Free Online Lessons:
Lesson #1 - "Zydeco Extravaganza"
Lesson #2 - Tablature
Lesson #3 - Accordion Basics
Lesson #4 - Playing the Bass Side
Lesson #5 - Music Theory
Paid Online Lessons: $19.95
"Why You Wanna Make Me Cry"
"They Stole My Chicken"
DVD: The video clips from the Paid lessons above can be
burned to a custom DVD's for an additional $15
- This is a custom burned DVD with the video clips to up to 4 songs
- Please email me at the address below for a custom DVD
Lesson #1 - Zydeco Extravaganza (Play Song)
Zydeco Extravaganza was created by Zydeco Force with Jeffery Broussard from their 1992 "Shaggy Dog Two Step" CD. Jeffery Broussard plays now with his band Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys. As with any Zydeco song there are various ways to play and embelish the melody. The videos below cover one basic version of this song but if you combine it with intermediate embellishments such as a breakdown this can push it into the intermediate or advanced level.
1. Listen to the song if you own it or if not you can purchase the track. (you don't need to play the track as fast as the original). The dancers actually seem to like this track a little slower from my experience..
2. Review the tablature of the song shown below to practice moving between the notes.
3. Watch and play along with the video clips below for the very slow, slow and medium tempos.
4. Watch the song played live from this link, medium tempo or a faster version by clicking here.
5. Turn on the drum beats and practice at slow and medium tempos.
6. Looking at the tablature below sing the words to the song as you play. .
Practice Videos: Very Slow, Slow and Medium Tempos
Drum Beat Tempos for Practice:
100 BPM - Double Kick
120 BPM - Double Kick
140 BPM - Double Kick
160 BPM - Double Kick
Tablature: Click here for informaiton on how to read this accordion tablature)
Tablature is just a written breakdown of which notes to play in sequence for any specific song.
Since tablature can be very helpful all of the lessons on this web site will include tablature.
For example, a basic version of Zydeco Force's, "Zydeco Extravaganza" tablature is shown below.
In the example below the 6' means you hold down the sixth button from the top and pull the bellows. The numbers with out the apostrophe are pushes so for example the 4 shown over the 5 listed below, you would hold down buttons 4 & 5 and push the bellows together. The pushes are also sometimes shown with a circle around the number. Watch the video to see how this looks.
If you see a BC, BB or BBT, this is telling you to play the base side of the accordion with the two buttons as opposed to the treble side with the 10 buttons. BT is the top or "chord" button. BB is the bottom button and BBT is playing both buttons at the same time.
Each Zydeco artist who plays Zydeco songs put their own signature/embelishments on the song so the tablature listed below is just one basic way of playing this tune.
Timing is everything is Zydeco so the tablature does not give you the feel of the music. You need to listen to the song over and over again to understand the timing.
As listed below there are many good websites and resources covering the basics of the single row accordion. The Zydeco accordion style is played a little differently compared to Cajun style which you will experience as you learn a few songs.
The other main difference is the bass side is played differently. Diatonic accordions are tuned to either wet or dry during the manufacture process Zydeco style accordions are tuned wet as the video clip below also covers. Please see the playing the bass side lesson for details on this area.
- Basics of Zydeco Accordion:
Websites and other resources:
- How Zydeco/Cajun accordions are made
- Wet tuning of the accordion for Zydeco
- Diatonic button accordion from Wikipedia
- Big Nick's Overview of the Cajun accordion
- Specific Wikipedia on the Cajun accordion
As your holding the accordion in front of you on the left side you have the bass button on the bottom and a chord button on the top. For basic Zydeco lessons at first you don't need to learn this side but I will note on the tablature some options when the bass side could be played. In Zydeco typically you will only use this to embellish the melody and not play the bass and chord buttons all the time compared to playing the bass side in Cajun style songs.
Below is a video clip showing the Zydeco style of playing the bass side of the accordion. Note that the bass and chord buttons are used to accent the melody played and are not played in an alternating pattern as they often are for Cajun music.
How the bass side is played with breakdowns
Here is a good example of how the accordion is played for Cajun style music. When you play the video clip below note the alternating pressing of the bass and chord button through out the whole melody. This alternating style of playing the bass buttons is more often seen in jam session type of environments when there is not a bass player or drummer playing
There are other resources out there but here are just a few of the good resources already on the web for the single row accordion.
1. BigNick Music Theory: Good document on music theory.
2. Brett Thibodeaux Music Theory info: A good reference for scales, finding and building chords
3. Ganey Arsement's introduction Video