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Keyboard instrumentBandoneon_header_cell_0_0_0
ClassificationBandoneon_header_cell_0_1_0 Aerophone

Free reed WindBandoneon_cell_0_1_1

Hornbostel–Sachs classificationBandoneon_header_cell_0_2_0 412.132

(Free-reed aerophone)Bandoneon_cell_0_2_1

DevelopedBandoneon_header_cell_0_3_0 Germany mid-1800sBandoneon_cell_0_3_1
Related instrumentsBandoneon_header_cell_0_4_0

The bandoneon (or bandonion, Spanish: bandoneón) is a type of concertina particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay. Bandoneon_sentence_0

It is an essential instrument in most tango ensembles from the traditional orquesta típica of the 1910s onwards. Bandoneon_sentence_1

As with other members of the concertina family, the bandoneon is held between both hands, and by pulling and pushing actions force air through bellows and then routing air through particular reeds as by pressing the instrument's buttons. Bandoneon_sentence_2

Bandoneons have a different sound from accordions, because bandoneons do not usually have the register switches that are common on accordions. Bandoneon_sentence_3

Nevertheless, the tone of the bandoneon can be changed a great deal using varied bellows pressure and overblowing, thus creating potential for expressive playing and diverse timbres. Bandoneon_sentence_4

History Bandoneon_section_0

The Bandonion, so named by the German instrument dealer Heinrich Band (1821–1860), was originally intended as an instrument for religious and popular music of the day, in contrast to its predecessor, German concertina (Konzertina), which had predominantly been used in folk music. Bandoneon_sentence_5

Around 1870, German and Italian emigrants and sailors brought the instrument to Argentina, where it was adopted into the nascent genre of tango music, a descendant of the earlier milonga. Bandoneon_sentence_6

By 1910 bandoneons were being produced in Germany expressly for the Argentine and Uruguayan markets, with 25,000 shipping to Argentina in 1930 alone. Bandoneon_sentence_7

However, declining popularity and the disruption of German manufacturing in World War II led to an end of bandoneon mass-production. Bandoneon_sentence_8

Original instruments can be seen in a number of German museums, such as the Preuss family's Bandoneon Museum in Lichtenberg and the Steinhart family's collection in Kirchzarten, Freiburg. Bandoneon_sentence_9

Historically, bandoneons were produced primarily in Germany and never in Argentina itself, despite their popularity in that country. Bandoneon_sentence_10

As a result, vintage bandoneons had by the 2000s become rare and expensive (costing around 4000 USD), limiting the opportunities for prospective bandeonists. Bandoneon_sentence_11

In 2014, the National University of Lanús announced its plan to develop an affordable Argentine-made bandoneon, which it hoped to market for one-third to one-half of the cost of vintage instruments. Bandoneon_sentence_12

Technique Bandoneon_section_1

As with other members of the concertina family, the bandoneon is held between both hands, and pulling and pushing actions force air through bellows and then through particular reeds as selected by pressing the instrument's buttons. Bandoneon_sentence_13

As with other concertinas, the button action is in parallel to the motion of the bellows, and not perpendicular to it as with an accordion. Bandoneon_sentence_14

Unlike what happens with a piano accordion, but in similar fashion to a melodeon or Anglo concertina, a given bandoneon button produces different notes on the push and the pull (bisonoric). Bandoneon_sentence_15

This means that each keyboard actually has two layouts: one for opening notes, and one for closing notes. Bandoneon_sentence_16

Since the right and left hand layouts are also different, a musician must learn four different keyboard layouts to play the instrument. Bandoneon_sentence_17

These keyboard layouts are not structured to make it easy to play scale passages of single notes: they were originally laid out to facilitate playing chords, for supporting singers of religious music in small churches with no organ or harmonium, or for clergy requiring a portable instrument (missionaries, traveling evangelists, army and navy chaplains, and so forth). Bandoneon_sentence_18

Unisonoric Bandoneon_section_2

While the standard bandoneon is bisonoric (different note on push and pull), some bandoneon variants are monosonoric, or unisonoric (same note on push and pull). Bandoneon_sentence_19

These include the Ernst Kusserow and Charles Peguri systems, both introduced around 1925. Bandoneon_sentence_20

Players Bandoneon_section_3

The Argentinian bandleader, composer, arranger, and tango performer Aníbal Troilo was a leading 20th-century proponent of the bandoneon. Bandoneon_sentence_21

The bandoneon player and composer Ástor Piazzolla played and arranged in Troilo's orquesta from 1939 to 1944. Bandoneon_sentence_22

Piazzolla's "Fugata" from 1969 showcases the instrument, which plays the initial fugue subject on the 1st statement, then moves on to the outright tango after the introduction. Bandoneon_sentence_23

With his solos and accompaniment on the bandoneon, Piazzolla combined a musical composition much derived from classical music (which he had studied intensively in his formative years) with traditional instrumental tango, to form nuevo tango, his new interpretation of the genre. Bandoneon_sentence_24

List of luthiers and manufacturers Bandoneon_section_4

A list of some current bandoneon manufacturers: Bandoneon_sentence_25


  • Asociación Argentina de LuthiersBandoneon_item_0_0
  • Baldoni Accordions (USA)Bandoneon_item_0_1
  • Bandoneón AZ - Ángel y Gabriel Zullo (Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_2
  • Bandoneones A. A. Alfred Arnold (Germany)Bandoneon_item_0_3
  • Bandoneones F. F. - Juan Pablo Fredes (Gambier, La Plata, Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_4
  • Bandoneones Baltazar Estol (Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_5
  • Bandoneones Toscano (Mendoza, Argentina), Vicente Toscano, fabricante y restaurador de bandoneones.Bandoneon_item_0_6
  • Bandonion & Concertinafabrik Klingenthal (Germany)Bandoneon_item_0_7
  • Mario Bianco (Uruguay)Bandoneon_item_0_8
  • Castagnari (Italy)Bandoneon_item_0_9
  • Danielson Industria de Acordeões e Bandoneões (Brazil)Bandoneon_item_0_10
  • D. & J. Trupin SARL (France)Bandoneon_item_0_11
  • Enrique Fasuolo (Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_12
  • Oscar Fisher (Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_13
  • Giustozzi (Italy)Bandoneon_item_0_14
  • Klaus Gutjahr (Germany)Bandoneon_item_0_15
  • Harry Geuns Bandoneons (Belgium)Bandoneon_item_0_16
  • Uwe Hartenhauer (Germany)Bandoneon_item_0_17
  • Ricardo Matteo (Uruguay)Bandoneon_item_0_18
  • Museo Luis Alfredo Mariani (La Reja, Moreno, Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_19
  • Pigini Fratelli & C. snc (Italy)Bandoneon_item_0_20
  • Premier Bandoneonbau Peter Spende (Germany)Bandoneon_item_0_21
  • Stagi Accordions & Bandoneons (Italy)Bandoneon_item_0_22
  • Tangobrujo Venta & Restauraciones - Daniel Barrientos (Argentina)Bandoneon_item_0_23
  • Victoria Accordions Company (Italy)Bandoneon_item_0_24

Prominent players Bandoneon_section_5

Construction Bandoneon_section_6

Exterior: Bandoneon_sentence_26


  • Bandoneon_item_1_25
  • Bandoneon_item_1_26
  • Bandoneon_item_1_27

A look inside a bandoneon: Bandoneon_sentence_27


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