- Here we use the terms "keys" and "buttons" almost interchangeably with regard to the right side: usually, it's "buttons" when we are talking about the physical side of thngs and "keys" when we are dealing with the abstract.
- Some of this chapter is derived from the chapter "Bellows & Fingering" from the online book A Musician's Guide to the Tex-Mex Accordion / Acordeon Tejano / Acordeon Conjunto Norteño .
If you have the shoulder straps properly adjusted, the bellows should be off the breast, to the left. The part of the accordion that hits the left breast is the back of the keyboard, same as with any piano accordion. Your chin should be directly above the keyboard (over the black keys, on a PA, over the buttons, on a button box). Playing in this fashion really builds up the left arm muscles!
However, large-breasted women may still find it uncomfortable to play any type of accordion, as the left breast does get compressed somewhat, even if not pinched in the bellows (which should only happen with VERY small accordions - like my two Hohner Lilliputs and my Hohner Imperial 24 bass, which is truly a midget-sized instrument, about 2/3 the size of a typical 12 bass.) When I play my smaller accordions, I lengthen the right shoulder strap to get as much of the bellows off my breast as possible, and I never go bra-less :)
- Wendy Morrison
Solomon Smulewitz (1863-1940), the author's great-grandfather, and the composer of over 500 Yiddish popular songs including Churbm Titantic (The Titanic Disaster), Ellis Island , and the still-popular Brivele der Mamen (A Letter to Your Mother).
It's easy to learn to play the bass buttons, though their bisonoric nature may puzzle the novice. When you desire a particular chord, you have to remember to release if the bellows needs to go in the opposite direction for a note or two!
When using the bass buttons, it is often easier to play a song in the key of the companion row than the in the key of the home row. The two most important reasons that this is so are interrelated, and they are as follows:
In any case, the bass buttons, when useful at all, are mostly useful in a solo or duet performance. In a full combo or orchestral arrangement, they are obtrusive and clumsy. Furthermore, as a general rule, your bellows technique will be more fluid if you follow the Tex-Mex style of abandoning the bass buttons. Yet bass button technique should not be completely ignored as you learn the instrument, because in solo passages they can add a charmingly wistful and nostalgic air to your performance.
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