Accordions come in two general design types that affect not just how you'll play the notes but also move the bellows to access those pitches: a button or a piano accordion.
How Do Accordions Work?
Notes don't directly come from pressing a key or button. Instead, how a player compresses or widens the bellows - the pleated space in between the boxes - affects the loudness and timbres to generate a tone and vary dynamics. As a player moves the bellows back and forth, they also press the buttons or keys to create notes.
As the bellows control the airflow, the wooden boxes on each side of an accordion house reed chambers and grills, or vents. Between the motion of the bellows and the keys used, the reeds vibrate to generate a pitch, as air circulates through the boxes and passes through the grills.
Within this general setup, accordion players will learn to add a melody with a bassline. These two parts come together through the key arrangement: the melody is played on the right side, and the left is for any harmony.
If the accordion is bisonoric - a design common with button formats - the direction of the bellows influences the pitch. A unisonic accordion - used for a piano accordion and also chromatic button models - eliminates this, allowing the same note to be used in both directions.
About the Piano Accordion
Accordions with a piano-style keyboard on the right-hand side first emerged in France in the 1850s, manufactured by Busson and M. Bouton at the time. Initially, the music world regarded the arrangement as a novelty, as piano accordions used different pitches and button systems. This attitude, however, changed with the introduction of the Stradella bass system. By the 1920s, Vaudeville performances helped grow the popularity of keyboard accordions.
Today, piano accordions utilize multiple reed banks to access a wide range of pitches, with instruments having as many as six treble reeds and eight bass reeds. Playability wise, instruments begin with 20 treble and 12 bass keys and have as many as 45 treble keys. Because of the universal note system, the usage of piano accordions outpaces their diatonic button counterparts.
Browse Piano Accordions at Alamo Music Center
Find quality piano accordions from Hohner, including the Anacleto collection, now at Alamo Music Center. Browse models for beginners to advanced and professional, and in addition to extended warranties, take advantage of multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month no-interest options at times.