opposto al registro 4' piedi con il quale si ottengono suoni di un'ottava più alti.
Nei brani scritti invece con il criterio della "loco tastature" vi è un'esatta corrispondenza tra note scritte e tasti (e non suoni). Quindi il compositore indicando la registrazione si dichiara cosciente degli spostamenti di ottava (sul piano sonoro) che ne saranno conseguenza.
Ciò vale a dire che, nel caso di una fisarmonica a bottoni con 64 note, i tasti saranno indicati nell'ambitus Mi 1 - Sol 6 e, in quello di una fisarmonica con tastiera "a piano" di 45 note, nell'ambito Mi 2 - Do 6 (tra l'altro, anche su questo versante esiste una simbologia indicante le altezze delle varie ottave diversa per la fisarmonica rispetto agli altri strumenti).
Se di primo acchito non si dovrebbero avere dubbi circa la maggior semplicità della "loco tastature", non si possono però non riconoscere due enormi pregi alla "actual pitch":
1) facilitare il lavoro di compositori che non siano profondi conoscitori della fisarmonica e comunque scrivono per essa;
2) favorire una più corretta lettura della partitura nei brani di musica cameristica e sinfonica con inserimento della fisarmonica.
A supporto dell'altra tesi si può dire che uno strumento di antiche tradizioni quale l'organo, adotta un equivalente della "loco tastature".
Una possibile soluzione - a mio modesto parere - è comunque tutt'altro che lontana: infatti nel caso in cui tutti i registri con 16' dovessero portare l'indicazione di 8va sopra e quelli con 4' l'indicazione di 8va sotto, si può notare che in questo modo la "loco tastature" viene a coincidere con "l'actual pitch".
Questo in molti brani già avviene e sta a significare che la letteratura che non rispetta il principio "dell'actual pitch" non è comunque ingentissima (e, in gran parte dei casi, piuttosto retrodatata). * * * * * Prendiamo ora in esame cinque brevissimi esempi tratti da brani scritti con diversi "atteggiamenti" di codificazione.
Nella "Sonatina" di Fugazza, così come nelle altre opere di questo autore e in quelle di Volpi, Ferrari--Trecate, Melocchi, e per intenderci nella quasi totalità delle composizioni pubblicate dalle Edizioni Farfisa (ora Bèrben), si vede applicata una notazione "Loco tastature" considerata "ovvia" e quindi le note scritte fanno riferimento solo ai tasti al punto tale che i registri vengono visti quasi "solo in funzione della potenza sonora".
La trentunesima battuta del secondo tempo della "Sonatina" ne è un esempio eclatante. Dalla diciassettesima battuta del brano viene indicato il registro 8' e dalla trentesima un crescendo che sfocierà nel fortissimo della trentatreesima battuta.
Ora è evidente che sul secondo movimento della battuta riportata dall'esempio 1, vi sarà un abbassamento di suoni di un'ottava perché nel registro indicato (Master) è presente il 16'. Dunque sembrerebbe credibile dire che alla base di questo modo di vedere la notazione, i registri non vengano considerati come traspositori di ottava ma come "graduatori" di potenza sonora.Esempio 1 - Felice Fugazza: Sonatina - 2° tempo - 31ma battuta (Edizioni Bèrben)
Cosa che non si può dire, al contrario, della "Acco-Music op. 225" composta nel 1976 dal grande compositore austriaco Ernst Krenek. Anche questo brano risulta scritto secondo il principio della "Loco tastature", ma, nella partitura vi sono delle indicazioni di ottava poste alla chiave (e non al registro) che si "preoccupano" di segnalare la reale altezza del suono emesso.
Quando nel registro indicato è presente il 16', la chiave di violino posta vicino ad esso porterà sempre l'indicazione di ottava sotto. Quando viene prescritto il 4' la chiave di violino porterà il segno di ottava sopra.
Alle battute 52 e 53 (esempio 2) viene indicato di cambiare registro mantenendo premuto il tasto del fa #. Si deve notare come le tre chiavi di violino (quella posta all'inizio del rigo con "ottava sotto", la successiva con "loco" e l'ultima con "ottava sopra") si "preoccupino" di segnalare che il risultato sonoro che si ottiene sia di due "salti" di ottava verso l'alto.
Esempio 2 - Ernst Krenek: Acco-Music op. 225 - 52ma e 53ma battuta (Edizioni Deffner)
Sebbene non si possa negare a questo ingegnoso sistema una indiscutibile correttezza, va però detto che esso è di scarsissima diffusione e che un suo uso anche nelle composizioni di musica da camera non sarebbe comunque di grande aiuto nella lettura generale della partitura.
Inoltre, ritornando a parlare in modo specifico del brano "Acco--Music", si deve (purtroppo) segnalare che il meccanismo delle "chiavi ottavate" si blocca nelle ultime due pagine della partitura dove compaiono dei registri 16'+4' e "Master" senza la chiave con ottava sotto e il registro 4' senza ottava sopra.
Per di più, tutto il discorso fatto non vale per la mano sinistra, dove l'indicazione del registro 4' per i bassi sciolti non viene mai accompagnata da nessuna segnalazione in chiave. La "Sonatina Piccola" di Torbjörn Lundquist offre la possibilità di affrontare alcuni importanti aspetti del rapporto tra i compositori e le loro scelte circa i registri indicati nei brani.
Questo pezzo è pubblicato dalla Hohner Verlag di Trossingen in Germania; nel catalogo di questa casa si trovano molti dei grandi nomi della letteratura per fisarmonica: Herrmann, Jacobi, Feld Brehme, Schmidt ed altri ancora.
In gran parte di queste composizioni vi è un modo di indicare i registri "quasi" corretto: pressoché sempre nel corso dei brano le indicazioni di ottava poste sopra (o sotto) i registri realizzano quella corrispondenza tra "Actual pitch" e "Loco tastature" che si ritiene auspicabile; però in alcuni momenti in cui viene indicato il registro pieno (Master) con note che si aggirano nella zona centrale e grave della tastiera (molto spesso nei finali ed in particolar modo in quelli più virtuosistici e fragorosi si preferisce rinunciare all'indicazione di 8va sopra (che comporterebbe una scrittura in parte in chiave di violino e in parte in quella di basso) lasciando tutto ad una improvvisa "Loco tastature" che fa scrivere tutte le note in chiave di Sol.
Queste annotazioni, che sono il segnale di una incompleta presa di coscienza di certe problematiche in quel periodo, sono interessanti dal punto di vista di una storia della letteratura per fisarmonica; ma anche molto interessante e curiosa è la questione che solleva l'esempio n.
Esempio 3 - Torbjörn Lundquist: Sonatina piccola - 2° tempo - 1a battuta (Edizioni Hohner).
All'inizio del secondo tempo della composizione vengono indicati i registri prescelti sia per il manuale destro che per il sinistro; subito dopo, altri due tra parentesi vengono indicati come possibili sostituti. Il perché non è difficile da intuire: rendere possibile l'esecuzione dei brano anche per strumenti di ridotte capacità, sia per numero di tasti che per possibilità di scelta dei registri.
} La conferma di questo si ha leggendo la prefazione al brano, scritta dal compianto Mogens Ellegaard ove si palesa il fine volutamente anche didattico di esso. Ma vi è un'altra domanda alla quale non è così facile rispondere: perché non indicare direttamente i registri proposti tra parentesi e quindi eseguibili con tutti i modelli di fisarmonica, sia piccoli sia grandi?
In altri termini la questione diventa questa: dato che il risultato di altezza di suono non cambia, perché è stato indicato (al manuale destro) per gli strumenti grandi il 16' all'ottava sopra e non l'8' naturale? Stessa cosa al manuale sinistro: perché il 4' all'ottava inferiore e non il normale 8'?
Una risposta fantascientifica proporrebbe di trasferirsi a Trossingen (che vuol dire fisarmoniche Hohner) nel 1967 alla presenza di Lundquist ed Ellegaard. Un altro tipo di risposta - questa molto più concreta e "fattibile" - asserirebbe che evidentemente il suono di questi due diversi registri proposti è simile ma non identico. La spiegazione va ricercata nei "problemi" costruttivi della fisarmonica e, sicuramente, i fattori che concorrono a questa "diversità sonora" sono molteplici.
Provo ad elencarli: il diverso grado di angolazione tra i due contrapposti lati del somiere, la diversità delle dimensioni dei fori per il passaggio dell'aria (sia alla base dei somiere che sul fondo metallico), la diversa posizione che la "voce" ha nella sequenza (verticale) delle varie "caselle" dei somiere, l'alzata della valvola e soprattutto il suo grado di (inevitabile) obliquità che essa ha (e che condiziona fortemente le direzioni dei flussi d'aria) e che per forza favorisce il suono e il "rendimento" di un registro rispetto all'altro.
L'esistenza di questo tipo di problematiche spezza una lancia in favore dell'Actual pitch. Sicuramente l'adozione di questo tipo di notazione renderebbe più facile la vita ai compositori e manterrebbe "allenati" i fisarmonicisti alla lettura delle altezze.
Il fisarmonicista deve sempre essere attento a coprire e "mascherare" i difetti dei proprio strumento. Si deve pensare che Lundquist (non si sa con quanto aiuto da parte di Ellegaard) abbia ritenuto i registri indicati per primi come i più adatti al raggiungimento delle esigenze musicali da lui ricercate in questo "Cantando".
Esso è una breve pagina dal carattere sommesso, lirico, nella quale, restando entro certi limiti dinamici (viene indicato al massimo il mezzoforte), si deve essere però il più espressivi possibile.
Le composizioni scritte con notazione "Actual Pitch" esplicita non sono moltissime. A questa categoria appartiene la "Toccata" di Alain Abbott. Si è voluto utilizzare il termine "esplicita" per mettere in risalto il fatto che i criteri di funzionamento di tale tipo di scrittura vengono dichiarati nella prefazione che precede il brano e che, al fine di evitare fraintendimenti, ciò dovrebbe essere sempre fatto.
Abbott scrive: "quest'opera è stata scritta all'esatta notazione del diapason, in quanto il suono indicato sul pentagramma è il suono dell'ancia più bassa". Dunque: sono state scritte le note corrispondenti alla reale altezza dei suoni che devono essere prodotti dallo strumento; in presenza di registri a più "voci" sarà l'ancia più grave a dover rispettare l'altezza indicata.
All'esecutore viene dato il compito di rispettare tale precetto e il compositore indica i registri come fossero una pura e semplice scelta timbrica. Come mostra l'esempio n. 4 (prima battuta del brano), per il manuale destro è stato indicato il registro 16' (in questa grafia i puntini raffiguranti le file di ance "suonanti" vengono scritti sulle righe del cerchietto del registro e non sugli spazi).
L'esecutore dovrà dunque tenere ben presente di suonare una ottava al di sopra rispetto alla lettura delle no
Esempio 4 - Alain Abbott: Toccata - 1a battuta (Editions Françaises de Musique Technisonor).
Prendendo in considerazione questo brano, non si può certo dire che il compito che Abbott lascia agli esecutori sia gravoso dato che in tutto il brano (103 battute) indica solamente tre registri. Nonostante ciò, viene spontaneo pensare che, se il problema si limitasse al solo discorso dei brani per fisarmonica sola, tutto si potrebbe risolvere semplicemente con una utopistica assemblea "universale" nella quale i fisarmonicisti si dovrebbero accordare su un qualsiasi sistema di notazione a loro piacimento.
Ma la cosa cambia quando si inizia a parlare di letteratura cameristica: in essa questo tipo di notazione permette una maggiore correttezza nella lettura della partitura complessiva e certamente non svierebbe a quanti non sono conoscitori delle convenzioni fisarmonicistiche.
Per tutti i motivi che sono emersi nell'esame di questi primi quattro esempi musicali, si viene a ribadire il concetto per cui la situazione maggiormente auspicabile è quella in cui la "Loco tastature" venga a coincidere con "l'Actual Pitch".
Per ottenere ciò, tutti i registri in cui è presente il 16' dovrebbero avere l'indicazione di 8va sopra e il registro di 4' quella di 8va sotto. Ad esemplificare tale situazione è idonea la "Sonata n. 1 op. 143 a" di Vagn Holmboe, opera del 1979 dedicata a Mogens Ellegaard e al quale certamente si deve la sistemazione dei simboli fisarmonicistici presenti in partitura.
Come mostra l'esempio n. 5, all'inizio della Fuga (IV tempo) è indicato il registro 16'+4' che comprensibilmente reca l'indicazione di 8va sopra; nello stesso brano, 10 battute dopo viene prescritto un registro di 4' all'8va sotto
Esempio 5 - Vagn Holmboe: Sonata op. 143 a - 4° tempo - 1a e 2a battuta (Edizioni Hansen).
Si è già accennato al fatto che tale soluzione non risolve il problema dei numerosi tagli addizionali sulle note "estreme" del doppio rigo ma non si può negare il fatto che, quando tutte le partiture adotteranno questo principio, esse verranno lette da un fisarmonicista russo come da uno danese come da uno francese (e come da un pianista) senza rischio di malintesi.
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Vladimir Ushakov Publication:St Petersburg, Russia Date written :April 2001
March 11, 2001 in a concert Hall of St.-Petersburg, the premiere of the variety program "Piazzolliana" was held. The concert was devoted to the 80-years anniversary of Astor Piazzolla. The organizers of the program were - St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble, namely Vladimir Ushakov and Sergei Likhachov.
For participation in this program the bayan quartet of the National Philarmonic Society of Ukraine - Rizol Quartet (Kiev, Ukraine) was invited being the musical chief, People artist of Ukraina Sergei Grinchenko (first bayan), Honored artist of Ukraina Viacheslav Samofalov (second bayan), Oleg Shiyan (bayan-bariton) and Roman Molochenko (bayan-contrabass).
The concert was opened by a musical-poetic composition based on Tanti Anni Prima (Ave Maria) with verses by Mikhail Likhachov (well-known musician - accordionist, composer and poet from St. Petersburg) and performed by Vladimir Ushakov (piano) and Svetlana Stavitskaya (accordion). Next on stage was the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble which performed Meditango (accordion solo - Svetlana Stavitskaya).
Then the Rizol Quartet was represented to the St Petersburg public, which has performed such popular compositions by Astor Piazzolla as Revirado, SVP, Fracanapa, Chau Paris, La Muerte del Angel, El Penultimo, 20 Years After, Tristango, Jeanne and Paul. The first part of the concert finished with a joint performance by the two ensembles of the composition Oblivion.
The second part of the concert opened with the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble performing the compositions, Ausencias (accordion solo - Vladimir Ushakov) and Melodia in A. Then the performance was continued by the Rizol Quartet playing: Reminiscence, Solitude, Undertango, Milonga sin palabras, Novitango, Violentango, Amelitango, Adios Nonino.
The concert finished with a joint performance by the two ensembles of the popular composition Libertango. The admiring public gave such a strong ovation to the musicians that they were obliged to perform this again.
In the foyer of the concert hall was the presentation of the new musical editions published by the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble (S.P.M.E) as part of the publishing program of S.P.M.E. Editions. There was also three releases of Astor Piazzola compositions as performed by the Riaol Quartet (author of the transcriptions for a bayan quartet - Viacheslav Samofalov). The compact discs and cassettes of the Rizol Quartet and the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble were also available. Included in the printed program for this concert was a detailed biography of Astor Piazzolla, the Rizol Quartet and the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble.
"Piazzolliana" was the first performance of this new programme after a long break by the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble following a cycle of concerts titled "Meetings of the Friends on the Neva Riversides". The first concert from this cycle was held in April, 1999 and it was named "Accordionada", and it was the creative meeting of the accordioninsts of Russia and Latvia. The program "Piazzolliana" followed the same creative meeting of the accordioninsts of Russia and Ukraine.
The success of the program was confirmed by the size of the audience - about 600 people - who came to enjoy the sounds of Astor Piazzolla music.
The next concert from this series will be held on April 7 in a concert Hall with the premiere of the variety program "Waltzing Accordion" by Roman Bazhilin (accordionist from Tambov, Russia) and the St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble. Another further concert will feature the Lithuanian accordion duet Eduardas Gabnis and Gennady Savkov (Vilnius, Lithania) and that is planned for May 17.
The St. Petersburg Musette Ensemble is highly grateful for the assistance by the childrens music school named after V.V. Andreyev for their help in organizing and undertaking the visit of Rizol Quartet in Saint-Petersburg. Back to
Registers of the Standard Stradella Keyboard
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Donald Balestrieri Publication:Accord Magazine, USA. Reprinted courtesy of owner/editor Faithe Deffner. Back copies available. Date written:1979The standard stradella button keyboard, either alone or as an integral part of expanded systemizations which incorporate free bass as well, demonstrates a stylistic viability which is reflected in vastly different approaches to musical composition for accordion. Composers continue to draw on the standard stradella system's resources, sometimes extracting new possibilities or realizing latent potential.
Recognition and use of these possibilities demands imagination and a practical application of information about the following:
1. Range of the single note buttons.
2. The inversions produced by the fixed chord buttons.
3. And the characteristics of the various registers.
These offer challenges that not all composers and transcribers have been able to meet. Few have recognized the full musical potency there, but additions to the repertory of very interesting substance and the system continue to interest the performer and composer alike.
In Galla-Rini's Concerto for accordion and orchestra, written in 1941, and in many of his transcriptions, complete and consistent application of the musical resources of the standard stradella keyboard are in evidence. These works abound in effective and idiomatic writing for the left hand, which must be carefully studied by every serious student of the instrument.
Continued widespread use of the stradella system and the music associated with it is enough to warrant attention. The analysis set forth in this article, of the registers in particular, is necessary information, not only for the composer and arranger, but for the teacher, student and performer as well.
THE BUTTON KEYS
The standard stradella keyboard consists of 120 buttons - six parallel rows of 20 buttons each, graduated on a rising angle - which are functionally divisible into two sections.
The two rows (mediant and fundamental) adjacent the switches produce 12 different single notes, the remaining 28 buttons in these two rows are duplicated for facility in fingering at different keyboard locations. (Use of the thumb is rarely practicable.)
The buttons of the next four rows produce fixed chords 12 each of major, minor, dominant seventh (fifth omitted), and diminished (triad). The correct note content of the latter may be arrived at by spelling a diminished seventh chord, letter named according to the row in which it is found, and omitting the fifth. The remaining eight buttons in each row again provide duplications for ease of fingering.
These Switches are the mechanical levers which effect changes of reed couplings. Standardized combinations of the reed sets are indicated by the switch symbols (see illustration). Each space within the circle represents a difference of one octave. Reeds are open and operative when a dot appears on a given space or line; inoperative (closed) when that space is empty. The middle line denotes the set of reeds (contralto) which doubles the pitch of the upper half of the tenor and the lower half of the alto reed sets.
According to the register in effect, single notes will be affected by changes in basic pitch location and octave duplication; chord buttons by various inversions, pitch levels and octave doublings.
THE STANDARD SETS OF REEDS
A set of reeds may be defined as a chromatic sequence of single reeds equal in number to the semitonal content of the immediately available range of a keyboard (measured by the single note button range in the case of the stradella keyboard).
For the standard stradella keyboard these sets of reeds consist of 12 semitones (one semitone short of a complete octave). These reed sets are, with the exception of the tenor and bass sets which can only respond for the single note buttons, shared commonly by both the single note buttons and the fixed chord buttons.
In other words, any set of reeds which is open (as represented by a dot in the symbol) will respond for the single note buttons as shown by the long bracket (marked B) in illustration 2; the short bracket (A) indicates the upper three sets of reeds - soprano, alto and contralto - which, if open, respond for the chord buttons.
Illustration 2 shows the sets of reeds for the standard stradella keyboard together with the symbols representing each specific set of reeds. With the exception of the soprano set, these sets of reeds are not usually available uncoupled.
The symbols which represent the seven standard reed coupling combinations are pictured at the left.
THE SOPRANO REGISTER
The Soprano Register is the highest pitched octave of the standard left hand keyboard. The uncoupled soprano set of reeds (c'' to b'') will respond for both the single note buttons and the fixed chord buttons. The latter will then produce chords with pitches and in positions consistent with these tones.
The switch symbol for this register shows a dot in the space representing the soprano set of reeds (see above), indicating that this set is operative, while the empty spaces indicate that the other sets of reeds are closed.
Example 1 shows the pitch and range of the single note buttons and that of the fixed chord buttons are the same.
Example 2 illustrates the positions and pitch of the C and B chord buttons which will result accordingly in the Soprano Register.
The Soprano Register's reeds are small and may be easily overpowered by the right hand keyboard. Relatively little dynamic strength (volume) is possible. Careful attention to the registration and substance of the material played on the right hand keyboard is necessary to avoid obscuring the left hand keyboard's performance in this register.
Infrequently encountered in accordion literature, the Soprano Register is usually not available in any but professional model instruments. Student accordions generally do no even contain the required set of reeds. However, the Soprano Register can be very effective and its use by composers should not be discouraged.
Notation for this register is not always given at pitch. Although notation at pitch, or at least not more than one octave lower than sounding, should be recommended. Bass clef notation may be found as much as three octaves below the actual pitch. Chord buttons are often indicated by an abbreviated notation - root and chord symbol (single note notation).
[The musical examples throughout this article are given with notation for the left hand at pitch. In the case of octave duplications, according to the lowest sounding set of reeds. Fixed chords are given in full (unabbreviated) notations.]
Example 3 is an excerpt from Ernest Krenek's Toccata (1952). The single note buttons of the left hand are exploited to good advantage in the Soprano Register. Excellent balance between the left and right hand key boards is achieved through the use of the Ottavino (piccolo) Register of the right hand keyboard - the reeds being similar in size to those of the soprano set which is indicated for the left hand keyboard.* Notice in the last measure, the continuation in pitch of the left hand part, by the right hand which sounds one octave higher than normal treble clef notation.
Example 4 shows the application of the chord buttons in the Soprano Register, which is relatively rare. In Prelude (1971/rev. 1972) by Donald Balestrieri, a 12-tone series is verticalized. Notes from both hands often overlap. The simultaneous four notes in the left hand at each of the last two measures is accomplished by combining two chord buttons with two notes in common. However, since the single note buttons are also operating the soprano set of reeds, the same aural result could by be obtained by use of single note buttons alone or by combining certain chord and single note buttons.
THE ALTO REGISTER
The alto set of reeds is pitched one octave lower (c' to b') than the soprano set of reeds. A coupling of the alto set of reeds with the soprano set of reeds constitutes the Alto Register. Both sets of reeds will respond for either the single note buttons or the chord buttons.
It is, however, the alto set of reeds, being the lower octave of the coupling, which establishes the basic pitch of this register. Both the single note buttons will then generate upper octave duplications via the soprano set of reeds, but the basic pitch is established by the alto set of reeds.
The switch symbol for this register shows dots in the spaces representing the alto and soprano sets of reeds (see above), which indicate they are open while the others are silent - clearly illustrating the octave relationship between the two sets of reeds.
Example 5 shows that the alto set of reeds (whole notes) coupled with the soprano set of reeds (diamond notes) will be operative for both the single note and chord buttons.
Inversions of the various chord buttons will be the same as in the Soprano Register, albeit one octave lower, since the range for determination is also from C to B. Since, as with the Soprano Register, the sets of reeds which are open will respond for either the single note or fixed chord buttons, the chord buttons will produce inversions and pitches consistent with the range and pitch of the single note buttons.
Example 6 demonstrates the C and B chord buttons. The upper octave duplications by the soprano set of reeds (diamond Notes) could be taken for granted in notation and they are, in any case, implied by the dot in the upper space of the register symbol.
The preferred notation would usually be at pitch (in the treble clef) or at least not more than one octave lower (in bass clef). However, this register may be found notated in the lower part of the bass clef staff as well. Chord buttons are often given in abbreviated notation (root and chord symbol).
Example 7 is a passage from Felice Fugazza's Danzi di Gnomi (1959), in which the alto Register's single note range is utilized for the lower part in a three-voice episode.
Example 8, a quotation from Anthony Galla-Rini's transcription for accordion solo of the Rhapsodie Espagnol by Liszt, will illustrate the rarely encountered pitch relationship between the single notes and chord buttons in the Alto Register.
Some curious writing for the left hand keyboard has sometimes resulted from an apparent failure to comprehend the fact that the same set of reeds will respond for both the single note and chord buttons in the Soprano and Alto Registers. In these registers, should a chord button be depressed along with single notes which are already members of that chord (or added after the chord button is depressed) the single notes in question will prove of no aural purpose. Reeds which are already sounding for a chord button cannot, at the same time, be duplicated by single note buttons, or vice versa.
The opening measures of Otto Luening's Rondo for accordion solo illustrate such an instance where the single note buttons can be omitted without resulting in any audible change.
THE TENOR REGISTER
The basic pitch level for the single note buttons in the Tenor Register is established by the tenor set of reeds (c to b) which is the lowest sounding. These are coupled to the alto and soprano sets. Since the tenor set of reeds cannot respond for the chord buttons (see Illustration 2), it is the alto set of reeds, being the lowest sounding set activated for the chord buttons, which will establish the basic pitch level and determine the inversions of the chord buttons in this register.
Attention should be drawn to the fact that only in the Tenor Register is there no break in the basic pitch continuity between the single note buttons and the range for determining the chord buttons. The practical significance of this will be pointed out in a successive example.
The three octave voicing of the single note buttons is graphically illustrated by the switch symbol (see above), showing that the soprano, alto and tenor sets of reeds are operative. The silence of the tenor set for the chord buttons must be understood.
Example 9 shows the reed sets which operate for the single note and chord buttons in the Tenor Register
THE SOFT TENOR REGISTER
Example 10 illustrates an alternative voicing - Tenor (piano) - available for the Tenor Register. With it, a more subdued effect is achieved by eliminating the soprano set of reeds. Thus, the basic pitch of both the single note and chord buttons remains undisturbed; the single notes will now sound in octaves (tenor/alto) and the chord buttons undoubled (alto).
The sets of reeds for Tenor (piano) Register are shown in the switch symbol.
Because the tenor set of reeds cannot respond for the chord buttons, they will sound exactly the same in the Tenor (forte) Register as in the alto Register - with the soprano and alto sets of reeds responding for the chord buttons in octaves (refer to example 6). The chord buttons in the Tenor (piano) Register will yield pure, uncoupled chords since the soprano set of reeds is silent and only the alto set will respond for the chord buttons.
Example 11 lists for comparison, the C and B chords as they will sound in the Tenor (piano) Register.
A decided increase of strength over the previously discussed registers is evident in the Tenor Registers because the reeds of the tenor set are larger. This alleviates some of the more delicate problems of balance mentioned in connection with the Soprano and Alto Registers.
Notation is in the bass clef, sometimes one octave below the actual basic pitch. Chord buttons are often given in abbreviated notation. It is sometimes convenient to notate the single note and chord buttons one octave lower using either the ottava alta sign (8 - - - -) or the clef alta sign (####).
Example 12 is a melodic excerpt from the Alan Hovhaness Accordion Concerto - Opus 174, played against an aleatoric background of multitudinously divided strings, which falls within the single note compass of the Tenor Register. The Tenor (piano) combination, sounding in octaves, is used; the unison doublings of the right hand add strength and solidity.
Example 13 shows application of chord buttons in the Tenor (piano) Register in an excerpt from Paul Creston's Fantasy for accordion and orchestra, Opus 85. Note the following points: firstly, the left hand accompaniment is consistently above the melodic line which has been assigned to the right hand in a low register. [The right hand will sound one octave lower]; secondly, each of the four note chords beginning at the penultimate measure of the example is achieved by combining two chord buttons which have two notes in common.
Example 14 demonstrates an application of the continuity in the basic pitch between single note buttons and that of the fixed chord buttons. Here, in a transcription for accordion and orchestra by Donald Balestrieri of Liszt's Prelude and Fugue on the name of Bach, the melodic shape of the left hand part has been preserved by being passed between the single note buttons and the lowest notes of the chord buttons. The upper harmony notes of the chord buttons unobtrusively double those in the right hand. Note that the left hand part will sound one octave higher than usual bass clef notation and that the right hand part will sound one octave lower than usual treble clef notation.
The Bass Register is established when the bass or lowest-sounding set of reeds (C to B) is operative for the single note buttons.
Three different reed set combinations are available in the standardized systemization. They are shown and described in the following paragraphs
THE MASTER REGISTER (BASS FORTE)
All five sets of reeds - soprano, alto, contralto, tenor and bass - are open as shown by the five dots which mark the switch symbol. The contralto set of reeds is the lowest sounding for the chord buttons and it establishes the basic pitches for the fixed chords, while the bass set of reeds determines that of the single note buttons.
Example 15 shows which reeds are operative for the single note and chord buttons.
Here, as elsewhere, the blend of these upper octave duplications with the fundamental, pitch establishing set of reeds, is such that it is hardly more than amplification of the basic overtone series.
Example 16 illustrates the sound of the chord buttons, given again for C and B chord rows, for comparison.
THE SOFT BASS REGISTER (BASS PIANO)
Example 17 illustrates the bass set of reeds coupled with the tenor and contralto sets. These will respond for the single note buttons; the contralto alone responds for chord buttons in this register.
Example 18 shows the contralto reed set, which responds for the chord buttons, without doublings.
This register is exceedingly useful in balancing with certain registers of the right hand keyboard. In general, it provides a more subdued effect, by eliminating the soprano and alto sets of reeds.
THE BASS/ALTO REGISTER
Example 19 pictures this most exotic and seldom-used of the standard reed combinations. The bass, alto and soprano sets of reeds are open and respond for the single note buttons. Only the alto and soprano sets will sound for the chord buttons, as previously shown for the Alto and Tenor (forte) Registers. See example 6.
The two octave separation between the bass and alto sets of reeds results from the absence of the tenor and contralto sets and creates the "reedy" quality. The low-high relationship between the single note and chord buttons is the hallmark of the register.
The range of the bass set of reeds (C to B) is used to notate the single note buttons in the bass registers. Different upper octave doublings are clearly shown by the standard register symbols.
However, the range - one semitone less than a complete octave - is sometimes exceeded in the notation (usually upwards), in order to avoid voice leading which appears awkward. Ambiguity of pitch placement results from the multiplicity of octave doublings and the overlapping of a portion of the tenor and alto reeds by the contralto set of reeds.
In fact, some ears may be convinced that a larger range is active. This notation practice, accompanied by the term bassi soli (b.s.) when the upper bass clef area is used, is easily abused. To guide in writing, awareness of the actual pitch range is necessary.
The pitch is readily recognizable in all registers other than the Master Register. The limited range of 12 semitones is audibly obvious and, written melodic or harmonic intervals involving tones beyond the actual compass of a register will sound inverted.
Examples 20 and 21 are excerpts which utilize the single note range in bass registers. The first (20) from Henry Brant's Sky Forest for four accordions, involves an imitative duet between two accordions in the same left hand register.
In the second example (21), from Alexander Tcherepnin's Partita (1962), the dynamically reduced effect of the bass (piano) Register might perhaps be better suited than the Bass (forte) Register. The absence of the two highest sets of reeds in the Bass (piano) Register will also give the illusion of greater depth since, in fact, the overtones by octave duplication will have been reduced.
Upper notes of the chord buttons are delineated more distinctly when sounded without duplications - as in the Bass (piano) Register. By contrast, the confusion caused by the unison and octave doublings obscures these top notes in the Master Register.
Example 22, from the second movement of the Concerto for accordion and orchestra by Anthony Galla-Rini, uses chord buttons in the Bass (piano) Register to double a melodic motive and provide a harmonization one octave below the right hand.
Numerous dance-derived rhythmic patterns of bass/chord are often used idiomatically in the bass register. The low bass and medium chord provide the characteristic relationship.
Example 23 shows several patterns: a) Concerto for accordion and string orchestra (1941) by Hugo Herrmann; b) Threnody by Arthur Carr; c) Prelude and Dance, Opus 69, by Paul Creston; d) Divertimento in F, Opus 59, by Hans Brehme.
The proximity of the switches allows the buttons and these levers to be activated simultaneously. Instant octave changes and chord inversions are possible at slow to moderately fast tempi.
Example 24 illustrates this technique: a) Overture to Zampa by Ferdinand Herold (Galla-Rini); b) Concerto for Accordion by Eugene Zador; c) The Rosary by Ethelbert Nevin (Galla-Rini); d) Sonata (in one movement) by William Kuehl (arrangement by the composer for two standard accordions); e Un Larme by Modeste Moussorgsky (Balestrieri).
Review of: Teach Your Students How to Practice
Mar., 16, 2007
Written by:Jean Donaldson Submitted by: Kevin Friedrich - Accordion Pedagogy Class University of Missouri of Kansas City, Conservatory of Music Publication:Clavier Magazine, Vol. 22, NO. 8, Date written:October, 1983 If you are a teacher and also a performer who spends many hours practicing each week, you know without a doubt that there are two factors beyond genetics that make you a competent musician. (1) you must practice many hours and (2) you must use your time wisely. If this applies to the teacher it also applies to the student, they must practice enough and must practice effectively.
No matter how good the lessons are the student is unsupervised almost 90% of the time. Teach your students to use their time wisely and they will find that practicing can be fun. In fact, efficient practice may well lead to more practice. Listed now are ten basic rules considered to be necessary for concrete constructive home practice.
(1) Note the key signature and the time signature before you begin to play.
(2) Work on the piece in sections or phrase by phrase at practice tempo.
(3) If the rhythm is tricky, count!
(4) Use correct, comfortable fingering, writing in any necessary changes.
(5) Mark your music wherever you find you are making errors such as missing accidentals.
(6) Test yourself. Three times right in a row, and you probably know the phrase or section.
(7) Do a healthy amount of slow practice.
(8) Make sure you allow time for thought and work on expression, phrasing, tone quality and bellows changes.
(9) Listen to yourself, and try to match the sound you are making with the sound you are striving for.
(10) After applying the above rules to new or difficult music, play some music you know well, do some sight reading, or play by ear, and have fun!
Of course these rules should not be handed to a student without discussion. The average student is set in his practice method, and that method, nine times out of ten, is to play the piece straight through, back up a few times for missed notes, then play it again backing up for the same missed notes. This type of practice virtually assures that the student will never play the piece well, especially if the music is a challenge to his ability. It is important that as you give the rules to a student, talk about them; write them in his notebook. Time will be well spent on offering a short course to your students on "How to practice effectively."
An idea suggested in the article in relation to the first rule is as follows; a pianist, (or in our case accordionist), like an acrobat, must look before he leaps. No more plunging into a piece and missing a B flat or an F sharp in the first measure because you forgot to pay attention to the key signature. You may also expand on the rules a little. Teach students to watch for internal key changes, formal structure, tempo markings, and dynamic markings. This will give an idea of the style and mood for the piece before those fingers are set loose.
To help remind your student to work on a piece in sections, mark "Thursday" at one spot on the music, "Saturday" some lines later etc… Tell a student you would far rather hear the first part of the piece played well than the whole piece played badly. Praise students for quality, not quantity.
You should also praise accuracy first, speed later. Students love to play fast. Persist in your efforts to get them to slow down. Demonstrate to the child how the passage goes when he plays it well, slowly. At the lesson prove to him that after many slow repetitions, he will be able to speed up and play the passage perfectly. There is no shortcut to learning difficult music.To help your student learn phrasing and beautiful expression communicate how much these aspects of music matter to you. Point out the markings on the music, expect your students to follow them and praise them when they do. A teacher must also encourage curiosity and scrupulous attention to every little indication on the music.
These rules listed in this article are, in a sense, guideposts that encourage your students to pay close attention to what they are doing.
This following paragraph I feel sums up the article quite effectively as it highlights the importance for the teacher to be constantly aware that they are practicing what they are preaching.
"Try these rules on yourself when you practice. You will find there is a bonus beyond more effective learning. Not only will you play better, you will also find it easier to stick to your work. Time flies when you are concentrating fully on what you are doing. Anyone who is practicing successfully will resent interruption and feel a wonderful sense of achievement at the close of the practice hour. Foster this in your students, and you will foster that positive attitude towards your instrument that leads to a lifelong love of music."
Jun., 21, 2018
Dear collegues, see our latest updates: Hector Villa-Lobos, Samuel Barber, Astor Piazzolla, Pietro Frosini, Hans Brehme, Oscar Peterson, Art Van Damme, Jack Fina, Luiz Bonfa, Yann Tiersen etc. Accordionist.Net is extending its special offer “50+” until end of the summer.
Besides some very special tango arrangements for bandoneon (accordion) and strings published:
A. Piazzolla - Cuatro estaciones portenas →
C. Gardel - Volver y Soledad →
M. Mores - Tanguera →
H. Stamponi - Un Momento →
J. Plaza - Nocturna →
A. Villoldo - El Choclo →
J. Pane - Un vals para Martita →
Feb., 22, 2018
see our latest updates on Accordionist.Net: H. Villa-Lobos, Samuel Barber, Astor Piazzolla, Pietro Frosini, Hans Brehme, A. Piazzolla, Oscar Peterson etc.