Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Accordions and smoking

Accordions breathe easier since smoking ban

I was talking to the Troubadours of Divine Bliss on Friday night about how annoying it is to play accordion in a smoky bar -- not only because smoke collects inside the bellows of the sensitive instrument, but because every time you squeeze it,it just blows smoke back in your face.

Excerpt from the above linked article, based on studies in Ireland, the first nation to go entirely smoke-free in all work places, including pubs (in early 2004).

"It's a remarkable analogy in that you've got an instrument that's basically performing much the same way as the lung and responding much the same way as the lung," added Kirby Donnelly, head of environmental and occupational health at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

A study ... found a significant reduction in air pollution in pubs and an improvement in respiratory symptoms in Irish bar workers after the ban.

Musicians... frequently gather at pubs to play traditional music together. In addition to the accordion, these pub sessions feature concertina, melodeon and Uilleann (Irish) bagpipes, all of which are bellows-driven.

Anecdotal evidence had suggested that accordions subjected to heavy smoke collected particles inside, much like a person's lungs would.

Garvey and his colleagues conducted a telephone survey of all workers (a total of seven) involved in the cleaning, repair, maintenance and renovation of accordions in the Republic of Ireland....
Those interviewed noted that, when opened, accordions that had been played in smoke-filled rooms emitted a strong cigarette odor. Deposits of soot-like dirt were also found inside the instruments. One worker interviewed said that, in some cases, enough dirt could be deposited in the instrument to affect the pitch.

All interviewees said that both the cigarette smell from accordions and the dirt residue inside had improved since the smoking ban.

If you have no concern for my lungs, at least pity my accordions!!

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