Bass play and alternating bass
Zurück Nach oben Weiter

die steirische Harmonika

Bass play and alternating bass (Wechselbass)

with the Steirische

Bass layout

3 row-instrument

4-row instrument

other designs

Simple bass fingering

Alternating bass (Wechselbass)

Bass layout

Every row on the treble side corresponds to a certain diatonic scale in a distinct key. On a D-G-C instrument the first row is in the scale of D major, the middle row in G major and the inner row in C major. For each of these rows you find the appropriate two bass keys in the outside row of the bass side. On the inner row of the bass side you find more buttons with notes for transient basses, minor chords, and the 4th step progression.

3 row-instrument

Traditional system of button assignment (Styrian) push, 3-row instrument D-G-C:

Inner row E e-major B b-major b-major
Outer row C c-major G g-major D d-major

Traditional system of button assignment (Styrian) pull, 3-row instrument D-G-C:

Inner row F f-major E e-minor e-minor
Outer row G g-major D d-major A a-major

Naming of keys in Griffschrift according to Rosenzopf, 3-row Instrument, independent of the scale. Pull und push are only indicated by the underline in Griffschrift for push:

Inner row G g D d d
Outer row C c B b A a

In Griffschrift the names of the buttons do not have anything in common with the name of the note or scale in standard notation. Unfortunately, the naming conventions are somewhat illogical and structured a bit oddly as well. I still use them especially for beginners, because I don’t know of anything better since this is the way most griffschrift is written today. There are more logical (therefore better?) naming conventions for basses, which haven’t gained widespread acceptance yet, like the one from Erich Pauli:

Inner row C2 c2 B2 b2 A2
Outer row C c B b A a

I personally would prefer to use names like X-Y-Z, which can’t get mixed up with note names. No one has done this yet and I’m not going to start it.top

4-row instrument

Traditional system of button assignment (Styrian) push, 4-row instrument A-D-G-C:

Inner row E e-major B b-major Fis fis-major E
Outer row C c-major G g-major D d-major A a-major

Traditional system of button assignment (Styrian) pull, 4-row instrument A-D-G-C:

Inner row F f-major E e-minor B b-minor F
Outer row G g-major D d-major A a-major E e-major

If in the inner row the 1st and the last bass buttons are coupled (E-E or F-F), alternating bass (A a E a and B e E e) is easily possible for A-major. The B is reachable with the 5th finger.

If the Instrument is tuned to scales other than A D G C the notes are different but with the same fingering.

Naming of keys in Griffschrift according to Rosenzopf, 4-row instrument, independent of the scale. Pull und push are indicated only by the underline in Griffschrift for push. Max Rosenzopf himself never published notes for 4-row instruments.

Inner row G g E e D d G
Outer row F f C c B b A a

A variant to this is the naming of the keys for Griffschrift according to Volker Derschmidt, derived from Rosenzopf naming:

Inner row E e G g D d d
Outer row F f C c B b A a

In Griffschrift the names of the buttons do not have anything in common with the name of the note or scale in standard notation. Unfortunately, the naming conventions are somewhat illogical and structured a bit oddly as well. I still use them especially for beginners, because I don’t know of anything better since this is the way most griffschrift is written today. There are more logical (therefore better?) naming conventions for basses, which haven’t gained widespread acceptance yet, like the one from Erich Pauli:

Inner row D2 d2 C2 c2 B2 b2 A2
Outer row D d C c B b A a

Florian Michlbauer’s system shares the outer row in common with Pauli, but the inner row is different:

Inner row E e F f G g H
Outer row D d C c B b A a

I personally would prefer to use names like X-Y-Z, which can’t get mixed up with note names. No one has done this yet, and I’m not about to start.top

other, different designs

Anyway, there are a lot of different ways the bass is arranged on the Steirische. For instance you will find that instead of the b major key a "Wechselbass" for D major is fitted instead. Or the instrument has major 4th step basses instead of minor pull basses installed. I personally prefer the traditional way of minor basses with one exception: the last top button of the inner row is coupled with the first button of the inner row on my 4 row instrument. In this way I get the alternating bass for the first row, this is only possible with traditional minor bass layout. The other row is alike for all designs.

Usually all accompanying chords consists of the tones 3 and 5 and together with the 1st scale note, this builds the major triad. You also find these accompanying chords are made up with 3 or 4 reeds (1,3,5, [8]). I don’t find this to be so good because it limits the possibilities for the way buttons can be used in play. The 7th note for the dominant 7th chord is never fitted at all. This means that you find the same chords in pull and in push direction, only relocated on different keys. If one wants, it is possible to play some passages of the tune in either pull or in push direction, to avoid excessively long passages of push or pull.

Today a lot of instruments are sold without minor chords fitted in the inner row, instead, they have transient basses. The argument is that it is easier to finger this way. My opinion is that this is not true completely, a beginner does not need minor basses, nor does he need these transient basses. Furthermore, if you are already a virtuoso and beyond the beginning stage, you will be limited in possible keys. I feel sorry that for the sake of ease in playing some of the original musical capabilities of the instrument are removed.

Button assignment with transient basses (Übergangsbässen) on push, (Normal bass), 4-row instrument A-D-G-C (the same as traditional key layout, no difference in assignments, however the major chords of the inner row are practically of no use, and for this reason they don’t make sense)

Inner row E e-major H h-major Fis fis-major E
Outer row C c-major G g-major D d-major A a-major

Button assignment with transient basses (Übergangsbässen) on pull, (Normal bass), 4-row Instrument A-D-G-C (notice the difference to the minor key layout above):

Inner row F f-major C c-major G g-major F
Outer row G g-major D d-major A a-major E e-major

A wechselbass in combination with row 1 is not possible, even if the first and last button of the inner row would be coupled (E-E or F-F). This coupling is therefore without purpose, another disadvantage of instruments with transient basses.

Recently, some instruments have come equipped with the so-called “x bass”, one button and an extra helicon reed is added, in the first row.This allows the wechselbass to be played for the outside treble row, without having to cross to the inside bass row.

More about layout can be found on the page: bass systems.top

Simple bass fingering

It is always correct to accompany with fundamental basses and chords corresponding to the correct treble side row, for example:

Easy waltz rhythm in C-major, standard notation (for 4th row on ADGC instrument): 
C c c C c c
G g g G g g G g g G g g C c c C c c (...)

in Griffschrift: 
C c c C c c
C c c C c c C c c C c c C c c C c c 

Easy polka rhythm in C-Major, standard notation (for 4th row on ADGC instrument): 
C c C c G g G g G g G g C c C c (...)

in Griffschrift: 
C c C c
C c C c C c C c C c C c 

The 1st step progression (tonic) is underlined so you can see it more clearly in analogy to the griffschrift, tonic is played in push direction. The 5th step progression (dominant, not underlined) is played in pull direction.

On the steirischen it is important to finger the fundamental 1st step progression with the ring finger, independent on which row one is playing, the accompanying chord bass is fingered with the middle finger.

The bass buttons should be played rather short (nearly staccato). The button has to be pressed quickly to the bottom and quickly released again. We don’t have many exceptions in this respect, because the rather loud helikon basses overpower the accompanying melody notes otherwise.top

Alternating bass (Wechselbass)

A well played wechselbass is never needed, but it makes many tunes more interesting. It also sounds better in most cases. The oft mentioned rule is: start in push direction with the fundamental bass (1st step) with the ring finger of the left hand, and start pull passages with the next upper button, the neighboring bass, (5th step) with the index finger of the left hand. If bellows direction is changed the same finger pushes the same button a second time. The sound of the tone is changed because the direction changes.

Easy waltz rhythm in C-major, standard notation (for 4th row on ADGC instrument) with wechselbass:
C c c G c c
D g g G g g D g g G g g C c c G c c (...)

in Griffschrift: 
C c c B c c B c c C c c B c c C c c C c c B c c 

Easy polka rhythm in C-Major, standard notation (for 4th row on ADGC instrument) with wechselbass:
C c G c
D g G g D g G g C c G c (...)

in Griffschrift: 
C c B c
B c C c B c C c C c B c 

Here the index finger is in use as well. Fundamental bass key = ring finger, accompanying chord middle finger, alternating bass index finger.

You should stick with this rule (Beginning in the push with the ringfinger, beginning in the pull with the index finger), there very rare cases when it should be different, and you should know what you want to achieve with the exception. If this rule can’t be used because the measures aren’t in an even count, it is better not to play alternating bass at all, instead use a standard fundamental bass. Also if you play short, 8 measure, ländler or mazurkas and all “zwiefache” (3/4 and 2/4 rhythm is changed within the tune) you should not play wechselbass.

If your instrument has an alternating bass key in the second inner bass row in combination with the first row on the treble side, then you should press this alternating key with the ring finger, so you have to change the finger position for these two bass keys. The chord is played with the middle finger as usual. top

String bass and alternating bass ] Easy runs ] Example alternating bass ]

Nach oben ] Questions about the Steirische ] Playing technique ] Playing with standard notation ] "Griffschrift" explained ] Easy multiple voices ] [ Bass play and alternating bass ] swinging music ]
[Deutsche Version]

Lehrgang Nach oben Volksmusik Impressum Inhaltsverzeichnis neu eingefügt

FAQ (häufig gestellte Fragen)

Volksmusikschule Online

Website Übersetzung

Google

 

Suche im Web
Suche in www.volksmusikschule.at

 

Diese Homepage wurde erstellt von der Stammtischmusi Klosterneuburg, p.A. Franz Fuchs, geb. 1939, A 3400 Klosterneuburg, Buchberggasse 63/2/2, Handy +43 (0 664) 9 80 43 15.
 

Die Betreibung dieser Seiten kosten neben dem Zeitaufwand auch einen nicht unerheblichen Geldaufwand. Wir freuen uns daher über jede Spende. Näheres im Impressum der Stammtischmusik.
 

Anmerkungen und Anregungen zu diesen Seiten können Sie gerne an franz.fuchs@stammtischmusik.at senden.
 

Falls in diesen Seiten irrtümlich irgendwelche Urheberrechte verletzt wurden, ersuchen wir um Mitteilung und werden dies sofort abstellen.
 

Ich weise darauf hin, dass ich für die Inhalte von Seiten außerhalb der Domänen www.volksmusik.cc, www.stammtischmusik.at, www.volksmusikschule.atDancilla, www.volkstanz-klosterneuburg.at sowie www.franz.fuchs.priv.at  und www.volkstanz.at weder Verantwortung übernehme noch sie mir zu eigen mache!

Für die kostenlose technische Betreuung aller dieser Seiten bedanke ich mich bei meinem Sohn Günther Fuchs.
 

Wir danken allen Usern, die uns mit ihren Rückmeldungen, mit ihrem computertechnischen oder musikalischen Fachwissen geholfen haben, diese Seiten zu erstellen. 
 

Wir freuen uns über Fragen, Hinweise und Verbesserungsvorschläge (Korrekturen, Ergänzungen, weiterführende Links).

Und vor allem freuen wir uns über jeden Besucher, der diese Seiten bisher gesehen hat. Seit Februar 2000 waren es bereits