Difference Wiki

Concertina vs. Accordion: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 7, 2023
A concertina is a small, hexagonal accordion, while an accordion is larger, with keys and buttons for chords.

Key Differences

A concertina is a free-reed instrument with bellows and buttons, typically hexagonal, played by pushing and pulling the bellows to create music. Accordions are larger, featuring a set of keys like a piano on one side, and buttons for bass and chords on the other, producing music through a similar bellows mechanism.
Concertinas have buttons on both ends, producing different notes when the bellows are pushed or pulled. Accordion players use keys or buttons to play melodies, with the left hand playing chords and bass notes to accompany the melody.
The concertina is known for its use in maritime music, folk, and traditional genres, due to its portable size and distinctive sound. The accordion, with its wider range and volume, is prominent in a variety of music styles, including classical, folk, and pop.
Each concertina button produces one note, and they often have fewer buttons than the number of keys on an accordion, leading to different playing techniques. The accordion’s keyboard allows for a more piano-like approach to melody, while its bass buttons enable more complex accompaniment.
Concertinas are divided into several types, such as the English, Anglo, and Duet, each with a unique layout and sound. Accordions are also varied, including the piano accordion and various button accordions, like the chromatic and diatonic.

Comparison Chart


Typically hexagonal with buttons on each end.
Rectangular, with piano keys or buttons on one side.


Smaller and more portable.
Larger and less portable.

Note Production

Different notes on push and pull of the bellows.
Consistent note whether bellows are pushed or pulled.

Chord Accompaniment

Less common due to button layout.
Chords and bass notes played on the left-hand side.


English, Anglo, and Duet among others.
Piano accordion, chromatic button, and diatonic button among others.

Concertina and Accordion Definitions


A portable free-reed instrument with distinct sound.
Around the campfire, the concertina's melody was soothing.


A keyboard instrument with a set of bellows.
He learned to play the accordion from his grandmother.


A small, bellows-driven musical instrument with buttons.
He played a lively tune on his concertina.


A versatile instrument used in many music genres.
Their band featured an accordion for its unique sound.


A hexagonal squeezebox with bellows and button keys.
She serenaded the crowd with an old concertina.


A bellows-driven instrument with keys and buttons.
The accordion's complex bass system allowed for rich compositions.


An instrument similar to an accordion but smaller.
The sailor's concertina echoed across the deck.


A large musical instrument with piano-like keys.
The accordion added depth to the orchestra's arrangement.


A button accordion with varying notes on push/pull.
The folk dancer moved to the rhythm of the concertina.


An instrument capable of complex chords and melodies.
The street performer captivated passersby with his accordion.


A small instrument with bellows like an accordion but with buttons in place of keys.


A portable wind instrument with a small keyboard and free metal reeds that sound when air is forced past them by pleated bellows operated by the player.


Is the accordion suitable for solo performances?

Yes, its range and capability for chords make it very suitable for solos.

What is a concertina?

A concertina is a small, portable, free-reed instrument with a bellows and buttons.

What is an accordion?

An accordion is a larger, keyboard-based, free-reed instrument with a bellows.

What genres is the concertina commonly used in?

Folk, traditional, and maritime music.

How do the sounds of a concertina and accordion differ?

The concertina has a more piercing, focused sound, while the accordion is fuller and richer.

Which is easier to learn, concertina or accordion?

It varies by individual, but concertinas can be simpler due to fewer buttons.

Can you play chords on a concertina?

Yes, but the chord structures are less intuitive than on an accordion.

Can both instruments play the same music?

They can play similar tunes, but arrangements may differ due to their capabilities.

What genres is the accordion commonly used in?

Classical, folk, pop, and world music.

What is the typical range of an accordion?

Ranges widely, often over five octaves.

Is it easy to find music for the accordion?

Yes, due to its popularity in various genres.

Are the playing techniques for concertina and accordion similar?

There are similarities, but each requires specific techniques due to layout differences.

Do concertinas come in different keys?

Yes, concertinas can be tuned to various keys depending on their type.

What is the typical range of a concertina?

It varies, but generally a few octaves.

Are concertinas and accordions diatonic or chromatic?

Concertinas can be both, while accordions are primarily chromatic.

What's the price range for a beginner concertina?

From a hundred to several hundred dollars.

What's the price range for a beginner accordion?

From several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Is it easy to find music for the concertina?

Yes, especially for traditional and folk tunes.

Do accordions come in different sizes?

Yes, from small student models to full-sized professional ones.

Can the accordion accommodate more complex music than the concertina?

Generally yes, due to its larger range and chord capabilities.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons