Difference Between Accordion and Concertina

Accordion vs Concertina

Difference between accordion and concertina can be hard to identify if you are not familiar with musical instruments. Many of us are familiar with the term Accordion. In fact, the moment someone mentions the word Accordion our minds immediately picture that box-shaped instrument with pleats in the centre. The same cannot be said for the term Concertina. Excluding those who are well-versed with the plethora of musical instruments in the world, the rest of us have rarely heard the term often to even form an image of it in our minds. Of course, when we see a picture of a Concertina it looks familiar, but then we automatically assume it to be another version of the Accordion. While it may derive from the Accordion family, it is not the same.

What is an Accordion?

An Accordion refers to a musical instrument belonging to the reed organ family. It is typically a rectangular-shaped instrument although many refer to it as a box-shaped instrument. The Accordion is replete with a small keyboard, located on the right-hand side, buttons located on the left-hand side, metallic reeds and bellows. Distinctive for producing a wheezy type sound, the Accordion is played by stretching and pressing the bellows together. This stretch-and-press action causes air to flow through the reeds, which vibrate, as a result, therein producing the wheezy sound. The movement of the bellows is accompanied by the player pressing the keys and buttons located on either side of the Accordion.

A hand-held musical instrument, the Accordion has straps attached to the back thereby leaving the hands-free to operate the bellows, the keyboard and buttons. The melody line in an Accordion is sounded by playing the keyboard while the bass notes or chords are produced by the buttons. It is the bellows of the Accordion that serve as its most distinguishing feature, its appearance akin to a series of pleats. Originating in the early 19th Century, the Accordion is used all over the world, although it is popularly used in folk music in different parts of Europe, America and South America. It is colloquially referred to as a ‘squeeze box’.

Difference Between Accordion and Concertina

What is a Concertina?

A Concertina is also a reed instrument that looks fairly similar to an Accordion. However, it is smaller in size and hexagonal in shape and appearance. Sharing most of the features of the Accordion, it is composed of bellows in the centre, metallic reeds and stud-type buttons on the side. Invented in the 19th Century, the Concertina is used mostly for classical music and in various parts of Ireland and England. It is also used in polka music. This too is a hand-held instrument and adopts the same stretch-and-press action of the Accordion. The notes are sounded by the stud-type buttons located on the side of the Concertina.


What is the difference between Accordion and Concertina?

• The Accordion is a rectangular-shaped instrument. The Concertina is smaller than the Accordion and in the shape of a hexagon.

• While the notes on the Concertina are sounded by buttons, the notes on the Accordion are produced by both the keyboard and buttons simultaneously.

• The buttons on the Accordion, when pressed, travel in a 90-degree direction to the bellows while the buttons on the Concertina, when pressed, travel in the same direction as the bellows.


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