Saturday, April 11, 2015


As promised, more about the accordion than you will ever need  want to know.

When I was young I started playing the bass guitar in R&B, blues, soul bands. Led me down a path of sex-drugs-rock and roll, wasted a number of years there. I shoulda took up the accordion instead.

Betcha Tommy scores with the kind of chicks you take home to momma.

The Accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. It is played by compressing or expanding a bellows whilst pressing buttons or keys, causing valves, called pallets, to open, which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel, called reeds that vibrate to produce sound inside the body. The instrument is sometimes considered a one-man-band as it needs no accompanying instrument. The performer normally plays the melody on buttons or keys on the right-hand manual, and the accompaniment, consisting of bass and pre-set chord buttons, on the left-hand manual.
The accordion is often used in folk music in Europe, North America and South America. It is commonly associated with busking. Some popular music acts also make use of the instrument. Additionally, the accordion is sometimes used in both solo and orchestra performances of classical music.

The accordion's basic form is believed to have been invented in Berlin in 1822 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, although one instrument has been recently discovered that appears to have been built in 1816 or earlier by Friedrich Lohner of Nürnberg in the German State of Bavaria.
The accordion is one of several European inventions of the early 19th century that used free reeds driven by a bellows. An instrument called accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, of Armenian descent, in Vienna .
The piano accordion was played in Germany, then all over Europe. It was invented in 1822, but it started to actually be played in 1826, and built its reputation from there.
By 1831 at least the accordion had appeared in Britain. The instrument was noted in The Times of that year as one new to British audiences and not favorably reviewed, but nevertheless it soon became popular. It had also become popular with New Yorkers by at least the mid-1840s.

Use in traditional music

After the invention of the accordion in 1829, its popularity spread throughout the world, in no small measure due to the polka craze. "Once the polka became a craze in Paris and London during the spring of 1844, it diffused rapidly to the rest of the world. . . . In March 1844, polka-mania took Paris: common people, servants, workers and, one assumes, anyone else who wasn't too stuffy were dancing the polka in the streets of the capital and soon in Bordeaux and other French cities as well. A week or so later it took London by storm. And from these two great centers of fashion, empire, and influence, the polka diffused rapidly upward into the rest of French and English society and outward to the rest of the world."
Except for a brief moment in time during the 1830s and 1840s when the accordion was heard by French aristocracy during Salon music concerts, the instrument has always been associated with the common people. The accordion was spread across the globe by the waves of Europeans who emigrated to various parts of the world in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
The mid-19th-century accordion became a favorite of folk musicians for several reasons: "The new instrument's popularity [among the common masses] was a result of its unique qualities. Firstly, it was much louder than all the older folk instruments put together. It could easily be heard in even the wildest pub above the stomping of dancing feet. It was also the prototype of a 'one man band' with bass and chords on the left-hand side and buttons for the melody on the right, and you could still sing along and beat the rhythm with your feet. The instrument needed no tuning and was always ready to play, but the most ingenious thing about the early one-row squeezebox was that you couldn't play it really badly. Even if you lost the melody it still sounded fine."


Use in popular music

The accordion was heard frequently in popular music beginning around 1910 until about 1960. This half century is often called the "Golden Age of the Accordion." However, with the advent of rock 'n roll and the generation gap in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the accordion declined in popularity, as the younger generation considered it "square"—epitomizing the light-hearted music of their parents and grandparents.
The accordion has been a primary instrument in Mexican style music. Since the late 19th century, Tejano music has emerged as one of the leading genres for the instrument in America. Central to the evolution of early Tejano music was the blend of traditional forms such as the Corrido and Mariachi, and Continental European styles, such as Polka, introduced by German and Czech settlers in the late 19th century. In particular, the accordion was adopted by Tejano folk musicians at the turn of the 20th century, and it became a popular instrument for amateur musicians in Texas and Northern Mexico. Small bands known as orquestas, featuring amateur musicians, became a staple at community dances.

Use in classical music
Although the accordion is best known primarily as a folk instrument, it has been used with increasing frequency by classical composers.
The Russian composer, Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, included four optional single-action diatonic accordions in his Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C Major, op. 53 (1883), simply to add a little color to the third movement: Scherzo burlesque.
In the United States several composers contributed to this effort including: John Serry, Sr. whose works featured both the traditional chromatic accordion as well as the free bass accordion.
Notable composers who wrote for the accordion during the first half of the 20th century were:
  • Virgil Thomson: Four Saints in Three Acts (1928)
  • Serge Prokofiev: Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, op. 74 (1936)
  • Paul Dessau: Mother Courage (1936) and Die Verurteilung des Lukullus (1949)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No. 2 (1938)
  • Jean Françaix: Apocalypse According to St. John (1939)
  • Darius Milhaud: Prelude and Postlude for "Lidoire" (1946)
  • Henry Brant: All Soul's Carnival (1949)
  • George Antheil—of Ballet mécanique fame: Accordion Dance for accordion and orchestra (1951)
  • John Serry, Sr.: American Rhapsody (1955), to name a few.

Use by losers

Libertarians, ne'er-do-wells, mooks.

Use by winners

Spillers of Soup.

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