Cajun accordion

Cajun Accordion

An Acadian brand Cajun Accordion
Other names diatonic button accordion, melodeon

Free-reed aerophone
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 412.13
(Reeds vibrate within a closely fitting slot)
Developed 19th century
Related instruments

Accordion, Bandoneón, Harmonica, Harmonium

Joe Falcon, Iry LeJeune, Amédé Ardoin, "Bois Sec" Ardoin, Nathan Abshire

Marc Savoy (Louisiana, United States), Eric Martin (France), Larry Miller (Louisiana, USA), Hohner (Germany), *Andre Michot (Louisiana, USA)
More articles

Cajun Music, Cajun, History of Cajun Music

A Cajun accordion also known as a squeezebox is single-row diatonic button accordion used for playing Cajun music.


Many different accordions were developed in Europe throughout the 19th century, and exported worldwide. Accordions were brought to Acadiana in the 1890s and became popular by the early 1900s (decade),[1] eventually becoming a staple of Cajun music.

Many of the German factories producing diatonic accordions for the United States market were destroyed during World War II. As a result, some Cajuns, such as Sidney Brown, began producing their own instruments, based on the popular one-row German accordions but with modifications to suit the nuances of the Cajun playing style.[2] Since the end of World War II, there has been a surge in the number of Cajun accordion makers in Louisiana, as well as several in Texas.[3]


Shop in Iota, Louisiana where Larry Miller builds his Cajun accordions.

The Cajun accordion is generally defined as a single-row diatonic accordion, as compared to multiple-row instruments commonly used in Irish, Italian, polka, and other styles of music. The Cajun accordion has multiple reeds for every button and the number of reeds sounding is controlled by four stops or knobs. The standard amount of melody buttons is ten, with a button each in the left hand for the root note and chord as well as the dominant fifth ditto; C and G in a Cajun accordion tuned to C. The root is played on the push and the fifth is played on the pull of the bellows. [4] Louisiana constructed accordions are usually built in small backyard shops like Marc Savoy's Acadian brand and Larry Miller's Bon Cajun brand. Clarence " junior" Martin of Lafayette Louisiana is a Master Craftsman who also builds beautiful accordions in his shop. His designs and tuning are extraordinary.


The most common tuning utilized is the key of C, although the key of D is also relatively common.[5] Some rarer accordions are constructed to in the key of B flat. Cajun accordions are traditionally tuned to a Just Intonation.

Notable players

Although the instrument is called a Cajun accordion, both zydeco and creole musicians play the Cajun accordion with a zydeco and creole sound respectively. Each musician below is considered important in influencing accordion technique and image.

Manufacturers and builders


See also


Miller, Larry; Miler, Mike (1988). You Can Play Cajun Accordion: Designed For Beginners. Point Au Loup Pub. Co. ASIN B00071SMMA. 

Savoy, Ann (1986) [1984]. Cajun Music a Reflection of a People. Eunice, Louisiana: Bluebird Press. ISBN 978-0-930169-00-8. 

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