The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.: Readers' Letters
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.
Readers' Letters: 1999
Suggestions, Comments, Criticisms!

Please send your letters to

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 23:20:48 +0800
Subject: news

Dear Henry

Greetings from China! I am a professional concert accordionist in the China Broadcasting Art Troupe in Beijing. From the internet, I know lot of information about you and The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Congratulations for your fine efforts!

In fact, I have received a manuscript copy of your book: The Classical Squeezebox, from a friend in Switzerland last year and I read it with particular interest. I acquired a big collection of accordion recordings since 1983 (CDs, cassette tapes, LPs). In 1989, when I attended the international accordion seminar in Bialystok, Poland, Prof. Mogens Ellegaard sent me his CD: "Contemporary Danish Accordion Music". From this CD, I very much like Steen Pade's: "Excursion with Detours" (1984).

Some day ago, I received a CD-R of Mogens' old recording (1969): "Frosini. Herrmann. Pihlajama. Volpi. Cavez. Fugazza. Creston. Schmidt......" It is very interesting for me! Have you received my new cassette tape: "Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas" which I sent you some days ago? Please let me know.

I also recorded a CD (Russian music with Chinese music). I hope you can sell it in your Online Gift Store. If possible, please let me know! Hoping to hear from you soon

Yours Sincerely
Guoping Zhang


Dear Guoping,

Thank you for your kind words about our humble site; truly it has been a great labor of love to create and maintain by all our dedicated staff. Thank you also for your appreciation of my book; which should be officially published this year -- I hope! You actually have seen only a manuscript copy.

Yes, I received your cassette and I was delighted to hear it; you are a superb musician and I'm sure Mr. Scarlatti (if he were still alive today) would enjoy hearing your performances of his sonatas! I have already mentioned it in our News Bulletins. I have also taken the liberty of adding your name to our International Directory of Free-Reed Performers.

We will be happy to offer your CD for sale in our Online Gift Store. Please send a copy to our Free-Reed Review editor, Mr. Thomas Fabinski. His address can be found at Invitation to Contributors / Submission Guidelines and he will arrange for one of our staff to write a review. According to our policy, only then can we offer it for sale.

Ah yes! Professor Mogens Ellegaard; truly one of the world's greatest accordionists. I enjoy his CD very much. I agree, Steen Pade is a wonderful composer. I am interested in hearing his 1969 recording. Please tell me where it can be ordered.

Perhaps you can help me, Guoping. I am adding another chapter to my book, The Classical Squeezebox, about the Asian free-reed instruments, and I am searching for 1) information about the sheng and 2) information about Chinese composers who have written original works for accordion. I would like to include in my soon-to-be-published book music excerpts of works for sheng and accordion by Chinese composers. Can you help me?

Great talking with you, Guoping, and I look forward to hearing from you.


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

Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 22:26:28 +0100
Subject: wishes from munich

I am in the 13th class on a grammar school in munich. I´m playing accordion for 11 years. I have got a Hohner Morino 6N. It has got a free-bass manual. So I can play Sonates of Scarlatti or also modern literature for free-bass.

I write an essay about the historical development of the free-bass. [In Germany we say Melodiebaß or Manual 3]. Perhaps you could help me to get more informations.[websites, books] I woud be very glad if you could help me. Thank you very much. I wish you a happy new year.

Your Robert


Dear Robert,

Good to hear from you and congratulations on your free-bass accordion studies!

I noticed you contacted me at my Duquesne University address. May I ask how you discovered me on the internet? from one of my websites perhaps?

Regarding your question, have you visited the website of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.? The address is listed below. I think you will have much fun and reward exploring this site of over 300 pages devoted to the classical accordion. You will find articles on history and reviews of compact discs, including several by virtuoso Germans like Stefan Hussong, Werner Glutsch, Elsbeth Moser, etc. There is an excellent book on accordion by Walter Maurer in German. I wish my German was better so I could read this book! Also another book in German by the Russian bayanist Frederick Lips. Have you seen the Intermusik newspaper? I suggest you subscribe. The address is

Postfach 1609
D-59159 Kamen
You can order those books from Intermusik also.

I would like to read your essay. Will you please send it? If you translate into English I may be able to edit and publish on TCFR, Inc. website.


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

Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 15:07:00 -0000

I have read references in several places regarding something called the "TANGO PROJECT." What was it? William Schimmel was supposed to be Involved.

Robert Warner


The Tango Project was the name of a group consisting of accordionist William Schimmel, pianist Michael Sahl and violinist Stan Kurtis. In 1982 they recorded a CD on Nonesuch titled "The Tango Project" which eventually sold something like one million copies. Two more albums were released on nonesuch and at least one more on the Newport Classic label.

For more info, you may contact Dr. Schimmel directly. His address and phone number are listed in our Performers Directory.

Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 02:41:33 -0500
Subject: Your article on the beatles and free reeds rules!!!!

Dear Henry,

The article on The Beatles and the Free-Reed Instruments which you've published on your website could almost serve as the Genesis and/or the raison d'etre of the Accordion Beatles Page. I have known, but have not acknowledged the fact fully, nor the debt I owed you, until today. Let's call it a Christmas Miracle.

Anyways, I have a query; could you supply more info on accordions in orchestral music and as part of orchestras, and as a serious symphonic instrument, i.e. universities that offer accordion at the Master of Fine Arts in Music level, as well as orchestras that employ symphonic accordionists?

In future, may I refer to you as Henry "Hank" "Doc" Doktorski? It would be my privilege to feature your page on my website.

Yours truly,
Domenic"the Accordion Beatles guy" Amatucci


Domenic, thanks for the kind words. I still love the music of the Beatles, thirty years after I started playing accordion in an eighth grade rock band! Regarding your question, Most of everything I know about the orchestral accordion is online on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website. I wrote several articles of my experiences playing with symphony orchestras (look under The Free-Reed Journal) and many colleges which offer degrees in accordion are listed in our Colleges Directory. I do not believe any orchestras employ accordionists on a regular basis with the exception of the Russian folk-instrument orchestras.

And, yes, you may call me whatever you like!



Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 20:21:13 EST
Subject: Kaen fingerings

I recently acquired a kaen, and am interested in locating fingerings on the web. Can you help me? Thanks.

Raleigh NC


I know of no such resource on the web, but I do know two experts of the instrument who may be able to assist you: Terry Miller: and Christopher Adler: .

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

Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 16:06:48 -0800

I enjoy The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. a lot, plus I think you've provided an invaluable service in support of important, deserving and under-recognized artists. The world has been poorly served by a lack of due respect to free-reed instruments. Humanity needs any and all sources of the spiritual power of music whispering to its soul.

Dr. Paul A. Magistretti

Date: Sat, 4 Dec 1999 00:46:08 +0100
Subject: Reviews

Hello people of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Congratulations with your very good site. I didn't know about it, so it was quite a surprise, especially your fine review pages. I'm very interested to send one or more of my accordion CD's, so you can consider reviewing it. Please give me the mail address where I have to send it to. Thanks a lot

Jean-Pierre Guiran


Thank you for your kind words about our humble site. The information you requested can be found at Invitation to Contributors/Submission Guidelines.

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 22:04:32 EST
Subject: music for english concertina

Hello: I'm interested in 19 cent. "classical" music written for english concertina. (For purchase)


I believe most of the 19th century repertoire for concertina is out of print, but I have seen several re-issues. Hohner of Germany has published a Molique concerto, if I am not mistaken. Victoria of Germany lists three compositions by B. Molique in their recent catalog: Alte Spielmusiken, Flying Leaves and Sonate op. 57. They can be reached at

In addition, I suggest you contact a few classical concertina players. Go to our International Directory of Classical Free-Reed Performers and do a text search for the world "concertina." I'm sure between all the performers listed, Allan Atlas, Wim Wakker, Douglas Rogers, Moshe Rubin, you can find someone who can assist you.

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

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 05:24:54 -0800
From: Gregory A. Vozar --
Subject: Interview

Dear Tom,

Let me join the list of those congratulating you on the terrific interview of Peter Soave you did for The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. I read the entire thing over twice! Considering Peter's busy schedule, this was a real coup!

Greg Vozar

Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 08:56:11 +0100
Subject: Peter Soave

Thanks for the great interview featuring Peter Soave. Great thoughts, great instrument (Bayan) and wonderful tenors. I would like to share a few personal opinions about the current orchestra scene.

I'm sure that the appearence of the three tenors alone made the concert worth listening to. But if I understood Peter Soave correctly, all of the accompanying musicians did not perform the concert for monetary profit -- after all it was a fundraiser, but mostly for social and cultural benefits; WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE THREE TENORS!

Of course lonely free-reed players - even the best ones - lost in an orchestra cannot be far away from being like a fart in a blizzard. * In this case (in my humble opinion) all of the orchestra members got lost in 3 blizzards. It leaves a foul odour in my nose.

* The Dutch composer, Chiel Meijering, wrote a piece called "A Fart in a Blizzard" for accordion and violoncello, published in 1996 by Donemus, Amsterdam. Naturally, the accordion played the part of the fart.

Martin Weyde
Hamburg, Germany

Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 10:17:51 -0500
Subject: interview

I'm nearly certain that all of the musicians performed for profit. The Musician's Union wouldn't have it any other way. I'm certain that the Union would not allow the musicians to donate their fees unless they chose to do so after the performance. The problem is that the tenors realized much more profit than the rank and file musicians. All other guilds and unions have apprentices and journeyman. But there doesn't exist such an outrageous pay differential between the highest and lowest paid journeymen in these other unions (such as electricians or plumbers.)

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 03:12:59 -0100

I am very happy to read your review of my compact disc, Gianluca Littera Plays the Villa-Lobos Harmonica Concerto, and for your appreciation for my recording. Yes, as you said, it's very important, to have at least one harmonica recording packaged together with recordings of other instruments in the same CD and at the same artistic level with clarinet and harp. This is very good for our instrument, the harmonica.

At the moment it's a bit difficult to make a living only by playing classical harmonica, as there is not much demand or money for it. Fortunately, I now have a manager for the last two months in Roma (very very good and important manager) and I hope the best for the future engagements of course.

In any case I am very happy to work as a violist with orchestra; this is the better way to getting touch with a lots of music directors. Sometimes they are very interested in programing different and unusual artistic proposals, like harmonica, for instance.

I look forward to recording my next CD; I think it will be Suite Anglaise for harmonica and orchestra by Darius Milhaud. Harmonica players for the most part do not like this work. I understand Milhaud doesn't write terribly well for the harmonica, sometimes it is too much low or too much chord.... but I think that: Milhaud is Milhaud and we can't ignore so famous a composer.

At the moment I perform viola with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria, but in February I will return to Italy and I will play with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Santa Cecilia; one of the better orchestras in Europe. The music director is M. Chung, the former music director of the Opera de Paris. I think this change may help my professional contacts.

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website is one the best I have seen about the harmonica, I am very proud that I have made it into your webpages. The section about the history for the free-reed instruments is fantastic; I learned so much about my own instrument and in particular its repertory from reading it. Do you have some more information about repertory for Harmonica ?

I hope not to play only the Villa-Lobos concerto for the rest of my life as this would be very boring !!!! and very dangerous for our instrument. (Guitar = Rodrigo Concerto Aranjuez ...... Harmonica = Villa-Lobos) I prefer to play my viola with Orchestra as it would be more interesting.

I believe in the contemporary repertory for harmonica and chamber music (harmonica and quartet string, harmonica and piano, harmonica and harp, etc.) Perhaps playing chamber music with harmonica will not be very good for the business but luckily I make very good business in the orchestra with viola.

I also have my personal group Tango 7 which performs Tango jazz; my own arrangements of Piazzolla's music and my own personal compositions. I think is really news for harmonica.

Do you play Bandoneón ? I wrote a concerto for this instrument (bandoneón and orchestra), which is, at this moment, entered in a composition competition.

Gianluca Littera


Dear Gianluca,

I can't wait to hear your Suite Anglais. Please send me a copy as soon as it is released.

I do not play bandoneon; earlier this year I thought about purchasing one (I even drove my car 1000 miles to examine instruments for sale in Ottawa Canada and New York City). I wanted to further my career as the classical bandoneon is more popular than classical accordion, due to the influence of Astor Piazzolla.

However, I eventually decided against that route as 1) Peter Soave (a much greater musician than I) had already added the bandoneon to his arsenal of instruments and was playing a dozen or more concerts per year with orchestras, and 2) I accepted a full-time position as music director (principal organist, choir master and orchestra director) for a large Catholic church. (We normally have 3,000 - 4,000 people in attendance for our six Sunday masses.) Since taking that job, I have no time to practice learning a new instrument! Now I practice organ and conducting more than accordion.

Please send me the score to your concerto, I might be able to mention it in my soon-to-be-published book, The Classical Squeezebox. I have waited a long time (several years) but now the publisher is moving forward and with a little luck it will be printed in 2000.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 17:55:04 -0500
Subject: Quint free bass system accordion

Last year I bought a quint free-bass converter accordion. I am enjoying the expanded melodic and harmonic opportunities offered by this instrument.

As a performer and composer would you happen to know if there are performers, arrangers or composers who exploit the possibilities offered by the quint free-bass features -- as does music for the bandoneon which exploits its particular features and gives that distinctive sound in the free-reed realm? I am aware of only 3 Palmer-Hughes books for the quint system -- perhaps there is more material?

Peter Wilk


Dear Peter Wilk,

I am not aware of any music written or arranged especially for the quint free-bass convertor accordion. To my knowledge, composers and arrangers expect that the performer will play their music correctly regardless of the type of accordion used. However, perhaps virtuoso performers of this type of instrument may know of music written especially for the quint free-bass convertor accordion.

Two people come to mind:

Robert Young McMahan from New Jersey, a composer and performer of the quint free-bass convertor accordion. I believe he has written some original music especially for that instrument. You should be able to contact him at

9 George Washington Drive
Titusville, NJ 08560

Another person is Salvatore di Gesualdo, concert artist and professor at the Conservatorio "Cherubini" di Firenze in Italy. I believe he may be the greatest quint free-bass convertor performer the world has ever seen, having performed Bach's entire "Art of Fugue" note for note on solo accordion. His compositions and transcriptions are published by Ricordio (Milano) and Berben (Ancona). He can be reached at:

Via della capponcina 29a
50135 Firenze
Phone: 055-284757 (State Conservatory)

I would be grateful if you would share with me any information you may discover.


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

Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 02:27:35 +0800
From: Lau Chun Bong --
Subject: Harmonica masters Larry Adler and Cham-ber Huang to perform in Hong Kong

Being a harmonica lover in Hong Kong, I am very happy to inform you of a great news in the harmonica world - Larry Adler and Cham-ber Huang will appear on the concert stage together in Hong Kong on 30 Nov 99 (Tuesday). For details, please refer to the website of King's Harmonica Quintet Please help to spread this news to others who may be interested in this once-in-a-life-time event.

P.S. The concert is organised by the Provisional Urban Council of Hong Kong, and they reserve all the rights on the details of the concert. The information on our website is thus unofficial, especially the programme, which may be subject to change.

Lau Chun Bong
King's Harmonica Quintet

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:50:40 EDT
Subject: Accordion History

I have been asked by the New York State Council on the Arts to prepare an article on the history of Polish American accordion players in Western New York. They will use the information for future workshops and as background information in future grant writing projects.

What I am looking for is a condensed history of the instrument. With Steve Litwin, we have documented concertinas, but my knowledge of the development of the accordion is close to nothing. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Kohan, editor
Polish American Journal


I am a Polish American accordion player, but I live in Pittsburgh PA! (born & raised in New Jersey). You may find the information you want on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website. Click on History of the Free-Reed Instruments.


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

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 22:15:03 -0700
From: Steve Doyle (
Subject: Sheng Questions

Dear Classical Free-Reed, Inc.:

I stumbled upon your website one day and I decided to take a look. I was intrigued by your article on the sheng, the Chinese ancestor of the harmonica. I have some questions for you. Do you know if there are any detailed books written about the sheng? Where could I find out more information about the instrument? Is there any sheng player (shengist, I suppose) you know of whom I could e-mail? Where could I aquire a sheng and for what cost? Would it be feasible to construct a sheng myself?

I hope you can answer my questions. I really enjoy your website.

Paul Doyle


You can find the address of a classical sheng player at The Free-Reed Review Concert Review: Wang Zheng Ting, sheng, and Richard Hunter, harmonica


I visited your interesting free-reed website and am wondering if you can provide me with some information. I am a music professor at C.S.U., Chico, where I teach mostly music history and organ. I have been interested in the Chinese Sheng and the Japanese Sho ever since I heard a Sho demonstrated by a young Japanese gentleman about 20-25 years ago at either a college Music Society meeting or a meeting of the American Musicological Society. He played a short piece "that traditional Japanese people play in the morning when they are happy". It was a very moving experience. I'm wondering if you could tell me:

a.) the differences between a sheng and a sho.

b.) where one might be able to obtain one or both of these instruments.

c.) What one could expect to pay for these instruments.

d.) how one could learn to play one of these instruments. (If they come with instructions -even in Chinese or Japanese- it would be no problem as we have a number of native Asian students in our department (and one native Chinese professor and graduate students) who could help with the translation(s).

e.) where one might find repertoire appropriate to the instrument(s).

Thank you very much for your assistance.


Dr. David Rothe
Professor, Music and University Organist
California State University, Chico


Dear Sir,

I suggest you write to Robert Garfias ( and James Cottingham ( They will be able to answer your questions.

Mr. Garfias is the author of Eastern Free-Reed Instruments and James Cottingham is the co-author of Acoustics of the Khaen, both found on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website.


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

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 18:57:19 EDT
Subject: photo of sona players


In Robert Garfias' article regarding Asian Free Reeds there is a wonderful photo of sona players and sho players together. I would like to use this photo for a lecture demonstration that I present entitled Öboes Of The World". How may I get a copy and may I have permission to use it?


Brenda Schuman-Post


Dear Brenda Schuman-Post,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the photo of the sona and sho players. (May I ask you how discovered our site?) We do not own the photograph; if I remember correctly, Robert Garfias (the author of the article) gave us permission to use it. You may write to him directly at It is a simple matter to download and print the photo from your own computer, or from a library or school computer.


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

Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 15:30:09 EDT
Subject: Joseph Lilly's article on the khaen

Joseph's article was a blessing. I just picked up a khaen from a shop in Springfield, IL for around $10 and was curious about it's history, and how it's played. I would be interested in hearing sound files of this instrument being played, so if any more are posted or if you know of any other sites that have sound files, please let me know.

Joel Hinkle


Dear Mr. Hinkle,

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. has a sound file of a khaen at The Asian Free-Reed, an article by Robert Garfias. Either Mr. Garfias or James Cottingham may be able to provide further assistance.


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

Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 14:54:26 PDT
From: (jose espinal)
Subject: greetings from a friend from Mexico

Hi, Mr. Henry

I don't know if you remember me. we met a long time ago, in a concert of the cuarteto Latinoamericano de Cuerdas, performing a String Quartet by Astor Piazzolla. I'm a very good friend of Cesar Olguin. I told you I was studying a masters program in Conducting. Currently I'm a student of Dr. Robert Page. I'm graduating in May 2000.

But I also told you that day that I'm a conductor and accompanist at the main Opera company in Mexico. I work at the Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes since 1991. The reason of my message is because I conducted the Symphony Orchestra in Veracruz, Mexico, last June 9. And part of the program was the first performance of a work by Pittsburgh composer NANCY GALBRAITH. The concert was a success. I have some reviews that I would like to show you because I think is important that people know that I'm promoting the music of our times, and the composers from Pittsburgh. Currently I'm making a specialization on music by composer Reza Vali, teacher at CMU.

And also, in that concert, I also conducted the first performance in Mexico of a CONCERTO FOR BANDONEON AND ORCHESTRA, the 'THREE TANGOS", and I invited my friend CESAR OLGUIN to be the soloist! He played wonderfully and I'll also show you the reviews. By the way, he send you greetings.

Thanks and see you later.


Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 20:50:33 EDT
Subject: Beatles Article

Dear Henry:

Congratulations on a great article titled The Beatles and the Free-Reed Instruments. I could never have been as thorough as you were.

Now for the bad news. I was (and still am to some extent) under the impression that the harmonica players you listed for "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" was correct. Now, go get a copy of the "Beatles Anthology 2" CD and inside the booklet you'll see a lovely picture of John Lennon and George Harrison playing bass and chord harmonicas while wearing their Sgt. Pepper outfits, obviously in the studio.

Gee. Just when we had everything all figured out, somebody had to come along and screw us up with facts. Que Sera Sera. Such is the fate of all who try to report history. (It's just a mystery)

Keep up the great work and I hope to see some more of your great work in the future.

Your fan,

Peter W. Krampert


Dear Mr. Krampert,

It was a great pleasure to hear from you. I was thrilled to receive a review copy of your book, The Encyclopedia of the Harmonica which I reviewed in the pages of The Free-Reed Review. In fact, I discovered some interesting facts about John Lennon and the harmonica in your book which I used in my article. Truly I have been (and still am) a great fan of the Beatles. This article was simply an expression of my appreciation for their music.

Thank you for the information regarding the photograph in the Beatles Anthology 2. I will have to take a look at it! I wonder if they actually played the harmonicas in the recording or whether the photo was simply a publicity shot. As far as I can imagine, it could have been either, or both!

Thanks again for your letter.


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

Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 12:50:51 -0400
From: (David Goodman)
Subject: Book Advice

Hello Henry,

For some time, I've been toying with the idea of putting together a book tentatively titled "Squeezers: A Guide to Contemporary Accordionists and Accordion Resources". My first book, "Modern Twang: An Alternative Country Music Guide & Directory", which was recently published by Dowling Press has profiles (biography, discography, contact addresses) of over 600 performers including many that are either accordion based or in which the accordion plays a prominent role e.g. Cajun, Tex-Mex, cowboy, Western swing et. al. It has also a number of appendices for record labels, publications, web pages, venues, radio, and other resources. I have the same type of structure in mind for "Squeezers" with profiles of modern accordionists but from a wider range of styles and with appendices devoted to the above plus accordion manufacturers, organizations, etc.

So far, I've done lots of basic research and compiled a file drawer full of about 200 accordionists and lots of resource information. Most of those on the list have substantial recording/performing experience and/or have made significant educational/promotional contributions. Your web site has been *very* helpful and before I delve too far into this project, I wanted to write and ask your advice. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Could you suggest others I might contact about my idea? I'm not an accordionist but simply a big fan of the instrument in all its wonderful diversity.

Thanks; look forward to hearing from you.

David Goodman
Lancaster, PA


Hello David,

Thank you for your kind words about our site and good luck with your book. All I can suggest is to look at our Links page. Any other reference I might suggest can be found there.


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

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 21:54:11 +0200
From: (senake bandaranayake)
Subject: What is a serafina?

We are trying to find out something about an Indian or Persian instrument called a serafina or seraphina. It is a kind of accordion but is played sitting on the floor with a bellows-like flap on one side and a keyboard whose stops are circular like the keys on early typewriters.

  It seems to be a fairly modern 'invention' or adaptation dating from the 19th century. It is best known in contexts such as the Bombay Victorian theatre of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  Does anyone know its history, the correct name and spelling and its nearest relations? We would be glad for any help that can be given about this.



The serafina is news to me. At first I thought of the Indian table-top hand-pumped harmonium -- an instrument which I have played for two decades, but the serafina seems to predate the harmonium as it uses buttons intead of keys. The first accordions had buttons, only around 1850 were accordions make with organ or piano keys.

I suggest you get in contact with Darcy Kuronen, Curator of Musical Instruments, Fine Arts Museum, Boston, who is on the board of advisors of the Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instuments. If he cannot help, perhaps he can recommend others.

CFSFRI Director Allan Atlas ( can give you an address for Mr. Koronen. I would be grateful if you would share with me any information you might find.


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

Wed, 23 Jun 1999 (Roberto Veri-Breakfast TV-2451)

Dear Mr. Doktorski:

I've just read in the New York Times of Pietro (Lee) Deiro's Death last Saturday. I am searching for historic recordings of his father and himself, as well as a definitive catalogue of all of their original compositions. Would you have any suggestions?


Dear Sir,

1) my friend George Kipper ( works at the Library of Congress. He is also an accordion afficionado. Perhaps he can help you.

2) There is a Frosini-Deiro society in Sweden: Frosini-Deiro Foreningen directed by Bernt Bostrom. I do not know the address, but you can write to the director of the Frosini society who can give you Bernt Bostrom's address:

Lars Ek
Musik & Underhallnings
Hogvallavagen 9
131 46 NACKA
phone: 08-718 06 30
fax: 08-716 23 70

Here is another address, I do not know which is more curent.

Lars Ek
Norrtullsgatan 10, 3 tr
113 27 Stockholm
tel. 08-30 60 86

You might also write to Faithe Deffner, president of The American Accordion Association, who knew Deiro Jr. personally. Her address is:

Please share with me the information you discover. Perhaps you can even write an article about Pietro Frosini Sr. including catalog of works, which I can publish on the pages of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

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

Wed, 23 Jun 1999 (Daniel Warren Koontz)

Dear Sir,

I was given your e-mail by Allan Atlas. I am a graduate composition student at SUNY Stony Brook, and I've been asked to write for classical accordion. I was wondering if you have any materials advising what can and can't be done, ranges, etc., or if you could direct me to a reference on this. Please respond when you have time. Thank-you.

Daniel Koontz


Hello Daniel,

Joseph Macerollo has written "Accordion Resource Manual" (Avondale: 1979) especially for composers. I believe the Lincoln Center Library has it.

You can also find Helka Kymalainen's Harmonikka taidemusiikissa (The Accordion in Classical Music) to be useful. I wrote a review of said book for the Free-Reed Review. I invite you to write an essay about your experience writing for accordion. I am always looking for interesting articles to publish in our "Free-Reed Review."


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

Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 00:17:03 +0000
From: Bernd Kammerer --
Subject: Fine!

Hi there!

The Henry Doktorski-Review on Hovhaness' "Rubayat" was a great pleasure for me to read. Mr. Doktorski gives a straight and conclusive impression of this extraordinary work by Alan Hovhaness.

By the way: I am a German music-critic, very interested in - and of course touched by - the work of Alan Hovhaness. In Europe, Hovhaness was nearly unknown until the early Nineties. Now there is finally a slightly increasing interest for this great composer and truly outstanding, unique genius of music.

I discovered your review on Hovhaness' Rubayat by trying an internet search (altavista) for "alan hovhaness." I didn't know about "Rubayat" as this work is not yet distributed in Germany. But I hope it will be soon.

Thank you, and my best wishes for your site...

Bernd Kammerer

Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 12:30:48 -0500
From: (Phil James)
Subject: tuning Indian harmonium


Great web site!

Do you know of anyone who could re-tune my Indian harmonium to my specifications (a particular microtonal scale--I could specify pitches in hertz, cents, or ratios)...

Phil James


Dear Phil,

I think ANY accordion or reed-organ technician with a good electronic tuner should be able to do the job you requested.

I played the harmonium for Bengali-Vaishnava services for 16 years, in temples in America as well as India -- Calcutta, Mayapura, Vrindavana, Rishikesh, Delhi, Bombay, etc. -- during my association with the Hare Krishna Movement (ISKCON). I still play occasionally for house-kirtans & bhajans. Did you see my review of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's "Krishna Kirtans" CD in The Free-Reed Review?

Are you well-versed in Indian music? If so, I would be delighted if you would submit an article or two for "The Free-Reed Journal" or perhaps write CD reviews for "The Free-Reed Review."


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

Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 21:31:31 -0700 From: (Martin & Renee Curtis)
Subject: newly acquired organ

dear sirs:

I have recently acquired a reed organ which has the name "Clough & Warren Organ Company" spelled out on the front. I know it is missing a piece which was placed on top because of the discoloration of the wood.

I have been cleaning it, but am afraid of damaging it.

Any information you could give me on this beautiful instrument, i.e. restoring, when made, valuation, etc., would be greatly appreciated. I do not wish to sell it as I bought it for sentimental reasons and plan on keeping it forever.

Reneé Curtis


Dear Reneé,

Thank you for your letter. I wish I could help you more, but all I can do is refer you to the Harmonium and Reed Organ section on our "Links" page.


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

Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 22:12:24 -0600
From: (Mary Outten)
Subject: Ponchielli

Hi! Love your website.

Does anyone know how I might find an arrangement of Ponchielli's  "Dance of the Hours" for accordion? I am particularly interested in the "Presto" section...

Mary Outten
Santa Fe, New Mexico


Dear Mary,

I believe Anthony Galla-Rini wrote an arrangement, although I couldn't find it at the Music Graphics Press website. Perhaps you should write or call Galla-Rini personally. His address can be found on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Performers Directory page.


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

Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 14:41:26 +0100
From: Martins --
Subject: Performers directory

Dear Henry

Last year I made the decision to quit concert playing, as other  professional duties have prevented me from achieving this aim. Therefore I ask if you would remove my name from the performers list. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Many months ago I promised to send information about Portuguese accordionists. Due to the same reason, only next month I'll be able to give you the names and addresses. This time is for real... I've been in a course directed by Zubitsky and he liked the young players. I think in a couple of years you'll hear of them as they are very good.

Best regards
Octavio Martins


Dear Octavio,

Instead of removing your name from the list I have marked it "retired." I do not consider myself a concert artist, yet time to time the Pittsburgh Symphony and other local ensembles need an accordionist so I keep my name on the list.

Especially now, that I have accepted a fulltime position as music director for a Catholic church which begins next month.. I do not think I will have much time at all to practice accordion anymore, as I will be practicing organ and directing four choirs as well as playing over 400 services per year, not to mention administrative work. It is a rather large church.

And yes, I look forward to your list of Portuguese classical accordionists.

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

Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 19:23:59 +0100
From: Sam Pirt --
Subject: I need help

I am 19 years old and have been playing piano accordion for 7 years.  I've just moved on to a Pigini 96 convertor bass system and I wondered if you knew of any tutor books for this system so I can get started on the right footing (should that be fingering?!!)

Thanks for any help, I also love your web site a lot.


Dear Sam,

Congratulations on the acquisition of your new Pigini!

I just received in the mail a book in Spanish which might be helpful: Acordeion Divertido by Ricardo Llanos, published by
San Martin, 28
20005 San Sebastian

American accordionist James Wadowick just published a Thesaurus of Scales for bayan. His email address is

However, I strongly suggest finding a teacher, if only to get you started.

From your email address, I assume you live in England or Scotland. In England, Professor Owen Murphy teaches accordion at the
Royal Academy of Music
Marylbone Road
London NW15HT
tel: 0171-873 7381

In Scotland, Una Bryson-Cunningham teaches free-bass accordion at Ian Tomlin School of Music
219 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH14 1DJ

You might also contact the manufacturer at

Best wishes!

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

Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 23:35:23 -0000

Hi Henry,

This is the first time I have visited your website - it's really great. I was recently diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to perhaps unintelligent practicing and frequent use of the computer. It's blown away my dexterity and confidence. I'm currently wearing a wrist splint and using hot/cold packs frequently trying to get over this thing. Do you know of anyone that has had the same problem and successfully gotten over it? I'm desperate for any useful tips.


Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind words regarding our humble website. It is always encouraging for us to hear that others appreciate our efforts.

Have you seen the series of articles in The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website titled The Accordion: A Back Breaker?

Terry Knight mentioned in the first article "Case Histories" that he has carpal tunnel syndrome, but unfortunately he seems to have disappeared. I've been trying to locate him for a year!

John Bonica might also be of assistance. His phone number is 503-254-2652.


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

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 00:18:49 +0200
From: hlefever --
Subject: harmonium

I want to restore a harmonium (in my possession). I can't find sites or information about the instrument "harmonium." So if you can help with information about it, please send me mail.

Herman Lefever


The best I can do is to refer you to our "links" page. There you will find links to Harmonium Home Page and Harmonium Index. Perhaps the authors of these sites will be able to help you. If you discover other sites about the harmonium, please let me know and I will include them in our "Links" section.


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

Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 09:43:35 -0700
From: "Berta, Robert" --
Subject: Concert review.


As you recall I had been working to arrange a tour and/or visit of Rahman Asadollahi to the Bay Area Accordion Club. I first heard and saw Rahman in a video that was forwarded to me of a couple of his concerts with orchestras in his native country of Azerbaijan. I was very impressed with his playing of folk music. That was the tape I sent to you to check out.

Subsequently he was stricken with cancer and to offset his medical expenses a 2 CD recording was made called "The Best Of Rahman". A copy was sent to me and I reviewed it for The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. web site. (Please see The Free-Reed Review.) I was very impressed with the fine performance of folk music of a type most people in the US have never been exposed to.

The Azerbaijan Cultural Society of California decided to sponsor him on a tour which included several cities throughout the US. Rahman is now living in Germany. The folk music he plays is now outlawed by the government where he came from and he was arrested once for playing his accordion and that music. This gives a whole new meaning to that famous bumper sticker...."Use an Accordion Go to Jail"!

San Jose was the site of his last concert a week ago and in thanks for our review of his CD he offered to attend and perform at our meeting last night. Wow....what an artist! He plays a Garmon which is another variety of the accordion. It is a very small instrument....about the size of a 12 bass accordion. It has piano accordion type keys but very narrow. The musician only uses one strap which is over the right shoulder. The right hand pushes it against the shoulder strap and the thumb is usually used in a bracing position with most playing done with four fingers although occasionally he would use his thumb. The tuning of the accordion is to a different scale than the normal western scale although I was unable to find out what the actual tuning was due to the language difficulties. There are also bass butons which seem to be in a chromatic like arrangement of two rows of about 20 buttons each.

Rahman was accompanied by one person on a folk drum (he was an incredible percussionist also). The two of them played some of the most intense music I have ever heard. Talk about emotions....the music was incredibly infectious. He is a composer and arranger with much honor from his prior home land as well as in Europe where he won first place in Switzerland at a top accordion competition in 1995. He played three tunes each of which were quite long. At the end of each he got standing ovations from the very sizeable crowd....something our club reserves for very few outstanding performers. I don't recall that even Lips or Semyonov got three standing ovations!

The instrument is very powerful and the playing style allows for lots of dramatic flourishes while playing....flutters, bellows shakes, bellows induced variations. And the music tends to consist of many very complicated riffs and key techniques which were unique and I am sure many of our members will try to emulate in their own music styles. It reminded me very much of a virtuouso Bandoneon players technique or the amazing bellows control of a Lips or Semyonov.

The fear I had was that the music would be so "strange" to our western ears that it would be hard for our audience to understand. It was just the opposite....the audience loved it!

He will be going back to Germany now but perhaps he could be persuaded to come back for a repeat concert tour in the future. Isn't it shocking that there is a country where you can actually go to jail for playing an accordion. Before he started his concert he gave an impassioned plea plea through an interpreter for music to be the one non-politicized aspect of life. One of the pieces he played was over 900 years old. It is sad that some governments will destroy such a legacy in the name of politics. I know that after the concert many members came up and thanked him for what he is doing to keep the music alive....I know he felt very happy about could tell that all he lives for is passing his heritages music on to future generations. Pretty powerful stuff!

Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 20:17:15 +0100
From: Zubytskyy Volodymyr --

My dear friend Henry!

Excuse me, please, for my long silence. Recently I had a terrible case of influenza (this year spring is so early, but so cold!) and now that war with Yugoslavia has begun every day we watch all the events - so terrible and infinite.

Now the best young accordionist is in Yugoslavia, as well as all the last winners of the Coupe mondiale and Trophee mondiale -- Castelfidardo, Klingenthal -- young 17-18 years boys from this country. Their teachers studied in my country -- in the Moscow, Kiev and Minsk conservatories -- and now the 2nd generation students give fantastic results. In fact, it may be that now the young Yugoslavian accordion school is one of the best in the world. And this terrible problem with their president, such a terrible situation is difficult especially for musicians. I now see it from the same situation in my country (the former U.S.S.R.), when all think only about politics and economics - nobody about music or art.

Your friend,

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 12:36:29 -0500
From: Toni Meekins --

Hi Henry,

It's been quite awhile since I've written to you. I have really been drowning in the sea of information about accordions on the Internet. There is more than enough data there to fill several volumes.

I visit your website very often and am amazed at how it keeps up to date in its CD reviews and what's new in the free-reed world. The letters, too, are informative and thought-provoking. Although it must consume a tremendous amount of your valuable time, I hope you still can keep "The Classical Free-Reed" website going indefinitely.

Keep in touch.

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 19:39:24 -0600
From: John Bispala --
Subject: TNX RE: Ahvenainen


Enjoyable to read about Veikko Ahvenainen. I met him once, Oct. 16, 1994, in concert at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN, and I bought his Studio Recording CD, upon his recommendation. I was, in fact, the first person allowed to play an accordion at that church, when I was a teenager.

Having not practiced for nearly forty years, I determined, upon hearing Veikko play, that I would not let this talent die before I do! So, I started taking lessons all over, with Helmi Harrington and her late partner Duane Sellman, within a month after listening to Veikko. Now I own a new Delicia Dineta with combination chromatic free bass and German Stradella, and an enhanced piano keyboard, and I enjoy playing it very much--polyphonic music in just about every style I can find time to learn.

I would like to buy more of Veikko Ahvenainen's CD's, etc. and those of other accordionists. The best are not usually available in record stores. Specifically, I am looking for his "Säkkijärven polkka." I got no response from the publisher of his Studio Recording CD, when I wrote there. Can you help me find such?

John K. Bispala
(612) 588-4411
4107 Fremont Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55412


Dear John,

I also heard Mr. Ahvenainen perform. It might have been the same year as you, in 1994. This was at the American Accordion Musicological Society festival at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, organized by Stanley Darrow.

Although Mr. Ahvenainen gave me his business card with a California address, the address is no longer current. I don't believe the addresses listed on the two reviews of his CDs in The Free-Reed Review are current either Perhaps an internet search might help?

If Dr. Helmi Harrington does not know Mr. Ahvenainen's where-abouts, perhaps Mr. Darrow does. You can reach him at 609-854-6628. Please let me know if you have any success and I will include his updated address in The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. International Directory of Classical Free-Reed Performers.


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

Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 21:43:02 -0600
From: Bill Palmer --
Subject: Re: Dr. Willard Palmer's Home Page

Dear Mr. Doktorski:

I noticed that you have a link to the homepage of the late Dr. Willard A. Palmer from The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.. I am sure that my father would have been honored to be mentioned on your site. Your name is quite familiar to me. He mentioned it on several occasions--favorably, I might add! ;-)

I will be most happy to put a link to your site on not only his web page (, but my links page ( as well.

Yours truly,

Bill Palmer, A.I.M.C.
AAFOUF #00084

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 22:22:10 +0200
From: Ari-Matti Saira --
Subject: Finland news

Dear Mr. Doktorski

My name is Ari-Matti Saira. I am a Finnish accordionist, but also composer and publisher, too. My friend Matti Murto adviced me to contact you.

I tell something about me:

I began playing the accordion at the age of five as a pupil of Lasse Pihlajamaa. While at the Helsinki Conservatoire my tutors were Matti Rantanen and Sirkka Kelopuro. I got my accordion diploma in 1989, before continuing my studies with Mogens Ellegaard.

Participations in competitions has brought me a number of successes: junior prizes in a number of Finnish accordion contests, Nordic championships, and third place in the international CIA tape competition in the 1970s. Later in 1996 I got the second prize in Castelfidardo in the duo-category playing with my wife.

I have made numerous appearances as both a soloist and a chamber musician and I have been recording for the Finnish Broadcasting Company since 1986.

I have recently composed chamber music (see the MODUS MUSIC cataloque), solo works and teaching material for the accordion. Since 1996 I have published those works by AMS-production Ky. And now I am teaching at the Southwest Häme Music College.

The web pages of the Classical Free-Reed Inc. are a pleasant surprise for me. A lot of good accordion music can be found from your sites - thanks to your big work. I hope that also my music can find the playing people and the teachers over the world. In a few days I am going to send scores to you. I send also a CD played by DUO SAIRA. I hope that you'll find them interesting enough to be introduced in the Free-Reed pages.

Ari-Matti Saira


Dear Sir, Wonderful to hear from you and thank you so much for your kind words regarding The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website. Certainly all of us on the staff have worked hard to make it worth your while to visit! I remember your name from the quartet score -- Astory -- Matti Murto sent to me. I wish you all success in your performing, composing, teaching, etc. and I do look forward to receiving your new scores & CD.


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

Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 21:40:43 -0800
From: Gary Gillespie --

I am currently preparing a paper on the use of the harmonica in western American history. I am particuarly interested in its introduction to America and also references in personal journals of early pioneers on the California, Oregon, and Mormon trails. I have gleaned some entries from personal journals, but would like to have more. Also, I am hoping to be able to receive copies of early newspaper, magazines, etc., ads on the harmonica. Is there any chance you might be able to provide me with some leads to sources for such information. I would be indebted for any help you might be able to give. Thanks in advance for considering my request.

Gary Gillespie

Dear Gary,

I suggest you go to The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. webpages titled Links to Other Free-Reed Websites and then scroll to the section titled "Harmonica." Richard Martin is a scholar of the harmonica and produces the excellent publication Harmonica Educator. You might also contact Allan Atlas, the founder of Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments. There are other websites listed as well which might be able to assist you.

Please let me know when your paper is completed, perhaps we can publish it in The Free-Reed Journal.


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

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 22:18:34 +0100
From: renato vista --
Subject: "Classical Accordion" by Geir DRAUGSVOLL


I would like to order the CD Classical Accordion by Geir DRAUGSVOLL. Is it possible to get it from France (eg via FNAC or Harmonia Mundi shops ?). The reference is SIMAX PSC 1096.

Thank you for your reply.
Renato VISTA


Greetings, Renato.

As far as I know, you can order the CD through any commercial record store. In our reviews we always publish ordering information, when available.


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

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 12:29:05 -0500
From: Toni Meekins --
Subject: Electronium

Dear Henry,

I ordered the cassette "Musical Glimpses" played by the UMKC Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers. The orchestra consisted of approximately 20-25 accordions with percussion and ocassionally when called for, harp or piano. The selections included music by Gershwin, Debussy, Bartok, von Suppe, Liszt, and Grofe. Sommers did a superb job of arranging some of the music, as did Galla-Rini. I was very impressed with the variety of sounds that were produced by the orchestra and the high quality of the performance. The orchestra sounded as if was made up of more than just accordions.

The writeup that accompanied the cassette mentioned that they used special accordions called "electroniums" that helped to provide color, particularly in the upper woodwinds and brass. At that point I put on the brakes and thought "what in the world is an electronium". In covering electronic accordions I felt that I had included all when I covered the Accorgan, Cordovox, MIDI, and the reedless accordions. I had never come across any mention of the electronium.

I immediately got on line and searched for any mention of the electronium. What I came across was Robert Berta's free-reed review of The Viennese Accordion Chamber Ensemble CD Everlasting Classics. Berta said that he "noticed something unusual (at least in my native United States) in the ensemble: an electronium". He stated that the electronium was one of the first electronic accordions developed about thirty years ago and is still popular in Europe. In the U.S. it is rapidly being replaced by the MIDI accordion. He added that to his knowledge The Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra directed by Stanley Darrow is the only American accordion ensemble to use an electronium. Was that before UMKC orchestra used it?

Anyway, I'd like to know more about the electronium. Do you have anything on it?



Dear Henry,

After I sent you my e-mail re the electronium I found a description of it on the net written by Jason M Mugen at that he had sent to with a copy to, taken "from the beautiful site 120 years of Electronic Music".

In it he said that the electronium was designed by Seybold and manufactured by Hohner in Trossingen from 1950 onwards. He added that it was a monophonic electronic instrument resembling an accordion and that it had a 41-note keyboard with keys or buttons and 16 registration tabs. with the overall volume being controlled by the bellows.

Then he mentions the Electronium Pi which was a keyboard controlled electronic instrument with 20 stop-tabs for divide-down synthesis It had a 3-octave range transposable up or down within six octaves, controlling a single vacuum tube oscillator. The Electronium Pi was much used throughout the 1950's in Germany for both light and serious music. I also was used by several German Avant-Garde composers - Karlheinz Stockhausen on "Telemusik" and "Solo" (1952-56) and later on "Kurzwellen" (1968) performed by his own group with pianist Harald Boj=E9 (?) playing a modified standard electronium.

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 16:19:31 -0500
From: Douglas J. Cumming --
Subject: Andrew Huggett

Hello Henry:

Last week I left a message on Andrew Huggett's answering-machine re: your recent CD review [The Free-Reed Review No. 150: Joseph Petric, Accordion, playing works by Soler, Mozart, Scarlatti, Molique and Andrew Huggett].

Andrew called me back today and was very pleased to see the review. I also went to Joseph Petric's web-page to see whether there were any reviews yet re: this 1993 CD; however, the link on reviews did not seem to work for me:
I'm sure that Joe Petric will add this to his page, in time.


Doug Cumming
Ottawa, Canada

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 07:18:57 PST


i don't know if my last Emailhas been sent ... So i try to send it to you again:

I'm french, anesthesiologist, and i play piano and guitar. I love bandoneon for a long time. I have just bought a used-one a few days ago. It's a very nice instrument, 20' years old, in perfect state of playing. I'm working alone and i'm now looking for a very good lurning method. Could you please advice me about that? I really think that this instrument and this kind of music will know follow me all my music-life long.

Thank you very much.

Eryk Eisenberg


Hello Eryk,

you can find a list of some tutors at but most of them are not more available or for the bisonoric instruments. Since you say that your instrument is only 20 years old, it might be a french unisonoric one, presumibly a Peguri type. I do not know about tutors for such instruments, may be Olivier Manoury can help you.


Christian Mensing
Lab. fuer Anorg. Chemie tel (+41) 1/ 632 2894
ETH Zentrum CAB B17 fax (+41) 1/ 632 1149
Universitaetstrasse 6 e-mail
CH 8092 Zuerich

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 23:58:46 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Question re Lilly article

I am a classically trained professional flutist, interested in ethnomusicology.

First, does Joseph Lilly have an e-mail address? I would like to contact him.

Second, he mentioned a Khaen hok with six tubes. My instrument, received from Thailand missionaries (Paul and Paula Jarot) stationed in Chaing Mai, has only five. It is also not as delicate - the bamboo seems very thick, and the gourd that the bamboo is set into is also huge, compared to the picture of Mr. Lilly's Khaen. (Gourd neck = six inches, gourd body about 4-5 inches square.

Do I have a Khaen? Or some other type of free-reed? I have enclosed a photo, I hope you can see it.

Thanks for your help.

Sheila Courtney
Lewis University
Romeoville, IL


Dear Sheila,

I do not know Joseph Lilly's email address; however, you can write to his professor at Coe College: James Cottingham at I'm sure he could assist you in the identification of your instrument!


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


From Thu Jan 21 09:46:34 1999
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 19:41:10 -0600
From: James Cottingham --
Subject: What instrument do I have? -Reply

What you have is a close relative of the khaen, which goes by various names. For more information I would suggest the following article by Terry Miller: "Free-Reed Instruments in Asia: A Preliminary Classification" in Music East and West: Essays in Honor of Walter Kaufmann Pendragon Press, 1981

Or better yet, you can get in touch directly with Terry Miller, ethnomusicologist at Kent State Univ. You can reach him by e-amail:

I know a little about these instruments, and have done some acoustical experiments on them, but Terry Miller is the real expert on the free-reeds of Southeast Asia. If you are interested in playing it, he is the one to contact.

Jim Cottingham


Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 00:21:46 -0600 (CST)
Subject: The reply from Terry Miller!

Thank you for your help in locating the information requested...CHEERS!! Thanks again for your informative website and leads - I truly do appreciate it!!


Sheila Courtney


From Sun Jan 24 02:41:44 1999
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 12:38:15 EST
Subject: Mystery Instrument

Sheila, The instrument is easy to identify. It is a gourd free-reed pipe from N. Thailand. Easily bought by tourists. The name varies by ethnic group. A common name is "naw". Most of the minorities of N. Thailand have them, such as Akha, Lisu, etc. The Hmong instrument, though, is different. I have several and a student of mine last summer went nuts there and bought about a dozen. He registered in New York with the union to play them. Indeed, Alan Atlas knows him probably--Joe Kaminski. You can see a lot of pictures of this inst. in PEOPLES OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE by Paul Lewis.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 19:18:18 -0500
From: Leon and Lee Zukowski --
To: The Classical Free-Reed
Subject: Re: Nina and Lena CD


Many, many thanks for your comprehensive review of the Nina & Lena CD! I hope their works, like yours, are a further inspiration for others to embrace the "classical free-reed"!

Warmest personal regards,

Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 21:06:42 -0000
From: Dr.Scheibenreif --
Subject: Best wishes for 1999!

Dear Henry,

best wishes and all the best for 1999!

I visited your homepage and I can only congratulate you! It surely was a tremendous effort to achieve this site!

May I give some information:

Lech Puchnowski has now an email:

There are also another Austrian accordionists who should be mentioned in your list:

Dr. Georg Schulz
Schönaugasse 17/I
8010 Graz
Tel: +43-316-835967

He teaches the accordion at the Graz Hochschule, performs especially new chamber music and works a lot with composers.

Klaus Paier
Mosern 17
9433 St. Andrä
Tel: +43-4355-3318

He is Austria's only accordionist with a jazz diploma from the conservatory in Klagenfurth (3 CDs).

If you want you could also mention myself. You can find information about me at:

Kind regards also from Silvia,


Subject: The Decline of The Accordion
From: (Doktorski Henry)
Date: 1999/01/05

From what I have read, the decline in the popularity of the accordion in America was in the jazz/big band/ethnic/novelty fields. While researching my article "Gershwin and the Accordion" (see The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website: I discovered that from the 1920s through the late 1950s (approximate) many network radio programs featured accordionists. Charles Magnante appeared regularly on the Major Bowes program which was syndicated nationally.

Cornell Smelser performed Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" in its ENTIRETY with a big band on radio, at the time he was one of only THREE performers who were permitted to play the work on the air waves, the other two were organist Jesse Crawford and composer/pianist Gershwin himself.

The market was so strong for accordion that the second recording of Gershwin's Rhapsody (released in 1928) featured the accordion duet team of Basil Fomeen and Nick Hope. (The only other recording available on Victor Record Co. was by Gershwin himself with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra released in 1924).

The third recording was by Jesse Crawford (1933).

Truly, the 1920s through the 1950s were a boom time for the accordion in mainstream music circles.

Only in the recent decade has the accordion again been featured, but not in mainstream circles, only in folk music (zydeco, cajun, etc.) although I must admit that tango has been gaining acceptance in concert music society. It actually has been for a long time in a way: Stravinsky as well as other classical composers wrote tangos, but then again, they also wrote polkas which are not exactly mainstream music!

By the way, accordion is actually only a hobby for me, as I can't make a living playing the music I like on it (classical). Professionally, I am a pianist, organist & choir director.



From: Ralph Stricker --
Subject: The Decline of The Accordion
Date: Tue, 05 Jan 1999 06:07:13 GMT

I first noticed that things were changing for the accordion around 1958. I pleaded with many members of the industry to stop being complacent. I saw the death knell in 1962 and knew that the end was near. I had at one time 600 students at my music school. 500 were accordion students and the rest were a variety of piano, guitar, drums.

By 1964 after the Beatles come to the US we were down to 400 accordion and the rest were guitar. 1966 I had 250 accordion students and 200 guitar students. In 1968 I sold the school with 150 accordion and the rest guitar. I should of "joined" them instead I wouldn't switch instruments. I hated the guitar as I had to employ teachers who in years past I wouldn't even acknowledge them as musicians. Not because I disliked guitar but because they were horrible players. I could not compromise my integrity.


Ralph Stricker

For more letters see:

Readers' Letters 1997 & 1998

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