Norteño music has a long history dating back to the Mexican Revolution. The accordion is what gives it flavor. “No accordion no Norteño.” Thats what the older folks will tell you.
Even though the instrument comes from the other side of the world it came to Mexico to stay.
Corridos (at least today) are the most popular type of music you will hear with the accordion. Polkas, huapangos, boleros, rancheras and cumbias are others that gave the accordion its popularity.
This type of accordion (in the picture) is the most popular for Norteño. The diatonic accordions (also known as button accordions) are the most widely used.
Gabbanelli accordions are among the most popular, but other brands are quickly gaining ground mostly due to pricing.
Ramon Ayala and Lupe Tijerina are legends playing the accordion, to say the least. With their music they have filled our lives with joy and despair.
The diatonic maybe the most popular, but the piano accordion is not to far behind.
Many famous musicans like Micheal Salgado play the piano accordion. Amazingly, he plays it literally upside down. His style could be confused with Ramon Ayala but only to the untrained ear.
The other instruments associated with Norteño is the bajosexto and bajoquinto.
Although the origins are unclear, they reached their popularity in Central and Southern Mexico in the 19th century.
It strung its way up north where it gained even more popularity. Eventually, it merged with the accordion giving birth to what many Mexicans believe to be the “organic” Norteño music. (Here is a video of Chuy from Las Cruces, NM and his friend on the bajosexto.)