Accordion in the United States
- Ron Emoff
A family of portable, bellows fueled, free-reed instruments. The right hand typically has access to a series of piano-like keys or circular buttons that activate melodic tones by allowing air to flow over reeds and set them in oscillation. The left hand has access to a separate set of buttons that regulate bass, chord, and in some cases independent tone sonorities. The term “accordion” may apply to instruments that are either diatonically or chromatically scaled. More specifically, a melodeon is a smaller, diatonic button accordion. Another type, known as a concertina, is made in both diatonic and chromatic tunings and is sometimes distinguished by its polygonal sound box. Most accordions have left-hand side air buttons that, when depressed, allow the bellows to be moved rapidly without sounding a reed tone, or provide more bellows when a performer reaches either the bellows’ conventional limits of extension (draw out) or compression (push in)....