Leonardo da Vinci "The Genius"

On April 15, 1452 Leonardo was born in Vinci, a hamlet of a few houses close to a medieval castle located on the slopes of Montalbano. All around is a gentle slope of hills planted with vineyards and olive groves, in the background of which the wide expanse of the Arno valley opens up between the scenes of steep hills at the entrance to an ancient artery traveled by pilgrims and merchants: the via Francigena which connected northern Europe with Rome. Vinci, in turn, is halfway between Florence and Pisa.

Leonardo was therefore born in a small village at the crossroads of major communication routes.

At the age of sixteen, his father put him in a workshop at Verrocchio in Florence, where he learned the art of painting alongside other young painters such as Botticelli, Perugino, Lorenzo di Credi and Francesco di Simone.

In 1482 another political and cultural capital of Italy of that time moved to Milan, to the court of Ludovico il Moro with a letter in which he spoke of his skills, a skilled lyre player, painter, as well as those of civil engineer and war machine builder.

In Milan, in addition to painting, Leonardo continues the study of the human figure, under every aspect: anatomy, motion, expression, from portrait to caricature.

In 1499 the King of France Louis XII invaded the Duchy of Milan "the duke lost his state, his possessions and his freedom, and no work was finished for him" Leonardo wrote in 1500.

When events precipitate after 18 years spent in Milan, Leonardo returns to Florence, stopping in Venice where he is consulted for military engineering work on the eastern borders of the Serenissima.

In 1513, Leonardo moved to Rome invited by Cardinal Giuliano de Medici, brother of Pope Giovanni de Medici or Leo X.

In 1517 he accepted the invitation of the King of France who called him to Amboise paying him great honors and appointing him "premier peintre, architecte et mechanicie in du roi". In the castle of Cloux, Leonardo freely dedicated himself to his research and created extraordinary drawings and paintings between the most famous of which is the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo died in Amboise on 2 May 1519.

According to the studies carried out by the luthier Mario Buonescovo from Majano Udine, the shape and functioning of the accordion (accordion) can be attributed to Leonardo, as per the original sketch and the few words of comment written by Leonardo in "Sheet 76 of the Madrid Code II (1503-1509) now in the National Library of Madrid. After the technical studies completed in Buenos Aires, he began to deepen the study of music and musical instruments. After moving to Italy, he began to build ancient, medieval and Renaissance instruments of all kinds, harpsichords, hurdy-gurdies, lutes, viels, psalters now played by important ancient music groups and music institutes in Italy and Europe or exhibited in museums and private collections.

For several years Mario Buonaccount has been dedicated to the iconographic reconstruction of unknown and little cited instruments such as the Orpheon, taken from the Encyclopedie of Diderot and d'Alembert and an instrument obtained from a frieze present in Castelfranco Veneto in the Giorgione's house the name is known and by Mario called “Mechanical harp”.

Good report driven by the curiosity of an article that spoke of an instrument built by a Spanish called “organ di papel” taken from a Leonardo sketch, Mario discovers the similarity to the current accordion.

The few lines written by Leonardo next to the sketch provided significant and stimulating data to begin the study and design of the "Leonardo's accordion" instrument. The sketches for Leonardo represented reminders for further study. For this Mario Buonlievo had to guess almost everything: from the construction systems used at the time to the materials used. Leonardo notes his philosophizing by describing the sketch: a double action bellows and the sound is conducted by flattened reeds of paper or thin wood, and that the instrument is equipped with a right vertical keyboard.

This instrument, like many others, never had a following and therefore no evolution took place until 1852, when the French Bouton did not officially begin to use the keyboard placed vertically on the instrument. The most important differences between the current accordion or accordion and that of Leonardo consists in the fact that in the first the bellows works with single action and the sound is produced by the free reeds, while in Leonardo's project the bellows is double action, that is the flow. of the air is continuous by opening and closing the bellows, furthermore the sound is produced by the pipes and practically works in the same way as the organs. Leonardo da Vinci's invention is very important for the history of the accordion or accordion, we can say that Leonardo is the father of the accordion and Mario the builder of the "first prototype" as described in the Madrid codex. “If we consider that more than three centuries have passed since Leonardo left the sketch of this instrument and that his instructions were followed, I do not dare to imagine what the evolution of the accordion would have been today”: Mario Buonaccount.

Interview with luthier Mario Buonomento:












Biasin Denis: How did you find out about the existence of this drawing by Leonardo?

Mario Buonaccount: “Based on my experiences in the construction of ancient instruments and the realization of projects on Da Vinci boards, I discovered a drawing, taken from Fol. 76r. of Codex Madrid II which is found in the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, in which Leonardo explains the idea of ​​this instrument with a double action bellows, where the sound is produced by flattened reeds of paper or thin wood, equipped with a vertical keyboard for the right hand. Although Leonardo's drawing is unclear and the explanations are minimal, it gives us significant data to start working.

I think this sketch was a reminder to carry out further investigations, or at least a draft without going into the construction details, as you can see in many of his drawings, the intuition is left to the imagination, from the construction systems used at the time to the materials used " .


Biasin Denis: How do you explain so much superficiality in the search for information on the design origins of the Accordion?

Mario Buonaccount: “It remains inexplicable why in the recent and past historiography on the birth of the accordion, no one has ever mentioned the existence of this instrument by Leonardo. On reflection, however, I am convinced that the thing is simpler than it seems, that is, no one knew of the existence of this design, if so we must anticipate the invention of the accordion by over 300 years. Another reason why it has never been a reference of this invention and that this instrument like many others did not have a sequel and therefore no evolution until 1852 when the French Bouton officially began to use the keyboard placed vertically on the instrument. The most important differences between the accordion and Leonardo's instrument are that in the first the bellows is single action, and the sound is produced by free reeds, in the second the bellows and double action, in this way the flow of air is continuous opening and closing the bellows, and the sound is produced through pipes, practically identical to those used on organs ".



Biasin Denis: How challenging was the reconstruction of this instrument in terms of time and energy expended?

Mario Buonaccount: “For about 7 years I have been working on the reconstruction of this instrument based on Leonardo's sketch, the project was not so simple. The elements available were few. This implied that the interpretative possibilities of its functioning could be manifold. The important thing is that there were no anachronisms of any kind in reconstructing the instrument. For example, it was not possible to insert a bellows like in current accordions, knowing that at the time bellows with few folds were used, such as those of the carrying organs.

The materials used were almost exclusively wood, mainly from the place where the instrument was built. I think that for accordionists this instrument is very important, we can say that we consider it the father of the accordion, built as Leonardo described it in his code. More than three centuries passed from Leonardo's sketch to the first documentation of the free reed accordion ”.



Mario Buonaccount: born, lives and works in Majano, province of Udine.

After his technical studies in Buenos Aires, he deepens the study of music and musical instruments.

Moving permanently to Italy, he began uninterruptedly to build hurdy-gurdies, harpsichords and medieval and Renaissance instruments of all kinds, at the same time as he frequented various and important workshops with the most important masters in the sector such as Grant O'Brian, Christopher Hogwood, Christopher Clark and others.

Many instruments made by him are played by important groups of early music, are found in museums and in private possession. For some years he has dedicated himself to the iconographic reconstruction of unknown or in any case not very popular instruments such as the Orpheon taken from The Encyclopedie of Diderot and d'Alembert or a strange instrument obtained from a frieze present in Castelfranco Veneto in the house of Giorgione whose name is unknown.


Music in Italy at the time of Leonardo: "Music is not to be called anything other than the sister of painting, since it is subject to hearing, according to the sense of the eye, and composes harmony with the conjunction of its proportional parts operated in the same time, forced to be born and die in one or more harmonic times, which times surround the proportionality of the members of which this harmony

is composed, not otherwise than making the circumferential line for the

limbs from which human beauty is generated.

But painting excels and dominates music because it does not die immediately after its creation, as unfortunate music does, on the contrary, it remains in being, and what is in fact only one surface is shown to you in life.


The instrument is available to view and test at the BIASIN ARTIST CONCERT HALL in Azzano Decimo. For an appointment contact 0434-633135 /


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