Welcome to old and new friends who are interested in discussing Cajun and other diatonic accordions, along with some occasional lagniappe....



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Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Yes, let's blame the dead music composers for their being white. In fact why stop there. What about those pesky scientists. Terrible members of the judiciary. Governments. Crikey, world history seems to outrageously favor the ethnic majority. This has to be wrong. Let's rewrite it. As Mr. George said, "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

If you want to learn the correct way then go sit with a bunch of old musicians and fail until you start to learn something.

When I learned I had to let go of the idea that everything had to fit into the rules of western music theory because it was hurting me. If you need help, go take lessons with Chad Huval!! Please don’t consult a music theory book.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

I take lessons with Blake Miller every week.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Sounds good to me!!

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

This is the same issue I have had with banjo music, guitar music, polka band music, Irish penny whistle music, Cajun music etc.

Let just say that you can write the correct notation but you cannot notate the "pulse". Those are the subtle pauses, sustains, emphasis, thrills and a host of subtle variations inherent in almost every music style.

Basically you learn to play the music as written, then you listen to the masters and what you are missing becomes obvious.

Or, some folks find it easier to just go straight to copying the masters. It is a personal approach thing, whichever is easiest for the individual.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Spot on.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Interesting discussion! I've had a few workshops with Blake Miller and thought he was a good teacher. If you stick with him you will learn tunes and how to ornament the melodies and make them sound "authentically" Cajun. I never have had the chance to sturdy with Chad Huval although I have sat in a session with him. A good friend of mine, and great Cajun fiddler, told me that if you want to really understand the "theory" of Cajun accordion playing then Mr. Huval is the man with whom you should study. It would not hurt at all for you to take one or two lessons with him to see if his teaching approach and style might be a better fit for you than the approach of Blake Miller. If that is not possible then not a problem. You will learn with Blake.

Along with all the lessons and theory, you just have to listen to Cajun accordion players as much and as often as possible every day. You have to get to know the music, to internalize it. If possible you have to go to Louisiana to experience the culture, the food, the humidity (!), to talk with the people.

For what this is worth, I am a very big fan of the playing of Ambrose Thibodeaux and Jimmy Breaux. Not sure if either of them has or had much of an inkling about theory. I'm guessing that Steve Riley might understand theory. If not from books then intuitively.

Listen Listen Listen

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Dancing on Cajun music can help you too to feel the rhythm :blush:
Ambrose Thibodeaux is one of the old masters.
Octa Clark is one of my favorites too.
Here's an interview with him from youtube,
Video isn't very good, but you can here what he's saying about the music he played.
Old school traditional French music and not much theory, just play the music.

I don't want to say that theory isn't good.
I use notation/tabs to remember the songs I want to play, because of bad memory :upside_down_face:
Because I play piano accordion as a child I can read music for that, but I can't for the cajun accordion even if it's a C, D, Bb or what key.
I also use the LP from Allie Young when I start, with notes and tabs.
When you're young, it's good to play songs in a different way on your accordion in the so called different positions/key/push or pull.
If you can do that, your accordion is becoming your friend which you know very well :blush:
Unfortunately I'm to old to learn that, but I'm still trying.

In the video below with Walter Mouton, Wilson and Joel Savoy, Christine Balfa and others
At 2.09 Mr Walter Mouton says C and the change the key of the song.
If I'm busy with playing I'm not capable to say C :relaxed:

Watch the feet, also not unimportant

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

A Cajun accordion needs no more theory than an ordinary harmonica/bluesharp.
A bluesharp has ten holes, and a Cajun accordion has ten buttons.
So you might just as well forget about the theory, listen, and try to play what you hear.
You're better off with one of the instruction videos of Dirk Powell or Big Nick.
Like Ron says, it's dance music, so the main thing is the rhythm and the groove.

Success! :smile_cat:

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Zydeco John. Listen up and Im gonna tell you one time. You apply music theory to dat Cajun accordion by gone git you a permanent marks a lot(black or blue)and you write both the push and the pull notes on the valve finger flappers. On the end farthest from you and slightly on the top so you can see dem moving when you look down. The flapper or flappers dat move is the key of the each note pushing or pulling depending. Dat! My friend is how you apply music theory to the got dam Cajun accordion. It's all been hashed out already right cheer in the discussion room a ways back. Excellent videos by the way Mello.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Some super smart feller by the name a Greezy McGill came up with the idea and a way to apply it practically. Its like he showed up outta no where, gave his gift to mankind, and disappeared like a fart in the wind or something. Kinda like that Jesus guy if you really think about it.

Re: How would I apply music theory to the accordion?

Music Theory helped me understand music as a whole and what I can do with sound in time. It doesn’t apply to any one instrument for me and I play quite a few. I’m just grateful we have all these resources now. Like But big beezy miller and Mrs Kylie who is highly educated in music. Sshh when I was growing up I’d sit and psycho watch my Nonc hub and both my paperes play fiddle. I asked them to teach me and they replied with abrupt wisdom by saying I can’t teach you that, it’s got to be in your head and heart. If you can whistle it you can play it, it’s just a matter of how bad you want it. Ask Blake Miller at y’all lesson the first tune Mr Larry teaches on his accordion lesson cd. It’s Mary had a little lamb because everyone knows that melody. Hope y’all doing well and lâche pas

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

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

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