Creation of The Bandoneon

A Matter of Names

In many countries the terms accordion and concertina were used synonymous.

In the advertisement of Heinrich Band in 1844 he remarks the ability of his 40 and 56 voice accordions to build arbitrary chords for different tonalities. Perhaps the first mention of Banoneon occurred at the late 1850's in the areas of Krefeld, Mainz and Cologne. Later, when he offered instruments with many voices he labeled them Bandonion. But the confusion persisted, also in Germany.

It finished at the end of the 1850's when the term Bandonion was introduced in the region of Krefeld, Mainz and Cologne. In Bavaria they used Concertina. In Saxony and Thuringia chromatic harmonicas, but those for export to English and French speaking countries where concertinas and from the Rhineland bandoneons. However, the latter with a distinct layout of the keyboard.

After 1860 an additional concertina keyboard system was introduced in Munich perhaps by F. Stahl first with 30 buttons, later with up to 60 buttons an similar to the system of Band. This was probably the basis for the later Bayrisches Schrammelbandonion of Strobl with 132, 136 and 180 voices.

A magazine for bandonion music established in 1895 in Leipzig was renamed after a year to Allgemeine Concertina- und Bandonion-Zeitung demonstrating the similarities among both instrument types. On the other hand, in 1895 there existed in Leipzig of 1895 about 18 bandonion clubs and no one was called concertina club while Wünsch, successor of Uhlig the inventor of the German Concertina was there a member This confirms that concertinas were called there bandonions. Wünsch himself describes in 1890:

This instrument (bandonion) is becoming more and more known so that all instruments with 88 to 260 voices are now called bandoneons.

(In this case the number of voices has to be divided by two since instruments with double chorus (register) are meant). In the beginning of the 20th century a distinction between the rheinische on one side and Chemnitzer and Karlsfelder on the other is established.

The fast propagation of the bandoneon was based on a clever marketing. Besides the distribution of the instruments labeled BANDONION in big letters forming the good visible valve plaque on front of the instrument, Heinrich Band created a merchant chain with members of his family giving lessons and distributing a huge number of chamber music arrangements and sheet music for his instrument. His is brother Johann established in 1859 a shop in Cologne. Others were founded in Mainz, Krefeld, Glasgow? and New York.

During 1868 to 1881 there existed special sections for bandoneon music. In Hofmeister's Manual of sheet music with separate divisions for harmonica, accordion and concertina. Because all the instruments were manufactured in Saxony, the factories there expanded accordingly They tried to copy Band's strategy and designed valve plaques saying CONCERTINA for the instruments they sold directly. Until the end of the century the old term harmonika had disappeared. Finally in the 1920's the shape 0 of both instrument became the same. The polygonal shaped instruments were reserved for the smaller 1 or 2-row boxes with limited number of voices. In many parts of Germany the term Concertina was displaced gradually by the newer Bandonion and both terms were interchangeable. It came to that point, when Saxons returned to their own roots and forced their Chemnitzer and Karlsfelder system. In the 20's the need of a unified system became obvious but both parties did not agree and in 1924 the Einheitskonzertina (128 voices)

besides the Einheitsbandonion (144 voices) was created.

Many attempts were made to create unisonoric instruments. Charles Péguri in Paris replaced the reed plates of 142 voice rheinische bandoneons (an Argentine extension of the 130 voice version) with unisonoric ones imprecisely called chromatic bandoneon. This fact simplified the manufacture of instruments suitable for musette players. The Kusserow bandoneon did not become as popular.

The Chronology

The following abbreviations may occur:

sa single action sounds only on opening (draw) or (mostly) closing (pressure)
da double action sounds on opening and closing
us unisonor same note on opening and closing
bs bisonor different note on opening and closing
av automatic valve permits air pumping
<3000 a.C. Chingmian mouth organ
3000 a.C. China sheng or tshiang [sa]
1762 Benjamin Franklin glass-harmonica (first use of the term harmonica)
1770 Kratzenstein, Denmark speaking machine
17xx Kirsnik, Denmark organ like harmonica
1790 Rakwitz, Sweden Abbé Vogler's orchestrion (transportable concert organ)
1806 Bernhard Eschenbach & Kaspar Schlimbach, handaeoline (until 1840) [sa]
Königshofen (Bavaria) (first reed instrument without tubes)
1820 Buschmann, Berlin aura, mundaeoline (mouth organ) [sa]
1821 E. F. Chladni, AMZ publishes a detailed description of the sheng
1821 Buschmann, Berlin handharmonika or handaeoline (bellow on pressure) [sa]
1821 A. Haekl, Vienna physharmonika [sa]
1824 G. A. Reinlein, Vienna privilege for harmonicas called chinesiger
1825 G. A. Reinlein, Vienna aeol-harmonica
1825 first printed scores for Mundharmonika
1828 Hand-, Zug-, Ziehharmonika
1829 C. Demian, Vienna eoline, accordion
1825/9 Ch. Wheatstone symphonium
1829/30 Friedrich Mehwald, AMZ new-sheng [us, da]
1830 privilege, Vienna bellow harmonica
> 1830 Paris first accordion manufacture
1831/3 Ernst Leopold Schmidt Apollo lyra [us, da]
1835 Carl Friedrich Uhlig, Chemnitz Harmonika, later known as German Concertina
1836 Vienna export of chinesiger to Gera and Leipzig
1839 A. Debain, Paris orgues expressives, or harmonium
1839 J. Alexandre, Paris ``brevet de 10 ans'' concertina, piano-concertina
1839 Leclerc, Paris mélophone [sa]
about 1840 Heinrich Wagner, Gera introduces accordion manufacturing
1841 G. Regondi uses mélophone for a Wheatstone concertina [sa]
1844 Wheatstone proposes a double action concept and calls it concertina
1844 Band, Krefeld uses accordion for a concertina
1846 G. Regondi uses the term ``concertina'' for a mélophone
1854 Paris mélophonorgue (derivative of accordion)
1856 Joh. Schmitz, Krefeld the term bandonion created
1857 Hofmeister's Handbook scores for bandonion
1861 Quentin de Gromard, Bruxelles Cecilium
187x A. Ferenczy, Carl Burge, Ofenpest (H) Hungarian Mélophone
1890 Max Scheffler, Chemnitz Scheffler's Konzertina 102 or 104 voices [3 rows, bs]
1890 Georg Mirwald, Söllitz (Bavaria) Chromatine
1898 Richard Scheller, Hamburg Symphonetta
1900 distinction: bandonion = rhineisch
concertina = chemnitzer and karlsfelder
1906 Heinrich Steinfurth, Mühlheim-Broich Piano-Bandonion [us] two paralel piano keyboards as buttons
1910 Richard Winkler, Hannover Bass Bandonion
1912 Kahnt & Uhlmann, Altenburg (Thuringia) Cantulia
1920 Hugo Stark, Rebesgrün (Vogtland) Chromatiphon
1925/6 Charles Péguri, Paris 142 voice Chromatic Bandoneon [us] build by Alfred Arnold
1926 Georg Strobl & Sohn, München Bayrisches Schrammelbandonion
1926 Otto Bergler, Erbendorf (Bavaria) Berga-Bandonion
1926 Karl Mecke, Gniebendorf Chroma-Bandonion
1926 Fritz Micklitz, Altenburg (Thuringia) Harmoniphon
1927 Ernst Kusserow, Berlin Kusserow Bandonion [us]
1928 Adolf Weber, Chemnitz Bandonola
1930 Friedrich Töpel, Tripis-Oberpöllnitz Bando-Piano using Matthey's table

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last update: 2017-11-17
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