Learning the language of music.

The movements of the accordion only make sense in the context of a musical language.

My music philosophy:

My name is Dallas Vietty, I’m an accordion player and teacher.

For years as a child and young adult studying piano, I used my visual pattern memory to learn music theory and I used my muscle memory to play, but I never used my ears to learn melodies or make decisions about what to play. And the result was continually feeling hollow and detatched from the music.   
Eventually in my mid 20s, I finally found my way to using my listening skills to figure out music by ear, and I began using my accordion to figure out melodies and harmonies in my head. 

I put together my listening skills with the music theory and harmony information that I had, and I began to feel finally like what all of my musician heros had said, that music is a language.  

And so I work from the approach  that has helped me feel satisfied in music, which is that music is a language that we need to: speak, hear, read and write. 

What is the craft of music?

Sensations, Ideas & Movements.


Music is vibrations that our ears as sound. That sound sensation immediately becomes emotional information that makes us feel things like joy, sorrow, excitement and tranquility. 

For non-musicians, that sound sensation and emotional feeling is the beginning and the end of the music experience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! 

But for the person who plays a musical instrument, the sounds are more finely distinguised. For example the musician identifies major from minor, parts of a scale from parts of an arpeggio,  two instruments playing the same melody an octave apart. 

The musician is using their ears to finely identify the sounds, and using their idea mind to put each musical sensation category and connect the identified musical sensations. 

This sounds like a miraculous feat, but it is a very similar skill as any other human language. 

We understand what someone speaks to us, we speak intelligbly to others, we read and write our language. The musician does the same with music. 

The languages of music can’t communicate concrete ideas, they do however communicate emotional journeys. And because of this the language of music is more like a combination of dance, in that it happens through time, and geometric construction, in which the mathematical patterns must unfold in a certain way. 

It is both intellectual and emotional. And to really make music the language must be experienced and practiced as both.

The accordion is just a machine. 

The accordion itself does not make the music. Nor does the body movement on the accordion itself create the music.

The music comes as described above: it is inner voice or the ‘muse’, which we now call audiation, which begins in our heads,  the physical sensations align with our emotional sensations, and our intellect puts those into logical language where it is all mapped onto our 12 notes, harmonies, melodies, articulations, etc. 

The body must be understood as the result of reflexive movements, which we build, usually stacked in complexity (crawl, walk, run), where each step must become the miracle of reflex before the next movement can happen.