Playing the Low Lonesome Reed

One of the things I love about my Salterelle Pastourelle III is its three banks of reeds on the right hand, tuned LMM (see Accordion Speak 101 for a complete explanation). My Castagnari Nik has a lovely, light, willowy sound, with its MM reeds tuned Tremolo Americano. But the low reed on the Pastourelle gives that intrument a lush fullness that knocks my romantic socks off. I very much enjoy having the choice of that full sound, and also having the choice of playing the low reed all on its own.  It gives the instrument an entirely new character not to have all three reeds blasting away. This might be a case where putting in some stops — rather than “pulling out all the stops” — will lead to a better outcome. A close, intimate sound.

Here’s a recording whereon I feature the low lonesome reed as voice on the Pastourelle. The tune is a waltz found on a recording by La Chavanée, Le Long de la Riviére. The tune was written by Philippe Prieur, cornemuse. It can be found in “the pink book.”

4 thoughts on “Playing the Low Lonesome Reed

  1. Hey maestro, that's nice, really nice. It seems to have more tones going on at the same time than my layman's ear is used to hearing from a bellows…like a bagpipe, a little. Do you have any moral objections to me downloading it and saving it to my iPod?


  2. Very nice recording!
    I agree about the low-and-lonesome bassoon reed.
    There are acoustic advantages to a reedblock-to-soundboard bond that is not mediated by sliders — one of the reasons your Nik sounds so good. But it is hard to imagine giving up the options to get so many different sounds as you get on the Pastourelle.


  3. I agree, Andy. I'm not sure what it is about my psychology, though. Not having those options makes the Nik more enjoyable for me to play (not to mention the reduced weight, especially in the bass). Chaos, I've been told, is an over-abundance of choice … maybe the Pastourelle is my first disquieting glimpse of that. 🙂


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