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Cassotto Accordions - Inefficient Musical Technology?

saundersbp

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I'm a relative newbie to the accordion - therefore I claim to know nothing!

With that said one thing has been puzzling me: I'd like to ask if people think Cassotto Accordions are a really efficient technology in a musical instrument?
I've played a few Cassotto Accordions and liked the musicality of the sound - less upper harmonic partials, a little quieter and a rounder tone emphasising mid and low range harmonics.

I haven't liked the associated price tag or the weight.

I have an old E. European weltmeister accordion (non-cassotto), nothing special, but to my ears decent musical voicing. With the little bit of space available between the action and cabinet I have used masking tape to put in an old thick cotton bathmat. This cuts down dramatically the upper harmonic partials, the volume and widens the tone. It seems to achieve some of the same as a cassotto for pennies without increasing weight more than a few grams.

I just wondered given the cheapness and sophistication of various acoustic insulating materials to cut down upper harmonic partials (better than bathmats!), if the cassotto isn't somewhat over-engineered for the job. It may be a bit better but is it a disproportionate solution balanced against cost and weight?

I am sure this is a naive question, just been following my ears, muscles and wallet! I know things go in and out of fashion too.

Be interested to hear any other thoughts!

Cheers, Ben
 

TomBR

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There are various systems for getting a more cassotto-like sound without some of the disadvantages, and the advantage of switchability.
A search on Sordino, Sordina or Jalousie will find references on this site.
 

TomBR

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I did some experiments when I was very interested in concertinas a few years back. Traditionally made concertinas have reeds that are very different from standard "accordion" reed plates which are nonetheless used in modern "hybrid" concertinas. The traditional reeds do have a distinct and different sound.
I was experimenting to see if I could get a more traditional sound from accordion reeds by altering the size and shape of the grill holes in the concertina ends. It did seem to me that I could get a noticeably different sound by having long narrow slots rather than a pattern of smaller rounder holes.
But then my interests moved on.....
 

debra

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There is more to a cassotto than meets the eye...
The cassotto is a hollow chamber that not only muffles higher frequencies a bit but it also is a resonance chamber that amplifies the lower frequencies. Think of it as a rough equivalent to the "bass reflex" in some loudspeakers.
A sordino, using saxophone valves or using a jalousie also muffles higher frequencies but it does so for the sound as a whole. The nice thing about cassotto is that the instrument also has reeds outside of the cassotto so you have for instance a cassotto M reed and a non-cassotto M reed, giving you two different timbres.
After having taken accordion repair courses I can explain that the higher price tag for cassotto accordions can be fully explained by the added difficulty and work in building a cassotto instrument. Each treble note has two pallets and they must close very precisely with the same pressure. Building the key mechanism and adjusting it is a lot of work. And then there is the tuning of the instrument which requires measuring, then taking the reed blocks out of the instrument, adjusting a reed (or a set of reeds), then putting the reed blocks back in, closing the instrument, and measuring again, and repeating this over and over until everything is correct. It is a very laborious process compared to a non-cassotto instrument that is tuned without removing the reed blocks and by placing the treble part of the accordion on a tuning table.
A truly experienced (factory) tuning expert tunes the treble side of a 41/120 4 reed accordion without cassotto in something like 2 hours, but it takes many more hours for cassotto even though the number of reeds is the same.
 

TomBR

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debra post_id=65008 time=1544697704 user_id=605 said:
....
A truly experienced (factory) tuning expert tunes the treble side of a 41/120 4 reed accordion without cassotto in something like 2 hours, but it takes many more hours for cassotto even though the number of reeds is the same.
As an aside I like the video from an accordion factory where a young tuner says they think it takes two hours, but it really takes three!
 
W

wout

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Everyting that paul says ^ :). I also tried to dampen the sound with a paintersheet and it works fine on a 3 voice. However that combinations between cassotto and non cassotto reeds are so nice so i couldnt settle for that, plus the real thing has so much more harmonics! There are these weltmeister with the chamber mounted on the outside of the accordion. Saves a whole lotbof work with tuning etc. But the sound doesnt do it for me. Maybe thats an option for you?
 

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