The Art of Arranging Classical Music for Accordion by Friedrich Lips
Cover images (from top to bottom): Johann Sebastian Bach,
Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni.

Friedrich Lips
The Art of Arranging Classical Music for Accordion

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Unique in the international market:
The new accordion reference book
232 pages · 150 sheet music samples · Format: 17 x 24 cm · ISBN 978-3-925572-17-3

This book has been awaited eagerly for a long time.

The high-quality content corresponds to the outward appearance of the book:
typographically lavish with finest Italian paper, thread-stitching, laminated softcover with double flap and exclusive design – worthwhile, treasured. Printed on the chlorine-free, bleached, acid-free, stable and age resistant, finest Italian Fedrigoni Tatami Ivory paper.

For pupils, students, teachers, stage musicians, composers and performers, amateur players and professional musicians.

Book Review

232 pages · 150 sheet music samples · Format: 17 x 24 cm · ISBN 978-3-925572-17-3

Russian accordion virtuoso and teacher Prof. Friedrich Lips from Moscow is one of the world's most important artists in his field.

As concert accordionist, he has performed with renowned artists representing different genres on stages of the world. As professor, he has taught at the prestigious Gnessin Music Academy in Moscow or decades, producing generations of master students.

His musical work also includes a number of important publications that enjoy international prestige, as well as a variety of highly esteemed compositions, which he has created as arranger of classical music works.

With his new book, he has turned to a subject that is not only highly actual and of extraordinary importance for accordion playing, but has not yet been dealt with extensively.

Arranging pieces of music is a practice and theme of such great diversity it is hardly manageable. Moreover, it is a true art, which is widely underestimated - by artists and audiences alike.

In principle, an arrangement or transcription always requires a predefined original. The creative power that must be expended in order to generate an artistically appropriate and successful work from the original often is not inferior to that of the initial composing process. Nevertheless, no curriculum covering the subject is offered at music schools and higher education institutions.

From his practical experience, Friedrich Lips dedicates himself to the subject in detail in 7 chapters and with 150 notation examples.

With explanations that are easy to understand, he familiarizes pupils and students, amateurs and professionals with the art of arranging many types of musical works.

Although he concentrates on arranging and transcribing classical music compositions, the basic knowledge is also valid for all other musical styles.


Chapter One
The Importance of Arranging Music for the Accordionist’s Development

Chapter Two
Historical Review about the Genre of Arranging Music

Chapter Three
On the Essence of Arranging Music

Chapter Four
The Possibilities of Artistic Presentation with the Modern Accordion
Tonal range
Playing techniques and types of articulation

Chapter Five
Basic Principles for Arranging Music

Chapter Six
Arranging Organ Compositions
Organ construction, function and history
Notation for arranging organ works
Transcribing the pedal part
Combining and arranging voices
Distributing the organ’s musical texture
Using the registers
Bellows technique

Chapter Seven
Arranging „Clavier Music“
Arranging harpsichord compositions
Registering harpsichord compositions on the accordion
Bellows techniques in transcriptions of harpsichord music
Dynamics and articulation
Arranging piano compositions
Considering the piano’s sustain pedal
Methods of interpretation
Registering piano transcriptions on the accordion
Revising the musical texture by using bellows techniques
Inside Cover Flap


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) is considered the epitome of a composer genius, having created a plethora of musical works that are among the most important in the history of music. Bach is less well-known as an arranger of compositions, even though he earns the highest merit in further developing this musical art. In his complete oeuvre, which according to the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV; “Bach Works Catalogue”) comprises a good 1,000 compositions. The arrangements of both his own works as well as foreign pieces account for almost half of his artistic activity.

Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) embodies the universal and outstanding instrumental virtuoso like no one else. This is attributed to his incomparable abilities on the piano as well as his creative talent as an apparently boundless arranger and composer of musical compositions. Especially with the arrangements that he created for himself and the piano in a revolutionary tailor-made way, he could present himself to his audience in a perfect manner. Franz Liszt is regarded as the founder and outstanding master of the transcription genre.

Ferruccio Busoni (1866 – 1924) has received less attention in the history of music, although his artistic greatness is equally unique and varied. He combines the innovative creativity of a high-profile composer and an outstanding, intellectual arranger with the phenomenal perfection of a piano virtuoso. Ferruccio Busoni was a multi-faceted and at the same time highly-educated, advanced and worldly-wise artist as well as protagonist of central and far-reaching importance in arranging music.

Inside Cover Flap Right:

Adaptation, arrangement, editing, paraphrase, transcription are some of the technical terms describing the different variants of transforming original musical works. The range of creative possibilities is just as great as the inventive power of the artist, who makes the change, allows it. This explains why the many terms that musicology uses to verbalize the different forms of appearance are just as vague as they are multifarious.

The practice of altering already existing, already created musical works is probably as old as composing itself. Thereby the boundaries between truly new and artistically altered ones are often fluid, because the arranger’s artistic design, intellectual freedom and creative imagination cannot be forced into a rationally comprehensible, predefined framework.

The necessary amount of imagination for transforming must always be consistent with the required dimensional accuracy and restraint vis-à-vis the original or the intentions of its creator.

The arrangement of an original is not to be seen as the opposite of it, but as a completely independent creation, which exists beside the original. For this reason, it was Ferruccio Busoni who came to the fundamental appraisal: “Man cannot create, but only process what he finds on earth.” The profound artistry required for properly changing the original and the mandatory musical expertise must be learned earnestly. Apart from musical-theoretical knowledge and artistic creativity, it is necessary not only to have the ability to grasp the composer’s creative thoughts and intentions underlying the original work but also to possess special familiarity with the characterstics of the instruments in question.

Although in the history of music mainly the creators of original works “survive” and receive wide attention, outstanding personalities can still be found who have made a name for themselves as arrangers. Three classics have brought the genre to such excellent mastery ...

Further Information:

Edited by: Prof. Ulrich Schmülling
Translation: Willoughby Ann Walshe
Expert advice: Dr. Nikolas Fehr, Vitali Neifert
Typesetting of musical scores: Lina Klimkaite (†), Arunas Raziunas
Proofreading: Dr. Nikolas Fehr, Peter Gondolf
Complete production: Musikverlag Ulrich Schmülling, Kamen, Germany.
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