Bandoneon

Sound Sample

The bandoneon is the instrument of the tango – developed and built in Germany, according to legend it was the price for certain services rendered in a brothel in Buenos Aires. From there it became the voice of disappointed immigrants, the voice of suffering, the voice of the tango.

The player who crouched and engrossed in himself is bent over the instrument is most likely thinking of the unimaginably complicated fingering system of the bandoneon.
This fingering system and not the instrument itself was patented by Heinrich Band from Krefeld, Germany and bears his name to improve its marketing.

Anyone who has just tried out the bandoneon might think that Heinrich Band put all the reeds into a bag, shook it up and fitted them at random. And then there is the difference in pitch with expansion and compression – usually that is.

My instrument, also from Victoria Accordions, uses the so-called French fingering system, chromatically arranged and the same with expansion and compression. If the accordion represents a beautiful, noble restaurant with fine cuisine and the best wines, then the bandoneon is a lost, earthy tavern with only one meal on offer and bad beer.

No instrument requires so much devotion as the bandoneon, but no instrument can express loneliness, roughness and sadness in this way.