Updated: Oct 3, 2020
If you're a beginner accordionist, chances are you're looking for accordion lessons, an accordion teacher or maybe you've searched out some "how to play accordion" videos on YouTube. While most beginners could benefit from an accordion teacher or accordion lessons, some might already have ear training or know a little music theory from other instruments but just need a little help translating it to the accordion. The Accordion Chord Chart is a new learning tool developed to help you further understand and memorize chords on both sides of the accordion without the use of sheet music.
Download your FREE Accordion Chord Chart right now on the homepage!
Over the past 8 months I have dealt with shoulder problems that stem from poor playing habits. Mainly a result of not using back straps, over playing, as well as standing while playing an accordion that was just too heavy. The combination of all of these really took it's tole, forcing me to rest and rethink my accordion journey. With the extra downtime from not playing the accordion, I revisited a project that's been on my mind for a while.
The idea for the Accordion Chord Chart came about almost a decade ago when I first started playing the accordion. I had scoured the internet looking for accordion charts and tools and what I found left a lot to be desired. For starters, the traditional 120 accordion bass chart has been articulated in a format that seems odd upon examination. The only time you see that configuration in that articulation would be when the accordion is placed on the ground with the keys facing up. This posed an issue as soon as you placed the instrument on your body, changing the viewing angle from left to right, to up and down.
I found myself on several occasions turning my head to compensate for the articulation. After testing multiple layouts and getting feedback from other accordionists around the world, we found the "top-down" view to look and feel more natural than the 120 bass charts of before. You can reach your hands up and play on "top" of the chart and it translates "down" on the accordion beneath you.
Now that we had the accordion bass side's articulation figured out, articulating the keyboard's side in the same "top-down" style only made sense. So often we find ourselves looking directly down the keyboard beneath us as we are learning something new on the accordion. Using that same articulation, it feels very natural to see it all up on the wall or on the chart in front of you. Again, reaching up on top of the chart, you are able to lay your fingers over it and have that formation translate down onto the accordion beneath you.
The idea for the circle of fifths style chord chart stemmed from an accordion buddy on Instagram, Ryan Simpson, aka: @accordion_ryan... give him a follow! After reviewing some early prototypes, he mentioned the idea of matching the layout of the right hand chords to the accordion's bass side, which is laid out in circle of fifths. After some more design work, we found that setup to be super helpful in learning and memorizing both sides of the accordion simultaneously.
Having the accordion chord chart laid out in the circle of fifths style lends to an easier viewing experience. Given that most music follows the circle of fifths, you won't have to make large jumps on the chart with your eyes in order to figure out your chord progressions, it's all typically a lot closer to one another than the traditional chromatic style layout.