Compiled by Jeroen Nijhof.
Please let me know if you find any errors, or if you know of a link that should be included!

The Accordion In Other Arts

Movies

  • Maggie Martin has collected a list of Squeezeboxes on the Silver Screen
  • On a related subject, the House of Musical Traditions has a page about squeezeboxes on the tube (in commercials)
  • You'll find quite a few movies if you
    in the Internet Movies database. There are a few accordeon or accordion players as well, a few female accordion players, and there is one melodeon player credited. Or you could look for Astor Piazzolla.

  • Accordion Joe is a short animation from 1929, directed by Dave Fleischer
  • El Acordeón del diablo is a documentary by Stefan Schwietert about the Colombian accordion player Pacho Rada, who was fictionalised as Francisco El Hombre in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • El Alma de bandoneón (The Soul of the Bandoneon) is a 1935 tango film from Argentina, directed by Mario Soffici.

  • Uli Aumüller's documentary The art of seduction: Teodoro Anzellotti's accordion
  • The accordion features in at least two of movies of Nikita Mikhalkov (The composer for both is Edward Artemyev, I guess he has something to do with it). In `Urga' (Close to Eden), according to a Review by Edwin Jahiel, the Mongol's daughter plays Paso Dobles; the soundtrack includes "Les Collines de Mandchourie" played by Richard Galliano. In the Irish pub in Groningen, this tune is known as Waltzin' to Mongolia. And `Utomlionie Solntsem' (Burnt by the Sun) begins and ends with a scene of two people dancing to the music of a single accordionist (And besides, one of the Young Pioneers plays accordion).
  • Vernel Bagneris played the accordion man in Herbert Ross'Pennies From Heaven (1982)

  • In Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips) the main character, played by Licia Maglietta, starts a new life in Venice after being left behind on a coach trip -- amongst others she picks up the accordion again. Licia Maglietta actually plays the accordion in the movie (amongst ohters some Lars Hollmer tunes).
  • Theres a 1985 Russian movie named Chelovek s akkordeonom, Man with an Accordion, directed by Nikolai Dostal. Aleksandr Goldshtein
  • Narmbetov's Childhood of an accordionist (Kazakhstan, 1994) ran at last year's Annual Rivertown International Film Festival in Minneapolis MN

  • The Dark Backward. Adam Rifkin, USA, 1991. A man pursues stand-up comedy encouraged by his fellow garbage man. Though his friend, who accompanies him on accordion, continues to tell him how great he is, he actually stinks. When the "comedian" grows a third arm out of his back, the friend uses this twist to get him signed up with a sleazy talent agent, and it begins to look like his career is on the move, even though his girlfriend has left him.
  • Angus Lyon was NAO British champion by the time he was 13, and turned professional in 1999. He has since recorded a solo CD, "the Long Road", and a second CD, "Simple Tricks" with fiddler Ruaridh Campbell. He has also recorded and performed with the likes of Yusuf Islam and Maartin Alcock. And He played on the sound track of the ITV Series "Distant Shores" -- and appeared in two episodes of the second series. Apparently the on screen band was called "Curnal Salts and the most excellent Budge Bothers"...
  • Shirly Evans plays some accordion in the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour". But "Shirley's wild accordion" (Lennon--McCartney), that was recorded for that film on 12 October 1967 by Shirley Evans, Reg Wale, Paul and Ringo, was one of the Songs the Beatles Didn't Do: it wasn't used.

  • Garmon. Igor Savchenko, Soviet Union, 1934. Also known as 'Accordion'. Music by Sergei Pototzky.
  • Jane Milroy: Geometria. 3:48 minutes, 1992.
  • 17 Hippies -- neither 17 nor hippies -- is an anarchic world music band from Berlin, with Kruisko and Kiki Sauer on accordion. They feature in movie Halbe Treppe

  • Harmonika is a 1937 Czech film, directed by Ladislav Brom
  • Colin Hay (from Men at Work) plays an accordion player in Cosi and a wheel-chaired accordion player one in Heaven's Burning
  • Eddie Hession has performed on many film tracks, including Lord of the Rings, Evita, Shrek and Captain Corelli's Mandolin (where he also makes a screen appearance).

  • Movies with keyword "accordion" on IMDB
  • Janine Erickson plays the accordion girl in Hal Hartley's Kid (1984, 33 min.). And Jeff Howard played the song for Hartley's Theory of Achievement on accordion.
  • Kornblumenblau. Leszek Wosiewicz, Poland, 1988. Based on a true story of a Polish musician who survived the concentration camp only because he could play on the accordion the title melody.

  • The soundtrack of The Last Emperor (1987) contains a track by the Red Guard Accordion Band
  • Lucy Liu of Ally McBeal plays accordion (as does fellow cast member Greg Germann). She plays accordion in Charlie's Angels (in a silly Tyroler outfit). Frank Marocco appears in that film as well.
  • Frank Marocco is a jazz accordionist who has played on hundreds of movie soundtracks, TV shows, etc. -- If you hear an accordion in any Hollywood movie from the last umpteen years, it's probably him. Karthause Schmülling has published a book about him with his work in films, accompanied by 3 CDs: Frank Marocco - Jazz on the Road (available from musicforaccordions.com)

  • Music from the Inside Out is a documentary about musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra. According to the New York Times review, and according to a comment on the Internet Movie Database page for Music from the Inside Out, one of the best bits is a lengthy shot where orchestra members listen to a street musician in Cologne playing Vivaldi's "Four Seasons". You can see -- but not hear --the accordionst 1:55/1:57 into the trailer (see the first link above). Anyone know who he is? Someone inquired to me about that.
  • Oy, vy gusi (in Dutch) (Farewell, Geese). Lidia Bobrova, Russia, 1991
  • Polka (in Dutch) (Maarten Rens, the Netherlands, 1986) was recorded as a film project in the department of Cultural Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam. It tracks the history of the polka in Austria, Mexico and Texas

  • According to a review of Il Postino the movie is much enhanced by a music score that abounds with South America tangos, and by the use of the bandoneon
  • The Princess Comes Across. William K. Howard, USA, 1936. In a scheme to get her foot in the door in Hollywood, a Brooklyn girl does a Garbo imitation and poses as a Swedish princess, coming to America in grand style on a cruise ship. But when implicated in a murder she turns to a fellow passenger, concertina-playing bandleader King Mantell (Fred MacMurray), to protect her freedom and her secrets from the detectives.
  • In Astrid Lindgren's Rasmus på luffen (in Swedish) (Rasmus and the Tramp), Oskar, the tramp, plays an accordion. I am not too sure about the book or the 1955 film, but in the 1981 Rasmus på luffen (in Swedish) film Oskar plays a diatonic accordion. In the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park he plays a piano accordion, though.

  • Alicia Rose is a maniacal character actress that has also been known to wield a strangely odd accordion as "Miss Murgatroid."
  • Sátántangó (in Dutch) Béla Tarr, Hungary, 1994. "a small girl sees throug a window of an inn, how adults perform a wild erotic dance to the music of a mad accordion, after which she poisons her cat first and herself next. This scene takes an hour; the total movie takes seven hours, and the reviewer never wants to see it again."
  • Schultze gets the blues is a film by Michael Schor, about an amateur accordionist from Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, who after his early retirement goes to Louisiana (and back again) after discovering Cajun and swamp music. The film won Michael Schor a Special Director's Award at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.

  • In A Shout from the Streets (2000), loosely inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses, Leo and Steve encounter their friend Buck, -- an accordion repairman.
  • Mary Steenburgen plays the accordion in The Grass Harp (and in real life)
  • Jimmy Stewart has a museum devoted to him in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Some think that the accordion, which Jimmy picked up under the guidance of a local barber, helped him press open the door to show business. In Western Night Passage he plays a traveling accordion player.

  • Gaelic Storm from Santa Monica, California, with Patric Murphy on vocals, spoons, harmonica and (piano) accordion. They can be heard on the soundtrack of the "Titanic" movie.
  • Los Viajes del Viento (the Wind Journeys) is a movie from Colombia about an accordionist who travels a long distance to return his instrument to his elderly teacher. It's got a lot of vallenato music in! The trailer for Los Viajes del Viento. The IMDB page for Los Viajes del Viento, and a Wikipedia article for The Wind Journeys.
  • Zwei Wochen Argentinien (in German) (Two weeks Argentina) is a short movie (35 minutes) about a worker in an accordion factory that is about to go bust. He desperately tries to keep it open for another two weeks, because he wants to get custody over his daughter. It was director Holger Haase's exam work, filmed in 2002, and fellow employees in the factory are played by members of Akkordeon-Orchester 1980 Dinslaken/Oberhausen and Akkordeonorchester Musikfreunde Wülfrath.

Paintings and Sculptures

Literary Mentions

Poems

  • Gustaf Fröding: Gitarr och dragharmonika (in Swedish) (title poem of his debut volume).
  • Jennifer Hairfield: Muncheon Street Music
  • Dutch professional busker Thijs Hanrath has played in the Netherlands, all over Southern Europe and in Latin America. On his web site he has got amongst others pictures of accordionists/buskers, MP3 files for some 40 tunes, and some accordion poems

  • Tiszai csönd, (in Hungarian) a dreamy poem by Gyula Juhász about the river Tiszai, speaking of people listening to an accordion played on a (far away) ship
  • Erik Axel Karlfeldt: Vårskuggor, (in Swedish) from the collection "Hösthorn" (1927)
  • Rudyard Kipling (1835-1936), from Cells from the collection "Verses 1889-1896":
    I've a head like a concertina, I've a tongue like a button-stick,
    I've a mouth like an old potato, and I'm more than a little sick,
    But I've had my fun o' the Corp'ral's Guard; I've made the cinders fly,
    And I'm here in the Clink for a thundering drink and blacking the Corporal's eye.

    Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Third Edition, published by the Oxford University Press, 1979. (thanks, Wendy)

  • Phoebe's accordion poetry page, with poems by Don Larson, Dan Bennet and Jack
  • Poems by Marcelijus Martinaitis, amongst which "Severiute's lament" with the lines The little hunchback / who died the year before last / played the accordion for me.
  • Paul van Ostaijen: Rijke armoede van de trekharmonika (in Dutch)

  • The accordion occurs in three of Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems, in 'Happiness' (as the punch line!), in 'Fellow Citizens', and in 'Back Yard'
  • Poet Robert Service played the accordion and English concertina. His "Twenty bath tub ballads", published 1939, have sheet music for piano, voice, ukelele, and accordion. His poem Accordion
  • Garmon' (in Russian) is one of a series of poems by Alexandr Trifonowich Tvardovsky (1910-1971) about a fictional 2nd World War soldier, Vasily Tyorkin. The whole book, Vasily Tyorkin (in Russian) can be found in a number of places as well.

  • Willem Wilmink (1936 - 2003): (in Dutch) He played the accordion as well, by the way.
  • In GRIST On-Line #2 : The Anarchist Guidebook by Pete Winslow. play the accordian badly on street corners
  • Poems by Algirdas Zolynas among which "Considering the accordion" http://www.efn.org/~valdas/zolynas.html

Novels

  • The Accordionist's Son is a novel by Basque author Bernardo Atxaga
  • In L. Frank Baum's Road to Oz: "I hope your Princess Ozma won't invite him to her birthday celebration," remarked the shaggy man; "for the fellow's music would drive her guests all crazy. You've given me an idea, Button-Bright; I believe the musicker must have swallowed an accordeon in his youth." "What's 'cordeon?" asked the boy. "It's a kind of pleating," explained Dorothy, putting down the dog.
  • Lyndie Chou Bella, Bonbon and the Little Sparrow, a children's book about two accordion playing mice.

  • Wilkie Collins was a Victorian novelist, and close friend of Charles Dickens. The concertina occurs in at least two of his novels: in Armadale, and in The Woman in White. As for the latter, Allan W. Atlas: Collins, Count Fosco, and the Concertina, Wilkie Collins Society Journal, new ser., 2 (1999), 56-60, discusses the "model" (Giulio Regondi) that might have led Collins to place the (English) concertina in the hands of Count Fosco. Both novels are also discussed in the article Wilkie Collins and music by Philip Scowcroft.
  • In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness :Imagine the feelings of a commander of a fine -- what d'ye call 'em? -- trireme in the Mediterranean, [...], a kind of ship about as rigid as a concertina [...]
  • In Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of the "Narcis": Archie was the owner of the concertina; but after a couple of stinging lectures from Jimmy he refused to play any more. He said: "Yon's an uncanny joker. I dinna ken what's wrang wi' him, but there's something verra wrang, verra wrang. It's nae manner of use asking me. I won't play." Our singers became mute because Jimmy was a dying man.

  • In chapter 5 of Rev. Richard Cordley's Pioneer Days in Kansas, that deals with the events of 1856-1865, it is said of the Superintendent of Missions, Rev. Louis Bodwell, that When alone in the house he would go to the melodeon and sing some rare and tender songs in a mood which brought tears to those who chanced to hear.
  • In Charles Dickens' Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices: Sometimes the young men rallied the young women, as in the case of a group gathered round an accordion-player
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Part one, in chapters one and two): There were few people at the time in the tavern. Besides the two drunken men he had met on the steps, a group consisting of about five men and a girl with a concertina had gone out at the same time., and At that moment a whole party of revellers already drunk came in from the street, and the sounds of a hired concertina and the cracked piping voice of a child of seven singing "The Hamlet" were heard in the entry.

  • From a (vanished) collection of detective reviews: the central novella of `Hollywood Nocturnes' by James Ellroy is "Dick Contino's Blues"
  • The late Victorian English author George Gissing referenced the concertina regularly, amonst others in Lou and Liz (1893), A Bank-holiday outing (1889) and The House of Cobwebs (1906). The essay "George Gissing's Concertina," by Allan Atlas, published in the Journal of Musicology, 17 (1999), 304-18, examines Gissing's many references to the concertina in some detail.
  • Grandpa's Magical Accordion is a children's book (age 5-9) by Jessica Cherie Errico. While Grandpa plays his accordion, Tommy and Emma visit the countries in Grandpa's songs by looking at the special "Book of Places." It comes with a music CD with story narration and such classics as "Roll Out The Barrel", "Cielito Lindo" etc., played by Tony Errico.

  • Quoting Dina Bray from rec.music.makers.squeezebox :Several months ago I [=Dina] mentioned reading that Thomas Hardy, British novelist and poet, had played the accordion in his youth. I am now reading his biography written by his widow, Florence Hardy, who says: "His [Hardy's] earliest recollection was of receiving from his father the gift of a small accordion. He knew that he was but four years old at this time, as his name and the date were written by his father upon the toy: Thomas Hardy, 1844."
  • There is a Robert Heinlein novel called 'Farmer in the Sky', in which a young space colonist is allowed to bring his accordion to Ganymede even though it exceeded weight limit for personal effects because of it being classified as a cultural asset by a colonization board after he plays several songs to them. His encore was a song called 'The Green Hills of Earth'. (quoting Michael Mann)
  • In James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (chapter 4): Towards Findlater's church a quartet of young men were striding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping to the agile melody of their leader's concertina.

  • In James Joyce's [sp?] Ulysses [15] : ... while in the boreens and green lanes the colleens with their swains strolled what times the strains of the organtoned melodeon Britanniametalbound with four acting stops and twelvefold bellows, a sacrifice, greatest bargain ever .... And (from a different now disfunctioning site): In Lionel Marks's antique saleshop window haughty Henry Lionel Leopold dear Henry Flower earnestly Mr Leopold Bloom envisaged battered candlesticks melodeon oozing maggoty blowbags. Bargain: six bob. Might learn to play. Cheap. Let her pass.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous Dan is wrestling with a gaudy, gilt-stopped accordion, whose tunes went up and down with the pitching of the "We're Here"
  • In Astrid Lindgren's Rasmus på luffen (in Swedish) (Rasmus and the Tramp), Oskar, the tramp, plays an accordion. I am not too sure about the book or the 1955 film, but in the 1981 Rasmus på luffen (in Swedish) film Oskar plays a diatonic accordion. In the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park he plays a piano accordion, though.

  • In Jack London's John Barleycorn the young fellows drank and danced with the girls to the strains of an accordion. To me that music was divine. I had never heard anything so glorious.
  • Walter Macken has written the novel 'The Bogman' (1952), in which Cahal Kinsella, the Black Bastard, plays the Melodeon and keeps his neighbors at mercy with his quick and stinging wit.
  • For more literary references to the accordion, you might want to check out Gabriel Garcia Marquez's ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE in which several characters are accordionists. The accordion is not only mentioned in passing references, it has a significant presence in the novel. (thanks to Ezra Ball)

  • Accordion Crimes, by E. Annie Proulx (1995 or 1996), follows an accordion from its creation in Italy through various owners in America. It has a handsome picture/illustration of an old 2-row Hohner on the cover. Acknowledgements include: Raynald Ouellette and Marcel Messevier, French Canadian players and makers; Bob Snope of the Button Box, for technical editing; and C&S editor Joel Cowan, described as "witty and peripatetic" (true and true). (quoting Michael Reid) To which Ted Reichman added: I was recently informed by Guy Klucevsek that he has composed and recorded some original solo accordion music for an audio version of this book read by the author. His music traces the plot outline. Graeme Smith published an essay on Annie Proulx's Musicology, in Australian Humanities Review.
  • Hoopi Shoopi Donnaby by Suzanne Strempek Shea (Pocket books, 1996) is a "heartwarming tale about a Polish-American girl growing up in Western Massachusetts. Donna is a Polish-American Dorothy, whose journey to Oz ends when she also realizes there's no place like home. For this Dorothy, however, the ruby slippers come in the form of an old accordion, and "Follow the Yellow brick Road" is played to a Polka beat...". Apparently the heroine in the novel forms an all-girl polka band, encouraged by her father." (as told by Henry Doktorski on rec.music.makers.squeezebox)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Island Nights' Entertainments: Case would have passed muster in a city. [..] He was accomplished too; played the accordion first-rate; and give him a piece of string or a cork or a pack of cards, and he could show you tricks equal to any professional.

  • Mark Twain: a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Chapter 40: They went clothed in steel and equipped with sword and lance and battle-axe, and if they couldn't persuade a person to try a sewing-machine on the installment plan, or a melodeon, or a barbed-wire fence, or a prohibition journal, or any of the other thousand and one things they canvassed for, they removed him and passed on.
  • In his Innocents Abroad, in chapter 2, the melodeon on board of the ship is said to be the best instrument of the kind that could be had in the market, but then in chapter 4: Our music consisted of the well-mixed strains of a melodeon which was a little asthmatic and apt to catch its breath where it ought to come out strong, a clarinet which was a little unreliable on the high keys and rather melancholy on the low ones, and a disreputable accordion that had a leak somewhere and breathed louder than it squawked--a more elegant term does not occur to me just now. And in chapter 10 the flute, the asthmatic melodeon, and the consumptive clarinet cripple `The Star-Spangled Banner'.
  • And in Tom Sawyer Abroad, chapter 5, `Land': The professor had laid in everything a body could want; he couldn't 'a' been better fixed. There wasn't no milk for the coffee, but there was water, and everything else you could want, and a charcoal stove and the fixings for it, and pipes and cigars and matches; and wine and liquor, which warn't in our line; and books, and maps, and charts, and an accordion; and furs, and blankets, and no end of rubbish, like brass beads and brass jewelry, which Tom said was a sure sign that he had an idea of visiting among savages. There was money, too. Yes, the professor was well enough fixed.

  • Williams, Vera B: Something Special for Me 1983. (EASY). Rosa has difficulty choosing a special birthday present to buy with the coins her mother and grandmother have saved, until she hears a man playing beautiful music on an accordion. She also wrote Music, Music For Everyone, in which Rosa overcomes stage fright to play accordion in a dance band and earns money to help take care of her ailing grandmother.
  • The (4 part) on-line novel The Unified Murder Theorem by Jeff Zias, a thriller about an accordion instructor and an accordion that has some strange string-theoretical side effects

Short Stories

Other

  • In Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance, in Act II Scene 2, Claire, the alcoholic sister/sister-in-law of the main couple enters the living room after dinner with her accordion offering to entertain everyone as her contribution to the evening. She actually tries to both torment and distract them with her music. In a 1997 Haymarket production the part was played by Maggie Smith
  • In Computer Life UK July '95, it is noted that `Eric Cantona' is an anagram of `A concertina' (or vice versa).
  • The 1918 Dada manifesto: accordion

  • According to the "Devil's Dictionar" by Ambrose Bierce, the accordion is:
    ACCORDION, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.
  • Gustavus Hindman Miller's 10,000 Dreams Interpreted has a section about the Accordion:

    To dream of hearing the music of an accordion, denotes that you will engage in amusement which will win you from sadness and retrospection. You will by this means be enabled to take up your burden more cheerfully.

    For a young woman to dream that she is playing an accordion, portends that she will win her lover by some sad occurrence; but, notwithstanding which, the same will confer lasting happiness upon her union. If the accordion gets out of tune, she will be saddened by the illness or trouble of her lover.

  • The enormous rant in Monty Python's Travel Agent Sketch includes " ..crisps and the accordionist plays "Maybe its because I'm a Londoner" "

  • From the Quotation Archive :found on the inside of a Pepsi cap: 2,400,000 Americans play the accordian - hopefully not at the same time.