Accordion – an instrument of the 21st century
The accordion employs the passing through free swinging metal languet as a sound reproduction principle. The first time as it was described in Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621) publication “Syntagma musicum” (1618/1619 Vol. 2) a contemporary of Mozart. He has incorporated this “Register” into an organ in Frankfurt the first time. Until that time this sound reproduction was only known by tearing off a languet (f.i. “im Regal”); probably the first time in 1372.
A. Vogler built this “Register” as a hanging tuning languet in an organ-pipe. The effect of this sound reproduction is the same as an accordion of nowadays, but at the accordion the air supply can be regulated very exactly by the bellow and so the air stream can`t be heard. The principle pf the “passing through metal languet” making swing the metal languets by supply - it has come from China about 2700 v. Chr. There it was incorporated in an instrument which was called “Sheng” (Japanese “Sho”). This Chinese instrument was taken either by Marco Polo ( 13th century) or by the Tartares across “Russland” during the migration of nations to middle Europe.
The instruments nowadays use a manual for the right hand ( 51/2 octaves E – c’’’’’) additionally 3-4 button ranks with chromatic single tones for the left hand (octaves contrer E – c sharp’’’’). In principle they can be compared to a two manual keyed instrument f.i. to a two manual harpsichord. But concerning the production and the influence of the tone it’s comparable to a wind instrument.
The single – tone – manual known since the 20th century, for the left hand makes it possible to play in the right tone pitch with both hands- in contrary to the much more popular Standard bass manual with it’s somewhat shady image as a so called folkmusic instrument (sound-radius septim + chord coupling). Because of the increasing presence of this type of instrument more and more composers (F.i. Hindermith, Isang Yun, Sofia Gubajdulina, Mauricio Kagel, Adriana Hölszky and more) have been animated to write original opus for the accordion. The advantage of a wind instrument in union with the possibilities of a 2-manual keyed instrument, the exceptional big dynamic tonal spectrum, and the characteristics comparable to a string instrument with the conduct of the bellow, makes the accordion to a faszinating and new “Instrument of the 21st century”.