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Main article: Accordion
Diatonic button accordion (German make, early 20th century).

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. The first button accordion is credited to Franz Walther in 1850.[1]

Types of Button Accordions[edit]

A wide variation in keyboard systems, tuning, action and construction of these instruments exists. The two main examples of this are the chromatic button accordion and the diatonic button accordion. The single row button accordion, also known as the Cajun accordion to scholars, is another version of the button accordion.[2]

Diatonic Button Accordion The diatonic button accordion has two or three rows of buttons, each row tuned to a certain key. They are usually seen in music genres such as Cajun and Norteño music. Also considered Bisonoric, meaning that the same button can produce two sounds. Another feature is that accidentals are not included, usually there will be a third row of buttons to represent the accidentals (which in turn makes it a chromatic diatonic).

Chromatic Button Accordion The chromatic button accordion is unisonoric meaning that the same button produces one sound. This accordion also has 3-5 rows of buttons and are not limited to one specific key as are the diatonic button accordions. This type of accordion is very popular in French music.[3]

Main Components[edit]

There are four main components of any accordion: the reeds, bellows, buttons or keys, and the switches. The accordion has a treble side, which usually encases the reeds, and a bass side, which usually has the buttons and/or keys. The buttons or keys control the pitch which is on the treble side, and there are usually buttons on the bass side that are harder to see but can be tactfully identified with something like a gem or crosshatch pattern. The bellows are considered the life of the instruments as they are the ones expanding and contracting air into the reeds, and are usually made out of paper. Lastly, the switches control the timbre or voice of the instrument.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strahl Harrington, Helmi; Kubik, Gerhard (2001). "Accordion". Grove Music Online (Oxford Music Online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  2. ^ Sexton, Rocky L. (January 1, 2001) [1st. Pub. 2000]. "Chapter 14: Zydeco Music and Race Relations in French Louisiana". In Kivisto, Peter & Rundblad, Georganne. Multiculturalism in the United States: Current Issues, Contemporary Voices. SAGE Publications. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-452-25174-5. 
  3. ^ a b "Squeezebox stories". The Arhoolie Foundation. 

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The Chromatic Button Accordion Explained

My detailed explanation of this instrument is designed for anyone who is thinking of starting to play it. Although I play a B system instrument, most of what I say in the video is applicable...

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692 news items

The Sentinel

The Sentinel
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:33:45 -0700

Sean McComiskey is son of legendary button accordion player Billy McComiskey, and has been surrounded by Irish Traditional music his entire life. He is considered to be among the most innovative young performers on the button accordion and regularly ...

Derry Journal

Derry Journal
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:45:00 -0700

Mrs Devlin said the students also came up with the words, initially in the form of a poem, before it was set to music with a range of instruments including the fiddle, guitar, button accordion, bongo drums and other percussion, xylophone and recorders ...

York News-Times

York News-Times
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:03:45 -0700

YORK – The annual meeting of the Bethesda Cemetery Association (Lockridge Township) will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at the home of Wayne and Marlus Sandall, 1120 Road H, York, Neb.

Brantford Expositor

Brantford Expositor
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:33:45 -0700

Fortunately, she still had her button accordion, which she kept playing until just a few years ago. "I played for various openings and occasions. I really liked playing Darling Nellie Gray, which is a very old song." And poor eyesight doesn't keep her ...

Mount Desert Islander

Mount Desert Islander
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:52:30 -0700

The show will open with Ken Karpowicz, from Connecticut, on button accordion. On Friday, July 3, the Acadia Halls series ends at the Jesup Library in Bar Harbor the same way it began – with a smoking-hot performance by Ward MacDonald, Cynthia ...

Caboolture News

Caboolture News
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:21:15 -0700

He played rhythm, lead and bass guitars as well as button accordion and mouth organ. In the early fifties he was a regular guest artist with Dick Eckert and The Country Cobbers at the Newtown Rodeos, where he met one of his idols - a young Chad Morgan.

San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio Express-News
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 22:11:21 -0700

Conjunto Music Hall of Famer Eva Ybarra performs at a fundraiser in her honor at Mission Trails Conjunto Express on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. One in a series of fundraisers for Ybarra who has fallen on hard times with the theft of her musical equipment ...

Coast Weekend

Coast Weekend
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:03:45 -0700

Look out for multi-instrumentalist Bob Soper, uilleann pipe player Preston Howard, Irish bouzouki wiz Richie Rosencrans, renowned button accordion player Felim Egan, and Dublin-based banjo player Graham Nolan, a few of the fine players who perform ...

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