The accordion is a special instrument that music fans have loved for many years.
It can play beautiful songs and is very versatile.
People all over the world enjoy playing it.
You must practice different techniques and understand music theory to learn how to play the accordion.
But there’s something important that many people forget: you need to hold the accordion correctly.
So, let’s learn how to hold an accordion properly.
Here’s the knowledge you need to hold the accordion like a pro, whether a beginner or not.
How Can You Understand the Accordion?
The accordion belongs to the free-reed family of musical instruments.
Its exact origins are somewhat debated, but the modern version of the accordion traces back to the early 19th century.
Many other instruments before it, like the Chinese sheng, the German concertina, and the Italian organetto, helped shape it.
Many people believe Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann invented the accordion.
He was from Germany.
Christian made his design official by getting a patent for it in 1822.
But it’s important to know that similar instruments already existed in other places before Buschmann’s time.
In China and Russia, instruments already had similar reeds, and people similarly played them.
So, Buschmann is often credited with inventing the accordion.
Although, people already played similar instruments in different parts of the world.
Components of an accordion
The bellows are the flexible, pleated part of the accordion that you can use to produce sound.
It consists of many folds that can expand and contract.
When the player pushes or pulls the bellows, the air gets forced through the reeds, creating sound.
Treble and bass sides
The accordion has two main sections: the treble side and the bass side.
The treble side is typically played with the right hand.
Hence, it contains the keyboard and the treble reeds.
The bass side gets played with the left hand and consists of buttons or keys that produce low-pitched notes.
The treble side of the accordion features a keyboard, like that of a piano or an organ.
The keyboard consists of many rows of buttons or piano keys.
When the player presses a key, it opens a valve that allows air to pass through the reeds and produce sound.
Different types of accordions
There are several different types of accordions.
Each comes with its unique characteristics and playing styles.
Here are a few examples:
This is the most common accordion type and is widely used in various musical genres.
It has a piano-style keyboard on the treble side and buttons on the bass side.
The piano accordion allows musicians to play both melody and accompaniment simultaneously.
The button accordion is also known as a diatonic accordion.
This accordion features buttons on both the treble and bass sides.
It is often used in traditional folk music.
Thus, it has a more limited range of notes than the piano accordion.
The chromatic accordion has a button keyboard on the treble side.
This keyboard allows you to play all twelve notes of the Western chromatic scale.
It is commonly used in classical music and jazz.
Although not technically an accordion, the concertina is a closely related instrument.
It has a hexagonal shape and features buttons on both sides.
Concertinas come in various types.
They include the English concertina and the Anglo concertina.
Each comes with its own button layout and playing style.
There are different types of accordions in the world.
They come in various styles and have special features and ways to play them.
Some of the best accordion players have mastered these diverse instruments, showcasing their exceptional talent and skill.
These are just a few examples, but many more kinds of accordions exist in different parts of the world.
How Can You Choose the Right Accordion?
Choosing the right accordion can be exciting and challenging, especially if you are a beginner.
There are many things to consider when finding the perfect accordion that suits your needs and what you like.
This article will explain the important things to consider when picking an accordion.
It will focus on important factors for beginners and people who have played before.
Size and Weight
Choosing an accordion that fits your physical abilities and music goals is essential if you’re a beginner.
One thing to think about is how big and heavy the accordion is.
Accordions come in different sizes: small, light, and larger and heavier.
Starting with a smaller and lighter accordion can be more comfortable for beginners.
This type of accordion is easier to handle and play.
Another thing to think about is how many high and low buttons there are.
Accordions usually have different button arrangements.
They include choices ranging from 12 to 120 buttons.
Beginners usually start with fewer buttons, like a 12, 24, or 32-button accordion.
These types of accordions have a simpler layout, which makes it easier to learn and play.
The choice between musette or dry tuning
Additionally, the choice between musette or dry tuning is important.
Musette tuning adds a slight tremolo effect to the sound.
It does so while dry tuning produces a cleaner and more focused tone.
Beginners should experiment with both tunings.
This helps them to determine their preference and the style of music they wish to play.
Regardless of experience level, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.
An accordion teacher or an experienced accordionist can provide valuable guidance and insights.
They can figure out how good you are at playing the accordion, what kind of music you want to play, and what your body can do.
Based on that, they can suggest the best accordion brands for you.
They can also help you try out different accordions and choose one that makes the sound you want and works well for you.
What is the Proper Posture and Sitting Position?
Playing the accordion requires proper posture and sitting position for several reasons.
This is for a few reasons: to feel comfortable, to play well, and to take care of yourself.
Here’s why correct posture is essential and how to position the accordion on your body:
Keeping your body in the right position is important because it helps your muscles, joints, and ligaments stay relaxed.
This reduces the chance of feeling tired and getting hurt later on.
Improves breathing and control
When you sit or stand up straight, it helps your body move freely.
This is essential because it allows your diaphragm to work properly.
When your diaphragm can move easily, you can control your breath better.
Thus, you can make music with more variation in volume.
Good posture provides a stable foundation for playing the accordion.
It makes it easier for you to execute complex finger movements on the instrument.
Good posture gives you a strong base, so you can play the accordion well and get the notes right.
Positioning the accordion on your body
Position the accordion at chest height, with the straps adjusted accordingly.
This allows for comfortable access to the instrument’s treble and bass sides.
Balanced weight distribution
Ensure that the weight of the accordion is evenly distributed on your body.
Adjust the shoulder straps to avoid excessive strain on one side of your body.
The angle of the instrument
Tilt the accordion slightly forward to maintain a natural alignment of your arms, wrists, and hands.
Avoid excessive leaning or slouching.
Sitting position and comfort
Sit on a chair that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor and your knees to form a 90-degree angle.
This helps maintain stability and balance while playing.
Choose a chair with adequate back support to maintain a straight spine.
Alternatively, consider using a backrest or cushion to support your lower back.
Keep your elbows relaxed and slightly away from your body.
Avoid raising your shoulders or hunching over the instrument.
Remember to sit up straight and maintain good posture while playing the accordion.
This will make your playing experience better and help prevent strain or injury.
It will also let you enjoy playing the accordion to the fullest.
How Can You Hold the Accordion?
When you hold the accordion, you must use different techniques to ensure it stays balanced and stable.
There are a few important things to remember when holding an accordion:
Balancing the accordion
The accordion is a heavy instrument.
It’s important to balance its weight correctly to avoid strain or discomfort.
The player rests the lower edge on their left thigh when holding the accordion.
This helps support the accordion using their leg.
It helps distribute the weight evenly and reduces strain on the arms and shoulders.
Placing the accordion on the chest
The main body of the accordion rests against the chest of the player.
The player’s left forearm typically supports the bass side of the instrument, while the right forearm supports the treble side.
It would help if you held the accordion close to the body to keep it steady and under control.
Utilizing the chin and shoulder straps
The accordion usually has two kinds of straps: chin and shoulder.
The chin strap goes around the player’s neck and keeps the accordion steady.
The shoulder straps are like a backpack and go over the player’s shoulders.
They give extra support.
You can make the straps longer or shorter to fit comfortably and help the player stay balanced.
Maintaining a relaxed grip
When you hold the accordion, it’s important to hold it gently.
Your hands should be light but firm on the accordion’s keyboard and buttons.
If you feel tense in your hands and fingers, it can make it harder to play well.
By keeping your grip relaxed, you can move your fingers more easily.
You can also play it with better control and smoothness.
How Do You Place Your Hands on the Keyboard?
When playing musical instruments like a piano or keyboard, it’s essential to place your hands correctly.
You need to position your hands and fingers properly on the keys.
Let’s look at how to position both the right and left hands and use the keyboard’s bass buttons.
Rest your right thumb on the space bar or the middle C key (C4).
This serves as the reference point for the rest of your fingers.
Keep your remaining four fingers (index, middle, ring, and pinky) slightly curved.
Rest them on the keys next to your thumb.
Put your index finger on the D key (D4), the middle finger on the E key (E4), the ring finger on the F key (F4), and the pinky finger on the G key (G4).
Rest your left thumb on the space bar or the C key one octave below middle C (C3).
This also serves as the reference point for the other fingers.
Just like the right hand, you should bend the other four fingers of the left hand.
You should then place them on the keys next to the thumb on the left side.
Put the index finger on the B key (B2), the middle finger on the A key (A2), the ring finger on the G key (G2), and the pinky finger on the F key (F2).
If you play a keyboard with bass buttons, they are usually on the left side.
Bass buttons make low sounds, and you use your left hand to play them.
Your left thumb plays the bass buttons, and your other fingers can help hold your hand or keep it steady on the keyboard.
As we discussed before, keep your left-hand fingers curved when you use the bass buttons.
Move your thumb between the bass buttons to play your desired bass notes.
At the same time, keep your other fingers positioned over the keys for more support.
Using your hands correctly when playing a musical instrument is important.
How you place your hands may be different depending on the instrument or how you like it.
But the main idea is to have a curved hand shape and keep your hands relaxed and comfortable.
This is true for most keyboard instruments.
You need to practice often and position your hands correctly.
This will help you play more accurately and faster and improve your overall technique.
The Final Words
You must learn how to sit and position your hands and fingers.
By doing so, you can play better and feel more comfortable.
Holding the accordion correctly helps you have more control and expressiveness when you play.
Practicing these techniques often is essential to become a skilled accordion player.
With dedication and patience, you can enjoy playing the accordion.
You can also create beautiful music with it.
My introduction to accordion music was by way of Zydeco and Tex-Mex music. Once I got my hands on my very own squeezebox, I was hooked. Let me tell you, playing the accordion is every bit as fun as listening to it. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the awesome world of accordions and all its amazing versions!