The FASCINATING HISTORY Of The ACCORDION ...
A Short Outline by Ivo Baldoni of A. Baldoni Music
In Collaboration with Beniamino Bugiolacchi, Civico Museo Internazionale
|NOTE: The accordion (the
Italian name "fisarmonica" is derived from the (German word "Physharmonikaz",
a compound name coming from the (Greek word Physabellows - and Harmononikos
- harmonic) is a musical instrument operated by air pressure, belonging
to the family of the aerophones. It consists of three different parts:
the right hand keyboard for the melody, the bellows, and the left hand
keyboard (or buttons) for the accompaniment.
sound is produced by the reed: a small metal plate on which a thin steel
strip is mounted that oscillates with the movement of the air produced
by the compression of the bellows. The following three models are the most
popular accordion types: on the "diatonic" model the sound produced when
the bellows are opened is different to that produced when they are closed:
the "chromatic" model allows the complete range of twelve sounds to be
played(this model also has "buttons" on the right hand keyboard): the "piano"
accordion has a right hand keyboard that is very similar to a piano keyboard,
with black and white keys.
The accordion, an instrument very close to the heart of generations
of Italians, is a masterpiece of fine mechanics (the more familiar keyboard
of a type-writer is nothing compared to the mechanism which works the bass
and chord valves) and of fluid dynamics (just think of the air-tightness
of the bellows and of the valves that open and close the access of air
into the reeds), consisting of some hundreds of pieces built from a variety
of materials, such as fir, maple, mahogany and walnut wood: metals such
as steel, hardaluminum and brass: precious cashmere, felt and cloth, as
well as lambs hide, kid and leather; celluloid, rubber and virgin wax.
The fascinating history of the accordion coming to life again in the 1990s,
starts way back 4.500 years ago with the Cheng in China: an instrument
using for the first time the free reed, made to vibrate by a source of
But it was the Viennese Cyril Damian, of Armenian descent, who patented
the Accordion at Paris, on the 6th of May, 1829: a small 4 octave instrument
that was to be the basis for the development of an absolutely revolutionary
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