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



General Forum
Start a New Topic 

Not being a musician, nor a student of music -- merely someone wanting to eventually learn how to play, decently, some cajun songs on the accordion, can anyone state what the general principals or observations are as to syncopation in cajun music? I've just looked up the meaning of 'syncopation' in the net and will try to digest its meaning in that if i can know and understand what syncopation is, my odds of learning or playing better will improve. Is syncopation something that an accordion player is constantly aware of when playing? Is it something he or she controls?
Might be too broad of a question, or it might take a life-time of music or a music degree to give a decent answer but, in case there's a short clear answer out there as it relates to, say for example, a standard cajun waltz...

Re: syncopation - never mind

after reading more, perhaps never mind about anyone trying to answer my question. Seems like, in simple terms, playing notes around the beat instead of on the beat which, i imagine, either comes naturally to one, or comes with lots of effort. Seems difficult enough for me just trying to learn to maintain the beat with the left hand in the first place - guess that's why someone told to get the left hand and foot rythym down first, to where it's automatic and you don't have to think about it.

Re: syncopation

I doubt if most Cajun musicians have ever heard of the word and so, no, they aren't aware of it on those terms. They are very aware of what it feels like, however...they just know "that's how it goes."

Syncopation is when you play notes "off the beat." For instance when you tap your foot, you normally tap on the beat...1, 2, 3, 4, etc. syncopation is when your accordion would be playing note in a rhythm that holds beyond the beat and and accents between the beat. In other words the accordion is not beginning a new note when your foot is tapping down; it is playing the new note before the strong beats (on the "up" stroke of your foot tap) Syncopation usually only happens for a few beats at a time; it is not a constant thing. Cajun and Zydeco tunes use many "unsyncopated" notes...but there are many syncopated ones as well.

It is harder to explain in words but VERY easy to demonstrate. You don't need to get hung up on this. Get some instructional videos lke Dirk Powell and don't worry too much about the technical definition of a word like "syncopation." Just focus on the music and listen as you tap a steady beat. You'll get it. It's really pretty simple music all in all.

Re: Re: syncopation

I guess you could say Amede Ardoin was the king of syncopated playing. Most of his songs have very rhythmic playing, such as he'd play the 16th note right before the beat note like

beats 1--2--3--1--2--3
notes o oo oo oo oo oo

I know that's not perfect but he did that alot.

Re: Re: Re: syncopation

thanks, y'all; probably goes with what someone told me recently who had given me a 1-on-1 lesson: that I was playing the melody side like/or with the bass side. I was encouraged to really try and master the bass side to the point where it was automatic. Makes sense for a struggler who's not looking to get anywhere fancy or complex, but wanting to be able to play some of the simpler traditional tunes decently. Seems like the bass side is really the hard part :-) at least i hope it is.

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

augusta.gif - 6841 Bytes

Listen to Some GREAT Music While You Surf the Net!!
The BEST Radio Station on the Planet!