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Bal musette West Vlaanderen

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maugein96

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My previous post concerned the Swiss player, Rene Dessibourg, and was meant to illustrate how French musette often spills over into adjoining countries. In Belgium, the musette style is mainly associated with the French speaking or Wallon areas. However, the area of West Flanders is so close to France that, although the people speak Flemish (Dutch) as a first language, they are living on Frances doorstep. Naturally the French musette accordion is popular there, although there is a Belgian influence. Belgian musette tuning is slightly different to the standard French. It is rather difficult to describe, but you can usually hear it as a more North European musette sound compared with French musette tuning.The CBA accordions are also usually B system with various arrangements of the buttons depending on which row the C note is found. You cannot simply walk into a Belgian accordion store and ask for a CBA. You must specify if you want a Do2 Charleroi (C on the second row), or Do3 Liegeois (C on the 3rd row).

The most famous of all the Belgian accordionists was probably Gus Viseur. Other prominent Belgians were Adolphe Deprince from Malines/Mechelen, Rene Ninforge, Albert Hennebel, Hector Delfosse,Oscar Denys from Poperinge, and the still extant Andre Loppe, Patrick Sengers, Jo Destre, and Guy Denys (son of Oscar Denys).

The Flemish language, as spoken in parts of French Flandres and in the northern part of Belgium is afforded no recognition whatsoever by the French government, which insists that all of its citizens are French, and must therefore communicate in French. Therefore, Flemish, Picard, Breton, Occitan, Basque, Limousin, Auvergnat, Savoyard,and the Germanic dialects of Alsace-Lorraine are all treated with disdain. There will be other dialects which Im not aware of, but their status is the same.

Regrettably, there are no links available to the playing of Oscar Denys, who managed to get incredible sounds out of his Hohner, which I think was a Morino. As a consolation here is a clip of his son, Guy Denys, playing Souvenir de Steenvoorde, a Flemish village in France. Carpentier accordions are renowned for their great musette sound, and are made in Verdun, Lorraine.

Unfortunately a lot of the virtuoso type stuff and bass runs are played by the blond guy on the Ketron keyboard synthesiser.

 

debra

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maugein96 said:
My previous post concerned the Swiss player, Rene Dessibourg, and was meant to illustrate how French musette often spills over into adjoining countries. In Belgium, the musette style is mainly associated with the French speaking or Wallon areas. However, the area of West Flanders is so close to France that, although the people speak Flemish (Dutch) as a first language, they are living on France's doorstep. Naturally the French musette accordion is popular there, although there is a Belgian influence. Belgian musette tuning is slightly different to the standard French. It is rather difficult to describe, but you can usually hear it as a more "North European" musette sound compared with French musette tuning.The CBA accordions are also usually B system with various arrangements of the buttons depending on which row the C note is found. You cannot simply walk into a Belgian accordion store and ask for a CBA. You must specify if you want a Do2 Charleroi (C on the second row), or Do3 Liegeois (C on the 3rd row).
...
It appears that as you go further north (into Flanders and then the Netherlands) the tuning of accordions used for musette becomes more and more wet. I have heard a lot of french musette played with only mildly or even slightly wet accordion players from France, but the Belgians and Dutch are known for very wet tuning. Especially further north into Belgium and the Netherlands where Accordiola used to be very popular the tuning is often so wet and the overall sound so sharp that you can get a splitting headache listening to it for an entire concert.
While there is still a lot of Do2 or Do3 in Belgium I do have the impression that Do1 (C system) is gaining importance. Likewise the Belgian bass system is also slowly fading away.
 
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maugein96

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Thanks Paul,

I was never really sure what the situation was, only that the Belgian tuning did sound a bit sharper. I only recently found out about the Charleroi and Liegeois specifications, and it must have been a nightmare trying to decide which system to go for. It is ironic that three of the most prominent French musette players, Andre Verchuren, Edouard Duleu, and Maurice Larcange, all played Belgian system accordions, although I believe Larcange played C system on the treble side, as he schooled a large number of youngsters who played C system.

I suppose that with costs now being at a premium it was inevitable that the more exotic accordion systems would eventually be on the decline. Most of the current manufacturers of French spec accordions still offer the Belgian bass option and B system treble, but I'm not sure if that adds to the cost. I've seen a couple of older models for sale with Belgian basses here in the UK, but I have enough trouble with normal basses without learning another one.

Hope you are having a lot of fun with your AKKO.
 

debra

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maugein96 said:
...
I suppose that with costs now being at a premium it was inevitable that the more exotic accordion systems would eventually be on the decline. Most of the current manufacturers of French spec accordions still offer the Belgian bass option and B system treble, but I'm not sure if that adds to the cost. I've seen a couple of older models for sale with Belgian basses here in the UK, but I have enough trouble with normal basses without learning another one...
With costs being at a premium accordion manufacturers are struggling enough (and some already went belly up) that they are prepared to make anything you ask (and pay) for. So you want do2, no problem, you want Belgian bass, no problem, (even you want Finnish system, which is like C system but with C on the third row, no problem). But it would be unwise to order such instrument new because the declining market for the odd systems means that such an accordion later becomes difficult to sell. Likewise, ordering a new instrument with very wet tuning is not such a great idea because that Belgian/Dutch very wet musette is falling out of favor as well. The best advice when buying an instrument is to look for a compromise between what you personally want and what the "average" person wants to whom you may later want to sell the instrument.
 
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maugein96

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debra said:
The best advice when buying an instrument is to look for a compromise between what you personally want and what the average person wants to whom you may later want to sell the instrument.

Very true. I currently have 4 French spec instruments that most UK dealers would run a mile from.

In Scotland, definitions tend to be very blunt and to the point. Therefore a CBA is an Italian made C system 5 row, 4 voice LMMM, 120 bass, with very wet Scottish musette tuning. It is black in colour, with black and white treble buttons. Thats it! If your CBA doesnt conform to that description then youll probably never sell it at all.

Classical CBA in Scotland? You could probably count them on the fingers of a one-armed man.

There are a lot of very talented accordionists in Scotland, some of whom can play in various styles. I just dont subscribe to the general Scottish accordion ethos.
 

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Nice to see people dancing in the video. This came from a YouTube Channel called "Musette.TV" - any idea if that's a regular "broadcast"? It looks like a bit more than a random collection of clips, it looks a bit more organised than that.
 
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maugein96

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Hi Matt,

As far as I can ascertain, the clips form part of a DVD series called Stars Musette, and there are about 22 volumes retailing at between 15 - 20 Euros each. Each volume runs for about 30 minutes. Ive no idea who made the videos, but they are available from CDMC, France (Centre de Documentation de la Musique Contemporaine). I believe that the centre is supported by the French government and Radio France, and on that basis the whole series may well have been filmed to be retained in a national archive. Ive attached a link to CDMC, in case anybody is interested, although that is one mighty big collection.

https://www.cdmc.fr/cdmc.php?album_reference=90168

It has always been the case with musette that a very large number of professional players from the lower echelon remain relatively unknown, whilst being very accomplished players who often promote the accordion and encourage youngsters to take an interest. It is refreshing to see some players in these DVDs who are not superstars, although naturally the big names also feature.

For current French TV programmes try 123 Musette. Here is the link:-

http://www.123musette.fr/videos/emissions-123-musette/emissions-2016/

Or this one (Ambiance Accordeon):- http://www.ambianceaccordeon.com/

There are one or two others, but the two Ive listed seem to be the most current.

P.S. They are definitely not my scene at all, but I suppose any media time given to the accordion should be encouraged.
 

Matt Butcher

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Thanks very much for all the links, I do enjoy my weekly Italian accordion tv programme on YouTube especially when I'm working out of hours, I might try some of these too. I find it absolutely fantastic that this stuff is documented and broadcast for my enjoyment, and as you say the less famous names also have plenty to offer.
 

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Hello 
A reply on a very old post but I just read you think Oscar Denys played a Hohner Morino... I just purchased that instrument of the son of one of his students... would be fun to find a pic where he plays the instrument but I cant find any...
Greetings
Guillaume
 
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maugein96

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Jomme said:
Hello 
A reply on a very old post but I just read you think Oscar Denys played a Hohner Morino... I just purchased that instrument of the son of one of his students... would be fun to find a pic where he plays the instrument but I cant find any...
Greetings
Guillaume

Hi Guillaume,

This is the only one I know of, and it is from an album he made.

You're a lucky man. The sound of that Hohner was incredible, assuming that was the one he used in the recordings!



I assume the accordion is a B griff?
 

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