Slovenian-Australian accordionist · Learning material

Phillip Nadvesnik

Category: Tips

Slovenian ‘Oberkrainer’ accordion rhythm technique for waltzes (Slo: tresanje, spremljavo) (Ger: begleitung)

⚠️ For a brief historical explanation of the technique and a video on how to use this technique in polkas, click on the article below 👇.

Waltzes in the Oberkrainer accordion rhythm technique (Slo: tresanje or spremljavo, Ger: begleitung) involve playing chords in quavers (eighth notes) repeatedly and smoothly in 3/4 time, with no bellow shaking. Below is a video and exercise sheet PDF which I hope might assist some people in learning and improving their technique.

Some tips to help you on your journey:

  • Wrist movements on the treble (right) hand can help with maintaining rhythm.
  • Varying the pressure of the bellows at different times helps with a dynamic feel and energy.
  • I like to vary the number of notes played at any given time, alternating between 3, 4 and 5 notes, to suite the melody and feeling of the song, as well as coordination with other instruments in a trio or quintet.
  • Varying the bellow movement is not essential. There is no bellow shaking of any sorts.
  • Tapping the left (bass) hand can be used instead of playing basses, to help maintain feeling and rhythm.
  • The faster the waltz, the higher chance that the chords will be played with shorter, staccato notes.

What I learnt from a bad experience with a Tyrolean accordion company

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In 2013 I wrote about my experience with Lanzinger Harmonikas. I provided screenshots of emails and timelines, but it was lengthy and opinionated. After the passing of the company’s founder I reflected and removed those articles.

In my career so far as a software developer, I have learnt the value of transparency and honesty with clients. This has a great impact on a company’s reputation and clients’ trust in a company. Even in the face of challenges. Hoping that Lanzinger Harmonikas and other companies can learn from their mistakes, and for the benefit of people in the market for a new accordion, I’d like to offer a clear summary of what happened, and what I learnt.

Which accordion will give you the typical Slovenian sound?

When I started my search for a piano accordion with a typical Slovenian (Oberkrainer) sound (see Avsenik, Alpenoberkrainer, etc), I had no idea what to look for. Further information was hard to obtain through research of my own, so I had to turn to contacts from central Europe who were happy to explain what they use and what makes the sound that we know and love (as well as using Google Translate on German and Slovenian accordion forums).

I hope the following information can assist anyone who is looking for that sound and not sure where to start, particularly outside of central Europe where it is difficult to find this information in English. Please note this also applies for chromatic button accordions.

Slovenian diatonic button accordion (Steirische harmonika): how to start

This is a list of resources I’ve compiled for learning and finding a Slovenian or Austrian diatonic button accordion, targeted to those who live outside of central Europe, where it can be difficult to find the resources and assistance to get started with it. I’ve been asked a few times for help on how to get started, what instrument to get and where to buy one, so I hope this can assist others wanting to take up this instrument.

An easy way to clean metal accordion grills

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After researching methods to clean metal accordion grills without successfully finding an easy and not so risky approach (commonly discussed methods included having to remove the grill cloth then using a metal polish such as Brasso), a fellow accordionist recommended the Mayflower Metal Care Cloth which apparently can be used on your accordion’s grill without affecting the grill cloth underneath.

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