An Song Ho and Choe Jin A, students at Kim Won Gyun University of Music, performed a button accordion duet in the music hall of the university in celebration of the New Year 2017, winning a great applause of the audience. They played the song Blissful Tomorrow, which promises the people more beautiful life and happiness and gives them courage and optimism. Watching them on TV some people felt a surge of pride. They were the managers and workers of the Pyongyang Musical Instrument Factory, who produce the kind of button accordion as well as Unbangul-brand ordinary accordions. The factory has developed into a modern and comprehensive musical instrument production base.
Whenever people ask about the achievements in musical instrument production General Manager Ri Chang Ho tells them about the history of the factory, saying, “Our country was in a very difficult economic condition the year when we won victory in the Fatherland Liberation War (1950–1953), but the government made sure our factory was built regarding the instrument production as important for musical development of the country.”
At its inauguration the factory had only 20 employees, a belt lathe for equipment and a horsedrawn carriage for transport. In many cases it had to use clock and gramophone parts for materials for musical instrument production. Such a simple enterprise has now refurbished itself admirably as mother factory of the musical instrument industry of the country.
The employees are producing musical instruments with the consciousness that the musical instrument manufacturing is a sort of art, and with the honour and pride that they are creating such an art. As they produce accordions including button ones, they work hard to ensure a clear tone and an abundant volume and a high quality of the products. First of all, they acquire broad knowledge and technology about different kinds of accordions through the course of the vocational school of the factory. Thus they rely thoroughly on science and technology breaking away with the old manners in which they used to assemble instruments and modulate sounds by relying on their experience. In particular, the quality of musical instruments has improved remarkably through the introduction of the scientific measuring facilities including a computeraided primary reed sound decibelmeter and the delicate and precise course of assembling. In the course of this all production processes from the case making to injection of various kinds of parts including reeds, keys and bellows were streamlined.
Kang Un Jong, an assembler at the accordion workshop, says, “The Unbangul-brand accordion has got familiar with the people in the course of mass-based artistic activities. Whenever we see them play accordions we assembled, we feel very proud of our job.”
Pak Yong Il, head of the button accordion assembling workshop, says that although it took a long time to understand the button accordion as it also has a complicated structure they ensured both quality and speed of the production on a top priority by conducting a vigorous technical innovation movement to do away with manual jobs. And the role of the skilled workers grew to make sure various and unique tones are produced as required by the character of a piece of music and a high level of presentation is displayed. Thus the musical instruments of the factory are appreciated by the musical instrument experts and their performers, he said.
The Unbangul-brand accordions, especially the button accordions, are a great favourite of professional performers, and of the general public.
The factory is conducting positive exchange and cooperation with countries in Europe and Asia in the field of musical instrument manufacturing. It is developing into a reliable musical instrument producer which contributes to the education of rising generations and satisfaction of the increasing cultural and recreational demands of the people.