Accordions – Thursday September 7

Mass Appeal – Accordions
City Hall Plaza
Thursday September 7
Rehearsal: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Concert: 7:30 – 8:00 pm

Accordions at City Hall

Accordions date from the early 19th century, and can be found in music around the world. From the tangos and zydeco of the Americas, to the jigs and reels of Great Britain and Ireland, across Europe and into Asia, and even in Africa there are forms of folk music that feature reed-based instruments related to the accordion.

The accordion is both loved and reviled – many a Winnipegger will tell you a tale of lugging their heavy case through snowy streets to the lessons their parents forced them to take. And yet, without the accordion there could be no Bird Dance, and quite possibly no Manitoba Wedding Social! Some of the world’s greatest musicians, including Canada’s Walter Ostanek (21 Grammy nominations) and France’s Yvette Horner (released 150 albums since the 1940s) have made their marks on the world with the accordion. It is without a doubt, one of the world’s premiere musical instruments.

Mass Appeal is thrilled to add this new component for 2017, under the musical direction of Stephen Kiz. Stephen is Winnipeg-born accordionist and teacher who has performed around North America, and currently serves as accordion instructor at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. He has been involved with Folklorama for over twenty five years performing at and arranging for such pavilions as Italy/Sicily, Alpine (German/Austrian), Brazil, Kiev (Ukrainian) and most recently, the Spirit of Ukraine pavilion. Steve currently leads and arranges for several of his own groups including the BMW (Bavarian Musik Werks) Band, BMW Dixieland Band and the Tuxedos Strolling/Jazz Group.

Join us in this new-for-2017 Mass Appeal concert on the plaza at City Hall on Thursday, September 7. Rehearsal will take place between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, with the concert running from 7:30 – 8:00 pm. To participate as a player, download the songs below and practice them on your own.

Stephen has recorded versions of each track that you can listen to online, and we’ve also included some YouTube links to give you an idea of what it will sound like. There are 2 versions of each song, with the Accordion 1 version being for more advanced players, and the Accordion 2 version being a little easier. For those just getting started, the Accordion 2 version can also be played with both hands or by only using the right hand, to make things less complicated.

On the day of the concert, participants are asked to bring
– a chair
– a music stand
– sheet music
– clothes pegs to hold your music if it’s windy.

Here’s what we’ll be playing. Read on to find all the music, sample tracks, and notes on each song from Conductor Stephen! You can download all the music as a single PDF file, or find individual versions of each song in the notes below.

Mass Appeal Accordions repertoire:

Ukrainian Medley
Le Gamin de Paris
Besame Mucho
Edelwiess
Bird Dance
Tarantella

Stephen Says: Hello Accordions! I will bring some extra wind clips if people need them.

I will be introducing the songs and doing a bit of talking to give you time to get the next chart out and clipped to the music stand and maybe get a drink of water. If you are needing more time just let me know and I will tell a joke or something.

Please feel free to invite any friends (or enemies), especially if they play piano or chromatic button accordion, to join us.

Let’s have fun out there!

1. Ukrainian Medley

Listen to Stephen play the Ukrainian Medley:
Stephen Says: This is a medley of well-known Ukrainian songs ending in Lutche Bulo. It repeats on each of the four songs.

Use a low and single middle reed on the right hand (bandoneon) if possible.

Feel free to leave out fills that you find too hard (other people will be playing them) – the point is to play what you can and have fun doing it.

We may adjust the tempo from the recorded version here. We’ll find out at rehearsal.

For the performance I will give a two bar count in (1 2 2 2).

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

2. Le Gamin de Paris

Listen to Stephen play Le Gamin de Paris:

Stephen says: This is a Parisian waltz and we will repeat the song 3 times (On my practice aid recording I only did two repeats, but we’ll add one more)

If you have musette tuning on your accordion (also called wet tuning) this is the song on which to use it.

Feel free to leave out fills or simplify the right hand chords if need be (other people will be playing them).

Just like the Ukrainian Medley, the recorded tempo may be adjusted a bit faster at rehearsal.

For the performance I will give a two bar count in (1 2 3 2 2 3) with the pickup coming in on the third beat of the second bar.

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

3. Besame Mucho

Listen to Stephen play Besame Mucho:

Stephen says: This is a very famous Latin number written by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velasquez. Although it can be played in a variety of Latin rhythms, we will be using a beguine rhythm on the left hand for this performance.

If you ever do any strolling (walking around playing – sometimes working with a violinist) at weddings or anniversaries or restaurants, this is great song to play.

The first four bars are intro. Play the left hand (or just count) and I will provide a right hand intro for the group like on my practice aid recording.

We will repeat the song two times then play the tag ending to finish. The tag ending is a double repeat of the last phrase of the song and is common especially in dance music.

The beguine pattern on the left hand can be tricky on this song so if you are uncomfortable playing that style, just play the right hand. We will have a bass player and drummer providing the rhythm for the rehearsal and concert, so if even a few accordionists are playing the left hand, we will have lots of rhythm happening.

This is a song where you can play the song up an octave from where it is written (8va) and use the basson (low) switch on the right hand of the accordion. If you play it in the octave written use a middle or middle/high combination (clarinet or oboe).

For the performance I will give a one bar count in (1 2 3 4).

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

4. Edelwiess

Listen to Stephen play Edelweiss:

Stephen Says: From the Rogers & Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music; this is a great strolling song.

We will repeat the song two times and do a tag ending as per the chart.

For the performance I will give a one bar count in (1 2 3).

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

5. Bird Dance

Listen to Stephen play the Bird Dance:

Stephen Says: Every accordionist needs to know the Bird (or Chicken) Dance!

We will repeat the song three times, although we may decide during the rehearsal to add a repeat or two if we can get a few audience members to join us and dance the Bird Dance with us (be sure to invite all your relatives – especially those with little ones!)

We may play the song a bit faster the last time around. We can decide that at the rehearsal before the concert.

For the performance I will give a one bar and 1 beat count in (1 2 3 4 1) to be followed by the pickups.

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

6. Tarantella

Listen to Stephen play the Tarantella:

Stephen Says: An Italian song in 6/8 timing, which is yet another great one for strolling. The story is that when you are bitten by a spider you start dancing the Tarentella and that helps you the recover from the bite.

The left hand is typical for a 6/8 timing and this is another example of a song where if the left hand is causing you problems, you can leave it out and just play the right hand. The other accordions and the rhythm section can cover the accompaniment.

There are some things happening on the Accordion 1 part such as the held notes below the eighth note melody on the second section, which may be difficult to master in time for the concert. If so, just play the top eighth note melody line.

For the performance I will give a one and a half bar count in (1 2 1) to be followed by the pickups.

Accordion 2 has fewer ornaments and may be easier to read for some. It is more like what you would see in a fake book so even advanced player can use that chart and add their own grace notes, 3rds, 6ths etc.

As with all songs, sacrifice the notes for the rhythm if needed. The rhythm is what everyone will notice while a few missing or different note will go largely unnoticed. So if you need to leave out a few notes, feel free (just make sure you are still counting where the notes are left out!)