Stradella bass system

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Main article: Accordion
96-button Stradella bass layout on an accordion. C is in the middle of the root note row.

The Stradella Bass System (sometimes called standard bass) is a buttonboard layout equipped on the bass side of many accordions, which uses columns of buttons arranged in a circle of fifths; this places the principal major chords of a key (I, IV and V) in three adjacent columns. Each column contains, in order:

The following chart shows a common 120-button Stradella layout.

120-button Stradella chart.svg

In modern accordions, each chord button sounds three individual pitches. Early accordions sounded four pitches for the seventh and diminished chords[citation needed]. Modern Stradella systems omit the 5th from these two chords[citation needed], allowing for more versatility. For example, an augmented seventh chord can be created by using the dominant seventh chord button and adding an augmented 5th from the right-hand manual or from one of the bass or counterbass buttons.

In most Russian layouts the diminished seventh chord row is moved by one button[citation needed], so that the C diminished seventh chord is where the F diminished seventh chord would be in a standard Stradella layout; this is done in order to achieve a better reachability with the forefinger.

Register switches[edit]

The larger and more expensive accordions can also have as many as seven register switches on the Stradella bass side, similar in concept to the treble register switches.[1]

Major scales[edit]

  • Fingers are numbered 2 to 5, starting with the index-finger. The unused thumb is numbered 1, to match right-hand fingering;
  • Scales are played on the first two rows (root-row r, and thirds-row t), starting with the ring finger on the root-row (r4);
  • The hand does not have to move during major scales;
  • r4 r2 t4 r5 / r3 t5 t3 r4.

Common configurations[edit]

Name Columns Rows of bass-notes Rows of chords
8-bass 4 - Root notes: F to D Root note Major
12-bass 6 - Root notes: B♭ to A Root note Major
24-bass 8 - Root notes: E♭ to E Root note Major, minor
32-bass 8 - Root notes: E♭ to E Root note Major, minor, 7th
40-bass 8 - Root notes: E♭ to E Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th
48-bass 8 - Root notes: E♭ to E Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished
12 - Root notes: D♭ to F♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor
60-bass 12 - Root notes: D♭to F♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th
72-bass 12 - Root notes: D♭ to F♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished
80-bass 16 - Root notes: C♭ to G♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th
96-bass 16 - Root notes: C♭ to G♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished
120-bass 20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯ Major 3rd note, root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished
120-bass 20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯ Minor 3rd, Major 3rd, root note Major, minor, 7th
140-bass 20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯ Major 3rd note,[notes 1] root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished, augmented[notes 1]
160-bass 20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯ Three major 3rd rows, root note Major, minor, 7th, diminished

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b 140-bass accordions may come with either an extra minor 3rd note row, located above the regular major 3rd row and the root note, or an augmented 7th chord row.


  1. ^ Balestrieri, Donald (1979). "Registers of the Standard Stradella Keyboard". Accordions Worldwide. Retrieved 24 August 2014.