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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]

The accordion is considered a free reed instrument. It is and was considered ideal for the 'one-man' band often seen with travelors leaving Europe to the New World due to its portable size.

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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120 news items

The Detroit News

The Detroit News
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:30:00 -0700

In addition to Labro's Latin-influenced performance and the Virtuosi's culturally diverse repertoire, Chicago multi-instrumentalist John Williams will represent the Celtic side of the accordion family with performances on the concertina and button ...
The Seattle Times (blog)
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:56:15 -0700

Jimenez, a Grammy award winner and National Heritage Fellow who popularized the button accordion beyond its traditional cultural borders, is still going strong at 75. The electric bass- and traps-driven Los Texamaniacs, also Grammy winners, feature ...
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:56:15 -0700

He has been a solo performer since 1978, playing the hammered dulcimer, banjo, button accordion and harmonica. He was a featured performer for the grand opening of the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. He was a founding member of the ...
Broadway World
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Irish actor Sheelagh Cullen is the Narrator/Storyteller. Musicians include Preston Howard on uilleann pipes and flutes, Bella Issakova on fiddle, Felim Egan on button accordion, Jackie Moran on bodhrán and Zac Leger on guitar, bouzouki, flute and bodhrán.

Southeast Missourian

Southeast Missourian
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:03:45 -0700

Music of pipes, flutes, fiddles, button accordion, bodhrans and drums of Irish origins are just the beginning of this Irish night. Concertgoers will journey to Bethlehem with "Little Drummer Boy," celebrate the tradition of butter making, chase the ...
Antrim Times
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:45:00 -0700

... decided to open the doors and make it possible. “We will have an accordion tutor with over 30 years' experience on hand to guide the students through the rudiments of the piano accordion, the five row button accordion and the two row diatonic ...
Contra Costa Times
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:26:15 -0700

Scandinavian songs performed to the Celtic harp, button accordion, Hardanger cello, Swedish nyckelharpas, cittra and other instruments will lighten the night at the Sons of Norway lodge in mid-November. The music trio Nykken will perform a program of ...


Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:25:55 -0700

Christian “Junior” Owens is a skilled teacher and dance musician who has also travelled extensively to pursue the true sound of his instruments the Anglo concertina and button accordion. Multi-instrumentalist Owen Marshall has a unique sense of harmony ...

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