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Accordion


The accordion is a ‘free-reed’ instrument. Its sound is produced by a reed, a thin metal strip which is mounted on a reed plate. The reed vibrates with the movement of air produced by the compression of bellows. There are many different reeds in an accordion, each producing a different note. There are two main styles of accordions - the piano accordion and the button accordion. There are of course many different varieties within these two styles allowing musicians to change the range and speed of their music depending on which accordion they choose.

Johnny Handle

Accordion player Johnny Handle photographed with local musicians in the 1970's.

The Piano Accordion was introduced into Britain around a hundred years ago. Initially the instrument was like a melodeon with a piano keyboard. During the 1920s, great improvements were made to the design and sound, and with the Stradella bass system, a full left hand accompaniment became possible. The popularity of dance bands in the 1920's and 1930's and the instruments portability meant therefore that the accordion became very popular. The accordion is now an important part of traditional music throughout the world and in the North East accordion players such as Bryce Anderson and John Dagg have helped to ensure the instruments place in the local tradition. It is relatively easy for piano players to adapt to this instrument.

In this audio example we hear Northumbrian accordeon player John Dagg, with Willy Taylor on fiddle, recorded at Rothbury Festival 1978, playing a selection of Scott Skinner Marches.

This short audio clip is available in Mp3 or Real Audio format.

play real audio

If you select the RealAudio option the clip will play in your RealOne Player (If you do not have RealOne Player, follow the link below to download).

play mp3

If you select the Mp3 option playback will be through Windows Media Player or any other Mp3 player that you have set as default.

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To find out more about how FARNE audio files have been created follow this link - Audio Technical Notes.


Melodeon

The Melodeon is a type of button-box accordion, and was developed from the Harmonica and other primitive free reed instruments early in the 19th century, in the border area between Saxony and Bohemia. Initially many prototype instruments were made with a variety of names and shapes. The earliest instrument is said to be the Aeolidicon made by Eisenach in Hamburg in 1800. The Harmonica itself is said to have been perfected by Buschmann in 1821. The Melodeon fingering system is still basically the same today, very similar to a Harmonica on the right hand, with a different note on the push & pull of the bellows, and bass notes and chords on the left hand. The instrument has a naturally rhythmic sound, and is part of traditional music worldwide.

In this audio clip we hear melodeon player Arthur Marshall, from Sleights in North Yorkshire playing the Northumbrian melody 'Come Ye Not From Newcastle' recorded at Whitby festival some time in the late 60s or early 70s.

This short audio clip is available in Mp3 or Real Audio format.

play real audio

If you select the RealAudio option the clip will play in your RealOne Player (If you do not have RealOne Player, follow the link below to download).

play mp3

If you select the Mp3 option playback will be through Windows Media Player or any other Mp3 player that you have set as default.

Download RealOne Player
To download free RealPlayer click here.


To find out more about how FARNE audio files have been created follow this link - Audio Technical Notes.







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