Accordion Elements


Elements of the Cajun Box 

(Assuming the right-handed position, Key of "C" accordion)  

The Cajun box has one row of ten buttons on the right hand side. 

This side is used to play the melody. 

On top, there are four knobs, or “stops”.  (They’re called stops, ‘cause they stop the airflow to the reeds!). The stops are generally all left “open” or in the extended position.

The left hand side has just two buttons facing forward.  This side is used for the bass note and chords.

Also located on the left-hand side is the air regulator button, which is not visible from the accordion’s front. 

The air-button is a very important feature of the Cajun box.  You'll need to use it to regulate airflow if you “run out of  bellows” or to prevent the "running out of air" scenario. 

(It may be best to avoid using this button when first learning in order to not develop a weak style.) 

The popular nomenclature to identify the buttons on the right hand side is as follows: 

The button closest to your chin is button number one.  This is the lowest tone on the instrument.

The button closest to the floor is button number ten.  This is close to being the highest pitched note on the accordion. 

When a musician talks about “going up” or “higher”, they refer to pitch.  “Going up the scale” means starting on the lowered numbered buttons and proceeding to the higher numbered buttons.  But, this also means a chin-to-floor, or top-to-bottom physical movement. 

Pitch & physical location nomenclature are opposite.  It’s really quite natural when you get used to it, but, it’s very important to understand this distinction!  (or else, you just may invent a new culture of music for this instrument!)