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Accordionated Perceptions

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Accordionated Perceptions

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This is accordion music inspired by the Altered Perceptions art show hosted by Artspace Gallery in April 2012. The paintings are by my sister Dana Frostick.

Her web site is:

The description that she provided for the show, of the process that she used to create this series of paintings, reminded me very much of the musical improvisation or composition process. Basically, but in my words, the images or sounds seem to pre-exist in another dimension, and the artist's or composer's task is to assist them in coming into this dimension. Of course, the artist or composer adds something personal to the result, but the aim is to let the work of art express its own life and logic.

These are rather standard ideas among a certain set of people, but the particular way that she described them led me to want to attempt this project. I didn't know how it would turn out, but I thought I should try, and am pleased with the results.

What you hear here is 47 minutes extracted from the original raw 62 minute recording. The the original music was altered only by 1) cleaning up the track transitions while keeping the flavor or the live gallery experience, 2) clipping out a total of nine time-segments of unredeemable or boring playing from the middle of some tracks and splicing the ends together seemlessly, and 3) reducing a total of fifteen disconcerting local volume changes caused by not having the accordion completely under control near the beginning and end of the hour.

Four times while the show ran, Dana turned the paintings ninety degrees, so they could be seen from four perspectives. The recording was made at one of these turnings, just before the gallery opened on a Saturday afternoon. You will hear a few guests arrive and talk with Dana in the background, starting in Track 11.


This accordion is an IORIO Symphonic Grand with H+M+L treble reeds and five sets of bass reeds. Originally, it contained an electronic interface, and it had an extra register stop on both sides, to turn off the accoustic sounds from that side. By modifying the now useless 4th bass stop, and also the 3rd, I was able to modify the bass machine to produce four new reed combinations in addition to the original three. The reed combination selected by the 3rd or 4th stop now depends on which other stop was pressed immediately before it, so sometimes it is necessary to press two stops in sequence to get the desired bass sound.