Accordion History of Switzerland
Accordion History

HISTORY OF THE ACCORDION IN SWITZERLAND

The accordion was invented in Austria in 1829, and was brought to Berne in the 1830s. Johannes Drollinger, an Austrian immigrant found the instrument too limited for his needs, so made himself a modified version. His Langnauerli had one row of keys. With his brother, Drollinger they began to manufacture accordions, and their business flourished until WWI.

Robert Iten made a completely new model accordion, which he called "Schwizerorgeli", named after the district he lived in. After a few minor adjustments, this instrument became one of the main Swiss accordions used today. It consists of a diatonic right handed keyboard and a chromatic left handed keyboard.

Swiss style music was popular until the 1940s when jazz arrived, but was revived again at the beginning of the 1970s.

In French-speaking Switzerland, one of the first artists to play the chromatic accordion was Victor Gibelli (b 1872). He was one of the inventors of the three rowed diatonic accordion, which allowed the instrument more flexibility.
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