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From Old World to New Shores

From Old World to New Shores

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 From Old World to New Shores
Source:
The Accordion in the Americas
Author(s):
Helena Simonett
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037207.003.0002

This chapter presents a brief history of the accordion, from its experimental beginning in the early nineteenth century to its phenomenal rise as a truly global commodity, emphasizing the social predicament that relegated this instrument to a marginal position within the (educated) musical world. While the accordion at first was an expensive and hence exclusive instrument in upper-class drawing rooms, by the last quarter of the nineteenth century it had spread to the middle and working classes. The accordion of the nineteenth century was a symbol of progress and modernity as well as of mass culture and industrialization. This dichotomy is one of the reasons for the elite's ambivalence towards and uneasiness with the accordion.

Keywords:   accordion, musical instruments, nineteenth century, upper class, working class, middle class

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