The portative

The portative is a small, portable organ with a pipe for each key. The portative spans one to three octaves, and the air for the pipes is generated by bellows operated by the left hand. This implies that the musician only works the keys one-handed.
The origin of the portative is lost in Antiquity, and the instrument has arisen in many different cultures from Europe to India.
In both the Byzantine Empire and the Arabian areas, the portative or organ – al-urghanun – was a frequently used instrument, and through contact with these two cultures, the portative – and with it the church organ – arrived in medieval Europe.
The portative was a popular instrument, in both artistic and popular music, until the 17th Century, where the instruments gradually were replaced by the larger positives. Incidentally, the Italian all-around artist, Leonardo da Vinci, devised and designed a portative with a vertical keyboard, a possible source of inspiration in the development of the accordion.