Thursday, March 31, 2011

More about reeds - though not from me!

I was looking through some of the Irish squeezebox links provided by Brother Steve and I was attracted to one link which I do not remember having ever visited. The Houston Accordion Club has some helpful, fun and simple explanations of how reeds work and the different factors which affect the accordion's tone. Read the article by clicking here. On another page linked to that one, there are photos of reeds being made in an Italian factory. Here is one short passage that I enjoyed:

Things like chamber size, shape, method of mounting the reeds, gasket materials, position of support blocks that the reed pan rests on, thickness and materials for reed pans, and blocks in accordions are only a few of many factors that can play a major role in determining the final sound character. Complex as they are, I feel like the reeds are only the starting point, and that construction materials and structural design of the rest of the instrument have a major influence on the final result. 

This is a perfectly concise way to describe the complex exchanges that take place inside of an accordion. Without getting an MA in acoustical engineering, you now understand why some accordions can look similar but sound totally different. Little things do make a difference. As I've said before, it's practically witchcraft.

The author illustrates the principle of the speaking reed by fixing one end of a ruler to a desk and slapping the other end with his hand.

image courtesy of Houston Accordion Club

The principal is comparable to that of a speaking reed. I love this explanation! I spent many afternoons cleaning blackboards and banging the erasers for engaging in similar activities. Little wonder that I became an accordion player.

No comments:

Post a Comment