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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Can anyone recommend a good book that covers ITM for the accordion. I have Italian buddy of me who wants to get into ITM.

Thanks
Frank


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:04 am 
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Yes, lots of them! Google or search Amazon etc. for "Irish accordion" with the names, John Williams, Peter Browne, Derek Hickey, Karen Tweed, Joe Burke, and Damien Connolly, for starters. You can probably find reviews on this site, TheSession.org, or the UK Accorion Forum.

Also, check out this site: http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/b ... links.html and while you and your buddy are there, you really should read all the way through Brother Steve's Whistle Pages: http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/

I know it's about the whistle and not the box, but within its virtual pages are revealed the complete secret code for learning ITM! Honest! From "the Cake Theory of Irish Music" to "Meet your primary teacher: You!" to discovering whether you are a True Believer, Brother Steve has printed as clear a guide on learning ITM as can be found anywhere, for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, regardless of which instrument they are learning. Good Luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Who am I to disagree with what you say about the ould drivel penned by Brother Steve, Bill :) but on the other question, regarding books on the Irish accordion, from what I know you are dramatically overstating the case.

It all depends what Frank's Italian friend is looking for and what type of accordion he or she plays or wants to play. There are some tutorials for the B/C accordion, most of them DVDs rather than books.

The only books I can think of are

1) "The Box" by David Hanrahan, which has an accompanying CD, not necessarily supplied with it. I can't recommend the book - it is exceedingly basic, to the point where it will be almost useless to anyone who knows anything at all about button accordions. I haven't heard the CD.
2) "The Irish Accordion Tutor" by Damien Connolly, which comes with a DVD. This is a much more comprehensive book - a complete method for beginners through to intermediate level, really. Very well thought out. But more expensive.

Then there are DVD only tutorials by John Williams, P.J. Hernon, Derek Hickey (MadForTrad, probably unobtainable), plus a DVD focused on right-hand ornamentation and wizardry by Peter Browne.

If Frank's friend is interested in another type of diatonic accordion for Irish music - C#/D or other tunings - he/she is out of luck. If he/she is a piano accordion player, look for Karen Tweed's tutorial.

Cheers
Steve


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:09 pm 
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Thanks for your replies...For awhile there I didn't think anyone was going to respond. I should have stated its piano style accordion but don't know the make. He's not looking for a tutor book, he's quite an accomplished player but more in the Italian/German idiom. What he wants is a source or book with music for some of the more commonly played tunes, if there is one. I didn't think of checking Amazon...I'll do that.

Thanks
Frank


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:52 pm 
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firnatine wrote:
I should have stated its piano style accordion but don't know the make. He's not looking for a tutor book, he's quite an accomplished player but more in the Italian/German idiom. What he wants is a source or book with music for some of the more commonly played tunes, if there is one.

Ah, that's different. You/he might want to look at the PA offerings available from Dave Mallinson.

http://www.mally.com/results.asp?CategoryID=19

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:02 am 
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firnatine wrote:
Thanks for your replies...For awhile there I didn't think anyone was going to respond.


If you had phrased your original question more carefully you would probably have got answers quicker. And saved the rest of us the time we spent concocting answers to what we mistakenly thought your question probably meant. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Thanks MT I sent him the link.

Steve, I'm sorry for your inconvenience...The only thing I know about the accordion is "Play an accordion, go to jail". :D

Frank


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:11 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
Who am I to disagree with what you say about the ould drivel penned by Brother Steve, Bill :) but on the other question, regarding books on the Irish accordion, from what I know you are dramatically overstating the case.

It all depends what Frank's Italian friend is looking for and what type of accordion he or she plays or wants to play. There are some tutorials for the B/C accordion, most of them DVDs rather than books.

The only books I can think of are

1) "The Box" by David Hanrahan, which has an accompanying CD, not necessarily supplied with it. I can't recommend the book - it is exceedingly basic, to the point where it will be almost useless to anyone who knows anything at all about button accordions. I haven't heard the CD.
2) "The Irish Accordion Tutor" by Damien Connolly, which comes with a DVD. This is a much more comprehensive book - a complete method for beginners through to intermediate level, really. Very well thought out. But more expensive.

Then there are DVD only tutorials by John Williams, P.J. Hernon, Derek Hickey (MadForTrad, probably unobtainable), plus a DVD focused on right-hand ornamentation and wizardry by Peter Browne.

If Frank's friend is interested in another type of diatonic accordion for Irish music - C#/D or other tunings - he/she is out of luck. If he/she is a piano accordion player, look for Karen Tweed's tutorial.

Cheers
Steve


Now Steve, is the "type of accordion" really that important? I play the PA and am in the process of picking up the CBA. My main influences are BC, C#D, and concertina players--not to mention the flute players, pipers, fiddlers, and yes, even the odd piano accordionist (I know, they're all odd)! If yer man's a True Believer, he'll be piling up recordings of Joe and Josephine, Paddy and Patty, James and Jimmy, Jackie, Bobby, Tony, Finbar, Mirella, Karen, Mary Mac, Mrs. Crotty, and the whole crew of new young fellas and lasses, and it won't matter a flyin' poop what kind of box they're playing. If he's not, no book is going to serve. Indeed, they can be very misleading. Mel Bay has book of 100 Irish Tunes for Piano Accordion. Take a listen the the companion CD, and no need to say more.

In any case, it sounds like what he really needs is tune books. Again, there are lots and lots. A few off the top...
O'Neils 1001
Ceol Rince na h'Eireann vols 1-5
The Joe Burke Music Collection
300 tunes by Mike Rafferty
300 more tunes by Mike Rafferty
A trip to Sligo
Fluit 1 & 2 by June McCormac
The Ceoltas Session Tune Series, etc., etc.

All the Best,
Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:24 pm 
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Bill Wolfe wrote:
Now Steve, is the "type of accordion" really that important? I play the PA and am in the process of picking up the CBA. My main influences are BC, C#D, and concertina players--not to mention the flute players, pipers, fiddlers, and yes, even the odd piano accordionist (I know, they're all odd)! If yer man's a True Believer, he'll be piling up recordings of Joe and Josephine, Paddy and Patty, James and Jimmy, Jackie, Bobby, Tony, Finbar, Mirella, Karen, Mary Mac, Mrs. Crotty, and the whole crew of new young fellas and lasses, and it won't matter a flyin' poop what kind of box they're playing. If he's not, no book is going to serve. Indeed, they can be very misleading. Mel Bay has book of 100 Irish Tunes for Piano Accordion. Take a listen the the companion CD, and no need to say more.


Bill, no - if it's tune books we are talking about, the type of box is not important. I assumed from the words "covers ITM" that Frank's friend was looking for instruction or information rather than tunes.

firnatine wrote:
Steve, I'm sorry for your inconvenience...The only thing I know about the accordion is "Play an accordion, go to jail". :D


No inconvenience really. But giving a detailed know-all answer to a question that wasn't actually asked makes one look a bit of a twit. :)

My wife would say, go into the basement. And shut the door.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:24 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
Bill, no - if it's tune books we are talking about, the type of box is not important. I assumed from the words "covers ITM" that Frank's friend was looking for instruction or information rather than tunes.

Bill Wolfe wrote:
it won't matter a flyin' poop what kind of box they're playing. ... In any case, it sounds like what he really needs is tune books.

Hmmm. I think the OP question implies a lot more than just tune books.

Yer man can listen to all the button boxers he wants. But if he's used to playing Italian and German repertoire, how does that translate to ITM style, technique, and ornament? How does he translate e.g. two button triplets or bellows reversals to PA? Does he understand Irish tune phrasing well enough for optimum fingerings, or would explicit fingerings help? What about playing the left hand in a modal context?

I've played regularly with a couple of good PA players here. And I'd call their approach "ceili oriented", with fairly spare right hand ornament and full stradella chording. Great for solo playing, but it doesn't really work for session playing - and in fact neither one plays sessions.

I'd assume some of the Mallinson offerings address the transition issues of fingering, ornament, and chording. Certainly Karen Tweed's style is one possible model. But you'd have to check that the particular book or method gives you what you want. By all accounts, Mally is a very nice guy, and he's probably happy to make recommendations.

As for tune books ... If the friend is listening to all that ITM, he shouldn't need the dots. If he's good enough, he shouldn't need anything at all but his ears. And for suggested repertoire, a free tune collection such as Norbeck's coupled with a "Top 100" list like that on TheSession should be more than enough.

Steve, you can come out of the basement now. It's gotta be cold down there.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Thanks everyone for your help. I ordered Karen Tweed's, "Irish Choice" so this will give him something to look at. He doesn't know I'm doing this but I wanted to keep the fire burning since he mentioned an interest so I ordered her book for him. He also mentioned he might like to try and play a concertina. From the perspective of a piper the piano accordion looks complicated and the button looks difficult as well. How difficult would the transition be going from the piano accordion to a concertina?

BTW he is able to pick up tunes by ear.

Thanks
Frank


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:25 am 
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Button accordions - of the diatonic or "bisonoric" variety (different notes on push and pull), not the "unisonoric" continental chromatic accordion - are a bit of a pig frankly. They are easy enough to get started on and knock out a few simple tunes on, but - as with any instrument - to get really proficient takes a lot of time and dedicated effort. As to whether a PA player can make the transition: quite a few seem to be able to do so successfully, to judge from contributions to forums such as melodeon.net. But then, those who fail might be far more numerous!

Among the advantages of a diatonic button box are great rhythmic punch and comparatively light weight. Limitations: for practical purposes, you are restricted to a fairly small range of keys (even on systems such as B/C and C#/D which have all the notes) and bass accompaniment is rudimentary compared to what is possible on a piano accordion. Neither of these restrictions is much of a problem for playing Irish music, though.

Concertinas: here again there are different types. Mainly the "English" system, which like piano accordions produces the same note on push and pull, and the "Anglo" system generally favoured by Irish musicians, which is "bisonoric" (horrible word but the alternatives are confusing). Among the advantages - even lighter weight, and possibly so different from a piano box as to carry less risk of confusion. However good ones, especially of the Anglo variety, are inordinately expensive because of their scarcity. Also you have to like having little buttons that feel like pins sticking into your fingertips. :)

I think your friend's best plan - if the interest is really coming from him, and not from you :) - is to start Irish music on the instrument he knows already. If he gets well stuck in and some point wants to change to a more suitable instrument, be it button box or concertina or pipes or anything else - at that point he'll be dealing with learning that instrument, and not learning a new instrument and a new musical language at the same time.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Karen Tweed's music is certainly a good place to start. One of the frustrations in pursuing ITM on PA is that many of the best players--Oliver Loughlin, John Kelly, Mirella Murray, Declan Payne, Martin Tourish--don't seem to make many "pure drop" solo recordings. There are some very choice band and duet albums featuring these players and some eclectic recodrings covering a wide range of genres and styles, but it's hard to really get a handle on the range of approaches to ITM phasing and ornamentation to the degree possible with the 2-row semitone boxes and concertina, which are represented by dozens if not hundreds of solo recordings. Besides Karen Tweed, Dean Warner has a very fine album of ITM on the PA, and the most recent discs from Boholla highlight Jimmy Keane's playing more strongly since fiddler Sean Cleland has left the band.

The PA can produce practically any ornament possible on the 2-row that doesn't depend on a bellows change to produce a change of pitch. It's big disadvantage is the wide spread of the keys, that can make jumps between octaves a literally hit or miss proposition, depending on where the tune is coming from and going. Another disadvantage is size and weight. Even my small 30-key, 2-reed PA from Beltrami weighs 7 kg. My 43-key, 80-bass Paolo Soprani 3-row chromatic button accordion (CBA) is a little smaller and weighs about the same. For the adventurous player who wants the light weight and compactness of a bisonoric box without having to think about bellows direction, here's a nifty little CBA fromBernard Loffet (hoping to see one on my porch in the next week or so):http://diato.org/chroma.htm

Perhaps the biggest challenge in learning ITM on any instrument is getting the right rhythmic feel. That's what I was trying to get at in my earlier, somewhat flippant posts. No book can teach it. It takes a lot of listening to good players to begin to appreciate the range of rhthmic approaches the fit squarely within the tradition and where the boundaries are. There are a number of threads on playing PA for ITM on this board, TheSession, melodeon.net, and accordionforum.co.uk. Your friend might find some of them helful.
Best of Luck!
Bill


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