How To Read Accordion Sheet Music

The Accordion, which is not considered by many as one of the mainstream wind instruments, may require you to have a thorough understanding of it and of musical notations before you could read its music sheets.  The accordion sheet music’s structure is more specialized compared to the other more popular musical instruments, such as the clarinet, flute, or trumpet. The varieties of accordion that are considered to be more exotic have notations that are instrument-specific.  Other than that, the different styles of this instrument use a similar sheet music. If you want to pursue learning this instrument, particularly reading its sheet music, then the following guidelines may be very helpful to you.

  • Understand instrumental sheet music. If you take a look at accordion and piano sheet music, you will notice that they are both written on musical staffs with similar note structure. These are actually the standard ones.
  • Study your chromatic scale. Most accordions use a diatonic button style. Also, notice that the melody side's buttons are based on the chromatic scale.
  • Move the chord buttons. First, move them up in fifths and in an ascending order. Then, move them down, this time in fourths and in a descending order. The buttons in the chord will let the musician play the chords and at the same time, play the instrument's bass line plus treble line. In accordion music, chords are often written boldly.
  • Take note of the bellow-shakes. Bellow shakes are the accents that are played by shaking the instrument's bellows in order to produce vibrato. Skilled accordionists are instinctive and they usually know the proper timing in shaking the bellows to produce the accurate tone.  Beginners, on the other hand, have lesser experience with this so it is advised that they indicate the bellow-shakes in their sheet music.
  • Modify. If you prefer a concertina style, you can switch notes in the chords that are usually played with buttons. Generally, concertina players are able to make use of violin music without difficulty for melody lines.

Generally, this instrument possesses a unique sound. It may come in different sizes and it may be made of different kinds of materials. Any person who has the passion to learn about will get to learn how to play it and read its sheet music easily, but with time and patience. It is recommended that you first get familiar with the basics, like its parts and how to handle it properly. For a more extensive and detailed guideline on reading accordion sheet music, or understanding musical notations, you can also turn to books.

There are a lot of expert accordion authors who write about the basics, sheet music, and other information that even include diagrams. Of course, it will definitely be more inspirational for you to listen to accordion music while learning how to read the sheet music. You may borrow or purchase CD’s or even go to video streaming sites to look for videos or samples that may just inspire you and make you enjoy learning more.


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