Button accordion

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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 of a piano accordion. 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 diatonic button accordion generally has two or three rows of buttons, each row tuned to a certain key. (The Cajun accordion or single-row button accordion is also a diatonic accordion.)[2]They are usually seen in music genres such as Irish, British, Cajun, and Norteño music. Most diatonic accordions are bisonoric, meaning that a button produces two different notes by pushing or pulling the bellows. Accidentals are either not included or provided on additional "helper" buttons.

The chromatic button accordion is unisonoric, meaning that each button produces one note, whether pushing or pulling the bellows. This accordion also has 3-5 rows of buttons, but unlike the diatonic button accordion, it can be freely played in any key, usually with identical fingering patterns. 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 reeds on both the treble and bass sides,The buttons or keys allow air into the reeds to make a sound.The bellows are considered the life of the instrument, as they expand and contract they draw 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.