Welcome to the Accordion FAQ page! Here, you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the accordion. From its origins and history, to how to play and care for your instrument, this page has (almost) all the info you need.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, this FAQ page has something for everyone. So grab a comfortable seat and let’s get started!
What kind of music can you play on an accordion?
The accordion can be used to play a wide variety of genres, including folk, classical, jazz, blues, rock, pop, and many others. The unique sound of the accordion, with its range of timbres and its ability to produce chords and melodies simultaneously, allows it to adapt to a wide range of musical genres.
What are the different types of accordions?
On a diatonic accordion, the buttons are arranged in a repeating pattern, each button corresponding to a specific note in the chosen key. This means that the accordion is limited to playing in one key at a time. On the other hand, a chromatic accordion can play any note, allowing the player to play in any key. Additionally, on a chromatic accordion, the sound produced is the same whether the bellows are pulled or pushed, while on a diatonic accordion, the sound will be different depending on the direction of the bellows movement.
Stradella bass accordions with buttons on the treble side are called Chromatic Button Accordion (CBA) and can have a wider range of notes on the treble side than accordions with piano keys. This is because the buttons on a chromatic accordion are arranged in rows or columns, which can allow for a more efficient use of space and, consequently, a wider range of notes.
Standard bass accordions with piano keys on the treble side are called Piano Accordions (PA), and have a more limited range of notes on the treble side (usually 41 keys on a 120 bass). This is because the keys on a piano accordion are arranged in a keyboard layout, which can be less efficient in terms of space and note range.
In addition to Stradella bass accordions, there are also other types of accordions. These can include diatonic button accordions (DBA), which have a limited range of notes and are often used in folk and traditional music, as well as other types of accordions such as the melodeon, a small, single-action instrument that originated in England; the bandoneon, a popular Argentinean instrument used in tango music; the cajun accordion, a traditional instrument used in Cajun music; the English concertina, a bellows-driven instrument with buttons on both ends; the Anglo concertina, a similar instrument with a hexagonal shape; the garmon, a Russian diatonic accordion; the Steirische Harmonika, a type of chromatic accordion used in Austria; and the Schwyzerörgeli, a small, diatonic accordion used in Switzerland. The Bayan accordion, is a type of chromatic button accordion that is popular in Russia and Eastern Europe. It has a distinctive, powerful sound and is often used in classical music.
The Chemnitzer concertina is primarily a diatonic accordion, however, there are also some rare models that are chromatic, which allows for a wider range of notes and chord options.
Which accordion is easier to learn PA or CBA?
The piano accordion (PA) is generally considered to be easier than the chromatic buttons accordion, especially for beginners. This is because the piano accordion has a keyboard layout where all notes are arranged one after the other from lowest to highest, while chromatic buttons accordions (CBA) have multiple rows arranged in a peculiar way.
Even if the piano accordion may be easier for beginners, the chromatic accordion can be easier to play in the long run. This is because the chromatic accordion has a layout that allows for the performance of complex melodies and chords that may be difficult or even impossible on a piano accordion. Once you get past the initial difficulty of getting comfortable with the layout of the right-hand button board, everything becomes much easier because the layout of a CBA is modular. This means that, unlike the keyboard, you are not forced to change your fingering when changing the key of a melody or chord; you just need to move your hand to the right position and repeat the same fingering. Plus, the chromatic accordion allows for a greater range of notes, which can make it more versatile and expressive in the hands of a skilled player.
Accordions have a button board with bass notes and chords on the left side. These buttons are played to add an accompaniment to the melody played by the right hand.
The most common accordion bass note layout follows a circle of fifths and is called Stradella Bass System. This layout makes it easy to reach those intervals (IV and V) that are common in traditional and classical music.
What is a full-size piano accordion?
Full-size piano accordions typically have 41 treble keys and 120 bass buttons.
Anyway, a 72 or 96 bass accordion can play the same chords and keys as a full-size accordion. In an 80 bass accordion, the diminished chord row is missing (unless it’s a 3+3 French system) and, on smaller accordions than 72 basses, you can’t play all keys.
How many keys does a full-size piano accordion have?
A full-size piano accordion has 120 bass and (usually) 41 treble keysarranged in a standard keyboard layout. Some piano accordions may have more or fewer keys depending on the design and intended use, but 41 keys is the most common number.
How many notes can an accordion play?
A full-size accordion typically has 41 treble keys on the right-hand side, which cover approximately three octaves of notes. The left-hand side of the accordion typically has a buttons board for playing bass accompaniment, which can vary in number depending on the model and type of accordion.
Professional musicians usually play accordions that have 120 bass buttons on the left-hand side, which allows for a wide range of bass accompaniment options. Some piano accordions may have even more buttons, with up to 140 buttons or more. This allows for even greater flexibility and versatility in the types of music that can be played on the accordion.
Stradella bass systems accordions can have anywhere from 8 to 160 basses, including 8, 12, 24, 32, 40, 48, 60, 72, 80, 96, 120, 140, and 160 basses but larger models with more than 120 basses are rather rare.
In order to find a certain bass button on the left side of the accordion, you should rely just on the sense of touch. Some buttons (usually the C and sometimes also E and Ab on the bass column) are indented or have a glass glitter that makes them feel different to the touch. Feeling these marks under your fingers, you can get an idea of where you are on the bass button-board.
What does the left hand on an accordion do?
On the accordion, the left hand plays bass and chord accompaniment. The left-hand side of the accordion has buttons arranged in different configurations depending on the kind and model of the instrument. These buttons are pushed to play bass notes and chords arranged in rhythmic patterns.
The left hand is held in a slightly different position than the right hand, with the fingers extended outward and the palm slightly cupped. This allows for greater flexibility and control over the buttons, and allows the player to play easily complex accompaniment patterns.
How do you play both hands together and use the bellows?
In order to play the accordion with both hands, you must coordinate the movements of the left and right hand, as well as the motion of the bellows. The easiest way to do this is to practice simple melodies and exercises, gradually increasing the speed and complexity until muscle memory begins to develop.
What is an accordion counter-bass?
From 40 bass up to 120 bass, accordions have a column of so called “counter-bass notes” arranged in a circle of fifths near the bellows. Together with the column of root notes, they constitute the set of all bass notes present on the left button-board of an accordion.
Click to enlarge
What do the switches on an accordion do?
The switches on an accordion are used to control various aspects of the instrument’s sound or performance. Depending on the type and model of accordion, the switches may have different functions and purposes. Some common functions of accordion switches include:
- Selecting different reed sets or voices for the treble or bass side of the instrument
- Switching between different bass layouts (free bass converter)
- Selecting different chord or bass inversions or voicings (CJS Chiovarelli Jazz System accordion)
In general, the switches on an accordion allow the player to fine-tune the sound and performance of the instrument, and to adapt it to different musical styles or requirements. By using the switches of registers, the accordion player can create a wide range of different sounds and effects and can customize the instrument to their individual playing style or preferences.
How much does 120 bass accordion weigh?
The weight of a 120 bass accordion is directly proportional to the number of reeds it has. In general, the more registers the accordion has on both sides, the heavier it will be.
On average, the weight of a 120 bass accordion can range from 7 to 16 kilograms (15 to 34 pounds). The exact weight will depend on the specific features of the accordion.
Why do accordions vary in weight and size?
Accordions vary in weight and size for a number of reasons. Some of the factors that can affect the weight and size of an accordion include:
- The type and size of the reeds used in the accordion. Larger reeds can produce a louder, fuller sound, but they also add more weight to the instrument.
- The number of reeds. More keys and buttons can provide a wider range of notes and capabilities, but they also add more weight and bulk to the instrument.
- The construction and materials that are used in the creation of the accordion. Some materials, such as some kind of wood or metal, can be heavier than others.
- The design and layout of the accordion. Different accordion models may have different shapes and dimensions, which can affect the overall weight and size of the instrument.
The weight and size of an accordion can vary depending on the specific design and construction of the instrument, as well as the preferences and needs of the player. Some accordion players may prefer a larger, heavier instrument with more keys, buttons, and registers while others may prefer a smaller, lighter accordion for easier portability and handling.
Why do some accordions sound different from others?
There are several reasons why some accordions may sound different from others. One factor that can affect an accordion’s sound is the tuning of the voices and the type and size of reeds. Different types of reeds, the presence of one or two tone chambers, the wooden frame design, using different treble grill materials, such as aluminium or celluloid, can produce different sounds and tones.
Why learn the accordion?
There are many reasons why someone might choose to learn to play the accordion. The accordion is a versatile instrument that can be used to play a variety of different genres, including folk, classical, pop, rock, and more. Additionally, the accordion is portable, it is relatively easy to carry and transport, making it a convenient choice for musicians who want to take their music on the road. Plus, learning to play the accordion can be a fun and rewarding experience.
What is the best age for a child to start playing the accordion?
There is no specific age to start playing the accordion. The ability to learn any instrument depends on the individual’s level of physical development and coordination and many other factors. Some children may be able to start playing the accordion as young as four or five years old, and others may not be ready until they are older.
It is important for a child to have the physical ability and strength to hold the accordion before starting taking lessons. Accordions can be heavy for children, so it is important for them to have the strength and coordination to play the instrument properly.
In addition to physical development, it should also be considered the child’s attention span and level of interest in the instrument. Taking lessons too early may lead to frustration and a lack of fun, which can hinder the learning process. In order to succeed, it is important for a child to be interested and motivated in learning the accordion. Practicing the accordion can be challenging, it requires a lot of dedication, but it should also be enjoyable and fun, especially for a child. So it is very important to find a balance and make sure that the child is both challenged and engaged in the learning process.
It is also important to have a good ear for music and the ability to listen carefully. These skills can be developed at a young age through listening to and playing music, and can help children in learning the accordion faster and easily.
In general, the best age to start playing the accordion will vary depending on the individual child and their level of physical development, coordination, strength, attention span, and interest in the instrument.
How long does it take to play simple tunes on the accordion?
Learning to play the accordion takes time, practice, and patience as any other instrument, but you’ll be able to enjoy it soon after you get comfortable with it. Obviously, to master the accordion you’ll need a lot of practice but this is true for all instruments or disciplines. If your goal is to play simple tunes, you don’t have nothing to worry about.
|Beginner||2 weeks up to 2 months.|
|Intermediate||1 or 2 years to reach this level but it could take longer.|
|Advanced||4 or 5 years of experience.|
|Expert||decades of practice and performances.|
How much does a decent accordion cost?
There are many factors that can influence the price, such as size, age, condition, number of reeds, the presence of one or two “cassotto”, type of keys and bass buttons, brand, custom decoration and finish.
For a used accordion of entry-level quality, expect to pay between $300/$600. Depending on your luck, you might be able to find a good deal even below that price.
Cheap new accordions from China and East Europe could cost between $400/$800.
There are some good old top-brand used accordions available between $600 and $1500 and even up to a few thousand dollars.
Top-quality accordions are expensive, you’ll usually need several thousand dollars to purchase a brand new or even a used one.
What should I consider when choosing an accordion?
If you are a beginner looking to purchase an accordion, you may want to consider buying a beginner-level instrument that is designed for easy playability and a reasonable price. There are many different brands and models of beginner-level accordions on the market, and the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences and your budget.
Some things to consider when choosing a beginner-level accordion include the size of the instrument, its weight, the kind of tuning (wet or dry), the number of voices, the number of keys and buttons, the quality of the construction, and obviously, the sound.
A smaller accordion may be easier to hold and play, especially for younger players or those with smaller hands. A larger accordion may have a richer sound, but it may also be more difficult to play.
A beginner-level accordion typically has between 48 and 72 bass buttons, but there’s no rule against starting directly on a 120-button accordion. This provides a sufficient range of notes and sounds for a beginner to learn on, while not being overwhelming. As you become more skilled at playing the accordion, you can upgrade to a more advanced instrument with more voices, keys, and buttons.
In terms of construction, you will want to look for an accordion that is well-made and sturdy, with a smooth action and responsive keys and buttons. The quality of the construction can vary among different brands and models of accordions, so it may be worth it to do some research and read reviews before making a purchase.
Finally, when it’s possible, listen to the sound of the accordion before you buy it. Even accordions that are the same size can sound very different, so make sure you choose one with a sound you like.
Is it better to buy a beginner or advanced accordion?
It depends on several factors, including your personal preferences, your skill level, and your goals. If you are just starting out with the accordion, you may want to consider buying a beginner-level instrument that is designed for easy playability and a reasonable price. As you become more skilled at playing the accordion, you can upgrade to a more advanced instrument that offers a wider range of options.
If you are planning to use the accordion for professional performances or recordings, you may want to invest in a top-quality instrument. Some of the best accordions are made by manufacturers who have a long history of producing high-quality instruments, and these are quite expensive. However, the investment may be worth it if you are serious about music.
The best accordion for you will be one that meets your needs, fits your budget, and allows you to play the tunes you love. It may take some research to find the perfect accordion for you, but with a little effort, you can find an instrument that will make you happy every time you play.
Who invented the accordion?
The exact origins of the accordion are not clear, but it is generally believed to have been developed independently by different inventors and manufacturers in different parts of Europe.
The first known versions of the accordion was the one invented by the German instrument maker Friedrich Buschmann in 1822. Another early version of the accordion was the “accordeur”, which was developed by the French instrument maker Cyrill Demian in 1829.
One of the most influential figures in the history of the accordion was an Italian instrument maker: Paolo Soprani. He revolutionized the design and the capabilities of the accordion. In 1865, Soprani opened his own workshop in Castelfidardo (Ancona – IT), where he began to manufacture high-quality accordions. His instruments were prized for their craftsmanship and their rich sound, and they quickly gained a reputation as some of the top-quality accordions in the world.
Soprani continued to innovate and improve his accordions throughout his career, and he introduced many new features and design elements that are still used in modern accordions.
How are accordions made?
The process of making an accordion can vary depending on the specific design and construction techniques involved by the manufacturer. However, in general, the process of making an accordion involves several steps.
The various components of the accordion are manufactured, including, bellows, keyboard or button board, reeds, metal plates, leather valves, wooden frames and straps. These components are typically made from a combination of wood, metal, plastic, and other materials. Then all these elements are carefully fitted together to ensure that the accordion functions properly and produces a good-quality sound.
Once the accordion is assembled, it is tested to ensure that it’s functioning properly and producing the desired sound.
What is a cassotto (aka “tone chamber”)?
A cassotto is a wooden box inside the accordion that works as a tone chamber. Its size and shape can affect the sound of the accordion. Some accordions may have two “cassotto”, one for the voice called clarinet (8′) and one for the basson (16′ ), which is known as a double cassotto accordion.
What a is double cassotto accordion?
In a double cassotto accordion, there are two separate tone chambers, one for the bassoon (16′ ) and one for the clarinet reeds (8′). Double cassotto accordions are often more expensive and require more complex construction, but they are often preferred by professional musicians for their superior sound quality.
What are reeds in an accordion?
Accordion reeds are small metal blades that vibrate and produce sound when air is passed through them. Each reed is mounted on a aluminium block, and is tuned to produce a specific pitch or note. Each aluminium block is anchored to a wooden rack with wax or nails.
When the player presses a key or button on the accordion, it opens a valve that allows air to pass through the reeds, causing them to vibrate. Reeds are an essential component of the accordion, and their quality, design, and tuning can affect the sound and the performance of the instrument.
What’s the difference in reed quality?
There are 3 kind of accordion reeds: machine-made, hand-type, and handmade.
Machine-made reeds are produced by mass-producing machines, which are designed to produce large numbers of reeds. These reeds are typically less expensive than other ones, but may not be as well crafted or tuned, and may produce a weaker or less consistent sound.
Hand-type reeds are made using a combination of machine and hand processes, with the reeds being tuned and finished by hand. These reeds are typical of higher quality than machine-made reeds, and can produce a richer sound.
Handmade reeds are crafted by hand, using traditional techniques. These reeds are often considered the top-quality option and can produce a beautiful and exceptional sound.
Is it necessary to tune an accordion?
In the right conditions, accordions will stay in tune for a long time if they are properly maintained and aren’t exposed to extreme heat, humidity, or moisture. When that is not the case, an accordion could go out of tune, then it requires professional tuning in a laboratory equipped to correct each reed’s pitch.
How are accordions tuned?
Tuning an accordion is a complex and delicate process, and requires specialized knowledge, skills, and tools. Accordions are tuned by adjusting the weight and shape of the reeds. Accordion reeds are small metal blades that vibrate producing sound when air is passed through them. Each reed is mounted on a reed block and is carefully tuned to produce a specific pitch or note. The pitch of a reed can be adjusted by adding or removing weight from either the tip or the base of the reed. This changes the vibrational characteristics of the reed and produces a different pitch or timbre.
In order to tune an accordion, the technician first has to remove the reed blocks from the instrument, and carefully inspect each reed for signs of wear, damage, or tuning issues. The technician will then use special tools, such as files, pliers, or tweezers, to carefully adjust the weight and shape of the reeds. This can involve carefully filing or shaping the reeds to remove excess material, or adding small weights to the reeds to fine-tune their pitch. The technician will then re-install the reed blocks in the accordion and will test the instrument to ensure that it is properly tuned and there’s any air leakage from the reed blocks.
What are the most common tuning options for an accordion?
There are several different tuning options available for an accordion, depending on the type of music being played and the personal preferences of the player, however we can summarize by saying that there are two tuning options for an accordion: dry and wet tuning.
What is a dry-tuned accordion?
In a dry-tuned accordion, all voices for each note are tuned to be exactly in unison, without any detuning or vibrato effect. In other words, a dry-tuned accordion has all reeds tuned in a way that doesn’t produce any harmonic beatings. This means that all voices for a given note are tuned to the same pitch, resulting in a clear and precise sound. Dry-tuned accordions are often preferred by musicians who want a bright, expressive sound that is well-suited for classical and jazz music but also for tango and some traditional genres.
What is a wet-tuned accordion?
A wet-tuned accordion is an accordion that has been tuned in a way that produces a warmer, more shimmering sound by slightly detuning one or more voices (groups of reeds), creating a vibrato effect (harmonic beatings), and adding a more complex and nuanced sound.
What is the “tremolo”?
Tremolo is the sound effect you get when two identical notes create harmonic beatings because they have slightly different pitches. The tremolo-tuning is a “wet-tuning”. In a tremolo-tuned accordion, the reeds on the treble side are tuned slightly differently from each other, creating a vibrato or tremolo effect when played. This can give the accordion a unique and distinct sound. Tremolo tuning is commonly used in traditional folk music.
Why do musicians choose dry or wet tuning in an accordion?
The choice of dry or wet tuning is largely a matter of personal preference and can affect the character and expressiveness of an accordion. Some accordionists prefer the clarity and precision of a dry-tuned accordion, while others prefer the warmth and shimmer of a wet tuned accordion. Additionally, musical genre and the playing style can also influence the choice of tuning.
How do different pitch tunings affect the musette sound on an accordion?
Some accordion players might prefer a more pronounced musette sound, which can be achieved by increasing the pitch difference between different voices. This can create a more pronounced vibrato effect, which is effective in certain musical styles, such as Italian folk music. In contrast, other accordion players may prefer a less pronounced musette sound, which can be achieved by tuning the reeds more closely to a unison pitch. This can create a more subtle vibrato effect, which can be better suited to other musical styles, such as French musette, classical, or jazz.
How is the musette sound achieved on an accordion?
The “musette sound” (wet tuning) on an accordion is typically achieved by tuning one or more of the voices (groups of reeds) on the treble side of the instrument slightly sharp or flat. This can create a vibrato or tremolo effect, which is commonly referred to as musette. However, there is no one fixed way of tuning the musette on an accordion, and the exact amount of sharp or flat tuning can vary depending on the preferences of the player and the genre of music being played.
Where I can buy an accordion?
You can buy an accordion from a variety of places, including music stores, online retailers, eBay, Craiglist, or directly from accordion manufacturers. Music stores that sell accordions typically have a selection of different models and brands to choose from, and the staff at these stores can often provide advice and guidance on which accordion might be the best fit for your needs. Many accordion manufacturers have their own websites where you can buy their instruments directly, and some of these websites may offer custom options or special editions that are not available elsewhere.
Online retailers also offer a wide selection of brand-new or used accordions, and you can often find good deals and discounts on these websites. One of the most popular accordion shop is Liberty Bellows which you can follow on Youtube on their channel.
Are old accordions worth anything?
From a buyer’s perspective:
Yes, absolutely, but only if they are in good condition, which is difficult to determine if you cannot play them. When you buy online, you can only rely on photos and descriptions, which is not enough to tell if the accordion is actually in good condition.
Buying instruments that belonged to professional musicians increases the chances of purchasing an accordion in good condition as it is likely to have received all the care and maintenance it deserves.
Of course, the price is also an indicator of the condition of a used accordion. In most cases, $100 or $200 accordions won’t be free of air leaks, broken reeds, stuck keys, or a perforated bellows. Even some more expensive used accordions could have some of those problems, but the chances of finding an instrument in order, rise as the price increases. Finding a good accordion repairer to fix any damage, can sometimes cost a lot, it all depends on the extent of the problem…. so be careful, don’t save a few bucks, and then spend three times as much on repairs.
From a seller’s perspective:
One of the major problems with old accordions is that they often suffer from poor storage conditions, which can lead to damage and degradation over time. Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of an accordion, as it can cause the reeds to rust and the bellows to become brittle and leaky. This can affect the sound and playability of the instrument, and make it difficult or impossible to use.
Furthermore, time can cause the leather, wood, and other materials to break down and deteriorate. This can result in cracks, warping, and other issues that can make the accordion difficult or impossible to repair. Some vintage accordions may be sought after by collectors or musicians who appreciate their unique sound or craftsmanship. However, the value of an old accordion can vary depending on its condition, age, brand, number of voices, and other factors.
How do you get the musty smell out of an accordion?
Open the accordion case and let it air out in a well-ventilated area. This will help to dissipate any musty odors and allow fresh air to circulate within the instrument.
- Clean the accordion with a soft, dry cloth. This will remove any dirt or grime that may be contributing to the musty smell.
- Use a mild disinfectant (like water mixed with vinegar) if you see molds on the accordion. If you want to use a spray cleaner, be sure to use a product that is safe for use on musical instruments, and avoid spraying directly on the accordion; it is better to spray it on the cloth that you will use to clean the accordion.
- Store the accordion in a dry, temperature-controlled environment. This will prevent moisture from accumulating within the accordion, which can cause musty smells and other issues.
- Consider using a moisture-absorbing product, such as silica gel packets or a humidity control system, to keep the accordion dry and prevent the formation of mold or rust on the metal parts.
By following these steps, you can help to eliminate musty smells and keep your accordion in good condition. It is important to regularly clean and maintain your accordion to prevent the accumulation of dirt, grime, and moisture, which can cause unpleasant odors and other (big) problems.
How do you clean an old accordion?
Use a soft, dry cloth to gently clean the exterior of the accordion, including the keys, buttons, and bellows. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the delicate parts of the instrument (especially the front grill). If necessary, use a soft brush or toothbrush to clean the keyboard and other hard-to-reach areas of the accordion.
Don’t use alcohol on the celluloid of the accordion! Alcohol will make your accordion’s surface dull and sometimes even leave a whitish haze. To clean the accordion, use a mild detergent and water, but be careful not to get any inside the instrument.
What’s the best accordion out there?
It is difficult to say which is the best accordion, as the “best” accordion will depend on the individual preferences and needs of the player. Some of the most highly regarded accordion manufacturers include:
- Paolo Soprani
All these companies produce a wide range of high-quality accordions in different sizes, styles, and price ranges.
Can the accordion be repaired?
Yes, accordions can be repaired. Accordions are complex instruments with many moving parts, and over time, these parts can wear out or become damaged. However, most accordion repairs are relatively simple and can be performed by a skilled technician or repair shop.
Common accordion repairs include replacing damaged reeds, repairing or replacing the bellows, and fixing any issues with the keys. In some cases, more extensive repairs may be needed, such as replacing the entire reed block or other components of the accordion. However, most accordions can be repaired, and with proper care and maintenance, they can continue to provide many years of enjoyment.
Do accordions come in different colors?
Yes, accordions can come in different colors. While most accordions are traditionally black, there are many other options available, including different shades of red, green, blue, white, and other colors. Some accordion manufacturers offer a range of color options, allowing customers to choose a color that matches their personal style or preferences.
Lately, accordions with a raw wood finish have been coming out, without the usual celluloid coating. They’re gorgeous but more fragile than the ones with celluloid.
What is the outside of the accordion made of?
The exterior of an accordion is usually made of wood, coated with a layer of celluloid. This protects the wood from scratches and other damage, and also gives the accordion a nice shine and polished look.
The type of wood and coating can vary depending on the brand and model of the accordion. New accordions with a raw wood finish have no celluloid layer. They’re stunning but more fragile than the celluloid-covered ones.
In which country did the accordion originate?
Accordion originated in Austria and Germany in the early 19th century. However, it is also believed that the concept for the instrument came from an ancient Chinese instrument such as the sheng, which also featured free reeds and bellows.
Where are accordions manufactured?
Accordions are typically manufactured in a range of countries, including Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Russia, and China. These countries are home to many of the world’s leading accordion manufacturers and craftsmen, who create top-quality instruments for professional and amateur musicians.
Italy is considered the world’s leading manufacturer of accordions and has a long tradition of producing high-quality instruments for both professional musicians. Italian accordions are known for their superior craftsmanship, attention to detail, and rich, expressive sound. Many of the world’s top accordion players use Italian-made instruments, and the country is home to several renowned accordion makers, such as Paolo Soprani, Scandalli, Pigini, and many others.
Accordions are also manufactured in China, which is known for its low-cost production and mass-market appeal. Chinese-made accordions are often lower in quality than those made in Europe, but can still be a good option for beginners or casual players. Some small production of accordions also takes place in the United States, primarily using Italian or German components and assembling them.
How many accordion manufacturers are there?
It’s difficult to say exactly how many accordion manufacturers there are, as the market is always changing and new companies are popping up all the time. However, there’s a huge selection of well-known and respected brands that make accordions from beginner-level instruments to high-end models for pros.
In addition to these bigger manufacturers, there are also lots of smaller companies and individual craftsmen who make handmade or custom accordions. These manufacturers may be on a smaller scale, but they’re known for their attention to detail and top-quality workmanship.
Are there International Competitions for the accordion?
Yes, there are many international competitions for accordionists. Some examples include the Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships, the International Accordion Competition in Castelfidardo, Italy, and the International accordion competition in Vilnius. These competitions showcase the talents of accordionists from around the world and provide a platform for them to compete and showcase their skills.
How do you mic and amplify an accordion for a live performance?
- Select the right type of microphone. The best choice is a dynamic microphone, such as a Shure SM57 or SM58, as it can handle the high sound pressure levels of the accordion.
- In case you need to amplify both sides of the accordion for a solo performance, use two microphones, one should be placed near the bass side of the accordion, and the other near the treble side.
- When you’re playing with a bassist or another instrument that takes care of the low frequencies, it’s best to avoid amplifying the left side of your accordion. Otherwise, you might end up stepping on each other’s toes. In general, it’s best to avoid playing the bass notes when there’s already a bass or piano in the mix, so it’s probably a good idea to not amplify the left side of your accordion.
- Adjust the microphones to the correct distance from the accordion. The microphones should be close enough to pick up the sound of the accordion clearly, but not so close that they pick up excessive breath noise or mechanical noises from the keys or from the buttons.
- Adjust the microphone levels and EQ settings on the mixer to achieve the desired sound.
- Use a compressor to control the dynamic range of the accordion and prevent the sound from peaking.
How do you mic and amplify an accordion for home recording?
To mic up an accordion, the first step is to choose the right microphones. It is recommended to use two microphones that can capture the full range of the instrument, such as small diaphragm condenser microphones or dynamic microphones. One microphone can be placed on the left side of the accordion, near the bass buttons, and the other on the right side, near the treble keys.
Next, it is important to position the microphones properly. The left microphone should be angled toward the bass buttons, and the right microphone should be angled toward the treble keys. This will help to capture the full range of the accordion.
The microphones should also be placed at a distance that allows for a good balance between the bass and treble sounds. This will vary depending on the type of music being played and the size of the accordion, but a good starting point is to place the microphones about 10-15 cm away from the instrument.
Once the microphones are in place, it is important to adjust the gain levels on the mixer or recording device. The accordion can be a loud instrument, so it is important to set the gain levels properly to avoid distortion.
Finally, it is recommended to use a compressor to even out the dynamic range of the accordion and add some sustain to the sound. This will help to make the accordion sound more consistent and full and will make it easier to mix in a recording or live performance.
Can I fix my own accordion?
It’s possible but it is recommended to take it to a professional repair technician if you are not experienced with repairing accordions. Attempting to fix it by yourself could potentially cause more damage and be more expensive in the long run. It is important to have a deep understanding of the mechanics and inner workings of the accordion before attempting any repairs. You will also need some special tools; without them, you may encounter some issues that cannot be resolved.
Do accordions need to be serviced regularly?
Yes, it is important to have your accordion serviced regularly in order to maintain its proper functioning and sound quality. It is recommended to have it checked at least once every two years by a professional accordion technician. It is also important to regularly clean and maintain the instrument yourself by wiping down the keys and checking for any loose parts or damage. Skipping regular maintenance can lead to problems, such as sticky keys or faulty reeds, and can ultimately lead to expensive repairs.
However, the best maintenance you can do is to keep playing the accordion. As long as you keep pumping air through the valves and moving all the mechanical parts, the accordion will be in good health. The biggest contributor to the deterioration of an accordion is not using it for long periods of time, so play it regularly.
How far can the bellows be stretched?
The bellows of an accordion can be stretched depending on the size and kind of instrument. For example, larger accordions with more folds in the bellows will be able to stretch further than smaller accordions with fewer folds. The maximum amount that the bellows can be stretched will also depend on the body features of the player, as the bellows will only stretch as far as the player’s left arm can reach. In general, however, the bellows of most accordions can be stretched to a length of around two to three feet.
Can the accordion bellows be repaired or replaced?
Yes, accordion bellows can be repaired or replaced. This is typically done by a professional accordion repair technician. The cost of repairing or replacing the bellows will depend on the extent of the damage and the type of accordion.
If your bellows have a hole and you need a quick fix, you might want to try using some duct tape, but it won’t work and your accordion will look so miserable! Don’t procrastinate and take it to a repair shop as soon as possible.
Who is the most famous accordion player?
It is difficult to say who the most famous accordion player is however, some well-known accordion players are:
- Art Van Damme
- Frank Marocco
- Richard Galliano
- Guido Deiro
- Pietro Frosini
- Dick Contino
- Myron Floren
- Charles Magnante
- Gus Viseur
- Lawrence Welk
What is the best type of accordion for playing Irish music?
Irish music can be played on a variety of different accordions, and the specific type of accordion that is best suited to this style of music can vary depending on the individual preferences of the player. However, many musicians who play Irish music use a diatonic accordion. Usually, they prefer accordions that are wet-tuned, but they also enjoy playing with registers that have all voices tuned to the same pitch (dry-tuning).