Those little black buttons...

Hi Everyone…

I was hoping that some of you musicians out there could help me with this…for years I have watched people play the accordion and have always wondered what those little tiny black buttons actually were for. Also, do all of the buttons ever get used? I’ve only ever seen the ones towards the inside used…are the outer buttons for decoration or do they serve a purpose? :confused:

They’re bass chords, such as C major, E minor, etc., that you use in conjunction with the treble keyboard. One row is is all major chords, for instance, another is all minor chords, and so on.

Beginning accordians usually have only 12 chords, but others will have 120 or even 150. And, yes, you pretty much use them all, although some are used more than others. The C chord is the “home” button and has a little dimple on it to help you find it. From there you learn the F is below C, B flat is below F, and so on.

Sometimes you might only use one chord at a time, but usually use them together. For instance, a simple waltz might go C - C major - C major - C - C major - C major in 3/4 time (the familiar accordian “oom-pah-pah”). It can get a lot more complicated, though. You can imagine Flight of the Bumblebee.

This from accordian lessons many moons ago.

You’ve got guts admitting that.

Slight hijack:

One of my exes grew up in Newark, N.J., and at some point took accordion classes. One of his classmates was the singer Connie Francis. She was the only one in the class who absolutely could not learn the instrument. My ex remembers that the teacher once told Connie “I hope you’re not planning a career in music.”

After the class, she took private lessons and, in fact, became quite an accomplished accordionist. That was the beginning of her “career in music.”

120-button Stradella bass system chart