Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by cian. cian Wonders, “what is folk music” Thanks for WONDERing with us, cian!

Do you like folk music? Have you ever wandered along the Appalachian Trail? If so, you may have heard some local music made by a unique instrument. What are we talking about? The accordion, of course!

The first accordions came from Germany and Austria. Today, it’s loved around the world. The instrument is a favorite of those who enjoy folk music.

What kind of music are accordions featured in? You’ll hear them often in polka music. They’re also popular in some modern pop music. You could even hear one used to play the tango in Argentina!

Have you ever watched a musician play the instrument? If so, you know it’s done by squeezing a bellows, which looks like a box. This forces air across reeds to make sound. This is where the accordion got its nickname: the squeezebox! Each hand moves along a set of buttons or keys to produce a wide range of sounds. The free-standing reeds that make sounds are a lot like those found in a harmonica.

Who invented the accordion? Most people give credit to Christian Buschmann. He invented an instrument similar to the modern accordion in Berlin in 1822. He called it the “Handaeoline.” Of course, earlier prototypes existed before that. It’s fair to say that the instrument evolved over time.

The instrument’s name was coined in 1829 by Cyril Demian of Vienna. The term comes from the German word Akkord. That term means “musical chord” or “concord of sounds.” That accurately describes what the instrument can do! Accordions can carry both the melody and the harmony parts of a song. That’s thanks to its design. An accordionist can play chords with one hand while the other hand plays the melody.

What do these instruments look like? They can be easily recognized by their bellows. These are pleated layers of cloth and cardboard. They can also sometimes contain leather and metal. The bellows stretch between the two wooden boxes that form the body of the instrument. As you can imagine, accordions are not easy to make. They are assembled from hundreds of different pieces!

Can you play the accordion? Would you like to learn? What other instruments are you interested in playing? If you start practicing today, you could one day become a famous musician!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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