Skip to content

Accordion Revolution: The Annotated Edition

December 5, 2019

Working on Accordion Revolution, I struggled with two contradictory goals: I wanted an enjoyable, readable book for music fans—whether accordionists or not. But I also hoped to include detailed annotations to inspire future research. The idea of splitting off popular and academic versions of the book, each sharing the same main text, but one with many more footnotes and annotations, sprang from this conflict.

Accordion Revolution: A People’s History of the Accordion in North America, The Annotated Edition! Available now in cute USB 🪗 version! 700 pages, 1900 amusing footnotes, 1200 item bibliography. 🤓 Flash drive includes the Annotated PDF and the illustrated polished ebook too. Or here is a link to download a free copy of just the plaintext PDF. 📚

The free PDF may migrate to the Internet Archive, but as of Jan 31, 2021 it is available at:

Here’s how the versions compare:

As an attempt to make this webpage assailable for those with visual impairments, the (long) text from the following screenshots of the book’s editorial process should be downloadable here (as of Dec 2020). It’s important that the complete annotated version of the book be accessible as possible, so let me know if there are better ways for me to do that. The ebook version with no footnotes should be accessible to screen readers. (Contact me for a copy if you cannot access it otherwise.) The massive annotated edition has 2,000 footnotes, which can be a barrier. There may be ways to make that more accessible, but I’m not sure.

What’s the difference between the versions?

The print book is well illustrated and laid out, at about 400 pgs long. The ebook contains the print version’s text and looks nice with the same classy images:

Nicely designed and laid out page 317 from the print book of Accordion Revolution. "Another America: Folk Music's Missing Midwest." (See the end of this post for link to .doc version.)
Nicely designed and formatted text as it appears in the print book.

The Annotated Edition of the book contains 300+ pages of footnotes, and a complete, detailed bibliography. It doesn’t have the illustrations, which saved on re-licensing photos and illustrations (and is an excuse to check out the fancy print version). The big footnote-o-rama edition is available under a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives) license for non-profit and academic use with citation:

Unformatted version of Accordion Revolution. The page numbers are different for different versions, but it show much of the same section, "Another America: Folk Music's Missing Midwest." (See the end of this post for link to .doc version of this page.)
Unformatted “ugly” PDF text produced by Word with many footnotes. You can see my conflict. If I’d included 200 pages worth of notes, few people would buy or read a 699 pg brick for fun, even if they liked accordions. But the notes do add many layers of detail and bread-crumbs to follow for Further Research. I figured “I documented it, might as well figure out a way to share it.” The Annotated Edition also has a fairly obsessive list of sources, with 1,200 works-cited instead of the print edition’s “Selected Bibliography” of about 100.

If you have questions about the Annotated Edition, or if you have other ideas about innovative ways to combine popular and academic writing, please contact me here, or in the comments below. I’m also reachable at @AccordionBruce on twitter.

I hope I figured out the right Creative Commons license for the free version to be available, while keeping the commercial one in print. If anybody has thoughts on that, I’d love to hear from you.

The key for creating both popular and academic editions was figuring out how to output the same text with and without footnotes. This seems like a simple proposition, but was challenging with the combination of software I was using. (Updating and correcting multiple editions has been an additional project, but kind of fun for detail-brains.)

For those still reading, below is an image of how the book appeared as I wrote it in Scrivener (see applause for that app below)*, which allows for in-line annotations and non-printing comments. I organized references in Bookends and stored resources (mostly digitally searchable pdf research documents) in DevonThink. It’s a bit of a mess, but the grey blocks below with “#code@page” codes turn into formatted footnotes and commentary in the Annotated Edition. The footnotes have some interesting and hopefully amusing content I think, so take a look. The red text here don’t appear in the finished versions, but allows me to see reference names linked directly from my Scrivener working-text to the thousands of digitized files of original sources stored on my computer.

Scrivener version of the text that when processed becomes the .doc version mentioned above. A hopefully readable .doc version is linked to at the bottom of this page.

*One of the reasons I was attracted to write in Scrivener was because of this amazing page where they objectively compare their own software and the positive traits of competitors. Who does that? Only cool people who are making very good stuff. My process grew around the book and is very convoluted, I’m sure there’s better ways to do it, and would love to hear if others are doing similar things.

So that’s a bit of the drafting process and my hopes that this expanded Annotated Edition might benefit other Accordion Historians.

Again, here is a link to the annotated PDF edition of 📚 Accordion Revolution: A People’s History of the Accordion 🪗 700 pages, 1900 sometimes amusing footnotes, 1200 item bibliography. 🤓

As of Jan 31, 2021 it is downloadable from a dropbox link at:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Monica A permalink
    January 31, 2021 4:33 pm

    Hi there Bruce I’ve to read through this book. I am writing my dissertation on the Italian communities and the accordion on the West Coast and would love to see an annotated version for sure!


  1. 2022 Accordion Noir Semi-Yearly Gift Guide! | Accordion Uprising

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: