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Schwyzerörgeli

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The treble side of the Schwyzerörgeli (Swiss Organ) resembles a 3-row diatonic button accordion, but on the left (bass) keyboard, the keys travel parallel to the bellows, and are unisonoric.

More specifically, the treble side has two regular diatonic rows, and a third diatonic row that is more irregular in layout but allows for playing in a few extra keys. Thus while the first two rows are usually in B flat (outside row closest to hand) and E flat (middle row), the third row allows the player to get Ab, Db and Gb also, as well as facilitating the fingering in Bb and Eb. The basses typically are two rows consisting of 9 major chords and the 9 corresponding bass notes, progressing in 4ths as on a Stradella bass system common to piano accordions and chromatics, but in the opposite direction. There are no minor chords on the standard 18-bass instruments because minor chords are so rarely used in Swiss music. Other models have basses that number anywhere between 14 and 75 or more but are far less common. These have the same layout but are expanded to include usually a row of 7th chords or a counterbass row.

The 'standard' Schwyzeroergeli keys are the flat keys, primarily Bb/Eb (+Ab, Db, Gb), but some Oergelis are made with other keys, the most common of these being a half-step lower than the flat-keyed instruments (A/D), or C/F or B/E. Schwyzeroergelis with other fingering systems also exist including the "club" system and the common chromatic system (usually the C-system with Stradella basses).

The treble-side reed tunings (tones, voicings) in common usage include Bernerton (Bernese tone) which is produced by two sets of reeds tuned an octave apart as in the Bandonion, and Schwyzerton which comes from three sets of reeds - two high sets an octave above the main set. The two higher sets are tuned slightly apart from each other giving each note a slight tremolo. Other less common tunings for the Schwyzeroergeli are the "wet" tuning which is more popular worldwide - referred to as Wienerton (Viennese tone) which is produced when two reeds of the same octave are tuned either side of concert pitch to give a tremolo effect; and "false" Schwyzerton, consisting of two lower sets of reeds and one higher, usually found in chromatic Schwyzeroergelis.

The Schwyzeroergeli was developed from the earlier Langnauerli around 1885 by either Alois Eichhorn or Robert Iten in Schwyz, and was soon imitated by other makers such as Josef Nussbaumer who made in the 1920s today's most sought-after Oergelis.

The Schwyzeroergeli is mostly used to play Swiss dance music (Laendlermusik): laendlers, polkas, schottisches, mazurkas, etc. The typical ensemble consists of two Schwyzeroergelers and a (bowed) bass fiddle player. The first Oergeler plays the melody while the second plays the harmony or vamps chords. Other arrangements include one or two clarinets, or other instruments.

Actually, you can play minor chords on the schwyzerörgeli, and it is common to hear the occasional usage of them in traditional swiss music. Edit

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Schwyzerörgeli
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