Accordion History


Around 1850, the accordion first appeared in Norway, via Poland and Sweden. It soon became popular in rural areas. Standard tunes included the Polka, which became known as pols. During the 1870's, the accordion increased in popularity, and by 1880 there were some well known players. These included Peter Pedersen, Gerhard Gulbrandsen and Severin Jevnaker, but Edvard Mathisen was widely regarded as the best accordionist of this era.

At the beginning of the century there was a multitude of skilled accordionists, most of whom adopted the chromatic model. The accordion became extremely popular in the early 1930's, then began to decline.

Perhaps the most famous accordionist in Norway is Toralf Tollefsen. He began playing when he was five years old, and became a professional at sixteen. In 1936, he played in Great Britain for the BBC, where he recorded some Fox-trots. In 1947, he returned to England to join the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

Traditional Norwegian accordion music does not appear to have been largely affected by the arrival of American variety music. It continues to remain popular. The lively accordion tradition in Norway has produced many talented players.

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