Bandoneon related Biographies
Carl Friedrich Uhlig
Carl Friedrich Uhlig was born in Chemnitz, Saxony on April 23th, 1789 and
died on July 9th, 1874. He worked as knit ware manufacturer in Chemnitz and
played clarinet as well. On a trip to Vienna he knew Demian's
Fascinated with this new instrument he tried to find out as many informations
as possible about. Back to Chemnitz he started experimenting on the
free reed thinking about realizing an instrument without programmed chords
which he found not adequate for his music.
Not knowing about Sir Charles Wheatstone's
Symphonium of 1829, he created in 1834 his first one-row
instrument with 5 keys on each side. One year later he founded his
instrument company Phisharmonika und Accordion Fabrik
von C. F. Uhlig - Chemnitz
with an annexed store
musikalische Instrumenten und Saiten Handlung
and which later was renamed to
Carl Friedrich Uhlig, Bandonion- und Konzertina - Fabrik, Chemnitz
Very soon he started exporting instruments with 2 and 3 rows to
Russia and Great Britain. The fact that he could participate at the
very expensive Manufacturer's Exhibition of München in
1854, the Industrial Exhibition 1867 in Dresden and
Friedrich Lange (vorm. C. F. Uhlig) Konzertina- und
in Chicago 1893, confirms his success
making his products best known all over the world.
While in those times many free reed instruments still were single action
instruments, that is, the reeds sounded only closing the bellow, his concept
included already reed chambers which permitted two reeds per key. Instead of
distributing single notes among both sides of the instrument, he assigned
the right side to a melody instrument while the left had to fulfill
harmonic requirements. The 3 rows of the harmony side
where used for a tonica, the corresponding
dominant and the third was a complementary one.
The small amount of notes however
limited the possibility of playing different keys. Therefor he used different
instruments according to his requirements. The key labeled 5 on closing
was always the key note for the instrument. Once a fingering was fixed for
a given piece, it was simple to transpose it by using the instrument
on an other key.
Uhlig named his instrument accordion like other manufacturers, since
5 years after the invention of Demian's instrument, the privilege had
expired. However, there was no systematic terminology among the producers
due to the need of attracting customers with new names and circumventing
foreign rights. The name Concertina which came
popular for his instruments later, was probably used first by Debain in
Paris for his orgues expressives before 1840, and which later
became the harmonium. In 1939 Debain sold his rights for 10 years to
Sir Charles Wheatstone changed the name of his instrument to Concertina
in opportunity of his patent of 1844 since Regondi used this name during
his popular performances on Wheatstone's instrument. R. Blagrove, owner
of a Wheatstone instrument.
The Band Dynasty
The Band's were a musician's family. Peter Band, Heinrich Band's father,
was owner of a music store in Krefeld and played violin during his free time.
Heinrich Band, the second of 16 children,
was born in Krefeld, Germany on April 4
, 1821. In 1843 he founded
his own shop for musical instruments and started selling accordions
and other free reed instruments of the time, gave music lessons and
played cello in the orchestra of Heinrich Geul. From 1845 on he
begun to publish printed music.
It is not clear who's instruments he sold. He never build instruments:
He was registered as merchant in Krefeld, had no employees
and no factories there were able to deliver instruments.
But in 1850 he advertised:
An die Accordionfreunde:
Durch eine neue Erfindung haben wir unsere Accordions wieder bedeutend
vervollkommnet und sind diese Instrumente in neuer Konstruktion in
runden und achteckigem Format von 88 bis 104 Töne bei uns vorrätig,
welche wir, wie unsere bekannten 20 bis 88 tönigen Accordions zur
gefälligen Abnahme bestens empfehlen.
To the accordion friends:
Due to a new invention we could considerably improve our accordions and
have these instruments on stock
in round and octagonal shape from 88 to 104 voices which we recommend
like our known 20 to 88 voice accordions to be purchased.
und rundem und achteckigem Format, von 88 bis 104 Tönen wie
20 bis 88
Note that he did not say anything about the originator of the new invention.
But as a music teacher he could best introduce his products.
In the time from 1850 to 1856 he extended the previous 56 voice
up to a 130 one. Instruments from 56 to 130 voices were available and
additionally instruments with dual reeds came on the market. The popularity
was not limited to the Rhine region and in 1856 the
dealer Johann Schmitz advertises:
Lager in allen Arten
von Accordion's, Concertino's, von einigen wohl auch Bandonions genannt,
von 20 bis 220 Tönen mit Oktavenveränderung,
welche alle bis jetzt angefertigten Zungeninstrumente in
tragbarer Grösse übertreffen
Stock of all types of accordions, also called bandoneons by some,
from 20 to 220 voic
Stock of all types of accordions, also called bandoneons by some,
from 20 to 220 voices with changeable octaves, superior to all
portable reed instruments up to now...
The name BANDONION was composed by the name of the distributor and the
ending of accordion.
One year later the Hofmeister'sche Handbuch
included the sheet music of Band in its catalogue.
For at least three things were important for Band's success:
- When he added new notes to his instrument, he kept previous
keys at the same place enabling old customers to change to
the new ones without having to learn all again.
- He used a number system for writing the music
which indicated the key symbols instead of piano notes enabling
non musicians to learn how to play and making those dependent
from Band's editions.
- He used the main vent shield to expose the name on a metal plaque
of the main vent valve saying BANDONION, placed in those
times in front of the instrument, everybody knew his instrument as
such and the trade mark turned to identify that type of instrument.
So he did not invent the instrument, but his trade mark served
to make it best known.
Band's instruments were very popular in the Rhine region and additionally
he made compositions: in 1857 he publishes his own polkas and waltzes.
While in 1847 Heinrich Geul advertises for music lessons strings, brass and
accordion in 1857 he publishes a Band edition of his
Op 15 für Bandonion.
For the expansion of the business he cooperated with the violinist
Jacob Dupont. In 1959 his brother Johann Band established
a company in Köln (Cologne) to distribute Band's products. The same
occured in other places with the rest of his 5 male musician brothers.
It is known of representatives in Den Haag, Glasgow and New York.
After Heinrich Band died on December, 2nd 1860,
his widow Johanna Siebourg continued the business with Band's partner
Alfred Band, the son of Heinrich, established near 1886 the
Alfred Band Company he named
Fabrik v. Bandonions – Verlag v. Musikalien f.Bandonion.
Although the name of the company suggests
a manufacture, Alfred Band acquired his instruments like his father
from Saxony (possibly Waldheim) which he commercializes besides his
publisher activity, selling sheet music, tutors and even an instruction
for bandoneon maintenance together with a tool set for 15 German marks. But
the strong competitors from Saxony forced him to sell his company,
presumably to Artur Weber of Dortmund, a very important publisher
and merchant of Westfahlen. In 1923 Alfred Band died and his unmarried
daughter Maria Band,
the only survived family member, continued working with a music shop
and some publishing until her death in 1926.
Carl Friedrich Zimmermann
Carl Friedrich Zimmermann
( * Morgenröthe, August 1817 - October 20th 1898) was an instrument maker
in Carlsfeld specialized on bellow instruments since the 1830ies.
He is known to have build his first harmonikas
there in 1849
after having learned C.F. Uhlig
and which he
He was probably the only manufacturer of the time able to build complex
102(104) voice instruments (Scheffler'sche Concertina). That was
what Heinrich Band was looking for to realize his ideas.
In 1854 in fact, if not earlier, he was producing with his
brothers probably exlusively instruments for Heinrich Band.
But after Heinrich Band died in 1860, depending of his principal
client, he decided to sell the factory in 1864 to
Ernst Louis Arnold,
one of his formen and to emigrate to the
United States. For a long time nobody knew about his resting life.
Fortunately family members in the USA comunicated after the fall
of the wall in 1989 that Charles F. Zimmermann
continued as an instrument maker, as he patented
in 1882, and which he commercialized with great success.
The Arnold Family
The Arnold factory begins to grow fast and becomes one of the mayor
bandoneon manufacturers. It is known, that Max Epperlein
becomes Arnolds most important exporter around the beginning of the 20
century. Epperlein travels to Buenos Aires where he remains many years.
It is not clear if Epperlein has something to do with the introduction
of the 142 voice system. Juan Maglio
, is one of the first bandoneonists
using the expanded voice system and it is also the time (1912) when the
a 152 voice system is launched by the Arnold factory.
When Ernst Louis Arnold dies in 1910, the oldest son
Ernst Hermann Arnold
(1859 - 1946) takes over the production. It is not known exactly why, but
the other two brothers, Paul Arnold (1866 - 1953) and
Alfred Arnold (1878 - 1933) founded in 1911 at the same town Carlsfeld
a second bandoneon factory, the Alfred Arnold Bandonion und
Konzertina Fabrik, devoted nearly exclusively to the export market. But the
first World War stopped the production. Due to the tango boom near 1925 and
the important tango orchestras in Paris and other European places, the demand
for bandoneons increased rapidly. It was the time when the two Arnold factories
had to distinguish clearly their instruments: The Ernst Luis Arnold where
labeled ELA and the Alfred Arnolds AA. The “doble A” became
very famous, although the ELA instruments where equivalent if not better
On November 11th, 1933 Alfred Arnold dies and his son
Horst Alfred Arnold (1905 -
1979) and his nephew Arno Arnold (1893 - 1970), son of Paul Arnold,
continue to manage the production as they are introduced previously.
Political reasons create problems for the bandoneon during the Nazi regime
during 1933 - 1945. Only because of the export importance of the Arnold
factories they are allowed to continue exporting, but they had no material
guaranty. Short before the war, the Alfred Arnold Company is forced to
use reed material
Gebr. Dix AG factory in Gera, a highly specialized
people believe this to be the time when the quality of the AA declined. During
the world war the production ceased completely. After the war, Germany was
divided and Carlsfeld passed to the soviet sector with a controlled
production system. A few instruments left the factory but were rejected
in Argentina because they did not show the AA-label. The instruments
were sent back and were relabeled, but the quality did not satisfy the
requirements. On May 7th, 1948 the Alfred Arnold factory was expropriated and
closed. In 1950 it was turned into state property and in 1952 the
installation was brought to the Klingenthaler Harmonikawerke
the state's accordion manufacturer close to Carlsfeld with the promise to
reactivate the bandoneon production. That never happened.
Arno Arnold could escape in 1949 from the GDR to the western
town Obertshausen near Offenbach and were he started in 1950 a new production.
However, his products did not match the market requirements and
one year after his death, in 1970, the production had to finish for ever.
In 1959 the factory of Ernst Louis Arnold was incorporated into the
Klingenthaler Harmonikawerke, but only in 1964 the production
in Carlsfeld was stopped definitely and all the machinery was brought to