Everything You Wanted to Know about Button Accordion Notes

When we talk about music, we naturally speak of notes. They are integral in music. When it comes to a specific type of accordion, you need to have a decent understanding of button accordion notes.

What are the notes?

Musical notes are the most basic elements of music. They are symbols signifying various sounds.

They are written on diagrams together with other music notations.

The word note has several meanings.

It can refer collectively to amusical events that have a similar pitch. It also means a single music event. Additionally, it can apply to the time sound is played.


The notations are written in different forms.

  • The English, Dutch, and Irish use A, B, G, C, D, E, F in their notation.
  • The Indians have Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni.
  • Europeans and Germans have A, C, F, E, F, G, G.

Kinds of Button Accordions and Button Accordion Notes

Chromatic and diatonic are the two main kinds are of accordions.


The diatonic button accordion is suited for folk music.

The diatonic button accordion has bisonorous reeds that cause the range, basses, and pitch to have a different tone if you draw and squeeze the bellows.

Chromatic button accordions

It has 5, 3, or 6 button rows on the right hand.

It has two sets of buttons on each side of the instrument.

The chromatic button type usually uses the Stradella system or free-bass system.


The word melodeon is derived from the word melody.

It is an uncommon term in America. They generally call them accordions.

Similarly, in Australia and England, they call accordion instruments melodeons, regardless of the rows of buttons.

The Irish call those with two and more rows accordion and call those with one-row melodeon.

Bayan accordion

Famous in European countries, these instruments use keyboards.


It became a favorite in South America. A close relative of accordions it is suited in playing tango music.

Diatonic Double row button accordion

It contains double rows that are tune 1/4 apart.

  • In France, the scale they use is the G/C.
  • In Germany, they use is the C/F.
  • In England, they use is the D/G.

3-Row Melodeons

With a single row button accordions, it has a wider range of registers.

It has the same style as the harmonica and is played for Cajun music.

As the name suggests, it has a single row of treble keyboard buttons on its right-hand side.

What are the buttons on the accordion for?

Piano Accordion

Piano accordions, in contrast, is dissimilar to button types in layots.

The piano accordion has:

  • keys on the treble (right hand) section
  • a row of buttons on the left-hand.

A piano accordion has limited range. The button type can play tunes until the 7th chord.

Having a fixed bass system and stradella treble keys, this musical instrument uses a 3-chord tone.

With an extra row of treble buttons, the free bass piano accordion system is flexible. It allows the keys to change bass melodies.

Left-hand Chromatic button accordion

Set out in the circle of fifths, the left-hand side of the chromatic button accordion uses the stradella system.

The keys of the chromatic button accordion are placed in rows diagonally.

This is the layout of the Chromatic button keyboard.

  • 7th chords (diminished)
  • 7th chords (dominant)
  • min chords
  • Maj chord
  • note
  • Maj third above or min sixth below

Right-hand Chromatic button accordion

The chromatic and diatonic have opposite styles of layout.

It has chromatic diagonal rows of buttons. There are at least three and at most five rows of chromatic buttons that can play successively.

What is unique is some of them have extra rows on the left. They are duplicates of the first two rows. They aid easier fingering for complicated tunes.

The musician does not need to adjust his fingering to reach the first row. Without these additional rows, the fingering of the keyboard buttons becomes difficult.

Is the button better than the piano accordion?

While they are both accordions, each has a different range, appearances, layout, and even history. Read on to learn more.

Basic differences

Where are they widely used?

The button accordion is mostly used in Mexico, Canada, Argentina, England, and Austria.

In France, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, and the United States, the piano accordion is widely used.

What is their difference in weight and size?

The piano types are heavy and bulky while button types are lighter and more compact.

What is their difference in appearance?

The button accordion contains:

  • treble buttons on the right
  • bass buttons on the left

Piano accordions have :

  • a keyboard in the right or what is called the treble side
  • buttons on the left

What is their difference in bass systems?

Button accordions use free bass (Stradella) system.

The piano accordion can use:

  • free bass system
  • the French 3-3 system

What are their differences in octaves?

Button accordions can reach a minimum of four octaves while the piano has three octaves at the least.

What are their differences in range?

The button has sixty-four tones while the pia can only reach a range of forty-five.


Button is perfect for Cajun, Balkan, Russian, and other ethnic music.

The piano accordion is suitable for jazz, American folk, polka, and Classical tunes.

Although, modern music can also use this instrument.

Fingering or position

Button accordion notes are harder to play. The fingering is complicated when reaching for the buttons.

In a piano accordion, fingering is easier, and the hand is relaxed. A musician will only have to move his hands over one row or two rows.

Major Differences

Which has an easier fingering pattern?

In a button accordion, a musician can play two chords using the same pattern.

In the piano accordion, a musician has to use different fingering patterns for each note. It’s hard if he has to jump from one point to another.


The button accordion has a higher number of tones which is sixty-four.

The piano accordion can only have forty-five.

Which allows better transition?

It’s easy to transition from one range to another when playing the button accordion. The reason is it has duplicate button rows on one end.

For the piano accordion, it is a bit harder.

Which has a better key style?

Both have great key styles, but the button accordion has fake keys. They can’t be played and are placed only for aesthetic purposes.

The piano accordion has an all functional key.

Which is simpler?

Button accordions have a uniform treble button layout. The buttons are arranged to facilitate fingering.

Piano accordions are also simple.

Which is easier to play?

The button is easier to play, and so the best accordion for beginners is usually the button. The design and layout lower the risk of playing the wrong notes.

Playing the piano requires precision. It is easy to press the wrong key, especially if you are playing tones that are far apart.


Musical notes are markings that appear as symbols on diagrams. Those on traditional button accordions are the same as piano accordions. But each model has a different range.

There are two types of button accordions that can differ in layout. These are the chromatic button or diatonic type. The latter has keys with different sound if you pull or push the bellow.

The row of side keyboard of the piano accordion creates tones and melody. Its buttons switches the range. The same is true when musicians play buttons types.

While both are ideal for traditional music, they are slowly incorporated into modern music.

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