The melodeon, forerunner of the modern accordion, has become one of themost prolific and widespread instruments used in traditional Italianmusic. It has gained its greatest popularity in central and southernparts of the country, where it has taken over the part traditionallyassigned to far more ancient instruments like bagpipes and ‘launeddas'.
Riccardo Tesi is one of Italy's most talented melodeon players. Overthe years he has become quite a celebrity in other countries as well.In the late seventies he took to making fieldrecordings. He would seekout traditional musicians with the purpose of acquiring various stylesand techniques from them. In this way Tesi soon mastered such verydifferent styles as the ‘saltarello' from central Italy, the‘tarantella' from the south and the ‘ballu tundi' from Sardinia. Tesisubsequently broadened his outlook by studying the repertoire of the‘Tosco-Emiliana' Apennine region. Folk music from this part of Italy istraditionally played in fiddle and accordion ensembles. This not onlyopened up a whole new repertoire for Tesi, but also suggested newtechniques for playing the melodeon. For the same reasons he took upplaying Renaissance music as well as compositions of his own.