I always liked both of those songs, and they make a nice medley when put together like that.
The modulation (key change) from G to D and back to G adds a nice dynamic twist. Makes it even more interesting, although it is a trick that can be overdone. Maybe do it once per gig. It's like a trick play in football - it works best when it's a surprised used in moderation.
Long ago, when I was first learning to play the Cajun accordion, I heard all the terminology about 1st position, 2nd position, 3rd position, as well as the more or less synonymous terms push, pull and back side. I thought the terminology was a bit odd, but, hey, who am I to critique those things? I just took it as a given that this was the commonly agreed upon terminology among the accomplished players. In the end, I don't think it matters that much what terminology you use, as long as everyone understands what is meant. It's a tool for communication, and it is reasonably successful at that.
However, it does break down when it comes to the minor keys. If I am on a C accordion, the 2nd position, or pull key is G. OK, but what position is it if the song is in E minor, which is the relative minor of G? G and E minor are so closely related, and the fingering position and playing technique is so similar, you might feel justified in calling E minor the 2nd position or pull. It sort of makes sense, but not really.
As far as I know, there is no answer to the question of minor keys among Cajun accordion players. However, there is an answer if you look into standard music theory. The answer arises from one of the most ancient parts of music theory, going back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks. In the person of Pythagorus himself (if memory serves me correctly). I am speaking of modes, or modalities. Here are the traditional modes based on the underlying key of C major:
Ionian C D E F G A B C
Dorian D E F G A B C D
Phrygian E F G A B C D E
Lydian F G A B C D E F
Mixolydian G A B C D E F G
Aeolian A B C D E F G A
Locrian B C D E F G A B
For Cajun accordion players, you can see that on a C accordion, the 1st position or push key is referred to as Ionian in the modal system. The 2nd position is Mixolydian, and the 3rd is Lydian. Ah, but what about E minor? Easy peasy, it is Phrygian.
And what about the other odd-ball minor key that I haven't mentioned yet that shows up in Cajun music in songs like Pine Grove blues, for example? I don't recall anyone giving us a good name for that. It's sort of D minor, but not really. Well, in the modal system, it is call the Dorian mode.
Unfortunately, I doubt anyone will start using this terminology, which is too bad because it is really clears up the confusion. I suppose your idea of using numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. is somewhat simpler and sensible. But getting it widely adopted might be a challenge. I dunno. My opinion is that since the modal terminology has been in use for thousands of years, even if not widely known, it's better than making up something new.
By the way, there was a conversation on this board about positions years ago and the confusing nature of the terminology in use by Cajun accordion players, and I brought up the Modal key systems a way of clarifying things. I was rewarded by being shouted down by some ignorant loudmouths. They were saying things like "When you bring in all this theory, you are killing the music. Just play, and shut up about this theory crap". Oh well.
You sound just like a global warming expert lmao
Huh? Lucy, pleeze esplain. I've never listened to a global warming expert. If I sound like one, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I'm just laying out some facts and information in hopes that some might find it useful or interesting. Does that bother you for some reason? If you no likee, then you should no readee.
it's not a question for me if I like it. I just think it's total bull****. If you wrote that piece then you can print it out, and wipe with it. Along with any global warming articles you may have. Sure have listened to global warming experts every dumb ass liberal and the MSM are all experts.
just in case my point is not understood I will try to make it a little as simple as I can. IT'S NOT RELEVANT TO CAJUN MUSIC. Stop the nonsense with all this music theory.
David Sousa I reread your post this morning and it dawned on me that you should have followed your own advice "no likee no readee".
Very readable explanation David, thanks for that.
I play piano accordion when I was a child and they learn me to read music for that instrument.
I never use that for banjo. dobro or cajun accordion because of all those different tunings :smile:
I don't have the time to learn all those musical knowledge anymore because the only thing I want is to play that one row.
I'm jealous at some guys who can play along with anything they hear in every key/position on every accordion they have in their hands.
They can do that because they know their instrument and the positions very good :joy:
The movie of Walter Mouton with Wilson and Joel Savoy were Walter is yelling G is so awesome. And that's relatively spoken a simple change for them :wink:
I'm satisfied if I can play the songs like they are play on the records I have.
So just to be clear, I totally get it that it is not necessary to understand or use music theory terminology in order to be a successful musician. There are thousands and thousands of musicians that are doing just fine without it.
But, even though it is not necessary, it can be very helpful and is never harmful. Music theory is simply a language that allows musicians to understand what they are doing and to communicate with other musicians. It's just a tool, a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
I am really glad I took that music theory class in high school. I probably remember that information better than any other class I ever took, and I use it every single day. That doesn't make me better than others who did not go through that process, but it absolutely has been a key part of my success. I am a successful, professional musician. I have name recognition, people like what I do, and I get paid real money to do it. When I get hired at some new venue, I always get hired again. I have the luxury of doing exactly what I want, without compromise.
One thing is very clear and certain. David Sousa and Meloderon have been paying very close attention! As for Jerr, not so much. LOL.
David, the Greek scale you mentioned works perfectly with my system. Thanks for supplying more proof on the matter. It is easiest to just keep the key of the accordion as the 1st position (let's use the "C" accordion). Then, keeping the letters in alphabetical and numerical order like this:
C - 1st position - On the push - On the "One" y'all - The Primary
Dm - 2nd position - The Blues Key
Em - 3rd position - The Holy Trinity
F - 4th position - The Back Side
G - 5th position - On the pull - On the "Five" y'all - In the 5th
Am - 6th position - The Mardi Gras key - Gypsy Key - The Holy Ghost
None of this information becomes self evident nor useful if you don't label your got dam accordions people!! Like that one guy Greezy said. Very smart feller right there I'll tell ya.
David thanks a lot for your explanation. It was most refreshing. Music theory and Cajun music need not be strangers.