Accordions

If you need to streamline a lot of information into a single page, accordions can be a smart solution.

Generally speaking, accordions should be used sparingly, but in certain cases they can be useful. Here’s how to create them:

  • Open the page you want to edit, click the “Customize Display” tab in the top right, and select the “Content” link.
  • In most cases, you'll want to click the gear in the top left for “Middle column 2” and select “Add content.”
  • 
Click “Add text," fill in the title and body, and click “Save.”
  • 
Repeat this process, under the same column, for as many accordion panels as you need.
  • Once again, click the gear in the top left corner of the appropriate column.
  • Select “Style > Change > Accordion style.”
  • Click “Next.”
  • Here, you need to change a few settings:

    • Change “Set active” to -1.
    • Check "Each panel will be only as tall as its content" under "Accordion height style."
    • Check “Can close all section.”

    • Click “Save, then save again (in the lower-left corner).
 

All About Accordions

Below, you'll see an example of accordion content. We've decided to be dorky and use some Wikipedia content about that other type of accordion...

Overview

Overview

Accordions (from 19th-century German Akkordeon, from Akkord - "musical chord, concord of sounds" are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family.

The instrument is played by compressing or expanding the bellows while 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.[notes 1] 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 widely spread across the world. In some countries (for example Brazil,Colombia and Mexico) it is used in popular music (for example Forró, Sertanejo and B-Pop in Brazil), whereas in other regions (such as Europe, North America and other countries in South America) it tends to be more used for dance-pop and folk music and as well as in regional and is often used in folk music in Europe, North America and South America. Nevertheless, in Europe and North America, some popular music acts also make use of the instrument. Additionally, the accordion is also used in cajun, zydeco, jazz music and in both solo and orchestra performances of classical music. The piano accordion is the official city instrument of San Francisco, California.

The oldest name for this group of instruments is harmonika, from the Greek harmonikos, meaning harmonic, musical. Today, native versions of the name accordion are more common. These names refer to the type of accordion patented by Cyrill Demian, which concerned "automatically coupled chords on the bass side".

History

History

The earliest history of the accordion in Russia is poorly documented. Nevertheless, according to Russian researchers, the earliest known simple accordions were made in Tula, Russia by Timofey Vorontsov from 1820, and Ivan Sizov from 1830. By the late 1840s, the instrument was already very widespread; together the factories of the two masters were producing 10,000 instruments a year.

By 1866, over 50,000 instruments were being produced yearly by Tula and neighbouring villages, and by 1874 the yearly production rate was over 700,000. By the 1860s, Novgorod, Vyatka and Saratov Governorates also had significant accordion production. By the 1880s, the list included Oryol, Ryazan, Moscow, Tver, Vologda, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Simbirsk and others, and many of these places created their own varieties of the instrument.

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 origin, in Vienna.

Demian's instrument bore little resemblance to modern instruments. It only had a left hand buttonboard, with the right hand simply operating the bellows. One key feature for which Demian sought the patent was the sounding of an entire chord by depressing one key. His instrument also could sound two different chords with the same key; one for each bellows direction (a bisonoric action)…

Construction

Construction

Accordions have many configurations and types. What may be technically possible to do with one accordion could be impossible with another:

  • Some accordions are bisonoric, producing different pitches depending on the direction of bellows movement
  • Others are unisonoric and produce the same pitch in both directions. The pitch also depends on its size
  • Some use a chromatic buttonboard for the right-hand manual
  • Others use a diatonic buttonboard for the right-hand manual
  • Yet others use a piano-style musical keyboard for the right-hand manual
  • Some can play in different registers
  • Craftsmen and technicians may tune the same registers differently, "personalizing" the end result, such as an organ technician might voice a particular instrument

Uses in various music genres

Uses in various music genres

The accordion has traditionally been used to perform folk or ethnic music, popular music, and transcriptions from the operatic and light-classical music repertoire. Today the instrument is sometimes heard in contemporary pop styles, such as rock, pop-rock, etc., and occasionally even in serious classical music concerts, as well as advertisements.

Use in traditional music

Invented in 1829, its popularity spread rapidly: it has mostly been associated with the common people, and was spread by Europeans who emigrated around the world. The accordion in both button and piano forms became a favorite of folk musicians and has been integrated into traditional music styles all over the world: see the list of music styles that incorporate the accordion.

Use in popular music

The accordion appeared in popular music from the 1900s-1960s. This half century is often called the "Golden Age of the Accordion." Five players, Pietro Frosini, the two brothers Count Guido Deiro and Pietro Deiro and two Slovenian brothers Vilko Ovsenik and Slavko Avsenik, were major influences at this time.

Most Vaudeville theaters closed during the Great Depression, but accordionists during the 1930s-1950s taught and performed for radio. During the 1950s through the 1980s the accordion received significant exposure on television with performances by Myron Floren on The Lawrence Welk Show. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the accordion declined in popularity.

Use in classical music

Although best known as a folk instrument, it has grown in popularity among classical composers. The earliest surviving concert piece is Thême varié très brillant pour accordéon methode Reisner, written in 1836 by Miss Louise Reisner of Paris. Other composers, including the Russian Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Italian Umberto Giordano, and the American Charles Ives (1915), wrote works for the diatonic button accordion.

The first composer to write specifically for the chromatic accordion was Paul Hindemith. In 1922, the Austrian Alban Berg included an accordion in Wozzeck, Op. 7. Other notable composers have written for the accordion during the first half of the 20th century American composer William P. Perry featured the accordion in his orchestral suite Six Title Themes in Search of a Movie (2008). The experimental composer Howard Skempton began his musical career as an accordionist, and has written numerous solo works for it.

Unusual accordions

Unusual accordions

Various hybrid accordions have been created between instruments of different buttonboards and actions. Many remain curiosities — only a few have remained in use:

  • The Schrammel accordion, used in Viennese chamber music and klezmer, which has the treble buttonboard of a chromatic button accordion and a bisonoric bass buttonboard, similar to an expanded diatonic button accordion
  • The schwyzerörgeli or Swiss organ, which usually has a 3-row diatonic treble and 18 unisonoric bass buttons in a bass/chord arrangement — a subset of the Stradella system in reverse order like the Belgian bass – that travel parallel to the bellows motion
  • The trikitixa of the Basque people has a two-row diatonic, bisonoric treble and a 12-button diatonic unisonoric bass
  • In Scotland, the favoured diatonic accordion is the instrument known as the British Chromatic Accordion. While the right hand is bisonoric, the left hand follows the Stradella system. The elite form of this instrument is generally considered the German manufactured Shand Morino, produced by Hohner with the input of Sir Jimmy Shand
  • Pedal harmony (pl), a type of accordion used sometimes in Polish folk music, has a pair of pump organ-like bellows attached.

Manufacturing process

Manufacturing process

The best accordions are always fully hand-made, especially in the aspect of reeds; completely hand-made reeds have a far better tonal quality than even the best automatically manufactured reeds. Some accordions have been modified by individuals striving to bring a more pure sound out of low-end instruments, such as the ones improved by Yutaka Usui, a Japanese-born craftsman.

The manufacture of an accordion is only a partly automated process. In a sense, all accordions are handmade, since there is always some hand assembly of the small parts required. The general process involves making the individual parts, assembling the subsections, assembling the entire instrument, and final decorating and packaging.

Famous centres of production are the Italian cities of Stradella and Castelfidardo, with many small and medium size manufacturers especially at the latter. Castelfidardo honours the memory of Paolo Soprani who was one of the first large-scale producers. The French town of Tulle has hosted Maugein Freres since 1919, and the company is now the last complete process manufacturer of accordions in France. Large-scale production existed in Germany by Hohner and Weltmeister, but these lost volume by the end of the 20th century. Hohner now manufactures in China; the Weltmeister instruments are still handmade by HARMONA in Klingenthal, Germany.

Accordion examples

Need some inspiration? Take a look at how some other AHC units are using accordions:

Editing accordions

Once you've set up accordions with text within the Customize Display tab, it's easy to edit the content. Go to the page you want to edit > Click on the panel title (maroon link) > Mouse over and click the gear in the upper right > Edit and save!

On a side note, here's a lovely photo of the late, great Brazilian accordionist Dominguinhos...

Dominguinhos