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The Accordian: from Jazz to Baroque

Photo courtesy of Madanmohan Samanta

Mirco Patarini was born in Spoleto (Italy) and in 1978, he began to study music at the CDMI (Italian Musical Didactic Centre). In 1980, he started to study the free bass accordion and in 1981 was judged first at the Italian pre-championship of Castelfidardo. He won numerous prizes and awards in Italy. In 1988, he began to collaborate with the firm “Farfisa-Bontempi” as musical adviser and here he started his evolution through the world of electronics music. At the same time, he began his collaboration with the firm SCANDALLI. As a soloist, he has performed worldwide. Recently from 2014, he is the Chairman of the Music Committee of CIA (Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes), IMC-UNESCO, and member of the CIA Executive board. Recently Mirco Patarini performed at the Sandre Hall, CSM. Kolkata.

There are really many kind of instruments in the accordion “family” We can say that all instruments with free reeds and bellows are included in this family, also bandoneon (in all types) and concertinas. There is a really large quantity of “diatonic” instruments, or “bi-sonoric”: they are those small instruments that usually on the same key (button) play a note opening and another note closing the bellows. If we consider only the bigger instruments, we can divide in 2 types: one with Piano Keyboard, and one with button keyboard. The button one has various layouts: Italian French, Russian, Finnish. The left part, usually called “basses”, has very often a common layout: 6 rows of button; two are basses, and 4 are chords (major, minor, seventh and diminish); but in France, for example, they use a different layout, with 3 rows of basses and 3 rows of chords, and also sometimes in Netherlands, even if one of the bass runs is different than on the French one… In the “concert” instrument, played by concert artist or conservatory students, the left part has also a “converter” who can switch the chords rows (four) in single notes, to play classical or contemporary music. This system is called “free bass”, and unfortunately is not just one, but at least five. Then of course there are the various possibilities of combinations between the left and right layouts.

But this is nothing, if we enter in the matter of tunings. Various kind of “tremolo”, “Musette”, “swing”, with or without “cassotto”: there really is a world of possibilities, and we should write a big book, to try to include all combinations.

How versatile is the range of music that can be played?

By the various kind of instrument, is possible to play everything. From the music of baroque, classic and romantic periods to the contemporary music, from the folk of every country to the jazz. I heard accordion sound in unbelievable number of situations, even in Arabian music, because it is possible to tune accordions after an Arabica tuning scale.

How does the accordion differ in sound from an organ?