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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. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Button_accordion — Please support Wikipedia.
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163228 videos foundNext > 

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...

Jacqueline's Waltz (Tom Anderson) - Button Accordion

This is a lovely waltz entitled 'Jacqueline's Waltz' by Tom Anderson (not the Will Starr version which I am hoping to upload soon). I hope you enjoy my inter...

♫ ♪ ♫ Irish Traditional Music ♪ ♫ ♪ ~ Damien Mullane on the Button Accordion

Box player Damien Mullane plays two reels. The first reel is called "Clais An Adhmid" by Finbarr Dwyer The second tune is by Billy McComiskey and it is calle...



Whiskey in the jar on button accordion

Aussie boy Hector gives his version of the Irish tune 'Whiskey in the jar'. It is played on the Hohner button accordion.

SERGEI TELESHEV J. S. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor on Accordion

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Walter Ostanek Button Accordion

The diatonic button accordion has been a part of Walter Ostanek's life since the age of 9 years. Here Walter demonstrates the unique qualities of this instru...

How To Play The Chromatic Button Accordion - Lesson One

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Newfounlandland Music/Button accordion

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163228 videos foundNext > 

642 news items

NUVO Newsweekly

NUVO Newsweekly
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:44:07 -0800

I played the keyboard accordion for about a year, but I really wanted a button accordion because that's the kind that all the accordion players in Mexican regional music and norteño music played. I was like "they're playing the buttons. I want to play ...
Nelson Star
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 09:26:15 -0800

Nelson's Rebecca Bracewell travelled down to the island in the summer with a button accordion and a bit of hope and returned from the Victoria Accordion Festival with first prize trophies in two major categories. It was another step in her ...
Daily Press
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 06:48:45 -0800

For two decades, Danú's virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion and bouzouki, and vocalists (Irish and English), have performed around the globe and recorded nine critically acclaimed albums. Their live DVD, One Night Stand ...


Fri, 30 Jan 2015 06:26:15 -0800

Adds Pertulla: "Previously the KORPIKLAANI albums were played with a piano-accordion and now I play with a traditional button-accordion which was more widely used in Finland anyways. In the arrangements you can hear more tonal harmonies and folky ...

The Daily Advertiser

The Daily Advertiser
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:37:03 -0800

In Tejano music circles, conjunto is the pairing of a twelve-string guitar called a bajo sexto with a button-accordion. Baca explained during the concert that Germans brought the accordion to Texas and when the Mexican 12-string guitar, bajo sexto, was ...
Buenos Aires Herald
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:26:15 -0800

When he brought home the first accordion he purchased for me, a humble German diatonic button accordion, I recall approaching it like any seven-years-old kid would do: with a huge spark of curiosity, just trying to figure out its sounds without any ...

The Northfield News

The Northfield News
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:03:45 -0800

Janine Redmond, on button accordion, maintains a rich traditional style that is becoming ever so rare. Eamonn Moloney on bodhrán and Andy Meaney on guitar, effortlessly blend the music together with a sensitive yet driving accompaniment section.


Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:03:45 -0800

Zöllner plays a bayan, a chromatic button accordion developed in Russia during the early 20th century. It is substantively different from the more familiar accordions. The compact layout of the right-hand manual buttons on her Italian-made Pigini bayan ...

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