One of the more common folk music instruments around today is the accordion. The accordionist plays this bellow-driven box shaped musical instrument, also known as a squeeze box, by compressing or expanding a bellows while pressing buttons on a keyboard.
Although the instrument is only a few centuries old, it belongs to a group of instruments originally known as harmonika, from the Greek harmonikos, meaning harmonic, musical.
Invented in the early 1800s in Europe (according to reports that suggest it was based upon the concept of a Chinese instrument) its’ ability to make a loud sound made it a popular instrument for dance music. Sometimes known as the ‘one man band’ instrument, it is associated with vaudeville-style folk music, polka, klezmer and Cajun music.
For fun, here are some links to accordions and accordionists that showcase its versatility:
Bulgarian Folk Accordion
Polish American Accordion