Learn by Yourself

Contributions on learning the bandoneon were provided by many volunteers, members of the bandoneon list. Thank you for this valuable work!

NOTE: A self study can't be a substitute of a teacher. It is particularly important to have at least introductory classes. If you get used to bad habits, it is very hard to revert the situation.

General Advice

First of all, you should carefully decide the keyboard system to be learned. This depends on the music you want to play and the sheet music you will use.

The decision also depends on the instrument you have got. Basically you may use any layout as long as its tonal range is sufficient. Be aware that the fingering is different among the systems and, perhaps some chords are easier to play on one system compared with an other. However, if you are member of an ensemble with other bandoneons, it would be a huge advantage to have a common system.

After that you start learning the 4 keyboards, which is for most of us, very time demanding. It is not a surprise that students try to find ways to shorten the process. In this place contributions from people giving their experience are presented: keyboard layout, chord tables, learning tools, and also a game!

But at the same time you need some success. Besides some technical training you should start playing easy pieces with a narrow tonal range.

Beginners' exercises for piano are a good alternative if you don't have original ones.

You can learn fairly fast using only one hand. Learn all the notes for both bellow senses and by separate. The coordination of both hands simultaneously is far more difficult. While you progress learning the keys you can choose exercises with more notes. Later play simple but real pieces to learn the handling of the bellow. The bellow is not an air pump and has a prominent importance in getting the real sound. All the first exercises should be played as legato. To learn this you may play a scale holding every note as long as you can but with constant intensity. Imagine you are playing a cello. Always check if your are completely relaxed!

ref-button The Hanon for Bandoneon

by Felix Lipesker given in his HANON, adaptado y digitado para bandoneón, Edition JULIO KORN gives some recommendations.

(I'm not sure if it is still available, my personal issue is of 1958):

  1. find a comfortable sitting position and avoid a rigid body
  2. press the buttons with the finger tips deep to the bottom by moving only the lids
  3. don't press the button near the edge
  4. avoid lifting the fingers too much, they must be kept close to the keyboard
  5. work each exercise by separate hands. First learn one hand and then the other. Once you are sure with each part, start playing both hands together
  6. don't go to the next exercise until you are not secure with the preceding
  7. the fragment which causes the greatest difficulties has to be studied by separate
  8. every exercise has to be played in the indicated tempo. You must reach the final part with the same speed as you started
  9. since the fingers 4 and 5 are the weakest, use them more frequently to make them as strong as number 2 and 3
  10. don't work more hours as you can support and divide the time making recreation periods for the muscles and the brain

Learn the Keyboard

link-button Chords for the Bisonor Bandoneon

Several tutors come along with chord tables showing up a keyboard layout and where the buttons to play are enhanced. Most of them list a pair of chords; the tonics and it's dominant, both to play in different sense of bellow. Since the key pattern is not the same for all tones, learning the chords takes a longer period of time and each student finds its own way to learn them.

Thanks to from Brazil who prepared the table based on the button coding of the instrument.

link-button The Bandoneon Chords Tutor

Santato Chords Collection
has prepared a chord collection for the 142 voice bandoneon. The original site where he made it available for bandoneon students, is no longer on-line. You will need also a blank keyboard layout sheet to print out and make your own chords.

link-button Bandoneón, Graficos de los Teclados y Acordes

The Seguro Layout and Chords Tables

from Costa Rica has kindly provided his set of chords for the 142 voice bandoneon.

link-button vertical view

and the horizontal view are the 142 voice keyboard layouts developed by Michael Zisman The Zisman Layout

link-button Le Bandonote Memorizing Game

, student at the music school in Gennevilliers, France, created the game. The aim of this game is to help memorizing the 142 voice bandoneon keyboard. The presented version is in French.

link-button On-Line Keyboard Layout

(Nico Kaiser)


ref-button Mon Bando 1

Speelstukjes voor Bandoneon by Pieter van Dijck
is a very nice approach to the instrument. The 17 exercises written by the Dutch author and fingered for the 142 voice Argentine layout instrument, introduces the beginner starting with a limited number of notes and which are increased gradually. The bisonority of the instrument is applied appropriately. The exercises are also recorded on a separate audio CD which may be used as an additional aid

link-button Traditional Carols for Bandoneon

(Weihnachtslieder) for bandoneon by Beat Muggli

link-button Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach

More advanced pupils may learn just by playing pieces which are not too difficult. Some two voice pieces from the original were adapted and fingered for bandoneon by Beat Muggli, Niederlenz, Switzerland. These are excellent exercises.

link-button Nine Swiss Folksongs sound

by Beat Muggli
Audio is included to help work with this material.
The lyrics in Swiss idiom is also available.

link-button 10 Grands Maîtres au Bandonéon

(level II) by Beat Muggli

link-button Taizé Chants

four voice arrangements for bandoneon
by Beat Muggli

(German, Spanish, English)
last update: 2018-08-07
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