<![endif]–>The history of the accordion can be traced back to a number of early instruments, all of which produce musical notes when air is blown, sucked or squeezed over reeds.
In Europe, the accordion we all recognise, is thought to have been invented by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann in Berlin in 1822. In fact the word accordion comes from the German word for chord – Akkord. An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, in Vienna
The accordion group of instruments – often called squeezeboxes – produce sounds when air passes over reeds. The airflow is caused by compressing or expanding the instrument’s bellows while pressing buttons or keys, which open valves (pallets).
The mouth organ produces sounds in much the same way.
The accordion is a very versatile instrument and is used widely across a range of musical styles from classical to folk music and even pop and heavy metal.
Given the fact that is can be used to produce both cords and individual notes it became popular in folk music around the world as it provided versatile accompaniment to the human voice.
Button accordions are chromatic in nature meaning that each button on the keyboard produces a specific note. It was developed later than the diatonic instruments in the mid 1800s. They range in size from about 20 right hand buttons to over 100 buttons and from 12 to 160 bass buttons on the left hand side.
The chromatic keyboard has been developed by a variety of people and has led to the development of a range of layouts for the buttons of the right hand. There are two common layouts for button accordions. There are a number of other layouts that are popular in specific countries or regions such as Finland, the Balkans and Belgium.
Simpler versions of this accordion type tend to have a standard bass system, known as stradella. Many also have the addition of chromatically arranged notes on the left hand side (known as free bass) which allows more flexibility to play melodies. More complex (and often more expensive) accordions have the facility to covert between stradella and free bass giving a much wider bass range.
I teach all types of accordions and am particularly keen on the Russian Bayan accordion.
Piano accordions – those with a piano keyboard on the right hand side, rather than buttons, was also developed in the mid 1850s, probably in Paris.
The piano accordion has become extremely popular and is a very well recognised instrument for both classical and folk music – and a wide range of genres in between.
Like button accordions, piano accordions are available in a wide range of keyboard layouts, typically with between 20 and 45 piano keys and between 12 and 160 bass buttons.
I teach piano accordion either on your own instrument or I have a number available to loan (with deposit).