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

Book Review
by Willoughby Ann Walshe


Currently, music schools and conservatories do not teach how to structure, design or implement arrangements of original compositions for other instruments. Friedrich Lips, bayan-accordion virtuoso and professor at the prominent Gnesin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, fills that gap with what could be used as course material with his book The Art of Arranging Classical Music for Accordion. First published in Russian and then German, it is now available in an updated and expanded form in English.

Although the book was written primarily with classical music in mind, the findings, declarations and descriptions are made by the author in generally understandable and simple words. Therefore, they apply or can be transferred to all areas of music, including virtuoso light music, folk music, traditional music, etc.

Similarly, while explanations focus on the concert bayan-accordion with converter bass, they are equally applicable to related instruments such as the Bandoneon, Concertina, Diatonic Accordion, Melodeon Player, etc.

This is an essential book for composers, professional players, musicologists and active amateurs who want to understand and create arrangements of music as well as interpret and perform them. They will find a discussion of the basic principles of creating arrangements.

These are followed by countless tips and numerous examples in musical notations for using the characteristics of the selected instrument to the best advantage. Descriptions include the accordion’s tonal range, use of registers to provide natural dynamics, bellows techniques explained in detail to enhance certain passages, types of articulation to be considered and methods of artistic presentation.

One chapter is devoted to arranging organ music, which is written on three staffs (two for the keyboards and one for the foot pedal), where there are certain analogies between organ and accordion tone generation. Another chapter concentrates on arranging piano and cembalo music and explains how to overcome the differences between the percussive and bellows instruments.

Extensive and detailed registers with names, terms, literature and titles of music examples included in the text provide the reader with significant source material.

The excellent content of the book 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.


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