19 Button Accordion

19 Button Accordion

I read somewhere that there was a 19 button accordion that was very popular for playing Irish music many years ago. I think it was DD# but I’m not sure. Does anyone know about this setup and is it still being played.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Assuming you’re specifically asking about D/D# tuning, yes there were quite a few button boxes in that tuning including ones made by Paolo Soprani.

Nowadays everyone tends to assume that they are transposing boxes, played as if they are in another tuning, with the notes coming out at a different pitch, but I’ve met one excellent D/D# player "at pitch" in County Cork and there must have been others.
I had a lot of fun with that tuning, at pitch, a few years back but got pulled in other directions!
That resulted in this, to which a few comments have been added
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=2735.0

If your question is more general then

https://thesession.org/discussions/26692

Re: 19 Button Accordion

I know of one person who plays D/D# in the outside-in way in which I’d guess a 19 button accordion would have 10-buttons in the D row which would be okay. Most people who play D/D# I think play it with C#/D fingering so it’s used as a transposing instrument to play up a half tone. In this case I’d think only 9 buttons would still be possible just slightly limiting depending on which button is missing.

To respond to the question though, the two systems most popular for Irish trad are B/C and C#/D.

EDIT: Cross-posted with above.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

The 19-button box that was very popular, in the eastern US at least, was surely the D/C# system - the "Irish-American" tuning. Yes it is still being played, but not much. Mainly by students and disciples of the great Joe Derrane, who is now in his 80s. A number of Québec players have also adopted the system in recent years.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Thanks for the input. I have done a little research on this and saw a documentary on Joe Derrane on YouTube. Very interesting setup. Where can I get a keyboard layout of this DC# setup. I have a 19 button organetto that I love playing due to the excellent ergonomics of the keyboard and the outstanding sound of the four voices LMMM. I feel this would make an excellent Irish box and am interested in the DC# setup. I have played C#D in the past and liked it very much, so this will not be a difficult transition. I need a layout primarily of the 9 button inside C# row. I will be most grateful if anyone can provide this . Thanks all.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

I’d suggest talking to Michael Usui of Irish Dancemaster accordions. He’s in Bradenton FL.
http://www.irishdancemaster.com/accordion.html
I’ve dealt with him from over here in England and he was very helpful.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Hi Dana,

From your profile, it looks like I’m in your state, at least - Miami area. I will have some time this summer to give private lessons, and one or a couple might help get you oriented. I play a little D/C# (among other box systems and instruments) and I have a couple of them here that I could show you. I also have a project box that could easily be fixed up for sale or I could advise you about getting yours converted. Yes, you can successfully convert some of the traditional Italian models usually called "organettos" to the D/C# system — h0w well this works depends on some construction details of the organetto. Here’s the keyboard layout for a typical 19 key D/C# box (apologies if the formatting goes haywire). The notes for each button are shown as (press/draw), notes of lowest pitch, near your chin when playing, to the left.

C# row (inside): G# / C __ C#/D#__F/F#__G#/A#__C#/C__F/D#__G#/F#__C#/A#__F/C
D row (out): F#/B__A/C#__D/E____F#/G__A/B____D/C#__F#/E___A/G____D/B___F#/C#

Hope this helps,

Paul Groff

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Sorry, cross-posted with Tom B-R.

For sure Michael at Dancemaster will be able to convert a box to D/C#; how well this will work will depend on the box. Most traditional D/C# boxes (Baldoni-Bartolis, Walters, O’Byrne DeWitt Baldonis, O’Byrne DeWitt Paolo Sopranis, etc.) have flat keyboards. Many Italian organettos have stepped keyboards. This is not necessarily a fatal flaw — I have a stepped-board Baldoni here converted to D/C# — but you might want to try out the D/C# system on boxes of both types.

PG

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Thanks, Paul, that is a big help. I need to wait a while before I make a decision on this. I did call Michael Usi and he was very informative and explained what a huge job it is to completely change all the reeds to a new key. I will very likely send it to the Dino Baffetti dealer I bought it from and have him replace the reed blocks if I decide to do this.

Re: 19 Button Accordion

Hi Dana,

You’re welcome. Another thought — as Jeeve S suggests, few new accordions are made in this layout these days. Usually the accordions (or reedblocks in your case) have to be custom-ordered. In a couple cases I know, the manufacturers or the techs have gotten the job wrong in various ways. I’m sure Michael Usui knows the Irish-American D/C# layout, but be careful in communicating with other dealers or manufacturers. Better be very explicit about that layout (octaves of the notes, bellows directions of the notes, which scale on which button row, which button of each row to start the complete scale, what voicing of the reeds (L, M, H), tremolo / musette if desired, etc.). They may use a different system to name and number the notes. You might want to include an 88-key piano keyboard diagram cross-referenced to the accordion layout. It has been known to happen that despite a very explicit layout diagram, manufacturers may assume the customer has made a mistake and instead they build an instrument in a layout that they consider more "normal." One thing that may possibly help your dealer (who I think may be Italian?) or the manufacturer, is to point out that the buttons of the Irish-American D/C# rows should have their notes in the same interval relationship as the 2 inside rows of melody buttons on some traditional Italian G/C/B boxes — with the C/B rows transposed up a full tone. Good luck with the project!

PG