What Type of Instrument is an Accordion

What type of instrument is an Accordion?

If you look at an accordion, there is a lot going on there! On a typical piano accordion you’ll see a keyboard, bellows and tons of little buttons. So then what type of instrument is an accordion? Is it a brass, percussion, string or woodwind instrument? Or some sub-classification like a “keyboard” instrument?

The accordion is, well, the accordion.¬†How could you try to classify such a weird, awesome, one-of-a-kind instrument that only shares similarities with instruments that are distant cousins? It’s in a league of it’s own!

Ok, ok, I know that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, so if you want to get all technical about it…

Then technically, the accordion is a woodwind instrument. Think about it: It’s made out of wood and uses bellows to force air through free reeds inside. Although the keyboard looks like a piano keyboard, the keys release air, just like a woodwind instrument.

Some might classify the accordion as a “keyboard” instrument, but that’s just lazy. The accordion only comes to life when you squeeze the bellows to create the “wind” that powers your sounds. Still don’t believe me? Put your ear next to an accordion’s air release button as a player fully exhales the bellows.

So what type of instrument is an accordion? It’s in the “awesome” family of instruments. Or alternatively, you can think about it this way:







Note that I am talking about your standard acoustic piano accordion here, not an electronic Roland-type accordion. The latter works completely differently.