accordion


accordion
/euh kawr"dee euhn/, n. Music.
1. Also called piano accordion. a portable wind instrument having a large bellows for forcing air through small metal reeds, a keyboard for the right hand, and buttons for sounding single bass notes or chords for the left hand.
2. a similar instrument having single-note buttons instead of a keyboard.
adj.
3. having a fold or folds like the bellows of an accordion: accordion roof; accordion panel.
v.i.
4. (of a door, roof, or other covering) to open by folding back or pressing together in the manner of an accordion: The roof of the car accordions to let in sunlight and fresh air.
5. to fold, crush together, or collapse in the manner of an accordion.
v.t.
6. to demolish by crushing together lengthwise: The impact accordioned the car beneath the truck.
[1831; < G, now sp. Akkordion, Akkordeon name under which the instrument was patented in Vienna in 1829; prob. < F accord(er) or It accord(are) to harmonize (see ACCORD) + F -ion -ION, as in G Orchestrion ORCHESTRION]

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Portable musical instrument that uses a hand-pumped bellows and two keyboards to sound free reeds, small metal tongues that vibrate when air flows past them.

The keyboards on either side of the bellows effectively resemble individual reed organs. The right-hand keyboard plays the treble line or lines. Most of the keys on the left-hand (bass) keyboard sound three-note chords; "free-bass" accordions permit the playing of single-note lines. A prototype accordion, using buttons rather than keys, was patented in Berlin in 1822 by Friedrich Buschmann (also inventor of the harmonica). The instrument gained wide popularity in dance bands and as a folk instrument. See also concertina.

Italian accordion, 19th century

Richard Saunders
Scope Associates, Inc.

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French  accordéon , German  Akkordeon  or  Handharmonika , Italian  armonica a manticino  
 free-reed portable musical instrument, consisting of a treble casing with external piano-style keys or buttons and a bass casing (usually with buttons) attached to opposite sides of a hand-operated bellows.

      The advent of the accordion is the subject of debate among researchers. Many credit C. Friedrich L. Buschmann, whose Handäoline was patented in Berlin in 1822, as the inventor of the accordion, while others give the distinction to Cyril Demian of Vienna, who patented his Accordion in 1829, thus coining the name. A modification of the Handäoline, Demian's invention comprised a small manual bellows and five keys, although, as Demian noted in a description of the instrument, extra keys could be incorporated into the design. Numerous variations of the device soon followed.

      Within the treble and bass casings of an accordion are the free reeds, small metal tongues arranged in rows alongside pallets (valves) that are cut into metal frames. When air flows around a reed from one side, it vibrates above its frame; airflow in the opposite direction does not cause vibration. Wind is admitted to the reeds selectively through pallets controlled by a keyboard or set of finger buttons. Each pallet admits wind to a pair of reeds, one of which is mounted to sound on the press of the bellows, the other, on the draw.

      Some accordions, including the earliest ones, are “single-action,” in which the paired reeds sound adjacent notes of the diatonic (seven-note) scale, so that a button will give, for instance, G on the press and A on the draw. With a single-action accordion, 10 buttons suffice for a range of more than two octaves. For the left hand there are typically two keys, or basses, one providing a bass note, the other a major chord. The single action was early developed, chiefly in Austria and Switzerland, by adding a second row of treble buttons giving the F scale (the first-row scale being C). Various models add rows of buttons for the playing of semitones and additional bass notes and chords.

      In “double-action” accordions, the two reeds of each pair are tuned to the same note, thus making each treble or bass note available from the same key or button with both directions of bellows movement. Among these instruments is the piano accordion, with a piano-style keyboard for the right hand. Its invention in the mid-19th century is credited either to the manufacturer Busson or to M. Bouton, both of France.

      Couplers, or “registers,” in some double-action instruments activate extra sets of reeds, one pitched an octave below the main set and another off-tuned from the main set to give a tremulant through “beating” (sound-wave interference). Other registers may include a high-octave set of reeds and a second tremulant. Accordions often encompass ranges of seven or eight octaves.

      The left-hand provision may also be extended, with more than 120 basses actuated by six or seven rows of buttons. Most of the rows in traditional “fixed-bass,” or Stradella, models give three-note chords—major and minor triads and dominant and diminished sevenths—while “free-bass” accordions overcome melodic restrictions by providing extra buttons or a converter switch for bass melodies and counterpoint. Many accordions include up to five registers for the basses, allowing each bass note to sound over as many as five octaves and each chord to sound in three.

      Accordions are played as both concert and folk instruments. A variant of both the accordion and the concertina is the bandonion, a single- or double-action instrument with square shape and finger buttons, invented by Heinrich Band of Krefeld, Ger., in the mid-1840s. Along with the piano accordion, it is a leading solo instrument in Argentine tango orchestras. For precursors of the free-reed instruments, see sheng; for other types, see concertina; harmonica; harmonium.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • accordion — [ə kôr′dē ən] n. [Ger akkordion < akkord, harmony (prob. < It accordare, to be in tune: see ACCORD) + ion as in ORCHESTRION] a musical instrument with keys, metal reeds, and a bellows: it is played by alternately pulling out and pressing… …   English World dictionary

  • Accordion — Ac*cor di*on, n. [See {Accord}.] (Mus.) A small, portable, keyed wind instrument, whose tones are generated by play of the wind upon free metallic reeds. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Accordion — (Hand od. Ziehharmonica), 1829 von Damian in Wien erfundenes Instrument in der Form eines 4eckigen Kastens mit Blasebalg u. Claviatur, von 5, 10, 20 u. mehr Tasten, das beim Spielen in beiden Händen gehalten wird. Durch Ausziehen u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Accordion — Accordion, die Handharmonika, von dem Wiener Damian 1829 erfunden; in ihrer einfachsten Gestalt hörte man sie einige Zeit lang in allen Straßen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • accordion — (n.) 1831, from Ger. Akkordion, from Akkord musical chord, concord of sounds, be in tune (Cf. It. accordare to attune an instrument ); ultimately from same source as English ACCORD (Cf. accord) (v.), with suffix on analogy of clarion, etc.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • accordion — [n] musical instrument concertina, groanbox*, melodeon, squeezebox*, stomach Steinway*, windbox*; concepts 463,499 …   New thesaurus

  • accordion — ► NOUN ▪ a musical instrument played by stretching and squeezing with the hands to work a bellows, the melody and chords being sounded by buttons or keys. DERIVATIVES accordionist noun. ORIGIN from Italian accordare to tune …   English terms dictionary

  • Accordion — Infobox Instrument name=Accordion names=Accordeon (Danish, for free bass models), Akkordeon (German), Accordéon (French), Bajan (Russian), Fisarmonica (Italian), Harmonijka (Polish), Harmonika (Danish (for standard bass modelsDyremose, Jeanette… …   Wikipedia

  • Accordion — Vorlage:Infobox Musikinstrument/Wartung/Parameter Tonumfang fehltVorlage:Infobox Musikinstrument/Wartung/Parameter Klangbeispiel fehlt Akkordeon engl.: Accordion, ital.: Fisarmonica …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • accordion — /əˈkɔdiən / (say uh kawdeeuhn) noun 1. a portable wind instrument with bellows and button like keys sounded by means of metallic reeds. 2. a piano accordion. –adjective 3. having folds like the bellows of an accordion: accordion pleats; accordion …   Australian English dictionary


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