Dominant - Fundamental in bandoneon left keyboard.

Bringing order to chaos #1

Dominant - tonic in bandoneon left keyboard

The keyboards of the bandoneón are a real chaos. However, some logic can still be found.

In this article, we'll put some order out of the chaos. Today we try to simplify the keyboard according to the dominant-tonic cadence.

The V-I Cadence

In the context of tonal music the dominant-tonic cadence (hereinafter simply V-I) is of fundamental importance and is not called perfect cadence out of nowhere.

Those who play tango know it well and know it is the worthy conclusion of any self-respecting tango. It would be really frustrating to "stick" a V-I at the very end of a piece.

Let's see in which cases the V-I cadence is comfortable and practical on the bandoneón.

How to use the info in this article

This article is basically practical because I limited myself to highlighting the cases in which the V-I cadence is comfortable and facilitated in the bandoneon. As this is an introductory article, I limited myself to the keynote of the chord, not the full chord.

The layouts taken into consideration are the 142 "Rheinische Tonlage", which is the most common bisonoric, and the 144 "Einheitsbandonion", the instrument I play and which I consider an evolution of the 142.

In the following diagrams I have not reported all the V-I cadences, but only those situations in which the cadence is particularly comfortable. The criteria for the choice were:

  1. position of the keys;
  2. opening-closing;

In the diagrams below I have taken into consideration only the left keyboard, in opening and closing. The darker color indicates the tonic of the dominant that goes to the tonic of the fundamental (the key has the same color but lighter). I only highlighted dominant resolutions in the same octave, or in the immediately preceding or following octave. The keys that admit V-I resolution in an open-close movement have been marked with a colored circle.

Bandoneón 142 Rheinische, opening

Dominant-tonic in bandoneon 142 left keyboard, opening.

Bandoneón 142 Rheinische, closing

Dominant-tonic in bandoneon 142 left keyboard, closing.

Download layout for Rheinische in PDF

Bandoneón 144 Einheits, opening

Dominant-tonic in bandoneon 144 left keyboard, opening.

Bandoneón 144 Einheits, closing

Dominant-tonic in bandoneon 144 left keyboard, closing.

Download layout for Einheits in PDF


Does the bandoneón have a logic? Yes, if you accept the numerous exceptions and the many compromises. No, if we expect the coherence of a serial keyboard, like that of a piano.

However we will see how the deepening of keyboard's knowledge will pave the way for the development of a certain internal logic. An excellent mnemonic ability is essential. It was once said that the consumption of fish strengthens the memory. Your fishmonger will become your best friend!

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