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"True musette" v Musette

wirralaccordion

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What is meant by “true musette” as opposed to musette?

I understand the basic premise of tuning two notes to slightly different frequencies to produce beats giving a tremolo or vibrato effect. Hence, in an accordion there is a requirement for two reeds at 8 ft. Such accordions are then described as MM, LMM, or LMMH.

However, I have often heard it said that “true musette” is only achievable by the use of three 8 ft reeds. Hence, such accordions would be described as MMM, LMMM or LMMMH.

My question is if the three reeds are at three different frequencies and there are then 3 beats, i.e. between M1 and M2, between M1 and M3 and between M2 and M3, in what way does this “true musette” sound different to M1 and M3 when there is no M2?

I have a LM1M2M3 accordion and to me the M1M3 is wetter ( more “musettey” ) than M1M2M3 but how would you describe the difference?
 

Dingo40

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A supplementary question:
Was not the original "musette" a kind of bagpipe instrument used for playing popular folk music of the time, subsequently displaced by the free reed instruments, eventually the accordion?
The bagpipe musette was replaced by the musette coupler on the accordion, which resembled its tone. ( Some accordions with only two treble reeds and no couplers being tuned to resemble the bagpipe sound directly?)
Such as this one in the advertisement:
( I believe to be 2/4 MM, musette tuned, 1 treble coupler.)
Just asking🤔
 
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wirralaccordion

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Some accordions with only two treble reeds and no couplers being tuned to resemble the bagpipe sound directly
I wouldn't have thought an accordion could ever be made to sound like bagpipes and when accordions with two treble reeds do have couplers the choice of a single reed is usually clarinet I think and the choice of two is musette ( or master? )
 

dunlustin

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I guess 'true musette' generally applies to the heyday of the 'bal musette' when they had to be heard in big noisy spaces or outdoors- helped by the 3 reeds.
I'm not convinced musette ever sought to sound like a bagpipe - just as a guitarist's 'axe' isn't used to chop logs.
A reasonable sequence would go; cornemuse = bagpipe - musette = diminutive = little bag --- bal musette; where that music was played for dancing; for example the 'cabrette' (little goat) in the Auvergne and finally the accordion (then diatonic) took over as instrument of choice for those 'bals.' It's perhaps easy to forget that at the time accordions and their variants were seen as cutting edge and players were modernisers.
Thinking about it, a wet tuned accordion can be a bit like the skirl of the pipes and maybe a cabrette sounds closer to a kid calling its mother than it should. (Apologies to any 'cabretteux' out there.)
la musette = bagpipe
le musette = style associated with le bal musette.
 

wirralaccordion

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Interesting but i don't understand how it is possible, in your example, to obtain 3 beats between m1 and m3.
It isn't but if m1, m2 and m3 are all different freqs and all sound together there are 3 possible pairings of freqs, hence 3 beats. I stand to be corrected but that's how I see it.
 

debra

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The concept of musette has several different meanings, even when you discount the "bagpipe version". The French musette is often played on instruments with very little tremolo, with MM reeds and maybe between 4 and 8 cents tremolo. But then there is "musette" sound known as Scottish or Amsterdam tuning which essentially means "the more tremolo the better", easily using MMM with -25, 0 and +25 cents (if not more), which implies that the M- and M+ are a quarter-tone apart. Sounds horrible to my ears but some people love it and indeed this -25, 0, +25 sound cannot be replicated by any tuning of must MM. Musical preferences are changing over time. Generally people are going towards less and less tremolo, and Richard Galliano plays "new musette" on his Victoria that has no tremolo at all.
 

ArtMustel

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I think the OP is referring to the fact that in his m-, m, and m+ configuration he found the sound more 'musettey' without the m reed (only m- and m+ sounding together). As I understand he indeed find more tremolo this way but i don't believe that sound would be very pleasant, and I don't know of a registration system that allows the player to select only m- and m+, eliminating m, although it may exist of course.
 

Ventura

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if you assume, for this purpose, that the M reeds are tuned perfectly
to A-440 standard (whatever schema you prefer)
then the M- is perhaps A-443 and the M+ is perhaps A-446
then of course a coupler sounding ONLY the M- and M+ reeds are
the strongest seeming vibrato, as they are the furthest apart and will
"beat" very rapidly against each other

M- M or M M+ would have milder beating comparatively

M- M M+ however is going to have the richest variation and best
meusette as there are a ton of interactions going on

now, there is seldom a reason to couple true M- and M alone together, as
the overall result could sound slightly "flat" since obviously some
lower than A-440 frequencies are in play

and of course M M+ is the usual normal coupler on millions of LMMH
full size accordions, and is no different when used on an LMMM box

the variation of Meusette and usability rests entirely on the tuning, but i
think a rule of thumb you might relate to is this: you can play single note melody
on ANY meusette, but trying to play full fisted right hand Chords on a strongly
beating Meusette will melt your ears and cause your eyes to water

now if you play a quick little meusette waltz like "Petit Waltz" as the
famous recording is arranged, it soulds quite authentic with a strong meusette,
but if your Accordion only has M M+ and you tune it strongly, then you will need
to avoid chording up when you play Big Band and Pop tunes, so that tuning
would be unusual for an LMMH box, as it would be too limiting for general purpose.

if you could care less about the Piccolo reed, and buy a nice LMMM box, then
you can tune your cake and eat it too, as one set of couplers can be a sweet
meusette, but then you kick in the third M and let it make your eyes bleed

so intended use is as important as selecting the reed configuration and specific tuning spread

my opinion, of course, and i hope i wrote it understandably

the trip to CastleFi when i spent time with FisItalia and brought back the Woody,
i specified the tuning very specifically, and he accomplished it overnight exactly
to my specs/preferences, and it has been a sweet and useful box for me ever since,
( LMMM ) usable for German, French, Italian as the couplers allow me ALL variations
on the 3M's and still lets me play full fisted chords when i play the lush standards

Petit Waltz is played on the M- M+ coupler, quickly and brightly

ciao

Ventura
 

dunlustin

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In the UK Dedic tuning describes 2 voice diatonic 'boxes' where reeds are tuned symmetrically +/- about the nominal frequency - so A440+ 10cents and A440 - 10 cents. It is said that the ear 'hears' the central frequency.
Pros - LH and RH are in tune and it is less offensive in a band to those who don't play pre-tuned instruments. Recordings sound OK to me - but I have neither played nor heard it in the flesh. Apparently it can be called Viennese tuning about which I know nothing.

If true then the answer to the OP's query is that the M+/M- cancel each other - except for many accordions the offset is not equal.

New Musette has nothing to do with the tuning but refers to the style.
Source: Galliano who was told by Piazzolla "I made the New Tango it's for you to do the New Musette."
30 years on Galliano recorded New Jazz Musette to mark the anniversary of 'Spleen.'
Curiously Musette Nouveau is now in the French language - at least for French Jazz accordion players
(Aside: Le Spleen most likely translation is The Blues.)

The bagpipe version, whatever that is, can only be discounted if we ignore the difference between la musette - the instrument, le Musette the type of music and l'accordage musette (tuning). Of course people play Musette on instruments that are not musette tuned.
 

wirralaccordion

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I think the OP is referring to the fact that in his m-, m, and m+ configuration he found the sound more 'musettey' without the m reed (only m- and m+ sounding together).
Exactly. In my case I had the accordion tuned at M-at -6 cents, M at 0 cents, M+ at +15 cents
Therefore, with pairs, I can have musette settings of 6 cents, 15 cents or 21 cents but in addition I can also have all 3 together.
I find it difficult to describe the "all 3 together" sound but Ventura below calls it "rich".
 

wirralaccordion

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M- M M+ however is going to have the richest variation and best
meusette as there are a ton of interactions going on
This is the only answer thus far to my question but isn't this subjective anyway? And how many ways can you describe a sound?
 

Alan Sharkis

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The concept of musette has several different meanings, even when you discount the "bagpipe version". The French musette is often played on instruments with very little tremolo, with MM reeds and maybe between 4 and 8 cents tremolo. But then there is "musette" sound known as Scottish or Amsterdam tuning which essentially means "the more tremolo the better", easily using MMM with -25, 0 and +25 cents (if not more), which implies that the M- and M+ are a quarter-tone apart. Sounds horrible to my ears but some people love it and indeed this -25, 0, +25 sound cannot be replicated by any tuning of must MM. Musical preferences are changing over time. Generally people are going towards less and less tremolo, and Richard Galliano plays "new musette" on his Victoria that has no tremolo at all.
A popular music joke goes something like this:

"Can you give me an example of a minor second?"
"Sure. Two bagpipers trying to play in unison."

Acceptable wetness is somewhat culture-dependent, and even that changes over time, as you said, and like Galliano's "new musette." It also depends, within a given culture, on the type of music being played. Also, accordion manufacturers will label tunings as "American," or "French," etc., but there is no industry-wide standardization for those labels. Fisitalia, and perhaps other manufacturers, used to have audio examples on their website of what they called particular degrees of wetness by country. I don't know if they still do, but it might be s better idea to specify detune in cents when custom-ordering a new accordion or re-tuning an older one. There was one infamous dealer, now gone, who ordered new accordions with two middle reeds tuned in unison, and then charged customers more to have the dealer's technician retune for tremolo after delivery. Then again, that same dealer, who also ran an accordion school for children, would sell a 12-bass accordion to the parents of, say, a seven- or eight-year old beginner, and then, as the child aged and grew, push the parents to buy larger and larger accordions, culminating with a full-size 120-bass model. Each time the size was upgraded, they would offer the parents a a discount of 50% of the price of the smaller accordion, which they would take in trade, and then rent that one out after some cosmetic rejuvenation. But, I'm off-topic here (sorry!)
 
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Ventura

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"back in the days when"
we had lots of good accordion repair/tuning people here in the USA
and
"back in the days when"
accordion importers/manufacturers could afford to have more unsold
accordions on their shelves
it was more common to find a portion of that stock tuned "unison
from the factory as it was not that big a deal or difficulty to finish the tuning
locally, and more in accord with the wishes of an intelligent/discerning customer

once in awhile you will still find an "old, new stock" box pop up on the market
still in perfect unison tune (which is my preference for Jazz and Melody heavy usage anyway)
and of course as long as you are careful, crafting a Meusette from Unison is kinda easy
to do as you just take tiny amounts off the tip face and count the beats

as long as you never take too much at a time, you can hardly screw it up
 

oldbayan

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Just listen to a dozen recordings of French players on YouTube and you will explore the world of "musette" tuning!

There is the expression in France "bal musette" that describes an evening of dancing on accordion music.
 

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