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Guide to Accordions

Accordion : What is it?

Accordions

The accordion is a handheld, bellows-driven instrument played by expanding and compressing the bellows to generate airflow across the reeds. It is made with a keyboard that determines which reed should receive the airflow to produce different tones. The modern accordion is made up of two parts, each rectangular in shape and separated by a bellows. Each part of the body has a keyboard with buttons, levers, or piano-style keys. To produce sound, the keys are pressed perpendicular to the motion of the bellows and towards the performer. 

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Types of Accordions

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Kinds of Accordions include the following:

Diatonic accordion

  • The diatonic accordion has a row of 10 buttons on the right hand.
  • Each note on the button board has at least two reeds, which have different pitches for the in bellows and the out bellows.
  • The root of the scale is the bass notes and relevant chords for the in bellows, and the fifth of the scale for the out bellows.
  • Its note pattern is similar to the mouth of a harmonica.
  • It produces a good sound output.
  • It is relatively lightweight, simple to use, and affordable.
  • It is one of the most popular accordions in the world.
  • It is commonly used by many folk and dance groups.


Concertina accordion

  • The concertina accordion has four to 12 sides in its cross-section.
  • It is different from the other accordions because of its unusual keyboard.
  • It has no fixed chords.
  • Each of its buttons produce different notes.
  • Each side of the instrument has its own wrist, thumb, and finger strap.
  • It is usually supported by the knee when played.
  • It is generally lightweight and compact.
  • It uses a number of different systems and notes, making it hard for a concertina player to pick up a new system and master it immediately.

With a chromatic keyboard Accordion

  • The accordion with a chromatic keyboard has three to six rows of small, round or rectangular keys.
  • The last three rows are a repeat of the first three rows for more fingering options.
  • The most common chromatic layouts are the B and C systems.
  • The C system is used to play easier and more melodic chords, while the B system is used for more technically challenging music.
  • The six-row chromatic accordion, also known as the Serbian accordion, is commonly used by Yugoslav players.


Piano accordion

  • The piano accordion is the first truly standardized universal accordion.
  • It has right-hand keyboard just like a piano.
  • It allows the accordionist to play any make or type of piano accordion without changing the system.
  • It is sized according to the number of basses it has.
  • It usually has a bass range of 12 to 160.

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Choosing Accordions (Buying tips)

Number of basses:  If you are a beginner, choose a 12-bass accordion because it is small and easier to learn. If you are committed to mastering the accordion, choose a professional-size accordion with 120 basses.

Reeds: Choose an accordion with a reed skin made of leather and blocks made of poplar wood that moderate the airflow to produce a more consistent sound.

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