Eastern European Folk Tunes by Merima Kljuco

This blog gets more hits from people searching for accordion news than you might think, thus confirming that the worlds of SF and accordions are closer than you might think.  When oh when will the other SF writers wake up and realise this?

Anyway, here’s something about accordion music.

I bought the above book in Chappells from a gentleman who couldn’t quite keep the scorn from his voice as he announced to the store in general “Oh, one of those books with a CD in them.”

What is it about people who work in music shops that makes them so patronising?  Why did he feel it necessary to imply it was cheating to hear the music before I tried to read it? Did he think that was going to make me want to return to his shop?

Actually, I’m glad the CD was included as Merima Kljuco plays more than is written, and you get a feel for a very different style of playing.  Many of the tunes are in 7/8 or 11/8.  As someone who grew up listening to prog rock, unusual time signatures hold no fear for me, but Merima is at hand with advice for those experiencing difficulty suggesting a solution, as follows:

-simply by using the the name of the famous Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky.  I am sure he will not mind if we borrow his name to help us out.  How do we do this?  Simple: ‘2’ is always ‘Peter’ and ‘3’ is ‘Tchaikovsky’.

For example, on a 7/8 bar with a 2+2+3 division, think Pe-ter Pe-ter Tchai-ko-vsky

I don’t know about you, but I rather like the style of that explanation.

What about the tunes themselves?  I’ve been working through them over the past couple of months. Some of them sound rather odd at first to the Western ear, almost like a Hollywood parody of what Eastern European music should sound like, but as many of those early Hollywood writers were of Eastern European origin, I suppose they were simply reflecting what they knew.  But I find the tunes have grown on me.  They’re not as difficult to play as I imagined.  If anything, it’s the left hand that causes the most trouble as the extra beat has a habit of falling in (what is for me) the wrong place.

If you want a change from musettes and strathspeys, then this could be the book for you.   If you’re wondering what happened to the SF, well, maybe next time…

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