Your Complete Guide to the Diatonic Button Accordion

What is a diatonic button accordion?

We probably already know and are familiar with what diatonic means even though we don’t call them in that name. Diatonic in music is a fancy word that means belonging to a certain key. For example, we are in the key of C major, the C major scale has these notes, C D E F G A B C, these are pitches. Now, each of these pitches is diatonic in the key of C. So, Diatonic means it belongs to that key; A part of the family of notes that make up that key.

The diatonic button accordion, on the other hand, is a squeezebox musical instrument. It has one or more rows or simply one-row to multiple rows of buttons and bass reeds, that produce notes of various melodies with a single touch. This belongs to a family of instruments that operate on brass reeds.

The basic idea is that when you go in you get the one set of notes and when you out you get another set of notes. The reeds for the diatonic accordion are bisonoric, meaning pitches are different when you pull out and push in the bellows’ direction. There is a rhythmic effect that is fundamental to the push-pull action of the instrument. It is a kind of vibrating sound from reeds that makes that different tone for each one-button. It has five different keys or five different playing positions, so you can play a song or all the notes in five tuned locations, and it will all sound different in each location.

The Diatonic button accordion with a one-row button is the simplest one of this type. There is a two-row and 3-row accordion, in which each row button has its key. Often used and played would be the two-row diatonic button accordion. It is two one-row buttons put together. These one-row and two-row instruments are usually found in Europe. On another level, a fancier, professional one-row accordion is commonly used or found in Cajun cultures in South Louisiana. The use of these instruments in the 20th to the 21st centuries in this part of the world is very evident. Irish music as traditional music somehow popularized these instruments even more. That is why widespread use of these musical instruments has come about. The whole premise is that when you have a bass or a chord, it corresponds in a row that you are going. Then you will find them in and out motion more pronounced compared to limited rows. As we add rows to the instrument, we are making the style more fluid.

Moving on to the 3-row button instrument, which is more popular in the Mexican groups rather than the one-row or two-row accordions, additionally, the system of diatonic notes that are ascending as you go up the keyboard, there are also some chromatic keys that you can play which allow the player to make extra notes or a major triad.

Finally, there is a 4-row accordion instrument stock that comes from Austria. This is a fully diatonic instrument, except there is the same tone on the second, third row, and fourth row whichis the five going in and out. This type of instrument has a special kind of bass reeds called the helicon. This type of accordion has a third row, fourth row, and fifth row that signifies, as opposed to, the other ones, which are the bass notes. It follows the same configuration of one set of bass buttons for each row; tonic going in and dominant going out.

How does it work?

To understand diatonic button accordions and how it works, one must first know the settings, environment, and what configuration makes the instrument work. It may be confusing, but it is simple once you get into it.

Pushing down a note on the right-hand side, and pushing and pulling on the left-hand side, you get two different notes. It’s like a harmonica when you blow in and blow out. There is no right order for buttons on the right side, at least from a pattern perspective. It only follows a major triad. It is similar to an accordion when you play a single note on the left-hand side where you can find the bass notes. The difference is that you only have limited options and motions on the left-hand side where bass buttons are. There are hole-like horns on this side that emit an oboe or a tuba kind of sound. And just like the right hand, when you push or pull the bellows, you get different bass notes on the left-hand side.

How do you improve the sound of your accordion?

On the whole, the life of an accordion is in the bellows. It takes in and gives out air; inhale and exhale. The connection is the bellows and the notes. By giving it harmony, you put heart and soul into the music it produces. As you work the bellows, you are in control of the range and the bass reeds will direct you on how strong you want the bass notes would come out. Older versions of accordions normally have two ranks of reeds while the modern versions have four ranks of reeds. With this, connection and flow, you control the range and improve the approach and create an accurate and better tuning.

The emphasis, however, is not on the reeds but is set on the bellows technique. It is necessary not to lose air or the air be tightly compact when in the middle of playing notes. It is like singing and gasping air to reach a musical note or range. A good approach in tuning is to change the bellow direction simultaneously after every pair of notes.

How to identify a key row on a diatonic accordion?

A player can only do one full scale on each button row of a diatonic accordion. The order in which you play the note on each button is squeeze-pull and pull-squeeze order. You can usually find the ‘Do’ note on the second, third inner row, or fourth outer row buttons. Though you can check it out for yourself to find out by trying to play a single diatonic scale, so if it is not playing a scale then it is not the ‘Do’ note.

More players around the world prefer diatonic button accordions to piano accordions, chromatic accordions, and other instruments. The reason is that piano accordions require fingering on the keyboard, button accordions have 1 and 1 only. For example, if you want to learn a melody in C, playing it in C# or B would be automatic. In the case of chromatic accordions, Diatonic Button Accordions have a smaller and lighter weight. That is also why some players prefer using this type of accordion. It is easy to maneuver and press using the keyboard because of its size and weight that is light.

Diatonic button accordion is the standard designation of newer versions of accordions and is considered the musical instrument with the most character for some country’s folk music or traditional dance music like Irish music and contemporary music.

CBA is right for you as it is more versatile and has a more logical uniform button layout. DBAs are for more traditional folk music and classical dance like that of Irish traditional music, Cajun, English, and other genres.

What are the types of Diatonic button accordions?

Accordions come in many forms, shapes, and sizes, but all the same, they either contain piano keys or buttons.

Button Accordion

There are some more popular types of accordions; among them is the Button Accordion. As the name suggests, a button accordion is one of the more popular types of an accordion in which the melody side of the keyboard consists of buttons. This type comes in various configurations, designs, and styles, and because of this, music may vary from one musical instrument to the next.

Piano Accordion

This is one popular type of accordion because of the piano-style keyboard. It has the same structure and style as that of a regular piano. There is a full-sized accordion of this kind that has 120 buttons and some have 140 buttons depending on the style and design. It is very adaptable because it can adjust to any type and style of music.

Unisonoric Accordion

Unisonoric or Bisonoric accordions are other popular types of accordions. These are the system of these types that identify and set these two types apart. These refer to the number of tones produced as the air moves in the instrument or reeds. In the Unisonoric accordion, the tone is the same, as the name implies, the direction bellows move. It has a set frequency on both the pull and push of the bellows. In a nutshell, the unisonoric system only produces a single pitch or tone from entry to exit of the air in the bellows.

Bisonoric Accordion

In contrast to the Unisonoric accordion, Bisonoric Accordion produces a different pitch or sound range. The buttons connected to the reeds are separate thus producing different frequencies whether the player opens or closes the bellows.

Chromatic Accordion

The next popular accordion is the Chromatic Button Accordion. It has a similar inside structure as the piano accordion except for the keyboard. The Chromatic and piano accordions are only different in their shapes and sizes. The Chromatic accordion buttons are all lined up in a particular order that has a chromatic scale that is why it is called a chromatic button accordion. This means that there is a semitone between every button. It may seem complicated at the first look, but these buttons have help rows and are marked to help the player when it comes to fingerings.

Diatonic Accordion

Diatonic button accordions are quite different from the most common chromatic button accordion. As earlier discussed, diatonic button accordions are bisonoric instruments, having different pitches or tones by the push and pull of the bellows.

Concertina Accordion

One type of instrument that is one of the most popular in Europe is Concertina. There are a few types of systems for this; among them are English, Anglo, Duet, and German Concertinas. This accordion is very adaptable; it can be both unisonoric and bisonoric.

Hybrid Accordion

Another accordion that is unique or unusual is the hybrid accordion. These accordions are being used in different countries all over the world.

Top 5 Bestselling Accordions

Bestselling Accordions to date can be seen on the market online site and in the music shop near you. It is best to browse online to search for the best choice of stock to ship. Here are some of the bestsellers in the market right now

Hohner 3500FW Corona II F/Bb/EB Diatonic Accordion

This stock of the Hohner accordion is a Compact Black and White, 3-row Button Accordion, 12-button bass, and a Thermoplastic Marble Veneer Fingerboard, it is best for performances in big stages. It comes with Hohner casing, a hand strap, Hohner Mini Harmonica, Velvety Cleaning Cloth, and Piano Key Stickers for labeling and simply for fun. The Corona II has a special mechanism for noise cancellation and is well-tuned.

Alacran Glossy Black AL3112 Accordion

The stock package has a 3-row button for the right-hand side, 12-Button Bass left-hand side, Silver and Glossy Black Color

This accordion has a clear, good tuning and easy play, and with hand straps for easy handling and a cozy feel.

Packaging also includes.

• Durable Shoulder Straps

• Rigid Casing for safe storage

• One-year warranty from the date of purchase of this stock

Hohner Panther Black 3-Row Diatonic Accordion (G/C/F)

This stock is another popular model for Hohner, and it comes in a compact Flat Black color. This particular design only comes in with these particular keys (GCF) and is well-tuned.

Hohner Panther has 3-row buttons, 1-button bass, with double strap brackets for safety and comfortability. The company gives a 90-day warranty from the time of purchase of the stock.

The packaging includes:

• A velvety cleaning cloth for polishing, instructions manual pages and guide book, hand straps

I Disto, the company selling this particular stock is committed to providing the highest standard of customer service to each client.

Rossetti, 31-Key Accordion (ROS3112-FBE-RD)

This diatonic accordion stock features this 3-row button accordion with its Italian style and rainbow-hued colors that stands out. It is durable strong due to the sheepskin on the corners. It also has large enough bellows that are 20-fold for louder and more pronounced sounds making this stock well-tuned. This stock comes with an adjustable hand strap and a cushioned case with a lock. The bottom is also padded and arranged for added comfort.

Hohner COER Compadre E/A/D 3-Row Diatonic Accordion

his popular brand type of accordion comes in Red, Silver, and Flat Black Grille color stock designs. Hohner’s innovation for this new grille model set out our Compadre, a modern look.

This type also features a row of three for the buttons on the right-hand side, 12 chord buttons on the left-hand side. The strap is movable to ensure safety and comfortability. This offer also comes with its housing, hand straps, Hohner Mini Harmonica, a velvety cloth for cleaning and polishing, and key stickers for labeling and fun.

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