Morne wrote: ↑
Mon May 14, 2018 2:01 pm
As far as slightly older European instruments go, I don't think I've ever heard of one with MM being tuned in unison as an off-the-shelf instrument. You could ask for it, sure. And some do have drier tunings, yes, but not 0 as far as I'm aware. I would guess that a later retuning to dry is possibly more common than buying it like that new.
I know we've had some threads before about the drying up of French musette, going from MMM to MM. Are there other trends that you've noticed around the world? Did certain areas always favour drier tunings? If it's a more recent phenomenon, what are the timeframes in which this happened? Were drier and unison tuned accordions ever popular decades ago?
It really depends on the purpose for which the instrument is built. Maugein make a little "Export" model which only has a two voice treble. It is available as either MM with "americain" (between 6 and 10 cents) tuning as standard, or as LM, with both reeds straight tuned. The latter model would appear to be geared with classical study in mind, rather than the usual musette styles. However, since it doesn't have free bass, I'm not entirely sure why they offer it as an option.
In the UK instruments made specifically for classical music are typically regarded as "specialist", and I have no experience of them at all. I would imagine they will be similar to those in your own neck of the woods.
There are probably dozens of western European folk tunings and again I have no knowledge of them at all, except to say that they almost all involve one sharp or flat tuned reed bank.
Even French "musette" offers four basic tunings for 2 flutes, and one basic tuning for 3 flutes. Those tunings aren't new as such, and have been around from before WW2. Walk into an accordion shop (if you can find one) and any new display LMM models ( the most common type by far) will usually come with americain tuning. However, you can specify:-
unisson : 0 Hz
demi-swing, swing : 0.5 à 1.5 Hz
américain léger / accentué : 1.5 à 2.5 Hz
céleste ou moderne : 2.5 à 3 Hz
musette léger / standard / accentué : peut commencer à partir de 3 pour aller jusqu'à 6 Hz (très vibrant), parfois plus.
To convert Hz to cents multiply by 4, but bear in mind that's approximate. You can immediately see that there are crossovers between any one category and its immediate neighbour, with the exception of "unisson", so it is far from an exact science.
Just when you think you've got it all nailed down you then get LLMM, where one bank of the bassoon reeds is in cassotto, and the other is outside, and I'm now getting into territory I really don't know much about.
Suffice to say that, in France at least, if there is a possible reed/coupler combination, then somebody will have tried it at some point. Obviously it's only the flute reeds they mess around with regarding tuning, although the situation demonstrates the fact that French players are a very fussy lot when it comes to tunings and sound. Jo Privat stipulated "swing tuning with a little vibration", so he probably actually had "américain léger".
The only other popular type of French accordon is the MMM instrument, sometimes referred to as "super musette", and again these come in various "strengths" of tuning as indicated in the table I "stole" from the "Mon-accordeon" website. These days they typically have three coupler settings:- Three voice musette, two voice celeste (straight and sharp flutes only), and one voice straight tuned flute. In days gone by one coupler served to switch between MMM, and M with no two voice option. Was a time when different regions preferred one particular type of three voice musette tuning, but I'm not entirely sure if that's still the case.
There is even a two voice tuning known as "Segurel", after a player of the same name,, which sounds as though it has a straight tuned flute and flat tuned flute, with no sharp tuned reeds at all, but again I couldn't put money on that.
To summarise, dry tuning has been around for a very long time in France.