Sunday, November 5, 2017

Week 8 - Tackling a new song: Schützen Polka

The last week and a half  I have been focused on practicing scales and the Grossglockner Weise. 

This is what you can hear in the very beginning of the video below.

Now it's been about 8 weeks since I started. The new song I'm learning now is the Schützen Polka, so far only first part and without base - slow progress but it's great practice for scales. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gstanzl with singing (Week 7)

Okay, so I learned two Gstanzl, the lyrics are quite funny in Austrian. I notice the progress, and that things are getting a bit smoother. Singing is hard though, and I think I have to pump up the volume quite a bit to be louder then the accordion.

I also go back playing the previous songs I learned quite often, and notice if I don't do that, I keep making a lot of mistakes. So I might have to slow down and focus more on the quality of things I already learned, rather then tackling a lot of new pieces.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Week 5: Scales

Last few days I have been working on some technical things. In particular I focused on learning how to play a scale up and down. It took a bit but practicing it for 10-15 minutes everyday makes wonder and eventually the fingers seem to find there own way.

I also tackled playing the scale with "two tones" at the same time. This requires a lot of practice and repetitions but I'm slowly getting there. There is a song called "Schuetzen Polka" that is based on the theme of playing the scale downwards with 2 voices at the same time, and I'll be learning that soonish. Here is a brief video of playing a scale up and down:

Additionally, I have been continuing to practice the Gstanzl and the next video should be a performance of a couple of Gstanzl! So watch out for that! 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Learning "Gstanzln"

I'm wrapping up the fourth week of learning the Steirische. Unfortunately Tuesday this week I had gotten sick, so my progress was a bit slower this week.

But I tried to tackle G'stanzl which is popular part of traditional singing in Austria. It's basically short phrases that rhyme and are funny - typically mocking somebody. And then go back to a refrain that everybody knows, and it's like yodeling. Some people are really good and can make them up on the fly - like my dad for instance. In modern culture rapping is somewhat similar. There is even a Wikipedia entry for it:

I will try to learn a couple and sing to it next week! So stay tuned! :)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

End of Week 3 - Hinter meiner Stadltier

The last couple of session I was focusing on learning a real fun song called "Hinter meiner Stadltier", which means something like "Behind the door of my barn". There are quite some challenging parts in this piece, especially for a newbie like me but I'm pretty happy with my progress.

Couple of things that I need to improve on:

  1. Bass runs - it's hard to play different things with left and right hand, and the bass is still throwing my off quite a bit, especially the more advanced runs I have to focus on
  2. Solo - this piece has a accordion solo in the end which sounds pretty epic if played well - and I hopefully will get there at one point
  3. Singing - this is not a focus yet, and I will sing louder when I have the fingerings and bass down

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!

Now that I have my Ziehharmonika (accordion) back I'm super motivated to pick up where I left off a few days ago.

Figuring out how to correctly play the bass part is tricky, and it takes quite the effort to practice and figure this out. Playing slowly helps a lot I noticed, then increase the speed. I continue learning "Ein Prosit" and it's slowly coming together:

The lessons I'm taking are from Hubert Fuchs -, and he has a pretty awesome compilation and training lessons with a lot of focus on getting down to playing right away!

I will try to set aside some time every day to continue making progress on a couple of pieces. The things I want to learn initially are:
  1. Ein Prosit
  2. Hinter meiner Stadltuer
  3. Gstanzl

So let's see how the progress on those will be.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The long story of getting a couple of buttons adjusted...

First road block was that the Gleichton of the accordion was off (it was on a different button then I wanted it to be).

I went to a local accordion shop in Seattle, called Petosa - but they weren't very familiar with diatonic accordions (especially the style with Gleichton) and fixing it would have taken them a long time - many weeks they said... :( That was a bit odd, and quite the set back on my motivation to learn this instrument....

Fixing it myself?

I even contemplated fixing it myself as this should take long I thought... At that time I also learned a lot about the various tones of the instrument, and scales, etc. I have a three row GCF accordion, which is what I wanted, since you can sing along with it pretty easily. Here is me, mapping out the tones and tuning of the instrument to figure out if any buttons are off and if they would need adjustments....

To the rescue!

I called the dealer over in Michigan, who kept my spirit up high and referred me to Michael Arralde. Mr. Arralde is amazing, and I can't praise enough for his professionalism and quality of work! It literally took him 10 seconds to figure out what needed to be changed. He has perfect absolute pitch, and that certainly helps! And he is a great and very friendly individual as well, and he also knows how to play!

While being at his shop I also met other accordion and button box players, some amazingly skilled players - very inspiring!

Three days later Mr. Arralde calls me and the button box is ready to be picked up! Super happy about that quick service. Thanks Michael!

Week 8 - Tackling a new song: Schützen Polka

The last week and a half  I have been focused on practicing scales and the Grossglockner Weise.  This is what you can hear in the very beg...