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Comparing the sound (timbre) of different accordions


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Mar 22, 2017
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Surely the best way of comparing accordions is simply to have them on a clarinet/bassoon setting? If you can assume that all the notes are in tune, presumably to equal temperament tuning, then you would always be comparing like for like exactly. Any other registration would introduce a degree of "wetness" which then makes the comparison subjective rather than objective. What do members think?
e.g. To me an older Hohner accordion always has a distinctive and recognisable sound and I would think that some people can recognise other brands just by listening to a sound bite.


Been here for ages!
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Jul 16, 2014
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Eindhoven, the Nnetherlannds
I can recognize some accordions, but there are just too many to be able to identify all of them. A term like "an older Hohner accordion" does not refer to a specific sound because for instance a Hohner Atlantic from 1965 sounds very different from a Hohner Gola from 1965... Sound is very model specific. But sometimes differences are subtle. When you put a Hohner Morino IV M, IV N and IV S next to each other you may be able to distinguish all three, but when you just hear one it's easy to tell whether it's a IV M or one of the other two, but the IV N and IV S sound quite similar to each other (the main difference is Bugari TAM reeds in the N and Cagnoni TAM reeds in the S). With the IV M it's very hard to hear the difference between the older ones with Hohner TAM reeds and later ones with Bugari TAM reeds... Likewise for instance, a Bugari Champion cassotto and a Bugari Artist cassotto sound similar, but when you hear them side by side you can hear the difference. Of course the difference with a Championfisa (no cassotto) is much larger...
When you hear similar accordion models from different brands it becomes interesting to try to identify them. A Pigini, Bugari, Victoria... all have a different characteristic sound.
As some of you know I regularly make recordings of my arrangements for accordion ensembles and post them on YouTube. For each recording I choose which accordion to use for which voice. I have mainly three different sounds available: AKKO bayan, Hohner Morino (S) and Bugari Artist Cassotto (of which I have two). When I hear just a few notes on the M register (clarinet) I can easily identify which of these three accordions is played. Each arrangement requires a different sound... so I consider myself fortunate to have such a range of sounds available.

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