Scenes and stories from a small town in the hills of Italy's Le Marche region

Camerano's pulse played by accordions

By Erik Heinz
July 2006

CAMERANO, Italy --The heart of industry in Camerano beats to the sound of accordions. Here, Silvio Scandalli and, later, the Farfisa factory in 1946 revolutionized the process by which these instruments were made. The Farfisa factory abandoned the traditional assembly process in which the instrument was passed along a line on which each of the instruments’ 5,000-plus pieces was assembled one by one. The Farfisa factory split the process into departments, where components were constructed and combined to create a completed accordion. The process cut production time exponentially and was the genius of the factory.

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Experience the sight and sound of the instrument that put Camerano on the map in the music world.--by Dixi Baldwin


Birth of the bellows
and the life of the accordion

In 1863, a weary Austrian pilgrim leaving his long-awaited destination of Loreto paused to rest for the night in the nearby town of Castelfidardo. After making the 600-mile journey from his homeland to worship the infamous “Black Madonna” statue, he decided to stop at a small farmhouse and ask for hospitality for the night.

The farmhouse belonged to Antonio and Lucia Soprani, and they were more than willing to oblige their foreign visitor. Refreshed, the pilgrim pulled out a strange looking-box, making sounds that the Soprani family had never heard as he skillfully worked the bellows of the instrument. (read more)

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