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A Rather Interesting Machine

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Hi All,

I don't look at the American eBay that often, what with living in the UK, but I do have a peek every now and again, just to see what pops up. This time, I found a rather interesting contraption, and I thought I might as well post it here so everyone else can see it. It appears to be a homemade reed organ, that uses an accordion to produce sound. I've seen people dismantle accordions to build organs, but I've never come across an organ that has actually been built around an intact accordion! It looks as if it was designed for performing, with the chrome decoration and the clearly visible accordion, and the handles suggest that it was taken around various venues. The keys and buttons appear to be operated via bike brake cables, and the air is apparently supplied by a vacuum cleaner pump, so I don't know how pleasant it would be to play, but it certainly looks rather amazing!


-Oskar
 

Dingo40

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Welcome Oskar!🙂👍
It certainly is impressive and must have taken a huge amount of work to produce: amazing!😮
 

debra

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I have seen accordions used in large automated organs used in dance halls, and they were always displayed prominently (and gorgeous to look at too). I've never seen it as the core of an organ like this (an organ to be played manually). A shame this may soon be discarded. It really belongs in an accordion museum!
 

Dingo40

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Jerry,
Excellent! Thanks for sharing 🙂👍
Watching the keyboard on the PA, am I noticing some physically impossible reaches for an accordionist?
No complaints, just that-if so- the technology makes more of the instrument than is normally possible. 🙂👍
 

Dingo40

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Now, here's a backing group that won't vie for artistic direction or ask for better pay and conditions!😀
 
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Waldo

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Has anybody actually seen one of these automated accordions? I'm inclined to believe they are electronic recordings attached to an animated, albeit empty, accordion. Concerning the red ones, the bellows movement is woefully short and I think I detected a couple of longer tones that remained steady, despite the bellows reversing. RE; The black pair, a close examination reveals some mini speakers poorly hidden behind the accordions, at their bases (they don't look like Rolands to me). On the big set, with the human playing, the bellows movement on several of the boxes is what I'd expect from a diatonic, yet they are PA's. This is not to detract from the animation engineering, or the ornate design/construction. Both nicely done (except for the bellows movement). The little house organ is pretty cool (and sans accordion, too)

The Ultimate! (Gaudin Dance Organ, which has no accordion attached), however is the real thing, and a real work of art. There is a museum in San Francisco that houses several of these turn of the century devices (well, two centuries ago), with plexiglass panels installed such that one can see the mechanisms in action. I could stand and watch them all day.

Bonafides: For 15 years I built animation systems for Rose Parade floats and Hollywood commercials/movies. My work is visible in the movie Robocop, when the "Cop" is under construction and a several second image appears of his hand (skeletal metal) making a fist and opening it back up again. That 3 second clip took close to a month to build the "hand", and cost the studio $10,000 US, back in the late 80's. It is no small wonder how those people can spend multiple millions on a flop, let alone a good flick (Like Robocop🤩).

You never know what's going to pop-up on this forum.
 
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Has anybody actually seen one of these automated accordions? I'm inclined to believe they are electronic recordings attached to an animated, albeit empty, accordion. Concerning the red ones, the bellows movement is woefully short and I think I detected a couple of longer tones that remained steady, despite the bellows reversing. RE; The black pair, a close examination reveals some mini speakers poorly hidden behind the accordions, at their bases (they don't look like Rolands to me). On the big set, with the human playing, the bellows movement on several of the boxes is what I'd expect from a diatonic, yet they are PA's. This is not to detract from the animation engineering, or the ornate design/construction. Both nicely done (except for the bellows movement). The little house organ is pretty cool (and sans accordion, too)
I've seen a Mortier dance organ with an accordion in action, and a stand-alone Decap accordion that unfortunately wasn't playing at the time. The accordions are pretty clever and do emmploy a bit of trickery, but they do actually play. Instead of the bellows being mechanically operated, they are held closed with a large spring. Air is fed into the bellows via an electric blower in the stand-alone models, and the main set of bellows in the dance organ models. After that, they play just like a real accordion. The keys and buttons are operated by solenoids or small sets of bellows (pneumatics); the keys lift the pallets; the pallets let the air through the reeds, etc. etc. The illusion of the bellows moving is created by the fact that the spring pulls them closed when enough notes are playing, and then they open again when the pressure is high enough. The little speakers are, to my knowledge, only used on the stand-alone Decap modes, and they are to provide digital drum accompaniments, which add a bit of rhythm to the accordion's music.
So yeah, they are absolutely real accordions, but they do cheat a little!
 

JerryPH

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Technically, you can hear that they are pushing air through the reeds and moving the buttons via solenoid switches.

Dingo40 noticed something that I noted as well, in that if we wanted to reproduce the same sounds, we'd all need 4 hands, but it sure does sound good! :)
 

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