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Accordion

Accordion
Accordion Combination acoustic/electronic instruments: Cordavox, Duovox Musicians Accordionists (list of accordionists). More articles Accordion, Chromatic button accordion, Bayan, Diatonic button accordion, Piano accordion, Stradella bass system, Free-bass system, Accordion reed ranks & switches

A piano accordion (top) and a Russian Bayan (bottom) Keyboard instrument Other names Accordeon (Danish, for freebass models), Akkordeon (German), Accordéon (French), Bajan (Russian), Fisarmonica (Italian), Akordeon, Harmonia (Polish), Harmonika (Danish (for standard bass models[1]), Hungarian, Icelandic) 412.132 (Free-reed aerophone) Early 19th century

HornbostelSachs Classification Developed Playing range

Depends on configuration: Right-hand manual • Chromatic button accordion • Diatonic button accordion • Piano accordion Left-hand manual • Stradella bass system • Free-bass system Related instruments Hand-pumped: Bandoneón, Concertina, Flutina, Garmon, Trikitixa, Indian harmonium Foot-pumped: Harmonium, Reed organ Mouth-blown: Melodica, Harmonica, Laotian Khene, Chinese Shêng, Japanese Shō Electronic reedless instruments: Electronium, MIDI accordion, Roland Virtual Accordion

The accordion is a portable box-shaped musical instrument of the hand-held bellowsdriven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. It is played by compressing or expanding a bellows, whilst pressing buttons or keys, causing valves called pallets to open which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel called reeds that vibrate to produce sound inside the body.[notes 1] The instrument is sometimes considered a "one-man-band", as it needs no accompanying instrument; the performer normally plays the melody on buttons or keys on the righthand manual, and the accompaniment—consisting of bass and pre-set chord buttons—on the left-hand manual. It is often used in folk music in Europe, North America and South America. It is commonly associated with busking. Some popular music acts also make use of the instrument. Additionally, the accordion is sometimes used in both solo and orchestra performances of classical music. The oldest name for this group of instruments is actually "harmonika", from the Greek ’harmonikos’, meaning ’harmonic, musical’. Today, native versions of the name "accordion" are more often used - it is a reference to the type of accordion patented by Cyrill Demian, which concerned "automatically coupled chords on the bass side"[2].

Construction
Accordions are made in a large number of different configurations and types; there is

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not yet one standard accordion. As such, what may be technically possible to do with one accordion could be impossible with another: • Some accordions are bisonoric, meaning they produce different pitches depending on the direction of bellows movement. • Others are unisonoric and produce the same pitch regardless of the direction of bellows movement. • Some accordions use a chromatic buttonboard for the right-hand manual. • Others use a diatonic buttonboard for the right-hand manual. • Yet others simply use a piano-style musical keyboard for the right-hand manual. • Some accordions are capable of playing in different registers than others. • Additionally, different accordion craftsmen and technicians may tune the same registers in a slightly different manner, essentially ’personalizing’ the end result, such as an organ technician might voice a particular instrument. As such, the boundaries of what defines an accordion are perceivably broad.

Accordion
which is sometimes used in contemporary compositions particularly for this instrument.

Body
The accordion’s body consists of two wood boxes joined together by a bellows, respectively housing reed chambers for the rightand left-hand manuals. Each side has grilles in order to facilitate the transmission of air in and out of the instrument, and to allow the sound to better project. The grille for the right-hand manual is usually larger and is often shaped for decorative purposes. The right-hand manual is normally used for playing the melody and the left-hand manual for playing the accompaniment, however skilled players can reverse these roles.[notes 2] The size and weight of an accordion varies depending on its type, layout and playing range, which can be as small as to have only two rows of basses and a single octave on the right-hand manual, for children, to the standard 120 bass accordion and through to large and heavy 160 bass button free-bass converter models.

Pallet mechanism
The accordion is an aerophone, thus the manual mechanism of the instrument either enables the air flow, or disables it[notes 3]:

Universal components
Bellows
The bellows is the most recognisable part of the instrument, and the primary means of articulation. Similar to a violin’s bow, the production of sound in an accordion is in direct proportion to the motion of the player. It is located between the right- and left-hand manuals, and is made from pleated layers of cloth and cardboard, with added leather and metal.[3]. It is used to create pressure and vacuum, driving air across the internal reeds and producing sound by their vibration, applied pressure increasing the volume. The keyboard touch is not expressive and does not affect dynamics: all expression is effected through the bellows: some bellows effects as illustrated in the side box: 1. Bellows used for volume control/fade 2. Repeated change of direction ("bellows shake") 3. Constant bellows motion while applying pressure at intervals 4. Constant bellows motion to produce clear tones with no resonance 5. Using the bellows with the silent air button gives the sound of air moving,

An illustration of the pallet mechanism in Piano Accordions. As the key is pressed down the pallet is lifted, allowing for air to enter the tone chamber in either direction and excite the reeds; air flow direction depends on the direction of bellows movement. Note that this is a side view of a Piano Accordion keyboard, so a similar effective mechanical pallet movement is used for buttons, both on ’button accordions’ and also on the ’bass mechanisms’, including the Stradella machine.

Variable components
There is a wide range of instruments that bear the name ’Accordion’: the different types have varying components. All

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instruments have reed ranks of some format; not all have switches.

Accordion
always use distinct bass buttons and often have buttons with concavities or studs to help the player navigate the layout despite not being able to see the buttons while playing. There are two general categories: • The Stradella bass system, also called standard bass, which is arranged in a circle of fifths and uses single buttons for chords. • The Belgian bass system in use in Belgium,North of France,South of Netherlands also arranged in circle of fifths but in reverse order.This system has 3 rows of bass,3rows of chord buttons allowing easier fingering for playing melodies,combined chords,better use of fingers 1and5,some more space between buttons.This system was poorly traded outside of native Belgium. • Various free-bass systems for greater access to playing melodies on the lefthand manual and to forming one’s own chords. These are often chosen for playing classical music.

Right-hand manual systems

A blind musician in Mexico playing the piano accordion, 2008. Different systems exist for the right-hand manual of an accordion, which is normally used for playing the melody. Some use a button layout arranged in one way or another, others use a piano-style keyboard. Each system has different claimed benefits[4] by those who prefer it. They are also used to define one accordion or another as a different "type": • Chromatic button accordions and the bayan, a Russian variant, use a buttonboard where notes are arranged chromatically. Two of these systems exist. • Diatonic button accordions use a buttonboard limited to the notes of diatonic scales in a small number of keys. • Piano accordions use a musical keyboard similar to a piano, at right angles to the cabinet, the tops of the keys inward toward the bellows.

Reed ranks & switches

Left-hand manual systems
The reeds of an early 20th century button accordion, with closeup. Inside the accordion are the reeds that generate the instrument tones. These are organized in different sounding "ranks", which can be further combined into producing differing timbres. All but the smaller accordions are equipped with switches that control which combination of reed ranks can be brought into operation, organized from high to low registers. Each register stop enables different sound timbres. See the accordion reed ranks

Typical 120-button Stradella bass system. This is the left-hand manual system to be found on most unisonoric accordions today. Different systems are also in use for the left-hand manual, which is normally used for playing the accompaniment. These almost

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Accordion

Unusual accordions

Garmon player. A set of treble switches. They are used to change the sound of the accordion. & switches article for further explanation and audio samples. All but the very small accordions usually have treble switches; the larger and more expensive accordions often also have bass switches. Various hybrid accordions have been created between instruments of different buttonboards and actions. Many remain curiosities, only a few have remained in use. For example: • The Schrammel accordion, used in Viennese chamber music and Klezmer, which has the treble buttonboard of a chromatic button accordion and a bisonoric bass buttonboard, similar to an expanded diatonic button accordion. • The schwyzerörgeli or Swiss organ, which has a (usually) 3-row diatonic treble and 18 unisonoric bass buttons in a bass/chord arrangement (actually a subset of the Stradella system), that travel parallel to the bellows motion. • The Trikitixa of the Basque people has a 2-row diatonic, bisonoric treble and a 12-button diatonic unisonoric bass. • In Scotland, the favoured diatonic accordion is the instrument known as the British Chromatic Accordion. While the right hand is bisonoric, the left hand follows the Stradella system. The elite form of this instrument is generally considered to be the German manufactured "Shand Morino", produced

Straps
The larger piano and chromatic button accordions are usually heavier than other smaller squeezeboxes, and are equipped with two shoulder straps to make it easier to balance the weight and increase bellows control while sitting, and avoid dropping the instrument while standing. Other accordions, such as the diatonic button accordion, have only a single shoulder strap and a right hand thumb strap. All accordions have a leather strap (mostly adjustable) on the left-hand manual to keep the player’s hand in position while drawing the bellows. There are also straps above and below the bellows to keep it securely closed when the instrument is not playing.

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by Hohner with the input of the late Sir Jimmy Shand.[5]

Accordion
instrument owing to its cost and weight advantages.

History

The first pages in Adolph Müller’s accordion book. 8-key bisonoric diatonic accordion (c. 1830s) The accordion’s basic form is believed to have been invented in Berlin in 1822 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, although one instrument has been recently discovered that appears to have been built in 1816 or earlier by Friedrich Lohner of Nürnberg in the German State of Bavaria.[notes 4] The accordion is one of several European inventions of the early 19th century that used free reeds driven by a bellows. An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian in Vienna[notes 5]. Demian’s instrument bore little resemblance to modern instruments; it only had a left hand buttonboard, with the right hand simply operating the bellows. One key feature for which Demian sought the patent was the sounding of an entire chord by depressing one key. His instrument also could sound two different chords with the same key; one for each bellows direction (a bisonoric action). At that time in Vienna, mouth harmonicas with "Kanzellen" (chambers) had already been available for many years, along with bigger instruments driven by hand bellows. The diatonic key arrangement was also already in use on mouth-blown instruments. Demian’s patent thus covered an accompanying instrument: an accordion played with the left hand, opposite to the way that contemporary chromatic hand harmonicas were played, small and light enough for travelers to take with them and used to accompany singing. The patent also described instruments with both bass and treble sections, although Demian preferred the bass-only The musician Adolph Müller described a great variety of instruments in his 1833 book, Schule für Accordion. At the time, Vienna and London had a close musical relationship, with musicians often performing in both cities in the same year, so it is possible that Wheatstone was aware of this type of instrument and may have used them to put his keyarrangement ideas into practice. Jeune’s flutina resembles Wheatstone’s concertina in internal construction and tone color, but it appears to complement Demian’s accordion functionally. The flutina is a onesided bisonoric melody-only instrument whose keys are operated with the right hand while the bellows is operated with the left. When the two instruments are combined, the result is quite similar to diatonic button accordions still manufactured today. Further innovations followed and continue to the present. Various buttonboard and keyboard systems have been developed, as well as voicings (the combination of multiple tones at different octaves), with mechanisms to switch between different voices during performance, and different methods of internal construction to improve tone, stability and durability.

Use in various music genres
The accordion has traditionally been used to perform folk or ethnic music, popular music, and transcriptions from the operatic and light-classical music repertoire. [6] Today the instrument is sometimes heard in contemporary pop styles, such as rock, pop-rock, etc.,

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[7]

Accordion
and early 1960s, the accordion declined in popularity. In popular music, it is now generally considered exotic and old-fashioned to include the accordion, especially in music for advertisements. Some popular acts do use the instrument in their distinctive sounds. See the list of popular music acts that incorporate the accordion. In 1993, during their MTV Unplugged performance performance, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic used accordion while covering The Vaselines song Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. The New York band They Might Be Giants extensively use the accordion in many of their recordings, especially on earlier albums such as Apollo 18 (album). Perhaps the most famous accordionist in popular music is "Weird Al" Yankovic, who has used the accordion in every album he has recorded, most extensively on his debut album.

and occasionally even in serious classical music concerts, as well as advertisements.

Use in traditional music
Invented in 1829, its popularity spread rapidly: it has mostly been associated with the common people, and was spread by Europeans who emigrated around the world. The accordion in both button and piano forms became a favorite of folk musicians[8] and has been integrated into traditional music styles all over the world: see the list of traditional music styles that incorporate the accordion.

Use in popular music
The accordion appeared in popular music from the 1900s-1960s. This half century is often called the "Golden Age of the Accordion." Three players: Pietro Frosini, and the two brothers Count Guido Deiro and Pietro Deiro were major influences at this time.

Use in classical music
Although best known as a folk instrument, it has grown in popularity among classical composers. The earliest surviving concert piece is Thême varié très brillant pour accordéon methode Reisner, written in 1836 by Miss Louise Reisner of Paris. Other composers, including the Russian Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Italian Umberto Giordano, and the American Charles Ives (1915), wrote works for the diatonic button accordion. The first composer to write specifically for the chromatic accordion was Paul Hindemith.[10] In 1922 the Austrian Alban Berg included an accordion in Wozzeck, Op. 7. Other notable composers have written for the accordion during the first half of the 20th century[11].

Use in heavy metal music
Just as in rock and pop, the accordion is occasionally used in heavy metal music, most frequently by folk metal bands such as Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and Turisas.

Antonia Begonia plays accordion at Little Grill Collective in Harrisonburg, Virginia as part of MACRoCk 2009. Most Vaudeville theaters closed during the Great Depression, but accordionists during 1930s-1950s taught and performed for radio. During the 1950s-1980s the accordion appeared on television[9]. In the late 1950s

Accordion jokes
While the accordion is a versatile instrument and is widely played throughout the world, it is not universally respected. The 1954 Edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes the accordion as producing

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"quite the most unpleasant musical sound ever devised by the inventor’s and the instrument maker’s ingenuity".[12] The instrument has been the butt of jokes at least since 1866, when the French painter and cartoonist Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) created by zincography a picture published in Le Journal Amusant of an accordionist and a man playing snooker who stated in the caption: "One does not yet have the right to kill the people who play this instrument, but there is hope that we will soon get it."[13][14] A more recent 1986 jibe is one from Gary Larson, author of The Far Side, who drew a cartoon with the dialogues: "Welcome to heaven, here’s your harp. Welcome to hell, here’s your accordion."[15]

Accordion

Notes
[1] To see the accordion’s place among the families of musical instruments, see Henry Doktorski’s "Taxonomy of Musical Instruments" (The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.). Also on this page is Diarmuid Pigott’s "The Free-Reed Family of Aerophones." [2] Guido Deiro claimed to be the first accordionist to play a solo with the left hand: Sharpshooter’s March (1908). See Guido Deiro, "Guido Deiro’s Own Story of Sharpshooters March," The Pietro Musicordion, Volume 6, Number 2 (MayJune 1948). [3] Illustration made with reference from a similar illustration that can be found in both Det levende bælgspil (p. 9) by Jeanette & Lars Dyremose (2003), and Harmonikaens historie (p. 35a) by Bjarne Glenstrup (1972, The University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Music). [4] This is the accordion owned by Fredrik Dillner of Sweden which was built by F. Lohner of Nürnberg, in the German State of Bavaria in 1816 or earlier. See Interview With Fredrik Dillner - The Owner Of What May Be The World’s Oldest Accordion (Probably Built In 1816 Or Earlier) [5] A summary and pictures of this patent can be found at Demian’s accordion patent (The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.)

Manufacturing process
The best accordions are always fully handmade, especially in the aspect of reeds; completely hand-made reeds have a far better tonal quality than even the best automatically-manufactured reeds. Some accordions have been modified by individuals striving to bring a more pure sound out of low-end instruments, such as the ones improved by Yutaka Usui[16], a Japanese-born craftsman. The manufacture of an accordion is only a partly automated process. In a sense, all accordions are handmade, since there is always some hand assembly of the small parts required. The general process involves making the individual parts, assembling the subsections, assembling the entire instrument, and final decorating and packaging.[17]

References
[1] Dyremose, Jeanette & Lars, Det levende bælgspil (2003), p.132 - Origin of the instrument’s name and native names in Danish, French, German, Italian and Russian. [2] Dyremose, Jeanette & Lars, Det levende bælgspil (2003), p.133 [3] How To Repair Bellows [4] Dan Lindgren, Piano Accordion vs. Chromatic Button Accordion Online PDF [5] p.98, Howard, Rob (2003) An A to Z of the Accordion and related instruments Stockport: Robaccord Publications ISBN 0-9546711-0-4 [6] Henry Doktorski, CD booklet notes for "Guido Deiro: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1," Archeophone Records (2007). [7] Sometimes in modern pop music the accordion is not actually played, but its

Other audio samples Accordion organizations
• • • • Accordion Teacher’s Guild (ATG) American Accordion Musicological Society American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Closet Accordion Players of America (CAPA) • Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes • Accordion Federation of North America (AFNA) • UK National Accordion Organisation

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sound is heard by use of a MIDI instrument and sampled sound module. [8] Christoph Wagner, "A Brief History of How the Accordion Changed the World," CD booklet notes for Planet Squeezebox, performed by various artists, (Roslyn, New York: Ellipsis Arts, 1995), 6. [9] Myron Floren and Randee Floren, Accordion Man, with a forward by Lawrence Welk (The Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro, Vermont: 1981) [10] See Accordion Composers in German [11] Henry Doktorski, "The Classical Squeezebox: A Short History of the Accordion and Other Free-Reed Instruments in Classical Music," The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. (1997). [12] Blom, E. (ed.)(1954): Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed. New York, St. Martin’s Press, Vol. 5 p. 919 [13] L’Accordeon, dit soufflet a musique," Le Journal Amusant, Paris (1866). This image was reproduced in "How to Play Diatonic Button-Accordion," by Henry Doktorski, published by Santorella Publications (2007). [14] View the Daumier cartoon [15] See the Larson cartoon [16] Yutaka Usuai, Japanese-born accordion craftsman. [17] How Accordions Are Made see this site • • • • •

Accordion
Accordions Worldwide akordeonas.lt - Accordion life in Lithuania American Accordion Musicological Society Chromatic C-system button layout Classical Free Reed, Inc., The - An organization dedicated to the advancement of free-reed instruments in classical music. Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes, a member of the IMC, sponsored by UNESCO Craven Accordion Orchestra - UK based Accordion Orchestra Diatonic Accordion Academy GoldAccordion.com - 1st site for accordionists. Free accordion notes, video, mp3 albums web of Gorka Hermosa Gorka Hermosa, concertist and composer. Information about accordions with Stradella bass system, table for creation of additional chords with the Stradella bass system Piano Accordion Squeezebox, an open repository for squeezebox knowledge on Wikia The Accordion Wiki UK Based Accordionist - Steve Roxton UK Accordionist - Nikolai Ryskov UK Accordionist - Johnny Coleclough UK Accordions (UKAO) - UK Accordion News. UK National Accordion Organisation United States National Accordion News (Accordion USA) XenoHarmonica, a chromatic button accordion emulator. Both online and as software. Yorkshire Accordion & Music Festival

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External links
• Accordion Apocalypse - Antique accordion museum, servicing, lessons, and accordion information and event listings for the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. • Accordion Radio • Accordions - A collection of media and videos of musicians playing the accordion.

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