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ACCORDION
LESSONS
1TO 12

school of music
145 Main Street Port Washington, New York

I

Po r tWa 5 h in g ton. S C H 00 L 0 F MUS rc « 145M a. pioneer in method·writing arranger. S.A.S. S. MUSIC PRESS. SCHOOL cured. Y.A modern course for ANTHONY ARETTA. All instructions. is the author and arranger. U. reserved. Aretta. and many original specially prepared for this Course by Mr. professional and accordionist. examples. for accordion. Entire Course including music copyright MCMLXIV cnpy-lg'ht b)' U. music compositions were arrangements. illustrations. International Manufactured OF se- in the U. and nationally respected as an on teaching. n S t r e e t. SCHOOL u. pianist authority composer. Printed All rights by the OF MUSIC. . S. N.

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and should be air tight. pleated material. you can produce more volume when you strike the piano keys hard. Pressure on the bellows determines the volume of sound. with fewer basses and a shorter right hand keyboard. is forced past them. Copyright MCMLXIV by U. circulated by the bellows. When you are taking off your accordion. School of Music . and is not good for the reeds. It is assumed that you have a standard piano accordion in good working condition. Pulling or pushing the bellows harder produces louder tones. for the left hand. Compare your instrument with the photograph at the left. A minimum. The bellows must not leak air. When playing the piano. You can take your accordion with you wherever you go you will be especially welcome because your music will give pleasure to everyone. Bellows clasps are located at the top and bottom of the bellows (or there may be a lock in the back of the bellows). Bellows is constructed of a strong. Musical instruments are like people in that they are grateful for considerate treatment-treat your accordion like a friend. Air button is pressed to release. It is located on the left side of the accordion. with black and white keys. And all of this will be much sooner than you think! To succeed in your ambition. The keys and bass buttons should move easily and quietly. 120 BASS STANDARD ACCORDION The 120 bass accordion is considered the full. it depends on how many sets of reeds there are. right hand. Moisture will make it warp. EQUJPMENT CARE TUNrNG Bass keyboard. Its tone should be rich and sweet. and it's a lot more fun because. the tone is soft. the strap should not be so tight that your wrist is wedged between the instrument and the strap. Then it won't dangle awkwardly while you are slipping the straps from your shoulders. Bass plate covers the left band mechanism. Each reed in the accordion is tuned to produce just one special tone. Force on the accordion piano keyboard brings no sound at all. You're anxious to get started-and so are we. Shoulder straps must be adjusted to fit you." Front grill covers the right hand mechanism. intermediate reeds. If the bellows is moved easily.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 1 WELCOME! Congratulations on your decision to learn to play the accordion! lt is indeed a most fascinating instrument Compared to many other musical instruments. standard instrument has two of reeds for each right hand tone and four 'Sets for left hand. You need only the habit of regular practice. lock the bellows first. Accordions vary as to the number of switches. a button or the air button. is for the Metal reeds vibrate and produce musical sounds when air. So let's get acquainted with the accordion itself. thereby regulating the tonal quality of the instrument. unless you are moving the bellows. However. Switches. 41 black and white keys). a workmanlike attitude toward the lesson instructions. The instrument should always be wiped with a soft cloth before being put away in its case after performance. These leather or metal Clasps (or the lock) hold the bellows closed when the accordion is not in use. air wben you want to close or open tbe bellows without playing. It is important that you have the instrument tuned and checked over-at least once a year. Sets and sets sets the of reeds: there are high reeds. Keep it in a dry place. because the heavy part of the mechanism is to your left. Piano keyboard. or standard instrument (120 bass buttons. Air is released from the bellows either by pressing a key. so the bellows is actually the heart of your instrument. Accordions vary as to the number of of reeds. nor a musical background. Bass strap should be adjusted to fit snugly over your left wrist. It is located near the top of the accordion. and a sincere desire to learn. which are sometimes called "registers" or "shifts. S. The left strap should be shorter than the right. there are many accordions that are not full. protruding from the bass plate. However. low reeds. is composed of buttons which produce bass (or low) tones. under the bass strap. or take in. Bass is pronounced "base. almost immediately you will be able to play songs that everybody knows. you don't need special. so that you do not need to bend your wrist when you pull open the bellows. as much as four incbes." control metal slides that close off the air from various sets of reeds. familiarize yourself with the various parts and their functions. natural talent. the accordion is not difficult to master.

Accordions are classified by the number of bass buttons. 60 bass. I. 48 bass. with the first row at the bellows side toward the right. such as ]2 bass accordions. Then you'll know which type of instrument you have. etc. The buttons will look like this if you face a mirror while wearing your accordion.TOP DimInished Chords Major Chords This chart shows al'l the buttons of the 120 bass accordion in a "mirror view"-giving the positions of the buttons under the fingers of your left hand as you play them. BASS FINDER CHART 3rdRow 4th Row 5th Row 6th Row This is a ch art of the bass buttons of the 120 bass accordion. ll/us. The basses will be taken up a few at a time and in logical order-e-sc there is no need to attempt to memorize this chart! The same applies to the black and white keys. BOTTOM . Count the buttons on your instrument and compare the number of black and white keys.

ACCORDION - Lesson 1 BOTTOM Page 3 BOTTOM u.... W' o () u.. bass instrument. showing compass of the full 120 bass accordion and a 12 bass accordion. W Cl o TOP 25 keys when instrument is in playing position Treble keyboard of 12 bass accordion Compass of this accordion is from Middle C up two octaves... TOP . Compare with the 120 « u. 2. Treble keyboards for the righ: hand. lllus.

The upper comer of the keyboard should be inside the lip of [he shoulder. The lower comer of the keyboard rests against the inside oj the right leg.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 4 lllus. . 4. this adds stability to the accordion.

Your right ann should be held away from your body. 5a.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 5 HOW TO HOLD THE ACCORDION First. A back strap helps to hold the accordion in a firm position (see I!J us. 5). not slanted to the left or right.5. If your wrist is bent. II is too high. as it meets the piano keyboard (see Illus. and your elbow should be bent at a right angle (see IIIus. The accordion should be moved enough to your left that the piano keyboard (righ t) side is resti ng on yourrighlleg. or your arm is twisted. . Astra ight J ine can be drawn from the elbow to the fingertips. Now try it again. A short piece of rope will serve if you don't have a back strap.. Put your arms through the shoulder straps.. So-take it off. 4). Back strap adjusted in co rrectly. 4). Back strap adjusted correctly. top and bottom. We're ready togo! lllus.Your chin should be almost in direct line with the front grill. sit down. your accordion is too far to the right. lllus . Lengthen the right shoulder strap and shorten tbe left.. Unlock the bellows . which causes the back strap 10 shifl too milch to the left. and the accordion is too far to the right. The piano keyboard should be straight up and down.

So practice as follows: I.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 6 HOW TO OPEN AND CLOSE THE BELLOWS PROPERLY here's more 10 opening and closing the bellows than you might think. The back of your left wrist is pressed against the bass strap. The bellows is now open like a fan: wid at the top and almost completely closed at the bottom (llJus. 6. lllus. Open the bellows about half-way (too far out and you 10 e control). but your entire left forearm should be the lever. The object is to contra! the bellows motion and to avoid tiring your left arm. Bellows being opened-pulling from the top . Depress the air button with your left thumb and pull op n the bellows by drawing out and d wn with your left aim. 6).

close the bellows by lifting the left top and tilting it toward the right top. Bellows being closed-s-i'up and over" . Finish playing with bellows also in a closed position. Repeat this pening and closing of the bellows until it becomes easy. the closing by pushing against the bass plate with the left hand until the bellows is closed tightly. Think of it a an "up and over" motion. The bellows will now look like an upside-down fan. 3. 7. close 12-3· open 1-2-3. Count out loud: open 1-2-3. With the air button still depre sed. close 1-2-3. Closing the accordion correctly is more of a problem. with the top closed and the bono In IV ide (J 11 7). Illus. Important Point: Always start playing with the bellows completely closed. Com pi ete us.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 7 2.

1II/. MEASURE. C. 9. E. 9) is an empty staff. On any keyboard instrument. and C. Corresponding note tor every while key READING MUSIC FOR THE RIGHT HAND There are only seven basic musical tones and they are named with leiters of the alphabet: A. So there is a note for each key. we have a half note The dot after the halI note gives it an extra count. TtME SIGNATURE What is even more interesting is the fact that the number vi bra t i ens per second dcubles as we go from one C to next higher C. I The double bar indicates the end of the piece or song. lllus. it is in t ercs n ng to n 01e lila t music al sounds (that is. Notice that the whole 110le is oval. C's. These notes are written on a music staff. these same tones (white keys) are repeated over and over. with four spaces between the lines. This numerical relaticn produces no clash if all the C's are sounded at once. Below 20 We hear a rumble. for insta nee. 8) on wh ich is written the corresponding note for every White key on the accordion keyboard. Then find them on your accordion. We count the lines and spaces of the staff from the bottom 10 the top. I II . However. The 4 means that a quarter note receives one count. the sounds whose pitch we can distinguish) are caused by waves of 20 per second for the lowest tones to as high as 10. the clashing of the two waves would be immediately obvious and distasteful to you. and such the of th e of per by Below (Illus. so that the body of the note is black. board we should play this note. tells us where on the key. 3 C's. 10. The first Con the accordion (near the top the right ha nd keyhoard)is produced by 256 vibrations S I:CQnd. MEASURE BAR. such' as £ and F. A quarter note (J) is held for I count. A music measure is a standard unit of time found in all printed music. D." Look at the sra fT (illus. 4 F's. • Notice that every C on the keyboard is to the left of the two black-key grouping. The symbol at the beginning of the staff is the treble clef. ·Whil. if you should sound two notes not in numeric" t relation. AI. and th e It ighest C 1024 vi bra Iions per seco nd. How long the sound shou Id last is shown by the kind of note it is: A whole note (0) is held for 4 counts. Above chirp of insects. the n ex I C by 5 12 vi bra lions. etc. Every note is either exactly on a line or in a space. we must be able to read the notes that he has written and. A note A dotted half note (d') is held for 3 counts. 3 D's. By adding a stem to this oval. Sraf] divided by bars into measures.' he must show this in the music. Each of the A's. The lowest tones on the accordion piano keyboard are at the top of the instrument. 3 E's. Every F is 10 the left of the three black-key grouping. TREBLE CLEF When a composer writes a song and he wants to finish it on a high "C. Study the picture of the keyboard and find all the A's./s.I notes written above or below tile staff are written on (orin the space between) short lines which are called leger lines. high door squeaks. AND COUBLE BAR it is COmmon knowledge that sounds are caused by vi brat ion of the ai r wa ves. P. A half note (d) is held for 2 counts. B. 8'5.000 is a scratch. Tbe 3 means that there are three counts to each measure. 011 a line or in a space. 8. which is simply five Jines. is the same tone but each is different from the other in how high or low it is. follow them correctly. 3 8'5. There are 4 A's. except that the oval is filled in. Measure bars divide the SIB ff into measures. If we want 10 play his song. and the highest tones are at the bottom. The numbers to the right of the treble clef are the time signature. starting with the lowest tone and moving up to the highest. The quarter note is drawn the same as a half note. Above is a pictu re of the standa rd 120 bass accordion piano keyboard. and 4 C's. It indicates that the music is written for the rigl: I hand. and they tell us the time of the music. The position of the note on the staff. STAFF NOTES represents a musical sound.000 per second.

If you stay with the lesson long enough so that you can play the music smoothly and fluently. performance will be anything but smooth. 4. is placed on the first line of the staff. How and how much you practice will establish your nne of progress. This is probably the best time to talk a little about how we are going (0 approach our music study. and returned to you with any necessary suggestions-a great help and we urge you to use this service. (At leas! a half-hour a day. and where 10 find them on the keyboard. Read these footnotes for extra enjoyment and a broader education. So. It must be remembered that it takes just so much practice before any function can be performed without effort. you may not be aware of how much you are actually learning.. E. 10. To add color and interest to your study of the accordion. F is in the first space of the staff. important fundamentals arc stressed. please! Missing a day now and then is nota serious default. It will be corrected. what will be expected of you! L Because the lessons move ahead in smooth. be asked for any of this information in your quizzes and examinations! 3_ Now that we've mentioned the tests . Unnecessary information that might lead to confusion has been eliminated so that the lessons present only what is needed at the time. Once you are under way and have begun to "feel" rhythm. educational. 6. Use the fingers of your riglu hand as shown by the numbers under the notes. HOW TO STUDY cultural information will be. or .) 7. When we ask you to count out loud. you will gain more than those who rush into the next lesson without adequate preparation. learn to recognize these live notes as soon as possible. This "background" material will be added in footnotes (starred and in smaller print). You should spend about a week on each lesson. Here (Ire the firs: five notes you will play. However.. Look at your music and read the notes as you play them. (b) the separate Examination Sheet must be sent to the School. Now play them without looking at your fingers' (Did you ever see an accordionist perform with his head bent down over the keyboard so that you could see none of his face but on. also. 2. and the fingering is shown under the notes. but it slows up you r progress in almost dou ble proportion. graded. However. to help you get started. we have a good reason.. Play them over and over.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 9 c D F 1 2 3 4 5 llius. THE FIRST FIVE NOTES C is resting on the first leger line below the staff. _ (a) the Music Quiz is for self-testing. a certain amount of technical. the next note. so that you wiII know what to expect-and. offered. the third note. easy steps. G is written on the second line of the staff. you can check yourself on your progress. when we indicate a count. 5.ly the top of his head?) You can feel these keys under your fingers . but don't worry-you won'. however. Fingers arc numbered. you can be sure that everything offered or recommended in each lesson is important. is written in the space under the first line of the sta ff. no need 10 look at them. counting won't be necessary. Until eyes and mind and muscles and fingers all work together. D. please follow through-it will help you tremendously.

~IEltE'S WHAT TO DO 4' I J. Half note: hold for 2 counts. j. 2$ 2 Count open 2 open close 2 1 j 1 2 2 J 3 1 2 J 3 Ij 1 2 j 3 I j. until you come to the double bar. 1 j. ~ J J J. open 1 ~ J. II . 2 j close 3 J J 1 5 j. the measure bars are units of time and not stopping places between notes. 1 J. close 1 5 j. ~ j open 2 J J J 3 J 2 j close J J. Each of the notes is a dotted half note and is to be held for the count of 1-2-3. Otherwise you'll lind yourself neither opening nor closing completely. The words "Open" and "Close" above the staff refer to bellows motion. quarter note: ~ hold for r count. 2 3 j. 5 j. Play slowly and evenly.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 10 LOOK. close J. Play through from the beginning to the end of the music exercise without any break in time. play slowly and evenly. Example 2 is a melody with which you are familiar. ~ open 1 5 rJ. Remember. They will help you to establish a regular pattern of opening and closing the bellows. you'll spoil the melody. If you hold the quarter notes longer than one count. count as indicated. 1. 2 Count 1 close 3 j. 3 ~ -9-' I j. II Above are four lines of music for the right hand. or extending the bellows so far that it becomes difficult to control. I'M READING MUSIC! Ex. MOM. 2 3 4 J. 1 2 3 close 3 ~ J open 3 2 J.1 2 open open 1 close 2 3 4 J. We are asking you to play it now because it is such a good example of the importance of note values. from one line to the next. Read the music from left to right. 3 j. J 3 Ex. Count out loud.

and moving the bellows at the same time. I. A typist uses the "touch" system and does not look at fingers or keys. still opening the bellows. The count is 1-2-3. Practice at first without music.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 11 READING MUSIC FOR THE LEFT HAND a shiny stone or an indentation of the button itself. 4. Play C bass. "How can anyone ever learn what they all are?" Perhaps if we compare the bass keyboard to a typewriter keyboard it won't seem so hard to understand. This is G bass and G major chord. ] 3. Play C major chord. When you look at all the buttons of the bass keyboard of an accordion you probably say to yourself. opening the bellows. Third finger once. 5. The two rows nearest the bellows are basses. Practice the same waltz-time pattern on these two buttons. using the same fingers as before. Probably you already know that some of the bass buttons will produce a single tone (each is called simply a bass) but other buttons will produce a combination of tones. The notes are quarter notes. which receive one count each. and you should count out loud while you are playing. Practice this pattern over and over until it becomes easy to do. while pulling open the bellows. the other four rows are chords. C bass is always marked on the accordion.l2. to get the feel of pressing the buttons. The M is written only once above the first chord and does not appear again until the chord is changed. or until a new line of music is started. Fingering for the buttons is shown-this is exactly what you were practicing without the music. Now you are ready to study and read the music for the left hand. 6. 11. What you are actually doing is playing what is called a "waltz-time" bass. Finding the firs! bass buttons you will play." to distinguish it from other kinds of chords. Be sure 10 use the correct fingers. M ~lf~I~J~~~¥~~P~I~~~~I~j~~f~~r~1 Count 3 / ~3 Count llfus. either with M M above the chord means "major. 12. G bass and G major chord . Play C major chord again. C major chord is the button right next to C bass. releasing them. C major chord is slanted a little behind and above the C bass button. Otherwise. Repeat pushing the bellows closed this time. BASS CLEF lltus. 7. Your touch on the buttons should be short and quick. Press C bass button with your third finger. and is called a bass del. C BASS A 0 C MAJOR CHORD 9: The symbol indicating that the music is written for the left hand is placed at the beginning of the staff. Running lengthwise from top to bottom of the standard 120 bass instrument are six rows of buttons. MAJOR CHORD SYMBOL Locate C bass on the bass chart (Illus. 2. 11). the typist has learned to locate the proper keys and doesn't have to stop to think or look. We are going to have to use the "touch" system. Through practice. Release the button. Now you have the two buttons with which you are to start. C bass and C major chord in the waltz-time pattern are shown in Ilius. Start with the bellows closed. )l 3 ~3 C bass and C major chord lllus. too. the sounds will run together and your basses will be • smeary. beca~se we can't see the basses. G bass and chord are shown in lilus." Move up to the bass and chord buttons directly above C bass and C major chord. in the major chord row (third row from the bellows). Release the button. press it with your second finger. 3. Release the button. so it is easy to find by touch (second row from the bellows).13. These latter are called chords. second linger twice.

BOTH HANDS TOGETHER! One measure of music for both hands is shown in lIIus.ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 12 OPEN & CLOSE Ex. 4. Doo. The dotted half note. for the right hand. and moving smoothly from measure to measure. Theil you'll be ready for the first song: Dips). 5. "ty 2 J F F rJ 3 open M rr 2 close I J close rr r M I J rr uF f II Count 1 2 3 1 3 Ex . Practice Examples 3. :r ! J open M open rr IJ IJ close IJ 3 F F M ~ I] M F r II 5): J rr rr close r J rr Notice that the basses have sterns thai go up from the body of the note. nuet». and rho stems of the chords go down from the body of the note. Be sure to release the right hand note after the count of "three. Watch the "open" and "close" markings for the bellows-two measures open and two measures close.r open 2 :r 3 3 M F M ~ I :J rr rr IJ I :J F I :J • It Ex. counts of "two" and "three" J. Holddown the right hand note while you play chord-chord (on the. Notice how the tre ble and bass staves are joined by a brace. which are held for one count each. should be held for three counts. 1 I f"l 2 Count 1 3 2 3 Count 1 3 2 3 . 15." You'll be inclined to want to leave your thumb implanted! Practice this measure over and over. Be sure you start with both hands together at the count of "one." Strike the key C exactly at the same time as you press the C bass button..4. 3. counting out loud. but the bass is written in quarter notes. 15. then practice the measu re in! 11 us. . and 5. tlfus. and how the measure bars run through from the top of the treble staff to the bottom of t he bass 51 aff . !4.

. ~ .ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 13 DIPSY DOO I 6. . U· . and back again. On the next song (Ensy Does It) you will have to change from C bass and chord to G bass and chord... Are you hesitating between measures? Music must flow smoothly and rhythmically. --- 1#-- --- n 5 1 . EASY DOES IT 7. counting out loud. -61-' 4' \.. t .....L 2 ~ 3 ~ ~ ~ ~ .. I open I"l I! 1 close 3 5 4' . from measure to measure and line to line. . . 2 3 -~ .. . .... ... listen to what you are playing. ( Count 1 1 ~ M ~ --close 1 . M 4' --- I . ( . 1 3 4' Count 1 2 M 3 -JfI:_ 1 .. Aiter you become more familiar with the notes.... M ~ --- --- ~ .. Be sure to play slowly. < I!.. open close 3 .. . I open fI 4 2 I!..g' M - - .. 2 3 ~ . . ~ open close 3 5 " I!.

Why is it important that we immediately learn to play the accordion without looking at the keyboard? . open I") close 4 3 5 ~ . open. How many counts does the dotted half note receive? The half note? The quarter note? 7.. conpress both counts. I L. To which hand does the treble clef refer? The bass clef? 3. M # ~ M 'fII- . On the treble staff. .. close 2 M . ( 2 close 1 U· 4' M t . What does the time signature teU us? 6. M ~. t I I . 8. 3 " . What is the function of the air button? 10.) I.. What divides the staff into measures? 4. you should buttons together.. (This is not an examination that must be sent to the School for correction..ACCORDION - Lesson 1 Page 14 MUSIC TIME I Ex. where is C located? D? E? F? G? 8. M of bass. ~ 1 .."._. M . Play bass and chord together -9' ~ MUSIC QUIZ Test yourself! See how many of these questions you can answer without having to go back and look them up. This means that.. What areleger lines used for? What does the double bar indicate? The las! measure of Music Tillie has a new form bass and C major chord are written one above the nected by the same stem. M above the chord means that it is what kind of chord? 9.. open ~ ~ 3 1 V' . 5. ~ ~ ~ M open 11 3 close 4 - 5 \ t I ~ . M I -9" V' ) I / . ~ ~ ~ M -~ . holding the notes for the three full ---- - ". . . ) . fl· II!. How many lines are there in the staff? How many spaces? 2. 1fI:_ . C other....

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