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do you guys think this is a chromatophone?


i've been intrigued by posters here and there opining that this layout is preferable to the hayden because it puts semi tones adjacent (diagonally, as with cba) rather than a couple of jumps away. i play cba and love it, and have been intrigued by chromatophone. but at the same time, i'm kind of wondering if in playing terms as opposed to learning terms, the hayden layout might in a weird way be better given these two constraints in the concertina, as opposed to accordion, context:


1--four fingers, no thumb. (okay, the older cba method, still used by some, does not use the thumb. but i'm in the modern, five-finger school);


2--on concertina, your fingers are descending and ascending piston-style rather than skimming along the surface as one does on box, particularly with thumb involvement.


so one is fascinated by the chromatophone layout, but wonders if perhaps there is better positioning to be had with hayden....your fingers are spaced, so you perhaps have better mobility?


anyway, interesting ebay listing....

Edited by ceemonster
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While Hugo Stark developed the chromatiphone layout, it is not the only type of bandoneon that he built.

The subject instrument - if it is the one at Steve's link - does not appear to have the usual chromatiphone configuration.

That, by no means, disqualifies it from being some variant of a chromatiphone system.

I've sent the seller a single question asking if this Instrument is unisonoric or bisonoric.

I'll follow up with a post of whatever answer I may receive.

The subject instrument has a layout more typical of the bisonoric "tango" ilk, and yet it appears to have no button labels as best I can see from the photos - but I can't get them very large.

If it is unisonoric, a Peguri layout is my best guess at the moment given the irregular spacing around the perimeter; however that is only a BWAG, to say the least - or most - as the case may be.

There were hundreds of configurations and variations/modifications/customizations of these layouts as many were built to suit individual needs/quirks/interests/styles.

Something that, in my opinion, we have far too little of today.

It seems that few want to expand beyond what they can build quickly, easily, or with certainty.

Thank God for the few that are willing to "build outside of the box" and get out of their comfort zone, or beyond the jigs that they already have at hand.

Anyway, back to the thread.

The closest bandonion layout to the CBA/c-griff was attributed to Meisel and was referred to as the Meisel-Praktikal. Indeed, it is identical to the CBA/c-griff orientation.

Given that you've read the posts here, you have likely read my notes about the chromatiphone layout.

I think the two "constraints" as you describe them apply to both the the Hayden and the chromatiphone systems.

There is little more that I can add except to say that now after 11 months with my chromatiphone system, it is the most versatile concertina that I have ever played or can imagine.

And to pre-empt the naysayers, I will now add the disclaimer, FOR ME it is the most logical and intuitive and comprehensive system that I have ever played.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone else here plays the chromatiphone system who could share their experiences and with whom we could compare notes.

I am eagerly anticipating a concertina with the Meisel-Praktikal layout that is in the process of being built for me.

We'll see how that compares to the chromatiphone system "concertina to concertina" - especially since I play CBA/c-griff accordion and accordina.

Be Well,


Edited by danersen
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thank you much for this fascinating information!


yes, i did read your other post, and the "logical and consistent" strengths of chromatiphone in terms of grasping and making use of layout i completely see. but i'm also wondering how it compares/contrasts ergonomically to other arrangements--for fast melody playing? for wide chordal playing? for both/neither?--.....(caveat for me is, i don't much need isomorphism, provided full chromaticism and some kind of consistent pattern are present, as they are here---what i'm curious about is comparative speed and fluidity of getting from one place to another)....


for chromatic and/or harmonic-minor music, such as tango, paris musette, etc, one might expect a layout of some kind with adjacent semitones to be advantageous, and it certainly is with cba. but is this still true when you are using only four fingers, and when you are descending and ascending onto concertina buttons....i was wondering if maybe having semitones spaced closely might lock one into tight clustered finger positions it is hard to move in and out of, particularly for melodies...


well, i see there is no shortage of expertise about all these nuances, and it will be fun to see what happens with the Hugo Stark Mystery Box....

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  • 6 years later...

If anyone is interested, there is a Chromatiphon that is in allgedly playable condition in Jessen, Germany.  Here is the link:




He is asking 250 Euro.

I ended up working a deal with danersen for his Bandoneon and since Stark is not true C-system, I'm deciding to pass on the Chromatiphon.


Kind regards,



Edited by saguaro_squeezer
misspelled name.
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