The Free-Reed Journal
Articles and Essays Featuring Classical Free-Reed Instruments and Performers

Pope Approves Accordion

Decrees Accordion My Be Played In Catholic Churches

This article by an anonymous author -- presumably John Gerstner, the editor of Accordion World -- was reprinted in its entirety from the October 1946 issue of Accordion World (New York).

Pope Pius XII has decreed that henceforth accordions may be played in Catholic Church. This fact is of historic significance and is the first time that accordions have been officially sanctioned for use in Catholic churches. Heretofore in some dioceses, their use in Catholic Churches has been banned.

The approval was given after Giuseppe Dallape, who heads the Dallape Accordion Manufacturing Firm at Stradella, Italy, presented one of two specially made accordions to the Pope. After hearing the accordion played, His Holiness gave his historic decree.

He also signed an engrossed document bearing his picture presented to him by Dallape which is shown here.

The twin to the accordion presented to the Pope will be brought to America by the Chicago Musical Instrument Company which will exhibit it at its main office. According to M. H. Berlin, president of the concern, the specially built instrument which is said to be the most valuable accordion built, being valued at $5,000, has six sets of reeds each on treble and bass and has 33 different tonal combinations and weighs 32 pounds. (about 50% heavier than the average full size accordion). Some of the reeds are almost as big as organ reeds.

Another feature of this specially built accordion is that it has sustaining basses like an organ. The tone is remarkable and it is a really fine musical instrument of superb quality. After hearing it played the Pope told his attendants gathered around him that he could see nothing wrong in the use of the accordion in churches, thus scoring another victory in the drive to have the accordion accepted as a completely recognized musical instrument.

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Brian O'Boyle who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and his comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.

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