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MUSSETTE / WET TUNED

Chickers

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I need some help in getting a better understanding of PA accordion tuning.
I have an 41/120 PA accordion that is "dry-tuned" (also called concert tuned), and I have a 41/120 PA accordion that is "slightly wet-tuned".
I can readily discern the tonal difference between my two accordions, however, I do not understand what "mussette" tone will do. Is that the same
as wet but to a different degree ? Then there is "true-mussette". What is this tuning ?
I would appreciate any comments
Thank you,
Chickers
 

Glug

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My understanding:

'musette' is currently used for MMM and MM, and sometimes MML or MMH (mostly by people trying to sell something).
Historically musette was MMM, which is somtimes now called 'true-musette'.

I would call MM violin (or just possibly tremolo), MMM is musette.

Wetness is how far apart the MM or MMM reeds are tuned.
From what I've read MM will sound slightly wetter than MMM with the same tuning offset, and MMM will have more harmonics.

I did want to get an MMM accordion, but a better plan is to wait until covid is over and just try some in a shop, since I now believe there's not much difference between MM and MMM on any accordion I could afford.
 

John M

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One additional note: On my Excelsior which is LMMMH, the M+,M- is the wettest and is called M. Vivace. I don't know what the +/- cents are, but it is a beautiful sweet sound.

John M.
 

Glug

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debra

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Ignore terms like musette, violin, celeste, etc.
There is just an "amount of tremolo" expressed in cents. You should tune the MM register (or have it done by an expert) so that it sounds the way you want it to sound. The tremolo can range between 0 cents to about 25 cents (anything more sounds awful, and 25 is already very "wet". Your accordion is either dry-tuned (0 cents) or concert-tuned (2 cents). It cannot be both at the same time.
 

Chickers

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I thank you all for your comments.
Still a bit confusing; let me know if it would correct to say---- "musette is a degree, or value of wet ?
Is that correct ? Is that the tremolo I hear ? This would not be the same as the raspy sound, or gurgle sound ?
I also thank you for the clarification of concert tuned and dry tuned. Close, but some difference.
Gee, the mystique of the accordion never ceases to amaze me. A very complicated instrument, and complex instrument.
For all you folks that work on accordions, and try to make us players happy---I commend you.
CHICKERS
 

Scuromondo

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Tremolo is the right term. I think the term “musette” has become too overloaded with multiple shades of meaning so that it does not have a definition that is precise and widely agreed upon. Using “cents” is an objective measure of tremolo. I think of “musette” as more a sort of subjective description of tremolo.

Apparently there once was a reed-type instrument called a musette that was used to play French folk music later dubbed “bal musette” music. And when accordions became popular, accordions with detuned reeds became the instrument of choice for playing bal musette music. So in that sense, “musette” might just loosely refer to an accordion that, in someone’s judgment, is optimally detuned for playing bal musette.
 

Chrisrayner

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There are various instruments known as musettes. The are all bagpipes AFAIK. I think they all use single reeds for each pipe, so the tremolo would be more or less non-existent. I believe the most egregious musette type tuning is that employed by Scottish accordionists to encourage the dancers to get it all over and done with. Set your teeth on edge. If you have any left after grinding them at the sound of the band.
 

Gonk

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I agree with all posted here. Just to add a couple of direct answers to Chickers' questions:
Still a bit confusing; let me know if it would correct to say---- "musette is a degree, or value of wet ?
I wouldn't say this. The only definite thing that can be said about the word "musette" is that it won't be applied to a dry-tuned setting. You might encounter the phrase "amount of musette" used colloquially to refer to amount of tremolo in a setting.
Is that correct ? Is that the tremolo I hear ? This would not be the same as the raspy sound, or gurgle sound ?
Raspy and gurgling sounds generally aren't seen as features, though some accordions do feature them, when in need of repair. The tremolo will sound like "beating" or "pulsing" but with the tone still clean and ringing. If you listen to a sustained note, you can actually time the beats and use that to determine the amount of tremolo. As the notes converge, the rate of beating will slow, and as the notes get further apart, the beating increases. This creates the effect Chrisrayner's poking fun at. Scottish tremolo tuning can be almost half a semitone apart, so the beats warble to a degree that I have heard variously described as "lovely," "nostalgic," "comical," "questionable," "unconscionable," and "criminal."
Then there is "true-musette". What is this tuning ?
That always refers to MMM (three mid-octave reeds) rather than MM. But it doesn't tell you anything about how wet it is, or how much beating you will hear. For example, my main box has a "light swing" tuned MMM (more than concert, less than swing - so on the dry side) that creates even less audible beating than its MM setting. The reason is what Glug and John both mentioned earlier: If you consider the three M reeds as M- (tuned down), M (roughly in the middle), and M+ (tuned up), the degree of wetness, or tremolo, will be determined by the difference between the M- and M+ reed. The middle M doesn't add tremolo - if anything, it decreases the perception of that tremolo.

Picture the two sine waves of the M- and M+ reed. They have slightly different frequencies, causing them to go in and out of phase. Each time two valleys or two peaks line up precisely, the listener perceives a "beat." When you add a third wave to the mix, it mitigates that effect. It would require all three waves aligning to hear a "beat" - and this will be much rarer with three waves. So MMM settings are sometimes used to help a very wet tuning sound a little more pleasant, and they're also sometimes used just to add richness and complexity to a drier tuning like light swing. I hope this demystifies it a bit!
 
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wirralaccordion

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Ignore terms like musette, violin, celeste, etc.
There is just an "amount of tremolo" expressed in cents. You should tune the MM register (or have it done by an expert) so that it sounds the way you want it to sound. The tremolo can range between 0 cents to about 25 cents (anything more sounds awful, and 25 is already very "wet". Your accordion is either dry-tuned (0 cents) or concert-tuned (2 cents). It cannot be both at the same time.
Paul,
Don't you mean dry-tuned ( 440Hz ) or concert-tuned (442Hz )? I understand that 1 cent is equivalent to about 5Hz and so 2 cents would be 10 Hz different making 450Hz.
I would be interested if you could expand on this a little.
Thanks, Phil
 

Gonk

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Don't wish to speak for Paul, but my understanding of "concert tuning" is a 2-cent or .5Hz spread (measured at A4), as he said.

I've heard the old pitch standard of A=442Hz referred to as "orchestra" and also "continental," both of which are misnomers, since continental orchestras often use 440, and sometimes 444. I find it easiest to just refer to it by number.

So you could easily have a concert-tuned accordion at A=440 or a dry-tuned accordion at A=442... It certainly adds confusion that both aspects are interchangeably referred to as "tuning!" "Pitch" "or "-pitched" might be a better shorthand for the pitch standard. E.g. "concert-tuned, 440-pitched." (All in favor?)
 
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Chickers

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Aahhh, the proof.
The more you know, the more confusing / complicated: and hence---the "less" you know----at least in MY case.
I thank all for your explanations, and comments. What a wealth of experience and knowledge.
I'm am a short-time wannabe musician, but I find that for every answer I receive---I realize there are many more questions.
Always a practicing musician. This has certainly been, and continues to be an interesting journey.
Wish you all the best
CHICKERS
SEVEN HILLS, OHIO USA
 

wirralaccordion

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You might be calculating the inverse. A1Hz difference (at 440Hz) is about 4 cents detuned.
Yes, you are correct. As the next semitone up is B flat = 466 Hz then 26 Hz = 100 cents ( but only at 440 Hz reference )
Sorry for the confusion!
 

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