Accordion History in Austria
Accordion History


It is commonly known that the accordion was invented in Austria, where the instrument was used in traditional folk music. An instrument called the accordion was first patented in 6th May 1829 by Cyrill Demian, of Armenian descent, in Vienna.

This instrument bore little resemblance to the modern accordion of today with only a left hand buttonboard with the right hand operating the bellows. One key feature of his patent was the concept of one button playing a chord, and for the Demian patent, the instrument played one chord for out bellows and a different chord for in bellows.

This patent has become the basis of World Accordion Day sponsored by the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes - IMC - UNESCO, now held annually on the 6th May.

The diatonic accordion became very popular in this region of Europe and was used in all village fairs and parades, and nearly every family had one. The traditional stronghold of the accordion was in the Alps, especially in Styrie. The date of its appearance in folk music is unknown, but it did bring a certain colour to folk music.

In the 19th century, Vienna was the capital of Austria, which was also the world capital of classical music. This developed into blues and jazz, from the United States. This traditional urban music was later baptised "the Viennese Blues". This tradition was continued from the 1920's to the 1940's by orchestras recording records in which the accordion played a major role.

Purists cried scandal, and for a while there was great debate. The guitar style accordion was well liked by the public and many duos flourished, performing in the streets and for tourists in the suburbs of Vienna.

The years following have produced many notable Austrian accordionists, including Hermi Kaleta, who won the 1958 Coupe Mondiale World Championships. Today there are many well known and respected Austrian accordionists.
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