The Bandoneón 148
An evolution for the bandoneon 144 (and also 142, maybe)
As the readers of this blog know, I play the bandoneón 144 tones and
I play the same scores played with the 142 tones system, as well as scores that
142 can't play keeping the original notes (due to the lack of
g and g# notes at the right keyboard).
This demonstrates that bandoneón 144 tones is playable at least as well as 142, and is as valid and legitimate as the Rheinische. Actually, in the past the bandoneón 144 had its virtuosos and was very common, especially in Germany.
Anyway it's been a while that I'm thinking about an evolution for the 144 tones (this article was first published here in 2019).
Before continuing reading, have a look at these diagrams, where I show the differences and similarities between 144 and 142 layouts.
The 144 tones advantages: the left keyboard
the left keyboard of the 144 as an upgrade of 142, because of its fully chromatic
range of notes
opening and closing and the lowest notes are close each other.
In my opinion, the left side of the 144 doesn't need any change.
It's ok as it is.
The 144 tones defects: the right keyboard
The main defects in 144 tones are the highest notes of the right keyboard:
g''' is missing opening, and g#''' is missing opening and closing.
There is an a''', but just opening.
Right keyboard of the 144 could gain benefits from a little "evolution"...
The evolution directives
The improvements should follow these 4 directives:
- Unify as much as possible the 142 and 144 right keyboards;
- Have a more practical, more compact keyboard;
- Complete chromatically the 144, opening and closing;
- complete the range from 144 lowest to 142 highest note chromatically;
I tried to design a new right keyboard for the 144 system following those 4 goals. But there is a 5th goal that is quite important, too:
have a practical instrument, that's to say: not too big, not too heavy.
Adding too many "extra" notes would have a considerable impact on the weight and the size, and would complicate too much the work for the bandoneón maker (affecting the price) so I decided not to give too much importance to the extra notes issue, but comply with the other goals.
OBSERVATION: The range was extended up to a''' and not up to b''' (highest note in 142) because in 142 you haven't a#''', so that note isn't reached chromatically. That's why I didn't take it into consideration.
(35+39) x 2 = 148
The result is a right keyboard with 39 keys, pretty similar
to the 142 tones system and fully chromatic opening and closing.
With 35 keys on the left and 39 on the right we have a new system: ladies and gentlemen, the 148 tones bandoneon!
This new layout combines the advantages of the 144 with those of the 142, eliminating their respective defects.
It allows you to play most of the classical repertoire, in particular the transcriptions of violin (a feature that was already present in the 144).
It allows you to play most of the tango scores and variations (that's to say all, actually).
It allows you to play the basses in a slightly easier way. And at the left keyboard you have all the bass notes opening and closing.
You have a chromatic instrument, on both keyboards, opening and closing.
Is it easy to make?
I designed this keyboard with its realization in mind.
So it had to be easy to make and not too expensive.
Actually, it is a common 144 right keyboard without the 2 peripheral
notes (cut that plate!) with 4 extra notes that can be installed
as the 4 highest notes in 142 tones, which have individual plates.
Yes, it's quite easy to make.
I thought this layout for personal use mainly,
with the objective that one day this instrument will really exist.
By the way, in my opinion this instrument could represent a new standard for
the 144 Einheits bandonion, and I don't exclude that
those beginners who have not yet chosen their layout
may consider it as a valid option.
I think that 142 players could consider it as a valid option: if they won't change their left keyboard they could just ask for a "148" right keyboard with a standard 142 left keyboard. As you can note, 142 and 148 right keyboards are pretty similar. In this way they have part of the advantages of this system without the comprehensible difficulty to learn a new left keyboard from zero.
(March 25th, 2021)
Mr. Yoshi Maruyama suggests an interesting layout for bandoneon 142 players, with g and g# at right keyboard and complete chromatic scale at left keyboard and extra notes, for a total of 73 keys and 146 tones. The instrument was ordered to Mr. Klaus Gutjahr. I share the image of the layout. Extra notes are marked with blue.
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