Re: Musette or no musette?

sduray@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
Dear Friends,

I am planning to have my Giulietti Chromatic Super CBA (C-system, LMMM,
original owner 1986) overhauled next year...All of the reeds on the
treble side pulled, cleaned, retuned, new leathers, etc. Because of
this, I have the option to switch from "dry" to musette tuning.

Hi, Steven,

This is the first time I've heard of an LMMM accordion that was "dry"
tuned. I guess we learn something every day! So, I take it you are
saying your 3 M reeds are all tuned to the same pitch, A440 or whatever
it is. Why would Giulietti have tuned all 3 M reeds to the same pitch?
I'd be interested in knowing whether your 3 M reeds are beatless when
played together. I would think that tuning 3 reed sets to a zero pitch
variation would be a formidable task.

I enjoy playing French valses and mazurkas, and thought that this might
be the time to have musette tuning put on my CBA.

Believe it or not, this option has me seized in indecision.

I always have played a dry accordion, and, strange as it may seem, I
feel as if I am "selling out" in having my CBA tuned to musette. Have
any of you had this problem?

Not me. I played an LMH for years and always wondered why I liked the
sound of the accordions in the movies (think French cafe music) better
than I liked how my accordion sounded. I had to learn about "musette"
tuning in order to understand what was really going on.

Since I am on the topic of musette, I have a few questions. As I
understand it, for a two reed setup, one set of reeds is usually
detuned to a lower frequency.

My understanding is just the opposite...for a two reed setup, one set
is tuned "on pitch" while the second set is tuned "sharp" not "flat."
However, since there are no "rules" in the world of accordions, you
could certainly be right. It's just that my experience is different
from yours.

French musette typically uses three
sets: one set detuned at a lower frequency, one set detuned at a higher
frequency, and one set at "A 440."

Yes, I believe this is the "typical" setup, although I have heard of a
MMM tuning setup where one reed was on-pitch, one reed was a little
sharp (say 5 cents), and the third reed was sharper yet (say 15 cents).
As I said above, I don't think there are any "rules."

The other thing to mention is that the "on-pitch" set might be at A440,
but also might be at something else. It is very common to see
accordions pitched at A441 or A442.

1. What do two-reeds sound like with the musette set detuned to a
higher frequency?

This is a very common setup (MM+), usually called the "Violin" switch.
On my accordion, which is a musette-tuned LMMM, this setup is one of my
favorites. I think of it as a very mellow, sweet sound. Of course,
the sound will vary depending on the tuning. The M+ reed could be
tuned all the way from +3 or so, to say +15 or so. The degree of
"wetness" would be up to you.

2. What do a three-reeds sound like with a single set of reeds
detuned to a higher frequency?

Are you referring to the 3 M reeds? I have never heard of an MMM+
setup, though I'm sure that could be done. I have no idea what it
would sound like, but I suspect it would be a "sweet" sound,

Steven, I believe a "typical" LMMM box would be set up with the L reeds
and one set of M reeds on-pitch (A440 or whatever), then one of the M
reeds would be tuned flat (M-), and the third set of M reeds would be
tuned sharp (M+). With such a setup, you would still have 3 "dry"
switches, L, M, and LM.

Hope this helps,


Thank you and with kindest regards,