Accordion History


The accordion first appeared in the 1873, the year of the proclamation of the First Republic. From 1880-1890, the first generation of accordionists came from the rural populations of the Pryenees. Locals who had worked in France brought the accordion back with them. In this region, the accordion was played solo, or with a violin or percussion instruments.

The other region where the accordion first became popular was on the Mediterranean coast, where it was brought in by sailors. Although this region produced accordion players, makers were from Valence and Barcelona. The most well known brand was El Cid. They had a two-tiered model, with 8 bass notes. Foreign brands such as Paolo Soprani, Dedenis, Maugein Frères, Hohner and Solo were also widely sold.

During the 1940's interest in the diatonic accordion died, in favour of the chromatic accordion. This could be because of the popularity of it in Central Europe. It was often played on the radio, and literature was more readily available.

The accordion typical of the Basque region of Spain is called a "trikitixa". This is a diatonic, with two rows, 23 buttons and twelve bass notes. The most common brand is "Larrinaga". This was widely used between 1920-1970.

Arthur Blasco was the originator of the instrument's revival in the mid 1970's. In 1975, he made contact with old friends and toured the country collecting and restoring old instruments. One year later he founded the "Arséguel I els accordionistes del Pireneu" association, which organised the first accordion meet called "Trobada amb els Accordionistes del Pireneu". This association organises the teaching of all traditional Catalonian accordion playing, and was responsible for the creation of the Museum of the Diatonic Accordion which opened in 1988.

In the 1980's there was a renewed interest in the diatonic accordion. One of the main accordionists involved with this was Kepa Junkera Urraza (b 1966). In 1980, he changed from the piano accordion to the chromatic accordion. In 1983, he won the largest accordion contest in Spain. Joxan Goikoetxea (b 1967), a piano accordionist, also won numerous prizes and trophies during the 1980's.

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