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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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128 news items

The Daily Advertiser

The Daily Advertiser
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:37:30 -0700

With the 10-button accordion that many zydeco and Cajun musicians play, the thumb on the right hand goes in a strap behind the keyboard. It helps the player hold the instrument while the other four fingers play the keys. Broussard can play with his ...
Wicked Local Orleans
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:31:25 -0700

You're known as 'The Master of the Five-Row Button Accordion.' Can you describe the instrument? It's a chromatic accordion, which means the buttons go up diagonally in semi-tones. It's an Italian/French type accordion. My father brought home a melodeon ...

Wicked Local Sharon

Wicked Local Sharon
Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:00:00 -0700

The band's members include Phil Edmonds (Irish whistle and button accordion), Cathy Clasper-Torch (fiddle, keyboard, ex-hu, vocals), Mike Fischman (guitar, mandolin bouzouki, banjo vocals), Peter Breen (bass,vocals) and Matt Niebels (percussionist).

Yankton Daily Press

Yankton Daily Press
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:45:00 -0700

Vocals, trombone, trumpets, baritone, lead, rhythm, and bass guitars, concertinas, button accordion, keyboards and percussion are their tools of the trade. Band members include Scott Sparlin, Randy Domeier, Allan “Smiley” Wiltscheck, Anton “Tony” Berg, ...

York News-Times

York News-Times
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:52:30 -0700

The button accordion players will be on stage until 12 noon. Dinner may be purchased from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Your choice of roast pork loin or Czech wieners will be served with dumplings, sauerkraut and all the trimmings. The opening ceremony at noon ...


Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:11:42 -0700

Baca, who grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and learned to play bajo sexto and button accordion from his father, Max Baca Sr., a “chicken scratch” pioneer, admires the work that the Taller does. The nonprofit organization, at 411 Barrera St. in ...
Ridgewood Times Newsweekly
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:41:15 -0700

Friday, Oct. 10, Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch in Concert, 7:30 p.m. The words “Button Accordion” and “Jackie Daly” are synonymous in the world of Irish traditional music. Fiddle player Matt Cranitch has performed at concerts and festivals, and on ...
Bluff Country Newspaper Group
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:07:30 -0700

Hart lives in Minnesota with her husband, Irish button accordion player Paddy O'Brien. They make frequent visits to Ireland, going to music sessions, and carrying out essential research in bogs and cow pastures, castles and pubs. Both events on ...

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