Sunday, September 17, 2006

See below

There's an interesting question about piano accordions for playing Irish music among the comments on "What's going one here?". Anybody tried any of the new generation of small piano accordions?


Anonymous said...

I have a 48 bass accordion. I love it!! Sometimes I wish I had gotten one with even less bass keys. Maybe a 24 or 12 just to start off though I know it would be limiting but that is okay. Check out MySpace : and watch the first video under the heading "Movies" and watch a classic Austin City Limits segement of the famous TEXAS TORNADOS. The Accordion Player and singer DOUG SAHM is playing what appears to be a 12 bass accordion. This is the kind of music I want to play. Tejano,Polka,Cajun etc..I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Kris Hughes said...

Hi Mike! I remember that old Austin City Limits series - I lived in the US at that time. I will check that video out when I get the chance. Will also reply to the email you sent me very soon.


Angie said...

Well, I have a 12-bass, and I guess the only thing that seriously irritates me about it is that the keyboard only offers about an octave and a half. It's not the basses that are so limiting.

It is nice to carry a lighter instrument, though. I have an old Excelsior which feels like I'm wearing a baby grand piano, and for that reason, I rarely play it.

Angie in Texas, US

Kris Hughes said...

Hi there, Angie. Welcome!

The question of small vs large accordion is a vexed one, isn't it? For a long time I preferred small ones. Partly because they are easier to carry - and that is a valid consideration depending on your lifestyle and strength. Part of my attitude about this was a kind of inverted snobbery, though - and this attitude is not uncommon on the folk and traditional music scene.

Eventually, I wanted to access the versatility of a big 5 voice 120 bass accordion, though - and the surprising thing was that I found it much easier to play than the smaller acordions I had played before. It sits very solidly in my lap (assuming the straps are adjusted the way I want them) and the depth of the bass end actually makes it easier to use my forearm on the bellows the way I want to. Not to mention that the large air volume of a big bellows means I don't have to open it as far to play a given passage of music as I would on a small box.

So am I saying bigger is better? It depends. I believe bigger is easier to play unless you are very small - at least if you are seated, hold the accordion efficiently and have your straps the right length.

I play as small light accordion for Irish stuff - it has the right sound to my ear, but I do find some aspects of the bellows control harder and my posture isn't as good.

As for a 12 bass - no, I couldn't live without minor chords!


Bill said...

I play an eighty bass Titano Polka Master for playing Irish music. It's perfect for me. I also have a 120 Fila but much prefer the smaller Titano. Besides it looks good,too.