My new obsession

I always knew that my dad had an accordion and had seen it a couple of times (always coated in a grey layer of cobwebs,) and on visiting his house this weekend I saw that it had been placed in my room….!!!

A few of the keys look rather funny and wonky and definitely need righting and it needs a lot of looking after. It belonged to my dad’s grandfather. The make is Alvari and after doing a little research online I discovered that the Italian company dissolved just after World War II.

I found this picture of a 1938 model and believe it must be of a similar age to my great grandfather’s instrument due to the decorative carving of the side panels, the branding on the instrument in the picture is also painted on rather than carved in a solid material and attached. I believe that this is a feature of later models such as this one.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love instruments. I’ve always wanted an accordion and was tempted to buy a child’s version at Hobgoblin’s music shop (next to the custard factory) but resisted (I was also verging on buying a melodica.) Seeing as I’ve wanted to play this instrument ever since seeing it come out of my nan’s loft many years ago I was a bit nervous about picking it up and trying it out – for fear it was soundless or that I might break it.

Below is a video of me trying it out for the first time.

I have to say it was wonderful! I had to play it for a while before I got the hang of it and just experimented with suspending and resolving chords etc… but it just felt a wee bit…well magical! In fact I’ve had to leave it now but I still feel excited about it. My mic on my pc isn’t very good so won’t give you a good idea of the sound at all unfortunately, but it sometimes verges on synthlike and sometimes something ‘purer’ – words cannot describe!

The thing about accordions is that if you don’t play them, they apparently deteriorate, just as if you play them too harshly. We’re lucky that this accordion has survived despite probably being unused for over 20 years (I have no idea if my dad ever played it and I doubt that my granddad did.) The miracle with this particular instrument is that its probably verging on 80 years old, and is still able to produce what I believe is a dreamy sound.

Hopefully my dad will get it looked at, and, if he’s feeling extra nice (plllllllleeeeeeeeeease!!!) he will let me borrow it for a bit and try recording with it. In return father dear, you may have my electric guitar!!! (Sorry Deb!)

If anyone has any tips, including what key accordions are in (I wasn’t sure if it was C, like a piano – I’m guessing it is,) I’ll also get proper pics on it too.

I shall dream of it tonight. I am pining already!

Sigh!

Just read some more stuff and believe the accordion is actually a melodeon as it plays different notes for each bass key depending on whether you are pushing or pulling the bellows – like sucking/blowing on a harmonica…

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2 comments

  1. chris · July 27, 2009

    hmm, couldnt watch the vid to see what kind of thing it was but are you sure its a melodeon? I was once in a vicious fight with a drunken irishmen about what was the difference between melodeon and accordian…

    As far as I know melodeons have different keys and rows of keys. Most melodeons are in G and D though, not C. I know on an irish melodeon at least you get four rows B, C and C#, D. Dont really know why this would be unless to make a chromatic scale?!

    Anyway, the point is accordians are fit, just stupid hard to play. I had a consertina once and gave up after about 3 minutes!

    enjoy!

  2. Solcofn · August 3, 2009

    Sweet. Looking forward to seeing if this will make it into any new tunes!

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