Accordion as organ

Posted by: ROMagister

Accordion as organ - 05/19/08 05:04 AM

I have some German folk pieces notated for accordion, they have a sign like a large circle cut in 3 horizontal bands, 2 dots in the center one and 1 in the upper. Sometimes they change to a lower dot etc.
Does this mean like a registration indication of 8' Principal, 8' Celeste, 4' Octave ?

Also: look at this Russian young virtuoso Vitaly Dmitriev on 'Bayan' (large button-only accordion):
Toccata BWV565 http://youtube.com/watch?v=WjJQwTKYfd4
Fugue BWV565 http://youtube.com/watch?v=UBmajjf5WKE

So, is the artistic difference between good accordion playing and a small organ using reed stops not so much ?
What other organ-like features do some best accordions have ? I see some sort of button couplers in the videos above.
Posted by: Tom Tuner

Re: Accordion as organ - 05/21/08 11:51 AM

The symbols are indeed for registration, they indicate which "switches" are to be on. These are actually controllers for sets of reed which may be octave, sub-octave, celeste, etc. I don't remember the specific resistration each symbol calls for. There aren't any couplers, just octave sets of reeds. Couplers would be mechanically difficult to employ and not much use on such a short keyboard.
Posted by: Tom Tuner

Re: Accordion as organ - 05/23/08 01:19 PM

As best I remember the upper sector of the circle represents the super-octave (4'), the middle is unison (8') and the bottom is the sub-octave (16'). Note that celeste ranks can be tuned either sharp or flat and sets of each may be found in the same instrument. The dot being to the left or right indicates this.
Accordeons really are free-reed organs. Like harmoniums the reed are winded from beneath and have leather flap valves on top of the reeds to allow the wind to pass only one way.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Accordion as organ - 12/10/10 01:31 AM

This young girl plays accordion with masterful control:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4OsWc_1bko

She changes registrations several time and in some, there must be some sort of physical coupler between buttons - some 'move on their own' when other buttons are pressed.

I also couldn't figure out whether the white/black pattern of buttons means naturals/accidentals like on a normal piano, or is a reminder of something else.
Posted by: mrenaud

Re: Accordion as organ - 12/10/10 06:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Tom Tuner
As best I remember the upper sector of the circle represents the super-octave (4'), the middle is unison (8') and the bottom is the sub-octave (16'). Note that celeste ranks can be tuned either sharp or flat and sets of each may be found in the same instrument. The dot being to the left or right indicates this.


According to Theodoro Anzellotti (a well-known classical accordionist who once gave an introduction at the instrumentation class of the conservatory of Basel where I studied composition), there's a difference between folk accordions and classical accordions in that the former have celeste ranks while the latter don't. Classical accordions have two 8' ranks, one normal and one within the cassotto (a device which damps some overtones and makes the sound a bit darker). The 16' rank is also usually placed inside the cassotto while the 4' isn't. Folk accordions usually (AFAIK) have no cassotto at all. The circles and dots appear in both classical and folk music and have the same meaning (except for the obvious differences in the 8' area), but they're often not given at all and the exact registration left to the peformer's discretion.

So, according to Anzellotti, the standard classical accordion has a treble side consisting of 16' and 8' ranks inside and 8' and 4' ranks outside the cassotto, and a bass side with 8' and 4' ranks (no cassotto) which can be switched between the traditional chord (Stradella) and single-note (free) bass modes.

Folk accordions OTOH have no cassotto, but have celeste ranks instead (the traditional French musette sounds relies heavily on those) and usually only a chord-bass.

So basically, you need to know what kind of accordion you're faced with.
Posted by: mrenaud

Re: Accordion as organ - 12/10/10 06:16 AM

Originally Posted By: ROMagister
This young girl plays accordion with masterful control:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4OsWc_1bko

She changes registrations several time and in some, there must be some sort of physical coupler between buttons - some 'move on their own' when other buttons are pressed.


Yes, actually, there are doubled buttons for some notes to facilitate certain fingerings which would otherwise be awkward. These buttons are also physically connected to the same valve and move together when one is pressed.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Accordion as organ - 01/13/11 09:33 PM

I just bought an accordion.

Well, to be honest, I just bought another accordion.

However, this one is different. It actually works. (Accordion are made with organic products that deteriorate over time. The wax that holds the reeds on, and the leather and card board on the bellows, don't last that long. By the time you buy one in a thrift shop, it is generally unplayable and unrepairable. Don't ask me how i know.)

At any rate, I have five registration buttons for the keyboard. 16 foot, 8 foot, 16 + 8 foot, 8 + 8, and all three. The two 8 foot reeds are slightly detuned. I would call mine dry, but with a little more detuning it would be into the wet range.
Posted by: Brandon_W_T

Re: Accordion as organ - 01/13/11 10:32 PM

I've owned my share of accordions. 4 so far. Wish I still had one.


I cant recall what my first was, but it was a smaller button sized one. Maybe 15 buttons, and 12 base, or somewhere along those lines.


Then I had a 50s or 60s Titano full sized. Holy moly. That sucker was HEAVY! Loved it. Great rich full sound. 2 treble switches and single base bar.


Sold that a while later. I couldn't carry it, as it killed by back. (Im a double bass player, and hauling that sucker around ruins your back!)


Further down the line on craigslist there was an ad for 2 full sized antique accordions.

Antiques they were! Probably about 100 years old! (la tosca) Concertone was one, and the other one was galanti. Concertone was yellow and ivory, treble switch was a mechanizm under the keyboard you slid up. No base changers.

The other was black, with diamond studding and mother of pearl. Very beautiful. Worked alright.


Each when I first got them had about 1/3 or more of their reeds inside the bellows. Had to re-glue some of them.


_____
Sold those to a gentleman in town who buys/sells/repairs/collects accordions. He has on a wall in his living room on custom shelves, about 60-70 accordions!

Here is a link to his page-
http://stangalli.com/StanGalli/Welcome.html



And here are the 2 accordions I owned, but now restored to like new!-

http://stangalli.com/StanGalli/My_Albums/Pages/Piano_Accordions.html#9
http://stangalli.com/StanGalli/My_Albums/Pages/Piano_Accordions.html#4