About three thousand years ago, many countries of Southeast Asia created musical instruments with a similar sound extraction system. One of them, the Chinese sheng (sheng), has survived to this day. Virtually unchanged after centuries of use, the sheng caught the attention of European musicians and artisans after it was brought to Russia around 1770.
The accordion was originally based on the principle of the harmonica. During playback, one sound is heard after the air is supplied, and the other sound is heard after the air is drawn in. This is called the diatonic system. Diatonic accordions (harmonics) usually come in certain key combinations and are mostly used for folk music.
There has been some dispute about who actually invented the accordion. Although Cyril Demian of Vienna is often credited with its creation, it is now believed that Friedrich Buschmann of Berlin was the first maker to create the basic model of the accordion in 1822. However, it was Demian who first patented the term “accordion” in 1829. Early prototypes of such musical instruments did not have bass keys on the left keyboard, and the right half of the body was used to control the mech chamber and did not have any buttons. One key feature that Demian sought to obtain a patent for was the sound of a whole chord when one key was pressed. And the accordion began to be called all the harmonicas with ready-made chords.
In Europe, the full chromatic scale accordion was first constructed by Georg Mirwald, a German craftsman, in 1891. The instrument arrived in Russia around 1820, and shortly after that, its production began in Tula. At that time, musicians usually performed traditional Russian folk melodies on a diatonic instrument, the accordion. In 1870, Nikolai Beloborodov, a self-taught musician, created the first Russian two-row chromatic accordion. And in 1907, Pyotr Sterligov invented the first bass chromatic harmonica (and named his instrument Bayan, which is now the Russian name for any chromatic accordion), allowing players to play complex classical music.
Distinctive characteristics of the accordion
The main differences between the accordion, button accordion and harmonicas
The accordion differs from the accordion and button accordion by the presence of a diatonic scale, that is, in each octave there are only seven basic sounds. The sound range of this musical instrument is about 3 octaves. The accordion has a keypad. The number of buttons can vary from one to three. In size, it is usually smaller than an accordion.
The accordion has become widespread and is in demand in folk music genres, despite some musical limitations. It has a clear and full sound, and the design of the instrument makes it easy to master the skills of playing it. This explains the accessibility of the accordion for a wide range of musicians and amateurs.