A good book for chord system instruction for all keyboard players - Chord Piano is Fun by T.K. Gopforth

                                                                     - FOR NONACCORDIONIST


I am a two row diatonic player.  Self taught.  Play by ear - and compose by ear.  I do not know what notes I play or what keys I play in.  I just play.   Mostly European folk tunes and my own tunes.  Love diatonics!

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Kay, thanks for your post.  I'd be interested finding out about some of European Folk tunes you have learned to play and what on-line resources you might have used.  You are probably familiar with these sites, I have found them to be very useful.

Hi John,

Yes - I'm familiar with a couple of those - the first two..:-)  It was a long time ago when I began learning (teaching myself) and I used all kinds of different resources.  There weren't websites like that back then.  The Diato one was there - but not many others.  I ordered lots of books - the Trad series and many others - from The Button Box up in Massachusetts.  Back before they had a website even..<smile>  

When I first began to learn, I couldn't figure out tablature.  It didn't make sense to me.  I kind of quit for several months until I met someone online who told me how to read it - and then I sat down with an easy book and played a tune immediately, and I was so excited to have gotten it figured out.  Unfortunately - although I play piano by reading music - I never learned what the buttons are on my accordions (the notes)... so I played some with tablature, but then branched out to playing by ear.  I learned to listen over and over to tunes and then sit down to play them.  It was back with cassettes and I would put one tune on a 90 minute cassette over and over and listen to only that tune for weeks.... (mostly when driving to and from work) and then I would sit down and try to figure it out and that worked for me.  After that I began to compose, and I found that to be not too hard, and a lot of fun.  

I played with a piano accordion player on the streets of Austin for many years.  We weren't great, but we had a lot of fun and made decent money......not as many accordionists on the streets of Austin as there are guitar players..:-)

How are you doing with your learning?  Where are you at with it?  

Back around 1999  - when I was a beginner still - I began to invite Europeans that I met online (who play diatonics) to my house and I had company from many different countries, and they would bring their boxes and we would play a lot - and I would listen and watch.  That was probably what influenced me the most.  

Now I'm in Wichita Falls and there is no place to play and nobody to play with.  I play for me mostly now.

Oh - I have some info on playing on the web.  Go to  

Please let me know how you are doing with your music and playing.  What made you want to play a diatonic?  What is your favorite type of diatonic music?


Thanks for your comments Kay.  What a great story.  How intrepid you were to commit to learning an instrument so different from the piano.  It's encouraging to find out that with your prior musical experience you decided to learn to play your melodeon by ear.  I find that with my Saltarelle Parisienne 2 row it is easier for me to pick out tunes by ear because there are more options to plunk around with.  

I had never attempted to play anything until I was in my 67th year,and that was 5 years ago.  I learned to play a couple of hands-full of Cajun tunes somewhat respectably but the hardest part is not having been born into the culture, it takes me a good bit of time to get the tunes into my head.  That's the main reason I decided to put my L'Anse Grise box up for sale and go strictly with the Saltarelle. Ever since my undergraduate days I have loved the songs of Edith Piaf and related material from the French courses I took.  In addition, I find I can now work on some of the Croatian folk music I grew up with.  That stuff is in my head.

You asked what made me want to play, well in the Croatian enclave I grew up in I was surrounded with traditional Croatian Folk music.  It was in our family DNA.  My grandmother's brother was an incredible musician/teacher.  He was so influential in perpetuating the genre in the US. I just wish I had my epiphany earlier in life when he and my musician uncles were still around.  I am a world-class late bloomer.

I sure wish you were still in Leander; I would really like to meet you and maybe even see you busking on 6th Street.  Susan and I travel to our Colorado home twice a year and always stop at Starbucks for coffee. Maybe sometime we could meet there to chat a bit.  

Just for general info, here is another interesting site that is sort of a clearing house for European diatonic tunes:

Thanks also for your link to Streetsqueeze.  Lots of good info about your good friends.

Thank you for responding and for all you have shared.





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