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Re: Most Difficult Tune

Hey Jeff,

The timing of your post is good. I've been considering that also.

I've been finding that the songs that are simpler to play have a tendency to be difficult to get right with regards to the technique.

Valse de Grand Chemin is a good example in my opinion. The fingering isn't that difficult, but getting that cool loping sound like Allie Young and Octa Clark has proven elusive.

For me, the two-steps have been the most difficult in terms of technique. That cool chugging sound from the interaction of the left and right hand has been hard to find.

John in Oregon

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Hi John,

I looked at/listened to a few you tube videos.. this seems the best (subjectively) to me.

Any other sources to hear or see this tune being played ?

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Hi Jeff
I find the minimalist type tunes the hardest to play- like Zydeco sont pas sale, Hee haw breakdown and Pine Grove blues- perhaps they're easier to play with accompaniment.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Heh.. I'm sure not the person to ask about this - having learned and played mostly on my own for the past 7 years, sorting out things has come accidently for the most part.

For two-steps, Colinda is the first one where I feel like I may be starting to get it correct with the left hand. I was originally playing the left at half the tempo. Couldn't figure why Colinda sounded so blah. Then I doubled up the tempo on the left and voila! Downside there being that my left hand tired out.

So, here we have a song that to me, is easy to play by itself, but getting all the pieces working together is less so. I expect this is the case with a lot of the songs.

I'd like to hear what the more experienced players have to say on this topic.

John in Oregon

Re: Most Difficult Tune Colinda made easy

And here is Colinda John A, the easiest version and with great timing. Seconds and even a triangle being played in the back ground.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I re-read your initial post and never answered that.

I personally consider the Mulberry Limb to be pretty difficult (at this point). This is the first song in which I'm incorporating those triplet "hiccups". Getting the timing right on those is a thing. And the B-part of this song is difficult for me.

John in Oregon

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Single note triplet..?

I find those tough.

I agree that sometimes the simplest of tunes can be the most challenging to include Quebecois and Irish.

Often it's more about timing and phrasing than simple accuracy.

Re: Most Difficult Tune La branche de Murier made easy

Well John A, today is your lucky day. Try this version of "The Mulberry Branch"

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I struggle a lot with Perrodin Two-Step due to air control issues -- unless I play it at a speed way above my skills, I inevitably run out of air.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

These guys don't seem to have trouble with it : )


Re: Most Difficult Tune

I consider the Perrodin the hardest single song to play. I can now do some semblance of it, but it took a really long time. But like AJ said, the minimalist songs can be easy to play, but the hardest to make sound good. Good players make it seem simple, but they're doing some stuff in there that takes more natural talent than I got.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

And for me, this version of Perrodin is the definitive version. Played by one of the nicest guys I've ever met, Eric O'blanc, who makes any song on the accordion seem effortless, and the fact he switches to F, which I cannot even hit the second note of.


Re: Most Difficult Tune

Agreed! I started from this video, but I could never match Eric note for note. I consider this video to be the paradigm.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Listen very carefully to Steve Riley's version. He changes a few notes to get air back into the phrases. Subtle changes like this are difficult for the novice, but the masters seem to have a knack for tweeking the songs to smooth out the rough spots.

On the other hand, Marc Savoy mimics Angelas LeJeune's fairly simple, repetitive version, but never gasps for air like we do!

Re: Most Difficult Tune

1. Perrodin Two Step (Steve Riley version) - The Angelas LeJeune version was fairly simple, but it has evolved to have 2 turns and a 3rd position modulation that's daunting.

2. Port Arthur Blues (Marc Savoy/Wade Fruge version) I thought I had it nailed until I realized I'm playing at 170 bpm to Marc's 200 bpm tempo.

3. Crowley Two Step (Steve Riley/Doug Kershaw and a host of others) Sounds simple but has 4 parts, none really simple.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I nominate High Point Two Step. Concur with others that simple sounding tunes can be tricky. Also taking what was a fiddle tune, like Perrodin, into the accordion can be difficult.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Huh...like Liszt's Feux Follets or something buried in the cajun repertoire?

Re: Most Difficult Tune

More like Paganini's "Moto Perpetuo" : )

I have seen this done on a two row 1/2 step Irish box in the old style D/D# tuning done by Mairtin O'Connor... one of the most ingenious players alive.

The reason I have asked the question: I am looking for a benchmark as something to which I can aspire.

Given my age and lack of skill, not necessarily attainable but shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon.

I will also say my learning abilities are not so great in learning by ear...
I do best when I hear it and then see the written music or TAB... then go back to listening and refine it.

I realize that is not the traditional way, but it's my way.

As my father once said:

What you can't do with skill,
do with charm.
If that doesn't work,
try Bxxx Stuff.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I have worked on Perrodin for nearly 3 years, and can perform it if placed under demand. However, in has been, and continues to be a work in progress. First I got the A & B parts, then came another B part. Recently, I have dipped my toe in the water of the 3rd position modulation. Having spent a couple of days practicing diligently, the modulation is starting to gel.

Certainly my life will end before I ever play it like Eric O'Blanc or Steve Riley, but there's nothing that says I can't strive to that end.

Music is an endless pursuit, and the pleasure that is gleaned along the way is in direct proportion to how hard you chased it.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Kissell's Reel has always been one of my favorites to flub on. I've been fooling around with Cory's version of Mazurka De La Louisiane lately.

Then there's Jason Frey's Prairie Cajun Two step...good luck finding anyone that can play it the way he recorded it, or another from him, Point Noir.

Next to Aldus's version my favorite of the Perrodin is Pee Wee Broussard's original 78 version.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Pee Wee has a Perrodin recording?? THought I had all his recordings...****.

Re: Most Difficult Tune


I have not done this before, but could you send me your email address? It just happens that Kissell's Reel is probably my favorite Cajun tune, and not many people even know about it. Zack Huval is also one of my favorite accordion players.

Jack Bond

Re: Most Difficult Tune


I have not done this before, but could you send me your email address? It just happens that Kissell's Reel is probably my favorite Cajun tune, and not many people even know about it. Zack Huval is also one of my favorite accordion players.

Jack Bond

Re: Most Difficult Tune

Hey Ned,

That there is right philosophical!

You're right about the pursuit though. It's been a long journey for me with the accordion. Sure has been cool though. Just wish there were more folks in Eugene who like the style.

John in Oregon

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I enjoy learning.
I enjoy stretching my abilities.
I enjoy screwing up and conquering my failings.
I also enjoy the infrequent victories.

Thanks for all the suggestions and links and resources.


Recently I played Cajun accordion music for some Japanese colleagues. They could care less. Me too!

Re: Hah!

Please expound, I have not had to
"interface" with the Japanese since my last career which ended in 1990.

Perhaps it's in the "translation".

Re: Hah!

More Steve Riley worship? Come on now guys. Dude's head is big enough. He has just recently declared himself, with help from Wayne Toups, as one of the "KINGS" of the accordion on the Liberty Theatre Show a couple weeks back. Really now?? Listen, I know of a very good accordion player that refuses to play Jolie Blond because he absolutely despises the song. I often wondered why he would feel that way about Jolie Blond, until I became aware of the Perrodin Two Step. It was then that I knew exactly how he felt about Jolie Blond. While Jolie Blond is the Cajun National Anthem and every single button on the accordion keyboard is used when it's played properly, Perrodin is a repetitive "show off" song that doesn't ever really stir up any excitement in me, for being a two step. It is usually reserved for when an accordion player finally learns it and can finally show it off to prove to the world that he plays it just like everybody else that already knows how to play it. Pretty much known as Peacocking yourself around. LOL 3>> I learned it, and never played it for anyone but my dog. Ha, he looked at me, sat down and licked his balls indifferent and could care less. I guess he was trying to say, "So you think you're good eh, well, I can lick my own balls son." "Try that one big shot!" LOL, I guess it all boiled down to a matter of perspective. ahahahaha

Re: Hah!

Now that's well put brah.
But I still like me the Perrodin 2 Step, for when dat tune gets into your head, it just won't get out.

This creole version is pretty fresh and groovin.

(how can I embed vidz?)

Re: Hah!

Blue Max - you make a good point.

Re: Hah!

When you reply or start a new message, right above the message box is a little link in the parenthesis is says (bb code allowed and html allowed) click the "bb code" link. At the bottom is has a youtube embed code. Copy and paste that into the message then copy and replace the youtube address they have in that with the youtube address of the video you want to embed. Simple as that.

Re: Most Difficult Tune

I didn't read the other options yet,
but the Perrodin is the first one on my list.
To play a tune well , they are all tricky

Andrew Carriere and the Perrodin at link#2 (was posted before)

Bosco Stomp! Don't try this at Home!

I don't play much CA nowadays, but I remember the Bosco Stomp,(version Savoy-Doucet) - was a hard nut to crack, especially the turn. It's a "crooked" tune, with no regular structure, and that makes it extra hard to learn.
This was before I learned from Chris Miller and Dirk Powell, and before there was any method of slowing down. I had to listen over and over again, I wrote down the notes, hummed the tune all day and somehow more or less managed to make something of it on my little 114. I don't think I could play it now!

Re: Bosco Stomp! Don't try this at Home!

Catmelodeon on youtube:

Bosco Stomp.


Re: Difficult Tunes ie: Perrodin Two Step

For you cats dead set on learning the Parlar Trick Perrodin Two Step. Let's take away all the distraction and learn it the same way Steve Riley probably learned it. Let Tony "The Dewey" Balfa play it for you and you can follow on your "D" accordion 1st pozish pushing mostly.

After you get that down, switch to your "C" accordion 1st pozish pushing mostly, and play along with Austin Pitre. Let that loud base beat in the back ground keep you on track and in rhythm. Spend about 2-3 hours with both videos for good muscle memory.

Remember, the Perrodin can be played using only buttons 5,6,7,8. Then you just search for their sister buttons and play doubles whenever you are able or when doubles obviously apply. Persistence pays off. It also helps if there's no one in the same house with you when you begin to learn this song, for they will grow to hate it pretty badly, while you grow to love the way it makes you feel when you play it. Like a great big beautiful PEACOCK! hehehehe.

Re: Difficult Tunes ie: Perrodin Two Step

Just messing around...Tony was that not so famous Balfa that was usually seen beating on Dewey's fiddle with those sticks. Very obscure fellow don't you think? I wonder why?

Bosco Stomp

Well Jeff, this is actually Grand Bosco, a Cajun Blues song, and not Bosco Stomp!

Re: Bosco Stomp

Just thought I'd give you a bit of free air time : )

Good stuff, watched most of the videos.

Bosco Stomp Revisited:


Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

LFR1.gif - 1092 Bytes The April 2011 Dewey Balfa Cajun & Creole Heritage Week

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