2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Musical Instruments
An accordion is a musical instrument of the handheld bellows-driven free reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox.
The accordion is played by compressing and expanding the bellows, while pressing buttons or keys to allow air to flow across reeds, thereby producing tones and chords.
Modern accordions consist of a body in two parts, each generally rectangular in shape, separated by a bellows. On each part of the body is a keyboard containing buttons, levers or piano-style keys. When pressed, the buttons travel in a direction perpendicular to the motion of the bellows (towards the performer). Most, but not all modern accordions also have buttons capable of producing entire chords.
The accordion's basic form was invented in Berlin in 1822 by Friedrich Buschmann. The accordion is one of several European inventions of the early 19th century that used free reeds driven by a bellows; notable among them were:
- The Aeoline, by German Bernhard Eschenbach (and his cousin, Caspar Schlimbach), 1810. It was a piano with an added aeoline register. Similar instruments were the Aeoline Harmonika and Physharmonika. Aeoline and Aura were first without bellows or keyboard.
- The Hand Physhamonika, by Anton Haeckl, a hand type produced 1818 and patented in 1821.
- The flutina, by Pichenot Jeune, ca. 1831.
- The concertina, patented in two forms (perhaps independently): one by Carl Friedrich Uhlig, 1834 and the other by Sir Charles Wheatstone, of which examples were built after 1829, but no patent taken out until 1844.
An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian in Vienna. Demian's instrument bore little resemblance to modern instruments; it only had a left hand keyboard, with the right hand simply operating the bellows. One key feature for which Demian sought the patent was the sounding of an entire chord by depressing one key. His instrument also could sound two different chords with the same key: one for each bellows direction (press, draw); this is called a bisonoric action.
At that time in Vienna, mouth harmonicas with "Kanzellen" (chambers) had already been available for many years, along with bigger instruments driven by hand bellows. The diatonic key arrangement was also already in use on mouth-blown instruments. Demian's patent thus covered an accompanying instrument: an accordion played with the left hand, opposite to the way that contemporary chromatic hand harmonicas were played, small and light enough to for travellers to take with them and use to accompany singing. The patent also described instruments with both bass and treble sections, although Demian preferred the bass-only instrument owing to its cost and weight advantages.
The musician Adolph Müller described a great variety of instruments in his 1833 "Schule für Accordion". At the time, Vienna and London had a close musical relationship, with musicians often performing in both cities in the same year, so it is possible that Wheatstone was aware of this type of instrument and may have used them to put his key-arrangement ideas into practice.
Jeune's flutina resembles Wheatstone's concertina in internal construction and tone colour, but it appears to complement Demian's accordion functionally. The flutina is a one-sided bisonoric melody-only instrument whose keys are operated with the right hand while the bellows is operated with the left. When the two instruments are combined, the result is quite similar to diatonic button accordions still manufactured today.
Further innovations followed and continue to the present. Various keyboard systems have been developed, as well as voicings (the combination of multiple tones at different octaves), with mechanisms to switch between different voices during performance, and different methods of internal construction to improve tone, stability and durability.
Approximately 2.5 million Americans play the accordion.
The manufacture of an accordion is not a completely automated process. In a sense, all accordions could be called handmade, since there is always some hand assembly of the small parts required. The general process involves making the individual parts, assembling the subsections, assembling the entire instrument, and final decorating and packaging. However, the best accordions are always hand-made, especially in the aspect of reeds; completely hand-made reeds have a far better tonal quality than even the best automatically-manufactured reeds. Some accordions have been modified by individuals striving to bring a more pure sound out of low-end instruments, such as the ones improved by Yutaka Usui, a Japanese-born craftsman.
In Colombia, the instrument was first introduced by European immigrants and merchants mainly of German origin through the Antilles Islands in the early 20th Century, where local troubadours from the Caribbean Region used it as an instrument to accompany their sung messages. This form of music developed into the musical genre called Vallenato, representative of Colombia.
The accordion is an important instrument in the Dominican Republic because it is an instrument used in merengue the national dance of this country. The accordion is also used in perico ripiao the typical merengue.
The instrument was popularized in the United States by Count Guido Deiro who was the first piano accordionist to perform in Vaudeville.
Accordion is the main instrument in the musette style of ballroom music in France (a style now largely out of fashion) and in the 1950s chanson singing, which has a revival in the form of neo-realism.
Mexican Norteño music also relies heavily on the accordion. The instrument was introduced into Northern Mexico by German immigrants during the 19th century. Mexican bands like Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte, Los Tiranos Del Norte, Los Cachorros De Juan Villarreal, Los Huracanes Del Norte, Los Invasores De Nuevo Leon, and Los Cadetes De Linares have made very successful musical careers out of their lively riffs. Chicken scratch (also known as waila music) is a kind of dance music developed by the Tohono O'odham people. The genre is derived from Mexican Norteño and evolved out of acoustic fiddle bands in southern Arizona, in the Sonoran desert.
The accordion is an important instrument in Dutch folk music, and often the only melodious instrument when clog dancing. It is also significant in Scandinavian folk music, with notable performers including Finnish accordionist Maria Kalaniemi. Scandinavian-influenced British folk music has, in recent years, also featured accordionists such as Karen Tweed.
Accordion is also a central instrument in Zydeco, Cajun music and in Polka, heard in Europe and North and South America.
The accordion gained notoriety in the 1990s when Jaleel White portrayed an accordion-playing nerdy neighbour (Steve Urkel) on Family Matters. In the English-speaking pop-music world, it is often seen as the epitome of an "uncool" instrument parents force their children to learn in lieu of a different, "cooler" instrument such as the guitar; however some popular rock music acts, including "Weird Al" Yankovic, Flogging Molly, They Might Be Giants, The Decemberists, The Arcade Fire, Devotchka, Calexico, The Tiger Lillies, and Gogol Bordello incorporate the accordion in their distinctive sound.
In northeastern Brazil, the accordion, along with the triangle and the zabumba, is the main instrument used in forró, a traditional style usually played by trios. This genre features accordionists such as Sivuca, Dominguinhos and the "King of Baião", Luiz Gonzaga.
It is also extremely widely used in Eastern Europe, in Gypsy music played by lăutari, in many varieties of folk music and in Klezmer.
While the accordion is a versatile instrument and is widely played throughout the world, it is not universally respected, largely because of an incorrect assumption that it is only used for polka music. A representative jibe is one from Gary Larson, author of The Far Side, who drew a cartoon with the punchline "Welcome to heaven, here's your harp. / Welcome to hell, here's your accordion."
The accordion (Hangeul: 아코디언) is an integral aspect of " Trot" music (Hangeul: 트로트) from North Korea and South Korea. Trot music was extremely popular in the first half of the twentieth century and it is still enjoyed by many older Koreans to this day. The accordion is often the only the instrument present in a song routine. Trot music and the accordion have gained a very widespread revival in recent years in the wake of the popular singer, Jang Yoon Jeong (Hangeul: 장윤정)and her super-hit song "Oemana!" (Hangeul: 어마나!).
On button accordions the melody-side keyboard consists of a series of buttons (rather than piano-style keys.) There exists a wide variation in keyboard systems, tuning, action and construction of these instruments.
Diatonic button accordions have a melody-side keyboard that is limited to the notes of diatonic scales in a small number of keys (sometimes only one). The bass side usually contains the principal chords of the instrument's key and the root notes of those chords.
Almost all diatonic button accordions (e.g.: melodeon) are bisonoric, meaning each button produces two notes: one when the bellows is compressed, another while it is expanded; a few instruments (e.g.: garmon') are unisonoric, with each button producing the same note regardless of bellows direction; still others have a combination of the two types of action: see Hybrids below.
A chromatic button accordion is a type of button accordion where the melody-side keyboard consists of uniform rows of buttons arranged so that the pitch increases chromatically along diagonals. The bass-side keyboard is usually the Stradella system, one of the various free-bass systems, or a converter system. Included among chromatic button accordions is the Russian bayan. Sometimes an instrument of this class is simply called a chromatic accordion, although other types, including the piano accordion, are fully chromatic as well. There can be 3 to 5 rows of treble buttons. In a 5 row chromatic, two additional rows repeat the first 2 rows to facilitate options in fingering. Chromatic button accordions are preferred by many classical music performers, since the treble keyboard with diagonally arranged buttons allows a greater range, and often far greater speed, than a piano keyboard configuration. There exists an accordion with 6 rows in the treble side. It is commonly played in Serbia and throughout former Yugoslavia. The rows are based on the B system. The natives refer to it as "dugmetara".
The Janko keyboard is used for the treble side of some accordions.
Various cultures have made their own versions of the accordion, adapted to suit their own music. Russia alone has several, including the bayan, Garmon', Livenka, and Saratovskaya Garmonika.
Various hybrids have been created between instruments of different keyboards and actions. Many remain curiosities, only a few have remained in use. Some notable examples are:
- The Schrammel accordion, used in Viennese chamber music and Klezmer, which has the treble keyboard of a chromatic button accordion and a bisonoric bass keyboard, similar to an expanded diatonic button accordion.
- The schwyzerörgeli or Swiss organ, which has a (usually) 3-row diatonic treble and 18 unisonoric bass buttons in a bass/chord arrangement (actually a subset of the Stradella system), that travel parallel to the bellows motion.
- The trikitixa of the Basque people has a 2-row diatonic, bisonoric treble and a 12-button diatonic unisonoric bass.
- In Scotland, the favoured diatonic accordion is the instrument known as the British Chromatic Accordion. While the right hand is bisonoric, the left hand follows the Stradella system. The elite form of this instrument is generally considered to be the German manufactured "Shand Morino", produced by Hohner with the input of the late Sir Jimmy Shand.
Stradella bass system
The Stradella Bass System uses rows of buttons arranged in a circle of fifths; this places the principal major chords of a key in three adjacent rows. Each row contains, in order: A major third (the "counter-bass" note), the root note, the major chord, the minor chord, the (dominant) seventh chord, and the diminished seventh chord.
All chord buttons sound 3 note chords. Early attempts to create 4 note seventh and diminished chords were hampered by mechanical difficulties. Consequently, modern Stradella systems drop the 5th from these two chords. This has the side benefit of making the preformed chords more versatile. For example, an augmented chord can be created by using the dominant seventh button and adding an augmented 5th from the piano keyboard or from one of the bass or counterbass buttons.
Depending on the price, size or origin of the instrument, some rows may be missing completely or in different positions. In most Russian layouts the diminished seventh chord row is moved by one button, so that the C diminished seventh chord is where the F diminished seventh chord would be in a standard Stradella layout; this is done in order to achieve a better reachability with the forefinger.
|12-bass||6 - Root notes: B♭ to A||Root note, major|
|24-bass||8 - Root notes: E♭ to E||Root note, major, minor|
|32-bass||8 - Root notes: E♭ to E||Root note, major, minor, 7th|
|40-bass||8 - Root notes: E♭ to E||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th|
|48-bass||8 - Root notes: E♭ to E||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th, diminished|
|12 - Root notes: D♭ to F♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor|
|60-bass||12 - Root notes: D♭ to F♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th|
|72-bass||12 - Root notes: D♭ to F♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th, diminished|
|80-bass||16 - Root notes: C♭ to G♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th|
|96-bass||16 - Root notes: C♭ to G♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th, diminished|
|120-bass||20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th, diminished|
|140-bass||20 - Root notes: Low A to A♯||Root note, counter-bass note, major, minor, 7th, diminished, augmented (or extra counter-bass note)|
|160-bass||20 - Root notes: Low A to A#||Root note, three counter-bass notes, major, minor, 7th, diminished|
Free bass systems
Free bass systems allow the player to construct their own chords as well as to play bass melodies in several octaves. There are various free bass systems in use; most consist of a rotated version or mirror image of one of the melody layouts used in chromatic button accordions. One notable exception is the Titano line of converter or "quint" bass, which repeats the first two bass rows of the Stradella system one and two octaves higher moving outward from the bellows. In the United States, Julio Giulietti was the chief manufacturer and promoter of the free bass accordion that he called a "bassetti" accordion which was mass produced from the late 1950s onward. Giulietti accordions with free bass capability often had a "transformer" switch to go from standard pre-set chords to individual free bass notes.
Skillful use of the free bass system enabled the performance of classical piano music, rather than music arranged specifically for the accordion's standard chorded capability. Beginning in the 1960s, competitive performance on the accordion of classical piano compositions, by the great masters of music, occurred. Although never mainstreamed in the larger musical scene, this convergence with traditional classical music propelled young accordionists to an ultimate involvement with classical music heretofore not experienced.
Within the United States, several noted instrumentalists demonstrated the unique orchestral capabilities of the free bass accordion while performing at the nation's premier concert venues and encouraged contemporary composers to write for the instrument. Included among the leading orchestral artists was John Serry, Sr. A noted concert accordionist, soloist, composer and arranger, Mr. Serry performed extensively in both symphonic orchestras and jazz ensembles as well as on live radio and television broadcasts. His refined poetic artistry gained respect for the free bass accordion as a serious concert instrument among prominent classical musicians and conductors of the early twentieth century.
Recently Guy Klucevsek has built a reputation on combining folk styles with classical forms and makes extensive use of the free bass. New York's William Schimmel, who composes and performs in many genres, is a leading exponent of the "quint" style free bass system and uses it extensively in tandem with the standard stradella system.
In Europe today, free bass accordion performance has reached a very high level, especially in Finland, Denmark, Russia, Italy and Germany. It isn't uncommon for music conservatories in Europe to consider the free bass accordion an acceptable instrument for serious study.
Many modern and avant-garde composers (such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Mauricio Kagel, and Magnus Lindberg,) have written for the free bass accordion and the instrument is becoming more frequently integrated into new music chamber and improvisation groups.
- Roland Virtual Accordion
Players of the accordion include:
- Julieta Venegas
- Polka stars Lawrence Welk, Angelo DiPippo, Myron Floren and Frankie Yankovic
- Song parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic
- Venezuelan accordionist Roberto Ruscitti
- French accordionist and composer Yann Tiersen
- Slovenian accordionist and composer Slavko Avsenik
- Austrian Keyboardist with Cannonball Adderley, Weather Report and The Zawinul Syndicate - Joe Zawinul
- Classical & Concert accordionists Friedrich Lips, Viatcheslav Semjonov, Yuri Shishkin, Mika Vayrynen, John Serry, Sr., Carmen Carrozza, Henry Doktorski, Stanley Darrow, Joanna Arnold-Darrow.
- Young Classical accordionist Sergej Osokin, Alexander Selivanov, Basha Slavinska, Josif Puritz, Rade Mijatovic, Dragan Vasiljevic
- Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket
- Rock musicians Garth Hudson of The Band, Jason Webley, Bruce Hornsby, Rob Hyman of The Hooters, Joseph Byrd, John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, Dennis DeYoung of Styx, Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo, Neil Cicierega of Lemon Demon, Billy Joel, Franz Nicolay of The World/Inferno Friendship Society, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Gabby La La, Michel Martin host of new NPR show Rough Cuts, Zach Condon of Beirut, Patrick Wolf, Rick Wright of Pink Floyd who used one on live versions of "Outside the Wall" with Pink Floyd in 1980 and 1981, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum , Keith Emerson, John Evan of Jethro Tull (band), Sheryl Crow, Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, Sweet Jonny V (Arabella) of Analog Arts Ensemble; Jeremy Barnes of Neutral Milk Hotel fame plays accordion with many Eastern European melodies in his band, A Hawk and a Hacksaw; and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (aka Kría Brekkan), formerly of the Icelandic band múm, Jenny Connlee of The Decemberists.
- Zydeco musicians Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural of Buckwheat Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, John R. Capozello of jazz combo "The Blue Notes" and he played in US Air Force Band, Beau Jocques, Flogging Molly, Kevin Hearn, Jason Webley, Boozoo Chavis, Tom Tierney of Red Sails, Jesse Rifkin and Natalie Mirsky of The Wailing Wall, and also Yuri Lemeshev of the band Gogol Bordello. Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists.
- Argentine tango composer, Ástor Piazzolla, played the bandoneón, a cousin to the accordion.
- Basque musician and composer Kepa Junkera plays the trikitixa, a two-row diatonic accordion.
- Ivan Lenyo plays piano accordion for the ska-punk-reggae-ethnic Ukrainian band, Haydamaky.
- Cajun musician Steve Riley of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys
- Tejano musician Flaco Jimenez of the Texas Tornados.
- James Fearnley of the Pogues should not be overlooked as an agent in the resurgence of popularity of the accordion during the 1980s.
- Kimmo Pohjonen, experimental and groundbreaking Finnish accordionist.
- Lisko Mäkinen and Antti Laurila incorporate accordions in metal music in the Finnish band Turisas.
- Juho Kauppinen of the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani
- Those Darn Accordions is an accordion-based rock and polka band.
- Matthew Thiessen, a member of Relient K, plays the accordion in their song Maybe Its Maybeline.
- John Lennon played the accordion when he was young. Accordion Beatles
- Jaleel White's (fictional) character Steve Urkel of Family Matters played the accordion.
- Drew Carey from The Drew Carey Show uses the accordion on the show.
- Members Régine Chassagne and Richard Reed Parry of the Montreal-based indie rock band Arcade Fire play the accordion in both live shows and on albums.
- Suzie Gagnon plays the accordion with Cirque du Soleil in the touring show Corteo, and previously (for 10 years) with their touring show Alegria.
- Martyn Jacques of The Tiger Lillies plays accordion in many of the London trio's pieces.
- Joshua Camp plays accordion in the group, One Ring Zero.
- Corn Mo plays accordion and keyboards. He plays with numerous bands including .357 Lover
- Mary Faber, occasional pirate/cross-dresser from the Bloody Jack (novel) by Louis A. Meyer, plays concertina, even though historically they hadn't been invented yet. An example of the "Pirate Accordion Anachronism" that has been perpetuated in popular culture and imagery since at least Rudyard Kipling's 1897 Captains Courageous, (set in 1751). Kipling squeezes in an accordion eighty years before it was invented. Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean's theme-park ride had a pirate playing a concertina, and the film repeated this, again putting post-industrial age accordions back into the hands of sixteenth century sea-farers.
Some musicians have a love-hate relationship with the accordion. Famous anti-accordion comments include: "A gentleman is a man who can play the piano accordion... and doesn't", and "An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of the assassin" (From Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary).
- Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes
- American Accordionists' Association (AAA)
- Accordion Teacher's Guild (ATG)