Accordion/Left hand/Lesson 3

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Now that you're (somewhat) familiar with where the different notes and chords are on the accordion's basses, we've covered all the basses except for the innermost row. This row is called the "counterbass" row, and it is one of two rows that play single notes and not chords. Press the middle "C". Now find the note that is diagonally-down from it (between the main "C" and "F" buttons). This plays a note a third above the main note. It follows the same vertical pattern as the main pedal row - a circle of fifths. Going up on this row, you will hit the notes "B", "F sharp", and so on, and downwards you will hit "A", "D", etc. With these two rows, you can play simple melodies - useful for if you want to play melodies both in your right and left hands at once.

  • Exercise: Play the middle "C" and then immediately locate and play the counterbass "E", then the "G" above middle "C". Repeat this a few times; in case you haven't noticed, you're playing a simple arpeggio. The main note of a chord (in this case "C"), as well as its third and fifth ("E" and "G" here) are the most commonly used notes in an oom-pah accompaniment. Now try alternating the "C" , "E", and "G" pedal notes with "C" major. Now we'll spice things up a bit. Using the middle finger on the pedal bass and the second finger on the chords, try the following chord progression:
    • C pedal, C major chord, G pedal, C major chord, G pedal, G seventh chord, B counterbass pedal, G seventh chord, C pedal, C major chord, F pedal, F major chord, C pedal, C major chord.
    • This is just a random example of how the oom-pah accompaniment might be used to back up a tune following the same progression in the right hand. Try playing this in 3/4 time (i.e., playing each chord button twice instead of once) to simulate a waltz rhythm. By now, you should be reasonably comfortable locating pedal notes and chords close to each other and can combine these skills with your keyboard abilities to start working out simple folk and pop tunes.

In our next lesson, we'll spice things up a bit and learn to play a scale on the basses and get you into a little more advanced bass technique.

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Go to: Introduction • Lesson 1234