Ending with closed bellows



Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Howie » Fri May 19, 2017 8:09 am

Oddly, tonight during my practice I wasn't concentrating hard on finishing with closed bellows, but toward the end of a piece I did give it a passing thought. And more often than not I finished closed. Or, at least just a puff away.

Speaking of which, I imagine this is a stupid question but I will ask anyway: do larger accordions (e.g. a 120 bass vs 72) afford more time between change of directions? All things being equal - number of reeds being played and build quality. I guess since the bellows are larger, it would be so. But, is it noticeable, or not so much? I play a 72, have never played a 120. Yet.
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Anyanka » Fri May 19, 2017 10:38 am

My 48-bass (the yellow-bellied Hohner Amati I use for Morris) needs a lot more bellows action than the 78-bass Pigini. This is partly due to the having to play louder outdoors etc, but mostly to the smaller air volume. However, as the Pidge has a converter bass, I don't like opening it too far as it's heavy to retrieve! I therefore change directions at similar intervals, but on the 48-bass that takes the bellows a lot further than on the 78.
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby debra » Fri May 19, 2017 11:44 am

Howie wrote:...
Speaking of which, I imagine this is a stupid question but I will ask anyway: do larger accordions (e.g. a 120 bass vs 72) afford more time between change of directions? All things being equal - number of reeds being played and build quality. I guess since the bellows are larger, it would be so. But, is it noticeable, or not so much? I play a 72, have never played a 120. Yet.

There is a huge difference. It is a factor of 1) long side x short side of the bellows and 2) how far it can open, which is a function of how many folds there are and how deep they are. An accordion that is roughly 1.4 (square root of 2) times taller and deeper gives you twice the air volume per distance the bellows opens.
The other thing that also isn't "equal" is the reeds that are used. When there is a bit of space (tolerance) between the sides of the reed and the sides of the opening in the reed plate then as you play the reed is wasting a bit of air. A machine reed wastes more air than an a-mano reed. The stiffness of the reed also contributes. If it takes more effort to bend the reed then it will produce less sound volume for the same amount of air used. This makes little difference for accordions made out of different types of Italian reeds, but Russian reeds are made out of a softer metal and they play louder but also break more easily.
So many things contribute, but the size of the bellows is the dominant factor, unless air leaks (especially in older instruments) become significant.
In my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lndT8Mbvf0 I play a Bugari 505/ARS which is a 5 reed standard bass only instrument. It has a large size and 18-folds bellows and the standard bass uses much less air than a convertor instrument using standard bass. The music requires 4 whole measures of keyboard+bass played before changing direction. On an instrument like the one in the picture with the video (Bugari 508/ARS/C) you cannot do this. On a newer Bugari 540/ARS/C I have which is smaller you cannot do it. On my AKKO bayan I cannot do it either (only 16 folds, and the bayan bass is using too much air). Once a girl tried it on a Bugari 281/ARS Gold (96 bass PA), and she couldn't do it. Size really matters, and number of folds too and air consumption especially from the bass side also matters.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Howie » Fri May 19, 2017 1:14 pm

Thank you that Paul. I know a little of reeds and tolerances, lost air etc from harmonica (when your lungs are the bellows, you really notice). I figured that a larger bellows would give more air, and from what you've shown it's clearly noticeable. For my upcoming upgrade this is something for me to weigh up - whether I will keep with a 72, or size up to a 96 or 120. I would like the extra air, but I know a larger accordion is more weight. Perhaps I should start going to gym again.

PS - the les Feuilles Mortes youtube is lovely.
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby JIM D. » Fri May 19, 2017 2:21 pm

I've been reading this post for a period of time now, only not to find a member that would refer to an apparatus found on accordions for the last century.
It's called an "AIR BUTTON" and with proper use will enable any performer to instantly close the bellows at the end of a performance.
For example (and watch the endings) ---
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqURmXMEGFI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC1M07Evz2I

And for last, a tutorial --
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bTGZaTlNkE

{} Keep playing and have fun {}
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Owner,Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Zevy » Fri May 19, 2017 3:30 pm

Just to add my 2 cents:
I would look at the Guido Deiro films for the ULTIMATE example of classy accordion playing. He even uses the air button (Both the air mechanism and register switches were located in different places on his model) in the middle of one of the performances.
https://youtu.be/_qjXdL1u8Xo
https://youtu.be/nMb0KiNUkLY
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby george garside » Fri May 19, 2017 3:34 pm

the air button can and should b used when occasionaly when playing and not just to open and close at start and finish!

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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Zevy » Fri May 19, 2017 3:47 pm

debra wrote:There is a huge difference. It is a factor of 1) long side x short side of the bellows and 2) how far it can open, which is a function of how many folds there are and how deep they are. An accordion that is roughly 1.4 (square root of 2) times taller and deeper gives you twice the air volume per distance the bellows opens.
The other thing that also isn't "equal" is the reeds that are used. When there is a bit of space (tolerance) between the sides of the reed and the sides of the opening in the reed plate then as you play the reed is wasting a bit of air. A machine reed wastes more air than an a-mano reed. The stiffness of the reed also contributes. If it takes more effort to bend the reed then it will produce less sound volume for the same amount of air used. This makes little difference for accordions made out of different types of Italian reeds, but Russian reeds are made out of a softer metal and they play louder but also break more easily.


I agree. I will get more "mileage" on a higher quality accordion. That's why I have to decide which accordion I will use for a specific performance ahead of time, based on the piece(es) I will be playing. Good hand made reeds will have the greatest allowance for dynamic expression as well as tolerance for movement of bellows.
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Stephen Hawkins » Sun May 21, 2017 9:10 pm

As my earlier posts declared, I was not really interested in ending with closed bellows. I tried it a couple of times, just to see if I could do it, and found it quite easy.

Today, quite unconsciously, I found that I was ending every tune with closed bellows. I have always prided myself on my mental robustness, and am now worried that I am developing a mild neurosis.

Don't worry too much though, as I am sure to revert to my previous sloppy behaviour.
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Re: Ending with closed bellows

Postby Zevy » Sun May 21, 2017 9:31 pm

Stephen Hawkins wrote:As my earlier posts declared, I was not really interested in ending with closed bellows. I tried it a couple of times, just to see if I could do it, and found it quite easy.

Today, quite unconsciously, I found that I was ending every tune with closed bellows. I have always prided myself on my mental robustness, and am now worried that I am developing a mild neurosis.

Don't worry too much though, as I am sure to revert to my previous sloppy behaviour.


Good technique will fall into place like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It tell this to my students when they think they cannot change a (bad) habit. I tell it to myself as well. You won't go back...
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