The accordion is a harmonic wind musical instrument, consisting of a bellows, a tuning fork and two wood harmonic boxes. At both ends the bellows is closed by wooden boxes, the wood is the same used to manufacture guitars or pianos. The right hand part of the accordion also has a “fingerboard” with an arrangement of keys that can be like those of a piano (piano accordion) or round keys (also called buttons) (chromatic accordion) depending on the type of accordion; the part of the left hand has buttons on both types of accordion to play the bass and accompaniment chords, also by operating a lever the bass system is changed, passing to the BASSETI system, which places the first 4 rows from outside with chromatic notes and by octaves, while the last two are left as basses and basses without octaves.


Accordion performance

These wooden boxes contain, in turn, other smaller wooden boxes in which the “whistles” are found. These are metal tabs that vibrate with the air and generate the sound of the accordion. For each wooden box they play a certain number of keys or keys, to select the sounds to emit. These wooden boxes contain conduits through which the air passes to the musical boxes directly through the whistles that emit the different musical notes. In its normal state all these ducts are kept blocked by a wooden lid with the force of the springs corresponding to each key. These springs are held in a transverse rod. The keys communicate respectively with “levers” that move the wooden tops. When pressing a key, the wooden lid opens for the desired time and then it will return to its initial position by the action of the springs. To sound a musical note, simply pass the air by opening or closing the accordion while pressing one or several keys. Depending on the type of accordion, the sound emitted may or may not vary when opening and closing the accordion while pressing the same key. When interpreting the accordion, the side of the right hand corresponds to the scales (the sounds are acute), and the part of the left hand to the bass and chords.


There are several types of accordion. To play the chromatic accordion of buttons and of the keys are identical in the left hand, but for the right hand they vary enormously. The chromatic accordion or Bayan, differs from the accordion of keys to the naked eye because in the part of the right hand the chromatic accordion has buttons, while the accordion of keys has a keyboard “piano.” A chromatic accordion of buttons is distinguished because its buttons are white (for natural notes) and black (for altered notes) and are arranged in rows slightly inclined downwards, of three keys in purely chromatic order, that is, starting from do, this column has do, do sharp (black button) and re; the next row (the one immediately below the previous one) of three keys has the sharp re (black button), mi and fa, and so on. Generally these accordions have more than three columns: the most normal thing is that they have 5 columns of buttons, the two upper ones being replicas of the first two. This serves to increase the possibilities of fingering when playing, as well as allowing to transport tone a melody without having to change the fingering performed.

In the case of the Bayan, the left handbook has 2 manuals, unlike the conventional chromatic accordions, which only have one called stradella (bass and chord system). The second manual has access by means of a lever or bar near the left keypad that when activated are provided with 58 notes arranged in chromatics, with which the interpreter can make melody and depose a wider range of notes. The “whistles” or accordion tabs wear out and can tune, dirty or split. To tune them, the musical boxes are extracted and the “unsettled whistles” are searched. Then the “whistles” are filed until the right grade is achieved. The filing is done by the tip to sharpen or raise the tone or by the back of the rivet to lower it; for this also a metal body can be added on the tongue, so that it lowers in frequency. This craft requires a lot of practice and experience, as well as a very good musical ear. The latter is due to the fact that the accordion does not use electronic add-ons in its tuning, since the way in which the whistles vibrate (in music: color of the note) makes it difficult to read in electronic devices. Even reading the frequency of the note with electronic devices, the brightness of the note alone that graduates to taste may not be consistent with others. This technique is also used in diatonic accordions to “transport”; that is, change their tonalities. In Colombia, for example, where diatonic accordions are mostly used, we find an empirical profession called accordion technician, which is dedicated to these procedures as well as maintenance of the accordion in general.

Nowadays acoordions are still popular even in younger generations, there are several schools where you can teach little kids how to play it.