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musical instrument consisting of a rectangular bellows expanded and contracted between the hands. Buttons or keys operated by the player open valves, allowing air to enter or to escape. The air sets in motion free reeds, frequently made of metal. The length, density, shape, and elasticity of the reeds determine the pitch. The first accordions were made in 1822 by Friedrich Buschmann in Berlin. Bouton added a keyboard 30 years later in Paris, thus producing a piano accordion. The accordion is frequently used in folk music. See concertinaconcertina
, musical instrument whose tone is produced by free reeds. It was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829. It is a chromatic instrument similar to the accordion, but its bellows are attached to hexagonal blocks having handles and buttons (finger pistons), and it is
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(1) The general name, first used in 1829, for reed instruments with prepared ready chords for the left hand. When one button is pressed, a whole chord sounds.

(2) The name widely used in Russia to refer to the baian with a piano-type keyboard for the right hand.


Das Akkordeon. Leipzig, 1964.



a musical instrument with free-beating metal reeds which are vibrated by wind pumped by bellows.

The German master K. F. L. Buschmann invented the first manual accordion in 1822. In the 1830’s and 1840’s the production of accordions arose in Russia, in Tula. Russian masters developed varieties of two basic types of accordion. In the first type, every button emits a different sound depending on whether the bellows are compressed or expanded. Examples of the first type are the Tula, the Saratov, the cherepashka, the Bologoe, the Beloborodov, the Kasimov, the St. Petersburg (a forerunner of the baian), and the mariiskaia marla-karmon’. They have the usual sound distribution in the diatonic scale: C1, E1, G1, C2, E2, G2, C3 when the bellows are expanded, and D1, F1, A1, B1, D2, F2, A2 when they are compressed. In the second type of accordion the expanding and compressing of the bellows does not change the pitch of sounds. Some accordions of this type are the viatskaia, the livenka, the rusianka, the eletskaia roial’naia (a forerunner of the accordeon), the Siberia, and the khromka (chromatic accordion), as well as national accordions, such as the Tatar, the kubos, the pshine, the komuz and the selective Azerbaijan. Besides the accordions listed above, accordions with one or two rows of keys as well as Viennese and German ones have always been available in Russia. Accordions are known as the most common musical folk instrument.


Novosel’skii, A. Kniga o garmonike. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Blagodatov, G. Russkaia garmonika. Leningrad, 1960.
Mirek, A. Spravochnik po garmonikam. [Moscow] 1968.



1. a portable box-shaped instrument of the reed organ family, consisting of metallic reeds that are made to vibrate by air from a set of bellows controlled by the player's hands. Notes are produced by means of studlike keys
2. short for piano accordion
References in periodicals archive ?
Alf, 94, met his old friend's children - who never really knew their dad - and held the old accordion which had brought them so much joy during the war.
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On accordion will be Edward Jay, a core member of Kneehigh Theatre Company which recently toured the USA with Brief Encounter.
The Definitive Collection of the Music of Paddy O'Brien 1922-1991 is a new book compiled and written by the renowned fiddle player Eileen O'Brien, daughter of accordion player and composer Paddy O'Brien, on whom the book is based.
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To the trill of accordion and oompah-pah, the words of the "processional hymn" jumble forth in a brisk polka tempo: