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#19 Helen

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:16 PM

Thank you Richard, that was awesome. Thank you for taking the time to make that collage. It helped a lot.

Helen :)

#20 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 11:05 PM

I believe that "Vienna" accordions were models that had the bass buttons and mechanism as part of the bass side box of the accordion and NOT as a separate handle/"growlbox" stuck on (as "German" one-rows have). The number of buttons wasn't the determinant, just the placement. Hohner catalogues show one- two- and three-row boxes as being "Vienna" style. The ones with the "growlbox" they call the "German-style" (of which they now only make in a 1-row version but they used to make 2-rows that way too).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's right, a Vienna accordion also has its pallets (pads) hidden within the instrument, the whole end being covered by a grill.

And there are other features that are typical of a German accordion (or melodeon) :

1) The pallets on the treble side are commonly exposed and are mounted on the surface of the instrument, though they can be contained in a "sound box" (as they are on the Hohner 114).

2) Older models commonly had an additional narrow frame, or frames in the bellows.

3) They almost always have a stop knob, or knobs ontop.

4) The bellows fasteners are always mounted on the sides, not on the top.

5) Old ones often said "Melodeon" on the bellows frames.

But either melodeons, or Vienna accordions can have one, two, three, or more rows of treble keys.

Here's a picture of a two-row melodeon, of the model used by the Wyper brothers in Scotland :

(Edited to improve photo.)

Attached Thumbnails

  • International2_row.jpg

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 07 March 2005 - 01:15 AM.


#21 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:42 AM

Interesting topic. I sympathize with the desire for clear terms; I also refer to the one-row "German-style" diatonic accordions as "melodeons," and generally I avoid using the term "melodeon" for an accordion that lacks the "growlbox."   However, I'd like to add three points for consideration:

1. The evidence that Stephan presented above (from Hohner's describe) still doesn't equate "German-style" with "melodeon"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

To equate "German-style" with "melodeon", you have to go right back to the years just after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1, when the German Empire was established and German manufacturing/exporting was strongly encouraged. I sometimes (jokingly) refer to it as "The Accordion War", because it seriously damaged French commerce, and everything French (including accordions) which had been very fashionable, went out of favour. Even the U.S. Army, which had fought the Civil War in French-style uniforms, changed to Prussian-style, and inexpensive German accordions, marketed in Britain under the new name "melodeon" (sometimes to be found marked on the instruments), took over from the French models, and tutor books for "The Melodeon" started to appear.

However, in the United States "Melodeon" was already the well-established name of a distinctly American type of reed organ, so the "German-style accordion" has tended to continue to be descibed in those terms there, though nevertheless, examples bearing the name "Melodeon" are sometimes encountered.

2. The _German_ term "Wiener Harmonika" is translated as "Vienna-style accordion"; in Vienna, this could cause some misunderstanding -- here, I'm reminded of our discussion about Danishes and Frankfurters! -- if the term were translated back into German as "Wiener Akkordeon," which would bring to mind an entirely different instrument! (It would be a B-system 3-row chromatic accordion with limited bisonoric basses!)

In my experience, the normal practice among German accordion makers is to use the word "Harmonika" to describe accordeons that play a different note on push and pull, and "Akkordeon" to describe those that play the same note, they are not considered synonymous.

I bought a two-row (push-pull) "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" from a lady in Vienna only a few weeks ago.

Among the folk musicians I knew in Vienna and Graz, two-row accordions with the bass on the bass side rather than on a "growlbox" were generally considered to be "Italian-style" -- and this seems to be confirmed by some older German-made accordions bearing the name brand "Venedig" (Venice).

The Italian accordion industry was inspired by the gift of a Viennese accordion to the young Paolo Soprani, so not surprisingly Italian accordions inclined towards the Viennese model. So much so that "Vienna model" and "Italian model" became virtually synonymous. Italian accordions were more expensive and it became a common practice, especially with the Klingenthal makers, to use Italian-sounding names.

Actually, I would normally prefer to use the more-general name "button accordion" to describe these instruments, as is the common practice in Ireland, but sometimes it is appropriate to be more specific.

3. Stephan's proposed usage for "melodeon" follows current use of the term among Irish musicians.  However, I've also heard of Irish (well, Irish-American) old-timers referring to the older Baldonis (and similar boxes) as "extended melodeons."  These feature a home row in D with a second row of smaller buttons, and several bass buttons (often 4) on the bass side (no "growlbox").  A Baldoni with only one row of treble buttons, with 4 bass buttons on the side and no growlbox would also be called a "melodeon."

I'm not familiar with this Irish-American usage, but I could understand how it might have derived. Many of the great players, like P.J. Conlon and Gerry O'Brien (Joe Derrane's teacher), changed from playing the one-row 4-stop Globe "Gold Medal" melodeon in D to the single-row Baldoni, Bartoli D accordions (with melodeon "double octave" tuning, and designed specifically for them) in the late 1920's, and then a second (insde) row in C# was added to provide semitones (as needed), though they were still played in single-row melodeon style (hence the name "extended melodeons", and the smaller buttons often seen on the inside row). This 19-key D/C# (not C#/D) was a system unique to Irish-American players.

In January I was fortunate enough to buy both a Globe "Gold Medal" and an early Baldoni, Bartoli (with its grill missing) off eBay. Click on the links if you would like to see them.

Edited to add note about "Melodeon" in the U.S.A.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 27 March 2005 - 06:46 AM.


#22 A.D. Homan

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 06:31 PM

I bought a two-row (push-pull) "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" from a lady in Vienna only a few weeks ago. 


I'm curious exactly what that 2-row instrument looks like, and how the treble and bass are arranged. The standard Schrammel instrument is NOT a two-row, and it is definitely a unisonoric treble (B-system chromatic). (Achtung: There are a lot of Viennese who would now use the wrong terms to describe accordions for similar reasons that cause some Anglophones to apply the term melodeon incorrectly!)
Andy

#23 Richard Morse

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 08:56 PM

But either melodeons, or Vienna accordions can have one, two, three, or more rows of treble keys. Here's a picture of a two-row melodeon, of the model used by the Wyper brothers in Scotland....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And here's a photo of a 3-row German accordion (with growlbox).

Posted Image

In January I was fortunate enough to buy both a Globe "Gold Medal" and an early Baldoni, Bartoli (with its grill missing) off eBay.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Nice boxes! Our Globe "Gold Medal" is of a much more recent vintage (admittedly not as classic as yours!). We've been calling this celluloid finish "snakeskin". Pretty bizzare - only one of two accordions I've ever seen with that pattern of celluloid.

Posted Image

One of the Baldonis to go through our shop was like yours but had stars flying from the American flag toward the Irish flag and shamrocks flying from the Irish flag to the American one. We have photos of it around here somewhere....

I hadn't realized you were guite the serious collector, Stephen! If you're ever around our neck of the woods you would probably be very interested in checking our our "museum" shelves. Some very early and very strange boxes - even one with stops on both ends, knee-rests and foot-pump vacuum assist!

#24 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 11:25 PM

Andy,

I have put on my "die besten Schrammeln instrumental" CD to put me in the right mood for this. It features some really classic recordings from the period 1908-1935.

I bought a two-row (push-pull) "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" from a lady in Vienna only a few weeks ago.

I'm curious exactly what that 2-row instrument looks like, and how the treble and bass are arranged. The standard Schrammel instrument is NOT a two-row, and it is definitely a unisonoric treble (B-system chromatic). Andy

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ah, but the instrument you describe was far from the only type made/played in Vienna. The one I bought is a more-typical diatonic model pitched in Bb/Eb, with a Bb on both push and pull on the middle button of the Eb row (like a "Club model"), and accidentals at the ends of the rows.

Here is a photograph of it :

WienerHarmonika3.jpg

(Achtung: There are a lot of Viennese who would now use the wrong terms to describe accordions for similar reasons that cause some Anglophones to apply the term melodeon incorrectly!)

The lady who sold it seems to have "done her homework" and established that it was "von Werkstatt Josef Kiendl, BJ 1850-1900".

Certainly it is a Wiener Harmonika, not only does it conform to the definition of the type, but it was also made in Vienna (and has several stamps inside to prove it), but I cannot vouch for it having actually been a Schrammel Harmonika, and it would no doubt now be considered obsolete as such.

Similar models are to be found as illustrations, on pp. 80-1, of the Viennese book Accordion by Walter Maurer, 1983.

#25 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 11:48 PM

And here's a photo of a 3-row German accordion (with growlbox).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That looks like a Dutch, or Belgian model with all those basses, and may be from the same German factory as the Wyper brothers one. Does it have a crossed-keys emblem on it ?

Our Globe "Gold Medal" is of a much more recent vintage (admittedly not as classic as yours!).

But extremely interesting to me, I have not seen one of those before, but it is like a "missing link" between the Globe "Gold Medal" that I have and the Baldoni, Bartoli. It looks to be of Italian construction, but still retains the melodeon-style bass box (or "growlbox").

One of the Baldonis to go through our shop was like yours but had stars flying from the American flag toward the Irish flag and shamrocks flying from the Irish flag to the American one. We have photos of it around here somewhere....

I would be very interested to see them, they could help me restore the grill of mine !

I hadn't realized you were guite the serious collector, Stephen!

Gosh, I'm the scourge of eBay these days, but it is not by accident that I own the three oldest concertinas known, and four of Demian's accordions. I guess you have never clicked on the website link in my C.net signature, or you would have seen the historic instruments that I exhibited at the Michaelstein Conference. I went to it expecting to be amazed at the treasures from German Museums, but found instead that they were freaked by what I had brought in my two suitcases !

#26 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:05 AM

"Growlbox" is the English equivalent of the German word (which I can't remember is).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You probably mean "Brummkasten" ?

(Brummen = to growl, roar, boom, grumble, drone, buzz or hum, and kasten = box.)

By the way, there is a German name for the Jew's harp, "Brummeisen", that derives from the same verb (+ eisen = iron).

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 08 March 2005 - 02:26 AM.


#27 A.D. Homan

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:34 AM

Ah, but the instrument you describe was far from the only type made/played in Vienna. The one I bought is a more-typical diatonic model pitched in Bb/Eb, with a Bb on both push and pull on the middle button of the Eb row (like a "Club model"), and accidentals at the ends of the rows.


Actually, the instrument I describe -- 3 row B system chromatic (unisonoric) with a diatonic bass --- IS _THE_ Schrammel instrument. I don't know where you get the idea that the Bb/Eb is more typical. I've heard just about every contemporary Schrammel band playing live, and most of them are very meticulous about instrumentation. They go out of their way to get the particular chromatic instrument I'm describing -- which means getting very expensive restoration work done on old instruments. Since the bass isn't used, sometimes they end up with a different bass. However, they NEVER play on instruments with diatonic trebles. It might be the case that some companies marketed a diatonic accordion as a "Schrammel" instrument because for the occasional player, this might be easier to get a tune out of -- but not real Schrammel music.

#28 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:56 AM

Ah, but the instrument you describe was far from the only type made/played in Vienna. The one I bought is a more-typical diatonic model pitched in Bb/Eb, with a Bb on both push and pull on the middle button of the Eb row (like a "Club model"), and accidentals at the ends of the rows.

Actually, the instrument I describe -- 3 row B system chromatic (unisonoric) with a diatonic bass --- IS _THE_ Schrammel instrument. I don't know where you get the idea that the Bb/Eb is more typical.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Andy,

If you read my posts again I hope you will see that I have neither stated, nor think any such thing. My meaning was that a two-row "diatonic" (don't like the term) is much more typical of what is generally considered a Wiener Harmonika/Vienna accordion.

The music of the Schrammel brothers is not the only style that has been played on the accordion in Vienna, and the only person who described it as a "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" was the lady from whom I purchased it, who I was quoting. I only suggested that such an instrument might have been used for the purpose in the past, but would not be deemed suitable by today's players. I am well aware that the accordion generally replaced a G clarinet in Schrammel groups, but playing in Bb is not unheard of.

Postscript : In its broader sense, the term Wiener Harmonika describes a method of accordion construction which originated in Vienna, and not a fingering system, but it normally suggests a "diatonic" instrument, usually with the rows tuned a fourth apart. This "diatonic" version already existed when Franz Walther invented his "chromatic" (don't like that term either) version, the Chromatische Harmonika in 1850, twenty-eight years before the two violin-playing Schrammel brothers formed their first trio, with the guitarist Anton Strohmayer. They then added the clarinet of Georg Danzer to form the first Schrammel quartet and a new genre appeared. By the end of the 19th century the accordion had largely replaced the clarinet, and Walther's Chromatische Harmonika became the Schrammelharmonika.

I would take the lady's use of the phrase "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" to be intended in its broader meaning, as denoting a Wiener Harmonika that could have been used to play Schrammel (in years gone by), rather than in the narrow definition of a Schrammelharmonika.

Edited to add Postscript.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 10 March 2005 - 12:50 PM.


#29 A.D. Homan

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 03:17 PM

The music of the Schrammel brothers is not the only style that has been played on the accordion in Vienna, and the only person who described it as a "Wiener Schrammel Harmonika" was the lady from who I purchased it, whom I was quoting. I only suggested that such an instrument might have been used for the purpose in the past, but would not be deemed suitable by today's players. I am well aware that the accordion generally replaced a G clarinet in Schrammel groups, but playing in Bb is not unheard of.


Right. Indeed, many groups today include a unisonoric B-system chromatic AND a clarinet, and I'm certain that playing in Bb and Eb is common; the use of a diatonic push/pull instrument is not common.
My overall point, going back to my original post, is that it's ironic that the term "Vienna accordion" denotes a form of (push/pull) accordion that has been obscure in Vienna for most of the 20th century, and that, in Austria, the type of bellows-driven free-reed instrument most associated with Vienna would actually be the type of "Akkordeon" that I described, not a (push/pull) "Harmonika" at all, despite the legacy of invention of press/draw instruments.
Of course, in the rest of Austria, diatonic push/pull accordions are common; however, they have 3-rows or more as you know. Two-row diatonic button accordions are not "more typical" in Vienna, or anywhere in Austria, for that matter. They are making a reappearance among those who play Breton and French country dance music, and there are Hohners, of course, which seem to be treated as toys in Austria.

As far as the one you purchased, it does have certain elements of design/style that are also associated with the Schrammel accordions -- the style of bellows frame attachment, the grille, and the shape of the keyboard. If it sounds anything like the unisonoric Schrammel accordions that I know, it will be a treat for the ears! However, I caution against concluding that instruments like this were predominant in the typical Wiener Lied and Schrammel groups.

I think that with many accordions of the past, we're dealing with instruments that were sold for home use, much of which consisted of collecting dust of shelves. (Much like the "Morellis" seen on eBay these days). Looking at books like the one you cited earlier in the thread, in which the publishers sought to include as many varied examples as possible, gives us a certain kind of knowledge but shouldn't lead to conclusions about actual use in particular type of music, any more than seeing a pic of that rare Wheatstone Chemnitzer should lead to generalizations. (Although I'm not saying that the 2 row you bought is rare -- in fact, probably more were produced, but it failed to become the main type of accordion the carry the musical traditions in Vienna.) I feel pretty good about the care with which traditions in Viennese music are transmitted, and, knowing some of these musicians personally, I respect their efforts toward historical accuracy.

If I understand your main point in this thread, it is that the only instruments we should call "melodeons" are the ones that have also been described as "German-style accordions." It is still unclear which aspects of construction could be removed and the instrument still called a "melodeon."
Well, it's about time we moved this discussion to melodeon.net, don't you think?
Andy

Edited by A.D. Homan, 08 March 2005 - 03:32 PM.


#30 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 04:14 PM

My overall point, going back to my original post, is that it's ironic that the term "Vienna accordion" denotes a form of (push/pull) accordion that has been obscure in Vienna for most of the 20th century, and that, in Austria, the type of bellows-driven free-reed instrument most associated with Vienna would actually be the type of "Akkordeon" that I described, not a (push/pull) "Harmonika" at all, despite the legacy of invention of press/draw instruments.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ah, but that's it, it goes right back to those early Viennese accordions in the 1830's.

As far as the one you purchased, it does have certain elements of design/style that are also associated with the Schrammel accordions -- the style of bellows frame attachment, the grille, and the shape of the keyboard.

They are both Wiener Harmonikas, coming from the same tradition of accordion building, just different systems.

If it sounds anything like the unisonoric Schrammel accordions that I know, it will be a treat for the ears!

It is frustratingly "almost playable", but sounds very promising. The reeds are steel, on zinc plates.

(Although I'm not saying that the 2 row you bought is rare -- in fact, probably more were produced, but it failed to become the main type of accordion the carry the musical traditions in Vienna.)

I would say that more of these were produced in the 19th century than Schrammelharmonikas ?

If I understand your main point in this thread, it is that the only instruments we should call "melodeons" are the ones that have also been described as "German-style accordions."  It is still unclear which aspects of construction could be removed and the instrument still called a "melodeon."

That's a tricky one, and old instruments sometimes exhibit odd features that would now be considered "untypical", but I would say that being made "in the German tradition" (to include some instruments made in Austria and Czechoslovakia), with several of the features described in my list, would qualify an instrument as a German accordion/melodeon.

It is much easier to define a Vienna accordion !

Well, it's about time we moved this discussion to melodeon.net, don't you think?
Andy

I wouldn't dare ! :huh: :blink: :o :unsure:

#31 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 08:48 PM

... flutinas are played vertically (with the treble side upwards hung from a thumbstrap that was attached to a rail that ran under the fingerboard) and the bass downwards (toward your lap), the bottom handle was shaped such to be easy to grab (by your left hand).

It seems to have been sometime around the 1850's that people started to experiment with more controllable ways to play the ... flutina ... by changing its orientation to be played horizontally - with both hands (rather than primarily the right - or lifting - hand). This "new" accordion was called the "accordeon allemande".

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have already commented on this issue on melodeon.net, so I will copy that post here, but I will add that although thumb loops were a feature of Demian's accordions, they were not normally used on French instruments, which had a much higher metal bar on which the player hooked his/her thumb.

Thanks for the reply!However, I still wonder about the vertical vs. horizontal playing, and what evidence exists. In photographic evidence + daguerrotypes, I know that there ARE indeed portraits of people "playing" flutinas horizontally, but a photo expert friend of mine (who actually might be lurking here!) explained to me that flutinas were probably more often than not used as props by photographers, and that therefore the people in the picture aren't really players. They may be basing their gesture on the players of German style one-row boxes whom they have previously seen. If there is more convincing evidence of flutinas being played horizontally, I'd be eager to hear about it.-A.

Andy,

The best evidence on how they were held is probably to be found in the contemporary tutor books, though they tend to be quite contradictory, or are surprisingly uninformative on such an important topic. An 1834 method by Chameroy (Methode d'Accordeon, suivie d'Airs arranges pour cet instrument) states that "There are various ways of playing on it, the following is the most easy.

Place the Instrument in your left hand put the forefinger on the large brass key and hold the plank on which it passes [this predates the introduction of the "socle", the frame around the wind key by which the end was later held] with the thumb and three fingers; place your right thumb as a hook under the copper cross piece, and the other fingers upon the keys on which you press for forming the sounds."


However, one of A. Reisner's method books (Methode Reisner pour apprendre sans Maitre a jouer l'Accordeon), as early as 1838, has a wonderful engraving on its title page of a young lady, wearing a crinoline and with her hair in ringlets, playing an accordion. She is holding it upright (with the bellows moving horizontally) just as we do today. Other such examples are to be found in the methods of Merlin (1840), Raoulx (1851) and Rheins (1853), though Cornette (1854) shows the vertical playing position (which looks extremely awkward). Carnaud (c.1874) shows a gentleman holding the instrument upright and a lady playing it flat on her knee, whilst Keiser, in a Spanish edition as late as 1905, shows a German accordion (melodeon) being played vertically. These illustrations can all be seen in Pierre Monichon's book "Petite Histoire de l'Accordeon".

Early photographs are more problematic, unless we know that the sitter really did play the instrument, but even then it is likely to look unfamiliar in their hands because glass Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes are mirror images, and the convention was to hold the instrument left-handed so it would look right to the viewer. However, the photograph of Alfred Titchcombe is on paper (so not reversed) and we know that he really did play his flutina, so there can be no argument about him knowing how it should be played.


Alfred_Titchcombe.jpg
Alfred Titchcombe, playing his flutina.

The image is borrowed from the website of Icknield Way Morris Men.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 08 March 2005 - 09:03 PM.


#32 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 12:58 AM

If you're ever around our neck of the woods you would probably be very interested in checking our our "museum" shelves. Some very early and very strange boxes - even one with stops on both ends, knee-rests and foot-pump vacuum assist!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hope to "come visit" one of these days ! :)

For that matter you might like to come and take a look at "my little lot", but I'm looking for a home for them at the moment. :unsure:

#33 Richard Morse

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:30 AM

... flutinas are played vertically (with the treble side upwards hung from a thumbstrap that was attached to a rail that ran under the fingerboard) and the bass downwards (toward your lap), the bottom handle was shaped such to be easy to grab (by your left hand).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have already commented on this issue on melodeon.net, so I will copy that post here, but I will add that although thumb loops were a feature of Demian's accordions, they were not normally used on French instruments, which had a much higher metal bar on which the player hooked his/her thumb.

Most of the flutinas I've seen don't have the thumb loop, and I was surprised when I came across a couple that did have them. Started making me wonder iif the all had them originally. I don't know though a number of flutinas that had pads below the keyboard are in so close proximity to the thumb bar that it would be near to impossible to play them with the thumb UNDER the bar (interference), so maybe for those the thumbloop works? Maybe they all had thumbloops? Or is this my bloop?

If there is more convincing evidence of flutinas being played horizontally, I'd be eager to hear about it....However, the photograph of Alfred Titchcombe is on paper (so not reversed) and we know that he really did play his flutina, so there can be no argument about him knowing how it should be played.

The photos on this page seems to show Alfred posing in both photos, not playing. I wouldn't consider those photos reason for assuming that he played horizontally. Sem (the young guy in color) is playing but extremely awkwardly with his left arm akimbo - which is the only way he's going to be able to use that air dump - and with his pinky! Alfred with the beard has his left hand in the position it needs to be in to play the air dump easily (though he's really holding, not playing it as the air dump is near the middle of the socle).

Scroll down and you see a photo of the "bass" side with air dump and a couple of drone notes. It seems like this one has been played a lot vertically as the damage on the box near the "upper" side of the socle looks to be caused by the guys fingernails. Using one's thumb doesn't leave such damage, and I can't remember ever seeing a flutina with such damage marks.
Unfortunately there is no assurance that people play things the "right" way. I've seen people play accordions upside down, stringed instruments played reversed - and even vertically (chin-side of violin or "bottom" of mando on the thigh with pegs uppemost, strings facing outwards toward the audience)....

Even though I've seen a lot of photos showing the flutina "presented" (as opposed to being "played") in a horzontal position, I've also seen some (admittently many fewer) of the instrument being vertical. OTOH, I've personally fixed/played) many (40?) flutinas. I would think that anyone who experiences them would come to the conclusion that they were designed to be played vertically.

Even before trying to play one - look to see where the wear marks are from others having played it. The socle (handle/flange thingee on the "bass" side) usually shows wear marks on the outer sides of it for one's thumb and R,P finders. The only way those wear marks get there like that is to hold the instrument vertically and have your left support it from the left, palm up, grasping the socle.

The index and sometimes middle finger actuated the air dump. That is why that air dump lever is constructed/designed/placed that direction. If you hold a flutina upright so that it is played horizontally, your left hand would support the base side by grasping the socle as one would "normally" play a German melodeon (with growlbox, minus the handstrap). That is the way most flutinas are pictured, though there is no easy way to actuate the air dump lever that way.

More interesting photos and discussion on this at this topic/thread.

#34 Richard Morse

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:33 AM

If you're ever around our neck of the woods you would probably be very interested in checking our our "museum" shelves. Some very early and very strange boxes - even one with stops on both ends, knee-rests and foot-pump vacuum assist!

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I hope to "come visit" one of these days !  :)  For that matter you might like to come and take a look at "my little lot", but I'm looking for a home for them at the moment.  :unsure:

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I'll certainly let you know when I think I'll be in England next (though that may be a waaaaaaays down the road). Looking for a home as in a museum?

#35 Pete Dickey

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:48 PM

I've just been looking at a miners dance film archive obtainable from British Pathe News. Forgive me if I am wrong but isn't the guy accompanying the dancers playing a Flutina and in the same way as many folks now play a melodeon? :ph34r:

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#36 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 05:43 PM

Most of the flutinas I've seen don't have the thumb loop, and I was surprised when I came across a couple that did have them. Started making me wonder iif the all had them originally.

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I have seen a handful that have had thumb loops added to them, probably in imitation of the Viennese/German accordions, but it was not a normal feature.

As Reisner directed in 1832 "on pose le pouce au dessous des touches, en l'accrochant à la petite barre en cuivre qui est posée au dessous des touches de manière que les 4 doigts se trouvent au dessus du clavier".

or

Chameroy in 1834, you "place your right thumb as a hook under the copper cross piece, and the other fingers upon the keys on which you press for forming the sounds."

or

M. Ronconi [1845-47], "The French Accordion is held in the right hand ... the Thumb at the brass rail", "The German Accordion is held in the left hand ... The thumb is to be placed in the Loop at the back".

or

Fourneaux [<1847], "L'Accordéon se joue de la main droite : On applique le pouce derrière le clavier sur une rampe en cuivre de manière que les quatre doigts viennent forme la voûte au dessus du clavier".

Here is a link to a photograph of my "first model" Demian accordion, in which its original woven thumb loop can be seen, sticking up from behind the keyboard. I have another example, slightly later, with an identical loop.


... the photograph of Alfred Titchcombe is on paper (so not reversed) and we know that he really did play his flutina, so there can be no argument about him knowing how it should be played.

The photos onthis page seems to show Alfred posing in both photos, not playing. I wouldn't consider those photos reason for assuming that he played horizontally. Sem (the young guy in color) is playing but extremely awkwardly with his left arm akimbo - which is the only way he's going to be able to use that air dump - and with his pinky! Alfred with the beard has his left hand in the position it needs to be in to play the air dump easily (though he's really holding, not playing it as the air dump is near the middle of the socle).

Whilst it cannot be an "action photo", with the long exposure times needed by early photographers, it looks to me that Alfred is very much posing as if he was playing, if you enlarge his right hand on the keyboard he appears to be holding down keys with his first and second fingers, his third finger hovering above another, and he has the bellows part-open.

Alfred_TitchcombeDetail.jpg

Whilst Sem's stance looks awkward, Alfred's looks just like the way I (and others) play a flutina, and I do use my little finger on the air valve, in fact I couldn't manage it any other way.

Unfortunately there is no assurance that people play things the "right" way.

I think my whole thrust was that there is no one "right way" of playing a flutina, and that though some sources say that they should be held vertically, many seem to suggest that it should be held horizontally, some even say flat on the lap !

And some people seem to have found very interesting ways to play it ! :blink:

HorizontalAccordionDetail.jpg

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 09 March 2005 - 05:55 PM.





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