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Demonstration of 10 musette tunings by Liberty Bellows

Glug

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Generally speaking the tremolo starts around 1-2hz at F3 and goes up to between 6hz and 14hz at A6.
The change of the tremolo amount is called the "beat progression" or "tone curve" and can be linear but is generally thought to be exponential.

Here's what I measured on my Hohner Lucia and linear and exponential curves fitted to the values. In this case the beat progression is linear from 1.7bps to around 7bps. And yes it does need some tuning :)

Lucia.1.jpg
 

craigd

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Generally speaking the tremolo starts around 1-2hz at F3 and goes up to between 6hz and 14hz at A6.
The change of the tremolo amount is called the "beat progression" or "tone curve" and can be linear but is generally thought to be exponential.

Here's what I measured on my Hohner Lucia and linear and exponential curves fitted to the values. In this case the beat progression is linear from 1.7bps to around 7bps. And yes it does need some tuning :)

Lucia.1.jpg
Fascinating! So why do the cents initially go up? I haven't looked into this closely, but have taken the "cents" to mean percent, and therefore to be proportional to whatever the frequency is, so I'm surprised to see that they go down even as bps goes up. bps and cents are inversely proportional except from f3 to e4 ? Strange, but I only know enough of the physics to be extra confused!

Thanks for this!
 

debra

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I can't understand why a MM accordion would be dry tuned anyway. Surely it just doubles the volume? The sound would be the same as M ( should such accordions exist )?
It makes perfect sense when one M is in cassotto and the other is not. This creates many interesting combinations for LM, LMM, MH, MMH and LMH registers without introducing tremolo. An LM with M inside or outside cassotto sound really different, as do MH registers. And MM with M in and the other M outside cassotto sounds clearly different from just one M, whether inside or outside of cassotto. When you are trying to "emulate" different orchestra instruments these combinations are useful. MM is often used for violin, M outside of cassotto simulates an oboe, etc.
 

Glug

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The cents going up is just a byproduct of the tremolo amount vs the base frequency, it's just an arithmetic artifact.
For tuning it's much easier to look at the tremolo amount, unfortunately musette wetness is always reported in cents at A4.

That's where spreadsheets come in handy - I just measure the M and M+ frequencies and it plots the graph for me :)
Cents are 1/100 of a semitone on an exponential scale - you wouldn't want to work it out on paper.
 

craigd

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It makes perfect sense when one M is in cassotto and the other is not. This creates many interesting combinations for LM, LMM, MH, MMH and LMH registers without introducing tremolo. An LM with M inside or outside cassotto sound really different, as do MH registers. And MM with M in and the other M outside cassotto sounds clearly different from just one M, whether inside or outside of cassotto. When you are trying to "emulate" different orchestra instruments these combinations are useful. MM is often used for violin, M outside of cassotto simulates an oboe, etc.
MM dry tuned, even without cassotto has a subtle richness to my ear. In fact I prefer it to one M in cassotto and one out. "Simulating" other instruments seems part of the accordion's second class reputation to me, like it's an acoustic synthesizer. I find myself increasingly preferring the non-cassotto sound, or a weaker cassotto effect, like Galliano's over VanDamme's for example. Just my predilection, but I wonder if others share it?
 

saundersbp

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MM dry tuned, even without cassotto has a subtle richness to my ear. In fact I prefer it to one M in cassotto and one out. "Simulating" other instruments seems part of the accordion's second class reputation to me, like it's an acoustic synthesizer. I find myself increasingly preferring the non-cassotto sound, or a weaker cassotto effect, like Galliano's over VanDamme's for example. Just my predilection, but I wonder if others share it?
I like MM dry tuned without cassotto too. Its a great accordion trick. I completely agree with Craig D that the accordion being thought of as a simulator of other instruments contributes directly to a second class reputation for the instrument. It can and should stand on its own feet on a parity with other musical instruments with a unique and distinctive sound of its own.
 

wirralaccordion

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Is the +/- cents detuning supposed to be consistent throughout the range, while the Hz of tremolo increases as the notes get higher? Or is the tremolo supposed to stay the same all the way up?
 
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debra

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The +/- cents detuning quoted is that for A4 only. This is usually "factory-set" by the manufacturer, eg Hohner 440 Hz, most Italian 442 Hz, Scandalli 444 Hz etc. The width of Tremolo usually decreases as the pitch increases above A4 and increases as the pitch decreases below A4.

I am sure there will be someone else who can explain why.
Not sure what you mean here. There is a standard frequency for A4, totally unrelated to to the choice of tremolo for the other M. There is an international standard for this, which is 440Hz. But different manufacturers may have a different default they deliver to customers who don't know they should ask for a specific reference frequency, and that's why you may end up with a base frequency of 442 or 444... Why would we follow an ISO standard, right?
But then there is the tremolo tuning, which is tricky. If you were to tune the MM to a tremolo of a fixed number of Hz, for instance 3 Hz then that will result in 3 beats per second for all notes, which sounds like the tremolo becomes less and less strong as you go up the scales. And if you were to tune MM to a fixed number of cents, for instance 12 cents, then A4 would give you 3 beats per second, and A5 6 beats and A6 12 beats. It then sounds like the tremolo becomes stronger and stronger as you go up the scales. So there is a compromise needed, and this is more or less to have the tremolo in cents to go *gradually* down by 2/3 for every octave. So if A4 has 12 cents tremolo then A5 has 8 cents tremolo and A6 has about 5.5 cents tremolo.
 

wirralaccordion

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I would have thought Irish to be in the Tremolo section at at least 12 cents?
 

Scuromondo

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Do they not sell Hohner accordions in US?
At most general music shops (shops not specializing in accordion) Hohner is almost always the only accordion brand offered. My guess is that the Hohner Bravo and Amica lines are probably among the most common new accordions seen in the US.

[EDIT: I probably should have mentioned the Hohnica PA as well, and the Panther diatonic. They are the bottom-feeders of the Hohner line and enjoy popularity due to their price, though I’m not even sure whether “Hohnica” is truly under the Hohner brand but it is usually advertised as such. ]
 
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Ventura

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i will throw a word in here about the level or strength of the Meusette

that is, to suggest you also think of it in terms of the Music and Songs
you YOU want to play... because i think it makes a difference

there are some songs that are quick and one note after the other and
in a certain range of the keyboard that just beg for a strong Meusette
(because none of the notes live for more than a moment)

and there are some songs that also need a Meusette, but you want to
be warm and romantic and maybe play a few chords and hold some notes
and look at the Girls and smile as you stroll around

unless you can afford to keep a bunch of accordions (i confess) then
thinking this through will help you choose the RIGHT meusette for you
that you can live with and be happy with and never regret
 

wirralaccordion

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At most general music shops (shops not specializing in accordion) Hohner is almost always the only accordion brand offered. My guess is that the Hohner Bravo and Amica lines are probably among the most common new accordions seen in the US.

[EDIT: I probably should have mentioned the Hohnica PA as well, and the Panther diatonic. They are the bottom-feeders of the Hohner line and enjoy popularity due to their price, though I’m not even sure whether “Hohnica” is truly under the Hohner brand but it is usually advertised as such. ]
You would have thought that at least one out of the ten accordions demonstrated would have been a Hohner then.
 

wirralaccordion

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Did anyone notice if there were any MMM accordions amongst these ten? If so, I guess that the tuning demonstrated would have been the M-/M+ tuning with the M half way between?
 

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I'm just going by how Under Paris Skies sounds on that video, I think the "Old French" version sounds about right.
Actually I just checked it again and it's the second tune on 22cents that I really like (anybody know what it is ?).

I've got 15 cents (Hohner Lucia) and 11.4 cents (Scandalli), so it's probably a Tigger situation - I'd like to try 22cents to
see if I like it in real life.
I have an Excelsior LMMM Scottish tuned musette accordion which you are most welcome to borrow. I don't use it anymore having converted to the dark side (CBA) some time ago. I'm based near Romford until Covid is lifted and I can get back to France.
If you are interested, Pm me and we can work something out:)
 

Glug

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Thanks for the very generous offer but I'll give it a miss.

Some day, when covid is over and I can play better, I'll go to an accordion shop and try out all the toys :)
Then when I know what I really want next I'll get a cheap one and fix it up.
 

Simon Max

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Do they not sell Hohner accordions in US?
I'm sure they do. The area where this video was taken was crammed with about 200 accordions at the time of my visit there. I made the effort to stop by there in the hope of meeting Mihail, but he wasn't there.

I was under the impression that Liberty Bellows was a big firm with at least a few hundred square feet. I was surprised by the small size of the store but it does have a second floor/ loft crammed with accordions.

I have gained much knowledge from their instructional videos.

Simon
 

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