Accordion in Traditional Music
From the moment of its birth the accordion started to conquer Europe, later spreading around the world.
Except for a brief moment in time during the 1830s and 1840s when the accordion was heard by French aristocracy during Salon music concerts, the instrument has always been associated with common people.
The new instrument's popularity among the common masses was a result of its unique qualities.
Firstly, it was much louder than all the older folk instruments put together. It could easily be heard in even the wildest pub above the stomping of dancing feet.
It was also the prototype of a 'one man band' with bass and chords on the left-hand side and buttons for the melody on the right, and you could still sing along and beat the rhythm with your feet.
The instrument needed no tuning and was always ready to play.
Its popularity spread throughout the world, in no small measure due to the polka craze. Polka is an energetic dance originating in Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic) in the mid-19th-century.
The accordion is a traditional instrument in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the dominant instrument used in sevdalinka, a traditional genre of folk music from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is also considered a national instrument of the country.
The accordion was sweeping the world alongside European immigration of the late 19th – early 20th centuries.
In the 1950s, Latin America discovered the piano accordion. Today the accordion is widely used in Brazil. Compared to many other countries, in Brazil the instrument enjoys high popularity in mainstream pop music. In some parts of the country, such as the North-East it is the most popular melodic instrument.
The piano accordion is used in almost all styles of Forró (a Brazilian twosome) as principal instrument, Luiz Gonzaga (the King of the Baião) and Dominguinhos being among the notable musicians in this style.
Accordionists are also quite fond of tango pieces. And there is no other place on earth where tango is more popular than it is in Argentina. The famous composer Ástor Piazzolla spent his whole life developing tango and brought world recognition to Argentina as the birthplace of the dance.
The accordion is also a traditional instrument in Colombia, commonly associated with the vallenato and cumbia genres. The legend of the accordion's arrival in Colombia comes from a story of a shipwreck that was coming from Germany to Argentina. The wreck happened over the Magdalena river in the Atlantic coast.
In the 1870s, the accordion came to Russia and rapidly won people’s hearts. Today the bayan is considered to be an integral part of the Russian folk art.