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#37 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 09:58 PM

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

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My nearest airport is Shannon, about one and a half hours flight time from London Heathrow.

Looking for a home as in a museum?

Actually, I'm looking for a suitable home for myself, as well as my instruments, somewhere that I can work on concertinas too. But yes, I would like to have my own museum.

#38 Richard Morse

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 08:06 AM

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"..... 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.

That seems difficult to use... supporting the instrument with one's LEFT THUMB - and - to have that thumbstrap be on the back RIGHT side of the instument? Wouldn't your left fingers get in the way of the bellows? Have you tried this?

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. 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 !

Would you humour me by trying to play your flutina vertically, with your left hand resting in your lap, palm upwards gripping the socle with your thumb and last 3 fingers and using your index finger for the air dump?

Besides being very comfortable to play this way, I've found that it makes a lot of sense having the fundamental on the pull now rather than on the push. Do you have any thoughts why the flutina is alone in it's "backwards" bisonorism? I'm surmising that vertical playing "backwards" meant that there would be more bellows availability for notes and chords in major key tunes as the box tended to return to the "rest position" (gravity assist).

#39 Richard Morse

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 09:05 AM

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.

Oho! Now that I look at your photo again, it seems that this all makes sense providing that CD's accordions was played with one's LEFT HAND! I was thrown off by the thumbloop tilting toward the right (in the photo view) which meant that one's right thumb would have been inserted (as typical of melodeons). BUT! Noticing the numbering of the keys going from left to right - which if this is in rising pitch sequence - is the opposite of the way flutinas and BA's are set up. And this would "make sense" (???) if one were playing this with one's LEFT hand.

Does my thinking make sense to you? OTOH, there's reality too. What notes DO those keys (buttons/levers) play? This is confusing to me as CD's original accordion played only chords, not single notes, and with so many keys there wouldn't be enough space for multiple notes per key. Didn't CD's first boxes have only 5 keys for 10 chords (being bisonor, but I think some chords were duplicated, being available on both push/pull)?

#40 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 11:12 AM

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".....

That seems difficult to use... supporting the instrument with one's LEFT THUMB - and - to have that thumbstrap be on the back RIGHT side of the instument? Wouldn't your left fingers get in the way of the bellows? Have you tried this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ah, but as I have mentioned a few times on C.net, Demian's accordions were made to be played left-handed :

The only exception would be if I was demonstrating one of my earliest Demian accordions, all of which were left-handed, when I would play "left on right" !

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This was by analogy with stringed instruments, where it is the left hand that fingers the notes, and the right hand that sounds them, which actually seems pretty logical ... :huh:

However, Viennese/German accordions made from around the mid 1830's onwards were right-handed, though some players/teachers seem to have stuck to the left-handed stance (even for the French accordion), notably J.S. Cunnabell of Boston, "teacher of the flute and accordion", who defended the practice, in the Second Edition of his "Progressive Lessons for the French Accordion", as late as 1850.


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. 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 !

Would you humour me by trying to play your flutina vertically, with your left hand resting in your lap, palm upwards gripping the socle with your thumb and last 3 fingers and using your index finger for the air dump? Besides being very comfortable to play this way, I've found that it makes a lot of sense having the fundamental on the pull now rather than on the push.

Richard, I've already tried it (with a large flutina like Alfred Titchcombe's), and I'm afraid that personally I find it contorted, physically painful and very limiting. I'm also at a loss to know how I'm supposed to use the two bass keys with my thumb, which is all that's holding the socle on that side, whilst three fingers are wasted holding the "wrong" side of it ?

Indeed, I'm now left pondering the thought that perhaps the introduction of basses, as opposed to the constant harmony of the "bascules d'harmonie" on the keyboard, might have forced some "vertical" players to adapt to playing horizontally ?

I don't for one moment deny that the French accordion was played vertically, there is evidence for it (but also for melodeons at a later date), but there seems to be even more evidence (as early as 1832) that it was also played horizontally. There is even solid evidence that some of those who played vertically held the brass rail with their fingers and played using their thumbs. :o (Just how awkward/limiting could you make it ?)

In his pioneering "Airs choisis pour l'Accordéon, précédées d'une Instruction Méthodique" (1832) A. Reisner wrote : L'accordéon se joue avec la main droite, 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 trouve au dessus du clavier. On posera la caisse de l'instrument horizontalement sur le genou gauche après avoir mis le pied sur un petit tabouret. On tire le soufflet avec la main gauche, de manière que le petit doigt soit libre au dessus de la grande clef derrière l'instrument, pour être à même de l'ouvrir quand il est besoin.

So as early as 1832 he directed that the instrument should be played horizontally on the left knee, the bellows pulled by the left hand and the wind key operated with the little finger. I believe that the crinolined young lady illustrated playing this way in his "Méthode Reisner pour apprendre sans Maitre à jouer l'Accordéon" (1838) is almost certainly his daughter Louise, who was the first "accordion virtuoso". Certainly there is absolutely no doubt that the Reisners knew how to play the instrument.


Do you have any thoughts why the flutina is alone in it's "backwards" bisonorism?

That feature actually derives from Demian's first model, which played "on the draw". (And before you ask, the wind key of those could only have been used if the instrument was played horizontally, unless you played it right-handed, but then the scale would have run the wrong way.)

I also have a Russian accordion, called a Saratovskya Garmoshka, that shares this "backwards bisonorism" but is otherwise like an early melodeon in style (right down to the treble sound box and the chiming bells on the bass end !).

To me, it makes a certain sense to be able to play a scale starting with the bellows closed, perhaps what we should be asking is why they changed to playing on the press ?

So are you a Blefuscudian or a Lilliputian ? (Or, which end do you crack your eggs ?) ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 11 March 2005 - 10:15 PM.


#41 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 11:45 AM

HELP!  I saw 2 auctions on ebay that interest me, and would like some opinions on how foolish I'm being!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So Greg, did you buy either of them ?

(Look what you started ! :rolleyes: )

#42 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 12:15 PM

Oho! Now that I look at your photo again, it seems that this all makes sense providing that CD's accordions was played with one's LEFT HAND! I was thrown off by the thumbloop tilting toward the right (in the photo view) which meant that one's right thumb would have been inserted (as typical of melodeons). BUT! Noticing the numbering of the keys going from left to right - which if this is in rising pitch sequence - is the opposite of the way flutinas and BA's are set up. And this would "make sense" (???) if one were playing this with one's LEFT hand.

Does my thinking make sense to you? OTOH, there's reality too. What notes DO those keys (buttons/levers) play? This is confusing to me as CD's original accordion played only chords, not single notes, and with so many keys there wouldn't be enough space for multiple notes per key. Didn't CD's first boxes have only 5 keys for 10 chords (being bisonor, but I think some chords were duplicated, being available on both push/pull)?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Richard,

I was so busy typing that I missed this post.

You really should read my Michaelstein Paper/Catalogue :) where this (amongst other things) is explained :

3. Accordions
Invented by Cyrill Demian (1772-1847) of Vienna and patented by him on 6th May 1829, the accordion rapidly spread throughout Europe. lt had certainly reached London as early as 1830 because it is recorded that a 5-key example was seen at one of Wheatstone's lectures to the Royal Institution on 5th June that year, there was also a tutor published in London for it the same year.

These very first models of accordion were made to be played left-handed (to our way of thinking) and played only chords, as contemporary tutor books explain and surviving instruments demonstrate (hence the name, deriving from the German word for chord = "accord", plus the suffix "-ion"). This has been the cause of some considerable confusion and misinformation in books and articles on the subject by writers who have not taken the trouble to research the source material, or had their own agenda.
[German nationalists/Nazis trying to "prove" that the accordion was invented by a German, rather than an Armenian. This view is now discredited amongst German researchers.]

In essence the first model consisted of a series of æolinas arranged inside a wooden box provided with a bellows and keys. On pressing a key one chord would sound on compressing the bellows and another chord on expanding them, thus allowing the playing of tunes only with the respective chordal harmony for every melody note.

Over the next few years the accordion developed and became more melodic. An early modification was to incorporate a “mutation”, consisting of a plunger projecting from the keyboard end of the instrument, which, when pushed against the body of the performer, caused dampers to be pressed against the unwanted reeds of the chords, silencing them, so that only the root note sounded. Such instruments are described and illustrated in Adolf Müller’s Accordion Schule and an example from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, was demonstrated at the Symposium by Dieter Krickeberg playing a piece from its associated instruction book. On other models the number of reeds sounded by each key was reduced in number so that they played only a two-note harmony or just single notes and a pair of sliding "mutation" keys to provide the option of a simple fixed bass or chord accompaniment, if opened, were added one at each end of the treble keyboard. Accordions with right-handed keyboards then started to be made and by the middle of the 1830's, instruments with "spoon-bass" keys mounted on the opposite end-board had begun to appear.

By 1840, Viennese accordions with an enclosed treble action and a pair of bass keys mounted on the side of the opposite end were being produced, in essence the "Vienna accordion" as we define the term today.

In the early 1830's a number of Parisian makers began building copies of Demian's single note accordions, but with the press/draw system of notes reversed, similar to the earliest models, and a right-handed keyboard.

[7] Unlabelled accordion with 8 keys in the manner of Cyrill Demian, Vienna, first model c. 1829. Mahogany veneered body, ebonised edging, keyboard and levers, mother of pearl pallets and keys, 3-fold pink leather bellows, German silver reeds arranged in 5-note chords per brass plate, those on the press numbered I to VIII and on the draw 1 to 8, keys numbered (left to right) 1 to 8 for left-handed playing. The scale of this instrument differs from later models, starting on key 2 and playing DRAW/PRESS, 3-DRAW/PRESS, 4-DRAW/PRESS, 5-DRAW/PRESS. Mother of pearl fingerplate engraved with the name "Emily" (presumably the original owner?). The wind key on these early Viennese instruments consists of a simple sprung “trapdoor” arrangement, mounted internally and hinged at one end, it is operated by inserting a finger of the hand moving the bellows through one of the mother of pearl bushings in the end board (the air also passing through these bushings).

The accordion shown in the Patent has only 5 keys but Demian was making models with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 keys as early as July 1829.


And here is a picture of three of the "æolinas"/reedblocks inside that Demian "first model" accordion.

Attached Thumbnails

  • DemianReedpan.jpg

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 11 March 2005 - 12:43 PM.


#43 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 09:02 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:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Pete,

I've looked at the stills for several miners' dances on British Pathe News, but the only instrument I have found so far has been an Anglo. Have you any idea which one you saw the flutina on ? (I'm having problems viewing the newsreels on the site at the moment, so it could be a great help.)

Thanks,

#44 RELCOLLECT

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 07:01 AM

Actually, I bid on a vintage Scholer, but it went to a price that left my lovely wife (the adult in the family, I'm afraid) in danger of developing a serious facial tic! So, since I'm a raw beginner and sound quality is of less importance to me than it is to most here, I purchased a new Morrelli brand English. I'm waiting for delivery in the next couple of days, and will post re: whether it's utter grot or a decently made beginner model.

This posted question (like most I ask here) taught me a great deal, almost NONE of which I yet have any idea how to apply! The good news is I get so many informed opinions...the bad news is I get TOO many informed opinions! I'm still left sorting apples from oranges whilst never having actually held either!

Hopefully I have not been too foolsih, but for the price I paid, it's fairly disposable down the road.

Greg

PS - I finally settled on an English, because the Anglo's seperate notes on push and pull intimidated me mentally! I'm going to be challenged enough already!

Greg

#45 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 09:19 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:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Have you any idea which one you saw the flutina on ?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Pete,

Thanks for sending me the film of the Newbiggin's Team. It would be great to see it projected onto a cinema screen (as it should be), because I'm sure there is much more detail than can be seen on the computer one.

I've enlarged details of some of the stills, and though the definition could be a lot better, it certainly looks like a flutina that he is holding :

MinersDanceAccordion.jpg MinersDance.jpg

And playing horizontally on his right knee :

MinersDance5.jpg

#46 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 10:31 PM

In his pioneering "Airs choisis pour l'Accordéon, précédées d'une Instruction Méthodique" (1832) A. Reisner wrote : L'accordéon se joue avec la main droite, 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 trouve au dessus du clavier. On posera la caisse de l'instrument horizontalement sur le genou gauche après avoir mis le pied sur un petit tabouret. On tire le soufflet avec la main gauche, de manière que le petit doigt soit libre au dessus de la grande clef derrière l'instrument, pour être à même de l'ouvrir quand il est besoin.

So as early as 1832 he directed that the instrument should be played horizontally on the left knee, the bellows pulled by the left hand and the wind key operated with the little finger. I believe that the crinolined young lady illustrated playing this way in his "Méthode Reisner pour apprendre sans Maitre à jouer l'Accordéon" (1838) is almost certainly his daughter Louise, who was the first "accordion virtuoso". Certainly there is absolutely no doubt that the Reisners knew how to play the instrument.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

On the other hand, M. Pichenot, who claimed to have published his "Méthode pour l'Accordéon" six months before Reisner's work appeared, wrote that :

L'instrument se tient de la main droite, en passant le pouce dans le boucle de cuir, de manière à avoir les quatre doigts placés sur le clavier.

Il est supporté de la main gauche, dont l'index est toujours prèt à soulever la clef.


So he seems to have advocated the vertical stance, with the use of a thumb strap. However, his "Méthode" seems to be the only source to suggest that the very first French accordions may have retained this German feature. I am not aware of any other evidence for this, and plenty to contradict it.

The work is illustrated with a keyboard diagram showing an accordion with only 8 keys, a single Harmonie pourant se fermer à volonté, and a leather thumb strap pour passer le pouce de la main droite.

There seems to have been fierce competition between Pichenot and Reisner, about how to hold the instrument amongst other things - hence my comment about which end to crack eggs.

#47 JimLucas

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 04:10 AM

Meanwhile, all this wonderful history of the flutina is not appearing in the History subForum.

Oh, well! (Hard to find a smiley that shrugs, when they don't have shoulders. ;))

#48 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 05:58 AM

Meanwhile, all this wonderful history of the flutina is not appearing in the History subForum.

Oh, well!  (Hard to find a smiley that shrugs, when they don't have shoulders. ;))

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Bit late for a "Yellow Card" Jim ! :rolleyes:

Though I suppose I could always take it back to melodeon.net, where it started ? :P

#49 JimLucas

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 07:22 AM

Bit late for a "Yellow Card" Jim !  :rolleyes:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, the only red-card smiley available here (:wub:) didn't seem quite appropriate to my sentiments. :ph34r: :D

#50 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 12:35 AM

And just to show that anti-accordion sentiment is nothing new, here is a caricature of a vertically-playing accordionist by the French artist Honoré Daumier (1808-1879), from his Études Musicales, published in Le Journal Amusant, Paris, 1866.

Daumier_edit.jpg
" L'ACCORDÉON dit SOUFFLET À MUSIQUE "
" - On n'a pas encore le droit de tuer les gens qui jouent de cet instrument,
mais il faut espérer que cela viendra. "

["THE ACCORDION called MUSICAL BELLOWS"
" - You do not yet have the right to kill those who play this instrument,
but it is to be hoped that that will come. "]

Picture edited.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 22 May 2005 - 11:33 PM.


#51 Helen

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 06:35 AM

Oh, just swell. :angry: :ph34r: <_<

#52 otsaku

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 07:12 AM

a loosely related instrument :


http://cgi.ebay.com/...7308984605&rd=1


If it wasn't for my anglo lustings I'd buy this one just for the look of it.

#53 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:21 AM

Oh, just swell. :angry:  :ph34r:  <_<

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Helen, and that was about the flutina ! Just think what they would have said if they had got around to inventing the PA ! :rolleyes:

a loosely related instrument :

http://cgi.ebay.com/...7308984605&rd=1

If it wasn't for my anglo lustings I'd buy this one just for the look of it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I bought an almost identical one only last month, only it's green and called a "Cathedral Organ". They must be from the same factory :

CathedralOrgan2.jpg

#54 otsaku

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 10:04 AM

how are the horns placed in relation to the reeds?


When I first saw it I had a vision of old car horns being hammered when you hit a key :lol:




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