The accordion, also popularly called accordion and harmonica, is an aerophone musical instrument of German origin, composed of a bellows, free reeds and two harmonic wooden boxes.
The 8-bass accordion is one of the matrix instruments of the forró, being the instrument that marks the childhood of Luiz Gonzaga and the foundation of the northeastern accordion style.
According to the musician from Paraíba, Batista Siqueira, the 8-bass accordion would have replaced the wire guitar, becoming the main solo instrument in rural dances in the Northeast region at the turn of the XNUMXth century.
In this region, this small accordion of Viennese origin, composed of twenty-one buttons for the right hand and eight buttons for the left hand, would be better known as “eight bass harmonica”, “eight bass bellows”, “goat's foot ”, “concertina” or, simply, “bellows”.
According to Luiz Gonzaga, his father, Januário, “had two skills, he used to play the blunderbuss and played the accordion, to amuse the cabroeira on Saturday and Sunday”.
History of the Concertina of 8 Basses and the Lining
Consequently, it was also the first instrument of the king of the baião.
In 1920, when he was just eight years old, Luis gonzaga acquired his first accordion, an eight-bass bellows from the German brand Koch.
Therefore, although this instrument has spread throughout the Northeast region, it was more precisely at Fazenda Caiçara, in the foothills of Serra do Araripe, in Pernambuco, that the eight-bass bellows would definitely enter the history of northeastern music.
Old Januário was not only a famous accordion player, he was also recognized as a sought-after accordion tuner.
Then, during his childhood and adolescence, the boy Gonzaga grew up among the little eight-bass bellows and their intricate button systems.
Luiz Gonzaga describes in his memoirs that he “taken advantage of the old harmonics” that his father fixed, and, little by little, he was able to play “any brand, any type, whether simple, B-flat or semi-toned”.
At that time, in the Northeast, modern accordions with piano keyboards for the right hand and 120 basses for the left hand had not yet spread, which would become the main instrument of the forró pé de serra, especially after the phonographic and radio consecration by Luiz Gonzaga, years later, in the late 1940s.
Origin of the accordion
Almost 5.000 years ago the most primitive ancestor of the accordion known today emerged: the Cheng.
Created in China, the instrument consisted of an air container, a blow straw and bamboo tubes.
This intriguing invention caught the attention of many curious people, among them the European instrument maker Friedrich Ludwig Buschman and the Austrian Cyrillus Demien.
In 1822, Ludwig created a slightly more elaborate wind instrument, still using the reed system; and, seven years later, Demien added the bellows to that contraption, patenting his invention under the name of an accordion, after the chords obtained by manipulating its four buttons.
The instrument's idealization process in Europe, however, had countless characters until it was concluded: in Russia, Kratzestein's Harmonium appeared; in France, we had the Organ of Granié, the Tipofono of Pinsonat and the Harmonica de Eschenbach.
To the dedication of these men was added the work of large factories - in particular the Italian Paolo Soprani and Scandalli and the German Hohner - providing the improvement of the accordion, so that, from the same instrument, it was possible to produce from popular music to the scholar.
History of Accordion's arrival in Brazil
German and Italian immigrations were responsible for the arrival of the accordion in Brazil, especially to the states of São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
Strong presence in the southern portion and in the interior of Brazil, the instrument was commonly used as a form of representation of the traditions of those communities, through the execution of different rhythms, such as fado, waltz, and polka.
In the different regions through which it passed, the accordion gained personal characteristics from the place, as well as different names: accordion, in the Northeast; harmonica, bagpipes, organ, in the south.
Widely spread in the country in the 50s, it appealed to all tastes due to its versatility. It is in this context that the figure of Luiz Gonzaga appears, largely responsible for popularizing the instrument and spreading the name accordion, through the great success of his musical career. However, in the 60s, with the invasion of Rock and the emergence of Bossa Nova, the accordion lost ground and Brazilian factories – Todeschini, Hering, Minuano and others – closed their doors.
Today, in the first years of the new century, it is possible to see, however, that “the accordion has not yet gone out of tune” and remains strong, regaining its space in the popular imagination and in musical productions throughout Brazil.
8 Bass Concertina
“With the pennies, he bought the first accordion, with 8 basses, like his father”. This fragment portrays an important phase in Luiz Gonzaga's life: the acquisition of the first accordion.
The 8-bass accordion, also known as pé-de-bode, 8-bass bellows, bellows, harmonica or simply 8 basses, is part of the musical and affective memory of the Northeast, a true country cultural heritage.
It was very popular in the northeastern rural environment and was present at all times of festivity and fun in the communities of Pé-de-Serra, responsible for the initiation of the great icons of the northeastern accordion: Luiz Gonzaga, Dominguinhos and Sivuca and others.
Considered by accordion players one of the most difficult instruments to play, due to the mandatory bellows set, the 8-bass bellows tradition is an art that is currently dominated by few.
This instrument receives, in the Northeast, a different tuning, unique in the world, only used by 8-bass accordion players in this region of Brazil, which gives the instrument greater resources, expanding the possibilities of musical performance.
History of the Concertina of 8 Basses and Forró