Harmonetta Bass

Some of you, the more astute ones perhaps, may be aware that I am interested in fingering systems for accordions. I have already posted on the Loomes Chromatic and am currently working my way through the Atzarin Accordion (very much a work in progress). And, of course, I already play a D/Em melodeon and a B/C+C# with Hayden free bass. Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 6 – The Shand Morino

Today we go back to Inside and Out and I’ve got one of the giants of the accordion world to take apart for your delectation and delight. For those of you who are new to the blog and don’t know what this series is about, see Parts 1234 and 5. This week I’ve been given a set of pictures by Ian Cruickshanks (the same Ian Cruickshanks who took the pictures of the Schwyzerörgeli) from one of his other accordions – his 1950s Shand Morino.

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Box Acoustics Primer Part 3 – How do different reeds differ?

And it’s back to the Acoustics stuff once again. Don’t worry, there will be some less science-y more melodeon-y posts soon!

This, the third part of this series is on how different reeds differ. The first part was an overview of Box Acoustics and the second part (updated recently on the advice of Olav Bergflodt, so give it another read) was on how the reed generated sound. Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 5 – The Impiliput

Yes, it’s back! After a gap of three months, Inside and Out is back. I’ve got some exciting boxes yet to come in this series, but the subject of today is the newest addition to my collection, a Hohner Liliput. Specifically, it is a 12 Hayden-style Free Bass B/C+C# Liliput, or “Impiliput” for short. Continue reading

Box Acoustics Primer Part 2 – The Reed

Second post already! I know, prompt. I’m posting this now because my internet access will be fragmented next week until I get internet sorted in my new place.

The first of the series was an overview of melodeon acoustics – the second is about the reed itself. I will make a confession here: I have never been quite happy with the explanation of the melodeon reed. So the following is what I’ve been able to glean from what I can, but shouldn’t be taken as gospel. If at some point I discover more about it then I will let you know. Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 4 – The Shruti Box

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another installment of “Inside and Out”. To those wondering if the pain will never end, fear not! This is a post rather different from the previous three, for it is not on a melodeon, nor even an accordion, but a Shruti box. It is also a short post, because it is late and I have to go to bed, and because the Shruti box is a simple instrument. Continue reading

Melodeon Reed Transients – An Indicative Study

Over the last year, I have been looking at the acoustics of the Charango, a small stringed instrument from the Andean region of South America, using a Polytec Laser Vibrometer. Now that this is all done (got a distinction in it by the way) I got permission to use the equipment for around 5 hours in one day to try and take some measurements of melodeon reeds. Unfortunately I did have only 5 hours and didn’t have much equipment other than the vibrometer, so I was limited in what I could do. In addition, I don’t have MATLAB on this computer, so I am limited in the analysis as well. I hope however that the following is of interest to those intrigued by how the box works. I haven’t concluded anything game-changing, however I hope that this study shows that within 24 hours, interesting experiments can be carried out. If there is anyone out there attached to a research centre who is interested in studying these instruments then please get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you. This is not a formal report, this is not a formal study and nothing should be taken to be conclusive. I think however that it can be considered to be indicative. Continue reading

A Question of Classification

The text of today’s sermon is on classification. One of the most common questions that I am asked as a melodeon player is “What is a Melodeon?” and its supplementary relative “What’s the difference between that and an Accordion?”. Today I will be trying to answer both those questions. The classification of instruments is loose even compared to that of species, so nothing here is “right”, even as none of it is “wrong”. What I am outlining is a system which makes sense with the instruments that we have and is broadly similar to what most other free reed musicians understand. One note before we start – all of the below classifications are based on the treble end only. There are a number of boxes with different systems for bass and treble end. Since the treble end is generally the tune side, as opposed to the chord side, it is this side which will be classified. Bass systems are for another day… Continue reading

Inside and Out Part 3 – The Schwyzerörgeli

Hello everyone! I am back! I handed in my Part IIB Project today and am free as a bird until my final presentation next week. So I thought that I would indulge myself by writing a blog post, and as it happens I have a genuinely riveting topic to talk about. Yes, it is indeed, the third instalment of “Inside and Out”, the blog series for melodeon nerds and pretty much nobody else, and today’s topic is the Schwyzerörgeli.

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