June 12, 2024


Accordion arm, a musical instrument also called squeezebox, is a handheld instrument with a broad set of reed system, played by compressing and expanding the bellows while pressing down on the keys or buttons.

Accordion arm originated in Germany in the early 19th century and has been adopted as a traditional instrument in several countries worldwide, including Italy, Spain, and France. However, it is now accessible everywhere and enjoys a broad fan base.

Parts of an accordion arm

An accordion arm comprises several sections, with each section containing a range of parts that work collectively to create sound. The parts of an accordion arm include:

The bellows

This section contracts and expands, thereby releasing and drawing air into the reed system, creating musical notes.

The reed block

The reed blocks house the accordion arm’s reeds, metal plates that vibrate and create sound depending on the wind passing over them.

The keyboard or buttons

This section contains the keys or buttons that players use to produce music. Keyboards are more common in western countries, while button arrangements are more typical in Eastern Europe.

How to play an accordion arm

Playing an accordion arm is similar to playing a piano in terms of the fingering but different in comparison to the key arrangement. Here is a list of steps to follow when playing an accordion arm:

– Strap the bellows firmly to your chest.
– Ensure that the left hand is correctly positioned on the buttons’ side where the bass keys are.
– Lift up the treble keyboard and make sure the correct hand is on bass buttons and the right hand on the treble keyboard.
– Depress any bass button and play a chord, then press the treble keyboard simultaneously with the bass note.

Varieties of accordion arm

Accordion arm comes in several styles, designs, and sound nuances. Here are different types of accordion arms:

Piano accordion

Piano accordion is the most common and well-known type of accordion arm. It contains a keyboard arrangement with white and black keys and has a range of sound registers.

Diatonic accordion

This type of accordion arm is common in the traditional music style of several regions such as Ireland, France, and Cajun. The bellows button or shift key system operates, and it comes in various key systems.

Chromatic accordion

Chromatic accordion is related to the piano accordion but has a more complicated key arrangement. It comes with four types of reed control: free-bass, Stradella, Belgado, and converter system.

Benefits of playing accordion arm

Playing accordion arm is associated with several benefits, including:

Cognitive benefits

Playing accordion arm requires quick processing of information as it involves coordination of both hands and the body. Regular practice of this instrument can stimulate the brain’s areas associated with developing memory and coordination.


Playing accordion arm can help soothe the mind and body, reducing stress levels, and promoting relaxation.


Accordion arm is a versatile and captivating musical instrument that has been around for hundreds of years. It comes in different types and styles, with myriad benefits for the mind and body. By mastering the art of playing accordion arm, one can enjoy the emotional and physical benefits attached to this wonderful instrument.

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