June is an exciting month; it’s the month in which summer officially begins, schools out, vacations are being enjoyed, It’s LGBT Pride Month and we celebrate Father’s Day. But did you know it is also National Accordion Awareness Month? In honor of this, we’ve put together a few facts about accordions for your reading pleasure.
1. Accordions Go Way Back
The first accordion was patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, an Armenian man residing in Vienna who made his living crafting organs and pianos. His accordion was basically a box with metal plates and bellows fixed to it. The player’s left hand would operate the buttons while the right hand operated the bellows. Demian’s accordion became a quick favorite among traveling musicians who appreciated its portability.
2. The World Fell in Love
The accordion initially became popular in German-speaking regions, and from there, it caught on like wildfire. Over the next couple of years, the dulcet tones of the accordion could be heard throughout all of Europe and eventually spread to Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Columbia, and Canada.
3. Their Fame Lives On
In 1990, the United States alone was home to more than 75,000 people who could be classified as accordionists. According to the Petosa Accordion Company, the age of the average customer is changing. A decade ago, 90 percent of customers were over the age of 30. Today, 60 percent of customers are under the age of 30. On top of that, accordions are selling almost as quickly as they’re made. Clearly, good music never goes out of style.
4. And Speaking of How They’re Made
While some parts of the accordion are made by machinery, the accordions themselves are still handmade by craftsmen.
5. There Are Many Different Types
Accordions come in a wide variety of keynote systems and styles. Among the most popular types include the classic diatonic accordions, piano accordions, concertinas, and chromatic and bayan accordions. Not only are there an abundance of manual systems within each classification, but there are also many custom-made accordions.
6. It’s Not Just Polka
If your accordion knowledge is limited to Weird Al and Steve Urkel, then you may be surprised to know that the accordion has been used for far more than just polka. Not surprisingly, it was the instrument of choice in the folk music of the early to mid-1800s. In the first half of the 20th century, it enjoyed its day in the sun once more and was used in the popular music of the day. Today, it’s used in light-classical music, rock, pop-rock, folk and ethnic music, and more.
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