ABOUT
INSTRUMENTS

Button Accordion Button Accordion

No invention or discovery springs out of nothing, and button accordion is no exception in this respect. Its appearance was preceded by a long period of search, successful or poor experiments due to which bayan has turned into what it is presently. If it were not for such search it would have been impossible to create all models of instrument variety, later united by one notion- harmonica. Undoubtedly, harmonica originated from ancient Chinese shen. But how did it reach Europe, and how did shen turn into contemporary harmonica, and such form of harmonica as bayan and accordion? It is a difficult question, and the answer to it has not been found yet.
Probably it was Marco Polo who brought it from his voyages. It is also true that Pierre Amio sent shen from China to Paris in 1777, and that Reinstain, simultaneously with Bushman (1822), made the first harmonicas. There are many other facts, which, though deserve certain interest, can in no way blend with clear structured history of this instrument. In 1829 in Vienna K. Demian invented a hand harmonica with the right-hand melodic keyboard, and left-hand ready chords (when pressing one button, not one sound, but a chord sounds), and called it accordion. This laid the foundation of harmonica structure with ready bass-chord accompaniment. In 1929 master P.E. Sterligov designed a new type of left-hand keyboard. It is the so called ready-optional keyboard with a switch, enabling, apart from ready chords, to generate single sounds and chords in any order (similar to right-hand keyboard), and this considerably expanded the performance properties.
Contemporary bayan in terms of its properties, is in no way inferior to traditional classical instruments, and this allows to play not only original literature, but various music, composed for any instruments and any composition of instruments. Thanks to 15 in-built registers and optional keyboard bayan can imitate any instrument of symphonic orchestra, as well as combine them together. The improved right-hand keyboard of bayan with five button rows is arranged chromatically, based on three-row principle with two backup rows. The range of contemporary bayan is in no way inferior to the piano range (from х subcontra octave to b4 octave). Bayan has comparatively large dynamic abilities. Multi-timbre ready-optional bayan is quite common in concert practice, it is used as solo, ensemble and orchestra instrument.
Bayan consists of three main parts. The right semi-body: keyboard, mechanical register switches, metallic voices, sounding-board; the left semi-body: keyboard, optional keyboard switch, metallic voices, sounding-board; middle part: bellows. A button pressed on the keyboard, sets lever mechanism in motion, which opens sounding-board valves. Simultaneously with pressed button the bellows boost air on the voices, located inside the instrument (an opened valve corresponds to a certain voice). In the contemporary bayan there are 4 and more metallic voices per each note. These voices are tuned in octave unison. Sound waves are passing directly through sounding-board, therefore they sound harshly, brightly, even blatant, and the sound waves of the other two voices due to change of sounding-board angle are directed side-wards, therefore the sounding is mellow, muted, slightly nasal. Alternating and mixing of open and closed voices results in 15 timbres of the same note. On the right-hand keyboard of bayan there is chromatic scale (more often 4 5 octave range), on the left-hand keyboard there are basses (one octave scale is backed-up in 3 4 octaves), and ready chord accompaniment (major and minor triads, seventh chords, diminished seventh chords).

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