Accordions and accordion music in the United States

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Accordions in America

How did accordions get to the US?

The presence of accordions in the Americas dates to the early 1800s when musicians from the French-speaking communities in New Orleans adopted the instrument brought over by the French settlers. (This was just 20 years after the invention of the accordion in Europe).

Due to its simplicity, ease of use, and transport, accordions quickly spread across all fifty states and Hawaii. This musical instrument was embraced by the settlers of various ethnic backgrounds, and it not only served as the folk instrument of the old-world tradition but also as the musical instrument of the inclusive character of the new world.

Cajun music and cajun accordions

Cajun accordions are the first diatonic, single-row squeeze boxes that were imported from Europe to the United States in the early 1800s. Cajun music originated in the Southwest Louisiana region with the highest number of French and German settlers. African American musicians embraced the accordion and quickly mastered the instrument. Accordions became an integral part of bands across the South.

“The diatonic button accordion has been played by musicians the world over, but it has attained uniquely prominent status in Louisiana Cajun culture. Over the decades, this one particular type of accordion has served as a tabula rasa onto which have been projected changing views of Cajun music and the status of Cajun ethnic identity.

You Can Play Cajun Accordion

Designed for beginners

This book and CD set were designed for beginners by Larry Miller & Mike Miller. You learn to play at first by numbers using push-pull button patterns. Learn to play a few tunes with the numbered sheets the easy way and then later move on to playing by ear on your own. One does not need to know how to read music in order to follow this simplified approach.

When we talk about the Cajun accordion, what do we mean? We could be referring to an instrument made by a Cajun accordion maker, of which there are several, and how these instruments differ from other accordions.” (Quoted from The Accordion in the Americas” book by Helena Simonett and University of Illinois Press). German button accordions became very popular in this music genre especially when they were played by well-known masters like Nathan Abshire and Joe Falcon.

Tejano Music genre and the accordion

Tejano Music genre is popular folk music peculiar to U.S regions inhabited by the Spanish-speaking population. Tex-Mex, Norteno, and Vallenato melodies would be unimaginable without an accordion. Just like Cajun music, Tejano bands utilize diatonic accordions, Tejano or Tex-Mex accordions are almost always one to five-row diatonic, bisonoric button accordions. Button accordions became an integral part of Tejano music that was derived from Eastern European, German, and even Scottish Polkas and Waltzes.

Hohner Corona III GCF, Pearl Red

Tejano Accordion

  • Comes with 31 treble buttons, 12 bass buttons, and a Celluloid Fingerboard.
  • Double strap brackets with adjustable bass strap.
  • Gig bag and straps included.
  • Incredible Value GENUINE HOHNER ACCORDION
  • Warranty is for parts and labor to repair any manufacturer defects. it lasts for 90 days after the purchase date

The popularity of Piano Accordions in the US

Although some of the first accordions that were brought to the American continent were French diatonic squeezeboxes and English concertinas, Piano accordions quickly became a dominant version of the free-reed instrument in the US for several reasons. The number of central and Eastern European settlers after the first and second world Wars greatly influenced the cultivation of the Piano accordions in American folklore.

Hohner Amica Forte IV 96 Piano Accordion

  • 37 Piano Keys
  • chromatic
  • 12 registers
  • Tone colors:11
  • Standard basses: 96, quiet keys.
  • 3 Standard bass registers
  • 44 x 18.5 cm / 17.3” x 7.3”
  • Very lightweight 9.1 kg. Genuine HONHER quality.

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