Thanks David. In exploring more...singing along with some YouTubes...I was feeling that a G key might be most comfortable. My voice is low but definitely female and alto. Then I came across a Hohner 114-D in beautiful condition in a music store a couple of hours from me. I think it will be a fine one for me to learn and practice on and I am excited to start doing so today!
It's great that you found an HA-114. That was my first accordion, and they are good for beginners. Much better than the Hohner Arriete, which is very poor quality.
One thing to keep in mind about Cajun accordions is that even though it is tuned to a particular key (in your case D), you can play songs in more than one key. On a D accordion, you can play songs in D, which is referred to as the first position. But you can also play songs in A, which is second position, and in G which is third position. There are also some minor keys, but they are mostly related to one of the major keys. Minor keys are very rarely used.
As it turns out, most Cajun songs are played in second position, with a smaller number in first position, and many fewer in third position.
Some highly skilled players like to adapt a song to play it in a position other than the usual one. It can be tricky because some of the notes in one position do not have an equivalent note in the other position.
Have fun! Let us know how you are progressing.
Thanks for the encouragement. I have lots to learn and appreciate all these tips.
I have a couple of books and DVDs on the way also to help me get started right.
Glad I found this forum!
I forget what a wonderful reference Ann Savoy's book on Cajun Music is. Looking through it, you find songs in Am, Em, and F,but these are songs for voice. The majority are in C and G (C tuned box) and pretty much all the rest are in A and D (D tuned box). So, for old-time Cajun music, you can probably get by without a Bb box. But her book was originally published in 1984 and things are changing. It is my impression that it is with the more modern bands that you begin to see Bb and other tunings. Am I wrong? I invite clarification.
BJ ~ Best of luck with your band. There's nothing more exciting than getting a band together to create C&Z music; especially if you have had to do what I've done all these years and induct non-C&Z musicians (due to geographical situations) into the world of an accordion-driven band. The rewards are great in terms of creativity, regardless if you just play on the porch or stage.
One last thing about the B-Flat and it's cross-harp key of F. It's a popular R&B key -- that's been said here before. It goes very well with a horn section. That is probably one reason why it has infiltrated Louisiana music. As John mentions, you can probably get away with not having a Bb if you stick to Cajun music. That's mostly true, Cajun tunes do sound good with that "straight out the woods" tenor sound. It's definitely on the low-side of all things from an aural perspective regarding Cajun music. It is a very beautiful key.
Ann Savoy's book is a must-have for anyone interested in the history, preservation, and performance of Cajun music. She did an outstanding job compiling the information and there's really no other book quite like it. Additionally, there tablatures and French lyrics for several classic tunes. Plus, the photos are worth the cover price alone.
Don't forget "Ye Yaille Chere", by Raymond Francois, or Francois Raymond.
Lots more songs, though he comes from a fiddler's perspective, and transposes lots of songs, which confused me at first. He'll say what the song was in originally, then transpose it to standard tuning.
That was an inspiring ride through zydecoevoloution.
Someday I'd like to hear your take on creole music as another
related current in South Louisiana music.
Ya neva know... but I ain't gonna quit da day J.O.B.!
My first 1 row 4 stopper box was a Bb from Saxony
I put a lot of miles on it