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accordion, 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 concertina.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Morris, who only started to play fiddle 20 years ago, is also descended from the pioneering accordionist Amedee Ardoin, who was noted for playing with white fiddler Dennis McGee in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Supporting players, accompanied by regular pianist William McRobert and drummers Rob Dorrance, Ian Riddet, Graeme Woods and Billy Porter, were - on mouthie Doug Radley and accordionists Norman Swainston, Deryn Waitt, Robin Waitt, Bill McMinn, Gavin Foster, Kenny Jackson, Billy Telfer, Willie Duff, John Douglas, George Carlyle, Barbara Fisher and John Milne, who was playing at the club for the first time.
Technically, it's a collaboration with Finnish pianist Timo Alakotila, but the line-up also includes fellow accordionist Maria Kalaniemi and jazz/Latin trumpeter Shanti Paul Jayasinha, who concentrates on the flugelhorn throughout.
The guests at the next meeting of Islesteps Accordion and Fiddle Club will be Tiree accordionist Ian Smith and his trio.
Innes is a professional accordionist and missed last week's clash with Lochaber because he was supporting Capercaillie in Lorient, France.
ACCORDIONIST Steve Roxton boosted the Stainton Village Hall repairs fund with a concert on his new Italian instrument, organised on behalf of the Cleveland Accordion Workshop by member Tom Baines.
Joining him are accordionist Andy Cutting and double bass player Tim Harris, who more usually contributes to Steeleye Span's rhythm section.
The eight-man band, which included a trumpeter, saxophonist, accordionist and even a washboard player, were note-perfect throughout.
The band consists of ace accordionist Owen Condon and Tony Bird on guitar.
HUNDREDS of mourners packed a small parish church yesterday for the funeral of world famous accordionist Sir Jimmy Shand.
Charms Of The Night Sky are something else again, with violinist Mark Feldman, accordionist Guy Klucevsek and bassist Greg Cohen painting extremely evocative chamber textures, Douglas timing his speckled spurts carefully, rationing solos in favour of an ensemble glow.
Mr Caskie, who will compere the afternoon, hopes both dancers and listeners will support the event and enjoy the music provided by accordionist William and drummer Ian.