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Russian "khromka"

oldbayan

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Hi. Does anyone play a Russian diatonic unisonoric garmon? The one with 25 treble buttons and 24 bass buttons. Looks like an interesting box, although limited in range and keys, compared to a chromatic bayan. But the button arrangement makes it possible to sound very typical. There is one for sale in my neighborhood, I am tempted to get it, just for the fun of learning a new method of playing. It is like this one:
 

oldbayan

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Well, I just bought one from a seller I know in Ukraine. Not a high-end model but it should be good enough. 3 treble voices with a switch. These usually come in the key of C so the chords on the bass side are "pre set" for the common I-IV-V sequences in C major and VI-II-III relative minor plus a few extras like the II chord and 9 bass buttons.

There were government specs for accordions, like many other things, during the Soviet regime, and the khromka garmon was one of the 3 prescribed accordion styles. It is made to facilitate the playing of most folk tunes and what I find the most fascinating is the layout of the treble side, the outer row buttons correspond to the notes on the staff line while the inner row buttons match the notes between the lines! So you have two C notes on each row. There are button for 3 accidentals.

Some good explanations here:
 

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Ventura

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my old friend Walter who lived in Poland once quipped that the
layout and limited rows of buttons were "proscribed by the Politburo"
because so many old Soldiers only had 3 fingers left on their right hands
and could not play 5 rows of treble buttons
 

oldbayan

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my old friend Walter who lived in Poland once quipped that the
layout and limited rows of buttons were "proscribed by the Politburo"
because so many old Soldiers only had 3 fingers left on their right hands
and could not play 5 rows of treble buttons
It was designed to be easy play! They sort of designed it to match the music. Limited yet effective. No extra weight. Professional players use a few boxes, tuned in various keys, when using it to accompany singers.
 

oldbayan

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It arrived Monday! Two weeks from Ukraine to Canada, by post, not bad. Of course, it needed a bit of overhaul, there is a hand-written note inside saying it was completed on April 27, 1970. Still in very good shape for its age, tight bellows and gaskets, only 2 pallets needed to be re-attached properly.

It's a LMM with a register for the L reeds. The MM are tuned wet. A few reeds were silent or out of tune and had to be adjusted, one reed on the bass side was broken so I replaced the reed plate. Funnily enough, one reed plate on a MM block of the treble side was for a bisonoric instrument! It had G and A reeds and looked like it was original, which means someone played this instrument possibly for decades with a G note that could only be played in one bellows direction!

Otherwise a fun instrument to learn. Typical loud basses as we find in many Russian instruments.
 

oldbayan

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Yes. That's the instrument. We find lots of recordings on YouTube of bands and individuals playing this kind of accordion.
 

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