Innovation and technical characteristics of Appassionata Bayan.

item from Karl Andreevitch  Dordol, bayans master, Kiev (1992)


"During 40 years working in accordion fixing, I discovered a lot of instrument configuration, either produced in series or uniquely crafted. All of them had their qualities and their faults. But, I think that few models in our days reach the perfection, in Russia as in Europe. I would like to give you my point of view on the Appassionata accordions and the work of our famous compatriot and craftsmen, Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin. I was lucky to discover his work and thanks to that I learnt a lot about his personality. He was always in search for creation, perfectionism like a « Bayan Stradivari ». Unlike his predecessors, the last bayan of Kolchin bring together all the innovations discovered in modern making. This is a unique instrument in the world, both on the technical point of view (keyboard mechanism, registers, and acoustics) and on the aesthetic point of view. These characteristics explain why this bayan must be considered as one of the world gold standard. What is the secret of this success? What are the advantages of this creation? Thanks to precise calculations based on numerous experiences, Kolchin found such a mechanism configuration so that it reduces the size of the sound box. The use of light materials decreased the weight to 14 kilos. These changes help the musician to perform a better interpretation because even if the instrument requires a colossal workforce, it became easy to handle and needs less physical effort. It is important to remember that the craftsmen succeeded in enlarging the tones of the two keyboards but also to integrate in the small space of the left part of the sound box, a set of piccolos with sound box, with a new valve system linked to the main right keyboard. This innovation enriched the resonance of the bayan and the range of sounds all the more so as Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin increased the number of registers from 15 to 19. The 10 chin pieces can be combined in a way that the musician can select 19 different registers. In this specific model of bayan, the master abandon the bent shape of the valve mechanism in the area located under the left keyboard. At the place of valves rotation, he puts thin ring-shaped bronze parts: this facilitates the free rotation, reinforces and makes easier the valves movement. The configuration of the low valves mechanism (left keyboard) deserves a specific attention: there is also here an innovation that solves series of problems. Indeed, unlike other bayans, where the crossbars (small and long rollers with springs) commanding the valves used a lot of space (with a significant weight harmful for the musician), Kolchin reduced their space and their size: they are tighter from each other and grouped together on two different levels. Thanks to this system, the valves are grouped under sections. He thus reduced the size of the bass mechanism. The free space left is used in the benefit of acoustics. In such a configuration, where acoustics are positioned by levels, according to the tones the musician is confused when he wants to make nuances of tones. Besides, in this position, all the valves of the left keyboard are grouped together by section. The valves are positioned perpendicularly to the cavity and open transversely. This conditions the raise of the valves: the air comes more regularly and better measured. The springs of the valves allow the musician to better push in the button, more sensitive, giving more dynamism to the tones. The bass mechanism has a lateral convertor on three places and liberates the fingers of the musician because it is activated by the thumb. The bellows has 18 folds, it is really strong in its stretching and its metal protections are really resistant. In this kind of bayan, there is often an acoustic effect that is not solved and that stops the voice tuning process in the region of the first descendent octave. Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin succeeded in correcting these problems.

Hence, this last model kept the weight and the size of the two previous Appassionata but now has: 5 right voices and 3 left voices, Left tones: 69, C to G: 4 octaves, Buttons: 138, Right tones: 64.

At the end of his life, Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin was obliged to work at the accordion factory « Soviet Army ». Some people against the soviet regime did not want to make promotion nor to Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin or to his instrument « Appassionata ». The majority of the producers as well as Kolchin colleagues ignored that he had created a bayan unique in the world. My concerts, seminaries and conferences abroad and in former Soviet Union convinced some professional musicians that this instrument really exists. Vassilij Artiemovitch Kolchin had been invited in Italy by the Borsini factory to produce this unique instrument. Unfortunately, Kolchin and his wife's death happened before the realisation of this instrument. This instrument conceived in tradition and modernity has perfect lines, is well finished and is simple and elegant.

20 april 1992
Dordol Karl Andreevitch