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About Accordions

Accordions are one of the oldest musical instruments that are still around today. These box-shaped wind instruments are an inevitable part of European folk music. Their unique set of notes garners fans from across the world even today. 

Even though no one knows for sure, some historians claim that the first accordions were made during the early part of the nineteenth century. But one thing that we know for sure is that this instrument has undergone quite a lot of changes over the centuries of its existence. The earliest models of accordions had one row with only ten buttons. When you compare that to the modern accordions, they have ninety-six buttons in five rows. That’s quite a lot of buttons, you might think. Well, there is a catch. Read this article to know more about accordions. Having a better understanding of them will help you make the right purchase choices.  

A brief guide to accordions 

For a major part of the history of this instrument, it remained as something that is exclusive to European country music. It became mainstream in 1997 when a Los Angeles based band called Flogging Molly emerged into the limelight. They made this instrument to add a score to their pop and jazz mixes. But that was just one type of accordion. There are in fact at least half a dozen different types of them. This article will tell you everything you need to know about these instruments. You will also find some really useful tips that you can use while you are shopping for them.  

Piano accordion 

In the western world, the most popular type of accordion is the piano accordion. The main part of this instrument is the keyboard that is similar to that of a small piano. Piano news in this keyboard has a range between 2 and 4 octaves. Learning this instrument is going to be easy for anybody who knows to play the piano or a regular keyboard. Therefore, it is not surprising that this accordion is more popular than the other types. Because of the unique tone of this instrument, it is more suitable for country and classical music.  

Chromatic button accordion 

This variation of the instrument is found more in the eastern parts of Europe. The major difference between a piano and button accordion is that the latter has button keys instead of a keyboard that looks like a piano. In some places in Europe, it is also known as bayans. The black keys and white keys on the instrument form a diagonal pattern. But some of these buttons share common notes. More specifically, the buttons in rows 1 and 2 have the same notes as the buttons in rows 4 and 5. This makes fingering the keys easier. These instruments are also available in two-button layouts that are mirror images of each other.  

Bellows 

The bellows are the flexible part of the accordions that pumps the air through the instrument. It is this air that helps the instrument produce the notes. That means the air pressure that the bellows create inside works as the energy source. In older accordions, the bellows used to be just folded reinforced cardboard. There will be leather and cloth covering on the cardboard to make it look pleasing. But these days there are more durable materials available for this purpose.  To avoid the reduction of air pressure while the musician moves the bellows, there is a button near the bass side of the instrument.  

Reeds 

The accordion is a wind instrument. As is common with other wind instruments, the part that produces the sound of the instrument is the reed. But in this case, reeds do not work as mouthpieces. Instead, there will be an array of reeds of different lengths underneath the keyboard. The musician controls the flow of air through different reads using the keys and produces different notes. When the instrument goes out of tune, the only way to tune it is to adjust the size and shape of the iron reeds by filing it to the right length. As you can imagine, tuning an accordion is not easy.

Tips on buying Accordions

How do you actually find an accordion that works the best for you? Well, finding the right one can be harder than you might think. There are a few different types of accordions. Moreover, they come in a variety of different sizes and pack some unique features. However, it gets easier to find the right type of instrument if you know what factors to consider in them. Here are a few tips that you can follow while shopping for these instruments.

  • Type – Firstly, you have to decide which type of instrument you want a piano or chromatic button. If you already know how to play the piano, then it will be easier for you to play a piano accordion. But because button accordions use fewer keys for notes and because they are closer to each other. So, if you are going to learn the instrument for the first time, a button keyboard might be easier.
  • Size – Even though these instruments come in a range of sizes, button accordions are generally smaller and lighter. But you will find some mini piano accordions that are actually smaller than a regular-sized button accordion. But the smaller the instrument gets, the less loud it is going to be.
  • Weight – The weight of the instrument is directly proportional to the size of its body. So, if you want an instrument that you can carry around and also play while you are standing, a lightweight instrument is the best option. It doesn’t matter if you have the best instrument in the world if you cannot hold it in your hands and play it.
  • Bellows – It is the bellows that produce the pressure inside the instrument that eventually comes out as different notes. The loudness of the instrument depends on the pressure. Larger bellows can create more pressure than smaller ones. So, if you will be playing in a crowd, you will need a bellows that is loud enough to cut through the noise. Luckily, the bellows itself does not contribute much to the overall weight of the instrument.

There are many other musical instruments besides accordions. These include banjos, drums, guitars, violins, keyboards, cymbals, harmonicas, cellos, chimes, horns, saxophones, tambourines, tin whistles, ukuleles, and woodblocks. You can find all of them easily by using our shopping search engine. The way you can compare the prices and features of different products and pick the best option among them. Also, don’t forget to check out other amazing products from the musical instruments category. The best brands to check out include Beltuna, Accordion Pro, Brillington, International Accordion, Piermaria, and Hohner.

Question & Answer

How much does an accordion cost?

Just like almost all other musical instruments, accordions also come in a wide range of prices. You can find a really cheap and playable accordion for prices as low as 700 dirhams. An instrument that costs you around 1500 should be good enough to start learning to play them really well. But if you want a pretty good and professional instrument that produces accurate notes, then we are talking about accordions that are going to cost you upwards of thirty thousand dirhams. Such high-quality accordions are often made in Germany or Italy.

Why are accordions expensive?

Almost nothing that goes into making an accordion is expensive. It is all common materials like wood, metal plates, rivets, plastic, and leather. Then what makes them so expensive? Well, it is the work that goes into converting all these materials into a thing that produces different musical notes accurately. This not only takes a lot of work, but it cannot be done by anybody. It is a highly skilled manual work that requires years and years of practice to perfect. Not surprisingly, skilled labour is quite expensive. This is the number one thing that makes an accordion so expensive.

Which accordion is easiest to learn?

Well, that depends on whether you have already learned any other similar instrument or not. Generally speaking, piano accordions are harder to learn than button accordions. Because buttons are smaller than keys and closer together, it is easier to process the movement of fingers into muscle memory. That being said, if you already play a keyboard or a piano, it wouldn’t take you a lot of effort to learn a piano accordion. A lot of the techniques that you use for playing a normal piano will be useful in a piano accordion as well.