Folk Piano Accordion: Choosing a piano accordion for Traditional Irish Music

learn irish piano accordion

Folk Piano Accordion

Friday, 28 May 2010

Choosing a piano accordion for Traditional Irish Music

When choosing a piano accordion, you need to consider how many piano keys you need, as well as how many basses.

The piano keys are on the right hand s > When playing with other instrumentalists, or in a session, you will only need to play these. The > You can also get away with 26 keys for most of them. 34 keys is also a popular option, and will give you more flexibility. The less keys, the smaller and lighter the accordion.

The basses are the buttons on the left hand s > Although they’re called basses, they are a mix of bass notes, and 3-note chords. The > Some Irish players don’t use the buttons at all – certainly when playing in a session, where other instruments are prov > If you don’t intend to use the bass buttons, it doesn’t matter how many basses your accordion has.

On most small piano accordions, you will have the option of using any combination of 3 voices at the same time. These will often be two voices at the same pitch, and one voice an octave lower. Where there are 2 voices at the same pitch, you have the option of them being tuned exactly the same (dry tuning), very slightly apart (swing tuning), or more apart (wet tuning or musette).

Most Irish players choose dry tuning or swing tuning. Wet tuning, or musette, gives more of a French café sound.

There are 3 different types of reed. “A Mano” are hand made, and are the highest quality. “Tip a Mano” are hand finished, and are medium grade. “Durral”, “factory” or “export” are the lowest grade.

30/72 or 26/72 accordions

Here is a list of some of the better quality 30 or 26 key piano accordions (as of May 2010) which have 72 bass buttons. Also included are the approximate price in British pounds, dimensions, and weight.

Allodi SP/O/3GB (26 key) £2,300

Brandoni piccolo (30 key) £1,700 [37.5 x 17 x 36cm, 6.2kg]

Brandoni 65W super (30 key) £3,500 [39 x 19 x 36.5cm, 7.3kg] (all wood)

Delicia 72 bass Compact (26 key) £950 [33.2cm, 6.2kg] (small keys)

Dino Baffetti 72 bass Studio I (26 key) £1,900 [40x35x17cms, 6kg]

Fantini SP/30/T (30 key) £2,500 [38cm, 5.8kg]

Pigini Preludio P30 (30 key) £1850 [36x17cm, 6 kg]

Weltmeister Juwel (30 key) £1,200

Wooden piano accordions are popular within Irish traditional music. They are cons > The main options are listed below.

Brandoni (30, 34+ key)

Castagnari (34 key)

Pietro Mario (34 key)

Saltarelle (34 key) (possibly the most popular piano accordion for Irish trad)

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