VELINIKKA (2008)  (3rd version)

concerto for quarter-tone accordion


soloist and 18 musicians:

solo quarter-tone accordion +

1111/1 alto saxophone/1110/01/1, strings (2-1-2-2-1)

commissioned by Gaudeamus Music Week

dedicated to Veli Kujala

premiere: September 1, 2008

Insomnio, cond. Ulrich Pöhl

Veli Kujala, quarter-tone accordion

Gaudeamus Music Week


February 13, 2009

Tapiola Sinfonietta, cond. Stefan Asbury

Veli Kujala, quarter-tone accordion

Musica Nova Festival

Temppeliaukion kirkko, Helsinki

September 21, 2009

Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, cond. Szymon Bywalec

Veli Kujala, quarter-tone accordion

Warsaw Autumn festival


October 10, 2011

Oulu Sinfonia, cond. Anna-Maria Helsing

Veli Kujala, quarter-tone accordion

Uuden musiikin lokakuu festival

Madetoja Concert Hall, Oulu

September 20, 2014

Ensemble Ernst, cond. Thomas Rimul

Veli Kujala, quarter-tone accordion

Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival /

Nordic Music Days 2014

Kulturkirken Jakob, Oslo

Program notes

Velinikka is a quarter-tone accordion concerto for quarter-tone accordion and chamber orchestra. The composition is commissioned by Gaudeamus Music Week and dedicated to Veli Kujala. It was very inspiring to compose the concerto for Veli Kujala and Insomnio conducted by Ulrich Pöhl. The cadenza of the concerto is improvised or/and composed by the soloist.

Cooperation with Veli Kujala and the undersigned have led to an elaboration of a new instrument, the quarter-tone accordion. The most significant difference between a standard concert accordion and the quarter-tone accordion is, that reed blocks inside the quarter-tone accordion are replaced with the quarter-tone reed blocks. The quarter-tone reed blocks are able to produce complete quarter-tone scale of range of nearly five octaves.

The quarter-tone accordion was invented by Veli Kujala in 2005. The quarter-tone reed blocks were designed by Veli Kujala and built by Pigini (, an accordion factory in Italy, in 2006. The tuning system used is quarter-tone equal temperament, in which the scale divides an octave into 24 equal-ratio steps. The quarter-tone accordion is tuned with a accuracy of one thousandth of a hertz by Tapio Peltola.

Today many composers are interested in using micro-intervals. This increases demand for instruments able to produce them. The quarter-tone accordion is one of the answers for this demand.

Sampo Haapamäki

© Sampo Haapamäki 2023

säveltäjä composer