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Free Reed Trifecta, Anyone?


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Having just finished a fine dinner here at home, I thought I'd play a representative of each family of Free Reed instruments that we own. I started with our 1895 Estey Reed Organ (also called a Pump Organ and related to the Harmonium) then moved to my Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica, and finished with my 1915 Lachenal Crane / Triumph Concertina. We don't (as yet!) own an accordion or I'd have played that, too.

 

I trust I'm not alone in my love of the Free Reed sound, am I?

 

What say you, good concertinists?

 

Happy Trails,

Henri in Central Florida

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I trust I'm not alone in my love of the Free Reed sound, am I?

 

What say you, good concertinists?

 

Happy Trails,

Henri in Central Florida

 

Henri,

As a child, I very much appreciated free reeds, for a rather unusual reason:

At that time, our 3-person family lived in a vast, Edwardian house in Scotland. There was an open fireplace in every room, but only the fire in the "kitchen" - the former servant's area below stairs - was normally lit (it was the the one that heated the water), and there we usually ate and spent our leisure time.

I had piano lessons, and the piano was of course in the salon, which was the room that was least frequently heated, so practice was not pleasant in winter. However, for some reason, there was a full-sized harmonium in the "kitchen", and I managed to get to practise my scales on it in cold weather. I found the harmonium a lot more fun than the piano. With the continuous sound, I could mess around with the different note combinations and develop a sense of harmony. And then there were the various stops, each producing a different sound, and even an octave coupler for more "power".

We lived with this harmonium from the time I was 7 to the time I was 13, and I'm quite sure that it was a very important influence in my early musical development.

 

What I like about the Bandoneon that I later acquired is that its sound is reminiscent of the harmonium. A beautiful, warm, comforting tone. A fond echo of childhood.

 

But even earlier, my very first attempts at instrumental music were made on my father's mouth-organ. Free reeds all along the line!

 

Cheers,

John

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