Concertinas, for a start!

  In August of 1992 I had the pleasure of participating in Squeeze Box Jam
at the Polish American Festival in Cheektowaga, NY. (Buffalo)  The event
was sponsored by support from the Folk Arts Program of the National
Endowment for the Arts.  A pamphlet was prepared by Mark Kohan, Editor in
Chief of the Polish American Journal newspaper and distributed at the event.
Having known Mark for many years (and working with him on the newspaper),
he eagerly granted permission to reprint any of the pamphlet.  I thought
the information would be of interest to those on the List.  I will do it
sections, as I find time to type it.

  Concertinas, in all their many varieties share a common ancestry with
accordions, harmonicas and pump organs.  All rely on a reed, a small metal
frame which was introduced to Europe from the Far EAst in the late 18
hundreds.  The Chinese, Japanese and others in East Asia had used these
reeds for centruies in bamboo mouth organs.  It wasn't until the 1770's
that European instrument makers started experimenting with their own
applications.  The first Western uses of the new type of reed were in
small organs, the predecessors of the familiar melodions and harmoniums.
  It was a German piano and organ tuner who first developed what we would
recognize as a harmonica and the first accordion.  In 1821, Christian
Freidrich Ludwig Buschmann made what he eventually called a "Mundaoline."
By 1822 he had made the first practical accordion, a melodic instrument
with button-type keys and a push-pull bellows.  He called it  a
"Handaoline."  By 1829, Cyrillus Demian was producing and selling an
improved version, a diatonic push-pull instrument with two to four bass
and chord buttons on the left side and up to 15 melody buttons on the
right.  Demian patented his instrument with the name "Accordion."

  If there is interest in this, I'll continue as time permits.  Next is
information on the concertina.

Steve Litwin
Associate/Polka Editor
Polish American Journal

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