Accordion trivia. Hidden possibilities of accordions.

Accordion trivia. Hidden possibilities of accordions.

Accordion trivia. Hidden possibilities of accordions.Special effects and the accordion

We most often associate the term special effects with modern, contemporary technologies, usually closely related to computers and digitization. On the other hand, an instrument such as an accordion, thanks to its acoustics and mechanisms that are used in it, can be an excellent carrier of additional effects. Thanks to this, our instrument can delight the audience even more, and motivate and encourage us as instrumentalists to create even more creative and unusual sound.

Types of accordion effects

These effects can be divided into two basic groups: typically acoustic effects, i.e. effects of various kinds of percussion sounds, and melodic effects. The bellows of our instrument is perfect for this first type of extracting special effects. It is enough to open it to about 3/4 of its possibilities for it to become a perfect soundboard. By appropriately hitting the hand roughly in the middle of the front of the bellows, we can get the sound of an interestingly tuned drum. Depending on where we hit, we will get this sound higher or lower. The best and deepest sound is achieved by hitting the top of the open bellows with your hands. If, however, we want to get a short and high tone, it is best to hit the lower part of the bellows. Everyone has to find the optimal sounding place on their own instrument. Also, the technique of placing the hands and hitting should be worked on. You should remember to perform these strokes with sensitivity and try to make the hand bounce naturally against the bellows. The moment we hit and hold our hand on the bellows, the sound of our effect will be muffled immediately, and it won’t sound nice. We can also gently drag a finger over our bellows from the bass to the melodic side, like on a comb. Then we will also get an interesting sound that can be used, for example, during a longer pause.

When it comes to melodic effects, we can obtain something like a slide that causes smooth transitions on a given voice within a semitone. We can achieve this effect by using a gently pressed button or key. The force with which we open or fold the bellows has a great impact on achieving this effect. It is not an easy art that requires a lot of practice, but not only the player’s skills are important here. A lot also depends on the instrument itself, because we will not be able to achieve this effect on every accordion in as good a quality as we would like. Here you need a precise mechanism of the keyboard or buttons, which will react accurately to our playing. In the case of the keyboard, just like in the case of button accordions, it is good that the mechanism is not too shallow. The deeper the keyboard, the more expressive our effect will be.

Of these other spectacular effects, all kinds of bellowing, of course, make a great impression on the audience. For example, with the appropriate technical skills, the accordionist is able to achieve an effect imitating a locomotive accelerating to an ever faster pace. This effect is achieved by evenly changing the bellows, starting from a slow pace to faster and faster. At the peak moment of the change of bellows direction due to speed, they are really small. Another spectacular effect is the finger tremolo, which allows you to quickly switch your fingers on one of the selected sounds.

Accordion trivia. Hidden possibilities of accordions.

Requirements to be met

In order for us to be able to use various types of effects in the game, we will first of all need a technically good instrument. Such an instrument should first of all tune well, have a tight bellows and have efficient mechanics. Remember that the more precise and accurate the mechanism, the easier it will be for us to perform individual musical tricks. Of course, as with everything, also in the case of effects, individual patents should first be well developed and then trained. Remember that the instrument is only a tool in our hands and the rest depends only on us and our skills.


All kinds of musical tricks are obviously very effective and spectacular, but we should gradually move to this stage of education. Let us not bully the instrument by trying to force the bellows tremolo, as we cannot yet smoothly change the bellows on long phrases. There will be time for everything, but you should be patient and systematic in implementing the program to the best of your abilities. Unfortunately, there is no point in looking for instructions in educational textbooks on how to perform a given effect, but of course there are exercises that will introduce us to certain issues, such as bellowing. So, the best educational supplement will be watching the accordion masters and using the experience of the best accordionists.

Leave a Reply