The Accordion: A Brief History Of Mick’s Favourite Instrument
We don’t really know where Mick found his accordion and we’re not sure when he started to play it. But play it he does! Here’s a brief history of the accordion — Mick’s favourite instrument.
The accordion has been a musical punch line for a lot of people for a long time. However, it hasn’t always been that way.
In fact, the accordion is one of the most popular instruments to appear on planet Earth in the last two hundred years.
The accordion was a staple of early traditional folk music in Europe and around the world. It was integrated into a lot of different musical styles from the European polka to the Colombian vallenato, reaching its peak in the early 1900’s.
The first accordion was made in Berlin, Germany in 1822 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann. It was later patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian in Vienna, Austria.
Because it was small, light and easy to carry, it became a hit with traveling folk musicians. Funnily enough, when it first began popping up in Britain in 1831, reviewers thought it sucked. But somehow it became popular anyway. It might have something to do with its old world charm.
The accordion remained a staple of popular music until 1960’s when it was replaced by the guitar and rock music.
The accordion isn’t the easiest instrument to play. At its worse it sounds like a goose being strangled.
You get the sound by opening and closing the bellows — the actual accordion part — which pushes air over a reed.
Accordions have either piano-like keys or buttons on one side for playing notes. Some have holes on the other side to manipulate the air flow. I guess you could say, it’s like giant harmonica with bellows.
Accordions get tweaked and refined all the time. And they come in all shapes and sizes, from the complex and intricately handmade to the simple and plastic.
While some of the appeal of the accordion is due to nostalgia, there are plenty of musicians out there with some serious accordion chops.
Scouring YouTube you’ll find some pretty ace accordion players. Just check out this video.
While Vivaldi is cool, we’d be happy if Mick could pull off a decent polka.
Just be glad he hasn’t discovered the bagpipes… yet.