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Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Nathan, do you acknowledge the "4th Position" key of "D" on a "C" box?

And yes, you are right Kristi Guillory is playing a "C" box for Marais Bouleur. That's some break down you have there! Wow.

How is it that you are able to do this? Did you go over the song with a guitar, or do you have your accordion fingers dry erase marked?

But the 3rd position "did not" confirm itself when I played along with my "D" box in the key of "E". The 4th position "E" kept confirming itself.

Confirmation keys or the "double octaves" and "double chords" that usually start the song, and or finish the song, or even repeat prominently within the song. If your accordion fingers are musical note marked, you can visually see these confirmation keys happening as you play. Seeing these confirmations will help to teach you how to play in the 4 known position, and be able to recognize and or call the key of each.

Yes Yes?

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Not sure what you mean by “acknowledge” … I personally have no particular stake in this numbering controversy :)

It’s definitely not a D box on that song because you can hear an occasional C (natural) note in the flourish she sometime does over the E minor chord. And it’s definitely not a G box, because during the D chord she plays D and A notes together (I feel like I hear that combo in like EVERY song played in 2nd position). So yeah, that was my thought process, and I have a C box anyway so I could reproduce it right away.

You should theoretically be able to play all the notes of the basic melody on that D box, but not necessarily reproduce all the details, like that little C note in the flourish.

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Something for you B flatters. Would the 4th position on a Bb be the key of "C" (one letter forward)? According to the position pattern system, it is, then the Bb players would have a whole lotta Cajun songs that they could play along with on their Bb accordion in the 4th position which would be the key of "C". That would be something for the Bb players to try. Unless of course the 4th position on a Bb ends up being C flat or some crap like that.

And one other thing...why in the hell is the top button (on the pull) tuned out of pattern to the rest of the 10 buttons or in sinc to its sister octaves? I think its a got dam conspiracy! This has been done on both of my accordions. Why break pattern like that accordion builders?

Is it because players can't play the top button, so somebody just tuned it to "whatever" and every accordion builder just followed suit? I find it strange, but I'm sure there is some logical answer.

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

4th position on a Bb would be C *minor* (strictly: the C dorian scale, which has a minor 3rd), so you’re not gonna be able to play C major melodies that way.

With the other issue, I’m guessing you’re referring to the fact that 10th button pull note is LOWER than the 9th button push (and pull) note – I did a double take over that too when I first tried one of these things. But the pattern is totally consistent: push notes go do-mi-sol, and pull notes go re-fa-la-ti. Since there are three push notes but FOUR pull notes, the pushes and pulls are gonna get more and more out of sync with every higher octave; no way around that without changing the whole setup pretty drastically. There’s just no way to evenly divide 7 (# of notes) by 2 (# of bellows directions). If you kept adding higher buttons, image how unintuitive it would get by buttons 12, 13, and 14.

(The one exception to the pattern is the 1rst button pull, which ought to be a low fa – I think they change it to sol so you can play a useful chord using the bottom three buttons together. I know they break the pattern on the lowest holes of a harmonica for the same reason.)

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Setting aside issues already discussed re the relevance of "positions" and the numbering thereof, the answer to your first question is yes -- C is the second note in the Bb scale, so assuming 4th position is built around the 2-note, 4th position on a Bb accordion would be key of C. Keep in mind that playing in C on a Bb box, you don't have access to either the 3rd note (E) or the 7th note (B) in the C scale.

As to your second question, builders or historians may be able to provide a "correct" answer. Practically speaking (and assuming by "top button" you mean the 1 button), it seems to me at least that continuing the "pattern" down to the 1 button doesn't provide much benefit (since not a lot of melody is going to be played at such a low pitch), whereas breaking the pattern provides some nice capabilities that wouldn't otherwise be available. Specifically (and speaking in terms of a C accordion):

1. The G note on the 1 pull allows you to end songs in the key of G (of which there are many) with a nice full G chord (1-2-3 pull) that actually contains a G note.

2. I've heard at least one player (Chris Miller) doing a traditional bass shuffle in G that relies on that low G note (1-3 pull / 2-4 push / 1-4 pull / 2-4 push, etc.). It's a cool sound that couldn't really be done without the low G on the pull.

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Oh, "top button" meant 1st button? (In my mind that's the "bottom button".) In that case, ignore my 2nd paragraph, and my 3rd paragraph says the same thing as bassman.

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Nathan - Yeah, anyone trained on pretty much any instrument except Cajun accordion thinks of "high" and "low" in terms of pitch. Despite that fact (and despite the conventional numbering of buttons on a Cajun accordion), the majority of Cajun accordionists I've played with tend to speak of "high" and "low" (or "top" and "bottom") buttons in terms of altitude / distance from the ground rather than pitch. Hence, I assumed Greazy's reference to the top button meant the 1 rather than the 10 (also because, as you point out, the 1 pull is the only real deviation from the "pattern"). Very confusing, but what can you do?

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Here is another song to help you master your key of D on the C accordion. Now known as one of the secondary keys. The key of "D".
Key of "C" = Primary Key (base side buttons can be played.) Dominant
Key of "G" = Primary Key (base side buttons can be played.) Dominant
Key of "F" = Secondary Key (cannot play base side buttons.) Avoided yet Playable.
Key of "D" = Secondary Key (cannot play base side buttons.) Most Avoided and Rare.

Clifton's version may not help you very much to play in the key of "D" on your "C" accordion. But if you can't find the Secondary Key of "D" on your "C" accordion while playing with Horace's version, then you need to give up playing the Cajun accordion because there's no hope for you pauvre bette.

**As a note of interest. One Cajun song well known to be played in the Secondary key of "D" on the "C" accordion is Nathan Abshire's "Hey Negresse" AKA "The Pine Grove Blues". I often wonder if it wasn't Clifton Cheniere's accordion that helped Nathan Abshire to find the Blues Key, or the Gypsy Key, or the 4th Position, or the Secondary Key of "D" on his "C" accordion?

I believe that this key of play should forever more be either called "The Blues Key" or "The Secondary "D". Both of those names sound a whole lot cooler than the "4th Position" or "The Gypsy Key" in my humble opinion.....

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

GOOD NEWS FOLKS! I just figured out how to play "Hey Negresse" aka "The Pine Grove Blues" on the push in the key of "C" on a "C" accordion. Doing this showed me that "Hey Negresse" was being played and sung in 3 different got dam keys on that accordion. When you are finally able to play this song in the key of "C" you can easily identify how many keys it contains. It was originally played on a "C" accordion "secondary key of "D".

"C" accordion key of "C" on the push
"Hey Negresse" or "Pine Grove Blues"
Chord or Key progression is.........
"C" "G" "F" singing switches the song from "G" to "F" to "C" to "F" to "C" then "G".

"The Trash Man" Nathan Abshire sure as hell did have some trash wit em. Tricky and sneaky sum bit!

Man! I'm really getting good at this stuff! LOL

I hope that my superior knowledge about Cajun accordion and Cajun songs doesn't elevate me to a level where I don't want to interact with folks that still don't understand what I have come to know. If that happens, then I will have changed into something like a non helpful and pompous "Professional Accordion Player" who doesn't have time for little people. Or who hides information from them on purpose because it's just too hard to explain it. Right Michael Doucet??! You said the words "I don't Teach" once. And you said them with a bad attitude to boot. Did you mean something else besides just the words "I DON'T TEACH!"?? Well?? I'm waiting.

Re: FINALLY! A Way To Master The 4th Position

Oh, forgot to post the original. Get your "C" accordion! Its fun!

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

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

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