About the Cajun Accordion

Click accordion to hear Savoy box in "C"


About the Cajun Box

Today’s Cajun accordion exists much as it did when first invented.  The first accordions were made in Germany around the mid 1800’s.
The Cajun "boxes" are compact and built very sturdily, so they’ve weathered the journey from Europe, and Canada, and across America quite well. 
They really "bark" too!  Which was very important as to be heard when performing acoustically at dance halls.

These boxes are technically a "melodeon".  To me, one of the most interesting features is that these instruments are diatonic.

Diatonic is from the Greek diatonikos, which means 'a diatonic scale, with whole and half steps', and literally something like extended (from 'dia' = 'through' and 'tonein' = 'draw', 'pull').**

If you were to hold down any given button and pull on the bellows, you would hear a tone.  Then, while still holding that same button and pushing the bellows, you would hear a second different tone.

One button, two tones.  Cool, eh?
If you are familiar with the conventional (at least, conventional in America) piano accordion, this is not the case.  You get the same pitch for a given key on the pull or push.

This can make playing the Cajun Accordion challenging, but .. it also dumps a heap of neat tricks into your lap!  For instance, you can pull of some impressive arpeggios that would be nearly impossible on a piano keyboard.


**  Special thanks to Jeroen Nijhof for supplying the accurate definition of "Diatonic"!  He can be reached at: http://www.accordionlinks.com/new.cfm

Click accordion to hear Jr. Martin box in "D" wet tuned