Bulgarian Accordion Tutorial - Complete Scores with Fingering

I've prepared a limited number of complete scores with fingering, which are available in EMDB score book AC01.

The rest of this page presents a guide to these scores from the tutorial student's perspective.

General information

Scores adapted from Accordion Models

Scores below are adapted from Bulgarian accordion models, and can be adequately played using only the basic technique (see A Summary of Basic Technique).

AC0101 Pravo Kapasko horo (Radoslav Kutev): A good starting score, although the phrase structure is not 4-square. May be played with smooth or sharp pralls, depending on your taste.

AC0102 Pravo horo (Boris Karlov): Best using sharp pralls. Melody D is most problematic. I find the current fingering to be satisfactory. Original is in 3rds with descant a 3rd above the part as written.

AC0103 Novozagorsko horo (Kosta Kolev): Best using smooth pralls. Lots of thumbs on black notes.

AC0104 Trite puti (Emil Kolev): Best using smooth pralls. 1st melody requires a large 1-2 stretch. Lots of smooth trills. Fingering for melodies E and F is awkward.

AC0105 Bourgasko horo (Balkanton 1467): Best using smooth pralls. Original accordion model for melodies A-H. Melodies I & J were clarinet solo, and so are more awkward to finger. A few melodies require a large 1-2 strech. First 4 bars of 1st melody makes good practice figure, helpful in increasing your 1-2 stretch.

AC0113 Belogradchisko horo (Kosta Kolev): The original features an accordion fronting a modern orchestra, but is not particularly natural on the instrument, forcing a number of awkward fingerings. The relatively slow tempo makes execution somewhat easier.

AC0115 Daichovo horo (Ibro Lolov): A great, classic tune using a mix of sharp and smooth ornaments. I've moved it down a step from the original because it sounds better there on my instrument. No fingering available yet.

AC0118 Trakiisko horo (Boris Karlov): Best using sharp pralls. Melodies C and G require jumps from finger 3 to finger 2, which require conscious relaxation. A descant and 3rd below is nice with melodies D, E and F.

AC0120 Gankino horo (Boris Karlov): Best using sharp pralls. Fairly simple, although the fingering for melody B is somewhat tricky.

AC0121 Silistrenski opas (Stefan Georgiev): Best using smooth pralls. Some long stretches require 343 pralls.

AC0122 Radino horo (Boris Karlov): Best using sharp pralls. Kind of Serbian sounding. Original recording has descant that varies from the 3rd to the 6th. The trill in melody C requires special attention - try replacing 5-count trill with 3 or 4-count ones for practice.

Scores adapted from modern orchestras

Scores in this section are adapted from orchestras featuring clarinet, trumpet, saxophone and accordion. Often they are in keys with lots of flats that are friendlier to reed instruments than accordion. 343 pralls are a lot more common here, as is use of finger 5, and fingerings need to be more carefully planned than in the section above. However, the ornamental density is still fairly low, and so these scores don't present the same technical challanges as those in Bitov-adapted melodies of the next section. All these scores use smooth pralls.

AC0106 Chetvorno horo (B-4000 album): I've transposed this to sound better on my instrument. Lots of 343 pralls, plus assorted minor technical problems.

AC0107 Plevensko daichovo horo (B-4000 album): Original key, which is somewhat (but not too) awkward. A variety of different prall and mordent fingerings. Melodies G, H & I were originally accordion solo.

AC0111 Selska ruchenitsa (Iljmi Jasharov et al): This is an amazing tune in an excruciating key for accordion (but sweet for brass players). To play it with brass players, you need to play it in this key. If you're playing for yourself, for God's sake - transpose it! Presented here as a study in dealing with brassophilic keys.

Scores adapted from Bitov instruments

Bitov instruments tends to use greater ornamental density that modern instruments. Adapting these tunes to the accordion is a challenge, both artistically and technically. Most ornaments are smooth, but sharp ones, selectively used, can improve shaping. Some arrangement mimic the ornamental density of the originals, some take a sparser, more accordionesque approach. Most require consecutive pralls and/or mordents. Harmonies in Bitov tunes are often I-VII-I or I-IV-VII-I and can benefit from the use of a pedal tone I under the changing harmony. Also, softening IIm to IIm7 is nice in moderation.

AC0108 Novozagorsko horo (Mincho Nedyalkov): Mincho Nedyalkov is the God of the gadulka. You seriously need to listen to him. This arrangement is a step down from the original because that sounds better on my instrument. Move it up a step if you play with Bitov instruments.

AC0109 Ruchenitsa (Kostadin Varimezov): This gaida tune is transposed to sound good on my instrument. Not that dense an arrangement, considering it's a gaida tune.

AC0110 Paidushko horo (Kostadin Varimezov): This is an extremely dense arrangement. A complete range of gaida-imitation tricks are on display.

AC0114 Buenek (Kostadin Varimezov): Original key from the high (D drone) gaida. Originally an orchestral arrangement, I prefer a more delicate and refined sound for this tune. The relatively slow tempo makes the ornamentation easier to execute. No fingering yet.

AC0116 Petrunino horo (Strandzhanskata Grupa): A classic Bitov tune. Not that difficult for a Bitov tune, although the rhythm can be difficult for some.

Roma Tunes

The following tunes are in the style of Bulgarian/Macedonian Roma. Their pulse is slower than many Bulgarian tunes, and so is notated in 8th notes rather than 16ths. The ornamentation style is different from the more standard Bulgarian tunes above, and contains a lot of Turkish graces. Bass side accompaniment is tricky: see the bass side tutorial section on kjuchek for details.

AC0112 Shota (Kocho Petrovski): Transposed from the original for a better sound. Original was in 3rds. No fingering yet.

AC0117 Kjuchek (Marcus Moskoff): Possibly the world's sexiest tune. In original gadulka key. No fingering yet.

Copyright 2015 Erik Butterworth. All rights reserved.