Hall of Fame – 2022
Heinrich Band (1821-1860) was a musician and accomplished music instructor. At the age of 21, he began to sell musical instruments from his store in Krefeld (Crefeld), a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Heinrich sold an entire range of conventional musical instruments including the German concertina, which has its origins in Saxony, Germany. His instruments were made to order, most probably manufactured by Carl Friedrich Uhlig (1790-1874) or Carl Friedrich Zimmermann (1817-1898).
Not satisfied with the Uhlig and Zimmermann designs, Band made several innovative changes that improved the German concertina which made it more popular with musicians. These changes included the addition of more rows of buttons and revisions to the keyboard layout. His intent was to gradually transition the instrument’s basic beginner keyboard to designs with more tones to accommodate musicians at every level as they improved their performance skills.
To help musicians learn how to use his larger, more complex keyboard, Heinrich developed the numbered keyboard and corresponding sheet music notation that made the learning process easier since many students did not have knowledge of musical theory and could not afford the services of a professional instructor. This keyboard numbering system and sheet music notation are still used today for the modern chemnitzer concertina and bandoneon.
Heinrich is also acknowledged as the innovator to transition the German concertina from single-reed to multi-reed designs. By having each button activate multiple reeds that were tuned to be an octave apart, the instrument’s unique sound was greatly improved and its favor grew among musicians and listeners.
Carl Zimmermann is credited with inventing the bandoneon, but it was Heinrich Band’s popular efforts to standardize the instrument’s keyboard layout that resulted in the instrument being named after him.