Accordions Accordion History

- Late 18th century

The Reeds

In the 1770s, Frantishek Kirshnek, a romantically predisposed craftsman, created the reeds during one of his experiments, laying the foundations of the future squeezebox evolution.

- 1820

The Harmonica

Friedrich Buschmann, a hereditary German musical instrument maker, introduced a series of simple mouth blown reed tuning devices to facilitate piano and organ tuning. Thus the first harmonica, or mouth organ, was born, its successors spreading widely across the world.

- 1830-40s

Popularity Growth

In 1831, the accordion appeared in Britain. The musician Adolph Muller described a great variety of instruments in his 1833 book, Schule fur Accordion. At the time, Vienna and London had a close musical relationship, with musicians often performing in both cities in the same year. In the 1840s, emigrants from the Old World brought the accordion to the USA, where the new instrument was a huge success.

- Mid-19th century

Accordions in Russia

In the early 1840s, the accordion came to Russia. Accordions were widely manufactured domestically in the Tula, Vologda, Novgorod, and Vyatka governorates.

- 1897

The Standard Bass System

Paolo Soprani, the founder of accordion manufacturing in Castelfidardo, patented a chromatic accordion with a bass keyboard featuring a separate button for every chord in 1897. This system is now considered standard bass (a system with ready accompaniment).

- 1959

The Converter Bass

A system that allows the player to convert standard bass to free bass was called a system with a pre-set-variable accompaniment. Such instruments are chiefly used in classic musical performances. The converter bass system was invented by Vittorio Mancini in 1959.

- 2000 BC

The Ancient Prototype

Two to three thousand years ago, many Southeast Asian countries: Laos, Burma, Tibet, China, Japan, engendered musical instruments with a similar sound production system. One of them, the Chinese sheng, has survived till this day.

- 1818

The Harmonium

Numerous experiments enriched the craftsmen’s experience. One of the hallmarks of this series of searches and discoveries is Anton Hekkel’s harmonium. The Viennese craftsman invented the instrument in 1818.

- 1829

The First Accordion

An instrument called the accordion was first patented in 1829 by Cyrill Demian, of Armenian descent, in Vienna. Demian's instrument bore little resemblance to modern instruments. It only had a left hand buttonboard, with the right hand simply operating the bellows. One key feature for which Demian sought the patent was the sounding of an entire chord by depressing one key.

- 1844

The Concertina

The English inventor Charles Wheatstone was the first man to squeeze both chords and keyboard together in one squeezebox. He called his 1844 patent a “concertina”.

- 1870-90s

The Chromatic Accordion

In 1870, Nikolai Beloborodov, a Tula dyer and a self-taught musician created the first chromatic accordion. In Europe an accordion with a full chromatic range in four octaves was first built by Georg Mirvald, a Bavarian artisan in 1891.

- 1934-36s

The Russian Contribution

In Russia, modern accordions appeared due to the joint effort of Mikhail Stolbov and Boris Samsonov, masters from the Red Partisan factory in Leningrad. In 1934, the State Musical Industry Research Institute was established. Among other things, the institute started to study the reed instruments’ acoustics.

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