Book Review: Pun Txan Txan
Author: Ricardo Llanos
review date: January 2005
illustrations: over 100
Publisher: Erviti Musica
- Once Upon A Time... About the History of the Accordion and Its Repertoire
- About the Functioning of the Accordion
- About the Upholding of the Accordion
- Fiuu,the Bellows
- Right Hand Fixed Positions
- Right Hand Changes of Position: Extents, Contractions, Substitutions and Displacements
- Right Hand Changes of Position: Passing the Fingers
- Eighth Notes and Other Rhythms
- Double Notes: Thirds, Sixths...
- Beyond the Umpapa
- and 11-1/2: Songs for Monsters
- Standard Bass Notation
- Minors and Sevenths
- Left Hand Leaps
- Finger-Crossing and Thumb-Exercises
- Alternate Bass
- Eighth Notes against Quarter Notes
- Dotted Quarter Note
- Formation of Other Chords
- Articulation: Depth and Speed (Brief Note on the Control of the Sound in the Accordion)
- Use Guide of the Book. Methodological Principles. Guidance For the Teachers
- Advice for the Study
- Indexes of Contents
- Recommended Bibliography
- Notes and Explanations
Review by: Robert Stead
Ricardo Llanos has reworked his previous accordion method book for the free bass chromatic accordion entitled "Acordeon Divertido / Akordeoi Alma / Jolly Accordion" and created "Pun Txan Txan" for the standard bass accordion. The previous volume was published in 1998 and reviewed by Henry Doktorski (see Ricardo Llanos: Acordeon Divertido). The contents and pedagogy of "Pun Txan Txan" are similar to "Acordeon Divertido", and Henry's evaluation of the layout and quality of Llanos' former work applies to this new work as well. "Pun Txan Txan" is very well organized and informative. Although primarily written for youths (ages 7 to 11), this method could be used by any age. For example, appendix 9 ("Formation of Other Chords") goes well beyond the beginner stage.
As with "Acordeon Divertido", "Pun Txan Txan" provides text in three languages: Spanish, Basque, and English. My only criticism relates to the English translation in the "Methodological Guide" section. It is a literal translation and therefore not idomatic English. This makes it a bit difficult to read. However, the content is worth the read.
In keeping with the style of "Acordeon Divertido", Llanos has illustrations on almost every page of music. To give you a flavor of his work, we provide the following "snapshot" from one of the pieces in chapter 6 ("Right Hand Changes of Position: Extents, Contractions, Substitutions and Displacements"). This example demonstrates the use of folk songs, illustrations, and the bilingual nature of the text:
Note from the Publisher
As a complement to the work developed in the method "Acordeon Divertido / Akordeoi Alma / Jolly Accordion" for free bass chromatic accordion, we present now this new volume, entitled "Pun Txan Txan", dedicated to the learning of the standard bass chromatic accordion. It has the following characteristics:
We have tried to give a lot of flexibility to the sequence of presentation of the contents, in such a way that this order can be modified to a great extent by the teacher according to his/her own judgement.
- Didactic progression based on the special arrangement of the buttons
- Progressive and reasoned attainment of a basic technique (always focussed on music) which allows to have access afterwards to more difficult works
- Use of mainly traditional music
- Performance of songs from the beginning
Different technical aspects such as the bellows technique, the different types of articulations, and the depth and speed of articulation have been worked out in detail, in addition to presenting special subjects as the history of the accordion (with a wide discussion on the bibliographical sources inside the methodological guide), and the function of the instrument. There is also a chapter and an appendix devoted to the combination of pre-established chords of the standard bass to form other new ones (sevenths, ninths, elevenths...) as well as a chapter focussing on contemporary technique and notation.
The book is meant for pupils of about seven years old who are beginning their studies of standard bass button accordion, and have, at least, half an hour of weekly class. Under such conditions, it seeks to cover the objectives of approximately the first three or four years of apprenticeship with this accordion type, although it may be used for the training of younger pupils or in the education of grown-up or adult pupils; in these cases, the teacher should measure out the contents according to the natural rhythm of these pupils. In accordance with this method we specify how to carry out all these adaptations.
About the Author
- Higher Teacher of Accordion.
- Bachelor in Physics Sciences (special field of Theoretical Physics by the Universidad Autbnoma of Madrid, and courses of doctorate in the speciality of Theoretical Physics and Mathematical Physics by the Universidad Complutense of Madrid).
- Accordion teacher in the Municipal School of Music "Luis Aramburu" of VitoriaGasteiz (Basque country, Spain) since 1992.
- Musical Acoustics teacher in the Music Conservatoire of Calahorra (Spain) for the courses 1996-97 and 1998-99.
- He has also made official studies of violoncello, counterpoint, fugue and composition.
- He has improved his studies of accordion with the Basque educators Carlos Iturralde and Miren Ir~arga and with the Russian soloist and educator Friedrich Lips.
- He has taken part as an active pupil in courses given by Mogens Ellegaard, Matti Rantanen, Friedrich Lips, Elsbeth Moser, Vyacheslav Semionov, Oleg Sharov, Patrick Busseuil, Garbiņe Balerdi, Christinne Rossi...
- He has collaborated in the recordings of diverse CDs, music of movies and with some orchestra as the Symphonic Orchestra of Galicia.
- Currently (as of late 2004) studying for a Doctor's degree in Physical Sciences at the University of Basque Country
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