Celebrate National Accordion Awareness Day with us this June to give this instrument its due appreciation. This celebration has a specific purpose — to educate people about the accordion and acknowledge its contribution to music.
History of National Accordion Awareness Month
The accordion (also called the ‘concertina’) is primarily used to accompany traditional polka music but has been featured in many classical and modern musical works, from jazz and zydeco to folk, gospel, and blues.
The oldest name for the accordion is derived from the Greek word ‘harmonikos’, which means ‘harmonic’ or ‘musical’. It goes by many names across the world — ‘Akkerdeon’ in Germany, ‘Fiarmonica’ in Italy, ‘Bayan’ in Russia, ‘Sun-Fin-Chin’ in China, ‘Harmonium’ in Pakistan, and ‘Trekspill’ in Norway. But it is commonly just called ‘accordion’ in many countries.
The invention of this humble instrument is a subject of much debate among researchers. Some credit Austria as its birthplace, others think it was invented in Berlin. What researchers do know is that the accordion spread around the globe because of European immigration into other countries.
This instrument made it into popular music in the 19th century, with five players — Pietro Frosini, brothers Count Guido Deiro and Pietro Deiro, Slovenian brothers Vilko Ovsenik and Slavko Avsenik, and Charles Magnante — becoming major influences during this period. While vaudeville theatres closed during the Great Depression, accordionists performed for and taught via the radio. The rise of rock and roll finally caused the decline of accordions in popular music, but the instrument has since been revived, with multiple musicians like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp using the accordion in their songs.
National Accordion Awareness Month timeline
French missionary Joseph-Marie Amiot introduces an instrument called the Asian Sheng to Europe, which inspires the invention of instruments like the harmonica and the accordion.
Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann patents what many believe to be the earliest form of an accordion, in Berlin.
Cyril Demian of Vienna patents a device he names 'accordion' — some people credit this as being the first accordion.
After being introduced to Britain via Germany, an article introduces it as a new instrument unknown to British audiences.
New Yorkers receive this instrument favorably.
In a period known as 'the golden age of the accordion', the accordion appears in popular music, even receiving exposure on television and radio.
An accordion that has piano keys is first manufactured in San Francisco.
Gene von Halberg, Joe Biviano, and Abe Goldman are the first musicians to play the accordion in Carnegie Hall in New York City to a large audience.
The rise of rock and roll diminishes the popularity of the accordion.
National Accordion Awareness Month starts being celebrated in the month of June.
National Accordion Awareness Month FAQs
When is World Accordion Day?
World Accordion Day is celebrated on May 6 each year to honor the day the accordion was first patented in Vienna, Austria.
Which popular songs featured accordions?
‘The Cave’ by Mumford and Sons, ‘Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ by Bob Dylan, ‘Squeeze Box’ by The Who, and many more hit tracks have featured an accordion over the years.
What does an accordion cost?
Accordions are priced on the higher side compared to other musical instruments. They could be priced at over $500 or you could find options in the $300-$500 range too.
National Accordion Awareness Month Activities
Buy the accordion
What better way to honor this instrument than to permanently bring one into your life? Research the best and most affordable accordions and grab one for yourself. Read why you need a musical instrument in our article on Buy A Musical Instrument Day. Worried about the space it might take? Got no time to learn this instrument? Do a good deed and give it to someone who appreciates music, or donate it to your local music class. Send a little music out into the world.
Take accordion lessons
This instrument is not only beautiful to hear but to play, too. Multiple instructors offer quick lessons online including on YouTube. Master the basics with enough practice and maybe you will soon put out your own concerts featuring famous songs played on an accordion.
Support local accordion players
Playing this instrument requires skilled dexterity and talent that takes a lot of hard work to master. Honor those who have put in the work, check out some local players, or watch them play online. Share your discovery with the world and help spread awareness about the accordion and its musicians.
5 Fun Facts About The Accordion
It is an official musical instrument
Detroit, St. Paul, and Skokie recognize the accordion as their official musician instrument — San Francisco has designated the piano accordion as its official musical instrument since 1990.
These celebrities play the accordion, too!
Lucy Liu of “Charlie's Angels” fame and Christina Hendricks from “Mad Men” can both play this instrument.
The U.S. had a lot of accordion players
America registered 75,000 people as certified accordion players in 1990.
Italy is the epicenter of accordion manufacturing
Many leading accordion manufacturing companies like Excelsior, Pigini, Victoria, Castagnari, Brosini, Scandalli, and Zero Sette are located in Italy.
There was a show about accordions
Named “Play Your Accordion,” this was a Russian television game show/talent contest.
Why We Love National Accordion Awareness Month
We learn about this versatile instrument
Accordions can be used (and have been used) in a variety of music styles over the years. If we didn’t have a special month to raise awareness about this musical instrument, we probably would not have known how versatile and incredible it is.
We appreciate music a bit more
Everyone loves some good music, don’t they? Celebrations that honor music and musical instruments, like National Accordion Awareness Month, are designed to raise awareness about everything music-related … and we love it!
We learn accordion history
Where it came from, when it originated, how initial versions looked — this month teaches us so much more about the accordion than we ever thought we knew.
National Accordion Awareness Month dates