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City Makes Accordion San Francisco’s Official Instrument

April 24, 1990

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The much-maligned accordion is the official instrument of San Francisco.

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-4 Monday in favor of the raspy squeezebox despite a last-minute bid by violin fanciers.

Fans of the accordion said the instrument is just what the city needs after the October earthquake. The message is ″we’re a lighthearted and bohemian city,″ said accordion player ″Big Lou.″

Accordion players, who started their pitch several months ago by wheezing away on the steps of City Hall, wanted their instrument recognized for historical reasons.

″The first piano accordion made in America was made in San Francisco,″ said Normal Kaline, whose Italian immigrant father, Finau Piatanesi, claimed credit for the feat in 1908.

The instrument plummeted in popularity with the advent of rock ‘n’ roll but is now making a comeback, said Tom Torriglia, who plays with the local group Those Darn Accordions 3/8 He noted that the group Aerosmith features an accordion in a new song and that Billy Joel used one in recent San Francisco Bay area concerts.

But all was not harmony among the music lovers.

″With all due respect to the accordion and to all my ancestors who came here with the accordion, we also are the home of the oldest violin factory in the United States,″ said Supervisor Angela Alioto, who voted against the resolution.

The resolution needs Mayor Art Agnos’ signature to become official, but press secretary Scott Shafer said, ″How could he object to the accordion?″

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