The accordion is a “Young” instrument. Young because most other instruments were developed much longer ago. The first accordion was made in 1821 by the organ maker Buschmann.
HOW DOES THE ACCORDION WORK?
Like wind instruments and church organs, an accordion produces sound with air. Inside the accordion are blocks of wood or synthetic material which look rather like a giant harmonicas. In those blocks are metal plates containing two metal strips (reeds), which produce a tone when they are set vibrating by an air stream. By pressing a key and opening or closing the bellows, a specific reed vibrates. Each block in the accordion has a specific tone colour. A large accordion has room for more blocks than a small one, which gives it more versatility of tone. All of these different possibilities are separated by register switches.
WHICH MUSIC CAN YOU PLAY ON AN ACCORDION?
The accordion is used in all sorts of music. The modern accordion has existed since around 1900. This means that the great composers from before 1900 never composed music for it. None the less, music by composers such as Bach, Scarlatti and Telemann has been transcribed and is widely played on the accordion.
Since 1928, Music has been especially composed for the accordion. Aside from the Scandinavian composers, many Dutch composers write music for the accordion, which has greatly contributed to its popularity on the concert podium.
Of course much folk music is played on the accordion, for example Irish and Scottish folk music, but also folk music from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia. Accordion is used in the French musette, but also in much pop music. The accordion is a very versatile instrument.
HOW OLD MUST ONE BE TO LEARN TO PLAY?
Who can learn to play the accordion? The smallest size is the 48-bass. If you can hold this, you are big enough to start (often around 6 years old). As you get bigger and your playing advances, you can play on a larger instrument.
THE FIRST NOTES!
When you begin lessons, you also learn to read music. Your teacher will explain this. If you don’t already have an accordion, you will have to buy or rent one. A beginner’s model costs around 450 euros. Luckily, there are also good second-hand instruments for sale – and it is possible to rent one.
If you like, your teacher will be happy to help you find an instrument. If you (or your parents) have any more questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Muziekacademie Den Haag offers accordion lessons for all ages and at all levels, from beginner to advanced.