Heinrich Band

Heinrich Band was born on April 4th 1821 in Krefeld / Rhineland (Germany) as the second of 16 brothers. His life was short, he died on December 2nd 1860, also in Krefeld. His father is owner of a music store and amateur violinist for popular music. Heinrich is cellist in the orchestra of Heinrich Geul and he gives music lessons. In 1843 he founds an own store for musical instruments in the Königstrasse of his birth town. He sells also written music with a cypher system which enables to play the instrument he sells with labeled buttons, without the need to read musical notes. He must have had much success with his business, since he was able to by his house for 4400 Thaler (German Dollars) which was a fortune at that time.

In 1856 he publishes a musical edition showing a 130 voice instrument with the main valve saying in large letters BANDONION. For the first time this name is published and helps promote his instrument. The merchant net becomes even larger, when his brother Johann opens a store in Cologne:

Johann Band & Comp. - Musikalische Instrumentenhandlung und Bandonion-Fabrik.

In spite of the suggesting name, there is no evidence of a bandoneon factory. But Heinrich dies in 1860. His widow and the company officer Jacques Dupont continue the business. However, at this point changes possibly the provider or manufacturer of instruments. At the same time Friedrich Zimmermann sells his instrument factory in Carlsfeld to Ernst Louis Arnold But the business continues and the brothers Ullrich and Johann Band sell in 1863 instruments in Mainz. In 1889, Alfred Band establishes a store in Krefeld. Again, nobody knows who is the manufacturer. An article published by Prof. Karl Rembert 1940 in Krefeld suggests they were produced in Waldheim /Saxony by Gebr. Seifert Bandonion- und Konzertina-Fabrik. established in 1870. the boxes of their instruments are nearly squares.

when he organized the production and commercialized it together with a specially ciphered written music. In 1882 appeared the name "Bandonion" derived from his name. It was supposed to be used as a substitute for the organ in small church communities. May be it was the very special sound which maintain the demand, but the very complex disposition of the buttons, prevented a greater diffusion. The idea was to have an instrument for polyphonic music rather than for melody one and the buttons where placed in a way to facilitate forming of chords. In contrast to the accordion, already quite popular in many countries, this instrument does not provide predefined chords. In addition, most of the buttons 4have a different tone whether the bellow is opened or closed, this wrongly denominated as "diatonic". The upcoming popularity of the tango in the 20ties forced the french musette players to play also the bandoneon. Because of the difficulty of learning it, they asked for so called chromatic instruments with equal tone for opening and closing. Until today there rests a certain tradition in the French speaking Switzerland speaking of the "French" chromatic model. In Geneva e.g. there existed an orchestra with 10 bandoneons but only 2 of them were diatonic.