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What's So Funny About Accordions?

By June 26, 2006

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Seriously, what's the joke? I'm just not getting it. Evidently, when about 95% of Americans hear the word "accordion", they giggle. Accordions are silly, they say, and they're used to play goofy music. Men with too-short pants held up by striped suspenders play accordions, apparently.

When I think of accordions, I think of fiestas in the desert, where dark-eyed ladies swirl in the arms of gallant gentlemen, powered by just enough tequila to make your eyes bright. I envision Paris circa 1920, where artists and models and expatriates roam the streets to the soundtrack of musette. I dream of rainy Irish afternoons, stuck in the pub with nowhere else to go; steamy Louisiana dancehalls where the music doesn't stop until the sun's nearly up; underground tango clubs in Miami... in none of these fantasies do highwater-wearing nerds pop up.

I think the accordion is, in a word, enchanting, and it's one of my favorite instruments (I even attempt to play it now and again). However, in the spirit of self-deprecation, I'd love for you all to share your best accordion jokes, because I know there are some great ones out there. Here's my contribution: What do you call ten accordions at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.


June 26, 2006 at 9:35 pm
(1) worldmusic says:

What is a bassoon good for? Kindling an accordion fire.

June 28, 2006 at 11:25 am
(2) Simeon says:

Disregard that last comment! Accordions are lively and fun instruments. Check out this playlist of accordion music from around the world!


June 28, 2006 at 12:55 pm
(3) Megan Romer says:

It’s all in good fun… we’re just joking around. But check out Simeon’s link, everyone! It’s really cool!

June 30, 2006 at 6:20 am
(4) Dave says:

Something you’ll never hear outside a recording studio: “Hey! Somebody go tell the accordion player to move his Porsche!”

June 30, 2006 at 9:32 am
(5) Marc says:

If you doubt the musical value of the accordion, listen to the subdudes ( http://www.subdudes.com ). This is some serious acoustic swamp-funk!

June 30, 2006 at 9:34 am
(6) Aoibheann Ní Shúilleabháin says:

‘The Far Side’ had a comic strip (4th October 2002 calender), which was split in 2. The first part had an angel saying: “Welcome to heaven..Here’s you harp.” The second part had a devil saying: “Welcome to hell…Here’s your accordion.” I keep it in my accordion case!

June 30, 2006 at 9:43 am
(7) Mark says:

How about including the accordian’s cousin, the bandeon, the essential instrument of Argentine tango? And what about a list of accordion recordings?

June 30, 2006 at 10:30 am
(8) Megan Romer says:

Profiles of the bandoneon and the concertina are coming soon, I promise. As far as accordion recordings… where would I start? I suppose by genre. That’ll come too. What are your favorite accordion recordings?

June 30, 2006 at 11:36 am
(9) L. Roly Jobin. says:

I’ve noticed that people who dislike accordion music also hate “Lady Of Spain”. I agree. It’s like hearing a well trained, eighth grade music student who’s specialty is always playing “Chopsticks”.
On the other hand, the instrument can
entrance you when it is played by a very serious musician. The bandeon is simply mesmerizing and the musette can
stimulate the most beautiful thoughts and feelings.
No ! The accordion is not funny, unless you want it to be.
Yours, musically,
L. Roly Jobin.

June 30, 2006 at 4:48 pm
(10) Chris says:

Do you know what distinguishes a real gentleman? One who can play the accordion but who will refrain from it. :)
Actually I think accordion can be quite cool. Am I getting old? ;)

June 30, 2006 at 6:03 pm
(11) worldmusic says:

Not at all! I’m in my mid-20s, and I like to think of myself as reasonably cool… and I play the darned thing! Any other accordion players here, other than me and Aoibheann? What kind of accordion do you play? I play a single-row Cajun-style (4 reed banks) diatonic accordion. I’d like to play triple-row, but I’m pretty tiny and I just find them to be wayyyy too heavy.

July 1, 2006 at 8:46 am
(12) Steve G. says:

Two words: Flaco Jimenez. He is the great Mexican Nortena/TexMex musician. He has played with the Texas Tornadoes with Freddy Fender and Doug Sahm, recorded with Ry Cooder, Dwight Yoakam and many others as well as a solo artist in his own right. Try it; you’ll like it!

July 1, 2006 at 9:21 am
(13) worldmusic says:

Flaco is one of my all-time favorites!!! My sweetheart saw him live a few times, I’m so wildly jealous. One interesting thing about conjunto/tejano/norteno/tex-mex accordion players is that they often play a three-row diatonic accordion, but they take the reed bank out of the bass/chord side of the box to make it more lightweight, and because that part of the instrument isn’t used in those genres. Has anyone done this? I’m curious as to how much it actually lightens the thing, because the reason I have a hard time playing one (standing up, anyway) is because it’s just too darn heavy.

July 2, 2006 at 2:05 am
(14) Lennie Kagan says:

My favorite accordion joke:

What’s the definition of perfect pitch?

When an accordion is thrown off a roof and hits a banjo player!

Ha – two in one shot.

Happy squeezing (and pulling),

Lennie Kagan

July 16, 2006 at 11:40 pm
(15) worldmusic says:

I found a funny web page of accordion jokes: http://www.accordions.com/index/fun/jok/fun_jok.shtml

Remember, everyone, it’s all in good fun! I love accordions!

August 23, 2007 at 12:22 am
(16) Kitten says:

Remember the first time you watched “Scent of a Woman”. Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar’s entrancing dance of the tango…WITHOUT an accordion playing! Impossible! Let’s give the accordion the credit that it deserves.

August 23, 2007 at 8:54 am
(17) Dennis R. says:

The accordion is the greatest of all musical instruments. One can play everything from classical to rock on it. The reason it is made fun of so much is that other instrument players are jealous of all the attention a good accordion player gets.

August 23, 2007 at 2:56 pm
(18) Megan Romer says:

I agree with you both – I remain, forever and truly, a huge fan of the accordion.

May 19, 2008 at 9:48 pm
(19) Rich Starr says:

No money? Don’t worry! Play an accordion and you’ll make ends meet!!!

May 25, 2008 at 11:47 pm
(20) nancie carmichael says:

Q. What’s the difference between brain surgery and accordion music?
A. With brain surgery, you get anesthesia.
I’m playing a “gig” this week, using my accordion for a couple of numbers.

April 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm
(21) Yon says:

Good evening, Happy April Fool’s Day!!

Three ladies were discussing the travails of getting older. One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, while standing in front of the refrigerator, and I can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich.”
The second lady chimed in with, “Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down.”
The third one responded, “Well, ladies, I’m glad I don’t have that problem. Knock on wood,” as she rapped her knuckles on the table, and then said, “That must be the door, I’ll get it!”

Happy April Fool’s Day!

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