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Joined: Jun 2011
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The garmon (Russian: гармо́нь, IPA: [gɐˈrmonʲ], from garmonika (Russian: гармо́ника, IPA: [gɐˈrmonʲɪkə]), which means "harmonicа") is a kind of Russian button accordion, a free-reed wind instrument. A garmon has two rows of buttons on the right side, which play the notes of a diatonic scale, and at least two rows of buttons on the left side, which play the primary chords in the key of the instrument as well as its relative harmonic minor key. Many instruments have additional right-hand buttons with useful accidental notes, additional left-hand chords for playing in related keys, and a row of free-bass buttons, to facilitate playing of bass melodies.

The garmons can be of two major classes: unisonoric, meaning that each button plays the same note or chord when the bellows is being expanded as it does when compressed, and bisonoric, in which the note depends on the direction of the bellowswork. Examples of unisonoric type are livenka (ливенка, after Livny, Oryol Oblast) and Khromka (Russian: Хромка, for "chromatic"). Bisonoric garmons are, e.g., Tula accordion (Russian: Тульская гармонь, after Tula) and talyanka (тальянка, "Italian")

Beside Russian folk music, the garmon is an important musical instrument for Caucasian (Ossetian, Azeri, Armenia, Georgian, Cherkess, etc.) and Mari folk in Volga and Ural regions. It's also used in popular music. Known also as the Harmonika (see Steirische Harmonika) it is very popular in Slovenia. Modern music is also played on the Garmon, with some artists achieving popularity in Europe and the United States of America. The Slovenian style of play differs from the Russian. There are over 300 popular ensembles in Slovenia, one ensemble often consisting of several singers and an accordionist, the musicians very often being young or middle-aged.

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