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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:

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

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

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