Ballone Burini produce again!

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    Anyone intersted in a brand-new Eolina?

    According to Martin Maurer they have started to produce again, not Vibrandoneons but the good old Eolinas.


    Yes! Is it the same design?


    It seems so, yes. I called Martin Maurer yesterday, just wanted to know if they produce instruments with reeds only for exhale (for better bendings). He couldn’t tell me right away but promised to ask, I’ll inform you as soon as I know.


    Hello Quetscher, interesting, I would like to be able to get a set of reeds for my Eolina incase one goes bad. Can you ask Martin next time you speak with him. I am also trying to get a set of reeds for the Vibrandoneon and for now at least a C5 that went bad.




    In looking at Martins advertisement, he shows a P-45 with bi directional reeds and one with unidirectional reeds, I had not seen that in past advertisement. That feature was not offered in the Ballone Burini Vibrandoneon. Do you think that this besides it being easier to bend notes will unidirectional reeds make the Eolina louder and easier to play chords? After playing my Eolina with Bi-directional reeds, my melodies seem to flow better as the pause for breath is somewhat eliminated or at least not as drastic.


    Hi Melodica-Me,

    I couldn’t try out, but an accordion maker told me that you have a double amount of air with bi-directional reeds because even if one reed doesn’t give a note there’s the gap remaining where air gets through. This certainly leads to a huge amount of air when you play chords: a chord of three notes means an amount of air for a chord of six notes! And I can imagine that the volume of the instrument will increase significantly if you have uni-directional reeds.

    BTW, I’ll talk to Martin Maurer concerning the reeds you need…

    Greetings, Quetscher


    The Eolina looks beautiful, but it is so heavy for a mouth blown free reed music instrument. 2,9 kilogram is heavy for a mouth blown music instrument.
    On the same website, there is a “SILVERTONE ITALY” melodica with 25 keys, weight: 550 grams

    That’s about 5,3 times lighter.

    And what about one of the champions of economic free reed aerophones (and concertinas), Charles Wheatstone.
    His symphoniums were minimal in size/dimensions, but had from 12 reeds, over 24, 30, 36, yes even up to 44 reeds.
    with minimal weight

    Check out this video:
    the fragment with the little symphonium (with 24 reeds !) starts at 2’45’’ tot 3’40’’:

    Charles Wheatstone concertina, sound vibrations, telegraph

    (the symphonium in this video has no back plate, and no bottom plate (a minimum amount of parts; on the other hand: a rather complex button action mechanism); other designs including back and bottom plates are explained in his 1829 patent)

    Another 30 seconds video with a 12 reeds:

    Why don’t they make these beauties in Castelfidardo ?
    In a simplified form, one could imagine putting 2 mouth harmonicas with aluminium Combs together. A comb with 12 holes.
    So one would only make the casing, and a simplified button action, or even a slide mechanism per button.

    I think these symphoniums must be around 200 grams up to 400 grams (?) (I didn’t find exact information on the weight on the internet)
    C. Wheatstone was a champ in efficiency and economy. The weight and size of a Wheatstone symphonium is a fraction of an Eolina or a melodica.

    Info and pics:

    The patent can be downloaded in pdf here:
    “Improvements in the Construction of Wind Musical Instruments (1829)”

    I wonder: Do the Ballone Burini people know of the Wheatstone symphonium…?



    2.8kg seams heavy, but wearing it with a neck strap makes it quite easy to play, at least as long as you’re used to play without looking at the keyboard…

    The symphonium is an interesting instrument – to be honest, I doubt a little if it’s possible to play virtuoso music with that. Do you know the Hohner Harmonetta? This seems to be a great successor of the symphonium.


    hello Quetscher,

    Being a C-system CBA player, I play a French Borel accordina, an instrument comparable to a chromatic button Eolina or cba Vibrandoneon. My accordina has 44 buttons, and is only 1 kilogram. Length of this accordina is 30 cm, about 6 cm high.

    (I have heard talks about experiments in France for the near future with a 500 grams accordina (perhaps with 26-32 buttons or so), but we’ll have to wait and see in 2016 or later, if they will be put for sale)

    The 2 videos about the symphonium is all I could find on the internet about the symphonium. There are quite a number of photos, but detailed information is very scarce. The concertina museum website is the best place to look for information.

    The 2 players demonstrating the symphonium don’t appear to be professional musicians, rather scientists I presume. So we don’t have a good example of what is possible with the symphonium.

    I believe a good player could play simple single line melodies quite fast on the symphonium.
    One of the playing techniques for the symphonium could be:
    – use of 4 fingers in total: the left index and left middle finger, and on the right side the right index and middle finger. This way the player has 4 fingers at disposal to rapidly play fast melodies on this alternating keyboard. (You can compare to some English concertina players, it’s the same layout)
    – the other 6 fingers can be used to support and keep in a stable position the symphonium. You use eg 4 remaining fingers to hold the 4 little feet of the symphonium

    The players in the videos only do a sound test for a few seconds, they don’t really play the symphonium. A good player could easily play simple and fast tunes, with all the chromatics included (if using 4 or even 6 fingers, including ring fingers)

    I know about the Hohner harmonetta from my books and info on the internet. The harmonetta wasn’t really a success. I remember the Germans describing it as a “too big waffle in the mouth” or looking like having a “big calculating machine in your mouth”.
    The harmonetta is rather plump and oversized in comparison to the tiny compact symphonium.

    I have a few guesses why the symphonium was quickly forgotten.
    If you look at the materials and engravings of the old symphoniums, it must have costed a lot of money. A lot of working hours to make the refined action mechanism. Most people simply wouldn’t have been able to afford this.
    And C. Wheatstone right from the start thought about a bellows and created the English concertina, allowing the use of arm force and much greater air pressure.

    These days, in times of economic crises, Industrial makers will hesitate to produce something like the symphonium. But nowadays we are in a situation for Industrial companies to create cheaper “symphoniums”, and with improved reed quality and resonance qualities.

    If there would be one available in a shop, I’d run as fast as I could to get one.

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