Everything You Need to Know about the Inside of an Accordion

Enter the wonderful world of music with the accordion to uncover its captivating secrets hidden in its soulful embrace.

It is a special musical instrument that people have loved for a very long time.

It makes beautiful music and looks unique.

More so, its wonderful melodies feel like they come from a magical place and touch people’s hearts.

But do you ever wonder what’s inside this fascinating instrument?

Let’s explore together this exciting adventure of the inside of the accordion.

Here’s everything about this special instrument.

What is the Anatomy of an Accordion?

What is the Anatomy of an Accordion

An accordion is a musical instrument that consists of several external components.

These components include:


The bellows are the central component of the accordion.

It is a flexible, pleated, and airtight part that is usually made of cloth and cardboard.

The player can squeeze and expand the bellows, allowing air to flow over the reeds and produce sound.


The accordion has a keyboard on the right-hand side of the accordion.

It consists of a series of piano-like keys that the player uses to play melodies and chords.

The keys connect to the reeds inside the instrument and activate specific reeds.


On the left-hand side of the accordion, there is a set of buttons or switches.

Players use these buttons to play bass notes, chords, and sometimes melody notes.

The arrangement of the bass buttons is in rows and columns.

Hence, they serve to create harmonic accompaniment.

The internal components that contribute to its sound and functionality


Reeds are one of the primary sound-producing components of an accordion.

They consist of thin metal tongues that vibrate when air passes over them.

There are different types of reeds used in accordions:

Free Reeds

Individual metal plates called reed plates attach these reeds.

The reed plates hold the free reeds in place at one end, allowing them to vibrate freely at the other.

When air passes over them, they produce sound.

Reed Blocks

Reed blocks hold many reeds together and are usually made of wood.

The reed blocks contain the reed plates.

Thus, they are responsible for mounting the reeds and controlling their airflow.

Reed Plates

Reed plates are metal plates that hold the free reeds.

The reed plates attach to the reed blocks and ensure the stability and positioning of the reeds.


The bellows play a crucial role in the accordion’s functionality and sound production.

When the player expands or compresses the bellows, it forces air through the reeds.

It then causes them to vibrate and produce sound.

The bellows act as an air reservoir, providing the necessary airflow to the reeds.

Reed Ranks and Registers

Accordion reeds are many organized reeds that produce the same sound.

Players organize these reeds into sets known as reed ranks.

Each reed rank can contain many reeds.

Accordions commonly have many reed ranks.

Players can select different reed ranks using switches or registers to alter the accordion’s sound.

This action modifies how the accordion sounds.

Key Mechanics

A system of levers and valves connects the keys on the accordion’s keyboard to the reeds inside the instrument.

Pressing a key triggers a mechanism that enables air to pass over the chosen reeds.

The keys have control over both the pitch and volume of the sound produced by the reeds.

Bass Mechanism

The accordion has buttons on the left side.

These buttons open valves to let air flow over special reeds.

This makes the bass sounds in the accordion.

The buttons play low notes, chords, and sometimes extra melody notes.

They make music along with the melodies played on the right side of the accordion.

In general, the accordion has many parts inside it that work together.

These parts include the reeds, bellows, reed ranks, key mechanics, and bass mechanisms.

When they all work together, the accordion can make many different sounds.

It can play melodies, chords, and accompaniment all at the same time.

How Do Accordions Produce Sound?

How Do Accordions Produce Sound

An accordion makes sound by using many different parts.

They include reeds, bellows, buttons or keys, and a resonating chamber.

The sound production process involves the following steps:

Bellows Compression

The accordion player uses both hands to hold the instrument.

They open and close the bellows like flexible air chambers on each side of the accordion.

When the player presses the bellows together or pulls them apart, they push air through the interior of the accordion.

Air Flow

When you compress or expand the bellows, the accordion allows air to flow through its reed blocks. The reed blocks hold thin strips of metal reeds at one end. Artisans mount these reeds over slots in the reed blocks.

Reed Activation

When air passes through the slots, it causes the reeds to vibrate.

The reeds vibrate at different frequencies based on their length, thickness, and tension.

The vibration of the reeds is responsible for generating the sound in the accordion.

Tone Production

Two sets divide the reeds: the treble reeds and the bass reeds.

The right-hand side of the accordion houses the treble reeds.

The player can activate these reeds by pressing buttons or keys.

The bass reeds on the left-hand side align with the bass buttons or keys.

Button/Key Pressing

Pressing a button or key on one side of the instrument opens a special valve that lets air go through a specific part on that side.

It’s the same on the other side, where pressing a button opens a valve for air to go through a different part there.

Reed Vibration and Sound

When air goes through a special tube called a reed, it makes the reed shake at its speed.

This shaking makes sound waves in the air, and those waves make the musical notes that go with the button you press.

Sound Amplification

When the reeds inside the accordion vibrate, they make sound waves.

These sound waves get louder and stronger inside the accordion’s resonating chamber.

The resonating chamber is like a hollow space inside the accordion.

This space helps make the sound louder and clearer.

Playing Different Notes

You can choose different reeds when you press different buttons or keys on the accordion.

Each reed plays a different musical note.

You can choose which reed to use by pressing the buttons.

To make music, you can press different buttons at the same time and move the bellows back and forth.

This helps you play melodies, chords, and harmonies.

Step-by-step guide on how pressing a key/button leads to sound creation

The accordion player holds the instrument and places their fingers on the treble side buttons or keys.

The player selects a specific button/key corresponding to the desired musical note or pitch.

When the player presses the button/key, it activates an air valve that allows air to flow through a particular reed in the treble reed block.

As air flows through the reed, it causes the reed to vibrate at its unique frequency, generating sound waves.

The accordion’s resonating chamber then amplifies the vibrating reed’s sound waves.

Simultaneously, the player may use the other hand to operate the bass buttons on the left-hand side, producing bass notes or chords.

You can make music when you push buttons or keys and move the bellows.

The sound keeps going, and you can play different songs.

What are the Types of Accordions and Their Internal Differences?

What are the Types of Accordions and Their Internal Differences

Piano Accordion

The piano accordion is also known as the standard accordion or chromatic accordion.

It is the most common type of accordion. It features a piano-style keyboard on the right-hand side.

Hence, it consists of white and black keys, similar to a piano.

The left-hand side has a series of buttons or bass keys.

Button Accordion

The button accordion is also known as the diatonic accordion or melodeon.

It is popular in many folk music traditions.

It has a series of buttons on both the right-hand and left-hand sides instead of a piano-style keyboard.

On the right side, there are buttons that make different sounds when you open or close the bellows.

And on the left side, there are other buttons that make chords or bass notes.

Chromatic Button Accordion

The chromatic button accordion is also known as the CBA or B-system accordion.

It is a variation of the button accordion.

The special design helps the player play all the notes on a musical scale.

This makes it more versatile for creating different kinds of music.

The accordion has rows of buttons on both sides that produce the same sound when you push or pull the bellows.

Diatonic Button Accordion

The diatonic button accordion is also known as the melodeon or one-row accordion.

It is a simple type of button accordion.

It is typically tuned to play in a specific or limited set of related keys.

Each button produces a different note depending on whether you push or pull the bellows.

Hence, it allows for a diatonic scale.

Unique internal features and components of each type

Piano Accordion

Piano-style keyboard on the right-hand side with white and black keys.

The right-hand side has many sets of reeds.

Typically, there are three or more reeds per note, allowing for different tonal options.

The left-hand side has bass buttons arranged in a specific pattern.

There are many bass notes and chord combinations available.

The piano accordion often has a register switch or coupler system.

This helps the player choose different groups of reed sets.

These reed sets can create different sounds.

Button Accordion

The right-hand side has rows of buttons.

They are usually arranged in a diagonal pattern.

Hence, each button produces a different note when you open or close the bellows.

The left-hand side has bass buttons that produce bass notes or chords.

They are typically arranged in a specific pattern or layout.

The button accordion usually has many reed sets on the right-hand side.

They will allow you to play different tonal options.

Chromatic Button Accordion

The right-hand side has rows of buttons arranged chromatically.

They allow the player to play any note within the range of the instrument.

The left-hand side has bass buttons.

They are similar to the button accordion, which produces bass notes or chords.

The chromatic button accordion often has a sliding button mechanism or a register switch.

This help to select different reed sets of tonal options.

Diatonic Button Accordion

The right-hand side has a single row or many rows of buttons.

Each of them produces a different note when you push or pull the bellows.

The left-hand side usually has bass buttons that produce bass notes or chords.

But, the layout and options may be more limited compared to other types.

Sound and functionality based on internal setup

Piano Accordions have many notes and tonal possibilities due to the many reed sets.

They are well-suited for various musical genres and offer a piano-like sound.

The keyboard layout allows for complex melodies and harmonies.

Button Accordions have a distinct sound often associated with folk music.

The button layout and limited note options can provide a unique musical character.

They are generally more portable and lightweight compared to piano accordions.

Chromatic Button Accordions offer a fully chromatic scale.

They offer greater musical versatility and the ability to play in any key.

They combine the features of button accordions and chromaticity.

Diatonic Button Accordions are special accordions made for certain keys or groups of related keys.

They are great for playing traditional folk music.

These accordions are usually lighter and smaller than other types.

They have buttons arranged in a unique way, which may need more skill to play correctly.

What is Accordion Tuning?

What is Accordion Tuning

Accordion tuning means making the inside parts of the accordion work properly to make the right sounds.
People who do this need to know a lot and use special tools to make the parts fit and work just right.

It’s essential to tune the accordion correctly so that it sounds good.

When the pitch is accurate, the chords and melodies blend together nicely.

If the accordion is not tuned well, it can sound unpleasant or wrong, which can make the music less enjoyable.

It’s important to understand and know how an accordion works, especially when looking for the best accordion brands.

This is because the instrument is usually complicated and fragile.

They have the knowledge and tools needed to tune it correctly so it sounds great and lasts a long time.

The Final Words

It’s important to understand and know how an accordion works.

There are different parts in an accordion that make its sound.

These parts include reed blocks, a bass mechanism, bellows, and pallets.

Each part has a special job in making the music.

Players can understand and appreciate how the accordion gets crafted by learning about these parts.

This helps them improve at playing and enjoying the accordion as a valuable musical instrument.

Ultimately, this knowledge and appreciation contribute to their journey of becoming the best accordion players.

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