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Describing the sound on a dry tuned accordion

wirralaccordion

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I often hear accordions being described as having a sweet tone or a mellow tone or being sonorous but these adjectives are I think usually used to describe tones from accordions that have been tuned other than dry and much to do with the manufacturer. e.g. to my ears Hohner accordions are quite distinguishable and I can often recognise a Hohner accordion by just hearing it and not necessarliy seeing it being played. Therefore I would like to ask what adjectives could be used to describe the tone of dry tuned accordions only , say LM or LMH or LMM ( where the Ms are tuned exactly the same ) and if there are examples on Youtube?
 
M

maugein96

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wirralaccordion pid=66197 dateline=1563818169 said:
I often hear accordions being described as having a sweet tone or a mellow tone or being sonorous but these adjectives are I think usually used to describe tones from accordions that have been tuned other than dry and much to do with the manufacturer. e.g. to my ears Hohner accordions are quite distinguishable and I can often recognise a Hohner accordion by just hearing it and not necessarliy seeing it being played. Therefore I would like to ask what adjectives could be used to describe the tone of dry tuned accordions only , say LM or LMH or LMM ( where the Ms are tuned exactly the same ) and if there are examples on Youtube?

Phil,

Listen to this:-


Takes a very good ear to tell the difference between dry and swing, although it is easy when they are described as in the video captions. You can hear the difference quite clearly in the examples, but if you were faced with either box just being played impromptu youd have to give it a bit of thought. I would guess that the majority of accordions tend to have a fair bit of vibrato with the MM reeds, and dry tuning seems to be rather rare with most accordions found in the UK.

Even where both sets of M reeds are meant to be tuned exactly in unison there is usually a slight imbalance, causing a very light vibrato. I have an LMM box that has French unisson tuning, but it needs attention as several reeds have gone out of tune. When you select MM you get a similar sound as Basil has in the clip with the first box. Selecting the single M halves the volume and cuts out the very slight imbalance between the MM reeds, that is just about impossible to eradicate. The pairs of reeds are all supposed to be more or less the same, but over time they tend to go very slightly out of synch with each other, so you get that almost imperceptible vibration effect you hear in the clip. Youll see that he says almost no beats with the dry tuned accordion, but my unisson isnt even as distinct as his.

The names of the register combinations vary from maker to maker. LM is usually Bandoneon, but Ive no idea what LMH would be. Various Italian makers have cute names for all the register combinations, but Ive never owned a box with couplers on the grille with facility to afford them each a title. Those of us with the couplers on the rear have no scope to use nomenclature. We just need to know what each lever does.
 

Alan Sharkis

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JIM D. pid=66202 dateline=1563887192 said:
As a rule of thumb -  95% of Italian made accordions for the american market will have DRY TUNING . The same models for Europe  came with WET Tuning.
If any ??s of reed ranks, SEE HERE --
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accordion_reed_ranks_and_switches
Hmmm.  I remember buying a Titano 3-reed box from a friend long before I knew anything about wetness or dryness..  It needed bellows tape and some other small things.  The lady who owned the business (now gone) practically begged me to also get the musette tuned, but I declined.  

Years later, I met somebody who worked at the school that the same company ran when he was younger.  He told me that the same lady ordered all her accordions for sale tuned dry so that she could then have them re-tuned for additional profit.  

I ordered my acoustic from somebody else years later than that and it does, indeed, have the degree of wetness that I want.  My Roland (well, you know how that goes ...)

Alan
 

John M

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I have an Excelsior 960 LMMMH.  When using the M. Vivace registration (M*M) I notice on a few notes that the vibrato beats/sec changes between adjacent notes. Can this be fixed or is it normal for them to drift a little?  I imagine it is difficult to tune these reeds the required +/- cents above and below the central concert M reed.

John
 

wirralaccordion

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I don't think I have made myself clear. I was only wanting to compare the sounds from dry tuned accordions. The simplest example would be with just the clarinet button depressed. OK, the sound is described as a clarinet sound but we all know that it isn't the same on every accordion.
 

Alan Sharkis

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wirralaccordion said:
I don't think I have made myself clear. I was only wanting to compare the sounds from dry tuned accordions. The simplest example would be with just the clarinet button depressed. OK, the sound is described as a clarinet sound but we all know that it isn't the same on every accordion.

The terms clarinet, bassoon and piccolo refer to the pitch ranges of the reeds in a set, not to the instruments for which they are named.
 

JerryPH

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Any differences at the clarinet sound level, is going to be more a factor of accordion size, design and reed quality more than how it is tuned. In other words, I would think that a dry tuned clarinet reed is going to roughly sound the same across all accordions, with respect to the above 3 mentioned factors.

Alan also hit on a very valid point. :)
 
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maugein96

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wirralaccordion said:
I don't think I have made myself clear. I was only wanting to compare the sounds from dry tuned accordions. The simplest example would be with just the clarinet button depressed. OK, the sound is described as a clarinet sound but we all know that it isn't the same on every accordion.

Phil,

When most people talk about dry tuning they are referring to the pitch difference between two MM reeds, and making the assumption that the accordion has more than one bank of M reeds.

In my limited experience no two accordions, even of the same make and configuration, will sound exactly the same. Factor in amateur recording equipment, and even the same accordion might sound different through different systems.

Also, get two players to play the same accordion, and there's a good chance they'll each get a different sound. 

Just the clarinet button depressed will give a different tone on different instruments, and some boxes have the straight tuned flute or clarinet in a tone chamber. The single clarinet or flute register unaccompanied unfortunately gives no indication of how wet or dry the instrument is. 

Accordions configured LM or LMH are available but I haven't seen any in the UK, where the usual offering for a "standard" accordion is LMMM or LMMH, as you are probably aware. 

Pitch difference in the MM reeds in the clip are explained in the captions, from almost zero up to 24 cents. The definition of dry tuning appears to vary from country to country, but as a general rule anything less than 2 cents is dry, with 2 cents up to 6 cents being swing.
 

StargazerTony

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I’ve come across this chart a long time ago. Don’t know if it’s accurate or even relevant. All I can say for sure is that it’s a chart. A single reed playing in the wind can be wet or dry but not wet or dry tuned. Wetness or dryness is a judgement between two sounds tuned sharp or flat from each other. 

0 hz = 0 cents = Unison
0.5hz = 2 cents = Concert
1hz = 4 cents = Swing
2hz = 7 cents = Demi-Swing, Irish
2.5hz = 10 cents = American, Cajun, Quebecois
3hz = 12 cents = Slovenian, Tex-Mex 
4hz = 15 cents = German, Italian
5hz = 18 cents = French
6hz = 22 cents = Old French, Old Italian
7hz = 25 cents = Scottish
 

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