The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.: Readers' Letters
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.
Readers' Letters
Suggestions, Comments, Criticisms!

From: Elliott Franco Drabek
Subject: corrections for free-reed website
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 04:36:02 -0500 (EST)

What an incredible site! Very cool.

I hope my suggestions can be helpful to you. I noticed that the illustration of gongche notation for the chinese sheng is shown upside-down.

The proper tone marking for the Chinese 'sheng' should be a straight bar over the 'e', rather than a circumflex.

The thai klui is not the only free-reed resonated flute. The Chinese bawu is another one. It has a warm, rich sound, and was recently featured in the opening of the popular song 'Hui Guniang (Cinderella)' by Chinese rock star Zheng Jun.

Good luck to you and thank you for your wonderful site,

- Elliott Drabek

Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002

Hi there,

Firstly let me congratulate you on your excellent website and success with harmonicas.

I thought you might find my harmonica website interesting as I have just produced two new revolutionary STAINLESS STEEL HARMONICAS; the DANNECKER BLUES harp and the GENEVIEVE Chromatic which have taken the harmonica world by storm!

THE DANNECKER BLUES - "A truly amazing harmonica." Charlie Musselwhite November 2002

GENEVIEVE CHROMATIC - "The Stadavarius of mouth organs." Larry Adler February 2001

I also offer full restoration, repair and refinement to all Hohner harmonicas. My restoration and repair service is constantly described as the best harmonica service in the world.

Harmonica legends, such as the late Larry Adler, relied exclusively on my services for many many years. Celebrity performers the world over, including ³Toots² Thielemans, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Lamb, Sigmund Groven, Paul Jones and many more continue to receive the highest level of harmonica service the world has to offer.

I would like to invite you to receive my free harmonica information pack which includes full details of my harmonica services. If you would like to recieve my information pack please let me have your postal address by return of e-mail.

Warmest regards

Antony Dannecker
Tel UK + (0) 1775 712385

Subject: Concertina book info request
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002

I am trying to locate a source to purchase the Pauline DeSnoo book entitled" English Concertina Course". Would you happen to know where it might be available?

Thanks for your help.

Mordy Benjamin
Hermosa Beach, California

Subject: Fingering for piano accordion.
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 23:38:44 EST


We have met briefly at Val Kieser's house in Oakland. I have been playing the piano accordion for about 62 years, but I am continually ammazed about how little I really know about it. A few years ago I started taking classical organ lessons at a Community College. After learning something about legato fingering technique, it suddenly struck me that in some cases the fingering could and should be transfered to the accordion, even though I had never seen such fingering! I also realized that the piano accordion is actually much closer to the organ than the the piano. Of course, that is completely obvious to me now, but wasn't earlier. About the only technique that I recall having been taught on the accordion was finger substitution. I recall having seen only one example of "finger glissando" on a piece by Charles Magnante.

One of my earlier Ah-Ha's was discovering the 1-5, 2-4 technique for playing ascending or descending thirds. When I told Valerie, she said that she had figured that out a long time ago. Well, no one ever told me! I suspect that what little fingering is or was taught to most accordionists was based on piano fingering. That may or may not be appropriate. I am now starting to get much more interested in proper fingering for the accordion, but there seems to be very little really good information. It shouldn't be necessary to have to discover all of the techniques on your own.

Also, I note that although the accordion keyboard is similiar to an organ or piano keyboard, it is does have a number of obvious differences. The keys are smaller. You can only use one hand on the keyboard. The angle of the arm and hand are much different. Furthermore, when playing the lower pitched part of the keyboard, the arm is nearly perpendicular the to keyboard, but when playing the higher pitched part, the arm is nearly at 45 degrees! What might be appropriate fingering for one one part of the keyboard may not be appropriate for an octave or two higher.

Do you have any references or suggestions about fingering techniques for the accordion?

Bob Smith
Bay Area Accordion Club
San Francisco Accordion Chamber Ensemble

Dear Bob,

It's good to hear from you and I do remember you from one evening at Val's house.

Thank you for your interesting letter. Your observations are astute and correct! Unfortunately I know of know works which deal with fingering. Perhaps you should begin to write such a reference work!

I will put your letter up on the Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Readers Letters Page.

Best wishes,

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Robert Allan,
Subject: UK enthusiast
Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002

Hi Henry,

I've just found your fasinating Web site via the Reed Organ site. I have been involved with Reed Organs for over 30 years, but rather inactive of late. I am therefore looking for contacts to see what is going on these days. I have a harmonium, an American organ and several concertinas, accordians a fully chromatic German bandoneon and mouth organs. Also quite a lot of literature and photographs from years ago.


Robert J. Allan

United Kingdom

From: -
To: Subject: information
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 10:11:48 +0200

I'll be very grateful if you could help me: I'm in search of some record of "Spur", by Arne Nordeim. Unfortunately there was a cd, by Victoria, with this work, but it is out of production now. Do you have this record? Could you send me a copy, on same cassette or cd? Or, could you tell me where I can find it? Thank You very much.

Best wishes,

Francesco E TIZIANA

From: Pat Missin -
Subject: Beatles again
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 11:45:37 -0400

Hi Henry.,

Regarding my article: What harmonica did John Lennon use to play the intro to "Love Me Do" and other songs by The Beatles?

I finally managed to get a copy of "12-bar Original", the one remaining track mentioned in Greg Panfile's article that I hadn't heard. Greg wrote:

>The song is itself in the key of E, but the playing is extremely
>blue. Solo passages alternate with chordal-accompaniment
>efforts. The predominant placement of G and D notes indicates
>an out of key harmonica, possibly the G chromatica given that
>we've seen how comfortable Lennon was with that instrument

I'm not surprised he had trouble figuring out the key of harmonica used, as there is no harmonica on this piece at all! There IS a melodica, which I assume is what he was hearing.

This means that out of the 18 songs mentioned in this article, he is correct about the choice of harmonica and key six times, sort of half-right four times, makes no suggestion about two of them and is plain wrong six times. Not a great success rate, especially if you add to that some other comments in the article which are either wrong or questionable.

Anyway, whilst doing a quick web search on the Beatles and the melodica, I found several references to a clip of film from their first US tour which shows John Lennon playing one. This and their usage of the instrument on"12-bar Original" might be worth mentioning as a footnote to your article on The Beatles and free reed instruments.

All the best,


From: "Breathing Media Lab." -
Subject: On AIR
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 11:32:49 +0900

Dear Henry,

How are you? Autumn has come in Japan.

So, I inform that, I talk about Sho in the international program of NHK Radio Nippon will be ON AIR on 10/18-20. I could not find real tittle in your language but it means like "Japanese Traditional Music World".(You can chose from several languages ) Please check the site below and select your language then find it.

I can't air check this program of your language. If it's possible, please record and keep it.

Another news, I will be invited as a resident artist of "The Silk Road Project" directed by Yo-Yo MA in this winter. I will stay in N.Y and west coast during this term.

Also, I got several prizes in few years. If you still keep my bio on the web, I would like to change some. Please tell me.


Tamami Tono

Subject: Re: Thanks!
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 14:14:49 -0700

Hi Henry,

I mailed off the order form today for two of your "California Recital" CDs. The program sounds good!

I graduated from Whitman College back in 1975 with a music degree in accordion performance under my longtime instructor Horace Lazzari.

My accordion performance major at Whitman years ago was kind of a special one-time occurrence. I took the regular music curriculum and studied with Horace Lazzari on the side as I always had, giving a full-length recital my senior year. I was grateful that the music faculty was open-minded enough to do that, but they knew I was serious and that Horace had good credentials. When I'd register each semester my advisor listed my applied music credits as "organ" so they didn't have to do any explaining. It's the same arrangement that former world champion Diane Schmidt had with her instructor Joe Spano at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma several years before.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your CD arriving. Take care,

Jim Rice
Walla Walla, Washington

From: Bernie Conlon
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 8:08 AM
Subject: Flutinas

Dear Professor Doktorski,

I have only recently foound your website, and have found some extremely interesting articles.

I am a professional piano accordionist (concert artist, teacher, busker, you name it-If it concerns accordions, I try and get involved) from Melbourne Australia. I also play a Wheatstone concertina (1859) English system, a Lachernal (1870) Anglo, and various models of button accordions in some of my concerts.

I have recently acquired a Flutina, (see attachment) in very good working condition, and have been trying to find out a little of its history. You have been suggested as an authority on these instruments, so hence this email. I would be most greatful if you could give me some idea of its age, value, and origin. I'd also like to have any suggestions as to the type of music originally performed on these instruments. I usually demonstrate the concertinas with some of the original music.

To add to my collection I have also acquired an AA Bandoneon, which I am also hoping to use in concert when I have mastered it.

Re the attachment,- the rainbow colours in the bellows are a mystery, and do not appear on the instrument. The bellows, in fact everything except one of the mother of pearl buttons are original. The sound it emits is more like the concertinas than an accordion.

I look forward to hearing from you, and please contact me if you venture down under.

Yours Accordionally,

Bernadette Conlon

Subject: The Classical Free-Reed, Inc - Nordheim's Concerto
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002

Dear Mr. Doktorski,

I am looking for the VICTORIA label CD - # VCD 19050 - which includes the recording of ARNE NORDHEIM"S Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra entitled "SPUR" with Mogens Ellegaard as soloist and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Per Dreier . I wonder if you can help me with any information that could lead me to obtaining a copy of this CD .

Once again regards from Caracas, Venezuela,

Rafael Giner

Dear Rafael Giner,

Sorry I cannot help you. Readers? Perhaps you might be able to provide some information.

Best wishes,

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Gil Frossard
Subject: solotarjow
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 22:41:00 +0200

Hello Mr. Doktorski,

Here is the address of the site in memory of Vladislav Zolotarev: I thank you for advance for the complements of information

The best greetings

Gil Frossard
Bulle, Switzerland

Subject: Daumier caption
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002

Dear Mr. Doktorski,

I have just now found your web site and am delighted that it is there! The little that I have read so far is excellent.

I am a musical instrument expert and appraiser (sole consultant to Sotheby's in the US) and am frequently asked to comment on, appraise or sell people's accordions. Frankly, in the last 25 years, I have come up with little to tell them. Should you have any knowledge of how I should advise people who wish to market an old accordion, please let me know.

Finally a little constructive criticism; your translation -- "Accordion says bellows to music" -- of the caption to the Daumier cartoon doesn't convey the joke. It is a play on words which could be translated but not perfectly. "Soufflet" does mean "bellows" but it is just as commonly used to mean "affront, outrage, humiliation, slap in the face". The only word in English that combines, to some extent all of these plus a few other negative connotations is "blow" as in "blow to the head, to come to blows, a blow to his ego, he's blowing hot air, its going to blow!", etc.... and of course bellows do, in fact, blow. Also the French use "dit" the way we sometimes use "called" and to indicate nicknames and monikers. Thus instead of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, they would write Louis Armstrong dit Satchmo. So my vote for translating the caption goes to either...

THE ACCORDION: "A Blow to Music"



Best regards

Charles Rudig

Subject: Midi melodica
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2002 17:18:53 -0400

A while back, someone was asking about a melodica-type midi controller. I said I'd never heard of one, but that it would be a great idea. Well, apparently Suzuki also thought it was a great idea and they now have the Midi Melodion SMW1000. It doesn't seem to be available from the US distributors yet, but there is a picture of it here:

All the best,

-- Pat.

Subject: a couple of questions from a Bulgarian accordionist...
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2002 09:37:05 +0000

Dear Mr. Doktorski,

My name is Zvezdomir Gerov and I play the accordion for 14 years.I was very interested when I saw your name and your web page in the net.I am interested in do you have any courses of study in an American university and if so,in which one and do you provide scholarships for international students?I am 19 and in a month a graduated the Music School of Plovdiv,Bulgaria with accordion performance.Now I am applying as a freshman in the Academy of Music and Dance Art.I would like to continue my higher education at some good American university.Can you help me in that?Thank you in advance.


Zvezdomir Gerov

Dear Zvezdomir,

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there are no more U.S. colleges which offer degrees in accordion. I may teach at the City Music Center of Duquesne University, but there is no degree involved and certainly no scholarships. However, Duquesne University has a folk ensemble, Tamburitzans, which offers scholarships. See

Best wishes,

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: re dagmar hans bauer
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 23:05:09 -0400

Dear Sir,

I am looking to make contact with Dagmar Hans Bauer. During research over Google, looking for information on "freereeds" (Tempo Trend Studios, victoria, BC). I am having a forgettable experience with Tempo Trend, they have $2900. of my money and will not refund it.

I am looking for additional people who have had similar experiences with Tempo Trend. During my research I found (so it seems) that Dagmar is warning Ralph Stricker to beware of Tempo Trend!! I have contacted the law inforcement agencies in Canada, the FBI, their IFCC dept.( internet fraud complaint centre) and the attorney generals office in Raleigh, NC

I would appreciate it very much if you could supply me with Dagmar's ( male-female?) e-mail address or telephone number, or give my e-mail information to Dagmar.


Joseph Bair
Durham, North Carolina

Dear Joseph Bair,

I will send you Ralph Stricker's phone number. That's all the leads I can give you. Good luck.

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Gagaku Ensemble/URGENT
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002

Dear Henry,

I've seen a wonderful image on your website of a Gagaku Ensemble (photo taken by Robert Garfias). Could you please let me know how I can contact the photographer and and also how I can get hold of some of the instruments such as a sho and a biwa.

We are publishing a feature on the Gagaku Ensemble in the September 2002 issue of BBC Music Magazine. I look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes

Sunita Sharma-Gibson, Picture Editor
BBC Music Magazine,

You can contact Robert Garfias through his webpage at .

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Sheng
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 10:49:56 -0700


I am interested in buying one of the CDs at your on-line gift store: Sheng Materpieces Performed by Sheng Masters. I just wanted to verify that you have that CD in stock before I mailed my check.

Your web site is wonderful. I especially enjoyed your information on Asian Free-Reed Instruments .I am considering purchasing sheng, but I am concerned about the lack of instructional materials. I am a semi-professional musician, playing flute, cello, and other instruments.

A Chinese musician in San Francisco (Hong Wang of the group Melody of China) said that I could probably pick it up on my own without needing much instruction. Anyway, I have been searching for information and music on the sheng to help me make my decision. The CD you offer looks like what I am searching for. I have attached a JPG image of the sheng that Mr. Wang is selling. He carries various shengs, but the one in the picture is a 21 pipe instrumen tthat he says is a professional-quality instrument. His price is $350. If you have any opinions, I would like to hear from you. Thanks again for the great web site.


Dear Marshall,

Thank you for your kind words about our website. The Yellow River Sheng CD we have in stock. Shengmasters is sent directly to you from our Chinese distributor. That sheng looks like a good instrument to me, but who am I to know, as I have never played one!

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Accordion question from Sweden
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 20:17:52 +0200

Hi Henry!

I hope you can help me?! Recently I bought a cassette recorded by Karl Pukara and Iona Reed. The tape is "Accordion Duo On Tour". I think that one piece is a fantastic arrangement and now I would like to bye it from Iona Reed, if she still have the arrangement. The arrangement I would like to have is "Pouta Pilvia" (Billow Clouds, Blue Sky) - Unto Jutila (Finland). Do you know how to contact Iona Reed. Adress or e-mail?

Accordion Greetings from Sweden

Lennart Sidén

Looking forward to the tapes of the music of Guido Deiro.

Dear Lennart,

I do not know how to contact Iona Reed, but Tania Lukic-Marx reviewed the cassette on Accordions Worldwide at which stated the cassette was supplied by Karl Pukara and Iona Reed. Perhaps Tania can help you. Her email address is listed at


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Chaikin's Concerto
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002


Browing through your webpage, I came about a reader's letter ( Feb 14, 2002 ) asking about a CD of Chaikin's Concerto for Accordion & Orchestra. You may want to know that THERE IS indeed a COMPLETE version of the concerto - MONITOR MCD 71515, Virtuosi of the Accordion,Balalaika and Domra - you may want to take a look at:

Regards from Caracas, Venezuela


P.S. Congratulations on your webpage, it's a great way of interchanging information - I contacted your reader as well !!

Subject: khaen repair?
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 21:49:39 -0500

I've had a khaen baet for years, but I have not played it in a few years. I tried to play it today, but now all (or many) of the notes sound when the holes are uncovered, if I don't blow hard enough. I don't have this problem with the inhales. Does anyone know how to fix this problem?

Also, does anyone have any experience tuning these so that at least some of the notes are in tune with our scales? In mine, everything is just sharp enough to be noticable out of tune with the other instruments. Thanks!

Alexander C Jones
Oak Park, Illinois

Sounds like you need to find a khaen player. Try Randy Raine-Reusch and Christopher Adler at and


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Re: khaen repair?
Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 09:39:54 -0500

Hi Henry.

Although I don't really claim to be an expert on khaen repair, I have worked on my own instruments and may be able to offer some advice.

Reeds sounding when you blow softly, even with the holes uncovered is related to the adjustment of the reeds. This usually happens more with one direction of breath than with the other, as this poster describes. The problem is that the reeds are very slightly out of alignment (I am told that this can happen if the instrument is left unplayed for along time, particularly if the instrument is stored horizontally - I have been advised that khaens should be stored in an upright position when not being used). They should lie perfectly in the same plane as the surrounding piece of metal. By warming the kissoot (the black wax that holds the pipes in place - it becomes very pliable when you warm it; it also becomes quite sticky, but does not stick to anything that is damp, so when replacing it you can either wet your fingers, or use a damp stick to firm it back in place) then gently pushing each pipe out, you can take a look at the reeds. If they are slightly raised from the reedplate, you can very gently push them level. If they lie slightly inside the pipe, things are a little more complicated. You can take off the reed and its surrounding plate, set the reed so that it is level, then remount it, or alternatively you may be able to hook under the edge of the reed with something like a very fine needle (or if you have a friendly dentist, as them if they have any single sided interproximal strips they can give you), lift it gently, then slip a very fine shim (perhaps a razor blade, or the thinnest in a set of automobile feeler gauges) under the reed and gradually flex it until it lies level with the surrounding metal. You can check the response by covering the finger hole and placing your mouth directly over the reed. When it is properly adjusted, it should play equally well with both blowing and drawing and there should be no pitch difference between the two breath directions.

Be warned - this is not for the faint of heart! It is very, VERY easy to damage a reed permanently if you are not careful. I work on harmonicas for a living and they are delicate enough, but khaen reeds make harmonica reeds look big and clumsy! An ideal situation would be to have one of the cheap tourist khaens for practising this stuff, before risking your favorite instrument.

Lowering the pitch of the notes is somewhat easier. There are tuning slots cut into each pipe. To lower the pitch of the note simply add a little blob of something (kissoot is ideal, but modelling clay, beeswax, etc. are all fine substitutes) to the end of the tuning slot nearest the reed. This increases the speaking length of the pipe and will lower the pitch slightly. I hope this is helpful.

All the best, Pat Missin

Subject: Premiere of work featuring the accordion
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002


Congregation B'nai Amoonah in St. Louis, MO, hosted the world premiere of Fort Worth composer Aaron Rabushka's Czajczeniecki Frejlach. The St. Louis Jewish Music Circle (JMC) presented this work as part of its Lag ba-Omer concert dedicated to the memory of the late Cantor Edward Fogel. The rather unusual instrumental ensemble for this work (clarinet, saxophone, accordion, violin, mandolin, string bass) was assembled and prepared by JMC member and fellow composer Fred Blumenthal.

Aaron J. Rabushka

Subject: Anatomic Safari
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 15:57:54 +0100


I don't know if your Readers Letters are still active, but I found your website while (re)searching for Mogens Ellegaard and the piece Anatomic Safari by Per Norgard. Around thirty years ago Mogens Ellegaard featured on a BBC Radio 3 programme in the UK, playing a number of pieces including Anatomic Safari. A friend of mine recorded the programme on a reel to reel tape machine he had at the time, and we both derived a lot of pleasure from it. Sadly, he no longer has either the original tape - maybe decayed by now in any case - or the equipment to play it on. What I want to know - and maybe you or one of your subscribers can help - is whether there is a recording of this piece, whether by Ellegaard or someone else, currently available (preferably on CD) and how I could get one for my friend, as I know he would be overjoyed to be able to hear it again.

Best wishes

Ray Moye

I know of no recordings, but perhaps one of our readers can help.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Professional Tango arrangements
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002


Subject: Bandoneon
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 22:47:04 +0200

Dear Mr. Doktorski,

do you have addresses who fabricate bandoneons and where I can buy a bandoneon ? Many thanks !

Sincerely yours

Hermann Joseph Soentgerath

Dear Sir,

This is not something which we keep track of. Perhaps you might visit Christian Mensing's website at who lists about 8 builders of bandoneons.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: My name
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 11:28:03 +0200

Dear Classical Free Reed

My name is Francesco Palazzo. I am a Classical Accordionist, Performer and Professor at Conservatory of Music of Bari (Italy). I Have a web-site : Could you insert my name into the Performer list and Colleges Directory, please?

My address is :

Francesco Palazzo,
via Crisanzio 162/a
70123 Bari-Italy
tel.fax +39/80/5216401
e-mail :

Thank You, I remain.

Francesco Palazzo
Bari, Italy

From: David Nestander
Subject: How wonderful to see an accordion player!
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 21:14:16 -0600

Dear Sir:

I came across your most interesting website, etc. via the review you gave on Mr. Gellerman's book "The American Reed Organ" While I do not yet have the new version of the book (have had the lst ed. for years), I plan to get it soon. So I wanted to read up about it and see what was new, etc. From your review, I can tell there is much more to the newer edition. You must also be interested in free reed research.

I have been a member of ROS since practically the starting date of 1981. My father was an advid organ restorer from my high-school days and that's how we started The Organique around 1956 in Ludington, Michigan. I still do organ work in my recently moved location from Galesburg, Il. to a very small town of Altona, Il on U.S #34. I do have a small website of: which I would like to develop much further and list more of the organs I have for sale, ones I have repaired as well as more antique items for sale from the shop. Since using the computer is rather new for me (only 2 years), I have to grope my way around in the dark, so to speak.

I am also a piano player but not as advanced as you must be. Since I took piano and organ lessons starting at age 8, it was rather interesting to study the different touch techniques at that early age regarding pianos and organs. It was wonderful to have my future sister-in-law be my first music teacher at my father's Lutheran church in Chicago, Illinois. It was during my family's stay in Chicago that my father worked on a marvelous project that few other people can say they did. He built a piano-accordion as he called it from scatch, insides, case and all. He even made up the keys, but of course procured the reeds from an accordion factory there. He did innovate some construction things one being a "piggy-back" system for the reed cells. Not sure what all that was but I do still have the wonderful accordion. After Dad passed away in 1971, I did attempt to learn how to play it. Dad had played the accordion since college days as I recall. He certainly could play it very well even up to advancing age. Wish I had taken an interest in it while he was alive.

So that in a nutshell brings up reed organs, accordions, and me to boot. Would enjoy hearing from you. It would be fun to relearn how to play the bass section of the accordion and since it is a very large instrument, it is rather difficult to play I think. I do have pictures of it around. It would be an honor to have you come and play it and you would be most welcomed here.

David Nestander
Altona, Illinois

From: " Customercare"
Subject: Regarding
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 12:36:41 +0530

Dear Sir,

We are Exporters of Indian Musical Instruments. I visited your site, good work. May I know If our site can be included in the Page. If yes, Here is the Title and Description: Harmonium Instruments: Buy Quality Harmonium from the Registered Exporters of India. And the Link is

. Thanks,


Subject: Inquiries
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 18:30:06 -0700

Hi Henry

I wrote to you a few years ago. I am an accordionist in Vancouver, Canada. My mentor is Joe Morelli, a very fine older accordionist. I have a few questions that I would appreciate your response

1) I am very interested in acquiring both your Deiro recording and your Classical Accordion book. Can you please let me know release dates and prices?

2) Do you know of any surveys on CD similar to your Guido Deiro survey of other composer/arrangers (e.g. Magnante, Frosini, Pietro Deiro?)

3) I play in a Klezmer band and I find that for functions (weddings) I have to perform the role of a keyboard. Many current hits are very heavily synthesized and I'm called on by band members to play horn patches, strings etc. This makes me wonder about buying a reedless accordion. I have been an acoustic player all my life. My instrument of choice is a Sonola SS20. But I have to admit that for weddings I would enjoy a 13 lb. instrument.

Do you have any experience with these? Is there a particular model you'd recommend?

I appreciate your responding to these questions


Moshe Renert

Hello Moshe,

Good to hear from you and please convey my best wishes to Joe Morelli.

My book just might be finally published in a year or two, but in the meantime I have sold a few copies of the manuscript for $35. See for more info.

I'll let you know when the Guido CD is finished. At this rate, it will be a few years! But I hope I can finish it this year.

I can't think of any other accordionist besides Luigi Aparetti who has recorded an album of Frosini music. Now that I think about it, there were several LPs released in the 80s of Frosini tunes by Swedish accordionists. You know about the Frosini CD released by Tom Collins? I wrote a review on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website.

I don't know anything about MIDI accordions. The closest thing I've ever played was a Cordavox when I played with a wedding reception sextet -- The Ernie Kuhn Orchestra of South River, New Jersey -- in 1973-74 at the age of 17.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Rite of Spring
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2002


I'm nearly positive that I've heard an arrangement of the Rite of Spring for two accordions - are you aware of this arrangement/recording, and how I might be able to obtain it?


Matt Barlow

Hello Matt,

Five or so years ago on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website Gregory Vozar reviewed a 1994 CD on the Simax label (Simax PSC 1096) of Norway, of the accordion duo Geir Draugsvoll and James Crabb titled Classical Accordion in which they performed Stavinsky's Petrouchka. I remember playing this CD for the chairman of the Duquesne University School of Music Graduate Department, as well as a fellow-graduate student who was writing a thesis on Stravinsky. They both loved it.

This same recording was re-released on another CD, Accordion Duos, on EMI Records (CDZ 569705 2 ).

Recently I received a brand new 2001 CD on the Banco de sonido label (BS 025 CD) by Iñigo Aizpiolea and Iñaki Alberdi which includes Stavinsky's Petrouchka. Alberdi's CD can be ordered from his website at I imagine you can order the Draugsvoll/Crabb recording at any record store.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Jewish sheet music
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 11:43:33 -0600

Dear Sir,

I am very interested in Jewish sheet music. I am 53 years old and I have played the accordion since I was a small boy... The people at the synagogue, that I attend, want me to play my accordion at Shabbat services, so I will need to try to find some sheet music of Religious Jewish songs.... Songs like Ein Keiloheinu, Shalom Aleichem, Lecha Dodi, etc.. Thank you very much.


Lee Howard

Dear Lee,

Elsie M. Bennett compiled an anthology titled "Hebrew and Jewish Songs and Dances, Vol. 1" which was published by Pietro Deiro Publications in 1951. There are 36 songs in the book. Most are for general occasions, such as dances, folk songs, marches, but there are some songs for holy days and festivals such as as A'Tzey Zeytim Omdim, Hanukah, Oy Hanukah, Kol Nidre, Hevenu sholom A'Leychem, Eyliyohu Hanovi, A'Don Olom, Eli Eli, Eyn Keyloheynu, Boruch Eloheynu, Ovinu Malkeynu, etc.

I received the book as a gift from Elsie when I met her in New York at an accordion convention five years ago. For all I know, the book may still be in print. Deffner Publishing bought out the rights to Pietro Deiro Publications. You can contact Deffner at If that doesn't work, talk to New York City Klezmer accordionist, Sy Kushner. I don't have a current email address, but I'm sure you can find it on the web.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Re: Jewish sheet music
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 17:38:40 -0600

Dear Henry,

I mailed Deffner, but no answer yet... I will also contact Sy Kushner ... Thanks again.. Your kindness in helping me out shows that accordion players are best people in the music business... Well that's my opinion...



Subject: Bandoneon
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 21:02:32 -0600


I found your web site while trying to find some information about a very old bandoneon that I purchased at an auction several years ago. Does anyone have any knowledge of a company called Tebeco which manufactured instruments in Germany? The bandoneon appears to be somewhat primitive to me, but I know virtually nothing about them.

A Star of David appears on each of the steel reeds. This bandoneon has 8 buttons and 21 keys which are shaped somewhat like hammers in a piano. Each button has Mother of Pearl discs screwed to the surface.

I would be interested if anyone has any information regarding when this company was doing business in Germany. I would love to know when this bandoneon was made.


Rhonda Schmid

Dear Rhonda,

I cannot answer your questions but you might find a bandoneon builder who can help you on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Links page.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 19:40:24 -0800


I am looking for a copy of "Like A Water Buffalo" by Toru Takematsu I believe. So far I have had no luck. Would you by any chance know of this piece and where I might buy it?

Thank you.

Vladimir Konik

Dear Vladimir,

I have not heard of "Like A Water Buffalo" by Toru Takematsu. Perhaps you mean "Like A Water Buffalo" by Yuji Takahashi (1985)? There are three recordings of this piece in The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. library (Friedrich Lips, Geir Draugsvoll and Angel Luis Castano) but none of the CD booklet notes mention a publisher. According to Toru Katou it has not been published. I suggest you write to the three performers personally. I believe each has his own website.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 09:08:24 EST

Hello Henry,

I saw the article about Roy Harris on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website. Just want to let you know that I performed the Roy Harris Theme and Variations for Accordion and Orchestra on June 28 and 29 1984 at Summer of Music on the Hudson, a music festival that is dubbed "New York's Tanglewood". It was in Tarrytown NY and the orchestra was the Lindhurst Tarrytown Symphony. The conductor was Steven Simon, who's now in Washington D.C. On the same program was the world premiere of my Tarrytown Concerto for Accordion, Violin and Orchestra. The violinist was Stan Kurtis, one of the original members of The Tango Project.

Faithe Deffner was present at the second performance and it was Stan Darrow who actually sold me a xerox copy of the score(knowing about the performances) before I received it from the publisher. I love the Harris work. I'm a great Harris Fan. My first composition teacher,Lotta Hertlein, at Neupauer Conservatory was a Harris protege and disciple.

I thought you should know this pending your most recent piece on Harris. It may be the subject of my next newsletter. I composed a tribute to Harris in 1988 which I titled Symphony No 3(Harris)---it was a performance piece that I performed the same year in New York. Lotta Hertlein showed up "out of the blue" for the performance. I hadn't seen her in 25 years. She had moved to Puerto Rico(Harris taught there)and just happened to be visiting NY when she saw the listing in the paper. I wore a Dump Truck on my head during the performance. More on that later.

All the best,

Bill Schimmel

Subject: romantic harmonica bonfiglio
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 01:24:24 -0600

I am very interested in the Robert Bonfiglio performances, and I am several CDs, but I not find in the usual Bonfiglio Discography the CD entitled Romantic Harmo- nica with - I suppose - the recordings: Suave Melodía, We´ve Only Just Begun, Aways on My Mind, Unchained Melody, etc. I should be very grateful your informa- tion in this respect for to purchase. Thank you in advance for your attention.


Ramon Armengol.
Terrassa, Spain.

I suggest you visit Robert Bonfiglio's website which can be found on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Performer's Directory page.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Manfred Frank
Subject: Yuri Shishkin

Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 10:25:37 +0100

Thanks for the very nice review of Yuri Shishkin's CD Romantic Bayan. As You probably know I am helping Yuri to get his career going in the West. In the past this has not been too successful. The CD was a try, but the label is not very strong so I am now trying to get this started again.

Can you tell me what this "The Classical Free-Reed, Inc." is all about? I checked on your website and found all kinds of addresses of schools for acccordeon on there. Are these special schools?

Also for possible appearances of Yuri in the USA can You tell me a booking agent for concerts of this kind? I have a few of these first CDs left and would like to use them for potential concert promoters possibly in colleges etc. I will send one to You as well.

Also I have a CD of Yuri with two pieces he is playing with a full philharmonic orchestra. It was made during rehearsals for a concert and there is all kinds of background noises on it. But it shows pretty good how strong Yuri stands when playing even with a big orchestra. I would like to present this to conductors who would be interested to play with Yuri...

Let me know if You can help me with answers to these questions. I send best regards

Manfred Frank
abc management

Hello Manfred,

"The Classical Free-Reed, Inc." is a nonprofit organization I incorporated several years ago to promote the advancement of the free-reed instruments in classical music. It exists essentially on the internet as an educational resource for free-reed performers; we have a roster of performers and colleges which offer a degree in accordion, as well as articles on history, performers and reviews.

As far as helping to find Yuri a concert agency here in the US, there is simply little market for concert accordionists here. There are only a handful of classical accordion performers here who have played with orchestras and most of us can count the number of times we've done this on the fingers of one hand. There is not enough market for them to do this work full time. Most must teach or play parties. I make most of my living as a church organist and choir director, otherwise I would also be playing classical accordion.

Only one performer to my knowledge in the Americas plays classical accordion fulltime: Joseph Petric of Canada. I suggest you visit his website (see "The Classical Free-Reed, Inc." Performer's Directory) and see who is his manager. Perhaps Petric's manager would like to include Yuri in his roster of artists. Peter Soave of Detroit also performs with symphony orchestras more-or-less regularly. You might also contact his manager.

You might also have luck contacting Joseph Pastore, the manager of Robert Bonfiglio. Bonfiglio (a mouth organist) makes his living by playing the Villa-Lobos harmonica concerto with orchestras. Bonfiglio's website is also listed in our "Performer's Directory."

There are several accordion clubs in the USA, but usually they do not pay performers to play, as they do not have money. Still, this might be helpful as Yuri could make some money selling CDs at concerts. For a listing go to In San Francisco, contact Lou Soper, who organizes accordion recitals (and pays the performers!) at I will most likely be performing there in July.

I noticed an advertisement in the American Guild of Organists Magazine that Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists is now representing a British violinist and Russian button-accordionist duo called Mazaika which specializes in "classical and gypsy showpieces, folk music and tango interspersed with operatic arias and songs from around the world." See

Hope this wasn't too disappointing!


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Manfred Frank
Subject: Re: Yuri Shishkin
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 19:41:32 +0100

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! I appreciate all the info You sent! If I remember correctly Your address is on Your website. I will send You both CDs of Yuri, the one we are selling and the one with the orchestra.

I surely hope to be able and meet you some day. I am helping Yuri for the time being. He is a very talented musician and also a guy who has a story to tell... My main job is also in the music industry, but more on the popular music. I run a ground transportation service for bands such as Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Roger Water, Rod Stewart, etc. ... but like classical music a lot better and hope to be able and get Yuri to a level where he and I can make a living... and perhaps there will be more room then for more...

I will keep You posted on further developments and thank You again for Your help!



Subject: reed organ search
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 22:03:29 EST

we would appreciate any information you could give us regarding a Reed Organ we have it was made by the Beckwith Organ Company - Chicago. The card which was in the top of the organ states it dates back to the 1700's French Empire ( 1804 - 1815) It has Napoleon Designs (Lions' head) It is approximately 48" high. Do you know anything about this organ. We have been unsuccessful in locating info. on this.


gail arnold

Try - the Reed Organ Society.

Subject: accordions
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 13:39:17 +0800

Dear Sir,
We are glad to know you and introduce ourselves by internet. We are a leading exporter and manufacturer of accordions in China. Our brand is YINGJIE and SHENTONG(child accordion).All our products are always exporting to USA and Europe. If you are interested in our products, please view our Web Site

Best Regards,

Chen Daolong
Sale Manager of Yangzhong Accordion Plant & Yangzhong Foreign Trade Corp.
No.32 South Jiangzhou Road Yangzhong,
212200 Jiangsu,China
Tel: 0086-511-8321326/8324938
Fax: 0086-511-8325129

From: Iñaki Alberdi at
Subject: Iñaki Alberdi
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 10:47:34 +0100

Dear Henry Doktorski,

I have read some of your works in internet, and I apreciate very much your work.

I would like to send you information about the new pieces which I play in Spain, and expecially a new comissioned works of ANAKI (piano: Ananda Sukarlan, accor.: Iñaki Alberdi). We are playing about 30 new pieces during a year with this new and exciting combination, with collaboration of composers from New Zeland to Canada. We hope this combination is going to give a big repertory to the accordion world during the next years. Finally I would like to send you my last cd especially for one piece called "Itzal" of Jesus Torres. I hope this piece it would be included in the repertory of best pieces for accordion. Thank you very much for your confidance. I invite you and readers of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. to visit my website at

Best wishes.

Iñaki Alberdi

From: Anthony Grieco
Subject: Classical Free-Reed question on free-bass accordion
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 13:48:01 -0500

Dear Henry:

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. is an extraordinary contribution to discourse on free-reed instruments. Congratulations and my thanks.

I would appreciate your comments on one question: With the development of free-bass playing that we have seen over the last 60-70 years, how is it that the stradella system remains such a constant, even and most strangely, in combination with free-bass systems? It seems clear to me that the free-bass can stand alone and with much repertory it is regarded as the primary left hand manual. Combinations are heavy and complicated, and in my opinion, the stradella is just in the way. I am open to varying opinions, of course, and would appreciate your perspective.


Tony Grieco

Hi Tony,

In my opinion, the accordion is a folk instrument. It was created a folk instrument and after reinforcement of close to two centuries use, it is still regarded primarily as a folk instrument, even by classical composers, who, for the most part, use it in their orchestral compositions to create a "folk" atmosphere.

The solo repertoire for the piano-accordion, for the most part created between 1910 and 1940 and which today -- many, many decades later -- is still regarded by the vast majority of accordionists as the standard repertoire (Deiro, Frosini & Magnante), was written for the stradella accordion. Magnante himself scoffed at the free-bass accordion.

Mort Herold, the classical accordionist who performed the first Galla-Rini concerto with the Chicago Symphony in 1947, wrote "The fact remains that most people who like the accordion don't like classical music, and most people who like classical music don't like the accordion. Admittedly, a tough nut to crack! . . . It vexes me that other instruments such as the saxophone, guitar and harmonica now enjoy classical acceptance and popularity, while the lonely accordion still struggles for any semblance of its deserved recognition. But such recognition will not, I fear, ever become a reality while ethnic polkas and other 'accordionistic' puffery continue to satisfy the musical tastes of most people. Such music, of course, is fine for its genre, but it will never contribute to the new image of the accordion as an instrument of musical substance. Why spend a lifetime eating only candy when there is also T-bone steak and Dom Perignon?"

Of course, accordionists who wish to play classical music must learn the free-bass manual, but they are a small minority. In Europe there are many classically trained accordionists, but in the United States, there are very few, as they cannot make a living playing classical music. I make 90% of my living working as a church organist and choir director. The accordion is, regrettably, just a part-time career for me. That's because I choose not to play the normal venues for accordionists: background music at beer gardens, polka dances, birthday parties, nightclubs, etc. I prefer to play concerts, or at least religious services, where the atmosphere is more serious.

Even a trained classical accordionist like William Schimmel, who has played many times with symphony orchestras, must also play private parties to make a living. He sees a built-in ironic duality in the accordion: it's simultaneously hip and square, sophisticated and vulgar. Schimmel is comfortable with this duality. He thrives on it.

Back to the stradella left-hand system: if a composer (in America) decides to include accordion in a composition -- unless he is specifically commissioned to write a piece for free-bass accordion -- he will probably write for the stradella accordion, as he wants to have his piece performed as often as possible. Since there are so few accordionists in the Americas who play free-bass accordion proficiently, he must write for stradella.

Does this provide any clues toward the answer of your question?


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Anthony Grieco
Subject: Re: Classical Free-Reed question on free-bass accordion
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 21:36:41 -0500


Thank you for your generous and thoughtful reply to my question. I keep thinking that there is some hidden value in the stradella system that I have missed all my life. I was impatient with it even as a kid. Once I saw the Giulietti 5-row chromatic it was all over for me. Everything you say about the accordion's place and the wider public perception fit my own experience. I have been in close contact with Mort over the years and am very familiar with his experiments with free-bass systems. He is very open minded and is much more accepting of stradella along with free-bass than I am.

I have read the various exchanges in Classical Free-Reed re: back problems and share the opinion that large, heavy accordions can cause problems. However, smart handling is a big part of that equation, so I hesitate to suggest that big instruments, in and of themselves, are dangerous. Even my large Giulietti is fine when in a good stable playing position. My son is a serious cyclist and has helped me see the question of fit with the accordion in terms of the bicycle. This suggests that how a particular instrument fits the player is the first consideration with the specifics of range and reed combinations as secondary. Of course, if the instrument is more simply constructed then a wider range of manageable choices becomes available.

While I agree about the accordion's folk heritage I disagree that the stradella system is the inevitable articulation of the accordion's voice. Other instruments have had folk heritage and have moved beyond that without denying or compromising that heritage in any way. The flamenco guitar is my favorite example for this. Clearly a folk heritage, but the instrument itself is literally the same as the classical instrument in terms of it's musical capacity. (Guitar, classical & flamenco, and composition were the focus of my M.A.)

Again, thank you for your time and trouble. Your work in the church must keep you very busy, so I appreciate your thoughtful reply.



Hi Tony,

I don't mind your letters at all. I enjoyed them so much I put them up on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Readers Letters page.

I stopped playing accordion at the age of 14, partly because I couldn't play classical music as written on it. So I learned the piano. Years later, I discovered the free-bass system and picked up accordion again.

Yes, the guitar has transcended its folk culture, but so has the accordion (I've got probably over 200 classical accordion CDs), but the problem is, most people don't know it! They think the accordion is still a folk instrument.

It doesn't help that the free-bass system is much harder to play than that stradella oom-pah-pah! one reason so few accordionists bother to learn it.

I can sight read a four-voice Bach fugue on the piano (at a slow tempo) but even to play a two-voice Bach invention on accordion, I have to spend a painfully long time just trying to figure out the most efficient fingering for the left-hand!

Of course, part of the problem is my antiquated quint-system. Chromatic free-bass is much better.

Best wishes in your endeavors!


Subject: "Blue Island Blues" by Pietro Frosini
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 20:47:40 EST


I found your review of Frosini's biography on the web, and confess to being enormously intimidated by the fact that the book is in Swedish. However, if I might ask you the silliest question you will receive this year, by any chance do you know if a piece of his entitled "Blue Island Blues" has any connection to the city of Blue Island, Illinois? I live in Blue Island, and recently bought the accordion sheet music off of eBay just because of the title. Blue Island used to be the largest town South of Chicago, and it is not impossible that Frosini played here on a vaudeville tour. I realize that it is more likely that he was merely thinking of some imaginary tropical island when he wrote this, but I thought I would take a long shot and ask.

Thank you.

Tom DeLorey
Blue Island, Illinois

Dear Tom,

Sounds like a valid hypothesis. Guido Deiro (one of Frosini's contemporaries) wrote a piece called Breitenbush March, named after the Breitenbush hot springs in Oregon, which he liked to visit.

Perhaps one of Frosini's last living students, Luigi Appareti (see, might be able to assist you. I do not know his address, but Joe Natoli at JANPress publications might know. Please keep me informed of further developments.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Marko Obren Petricic
Subject: bayan literature
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 14:13:16 -0500 (EST)

Dear Henry,

My name is Marko Petricic and I am a Doctoral student at Indiana University majoring in organ performance. I wrote to you once a while ago, and you added me to the directory of the accordion/bayan performers (thanks again).

I am at the beginning of doing research for my dissertation and have chosen a very interesting topic. It will be a case study of certain organ pieces that are transcribed for the bayan (or played directly from organ score), more specifically the impact that an organ piece has when performed on the bayan.

It will be a very detailed study of technical problems encountered as well as the overall effects of sound and the projection of the works on both instruments.

If you could give me some advice as to where to look for literature about the bayan repertoire, construction, transcriptions, anything that would be a scholarly publication about the instrument would help. I will order "the Art of Bayan Playing" by F. Lips, and have checked some general sources such as New Grove, Britanica, etc. If you could recommned some personal contacts that would be great as well. Thanks very much!


Marko Petricic

Dear Marko,

Sounds like an interesting topic! Ordering the Lips book is an excellent start. I cannot think of any other literature at the moment. But please be sure to contact these bayan players or teachers who may be able to assist you:

Lars Dyremose:
Kevin Friedrich:
Friedrich Lips, c/o Dr. Herbert Scheibenrief:
Peter Soave:
Joan Sommers:

In fact, it wouldn't hurt to go through The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Performers Directory Page and contact each of the bayan players listed. Please let me know when your dissertation is finished.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: classcial free-reed
date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 09:36:56 +0100


A quick question : IS THERE AN AVAILABLE CD WITH N.Tschaikin's concerto for accordion and orchestra ? Thanks for your answer !

Best regards from Paris, France


Dear Michel,

To my knowledge, the only recording I know if is Yuri Kazakov "Stars of Russian Bayan" with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, V. Dudarova, conductor on the Russian Disc label. (See my review of the same.) Only the finale movement is included on this disc.To order, write to


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

From: Pat Missin -
Subject: Early free reeds, hulusi, etc.
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 21:19:28 -0500

Hi Henry.

Browsing through Groves, I found a reference to something called the "organino" which it describes as: "A free-reed instrument based on the regals said to have been made by Filippo Testa in 1700; a precursor of the Reed organ." Not as early as the Praetorius reference, but predating Pere Amiot and Abbe Vogler by some time, assuming that the "said to have been" part doesn't make it too unreliable. I feel it worth mentioning that Groves do seem to have a few slight errors with regard to other free reed instruments.

Nice to read the stuff on the Classical Free Reed about the hulusi. This is one of my favorite instruments. It may be worth adding that there are several versions of it. As you mention polyphony, then the instrument featured in the recording you are reviewing is what is known as a double hulusi. These have two melody pipes and one of them is featured on the "Yunnan Instrumental Music" CD also by Hugo and reviewed on your site (the hulusi demo on the Melody of China site is taken from this CD). However, most hulusi have a single melody pipe with either one or two drone pipes, although I believe they were originally made with just a single melody pipe and no drones. The illustration from the Melody of China site is of a single melody pipe instrument with two drones. I have a picture on my website showing a single melody pipe instrument with a single drone:

The hulusi is on the left side of the second row. (BTW, the top picture is of a ba-wu, which is a related instrument capable of similar effects. It is held like a transverse flute, but has a triangular free reed in the mouthpiece. My ba-wu and hulusi both have the same range of just over an octave, with identical fingering. I hope to have some sound files on my site before too long.)

Hulusi means literally "gourd pipe" and is often spelled "huluse" with "huluxiao" being an alternative name. Similar instruments are to be found in various parts of Indo-China, some of them being mentionedin Marcuse's "Musical Instruments : A Comprehensive Dictionary" and Terry Miller's excellent article in "Music East and West: Essays in Honor of Walter Kaufman".

One thing that might be worth adding, is that the drones on the hulusi can be switched off by blocking the ends of the pipes with corks or rolled up rags.

I was much impressed by Hugo's "Yunnan Instrumental Music" CD, so I think I'll be adding "A Spray of Flowers" to my birthday wish list!

All the best,

-- Pat.

Subject: Classical Free Reed letter to editor
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 23:02:47 EST

Dear Henry,

Hope you have been well. I thought I would send you an update on my musical activities. The accordion is alive and thriving here in New Jersey!!!!!! I have been very busy with accordion related activites:

In July, I participated in the AAA Festival in Cleveland where I gave a workshop and concert. August, was the AAA Workshop run by Dr. William Schimmel. Again, it was an interesting, entertaining and educational weekend. I highly recommend your readers to attend the workshop this summer.

In December I played the entire "Manhattan Concerto" by Eugene Ettore with Stan Darrow's Westmont Philharmonia Orchestra. I will playing "Fiddler" in a local production end of February. The AAMS weekend March 1,2,3, will be a very exciting weekend for all accordionists. Check out the website.

I will present a workshop on the Music of Eugene Ettore at 11 am on Saturday March 2. I hope you will be able to attend.


Rita Davidson
East Orange, New Jersey

From: HUGO Media Group --
Subject: Re: CD Reviews
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 11:41:14 -0500

Dear Henry,

Thanks so much for reviewing our two CDs, Primitive Safari and A Spray of Flower. I'll forward the information to our Hong Kong office and AIK Yew-goh, who produced and engineered these two fine CDs.

As always, The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. did a superb job and we will include these reviews in our press-kits. Again, well done! Your scholarship and vast knowledge is truly amazing.

FYI: There is a wonderful music store in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown called Clarion Music. They sell shengs. The owner is Clara Hsu and she can be contacted at: and 415-391-1317.

My best wishes,


From: Henry Doktorski
To: HUGO Media Group
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: CD Reviews

Many thanks for your kind words, Josef. I believe you are a flatterer! :)



From: HUGO Media Group
To: Henry Doktorski
Subject: Re: CD Reviews
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 14:04:45 -0500

Hi Henry,

You're welcome.

We work in such a difficult, frustrating and thank-less industry, that I feel it is always important to tell someone that they have done a good job and recognize the many years of study, practice, effort and perseverance that is required to be accomplished at something. So, maybe I am a flatterer, but it's sincere. It is very hard to get a compliment out of me...just ask those who know me...especially my wife and daughter. They think I'm way too critical and many of my musician friends refer to me as "little Stalin!" I don't know why, but perhaps I'm too intense? Go figure...

Best wishes,


From: HUGO Media Group
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 14:05:31 -0500

Dear Henry,

My personal favorite is the bawu. We use it quite a bit on some of our contemporary world recordings - it sounds great when interspersed with western orchestra, vocals and electronica. When I produced the 3CD box set for Ellipsis Arts, "China: Time to Listen" in 1998, I came across a couple of awesome double hulusi / bawu cats in Beijing. Great music...great instruments. I also have done a few projects with the guanzi, nazi and shuang-guan - for most westerners, though, it can be a little hard-core...Until your company, I had no idea that there were quite a few people interested in these instruments. Rootsworld also holds a free-reed music festival every summer and they have been getting great response. In China, if more than three people like something, then that is considered a market. Hmmm, perhaps I should reconsider some of HUGO's marketing strategies.

Best wishes,


From: "Berta, Robert"
Subject: Accordion in the school
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 10:52:09 -0800

Thought you would enjoy this...

Bob Berta
Daly City, California

> 20 Eight-Graders Choose New Squeezebox Elective
> At Adams Middle School In Richmond, Calif.
> Facilitated By Boaz Accordions
> 20 eighth graders at Adams Middle School are heading into their second
> week of learning to play the accordion in a new elective class, thanks
> to an arrangement between the school and Boaz Accordions.
> The class, which meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings, is taught by
> Henri Ducharme, acclaimed in the music community for his virtuosity in
> teaching and playing the instrument. In other circles, Ducharme is
> known as a great math teacher, with years of classroom and tutoring
> experience. Today, he dedicates his talents solely to teaching,
> promoting, composing for and playing the accordion. He has performed
> with the Berkeley Lyric Opera and the San Francisco Symphony.
> Mr. Ducharme was recommended to teach the class by the Berkeley-based
> accordion shop, Boaz Accordions, which also supplied 20 beginner's
> instruments for the class.
> Boaz Rubin, proprietor of Boaz Accordions, says, "Education is the
> most important thing we do. The accordion is essential to music and
> musical culture around the world. From the 1960s through the 80s it
> was somewhat underappreciated in the US, but now the
> accordion is back!"
> Boaz Accordions currently also conducts after-school programs in two
> East Bay private schools, plus a full schedule of classes, workshops
> and private lessons for all ages.
> Diane Posner, who teaches English and history at Adams Middle School,
> is a musician and accordion enthusiast with strong ties to the folk
> music community. She approached Boaz Rubin last year with the idea for
> putting together the class, which is subsidized through a grant that
> the school receives. It all came together rapidly in late January.
> Adams Middle School is part of the Richmond Unified School District.
> Enrollment is about 2,000 students, primarily of Latin,
> African-American and Asian descent. The school principal is
> Bonnie Glover.

From: Chamber Music -
Subject: Re: CD Review
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 00:03:22 -0500

Dear Henry,

Thank you for your detailed review of our cd: Lyra Quartet. We appreciate your knowlegeable and thorough assessment of the Bagatelles, as well as the type of harmonium used in this cd. It might be interesting to note, as well, that the pumping action came entirely from the foot pedals; there was no artificial air supply in this recording.


Judith Cox, first violinist
Lyra Quartet

Subject: Harmonica concertos
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 16:08:14 -0700

I enjoyed your site for very much. I have a sixteen year old son who has been playing the harmonica for about 8 years and is quite good. He plays a Hohner Chromatica 270/48c with a three octave range. He started playing the violin a couple of years ago and now plays in his high school orchestra. The HS orchestra does an annual concerto night with soloists from the orchestra. They seem to like unusual items so my son was thinking about doing a harmonica concerto. Could you recommend an appropriate harmonica conerto or other transcription that might be appropriate for a high school orchestra and how we might order the music.

Thanks much

Doug Neiswender

Hello Doug,

May I suggest the Darius Milhaud "Suite Anglais" in three movements: Gigue, Sailor Song and Hornpipe? I think this might be suitable for high school orchestra. The harmonica part can probably found in a good music library. The orchestra parts will have to be rented.

You might also go to The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website and click on "Reviews." From there go to "Classical & Avant Garde" and then "CDs: Harmonica." There you will find some other possiblities.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Use of the left thumb on bassetti
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 11:02:01 -0500

I have recently aquired a Giullietti chromatic (C-Griff). My currently retired instrument is a Hohner Gola with a basetti section separate from the stradella section. To support my effort in mastering this instrument, I purchased a copy of Elsbeth Moser's technique manual. In her book, she clearly indicates using the thumb on the first row of the left hand. For example,

C Major scale ascending, right hand and left hand:

C-1 D-3 E-4 F-2 G-3 A-4 B-3 C-1

C Major scale descending:

C-1 B-3 A-1 G-4 F-3 E-1 D-2 C-1 (rh)

C-1 B-3 A-1 G-4 F-3 E-2 D-3 C-1 (lh)

Anthony Grieco strongly suggests that using the thumb in left hand fingering patterns interferes with discrete bellows control.

Since you are a performing classical musician, I would welcome your opinion on this issue, particularly with respect to finger transitions and bellows control.


Frank Phillips

Dear Frank,

Although my accordion is not a chromatic free-bass instrument, I use the thumb periodically when needed. It has never interfered with my bellows control.

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: New Recording Dvorak for harmonium and violins
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 21:44:43 -0500

Thought you might be interested in a new recording by LYRA quartet of Antonin Dvorak -- BAGATELLES, Op. 47 for harmonium, two violins and cello. The harmonium in this recording was made for use by the U.S. Army, vintage 1917. If your interested in more information, website The CD can be ordered directly from LYRA.

Ron Bradley

Subject: re Larry Adler
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 16:24:34 -0600


I wonder if you have biographical info on Larry Adler, especially about his problems during the McCarthy blacklisting era? Would appreciate any sources..

Yehuda Yannay

Sorry I can't help you. Have you checked out his biographies?


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Classical Free-Reed
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 13:03:04 +0100


I'm looking for information on the mouthorgan used in India (not the shanai, but one similar to the Chinese sheng) and Bangladesh (the correct name to start with would be something).

Thank you in advance,

Ludo Beckers

Dear Ludo,

I have heard of the shanai; it is a double reed?

I do not know of any Indian mouth organs. Try Randy Raine-Reusch. His email address is listed at The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Performer's Directory. He lives in Canada.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Subject: Classical free reed - Indian mouth organs
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 19:45:11 -0500

Hi Henry.

Regarding the inquiry about Indian and Bangladeshi mouth organs.

The shenai is, as you said, a double-reed instrument similar to the oboe. The various hill tribes that use free reed mouth organs each have their own dialect and as a result, each have a different name for their mouth organ. "Rusen" and "kunj" are used by the Northern Indian hill tribes. Over the border in Burma the names "hynin" and "farood" are found. I'm sure there are countless more .

However, the only recordings of the Indian mouth organ tradition of which I am aware are of the "plung" of the Murung tribe. There is some information about them (in French, with some good pictures) on this site:

The recording mentioned is reviewed here:

If you'd like to visit them, there are travel details here:

All the best,

-- Pat Missin.

P.S. BTW, it may also be worth adding that the very first mention of thefree reed in the West was a description of an Indian mouth organ, inMersenne's "Harmonie Universelle" in 1636.

For letters prior to January 2002, see:

Readers' Letters: 2001
Readers' Letters: 2000
Readers' Letters: 1999
Readers' Letters: 1997 & 1998

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