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Greg B Melodeons on board ships? (43) RE: Melodeons on board ships? 15 Apr 12

Indeed, GS, it could be the very issue. Before the turn of the 20th century, an "accordion" WAS what we now call a melodeon; the "piano accordion" is an circa 1900 contrivance, whereas the original name for the "melodeon" or "button accordion" or "diatonic accordion" was simply "accordion," derived from "akkordeon." The point of the name is, well, it almost automatically produced a chordal accompaniment on the left side. That, together with the diatonic right hand made for an instrument that was dirt-simple to learn, at least the basics.

The name "melodeon" on the other hand, seems to have floated around awkwardly, being applied to a few different instruments rightly or wrongly. To this day, some people will tell us that it's wrong to call a multi-row diatonic accordion tuned in half-steps a "melodeon" and that the latter is a single row or multi-row instrument with the rows tuned at least a major fourth apart!

Also search on the term "accordeon," as the spelling didn't really settle down until the era of the piano treble / stradella bass instruments.

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