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Music for accordion is often written with a single bar accompanied by chord symbols. Music written specifically for the accordion capitalizes the basses and lowercase the chords (c, am, d7, gdim). In MusiCAD you can set the chord notation system to accordion.


Many accordions, especially the larger ones, have several so-called 'registers', buttons that usually just above the keyboard choose how the accordion will sound. The possibilities are determined by the number of 'reed-sets' in an accordion. A 1-course accordion has 1 set of reeds and therefore no options for adjusting the sound. A two-chorus accordion has two reed sets and therefore three possibilities: the separate reed sets, and the combination of both. The most common accordion contains usually three reed sets: two 8-foot reed sets, 1 set a few Hz too high for a vibrating sound and a 16-foot set (an octave lower), usually with 5 register buttons (stops):

8' Accordionstops clarinet.svg,      16' Accordionstops bassoon.svg,       8'+16' Accordionstops bandoneon.svg,       8'+8' Accordionstops violin symmetrical.svg       8'+8'+16' Accordionstops accordion symmetrical 01.svg

A key on the discant of an accordion will set one or more 'reeds' in motion. The dimensions of the reed determine the pitch. Just like a church organ (an accordion is sometimes also named a belly organ), the name of the stops is indicated in feet, while in the case of an organ it is a measure of the length of the organ pipes. The larger accordions (4-reed-seet, 120 bass) are often equipped with at least a 4-foot, two (or sometimes three) 8-foot, and a 16-foot register. The double (or triple in musette accordions) 8 foot registers are usually not tuned equally, which creates a beat.


To indicate which register should be used, use the symbols shown here from the accordion menu <Ctrl-Shift-A> The position, size, color, etc. of the accordion registers can be set under [Options|Appearance|Accordion stops].

The first three symbols represent 4-foot (highest), 8-foot and 16-foot (lowest) register respectively. The others for combinations of 4, 8 and 16 foot reed blocks.

Accordion registers
symbol name corn tight/floating
Accordionstops piccolo.svg piccolo 4′ tight
Accordionstops clarinet.svg clarinet 8′ tight
Accordionstops bassoon.svg bassoon 16′ tight
Accordionstops oboe.svg oboe 4′ + 8′ tight
Accordionstops organ.svg organ 4′ + 16′ tight
Accordionstops bandoneon.svg bandoneon 8′ + 16′ tight
Accordionstops harmonium.svg harmonium 4′ + 8′ + 16′ tight
Accordionstops violin symmetrical.svg violin 8′ + 8′ floating
Accordionstops musette symmetrical.svg musette 4′ + 8′ + 8′ floating
Accordionstops musette authentic.svg musette 8′ + 8′ + 8′ strongly floating
Accordionstops accordion symmetrical 01.svg accordion 8′ + 8′ + 16′ floating
Accordionstops master.svg master 4′ + 8′ + 8′ + 16′ floating


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