Accordion

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Accordion
A convertor free-bass piano-accordion and a Russian bayan.jpg
A piano accordion (top) and a button accordion (bottom)
Keyboard instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 412.132
(Free-reed aerophone)
DevelopedEarly 20th century
Playing range

Depends on configuration: Left-hand manual

Left-hand manual

Related instruments

Hand-pumped: Bandoneon, concertina, flutina, garmon, trikitixa, Indian harmonium

Contents

Foot-pumped: Harmonium, reed organ

Mouth-blown: Claviola, melodica, harmonica, Laotian khene, Chinese shēng, Japanese shō

Electronic reedless instruments:

Electronium, MIDI accordion, Roland Virtual Accordion
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 and switches
The Brazilian Forro accordionist Dominguinhos Dominguinhos de Morais.jpg
The Brazilian Forró accordionist Dominguinhos

Accordions (from 19th-century German Akkordeon, from Akkord—"musical chord, concord of sounds") [1] are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family.

Musical instrument History and classification

A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications.

Bellows tool for blowing air

A bellows or pair of bellows is a device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air. The simplest type consists of a flexible bag comprising a pair of rigid boards with handles joined by flexible leather sides enclosing an approximately airtight cavity which can be expanded and contracted by operating the handles, and fitted with a valve allowing air to fill the cavity when expanded, and with a tube through which the air is forced out in a stream when the cavity is compressed. It has many applications, in particular blowing on a fire to supply it with air.

Free reed aerophone class of musical instruments

A free reed aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound as air flows past a vibrating reed in a frame. Air pressure is typically generated by breath or with a bellows. In the Hornbostel–Sachs system, it is number: 412.13. Free reed instruments are contrasted with non-free or enclosed reed instruments, where the timbre is fully or partially dependent on the shape of the instrument body, Hornbostel–Sachs number: 42.

The instrument is played by compressing or expanding the bellows while pressing buttons or keys, causing pallets to open, which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel, called reeds . These vibrate to produce sound inside the body. Valves on opposing reeds of each note are used to make the instrument's reeds sound louder without air leaking from each reed block. [notes 1] The performer normally plays the melody on buttons or keys on the right-hand manual, and the accompaniment, consisting of bass and pre-set chord buttons, on the left-hand manual.

Musical keyboard musical instrument part

A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument. Keyboards typically contain keys for playing the twelve notes of the Western musical scale, with a combination of larger, longer keys and smaller, shorter keys that repeats at the interval of an octave. Depressing a key on the keyboard makes the instrument produce sounds—either by mechanically striking a string or tine, plucking a string (harpsichord), causing air to flow through a pipe organ, striking a bell (carillon), or, on electric and electronic keyboards, completing a circuit. Since the most commonly encountered keyboard instrument is the piano, the keyboard layout is often referred to as the piano keyboard.

Manual (music) keyboard played by the hands

A manual is a musical keyboard designed to be played with the hands, on an instrument such as a pipe organ, harpsichord, clavichord, electronic organ, melodica, or synthesizer. The term "manual" is used with regard to any hand keyboard on these instruments to distinguish it from the pedalboard, which is a keyboard that the organist plays with their feet. It is proper to use "manual" rather than "keyboard", then, when referring to the hand keyboards on any instrument that has a pedalboard.

Accompaniment musical parts which provide the rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song or instrumental piece

Accompaniment is the musical part which provides the rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song or instrumental piece. There are many different styles and types of accompaniment in different genres and styles of music. In homophonic music, the main accompaniment approach used in popular music, a clear vocal melody is supported by subordinate chords. In popular music and traditional music, the accompaniment parts typically provide the "beat" for the music and outline the chord progression of the song or instrumental piece.

The accordion is widely spread across the world. In some countries (for example Brazil, [2] [3] Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama) it is used in popular music (for example Gaucho, Forró and Sertanejo in Brazil, Vallenato in Colombia, and norteño in Mexico), whereas in other regions (such as Europe, North America and other countries in South America) it tends to be more used for dance-pop and folk music and is often used in folk music in Europe, North America and South America. In Europe and North America, some popular music acts also make use of the instrument. Additionally, the accordion is used in cajun, zydeco, jazz music and in both solo and orchestral performances of classical music. The piano accordion is the official city instrument of San Francisco, California. [4] Many conservatories in Europe have classical accordion departments. The oldest name for this group of instruments is harmonika, from the Greek harmonikos, meaning "harmonic, musical". Today, native versions of the name accordion are more common. These names refer to the type of accordion patented by Cyrill Demian, which concerned "automatically coupled chords on the bass side". [5]

Forró music genre from the northeast region from Brazil

Forró is a party originated and typical of Northeastern Region of Brazil. It encompasses various dance types as well as a number of different musical genres. Their music genres and dances have gained widespread popularity in all regions of Brazil. Forró is more frequent during Brazilian June Festivals.

Música sertaneja or sertanejo is a music style that had its origins in the countryside of Brazil in the 1920s. Its contemporary developments made it the most popular music style in 2000s and 2010s Brazil, particularly throughout the southern/southeastern and center-western countryside Brazil. Subgenres include sertanejo de raiz, sertanejo romântico, and sertanejo universitário.

Vallenato Colombian music genre

Vallenato, along with cumbia, is a popular folk music of Colombia. It primarily comes from the Colombia's Caribbean region. Vallenato literally means "born in the valley". The valley influencing this name is located between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía de Perijá in north-east Colombia. The name also applies to the people from the city where this genre originated: Valledupar. In 2006, vallenato and cumbia were added as a category in the Latin Grammy Awards. Colombia’s traditional vallenato music is Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, according to UNESCO.

Construction

A diatonic button accordion being played

Accordions have many configurations and types. What may be technically possible to do with one accordion could be impossible with another:

Pitch (music) Perceptual property in music ordering sounds from low to high

Pitch is a perceptual property of sounds that allows their ordering on a frequency-related scale, or more commonly, pitch is the quality that makes it possible to judge sounds as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies. Pitch can be determined only in sounds that have a frequency that is clear and stable enough to distinguish from noise. Pitch is a major auditory attribute of musical tones, along with duration, loudness, and timbre.

Piano musical instrument

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.

In music, a register is the "height" or range of a note, set of pitches or pitch classes, melody, part, instrument, or group of instruments. A higher register indicates higher pitch.

Universal components

Bellows

Bellows-Driven Instruments
Piano accordions***1,2,13
Diatonic button accordion***3
Chromatic button accordions***11,12,14
Digital accordions(V-Accordions, Roland Corporation)***11,12,13,14
Bandoneon***4
English concertina***5
Anglo-German concertinas(Anglo concertinas)***6,7,8,9,10 Squeeze boxes accordion bandoneon concertina diatonic chromatic.jpg
Bellows-Driven Instruments
Piano accordions・・・1,2,13
Diatonic button accordion・・・3
Chromatic button accordions・・・11,12,14
Digital accordions(V-Accordions, Roland Corporation)・・・11,12,13,14
Bandoneon・・・4
English concertina・・・5
Anglo-German concertinas(Anglo concertinas)・・・6,7,8,9,10

The bellows is the most recognizable 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. The bellows is located between the right- and left-hand manuals, and is made from pleated layers of cloth and cardboard, with added leather and metal. [6] It is used to create pressure and vacuum, driving air across the internal reeds and producing sound by their vibrations, applied pressure increases the volume.

Articulation is a fundamental musical parameter that determines how a single note or other discrete event is sounded. Articulations primarily structure an event's start and end, determining the length of its sound and the shape of its attack and decay. They can also modify an event's timbre, dynamics, and pitch. Musical articulation is analagous to the articulation of speech, and during the Baroque and Classical periods it was taught by comparison to oratory.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings, usually tuned in perfect fifths with notes G3, D4, A4, E5, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

Pleat deliberate fold in the design of a textile object or garment

A pleat is a type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place. It is commonly used in clothing and upholstery to gather a wide piece of fabric to a narrower circumference.

The keyboard touch is not expressive and does not affect dynamics: all expression is effected through the bellows. Bellows effects include:

Keyboard expression is the ability of a keyboard musical instrument to respond to change tone or other qualities of the sound in response to velocity, pressure or other variations in how the performer depresses the keys of the musical keyboard. Expression types include:

In music, the dynamics of a piece is the variation in loudness between notes or phrases. Dynamics are indicated by specific musical notation, often in some detail. However, dynamics markings still require interpretation by the performer depending on the musical context: for instance a piano (quiet) marking in one part of a piece might have quite different objective loudness in another piece, or even a different section of the same piece. The execution of dynamics also extends beyond loudness to include changes in timbre and sometimes tempo rubato.

  • Volume control and fade
  • Repeated change of direction ("bellows shake"), which has been popularized by musicians such as Renato Borghete (gaucho music) and Luiz Gonzaga [7] , and extensively used in Forró, called resfulengo in Brazil
  • Constant bellows motion while applying pressure at intervals
  • Constant bellows motion to produce clear tones with no resonance
  • Using the bellows with the silent air button gives the sound of air moving, which is sometimes used in contemporary compositions particularly for this instrument

Body

The accordion's body consists of two wooden boxes joined together by the bellows. These boxes house reed chambers for the right- and 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 project better. 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 one or two rows of basses and a single octave on the right-hand manual, to the standard 120-bass accordion and through to large and heavy 160-bass free-bass converter models.

Pallet mechanism

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

A side view of the pallet mechanism in a piano accordion. 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. A similar mechanical pallet movement is used in button accordions, as well as for bass mechanisms such as the Stradella bass machine that translates a single button press into multiple pallet openings for the notes of a chord. Accordion button mechanism.svg
A side view of the pallet mechanism in a piano accordion. 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. A similar mechanical pallet movement is used in button accordions, as well as for bass mechanisms such as the Stradella bass machine that translates a single button press into multiple pallet openings for the notes of a chord.

Variable components

The term accordion covers a wide range of instruments, with varying components. All instruments have reed ranks of some format. Not all have switches. The most typical accordion is the piano accordion, which is used for many musical genres. Another type of accordion is the button accordion, which is used in several musical traditions, including Cajun, Conjunto and Tejano music, Swiss and Austro-German Alpine music, and Argentinian tango music.

Right-hand manual systems

Piano accordionist & chromatic button accordionist at Tokyo Big Sight MeguRee the duo of Dino Baffetti Chromatic Button Accordion Excelsior Piano Accordion.jpg
Piano accordionist & chromatic button accordionist at Tokyo Big Sight

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, while others use a piano-style keyboard. Each system has different claimed benefits [8] 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 major systems exist, referred to as the B-system and the C-system (there are also regional variants).
  • Diatonic button accordions use a buttonboard designed around the notes of diatonic scales in a small number of keys. The keys are often arranged in one row for each key available. Chromatic scales may be available by combining notes from different rows. The adjective "diatonic" is also commonly used to describe bisonic or bisonoric accordions—that is, instruments whose right-hand-manual (and in some instances even bass) keys each sound two different notes depending on the direction of the bellows (for instance, producing major triad sequences while closing the bellows and dominant seventh or 7-9 while opening). Such is the case, for instance, with the Argentinian bandoneon, the Austro-German steirische Harmonika, the Italian organetto, the Swiss Schwyzerörgeli and the Anglo concertina.
  • 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
  • 6-plus-6 accordions use a buttonboard with three rows of buttons in a "uniform" or "whole-tone" arrangement. The chromatic scale consists of two rows. The third row is a repetition of the first row, so there is the same fingering in all twelve scales. These accordions are produced only in special editions e.g. the logicordion produced by Harmona.

Left-hand manual systems

Typical 120-button Stradella bass system. This is the left-hand manual system found on most unisonoric accordions today. 120-button Stradella chart.svg
Typical 120-button Stradella bass system. This is the left-hand manual system 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 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 three general categories:

  • The Stradella bass system, also called standard bass, is arranged in a circle of fifths and uses single buttons for chords.
  • The Belgian bass system is a variation used in Belgian chromatic accordions. It is also arranged in a circle of fifths but in reverse order. This system has three rows of basses, three rows of chord buttons allowing easier fingering for playing melodies, combined chords, better use of fingers one and five, and more space between the buttons. This system was poorly traded outside of its native Belgium.
  • Various free-bass systems for greater access to playing melodies on the left-hand manual and to forming one's own chords. These are often chosen for playing jazz and classical music. Some models can convert between free-bass and Stradella bass; this is called converter bass. The free-bass left hand notes are arranged chromatically in three rows with one additional duplicate row of buttons.

Reed ranks and switches

Accordion reed ranks with closeup of reeds Reedsinset.jpg
Accordion reed ranks with closeup of reeds

Inside the accordion are the reeds that generate the instrument tones. These are organized in different sounding banks, which can be further combined into registers producing differing timbres . All but the smaller accordions are equipped with switches that control which combination of reed banks operate, organized from high to low registers. Each register stop produces a separate sound timbre, many of which also differ in octaves or in how different octaves are combined. See the accordion reed ranks and switches article for further explanation and audio samples. All but the smallest accordions usually have treble switches. The larger and more expensive accordions often also have bass switches to give options for the reed bank on the bass side.

Classification of chromatic and piano type accordions

In describing or pricing an accordion, the first factor is size, expressed in number of keys on either side. For a piano type, this could for one example be 37/96, meaning 37 keys (three octaves plus one note) on the treble side and 96 bass keys. After size, the price and weight of an accordion is largely dependent on the number of reed ranks on either side, either on a cassotto or not, and to a lesser degree on the number of combinations available through register switches. Typically, these could be announced as Reeds: 5 + 3, meaning five reeds on the treble side and three on the bass, and Registers: 13 + M, 7, meaning 13 register buttons on the treble side plus a special "master" that activates all ranks, like the "tutti" on an organ, and seven register switches on the bass side.

Accordion player in a street in the historic centre of Quito, Ecuador Quito Accordion player.jpg
Accordion player in a street in the historic centre of Quito, Ecuador

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 (mostly adjustable) leather strap 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.

Electronic and digital

Rainer von Vielen-Heimatsound playing a Roland digital V-Accordion. The bank of electronic switches can change the accordion's sound, tone and volume. Rainer von Vielen-Heimatsound-2015 (12).jpg
Rainer von Vielen-Heimatsound playing a Roland digital V-Accordion. The bank of electronic switches can change the accordion's sound, tone and volume.

In the 2010s, a range of electronic and digital accordions are made. They have an electronic sound module which creates the accordion sound, and most use MIDI systems to encode the keypresses and transmit them to the sound module. A digital accordion can have hundreds of sounds, which can include different types of accordions and even non-accordion sounds, such as pipe organ, piano, or guitar. Sensors are used on the buttons and keys, such as magnetic reed switches. Sensors are also used on the bellows to transmit the pushing and pulling of the bellows to the sound module. Digital accordions may have features not found in acoustic instruments, such as a piano-style sustain pedal, a modulation control for changing keys, and a portamento effect.

As an electronic instrument, these types of accordions are plugged into a PA system or keyboard amplifier to produce sound. Some digital accordions have a small internal speaker and amplifier, so they can be used without a PA system or keyboard amplifier, at least for practicing and small venues like coffeehouses. One benefit of electronic accordions is that they can be practiced with headphones, making them inaudible to other people nearby. On a digital accordion, the volume of the right-hand keyboard and the left-hand buttons can be independently adjusted.

Acoustic-digital hybrid accordions also exist. They are acoustic accordions (with reeds, bellows, and so on), but they also contain sensors, electronics, and MIDI connections, which provides a wider range of sound options. An acoustic-digital hybrid may be manufactured in this form, or it may be an acoustic accordion which has had aftermarket electronics sensors and connections added. Several companies sell aftermarket electronics kits, but they are typically installed by professional accordion technicians, due to the complex and delicate nature of the internal parts of an accordion.

Unusual accordions

Garmon player Busking Accordionist.jpg
Garmon player

Various hybrid accordions have been created between instruments of different buttonboards and actions. Many remain curiosities — only a few have remained in use:

History

Eight-key bisonoric diatonic accordion (c. 1830) 8 key accordion.JPG
Eight-key bisonoric diatonic accordion (c. 1830)

The accordion's basic form is believed to have been invented in Berlin, in 1822, by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, [notes 4] [10] although one instrument has been recently discovered that appears to have been built earlier. [notes 5] [11] [12]

Zitat Dillner Akkordeon Dillner-accordion.jpg
Zitat Dillner Akkordeon

The earliest history of the accordion in Russia is poorly documented. Nevertheless, according to Russian researchers, the earliest known simple accordions were made in Tula, Russia, by Timofey Vorontsov from 1820, and Ivan Sizov from 1830. [13] By the late 1840s, the instrument was already very widespread; [14] together the factories of the two masters were producing 10,000 instruments a year. By 1866, over 50,000 instruments were being produced yearly by Tula and neighbouring villages, and by 1874 the yearly production rate was over 700,000. [15] By the 1860s, Novgorod, Vyatka and Saratov governorates also had significant accordion production. By the 1880s, the list included Oryol, Ryazan, Moscow, Tver, Vologda, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod and Simbirsk, and many of these places created their own varieties of the instrument. [16]

The accordion is one of several European inventions of the early 19th century that use free reeds driven by a bellows. An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, of Armenian origin, in Vienna. [notes 6] 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 instrument owing to its cost and weight advantages. [notes 7]

The accordion was introduced from Germany into Britain in about the year 1828. [17] The instrument was noted in The Times in 1831 as one new to British audiences [18] and was not favourably reviewed, but nevertheless it soon became popular. [19] It had also become popular with New Yorkers by the mid-1840s. [20]

After Demian's invention, other accordions appeared, some featuring only the right-handed keyboard for playing melodies. It took English inventor Charles Wheatstone to bring both chords and keyboard together in one squeezebox. His 1844 patent for what he called a concertina also featured the ability to easily tune the reeds from the outside with a simple tool.

The first pages in Adolph Muller's accordion book Accordionschule1.JPG
The first pages in Adolph Müller's accordion book

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 key-arrangement ideas into practice.

Jeune's flutina resembles Wheatstone's concertina in internal construction and tone colour, but it appears to complement Demian's accordion functionally. The flutina is a one-sided 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. [21] Today the instrument is sometimes heard in contemporary pop styles, such as rock and pop-rock, [22] and occasionally even in serious classical music concerts, as well as advertisements.

Use in traditional music

The accordion's popularity spread rapidly: it has mostly been associated with the common people, and was propagated by Europeans who emigrated around the world. The accordion in both button and piano forms became a favorite of folk musicians [23] and has been integrated into traditional music styles all over the world: see the list of music styles that incorporate the accordion.

Use in jazz

Jazz accordionists from the United States include Steve Bach, Milton DeLugg, Orlando DiGirolamo, Dominic Frontiere, Guy Klucevsek, Yuri Lemeshev, Frank Marocco, John Serry Sr., Lee Tomboulian, and Art Van Damme. French jazz accordionists include Richard Galliano, Bernard Lubat, and Vincent Peirani. Norwegian jazz accordionists include Asmund Bjørken, Stian Carstensen, Gabriel Fliflet, Frode Haltli, and Eivin One Pedersen.

The accordion appeared in popular music from the 1900s to the 1960s. This half-century is often called the "golden age of the accordion". [24] Five players, Pietro Frosini, the two brothers Count Guido Deiro and Pietro Deiro and Slovenian brothers Vilko Ovsenik and Slavko Avsenik, Charles Magnante were major influences at this time. [25]

Most vaudeville theaters closed during the Great Depression, but accordionists during the 1930s–1950s taught and performed for radio. Included among this group was the concert virtuoso John Serry, Sr. [26] [27] [28] During the 1950s through the 1980s the accordion received significant exposure on television with performances by Myron Floren on The Lawrence Welk Show . [29] In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the accordion declined in popularity due to the rise of rock and roll. [30] The first accordionist to appear and perform at the Newport Jazz Festival was Angelo DiPippo. He can be seen playing his accordion in the motion picture The Godfather. He also composed and performed with his accordion on part of the soundtrack of Woody Allen's movie To Rome With Love. He was featured twice on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

A folk accordionist, 2009 Antonia Begonia on Accordion.JPG
A folk accordionist, 2009

Richard Galliano is an internationally known jazz accordionist. Some popular acts use the instrument in their distinctive sounds. A notable example is Grammy Award-winning parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic, who plays the accordion on many of his musical tracks, particularly his polkas. Yankovic was trained in the accordion as a child. [31]

The accordion has also been used in the rock genre, most notably by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, featuring more prominently in the band's earlier works. [32] The instrument is still frequently used during live performances, and continues to make appearances in their studio albums. Accordion is also used in the music of the Dropkick Murphys and Gogol Bordello.

Accordionists in heavy metal music make their most extensive appearances in the folk metal subgenre, and are otherwise generally rare. Full-time accordionists in folk metal seem even rarer, but they are still utilized for studio work, as flexible keyboardists are usually more accessible for live performances. The Finnish symphonic folk-metal band Turisas used to have a full-time accordionist, employing classical and polka sensibilities alongside a violinist. One of their accordionists, Netta Skog, is now a member of Ensiferum, another folk-metal band. Another Finnish metal band, Korpiklaani, invokes a type of Finnish polka called humppa, and also has a full-time accordionist. Sarah Kiener, the former hurdy-gurdy player for the Swiss melodic-death-folk metal band Eluveitie, played a Helvetic accordion known as a zugerörgeli.

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 Louise Reisner of Paris. Other composers, including the Russian Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Italian Umberto Giordano, and the American Charles Ives, wrote works for the diatonic button accordion.

The first composer to write specifically for the chromatic accordion was Paul Hindemith. [33] In 1922, the Austrian Alban Berg included an accordion in Wozzeck , Op. 7. In 1937 the first accordion concerto was composed in Russia. Other notable composers have written for the accordion during the first half of the 20th century. [34] Included among this group was the Italian-American John Serry Sr., whose Concerto for Free Bass Accordion was completed in 1964. [35] [36] In addition, the american accordionist Robert Davine composed his Divertimento for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon and Accordion as a work for chamber orchestra. [37] American composer William P. Perry featured the accordion in his orchestral suite Six Title Themes in Search of a Movie (2008). The experimental composer Howard Skempton began his musical career as an accordionist, and has written numerous solo works for it. In his work Drang (1999), British composer John Palmer pushed the expressive possibilities of the accordion/bayan. Luciano Berio wrote Sequenza XIII (1995) for accordionist Teodoro Anzellotti. [38] Accordionists like Mogens Ellegaard, Joseph Macerollo, Friedrich Lips, Hugo Noth, Stefan Hussong, Italo Salizzato, Teodoro Anzellotti, Mie Miki, and Geir Draugsvoll, encouraged composers to write new music for the accordion (solo and chamber music) and also started playing baroque music on the free bass accordion.

French composer Henri Dutilleux used an accordion in both his late song cycles Correspondances (2003) and Le Temps l'Horloge (2009). Russian-born composer Sofia Gubaidulina has composed solos, concertos, and chamber works for accordion. Astor Piazzolla's concert tangos are performed widely. Piazzolla performed on the bandoneon, but his works are performed on either bandoneon or accordion.

Australia

The earliest mention of the novel accordion instrument in Australian music occurs in the 1830s. [39] The accordion initially competed against cheaper and more convenient reed instruments such as mouth organ, concertina and melodeon. Frank Fracchia was an Australian accordion composer [40] and copies of his works "My dear, can you come out tonight" [41] and "Dancing with you" [42] are preserved in Australian libraries. Other Australian composers who arranged music for accordion include Reginald Stoneham. [43] The popularity of the accordion peaked in the late 1930s [44] and continued until the 1950s. [45] The accordion was particularly favoured by buskers. [46] [47]

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The accordion is a traditional instrument in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the dominant instrument used in sevdalinka, a traditional genre of folk music from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is also considered a national instrument of the country.

Brazil

Brazilian accordionist Dominguinhos (Jose Domingos de Morais (1941 - 2013) Dominguinhos de Morais.jpg
Brazilian accordionist Dominguinhos (José Domingos de Morais (1941 – 2013)

The accordion was brought to Brazil by settlers and immigrants from Europe, especially from Italy and Germany, who mainly settled in the south (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana). The first instrument brought was a "Concertina" (a 120 button chromatic accordion). [48] The instrument was popular in the 1950s, and was common to find several accordions in the same house. There are many different configurations and tunes which were adapted from the cultures that came from Europe.

Accordion is the official symbol instrument of the Rio Grande do Sul state, where was voted by unanimity in the deputy chamber. [49] During the boom of accordions there were around 65 factories in Brazil, where most of them (52) in the south, in Rio Grande do Sul state, with only 7 outside the south. One of the most famous and genuinely Brazilian brands was Acordeões Todeschini from Bento Gonçalves-RS, closed in 1973. The Todeschini accordion is very appreciated today and survives with very few maintainers. [50] [51] The most notable musicians of button accordions are Renato Borghetti, Adelar Bertussi, Albino Manique and Edson Dutra. [52]

Compared to many other countries, the instrument is very popular in mainstream pop music. In some parts of the country, such as the northeast it is the most popular melodic instrument. As opposed to most European folk accordions, a very dry tuning is usually used in Brazil. Outside the south, the accordion (predominantly the piano accordion) is used in almost all styles of Forró (in particular in the subgenres of Xote and Baião) as the principal instrument, Luiz Gonzaga (the "King of the Baião") and Dominguinhos being among the notable musicians in this style from the northeast. In this musical style the typical combination is a trio of accordion, triangle and zabumba (a type of drum). This style has gained popularity recently, in particular among the student population of the southeast of the country (in the Forró Universitário genre, with important exponents today being Falamansa, and trios such as Trio Dona Zefa, Trio Virgulino and Trio Alvorada). Moreover, the accordion is the principal instrument in Junina music (music of the São João Festival), with Mario Zan having been a very important exponent of this music. It is an important instrument in Sertanejo (and Caipira) music, which originated in the midwest and southeast of Brazil, and subsequently has gained popularity throughout the country.

Colombia

The accordion is also a traditional instrument in Colombia, commonly associated with the vallenato and cumbia genres. The accordion has been used by tropipop musicians such as Carlos Vives, Andrés Cabas, Fonseca (singer) and Bacilos, as well as rock musicians such as Juanes and pop musicians as Shakira. Vallenato, who emerged in the early twentieth century in a city known as Valledupar, and have come to symbolize the folk music of Colombia.

Every year in April, Colombia holds one of the most important musical festivals in the country: the Vallenato Legend Festival. The festival holds contests for best accordion player. Once every decade, the "King of Kings" accordion competition takes place, where winners of the previous festivals compete for the highest possible award for a vallenato accordion player: the Pilonera Mayor prize. [53] This is the world's largest competitive accordion festival.

Mexico

A Norteno band, including an accordion Tijuana-performers.jpg
A Norteño band, including an accordion

Norteño heavily relies on the accordion, it is a genre related to polka. Ramón Ayala known in Mexico as the "King of the Accordion" is a norteño musician. Cumbia which features the accordion is also popular with musicians such as Celso Piña creating a more contemporary style. U.S. born Mexican musician Julieta Venegas incorporates the sound of the instrument into rock, pop and folk. She was influenced by her fellow Chicanos Los Lobos who also use the music of the accordion. [54]

North Korea

According to Barbara Demick in Nothing to Envy , the accordion is known as "the people's instrument" and all North Korean teachers were expected to learn the accordion. [55]

Manufacturing process

The most expensive[ according to whom? ] accordions are always fully hand-made, particularly the reeds; completely hand-made reeds have a far[ peacock term ] better tonal quality than even the best automatically-manufactured ones. Some accordions have been modified by individuals striving to bring a more pure[ clarification needed ] sound out of low-end instruments, such as the ones improved by Yutaka Usui, [56] [ irrelevant citation ] a Japanese-born craftsman.

The manufacture of an accordion is only a partly automated process. In a sense[ clarification needed ], 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. [57]

Famous[ according to whom? ][ peacock term ] centres of production are the Italian cities of Stradella and Castelfidardo, with many small and medium size manufacturers especially at the latter. Castelfidardo honours[ clarification needed ] the memory of Paolo Soprani who was one of the first large-scale producers. The French town of Tulle has hosted[ clarification needed ] Maugein Freres since 1919, and the company is now the last complete-process[ clarification needed ] manufacturer of accordions in France. German companies such as Hohner and Weltmeister made large numbers of accordions, but production diminished by the end of the 20th century. Hohner still manufactures its top-end models[ clarification needed ] in Germany, and Weltmeister instruments are still handmade by HARMONA Akkordeon GmbH in Klingenthal. Cheaper student models[ clarification needed ] are often made in China.

Other audio samples

See also

Notes

  1. For 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 he was the first accordionist to play a solo with the left hand: Sharpshooter's March (1908) Guido Deiro, Guido Deiro's Own Story of Sharpshooters March, The Pietro Musicordion, Volume 6, Number 2 (May–June 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. There is not a single document to back up this belief, Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann was 16 years old at that time and we do have some handwriting of C.F. Buschschmann and his Father, but without any related notice within. First time of mentioned a aeoline was in a writing dated 1829.
  5. This is the accordion owned by Fredrik Dillner of Sweden, which has the name F. Löhner Nürnberg engraved (stamped) on it. The instrument was given to Johannes Dillner in 1830 or earlier
  6. A summary and pictures of this patent can be found at www.ksanti.net/free-reed/history/demian.html (Version of 20 Okt 4 – 19 Jun 09 Using Way Back Machine to Display: The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.)
  7. German Text: "Mit den Dekel des Balges, läßt sich das ganze Instrument verdoppeln, so daß man dadurch die Accorde vermehrt, oder auch mit einzelne Töne spielen kann, in diesem Fall, muß ein zweyter Einsatz mit Federn, und auch eine 2te Claviatur dazu kommen, der Blasebalg bleibt in der Mitte, jede Hand dirigirt abwechselnd, entweder die Claves, oder den Balg. Durch eine obengenannte Verdoplung des Instruments oder durch Vermehrung der Accorde, würde niemand etwas verbessern, oder was neues liefern, weil nur die Bestandtheile dadurch vermehrt, das Instrument theurer und schwerer wird." Translation of this snip: With the Cover of the bellows the instrument can be duplicated, so the amount of Chords or single notes can be enlarged, or one can sound single notes, in this case, a second part with springs (free reeds) and also a second keyboard must be added, the bellows are in between these two parts, both hands push buttons and push and pull the bellows at the same time or alternatively. Through this doubling or increasing of chords within the instrument nothing new is invented or improved by someone else, because only the amount of similar parts is increased and the Instrument is heavier and more expensive.German full text Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine

Related Research Articles

Harmonica free reed wind instrument

The harmonica, also known as a French harp or mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used worldwide in many musical genres, notably in blues, American folk music, classical music, jazz, country, rock. There are many types of harmonica, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and bass versions. A harmonica is played by using the mouth to direct air into or out of one or more holes along a mouthpiece. Behind each hole is a chamber containing at least one reed. A harmonica reed is a flat elongated spring typically made of brass, stainless steel, or bronze, which is secured at one end over a slot that serves as an airway. When the free end is made to vibrate by the player's air, it alternately blocks and unblocks the airway to produce sound.

Concertina free-reed musical instrument

A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It consists of expanding and contracting bellows, with buttons usually on both ends, unlike accordion buttons, which are on the front.

English concertina

The English concertina is a member of the concertina family of free-reed musical instruments. Invented in England in 1829, it was the first instrument of what would become the concertina family.

Squeezebox aerophone instrument

The term squeezebox is a colloquial expression referring to any musical instrument of the general class of hand-held bellows-driven free reed aerophones such as the accordion and the concertina. The term is so applied because such instruments are generally in the shape of a rectangular prism or box, and the bellows is operated by squeezing in and drawing out.

Garmon kind of Russian button accordion

The garmon is a kind of Russian button accordion, a free-reed wind instrument. A garmon has two rows of buttons on the right side, which play the notes of a diatonic scale, and at least two rows of buttons on the left side, which play the primary chords in the key of the instrument as well as its relative harmonic minor key. Many instruments have additional right-hand buttons with useful accidental notes, additional left-hand chords for playing in related keys, and a row of free-bass buttons, to facilitate playing of bass melodies.

Button accordion type of accordion without piano-style keyboard

A button accordion is a type of accordion on which the melody-side keyboard consists of a series of buttons rather than piano-style keys of a piano accordion. The first button accordion is credited to Franz Walther in 1850. Button accordions of various types are used especially in European countries and overseas countries where European people settled.

Piano accordion

A piano accordion is an accordion equipped with a right-hand keyboard similar to a piano or organ. Its acoustic mechanism is more that of an organ than a piano, as they are both wind instruments, but the term "piano accordion"—coined by Guido Deiro in 1910—has remained the popular name. It may be equipped with any of the available systems for the left-hand manual.

Chord organ

Chord organ is a kind of home organ that has a single short keyboard and a set of chord buttons, enabling the musician to play a melody or lead with one hand and accompanying chords with the other, like the accordion with a set of chord buttons which was originated from a patent by Cyrill Demian in 1829, etc.

Flutina Free-reed musical instrument

The flutina is an early precursor to the diatonic button accordion, having one or two rows of treble buttons, which are configured to have the tonic of the scale, on the "draw" of the bellows. There is usually no bass keyboard: the left hand operates an air valve. A rocker switch, called a "bascule d'harmonie" is in the front of the keyboard. When this switch is thumb activated, it would open up a pallet (a pad that covers a tone hole, at the other end of the key button, for a simple Tonic/Dominant drone: Tonic on the draw and Dominant on the press, e.g. Tonic notes C/g, and Dominant G/d, without any major or minor thirds.

Chromatic button accordion type of accordion

A chromatic button accordion is a type of button accordion where the melody-side keyboard consists of rows of buttons arranged chromatically. The bass-side keyboard is usually the Stradella system or one of the various free-bass systems. Included among chromatic button accordions are the Russian bayan and Schrammel accordion. There can be 3 to 5 rows of vertical treble buttons. In a 5 row chromatic, two additional rows repeat the first 2 rows to facilitate options in fingering.

Diatonic button accordion music instrument

A melodeon or diatonic button accordion is a member of the free-reed aerophone family of musical instruments. It is a type of button accordion on which the melody-side keyboard contains one or more rows of buttons, with each row producing the notes of a single diatonic scale. The buttons on the bass-side keyboard are most commonly arranged in pairs, with one button of a pair sounding the fundamental of a chord and the other the corresponding major triad.

Schrammel accordion Musical instrument

A Schrammel accordion is an accordion with a melody keyboard in the chromatic B-Griff system and a twelve-button diatonic bass keyboard. It is named for a traditional combination of two violins, accordion or clarinet, and contraguitar known as a Schrammelquartet – a group that played Schrammelmusik in the Vienna chamber music tradition.

Tremolo harmonicas are a type of harmonica, distinct by having two reeds per note. In a tremolo harmonica the two reeds are tuned slightly off a reference pitch, one slightly sharp and the other slightly flat. This gives a unique wavering or warbling sound created by the two reeds being not exactly in tune with each other and difference in their subsequent waveforms acting against one another. The degree of beating can be varied depending on the desired effect. Instruments where the beating is faster due to the reeds being farther apart from the reference pitch are called "wet", whereas those where the beating is slower and less noticeable due to the reeds being more closely in tune are called "dry".

Schwyzerörgeli

The Schwyzerörgeli is a type of diatonic button accordion used in Swiss folk music. The name derives from the town/canton of Schwyz where it was developed. Oergeli is the diminutive form of the word Orgel (organ). Outside of Switzerland the instrument is not well known and hard to find.

Cajun accordion

A Cajun accordion, also known as a squeezebox, is single-row diatonic button accordion used for playing Cajun music.

Free-bass system

A free-bass system is a system of bass buttons on an accordion, arranged to give the performer greater access to playing melodies on the left-hand manual of the instrument and to forming one's own chords, by providing a buttonboard of single-note buttons with a range of three octaves or more, in contrast to the standard Stradella bass system which only allows bass notes and preset major, minor, dominant seventh, and diminished chords. The term "free-bass system" refers to various left-hand manual systems that provide this functionality:

The accordion is in a wide variety of musical genres, mainly in traditional and popular music. In some regions, such as Europe and North-America it has become mainly restricted to traditional, folk and ethnic music. In other regions such as Mexico, the instrument is very popular in genres like Norteño, and in Brazil, it is a fixture in popular music styles as Sertanejo and Forró. In art music it is used in jazz music, an important exponent having been the North American accordionist Frank Marocco and in transcriptions from the operatic and light-classical music repertoire.

Steirische Harmonika

The Steirische Harmonika is a type of bisonoric diatonic button accordion important to the alpine folk music of Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the German state of Bavaria, and the Italian South Tyrol. The Steirische Harmonika is distinguished from other diatonic button accordions by its typically richer bass notes, and by the presence of one key per scale row that has the same tone on both compression and expansion of the bellows, called a Gleichton. The bass notes earn the distinction Helikonbässe because they use bigger reeds with duralumin reed frames and a special chamber construction that amplifies its bass tones to give it a loud sound reminiscent of a Helicon tuba.

Khromka

Khromka is a type of Russian garmon. It is the most widespread variant in Russia and in the former USSR. Nearly all Russian garmons made since the mid of the 20th century are khromkas.

Anglo concertina

The Anglo or Anglo-German concertina is a member of the concertina family of free-reed instruments.

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