Guido Deiro |
Guido Deiro (1935)
Tue, 8 Mar 2005
I've just spent 3.5 hours reading the Guido website and listening to clips. I've never seen anything like it. It is phenomenal.
Would you contrast for me the careers of Magnante and Guido after the end of vaudeville? Magnante managed to hang on and live a good life. Did Guido just waste his money? Certainly, Guido made as much or much more than Magnante.
Contrasting your opening picture of Guido on the homepage with the photo of him months before his death is heartbreaking. As much for lost youth as for bad judgments.
The life of Guido Deiro reminds me much of that of Jerry Lee Lewis.
Congrats again on an unbelievable website.
I play the CD Vaudeville Accordion Classics and really love most of the songs. Where can I purchase sheet music for these songs? Thank you for your reply.
Dear Joseph Saman,
We are hoping it will be published soon. We will put up a page on this site when it is available.
Subject: New CDs
Date: November 18, 2004
I would like to be notified when the "Guido Plays Guido" and "Guido Plays Other Composers" CDs are released. I just bought the Henry Doktorski CD "Vaudeville Accordion Classics - The Complete Works of Guido Deiro" and I am delighted!
Subject: Dolly Bowers
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004
My fourteen year old girlfriend, Dolly Bowers (Susie Chanler later) played at Guido's Sr. benefit concert in the early 50's. She was his protégé prior to his death, a young virtuoso, and I was so good on the accordion that she allowed me to turn her pages. I was sweet sixteen with a big crush on her, but she only loved her accordion. Good thing. She went on with Tony Galla-Rini, I went on to College, Army and Business.
I ran into her about 15 years ago and she was still playing but found it hard to make a living. She still looked cute. I downloaded Guido's biography and was surprise to see her name mentioned in it. Thanks for helping to keep Guido's history alive.
Date: February 19, 2004
Subject: Guido Deiro
Dear Count Deiro,
It's been a pleasure delving into some of the music and early history of Guido Deiro. Having heard so much of Pietro's music growing up, it was a real pleasure to discover your father's music and listen to Henry's renditions. It was his renditions that got me interested in the first place. I'm amazed at how much talent Guido Deiro possessed at such an early stage in the Piano Accordion here in America. No wonder he took the stage by storm. He was breaking new ground and simultaneously developing new accordion techniques to fit the music of the day. It's about time that his works and genius are revealed.
John Donohue, Ph. D.
Subject: NPR WNYC "The No Show"; Steve Post played Guido Deiro
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004
I thought you would be interested to know, if you don't already, that this evening, Friday, February 6 from 7 to 8 pm EST, Steve Post, the host of the widely popular "No Show" on the NPR radio station WNYC, played a superb selection of piano accordion music that he attributed to Guido Deiro.
Steve delivered the usual parody of the piano accordion in a rather hilarious monologue about his study of the instrument for a year or so as a young boy, on his father's encouragement, in a voice rendition of the warhorse "My Bonnie" with the sounds of 'Oom-pa-pa' that he droned in the refrain. He mispronounced the Deiro surname badly, and he said Guido was a 'Count', while I understand that only his son was knighted. He did say Guido was married to Mae West.
But, the music was sublime.
Dennis R. Fanucchi
Great Neck, New York
Subject: Double CD
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003
Dear Mr. Doktorski,
Thanks so much for the two CDs - Vaudeville Accordion Classics - which arrived last Saturday. The quality is superb, in every way, and the playing quite inspired. I feel the two CDs should be a 'Must-Have' for every accordion enthusiast.
I believe Count Deiro and yourself should be heartily congratulated, as well as Bridge Records, for completing such a complex undertaking in such a magnificent way.
Te Awamutu, New Zealand
(1) I'm sure many will wonder if you found Mr. Deiro's 1924 Guerrini accordion harder to play, or just different, or both, than your truly magnificent Victoria. I'm referring of course to the Sharpshooters March, both 'tracks' sounding very similar I thought.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this - and perhaps you would consider commenting on this point on the website?
(2) The Royal Flying Corps March was certainly played at a 'flying' speed. I'm sure this was intentional (as possibly suggested by the title) and presumably Mr. Deiro played it that fast too. Mind you, the other Marches were played quickly too! I glad I'm not in the army. (assuming modern armies do march, of course).
(3) In my humble opinion, many of the pieces deserve to be as popular as My Florence and I was also rather taken with Pink Slippers (very ballet-like).
(4) Dolores was indeed, as the Australian gentleman pointed out, composed by Waldteufel. I should know, I'm a Waldteufel fan. So, I know, was Guido Deiro (read the website!). I imagine this was due to a simple error, many years ago. I shall mail you my Dolores accordion score tomorrow! (I'm not just a talker)
Incidentally, Guido's music stands up rather well against Dolores, don't you think?
(5) One of the great pleasures I got from the CDs was listening to your playing of those relatively-simple pieces (12 - 16 I believe). My, how interesting, artistic and beautiful (note: three adjectives) you made them sound. When I tried to play, for example, Beautiful Girl Waltz, I gave up in disgust, thinking the piece rather awful. (Solution - More practice, more bellows control, buy a Victoria, or, more realistically, give up playing and buy more CDs)
(6) I am sure many listeners will want to compare these CDs to the reissued Deiro recordings, if and when they come out!!
(7) Please feel free to print any of the above in the website's "Readers Letters" section, if this will help the cause. And, you might like to relay the first two paragraphs or more to Count Deiro.
(Reply from Mr. Doktorski:)
Dear Roger Nightingale,
Thank you for your enthusiastic words for our recently-released Guido Deiro CD anthology.
Regarding Deiro's 1924 Guerrini accordion: I did not want to use it for the recording. I knew the instrument was difficult to play and not in good condition, but at the insistence of Dr. Allan Atlas, the director of the Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City (where the Guido Deiro Archives are preserved) I agreed to record at least one song for the album.
There were some problems which I had to solve. Some of the notes in the right hand were terribly out of tune, so I could only play those notes when the bellows were reversed. I think the A two octaves above middle C was one of the worst offenders. I had to make sure that the bellows were pulled out whenever I had to play those pitches.
Also, there were quite a few air leaks in the instrument, which made it quite short of breath, something like an asthmatic, I imagine, or someone with advanced lung cancer. I was constantly changing bellows direction because of the leaks.
In addition, some of the left-hand buttons stuck when I played them. Whenever this happened I had to re-record that section. I learned to barely touch the left-hand buttons to help minimize this obstacle.
The instrument was somewhat awkward for me to play, because I am used to playing on a more advanced ergonomically-correct instrument.
Despite these hassles, the recording of the Sharpshooter's March Reprise took less time than the original recording using my Victoria! I don't know exactly why. Probably because I purposely did not allow myself to spend much time on it. Amazingly enough, I think it sounds nearly as fine as the performance with my Victoria.
Guido's 1924 instrument must have been a superb instrument when it was in mint condition. Despite the neglect and abuse it has suffered during the last half century or more, the reeds are amazingly fairly well in tune. The right hand reeds are full and bright and just the perfect volume to project clearly from a stage into an auditorium or concert hall. There is no muting of the sound by a tone chamber, which was a later development in accordion evolution, so the sound is always bright.
The left hand bass is strong and hearty; just perfect for the bass solos in Sharpshooter's March and the other marches. I think Guido Deiro's accordion was perfectly suitable for the music he played.
I closing, I should mention that this 1924 Guerrini instrument has four sets of reeds in the right hand: one low reed (16 foot/bassoon) and three unison sets of middle reeds (8 foot/clarinet). There are two stops for the right hand: A Master Stop which allows all four sets of reeds to sound, and a Violin Stop, which allows only two sets of the middle reeds to sound. The left-hand manual has no register stops.
(End of Mr. Doktorski's reply.)
Subject: Vaudeville accordion classics
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003
Dear Mr Doktorski,
Please accept my congratulations on your recent double-CD set of Guido Deiro music. I have listened with great interest to your fine performance.
Dare I draw your attention to two pieces (on CD B) attributed to Guido Deiro - "Dolores Waltz" and "Sharpshooters March?" It is a very long time since I have seen the sheet music for these pieces so I could be wrong in what I write. However, I am of the opinion that "Dolores" sounds very much like the Dolores Waltz by the great French composer of waltzes, Emil Waldteufel (1837-1915). If my memory serves me correctly the composer of Sharpshooters March was Metallo (first initial G.). Perhaps I have misunderstood something in my hasty reading of the notes on the pieces?
With kindest regards, and congratulations on a historically important achievement.
Dear Jan Zdysiewicz,
Thank you for your letter and appreciation. Your comments about Sharpshooter's March and Dolores Waltz are interesting and provocative.
Regarding Sharpshooter's March, I believe Guido Deiro's version is significantly different than G. Metallo's version, which was originally titled Curro Cuchares. Deiro explained that those who attributed the authorship of this march to himself were "true in some respects." He tells the entire story at Guido Deiro's Own Story of Sharpshooter's March, including how he titled it Sharpshooter's March.
Curiously, Guido Deiro's 1911 recording of Sharpshooter's March on the Columbia Harmony label attributed the composer of this piece to Eilenberg; probably the Viennese composer, Richard Eilenberg (1848-1927).
Regarding Dolores Waltz, I am not familiar with Waldteufel's Dolores Waltz. Guido Deiro is listed as the composer of this piece in a discography of the Deiro brothers by Peter Muir which was published in The Free-Reed Journal, volume 4 (2002) [Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City]. Apparently Guido Deiro's 1911 recording of Dolores Waltz on the Columbia United label credits Deiro as the composer.
After receiving your letter, I found a recording of Waldteufel's Dolores Waltz on the Internet. You are correct; this waltz was actually composed by Waldteufel, and not Deiro. We included the song in the Guido Diero Anthology in error. Thank you for pointing this out to us.
Subject: Request for notification
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003
I would like to be informed when the two CDs (Guido Plays Guido, and Guido Plays Other Composers) become available.
Thomas D. Harvey, Jr.
San Francisco, California
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003
Dear Mr. Henry Doktorski,
I would like to know if the CD with Guido Deiro's musics and the reprint of the scores are realised. Faithfully yours
Subject: CD Reissues
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2003
Please let me know when the CD reissues come out. I'd love to pick them up.
Subject: Three CD sets
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003
As per your web pages www.guidodeiro.com\cds.html, please notify me when the CDs are released plus cost, + shipping to New Zealand and whether one can pay by Visa or not.
Subject: Guido Deiro CD Information.
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003
I just visited your site and would love to know when the Second cd set will be going on sale and where I could buy them from. I have been looking for a recording of the Sharpshooter's March for about 3 years, as my late Grandfather used to play it with an accordion band in the 1940's and I would love to be able to hear at last. I look forward to hear from you. Thanks!
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003
Hi there, my friend Richard Sleeman recently contacted you regarding the tune "Sharpshooters" which his Grandfather's accordion band used to play.
I attach a picture of Richard's Grandfather's band, The Lagondas. I don't know when the picture was taken, probably in the 1930s. Bill Sleeman is on the back row, third from left. The lady in the front is called Barbara Withers, and she is still alive but very old now. Unfortunately we don't know the names of other members of the band, but they were reckoned to be the best Accordion Band around. Bill Sleeman died last year in his late 80s - and I was proud and privileged to play my accordion during his funeral service and and the party afterwards. In fact, one elderly lady told me that it was the best party she had been to in 60 years, and I was pleased to be able to give a fellow-musician a good "send off" - in Richard's family that party is still talked about!
Richard could not send you the picture himself as his computer wouldn't do it, so he asked me to send it to you. Maybe you will let me know that you have received it OK and whether it is of interest to you.
with kind regards
Lindsay Seagrim-Trinder (Mrs)
Subject: Guido Deiro's CDs
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003
I would like to be informed when the CD(s) are available for purchase.
Thomas D. Harvey, Jr.
San Francisco, California
Subject: Deiro Anthology
Date: Sun, 11 May 2003
Please notify me when the three Deiro Anthologies are completed and up for sale.
Date: Sunday, February 16, 2003
Subject: Re: #3776 Guido Deiro
I have recently come into possession of four D & R records. They date around 1908. One is number 3776 Played by Guido Deiro Variety Polka, and the other side is My Treasure Waltz. Number imprinted on the record is 55600-2-8 and 55598-1-12. I would appreciate it if you could tell me anything about them including what is the D & R Military Band.
I am forwarding your letter to someone who may be able to help you, Peter Muir.
Henry Doktorski, webmaster
Subject: Re: #3776 Guido Deiro
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003
D&R ("Double and Reversible") was a mail order label that operated from 1908 to 1912, and used Columbia masters, among others. The Deiro sides were originally recorded for Columbia in 1911, and were among his most popular, being issued on many different labels. I don't think the label ever made its own recordings, so the D&R Military Band is no doubt a pseudonym for Prince's Military Band, or one of the other major recording bands of the day. I hope this gives you the information you need.
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003
I would be interested in purchasing copies of the Cd reissues of Deiro's original recordings. I am a jazz historian and I am interested in the original recordings, specifically the ragtimes and the "Jazz Band Ball" and "Ostrich Walk".
Subject: 78 or 80?
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002
I own exactly one record of Mr Deiro's performances, this being the Columbia A1351 release of "Deirina Polka-Mazurka" b/w "Stars & Stripes Forever". As you note, the pressing is not of the best quality, as the side with "Stripes" is noticeably pressed out-of-round, causing the stylus to jerk back-and-forth while playing.
Note that Columbia spelled it as "Derina" on the label; is this a typo?
(If so, it wouldn't be the first time; they mangled many of the Hebrew titles on various cantorial recordings as well. Apparently they had problems with foreign words.)
I have a question about this recording. I have read that the Columbia acoustics were supposed to play at 80.00 RPM, rather than 78.26 RPM which later became the industry standard. I listened to the sound-clip on your site, and noted that it was apparently reproduced at 78 RPM, which is nearly a half-tone lower in pitch than what I'm used to hearing. Is this in fact correct, or have I got the setting wrong at my end?
I'd also love to know approximately when this recording was made. As usual for records of this era, there aren't any dates on the disc, apart from the patent dates; the most recent of those was Nov. 30 '09, so obviously it can't be any earlier than that.
(P.S. As an anti-spam activist, I love how you put your email address in a JPEG; that's a great way to cut down on the spam you receive. Let's see them try to harvest *that*...)
Subject: Deirina Mazurka
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002
The correct spelling of the mazurka is, of course, Deirina. This agrees with the spelling of the family name and also the correct usage of the " ina " to denote the Italian feminine. It is also the spelling used on the published Music.
If there was one curse my father and all of us who share the surname have had to live with, it is the misspelling and mispronunciation of the name.
As to the speed of Columbia recordings. You are the first to bring up the question. Intrigued, I adjusted the speed of my turntable to attempt to duplicate a half tone up in pitch and found that the music no longer sounded true to my ears at any speed other than the nominal 78 rpm.
Coloring our assumptions, should be the underlying fact that my father had to arrange and play pieces to fit within the recording time limits of the disc. I personally feel he had to play up tempo. His basic technique featured extremely clean fingering and impeccable cadence. I can still hear him shout at me "staccato!..staccato!"
Count Guido Roberto Deiro
Las Vegas, Nevada
Subject: Re: 78 or 80?
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002
Hello Shalom Septimus!
The speed of older discs, cylinders etc is a problem. It varies with time, and also with record label. In the field of 78rpms, for sure they are not at all always 78 rpms.
Most of Guido Deiros records are produced by Columbia, or other Columbia-related labels. Columbia records from that time (1910ths, 20ths) should be reproduced at 80 rpm.
Edison´s discs should also be played at 80 rpm. Pathe disc can vary in speed up to over 90 rpm.
Edison cylinders normally play at 160 rpm, although very old brown wax cylinders normally play at 130 rpm. However all commercial accordioncylinders with Frosini, Deiro, Kimmel, Prince play at 160 rpms.
There are actually computer programs for making stroboscopes. There is one at www.78rpm.com named strobe.exe . This is however a dos-program, but it works. A better one is strobo.exe which works under win95, 98, ME and XP. I have never seen any strobe program for Macintosh system so far.
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002
please add my name to your list of interested guido deiro cd's
Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2002
Subject: Contact Mr. C. Guido R. Deiro
Dear Mr. Doktorski,
We are the factory Ranco Antonio Accordions from Italy. We produce accordions since very long time and one part of our pubblicity is about Mr. Guido Deiro, father of C.Guido Roberto Deiro.
We are writing to you in order to ask you kindly to send us the home address or email address of C. Guido Roberto Deiro. We would like to contact him and send him some of our information material. His father was the first to bring the piano accordion RANCO ANTONIO in the U.S. It is our pleasure to contact his son.
We thank you very much in advance for your help.
RANCO ANTONIO Accordions
Subject: CD project
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002
Please notify me when the Doktorski CD project is complete.
Subject: Guido Deiro's CD's
Date: Fri, 09 Aug 2002
Please notify me when Guido Deiro's CD's are available.
Paul B. Moore
El Mirage, Arizona
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002
Please let me know when the CD's are ready. Thank you.
Subject: CD release
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002
I am writing on behalf of my uncle, Remo Pecolatto (whose father Albino, by the way, was good friends with Pietro, since they grew up together in Salto). Remo, who is an avid accordion player himself, would like to be notified when the CD's become available. Thank you very much.
Mark E. Giuntini
Subject: Guido Deiro
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002
Please notify me when the Guido Deiro CD's are available.
I had the opportunity to meet the Count and his lovely wife, the Countess, at the recent International Accordion Convention in Las Vegas, NV on June 27, 2002. Not only did the Counts father have a colorful life, so has his son. I don't want to sound ignorant but do you have any details or history (or can you get information) on what the Sovereign Dynastic Hospitaller Order of St. John's is?? I'm speculating that having a title such as Grand Chancellor and Count is a highly prestigious title perhaps one stemming centuries ago pertaining to nobility. Also, with having the key word "Hospitaller" in the title, are they involved in charity work pertaining to hospitals??
The Count said, that at every event he goes to he learns more about his father or talks to someone who was connected in some way. At the seminar, one gentleman said the Guido played at his baptismal when he was an infant. Joe Vento was there and studied as a young boy under Guido. After reading your study though, that would be questionable because it said Guido hated teaching, however, he did establish accordion schools throughout the country employing others to teach.
I want to commend you on your outstanding efforts on this website. I couldn't finish until I read it all. I printed all the information out and put it into a binder. Have you thought of condensing all of this info. into a book or would it be to costly???
I am looking forward to your CD releases and any other information you could provide me.
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002
I've been a collector of phonograph records for many years and have in my collection quite a few Guido Deiro recordings on Victor and Columbia. From a technical point, I am still astonished at the fact that an accordion could be recorded so well using the acoustical process.
Subject: Guido Deiro's Heart Not Into Teaching
Date: Thurs, 9 May 2002
I am an accordion repairman and just talked with Henry Doktorski who brought in to my shop one of Guido Deiro's accordions -- a Guerrini which I estimate was built in 1933-34 -- for some repairs and adjustments. I have been playing accordion since I was a boy. I was born in 1924; now I am 78 years old. I was taught by my father, Joseph Mosti.
My father was a well known accordionist, composer and teacher who knew Guido Deiro, Guido's brother Pietro, Pietro Frosini and Biaggio Quattrociocche. Quattrociocche published about 16 original compositions written by my father in the 1920s and 30s. I myself made some records and had my music published when I was young, but I decided to forego the life of a performer and go into accordion repair as that was where the money was.
I met Guido Deiro when my family moved to California right after World War II. Guido had a small accordion studio with maybe fifteen students and I visited him there once in the Summer of 1946. It was obvious that his heart was not into teaching, as other studios operated by Sylvester Prior and Tony Travis had hundreds of students. A young girl, one of Guido's students, entered his studio. Guido looked at me with a sorry face and whispered, "Giving lessons is poison for me." His heart was simply not into teaching.
I can understand that -- for a man who was such a great star during the heyday of vaudeville in the 1910s and 20s, a hit headliner who got top billing and top dollar for his performances, who would woo the audience with his personality and music and make them swoon, a man who when he was on stage could control the audience like they were in the palm of his hand -- for a great celebrity star like Guido, teaching students, especially beginners, must have been a source embarrassment and frustration for him. He only charged $7 per lesson at a time when some other teachers charged as much as $20 per lesson. Teaching for a small fraction of his former salary as a headliner must have been extremely difficult for such a natural-born performer and star. A man like Guido needed a stage and adoring fans. When I met him he was clearly a sad and discouraged shell of his former self.
One thing I will say is that Guido, despite the hard times which had come to him because of the demise of vaudeville and the waning popularity of the accordion, still had a magical way with the ladies, even when he was 60 years old. I remember attending a recital given by Anthony Galla-Rini at Pepperdine College. While we were sitting and waiting for the concert to begin, Guido walked down the aisle flanked by two absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking young women who were affectionately holding on to each of Guido's arms. The ladies really liked him.
P.S. Oh yes, I donated two original copies of sheet music by Guido to the Guido Deiro Archive: two editions of My Florence: 1. a slightly torn copy of the original 1927 Quattrociocche edition and 2. A copy in mint condition revised by Galla-Rini and published in 1971 by Pietro Deiro Publications.
Subject: Mae West
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002
My name is Damon Devine. I am a Mae West collector of 21 years. I have an extraordinary collection and photos are my favorite. It is rare when I see a photo I don't have. I almost passed out when I saw the one on this site of her in the black dress! Where did you get that? I would be thrilled to have that or a copy of it for a good price. I have some from that time period (none with Deiro unfortunately) but this one I have never seen! Let me know, I would be grateful.
Los Angeles, CA
We scanned the image of Mae West you referred to from a photograph which appeared in the August 1935 issue of "Accordion World" magazine (page 4.) I cannot tell you where to get a copy of the photo except to download and print the image directly from our website.
Henry Doktorski, webmaster
Subject: Deiro family in Cle Elum
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002
I have been researching the Deiro family and was pleased to find your website on the Deiro brothers. We were especially surprised to learn about the connection to Mae West.
I noticed on one of your web pages you ask "Why did Pietro settle in Cle Elum?" I believe the answer is that he had family living there. Pietro had an uncle also named Pietro Deiro (born 1867) who immigrated to the US in 1890. His wife Mariana and first two children came in 1893. Uncle Pietro was a coal miner and the family settled in Cle Elum, Washington. Pietro, Carlo and Fred Deiro were brothers.
My wife's grandmother was Isabella Deiro. She was the fifth child of Pietro and Mariana Deiro. Isabella Deiro was born in Cle Elum in 1898. My father-in-law is Isabella's son. He was born in Cle Elum in 1915. I have informed my father-in-law of your webpage and expect he will look at it today. My father-in-law tells me that when he was in New York on his way overseas for WW II, he met Pietro who was playing in New York at the time. It is ironic that my father-in-law now lives in Redlands, CA which is about 3 miles east of Loma Linda (where Guido died).
I am forwarding a photo of brothers Pietro and Fred Deiro together. These are Guido's uncles. You mention Fred Deiro in your webpage as buying the first accordion in Germany. The "Life Story: Part 1" web page mentions that Fred Deiro resides in Stockton, CA. I find that hard to believe as he would be over 100 years old today. Perhaps this is taken out of context if the original story was written by Guido who died in 1950.
Uncles Pietro and Fred Deiro
Click on the image to enlarge.
Dear Andy Reagle,
Thank you for your most interesting and informative letter. I have updated the page which discusses Why Pietro Immigrated to Cle Elum, as you suggested. I have also included a note in the article by Guido Deiro, Life Story: Part 1 which explains that the article was probably written in 1935.
Henry Doktorski, webmaster
Subject: Guido and Pietro
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002
Dear Count Guido Roberto Deiro,
I lately discovered with great pleasure your excellent web site.
I was glad to learn about the true history of the piano accordion in relation to your father and uncle. I admire your desire to 'set the record straight', and I was moved by the heartfelt sentiment you expressed in your decision to delay publication of your account of the controversy, out of respect for your cousin, Pietro Deiro Jr., over the question of who was truly the original pioneer of the piano accordion in America in the early twentieth century.
In June, 1957, I was a first place national accordion champion in the age 12 division at the AAA contest in Chicago. My teacher was John Barsuglia of Sacramento. I was happy to note you had credited Mr. Barsuglia, himself an accomplished accordionist, United States Army musician and WW II veteran. He was a fine teacher and indeed had the background, knowledge and history to corroborate essential facts about the early years of your father and uncle in America.
At the Chicago competition, I played one of your cousin's original compositions, a difficult grade 6 etude, which I remember was essentially a very fast technical exercise. Though he was a great champion of your father, my teacher seized upon Pietro Jr.'s original composition as my contest entry at the last minute, but two weeks before the competition, as that particular etude had not been published before 1957. After I won, my teacher introduced me to Pietro Jr. at the Palmer House Hotel. Though it's been over four decades since the competition, and I'm a lapsed accordionist, I can still remember your cousin's kindly and smiling visage. He told me nobody so young had ever played his work so well.
So many years late, I wonder about the AAA in the deeper context of the historical relationship between your father and your uncle Pietro. I understand your uncle was a founding member, a doyen of the AAA which was incorporated in Manhattan in 1938, and yet your father is not listed as a founding member. In fact, your comprehensive account highlights the acclaimed performance by your father on the other side of America in Jackson County, California, at a gala concert in the same year: 1938.
If your uncle was the first to arrive in America, having landed as the younger brother in Washington state in the first decade of the twentieth century, and your father joined him there from the old country some months late, I would be interested to learn more about how, when and why your father and uncle came to settle separately on opposite sides of the country. Was there a falling out between the brothers, a particular event that precipitated an acrimonious split-up and a final parting of the ways, or was it simply just the way it turned out over time?
West Vancouver, B.C.
Subject: Your kind letter of 2/10/2002
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002
Dear Mr. Fanucchi,
Thank you for mentioning your 1957 AAA championship. Bravo! My cousin, Pietro "Lee" Deiro, was truly a gentlemen and a fine musician. He didn't give compliments lightly, so for him to say what he did about your playing is to establish you as a great player in my eyes. I had the pleasure of meeting John Barsuglia. He was a fine teacher and a friend and business associate of my father. May he rest in peace.
Pietro Sr. came to America not to play the accordion, but to work as many others from the same village did, in the coal mines of Eastern Washington. Pietro did not play professionally in Europe, as my father did. Guido went to Seattle at the urging of the Italian piano - accordion maker, Ronco Vercelli and with the encouragement of Pietro who had quit the mines to play chromatic accordion in Seattle with another musician. At that time Pietro was playing by ear. Their individual stories are on the web site.
The brothers appeared together twice that I know of, but it never worked out. The two were entirely different in appearance, temperament and musicality. If they didn't tell you they were brothers, you wouldn't have guessed it. Guido was 5' 8" and Pietro was over 6'.
Guido preferred the Northwest as he was a hunter and fisherman. He spent all of his off season in and around Britenbush Hot Springs in Oregon and San Francisco. In 1927, Pietro tried to buy into the Guerinni Accordion Company in San Francisco, but the partners couldn't agree and Pietro went East living in New York for the rest of his life. He was a more urban oriented fellow, as was my cousin " Lee".
As Vaudeville faded, so did my father's career. He was not a businessman. He lost his money to women, excessive spending and the stock market crash. He never recovered. His chain of music studios were short lived. At this time, about 1932, Pietro, who was a good businessman and notoriously tight with a dollar, made the decision to make money in accordion sales, composing, arranging, publishing and teaching. It is believed by many that he inflated his accomplishments with the accordion as a marketing tool. His claims did get a bit wild and finally Guido objected in the famous " Who Was First " series of articles appearing in Accordion World in 1935. Upon Guido's death in 1950, Pietro pulled out all the stops and flat claimed that he was " The Daddy of the Accordion " and that he had invented it! Before his death, my father made a point of telling me of his accomplishments and the false claims of my uncle. He related this with sadness, as if he were powerless to challenge his brother.....which considering his condition financially and physically, he was.
As to the forming of the AAA, the real bone of contention amongst Pietro, Guido and other accordionists and composers was whether single note, or full cord notation for the left hand should be standard. Pietro had a lot of money tied up in single notation publications and championed the single note notation which was adopted, causing Galla-Rini, Sydney Dawson and other founders of the AAA to resign. My father was never one to join groups and avoided politics and this issue made him stay out. late the Accordion Teachers Guild was formed in the Mid West and West with Galla-Rini and Sydney Dawson and 27 other teachers and they adopted the full chord notation. Guido did belong to the ATG in the late years of his life.
My very best regards and thanks for your comments and questions,
Las Vegas, NV
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002
Subject: Re: Guido Deiro
Thank you for the update about the Ruby Lang page on the Guido Deiro site. It is very nicely done.
I am the great nephew of Deiro's third wife, Ruby Lang and would certainly like to be notified of the release of the three Deiro CD's. Having downloaded various pieces from your website I enjoy them very much.
I remember my Grandmother & Great-Aunt (on the other side of my family), how they would entertain us on holidays playing the accordion together or accordion and organ. Their tunes were mostly polkas and schottishes, though, as they were Norwegian girls.
Subject: Guido Deiro Website
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002
Dear Henry Doktorski,
The website for Guido Deiro is impressive.
Subject: Biaggio Quattrociocche
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001
Dear Mr. Henry Doktorski,
To begin, I must commend you for your accomplishments and for your very interesting website. I was encouraged to contact you by Ed Davison, co-author of "The Golden Age of the Accordion," soon after writing him about my interest in purchasing the mentioned book. I am a descendant of the Iorio Accordion family, Augusto being my great-grandfather, and grand niece to Candido and Biaggio Quattrociocche.
From Mr. Davison, it is my understanding that you are searching for information on Biaggio Q. (to all he was known as Biaggio, as per social security -- Robert B. Quattrociocche) to complete a publication for CUNY Free-Reed Journal.
I am grateful for the opportunity to write a few paragraphs about my great uncle on your site. As I was just a teenager when he passed away, my memories of him are few, except for family visits to my grandmother's house and how happy the occasions were. The information I have collected was from family elders, who have since passed and from my research. Following are my reflections of the man.
Biaggio Quattrociocche was born on August 24, 1882 in Giuliano di Roma, Italy the son of Guiseppe Quattrociocche and Angela Latini. As a child surrounded by musicians within the family, music became the driving force for his lifetime career.
At 19 years of age, in 1901 Biaggio made his way to America with only $10.00 in his pocket and set out to work the local music shops in New York City, establishing a foundation for what was to follow.
By 1907, with most of his family joining him in New York, his cousin Augusto Iorio opened his Italy based accordion factory in America, Biaggio making his contribution to the company as a teacher and composer. The Iorio Accordion Factory with its cousins, sons, and son-in-laws were successful for what it is today. (See photograph at left, taken in 1907 at the Iorio Accordion Factory in New York City.)
Biaggio Quattrochiocche (ca. 1940-1945)
Photo courtesy of Mort Herold
Biaggio married Letizia Iorio in April 1911, and by 1913 moved his new family to Steubenville, Ohio, where he established the B. Quattrociocche Publishing Company. A very gentle and determined man, Biaggio and Letizia raised their family of 6 children. Knowing the finest of teachers, he encouraged his children to discover and love the wonders of the music world.
He had reached his goal in life and provided well for his family. Soon after selling his business to Zampiceni Publications in San Jose, California, Biaggio died on July 16, 1955 in Los Angeles, California. He left behind a legend to be remembered for generations to come.
The majority of Uncle Biaggio's publications from his extensive catalog were sent back to Italy to teachers he had known there. I presume this may have occurred when the business was sold to Zampiceni.
Port Jefferson Station, New York
Subject: Guido Deiro CD´s
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001
I just noticed on the web that you will release CD´s of Guido Deiro during 2002. Do you think that I could order the three different CD´s of Guido?
I have collected compositions of a lot of "older" accordionists during several years. One of my favourites is Guido Deiro. Is it possible to order accordion sheet music from you ? (for example Guido Deiro)
Yours sincerely and a happy new year!
We will be happy to notify you when the CDs are released. For info regarding Deiro sheet music, see the letter below to Bruzzo Serena.
Webmaster for GuidoDeiro.Com
Subject: Please advise release date of the Guido Deiro CD
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001
Subject: Music Scores
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001
I am a young amateur accordionist and I like the Guido and Pietro Deiro's music, but I have very difficulty to find in Italy a collection of scores: I hope you help me in this inquiry? A thousand apologies for the trouble. Thanks
VARAZZE - ITALIA
Subject: Re Music Scores
Date: 28, Nov 2001
Many thanks for your inquiry and no apologies needed. We, too, have had difficulty locating music by Guido Deiro. To date, we have discovered sheet music for several dozen pieces. All are photocopies, with the exception of those titles marked with an asterisk (*). Year of publication and publisher are listed in parentheses, when known. The earliest publication in our collection is Deiro Rag (1913: Jerome H. Remick) and the latest is My Florence (1971: Pietro Deiro Publications).Accordion Girl, The -- Waltz (unknown edition in treble clef)GuidoDeiro.Com is planning on reprinting the above music as an anthology which will be commercially available for purchase. We hope not only accordionists but also musicologists and public libraries will order copies. The Guido Deiro Anthology will be published soon after the Guido Deiro compact discs are released. In the meantime, you can access three pieces on this website, Kismet, Polca Variata and Allegro Deiro, plus excerpts of 15 other pieces by Guido Deiro, by going to our Sheet Music Page.
* Allegro Deiro Rag (195?: Zampiceni)
Breitenbush March, The (1928: Quattrociocche)
California -- Mazurka Duet (193?: Nicomede Music Co.)
Deirina Mazurka (192?: Quattrociocche)
* Deirina Mazurka (1951: Quattrociocche)
* Deirina Mazurka (195?: Zampiceni)
Deiro Rag (1913: Jerome H. Remick piano edition)
Dimples -- Polka (unknown edition in bass clef)
* Egypto Fantasia (1954: AMPCO)
Guido's Royal March (unknown edition)
* Guido Deiro's Royal Method for Piano Accordion, Vol. 1 (1936: Mills Music, Inc.)
* I Don't Care Polka (1952: Quattrociocche)
Hand Grenade Throwers March (192?: Quattrociocche)
* Kismet: vocal and piano arrangement (1920: Will Rossiter)
* Lido Tango (1930: O. Pagani & Bro.)
Lights and Shadows Waltz (1929: Quattrociocche)
* Lola Novelty (1951: Quattrociocche)
Los Bomberos March (1928: Quattrociocche)
Marines March (1920: Quattrociocche)
* Moonlight Waltz (1929: Quattrociocche)
* Moonlight Waltz (195?: Zampiceni)
Musketeers March (1930: O. Pagani)
* My Florence (1927: Quattrociocche)
* My Florence (1952: Quattrociocche)
* My Florence (195?: Zampiceni)
* My Florence (1971: Pietro Deiro Publications)
Neapolitan Polka (1934: Quattrociocche)
* Pink Slippers Valse (1951: Quattrociocche)
* Polca Variata (1916: Quattrociocche)
* Queen of the Air (1950: Quattrociocche)
* Royal Flying Corps March (1952: Quattrociocche)
Temperamental Rag (1922: Quattrociocche)
Valse Pirouette (192?: Quattrociocche)
* Valse Pirouette (1951: Quattrociocche)
Valse Caprice No. 1 (1928: Quattrociocche)
Valse Caprice No. 1 (195?: Quattrociocche)
Western Stars March (1929: Quattrociocche)
Henry Doktorski, Webmaster
P.S. To Everyone Reading This:
Do you have any music by Guido Deiro which is not mentioned above? Or perhaps you have some original music which might be in better condition than our photocopies? Please consider donating your music to the Guido Deiro Archive. If your music is better than the condition of our photocopies, we will send you a complimentary copy of the Guido Deiro Anthology when it is published.
Subject: Who Was First?
Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2001
I read with interest Count Deiro's article regarding the piano accordion and the " Who Was First " controversy. Guido and others were playing piano accordions in America long before Pietro. Also, Guido recorded first in 1911 and had a huge hit record (one of many), plus tremendous stardom throughout the teens and twenties right up to the 1929 crash and the demise of vaudeville and cutbacks in recording company's inventories.
I think a lot of Pietro's very late claims were for publicity and self-promotion at a time when he was competing for business as a performer, composer and teacher. Certainly there was competitive animus on Pietro's part because Guido's stardom had been huge and he was known by the family name alone throughout the world: Deiro. Maybe the younger brother felt marginalized that Guido took the family name and major billing worldwide.
Anyway, in the late thirties and forties Guido's career had dimmed and Pietro saw his chance perhaps taking advantage of the fact that Guido was known as Deiro alone to take upon himself some of his older brother's glory. Pietro was competing in a business that was still hot and his competitors were men like his brother, Magnante, Galla-Rini and Frosini, etc. Apart from getting bookings there were students to attract. How do you do that? Well, by claiming you're the "King of the Piano Accordion," its inventor, etc., the one and only.
There was an obvious strategy afoot, too. I've seen ads by Pietro and others, "If you know how to play the piano, you know 80% of how to play the piano accordion!" What a cruel lie that is for selling lessons and instruments. It's unfortunate, however, that Pietro took advantage of his late prominence at the expense of his brother and the confusion over the latter's stage use of "Deiro" alone without specifying which one (he didn't have to then, on records and in vaudeville, there was only one Deiro).
Pietro even made late claims that he "invented the piano accordion"; this was reaching beyond hyperbole and publicity into historical fabrication. It's not excusable even if it was meant for those who didn't know better. He billed himself as, "Pietro, king & inventor of the piano accordion." I think his use of his first name was not only a show biz ploy, but it was another way to obfuscate things and claim "Deiro" for himself. "Pietro who? Pietro Deiro. Oh, he was Deiro?" Thus, with Pietro's greater prominence in the public eye in the late thirties and forties he effectively erased Guido from his proper place in the public's consciousness. Guido was a huge star and I'm sure a source of envy for his younger brother. The late short-changing of Guido by Pietro suggests the revenge of a younger brother for being overshadowed and never forgetting it - a show biz Cain and Abel syndrome.
Now, regarding Pietro being "the daddy of the piano accordion," an article in the Accordion News - Musicana, July 1939, answers that claim. The scholar J. H. Lobel presented factual evidence (along with a salvo in Pietro's direction for "violating all the rules of ethics by usurping the glory and ingenuity of other people") to the contrary. Something on Guido's behalf could be added here.
Lobel prints a chronology of the accordion and shows that after centuries of precursors, the first recognizable button accordion was made by Christian Ludwig Buschmann in Berlin (1822), which he called the Handaeline. This was the instrument Cyrillus Demian turned into a three or four note instrument called the Schieber, afterwards improving it and calling it an Accordeon. This type of "accordion" was the instrument a wayfaring stranger brought with him on a room & board stopover at the Soprani house in Italy and which intrigued the febrile mind and hands of Paolo Soprani - the rest is history. After the accordion was established (and this was still a button box), Phillip de Punts and Johann Forster, according to Lobel (citing the Accordeon Dictionary, Berlin edition), put a piano keyboard to the accordion in 1865 - which seems to be the first occurrence of a piano accordion and pretty much beats King Pietro to the punch, since he was born around 1888.
Paul Allan Magistretti, Editor
Baac Page -- Newsletter of the San Francisco Bay Area Accordion Club
Subject: Your letter
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001
Dear Paul Magistretti,
My departed father, Guido Deiro and I, owe you a debt of gratitude for your letter posted above, which was condensed from the article you wrote on page eight of the October 2001 issue of the San Francisco Bay Area Accordion Club Page Newsletter. You have set the record straight regarding the false claims made by my uncle, Pietro Deiro. I also agree with your insights regarding why Pietro would perpetuate the bald faced lies that to this day cloud the history of the piano accordion. You were right, it was about money. Knowing Pietro's personality I can also say it wasn't about fame ...only fortune.
Thanks to you and such men as the great ragtime historian and Sony recording artist and composer, Peter Muir of England, Professor Alan Atlas of City University of New York, the Director the Institute for the Study of the Free Reed Instrument, and the brilliant composer, conductor and performer, Henry Doktorski, and of course, the incomparable, Anthony Galla-Rini, that after a half century of misinformation, the true history of the piano accordion in America is being brought to light.
Count Guido Roberto Deiro
Las Vegas, Nevada
Subject: Interesting and Educational
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001
I read through several pages of the Guido Deiro website and found it to be both very interesting and educational. I know I will be spending much more time reading about Guido Deiro!! I think all accordionists will find it a wonderful site!!
East Orange, New Jersey
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001
Please notify me when the CD's of Guido Deiro are released.
Subject: Guido Deiro
Date: Thurs, 18 Oct 2001
Doesn't everbody know about Guido Deiro? My grandmother had an old Victrola, and as a tiny little boy in the late 1960s I can remember listening to and enjoying his accordion records. Stop It by Mel B. Kaufman was a particular favorite. I have the machine and records now and my little boy listens to Guido Deiro too.
Rick Benjamin, founder and conductor
Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
New York City
Subject: good afternoon
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001
Please notify me as to when the C.D. of Guido's works are available.
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001
I stumbled onto this website and was so amazed! And proud! Thank YOU!
Grandson of Biagio Quattrociocche
Subject: Good Evening
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2001
It was good to read that Guido and Mae West were married. This is a fact that Guido's family has known all along. My Aunt remembers Guido bringing his wife Mae West to Cle Elum, Washington, for a family get together. She remembers Mae because she said she had the largest breasts she had ever seen.
Subject: Guido Deiro
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001
Would it be possible for me to obtain a copy of the exact photo (or print) of Mr. Deiro as shown on your "Letters" page? The photo has several signatures on it, one of which was my grandfather, B. Quattrociocche. Pease advise.
Dear R. Metallo,
The picture is a scanned image from the cover of Polca Variata (see our "sheet music" page). I know of no original photograph. Perhaps you can save the image to disc and then get it printed at a photo shop. Walmart has a do-it-yourself machine which makes prints from floppy discs.
Please tell me about your grandfather. When was he born, when did he die? Do you know anyone who has a complete collection of the music he published?
I talked to several people at the library and the historical society in Steubenville, Ohio, where your grandfather had his publishing company and they didn't know anything about him.
Oh yes, actually your grandfather's name was not penned by B. Quattriocche, but was handwritten by Guido Deiro. On our Polca Variata page, the inscription is explained more clearly:
Al Mio Amico B. QuattrocioccheIn English:
Come pegno Si Amicizio
Guido DeiroTo my friend B. QuattrocioccheIf the original photograph still exists, it may be with whoever inherited your grandfather's estate.
As always, your dear friend
Henry Doktorski, webmaster
Subject: B. Quattrociocche
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2001
I recall there is a photo of a "Biagio Quattrochioche" taken with other members of the Iorio Family standing outside the Iorio Accordion Factory in 1907. The photo can be seen at at: http://www.syn-cordion.com/history.htm. Could this be the same person? You could contact Al Iorio at email@example.com for further details.
Bronx, New York City
Subject: Guido Deiro CDs
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001
I would like to be notified when the works of Guido Deiro are available on CD.
Joan G. Moyer
Subject: Guido Deiro
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001
Please reserve one of the CD's for me. I would like it autographed, if possible!
Thomas M. Seiter
Saddle River, New Jersey
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001
I want to be notified when the CDs are released. Congratulations to a really good website.
Subject: Compact discs
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001
Dear Sir or Madam,
I should be very grateful if you would like to inform me when the recordings are to be released and how to obtain them.
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001
Please notify me when any Guido Deiro recordings become available. Thank you.
Kansas City, Missouri
Subject: Guido Deiro
Date: Wed, 4 Jul
Please let me know when the CD's are released and available to order. Thanks.
Subject: Forthcoming Guido Deiro Recording
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001
Please inform me when the CD or cassette will be available, and the cost. Thank you.
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2001
Subject: CDs Guido Deiro
I would really appreciate it if you will inform me when CDs of Guido Deiro are released. Thanks for your help in advance!
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
Subject: Guido Deiro
I read about you are recording the music of Guido Deiro. I must commend you for this far-sighted endeavor. What a wonderful project which will bring to light material of significant historical value!
Faithe Deffner, Past President
American Accordionists' Association
Long Island, New York
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
Subject: The Guido Deiro Archive
To: Count Guido Roberto Deiro and Mr. Henry Doktorski
First, congratulations on having established what promises to be a very fine, especially informative website.
I look forward to sharing with you the catalogue of The Guido Deiro Archive as soon as it is done, with the hope that its appearance on both your website and ours will help make available a truly important collection of materials pertaining both to Guido Deiro in particular and to the history of the accordion in the United States in general.
Again, congratulations on a job well done.
Allan Atlas, Director
Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments
The Graduate Center, CUNY
New York City
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
....I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you have done and are doing. The web site is wonderful. It exceeds my greatest expectations. Only someone with your talent and dedication could have done what was done in such a short period of time. You continue to amaze me with your talent, versatility and mental and physical vigor. My whole family thanks you.
Count Guido Roberto Deiro
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001
Subject: Guido Deiro website
Guido Deiro was an excellent accordion artist. His very emotional way of playing "touched" the listener. I have been lucky to be able to obtain many of his records during the years. Also, I am very proud to contribute to this website's discography.
Many thanks to Henry Doktorski and Count Guido Roberto Deiro for making all this valuable historical information available.
May 10, 2001
To Whom it May Concern:
According to the general public that attended the Vaudeville theatres near the beginning of the 20th. Century, Guido Deiro was considered the most celebrated and popular accordionist of his time.
He was paid $600.00 a week in Vaudeville.
Guido was a very handsome person, very genial, soft spoken and of elegant deportment. He wore fine clothes. Sometimes he carried a cane. He could be described as a Beau Brummel! He was very generous with his money -- perhaps too much so.
The accordion he performed on had the piano keyboard for right hand and the Stradella system for the left hand. This became the accepted conception of the accordion in America. In Europe, the accordion with the Chromatic keyboard for the right hand was preferred, together with the Free-bass system for the left hand.
Guido had a very fine touch with his hand on the keyboard, so much so, that a simple melody would sound like a sublime inspiration! Someone said, rightly so, that he had a million dollar touch! I have very fond memories of Guido Deiro - truly one of the pioneers of the accordion! In my opinion, a proposed tribute to him is not only justified, but really overdue!
Accordion Teachers Guild
Note from the webmaster:
Maestro Galla-Rini (b. 1904) is perhaps the last living accordionist who played during the age of vaudeville. He was also a friend to Guido Deiro.
Regarding Deiro's pay for performing: during the first three decades of the twentieth century, $600 per week was an incredible amount of money, considering that the average laborer could raise a family on just a few dollars per week. Today, in 2001, Guido's wage would be worth considerably more than $5,000 per week ($250,000 per year). Very few (if any) accordionists can claim to have commanded a higher scale.