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Basic Introduction to the Cajun Accordion



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hi my name is Janie and I haven't put

any videos up in a very long time and at

the request of a few people I decided I

would go ahead and put up some tips for

playing the accordion and a couple of

short instructional lessons for some

popular songs I hope you enjoy this is

by no means considered good gospel when

it comes to playing the accordion this

is just the way I do it what works for

me and I think we're good suggestions

for the learning public hope you enjoyed

okay let's start with how to hold the

accordion now I'm standing for this

demonstration but my preferred position

for playing is seated with the accordion

on my knee like such now some people

keep the accordion flat on their leg

when they're playing others tilted

forward I like to tilt it forward it

gives me a corner kind of buried into my

knee that keeps their guardian from

sliding anywhere and I can also tilt a

little bit to this degree and keep it

from going back and forth that helps

keep some of the pressure off of your

thumb now let's talk about the thumb

thumb strap I see an awful lot of people

with their thumb on the back of the

keyboard like such to me my opinion is

this drastically limits what you can do

with your fingers because your palm in

essence is resting on the keyboard so

you kind of limit it to what you got

right here without actually lifting your

hand to go somewhere else I like my

strap to be long enough for me to put my

thumb on the end of the keyboard most

straps are roughly in the middle of the

keyboard I kind of favor one a little

bit higher this one is in the middle you

keep your thumb on the end of the

keyboard as a pivot point and then you

got full range of the keyboard with your

fingers okay on the opposite side of

your card in of course you have your

bass box which what you're operating

with your pinky finger and your index

finger and on the back of the accordion

is your air button which you operate

with your palm okay of course you don't

want this part of your accordion resting

on anything you don't want it on your

leg because this is the stationary part

this is the moving part okay so you keep

this portion of your cardian free from

any resistance other than its own billow

and remember whenever you're playing

your bass side will always try to

incorporate your bass side with whatever

you're playing even if you have to play

it super slow get the muscle memory and

your fingers working so you can get

get the timing down okay okay I kind of

want to talk a little bit about what we

call its kind of kind of become a common

term to use the word blends for playing

partial partial chords it's the way the

diatonic accordion is built it's not

possible to play a full chord unless you

incorporate the very top button which

I'll show you in a moment

the term chord implies four notes which

you need for a complete chord so what

we're using at the most is three which

is actually a triad and I'll demonstrate

those on the push these are all on the

push any combination of buttons on the

push any combination board is a partial

chord in the key of C that's because

every note on the push is either a c e

or g which is the first third and fifth

notes of the chord of C okay the reason

you can't make a full four note chord is

because the sixth note that you need the

a is in the pool position so you cannot

do and a pool at the same time so any

position in C push position is a partial

chord it implies the chord C the most

common or this one which would be the

four five this one the three four and

then you have the six seven those are

the most common you shouldn't start off

a song Hey

you starting off with the with the four

or five now by changing different

variations you get a different voice

different voicings of the same implied

partial chord now on the poolside we

have a lot of different variations let's

go through the ones that imply the G

chord first if you pull on the six and

seven together that is a to note partial

chord that implies the key of G now you

can do a three note partial if you

incorporate the very top button which

has a G otherwise the only G's you have

are on the push so you cannot push your

G or your root note when you're trying

to imply chords on the pool so you can

do two note blends now if you

incorporate an octave you're only

duplicating a note you're not adding a

third note okay so that six seven pull

implies a G also this seven ten pull

implies a G okay you can do a five seven

pool which can imply either a D chord or

and a minor chord depending on how it's

used and that same type of combination

can be found at the bottom with the

seven nine

okay you also have some F chord implied

partial chords by using the four five on

the pool you can imply an F chord by

using the seven eight or the eight nine

you can imply the F chord so these are

all partial implied chords that can be

used when you're playing there are there

are others and you can find them

experimenting but those are the most

common okay let me talk about bass

accompaniment for a minute whenever

you're playing your song as I mentioned

before you want to keep your bass

accompaniment going especially if you're

playing by yourself or acoustically now

the die conic diatonic accordion on the

bass side is only capable of playing two

chords the c.push this is a C accordion

get the bass note and the court and on

the pool it's the G now I mentioned

earlier on the treble side that you

could play some F chords you don't have

the F accompaniment on the bass side of

the box but when you're playing those

types of songs that's what makes the

flavor of Cajun music makes it unique

and somebody that really knows how to

operate their bass side can make a song

sound really good so if you're playing a

two-step you want to keep it

remember your pinky is always your root

so you always want to keep the bass side

going in a two-step it'd be 1 2 1 2 root

index or pinky index pinky index

notice no matter what direction I was

going in I was alternating from the

pinky to the index if you're playing at

walls you're going to be doing a

one-two-three pattern or pinky index

index pinky index index notice again I

changed some directions with the bellows

to emphasize how you keep the one two

three one okay so I hope this little bit

was informative isn't by no means meant

to be a comprehensive accordion lesson

it's an introduction some basics that

sometimes people don't it takes them a

long time to get to or nobody explains

it to them and it just need a little

push to get past some of the basics