Birth, Development and Evolution
Unlike what has happened to other instruments of the tango, the origin of bandoneón is a subject in which the historians have only agreed in the place of their birth: Germany.
Not thus in the name of its creator. Some attribute their invention
to Carl Friedrich (or Herman) “Uhlig” (1789-1874), who
was born in a town called Chemnitz, in Sajonia.
The new born instrument was essential to replace the organ, because of its high cost and difficult transfer, in the religious and funeral offices as well as in the street processions. It was executed hung of the neck and soon it began to be used to accompany jubilant dances in Baviera and Hamburg.
But who initiated its artisan production was Heinrich “Band” (1805-1888), native of the city of Krefeld. From his last name it derives its name, whereupon “Bandoneón” is known world-wide; with its diverse variants like Bandonium, Bandonión, Bandonio, Bandoleón. In Argentina it is called affectionately “Bandola”, but its commonest name between the players of the tango is “Fueye”.
Later it begun to be manufacturated on industrial scale. It was Alfred
Arnold the one who, in 1864, sent to the market his famous mark “A-A”,
and who in 1911 founded the “Alfred Arnold Bandonión,
Konzertina und Piano Accordión Spezlal Fabrik”, that manufactured
until 1949, with interruptions during the two world wars, the brands “Premier” and “América”,
in addition to the ones named before.
In Italy they were elaborated by “Panzotti”, and instruments
in Japan have been done as well.
If its origin is discussed, much more it is when and whom introduced
it here. On the subject there are also numerous hypotheses and versions:
Augusto P. Berto says that was an English sailor, Tomas Moor who brought
with himself one of 32 keys. Héctor Bats maintains that it was
a Brazilian called Bartolo and Eros N. Sirl that a tropero of Pascualín
name, brought of Germany. Others think that one of Brand’s sons
came with the instrument that his father had made and gave the first
lessons on its use to a native, Jose Santa Cruz, who soon transmitted
his knowledge to his followers.
When it reached well-known diffusion through the tango, it began to being import from Germany, firstly by the company of “Emilio Pitzer”, soon by those of “Sharp and Veltrem”, “Oehrtmann”, “Romero y Fernández” and “Casa América”. There was an attempt to make them in Argentina by the house “Luis Mariani”, when its import from Germany was blocked by the 2nd. world war, but that praiseworthy initiative was truncated by diverse causes.
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