Thursday, July 22, 2010

Farewell, old friend!

Like most melodeon players, I own several boxes. And while the most straightforward explanation is that they play in limited keys, we melodeonists all know that the keys are only a small part of the reason. There are so many potential configurations and tunings! Beyond that, and perhaps most importantly: the boxes seem to have individual character, something that evades description. A certain pleasure is derived from having a stable of boxes, each with a very unique sound and feel; one box is optimal for this or that tune, while another lends itself to a particular style.
This was certainly the case with the Piroulet. It was a 2 1/2 row, 12 bass melodeon built for Saltarelle, back in the days when no one -- beyond George Roux and some Italian accordion builders -- knows who really built Saltarelles. It is fitted with tipo a mano reeds in Bb/Eb, and the layout is "Milleret/Pignol" -- which is not surprising, since the original owner was Stephane Milleret. All I know is that he played it extensively and that reedwork was done by Pierry Giraud-Héraud, whose ballpoint pen notes are left on the bass reedblocks along with the year 1992. Its twin, played previously by Pignol, lives down the road
It was time to admit that I don't do too much Bb/Eb playing, despite its pleasant sound. I was pleased that a neighbor was interested in my Piroulet, so I can easily visit it in the future!
Adieu, Piroulet!


  1. Welcome new friend or What goes around comes around.
    Last spring I became the happy owner of a new (to me) G/C Saltarelle Neuilly. A great addition for me as I've more and more become a fan of 2.5 row accordions. But, the new acquisition came with a price. To afford the new box, I had to part with my beloved Saltarelle Berry, my first accordion (purchased in 1996) and my favorite. I took many photographs of the Berry and put it up for sale. I was somewhat relieved, because I found a good home for my Berry. But, as with Andy's comments above, it's hard to part.

    Recently, I heard from a mutual friend that a special Saltarelle Piroulet was for sale, and in the neighborhood. Like Andy I do not do much Bb/Eb playing, but coincidentally (or maybe not) I was asked to provide accordion music for a singer/songwriter's performance and in Bb. All of which led to my purchase of the Piroulet.

    The Piroulet is almost identical to the Berry, but with the addition of the 1/2 row. The wood, key action and warmth of sound is remarkably similar. So, it's a story with a happy ending. I've send my first accordion love out into the world and welcomed in it's older sister.

    Adieu Berry
    Bienvenue Piroulet

  2. I'm happy that it is in good hands! Enjoy it!