(story cont'd from page
Birth of the Bellows and the life of the Accordion
Soprani’s sons were captivated by this new discovery, especially
the oldest son Paolo, who sat in awe listening to the new sounds
emitted by this bizarre wooden contraption.
The pilgrim, seeing Paolo’s intense interest, gave it to
him as a present. Paolo promptly began to take the new instrument
apart in an attempt to find out what made it work.
While the story may be classified as legend, the encounter is
recognized in Castelfidardo and surrounding areas as the first appearance
of the accordion or fisarmonica in Italy, leading to a major economic
boom in the Le Marche region.
Soprani began a small accordion workshop at home before opening
a factory in the center of town. His goal was not to create new
models of accordions but to improve upon Cyril Damian’s original
Viennese patent and make the instrument more aesthetically pleasing
with a richer sound that would translate better into Italian popular
French accordion professional Antonio
Franzoso--by Averyl Dunn
Remembering his encounter
with the pilgrim, Paolo began to peddle his wares outside the church
in Loreto to people traveling there from all over Europe. Soprani’s
innovations were extremely popular, and his factory flourished.
The growth of the accordion industry in Castelfidardo prompted
other innovators to follow. Soon factories were established in nearby
Macerata, Stradella, Camerano and even a few more in Castelfidardo,
including one opened by his brother Settimio in 1872.
Orders arrived from all over Italy and from America, where Italian
immigrants’ homesickness was eased by the familiar sounds
of the accordion. The demand gave Soprani the opportunity to expand
his operation. In 1900, with the help of his sons Luigi and Achille,
Soprani opened a new factory, which immediately employed 400 people
from all over the province.
Through his innovations, Soprani began an industrial
revolution in Castelfidardo and surrounding areas, where the accordion
industry became an engine of the regional economy. Soprani eventually
died in 1918 at the age of 73, leaving his factory to his sons.
But his legacy is scattered throughout the Le Marche region, in
the many factories established after his.
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