Kim McGarrity asks about button accordions and melodeons. Here's what I
Button boxes/melodeons are diatonic, that is you pull the bellows to get one
note and push it to get another, all the while depressing the same button.
They come in 1, 2 and rarely 3 rows of buttons. The 1 row is just one key,
the 2 row is 2 keys. The range is just an octave. They are mostly used for
Morris dancing, Cajun music and Quebecois music. They provide a punchy,
percussive sound because of the in and out of the bellows and are ususlly
tuned in a musette style which gives them that wet, beating tone.
Certain ornaments are very easy.
They became popular in the US in the mid to late 70's.
Concertinas are a whole different genre and I'm less familiar, but I can say
that there are 2 styles, the Anglo and English. One is diatonic (push-pull)
and the other is chromatic (same tone whether you are pushing or pulling).
Again they have somewhat limited range and generally less volume than a
And while we are on the subject of reeded, bellows driven instruments, there
are also accordions that have buttons, are chromatic, and are popular in
Europe but not well known in the US.
Have I overloaded you all with information?
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH