Keyboard Family Musical Instruments

The Accordion Instrument

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Written by Chemise

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Accordion Instrument Info

Accordion Instrument Family – Keyboard
Pitch Range – 2 1/2 octaves to 6 1/2 octaves
Material – Wood, Cardboard, Steel
Hybrids/Types of Accordion – Piano accordion, Button accordion

Accordion Intro

An accordion instrument originated in Germany in the 19th century. It is an instrument that contains bellows to produce air, which goes into reeds to create a sound. A person plays this musical instrument by compressing the bellows and pressing a key or button which corresponds to a reed that makes the pitch. Accordions may use either keys resembling piano keys or buttons to select the note.

The most common type is the piano accordion. The other basic type is the button accordion. Accordions have a 2 and a half octave range to 6 and a half octaves using register shift keys. Accordion musical instruments usually are made of wooden frames, with cardboard bellows, and steel reeds. The concertina and bandoneón are related to the accordion.

History Of The Accordion

The accordion was invented in Germany in 1822. The name “accordion” comes from the German word Akkordeon, which derived from the German word that meant “musical chords.” Accordions also were produced in the Russian Empire during the 1820’s. A patent for this instrument was filed in Vienna in 1829. By the 1830’s, this instrument had spread beyond Europe to Australia and South America. Wherever Europeans immigrated to, they brought this instrument with them.

The first button accordion was invented around 1850 and was more common in Europe and in places where Europeans settled. Other locations preferred the piano accordion. The instrument became relatively popular from the middle of the 19th century into the middle of the 20th century. The golden age of the accordion occurred between 1900 and 1960.

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Typical Accordion Sound

The accordion is a wind instrument that produces sound when the air from the bellows blows through steel reeds. The sound is produced by the vibration of the steel reeds. The melody is usually played on the keys with the right hand, while cords and bass are played with the left hand pushing buttons. The dynamics (the volume of the music) is controlled by the manipulation of the bellows. Likewise, other musical expressions are produced by how the manipulation of the bellows in different ways.

Famous Accordion Songs

Since the mid-19th century, a great amount of music has been composed on this popular musical instrument. A famous song from the early 20th century is “New York Blues” by Pietro Frosini. Other popular songs include “The Beat Goes On,” “Colorado Sunset,” and “Dreamin’ of You.”

Famous Accordion Artists

A person who plays the accordion instrument is known as an accordionist. One of the most famous, and perhaps most wealthy accordionists, was Lawrence Welk. Nearly as famous as Welk as an accordionist was Myron Floren. He practiced his instrument for 8 to 10 hours a day and had a style unrivaled by anyone. Pietro Frosini, mentioned above as a composer of music for this instrument, was one of the first Italian masters of the instrument. A contemporary, famous accordionist is Weird Al Yankovic.

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Three Accordion Tips

  1. Become familiar with the instrument. Learn where your hands go and how to pump the bellows.
  2. Master playing scales on the instrument to learn the keys.
  3. Learn to read music. The melody is usually written in the treble clef, while the bass line is written in bass clef. The right hand will play the melody, while the left hand will play the bass line.

Books to Learn the Accordion Musical Instrument

  1. Absolute Beginners: Accordion by Howard Hughes     Buy here
  2. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Accordion by Miriam Davidson     Buy here

Popular Accordion Brands

Hohner
Rizatti Bronco
D’Luca Toro

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The Accordion Instrument
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The Accordion Instrument
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The Accordion instrument is a very popular musical instrument. Read the info on the accordion, accordionists, some tips and where to buy.
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Chemise