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Tom

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Interesting, sure, but I'm getting a little tired of the accordion stereotypes that reporters feel they need, or anyone cares about, including the "revival."
 
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JIM D.

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I understand your feelings on the current news of the popularity of the accordion as a musical instrument in many countries on
this globe. But myself starting learning to play one at 7 years old, living thru the few last years of the "Golden Age Of The
Accordion", playing it professionally, teaching it and repairing it. Well, I still like any news of the current use and popularity of
the accordion at 75 years old. The saying "History Repeats Itself" has been proven over the ages and the introduction of digital
and new quality acoustic models has spurred it's resurgence in popularity and I can only hope this continues in the future.
 

Tom

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I understand your feelings on the current news of the popularity of the accordion as a musical instrument in many countries on
this globe. But myself starting learning to play one at 7 years old, living thru the few last years of the "Golden Age Of The
Accordion", playing it professionally, teaching it and repairing it. Well, I still like any news of the current use and popularity of
the accordion at 75 years old. The saying "History Repeats Itself" has been proven over the ages and the introduction of digital
and new quality acoustic models has spurred it's resurgence in popularity and I can only hope this continues in the future.
Thanks Jim, I'm with you all the way on wanting to see news and other information. And I'm happy about the "resurgence." I just wish they didn't feel the need to say "The accordion! It's not just some cheesy polka machine from your father's closet! These hot young people are making bellows squeezing hip again!" Or pick your variation....
 

JeffJetton

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Interesting comment there from Art Van Damme about three minutes in:

"It's just not accordion alone. It's music in general. All the groups, all it is are guitars and drums. How about a good trumpet player, or a good sax player, a young kid? Where's he gonna get a job?"

Note that the video is from 2009 (not long before Art passed away). The irony is that the guitarists and (real) drummers are starting to find themselves in the same boat, now that modern pop music is mostly made on laptops these days.

I guess that's just how things go. Back in 1821 people were probably lamenting that the kids don't want to play the viola da gamba anymore.
 

Valski

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Everything has it's day. Life is like that. The accordion was a very popular instrument because of its portability and versatility. There seems to be something of a resurgence in playing the accordion but I doubt that it will regain the prominence that it once held. First of all it's quite a large financial investment, secondly it requires a lot of skill and practice to master and thirdly it has a lot of competition from software and modules of various types.
I wouldn't go back to the era when the accordion was so popular because there were so many other things that were far less advanced than today. We were far poorer as a society and didn't have as many conveniences that make our lives easier. Yes, we have lost a lot of things that were fun like live bands at most venues but that also makes us more valuable as older gentlemen and women who play an amazing instrument and can enliven an event.
 

JeffJetton

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And as I've often said (probably here, more than once), most people want to be able to play the sort of music they listen to. When's the last time an accordion showed up in a Spotify Top Ten song?

So if the accordion is to have a real "comeback", in the States, at least, it would require three things IMO:
  1. Availability of decent, low-cost instruments, probably digital.
  2. A wider range of modern/popular sheet music for people to play (this has actually been getting a bit better over the past few years).
  3. A new style of music, or retro revival (remember the '90s swing dance craze?), that becomes somewhat popular and that has accordion as a major part of its "sound". Or at the very least, a couple of big hits that feature accordion--that do for the accordion what "Hey, Soul Sister" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" did for the ukulele.
Unfortunately, each of these sort of depends on the other. You're not going to get cheap instruments until enough demand allows for economies of scale. And you won't get demand unless a lot of people are inspired by popular music to play accordion. And there won't be accordion in popular music until there are more people playing accordion, which won't happen until there are cheap instruments...

On the positive side, it's probably easier for someone to learn accordion that it's been in the past 40-50 years, thanks to YouTube and Zoom, etc.
 

Tom

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And as I've often said (probably here, more than once), most people want to be able to play the sort of music they listen to. When's the last time an accordion showed up in a Spotify Top Ten song?

So if the accordion is to have a real "comeback", in the States, at least, it would require three things IMO:
  1. Availability of decent, low-cost instruments, probably digital.
  2. A wider range of modern/popular sheet music for people to play (this has actually been getting a bit better over the past few years).
  3. A new style of music, or retro revival (remember the '90s swing dance craze?), that becomes somewhat popular and that has accordion as a major part of its "sound". Or at the very least, a couple of big hits that feature accordion--that do for the accordion what "Hey, Soul Sister" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" did for the ukulele.
Unfortunately, each of these sort of depends on the other. You're not going to get cheap instruments until enough demand allows for economies of scale. And you won't get demand unless a lot of people are inspired by popular music to play accordion. And there won't be accordion in popular music until there are more people playing accordion, which won't happen until there are cheap instruments...

On the positive side, it's probably easier for someone to learn accordion that it's been in the past 40-50 years, thanks to YouTube and Zoom, etc.
They Might be Giants? Although an old band, still pretty popular among the youts in the US. Probably not top ten, though, I don't know. All your points are well taken.
 

Valski

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And as I've often said (probably here, more than once), most people want to be able to play the sort of music they listen to. When's the last time an accordion showed up in a Spotify Top Ten song?

So if the accordion is to have a real "comeback", in the States, at least, it would require three things IMO:
  1. Availability of decent, low-cost instruments, probably digital.
  2. A wider range of modern/popular sheet music for people to play (this has actually been getting a bit better over the past few years).
  3. A new style of music, or retro revival (remember the '90s swing dance craze?), that becomes somewhat popular and that has accordion as a major part of its "sound". Or at the very least, a couple of big hits that feature accordion--that do for the accordion what "Hey, Soul Sister" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" did for the ukulele.
Unfortunately, each of these sort of depends on the other. You're not going to get cheap instruments until enough demand allows for economies of scale. And you won't get demand unless a lot of people are inspired by popular music to play accordion. And there won't be accordion in popular music until there are more people playing accordion, which won't happen until there are cheap instruments...

On the positive side, it's probably easier for someone to learn accordion that it's been in the past 40-50 years, thanks to YouTube and Zoom, etc.


Well said Jeff,

These days music seems to be heavily electronic and that limits what can be played on the accordion. I have found publishers of sheet music that can be played on accordion however it's specifically ethnic music but not folk. Prior to my discovery it was a case of trying to adapt a piano score to the accordion which can be tedious but there are also lead sheets with guitar chords that can be made to work.

There are still a lot popular songs that can be played but it's not easily found in songbooks like "50 Popular Songs for Accordion " and we just have to work harder to create our own songbooks. I guess that this is a project to fill our golden years.
 

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Actually, there has been recent trend in this regard. There are several current and recent groups that have featured accordion - Decemberists, The Gourds, Gogol Bordello; popular movies like Amelie, and Everything is Illuminated have featured accordion music. New music by Pauline Oliveros, Guy Klucevsek.. All have contributed to reviving the accordion sound in popular culture and reimagining the instrument in new forms.
 

JeffJetton

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Actually, there has been recent trend in this regard. There are several current and recent groups that have featured accordion - Decemberists, The Gourds, Gogol Bordello; popular movies like Amelie, and Everything is Illuminated have featured accordion music. New music by Pauline Oliveros, Guy Klucevsek.. All have contributed to reviving the accordion sound in popular culture and reimagining the instrument in new forms.

All are lovely developments, certainly, but still somewhat "fringe". Note that your average young music consumer has likely never heard of any of those artists and was born after Amelie (and maybe even Everything is Illuminated) came out!
 

Tom

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All are lovely developments, certainly, but still somewhat "fringe". Note that your average young music consumer has likely never heard of any of those artists and was born after Amelie (and maybe even Everything is Illuminated) came out!
Again, gotta go to Brazil, Italy, Texas or Louisiana where no resurgence needed as far as I can make out.
 

cat

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Yes, that's the kind of accordion music I like too. Taj Mahal said, when he heard cajun box, that it was the first time he heard an accordion make a sound that he liked.
 

cat

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All are lovely developments, certainly, but still somewhat "fringe". Note that your average young music consumer has likely never heard of any of those artists and was born after Amelie (and maybe even Everything is Illuminated) came out!

Ya, I'm just responding to some of your points ("A new style of music, or retro revival (remember the '90s swing dance craze?), that becomes somewhat popular and that has accordion as a major part of its "sound". Or at the very least, a couple of big hits that feature accordion.")
 
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Ffingers

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All are lovely developments, certainly, but still somewhat "fringe". Note that your average young music consumer has likely never heard of any of those artists and was born after Amelie (and maybe even Everything is Illuminated) came out!
Most of the genuine musical talent has always been on the 'fringe' where commercial interests are involved. Popularity is rarely an indication of quality, though it does occasionally happen.
And being young does not qualify as a determinant of good taste, either; rather of undiscriminating tribalism in many cases.
 

JeffJetton

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Most of the genuine musical talent has always been on the 'fringe' where commercial interests are involved. Popularity is rarely an indication of quality, though it does occasionally happen.
And being young does not qualify as a determinant of good taste, either; rather of undiscriminating tribalism in many cases.

Agreed on all points. I'm just saying that it's unlikely for accordion to regain the popularity it once had in the US without it being used in some sort of semi-mainstream music enjoyed by a critical mass of pop music consumers.
 
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