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Definition: accordion from Musical Terms, Symbols and Theory: An Illustrated Dictionary

a hand-held keyboard instrument with two headboards and a bellows. As the bellows is compressed and expanded, air causes metal reeds to vibrate and create sound. A keyboard on the right-hand headboard is used to modify those vibrations and create individual tones or tones in combination. A series of buttons on the left-hand headboard creates bass tones and chords. See also chord; concertina; keyboard instrument.

Summary Article: Accordion or accordeon
from Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

An instrument associated with traditional Irish music since the second half of the 19th century (it was patented in 1829). It is often referred to as ‘the box’, and in Irish as bosca ceoil. To play an accordion one depresses buttons (in a button accordion) or keys (in a piano accordion) while the bellows are opened and closed. Despite some initial snobbery among purists about its suitability for traditional music, it has always been a popular choice for CÉILÍ and SET DANCES, being portable and having good volume, and has more recently become the instrument of choice of virtuoso soloists like Sharon SHANNON. Button accordions especially are apt to be colloquially called melodeons, since they are basically the same instrument, but the name may be applied to all types of accordion.

Copyright © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2009

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