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Old 12-19-2011, 10:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Oakland, CA
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Is there a name for French accordion music?

Don't even know how else to describe it. It's French. And played on accordion. Like they used on the soundtrack for Amelie. Surely you know what I'm talking about.
Old 12-19-2011, 11:33 PM
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Location: New York, NY
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Technically, it's played on a concertina.
Old 12-19-2011, 11:43 PM
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:46 PM
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Excellent! Thanks.
Old 12-20-2011, 07:18 PM
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Yann Tiersen composed much of the Amelie soundtrack.

I was once very impressed by a drunk young man simultaneously playing the accordion and glockenspiel parts to the main theme of the movie. Very impressed indeed.
Old 12-21-2011, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Japan
Posts: 2,964
You'll probably have better luck finding music if you search for valse musette instead of the more generic bal musette.
Old 12-24-2011, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1
Hi all,

The French accordion style is referred to as "musette accordion" and also just "musette" alone.

The "Bal Musette" is where musette accordion music is played and where people dance to musette accordion music.

The musette style is an "urban folklore" since it was created in the center of Paris. I know of only 3 urban folklores: musette from Paris, tango from Buenos Aires and bossa nova from Bahia in Brazil.

The musette accordion style was created between 1880 and 1920 in Paris by the French Auvergnats that came from the center of France and the Italians that came from the Abbruzze in Italy. They both went to the 11th arrondissement in Paris and those two communities elaborated the musette accordion style.

More information on

Mario Bruneau
Old 12-24-2011, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Merci, Mario.
Old 12-24-2011, 10:12 AM
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Location: CentralArkansas
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Zydeco is the best French Accordion music. I love it and listen to it frequently.
Old 12-24-2011, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: the Prairie
Posts: 6,771
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Zydeco is the best French Accordion music. I love it and listen to it frequently.
Seconded. Awesomeness.
Old 12-25-2011, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,061
Weird. I was trying to remember a few nights ago the lyrics (which are incomprehensible to anyone, almost) of CEline's "Je tre trouverais charogne, un vilain soir. Je te ferai dans tes mires, deux grands trous noirs. Ton a^mes de vache dans le transpe', prendra du champ, je te... something something."

Famous recording -- I wish I could remember or have a better filing system for the book where I found out what the words meant (not the above, but there's some pretty odd stuff throughout). It was a French language crib to the slang Ce'line was invoking in his accordian music.
Old 12-25-2011, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 9,348
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Zydeco is the best French Accordion music. I love it and listen to it frequently.
Zydeco might qualify as "urban folklore"--as beautifully explained in a previous post. It sprang from the Creole music of Louisiana's rural blacks. Here's Canray Fontenot & Bois Sec Ardoin. (Their white neighbors played Cajun Music; listen to The Balfa Brothers.) When Creoles moved to Big Houston to find work, the music evolved. Clifton Chenier (who lived here for years) added R&B sounds to the backyard lala music--just the thing for the big city clubs. So the sound evolved along the route from Lafayette to Houston. (And a Cajun made the first frottoir--as collected by the Smithsonian!) Mr Chenier could even get us hippies off our asses & dancing when he played music like this. (Was the first use of "zydeco" to describe this hybrid music found on a record by Lightnin' Hopkins--the Houston bluesman who was cousin by marriage to Clifton Chenier? Back to the Annals of Texas Music; Doug Sahm would have known.)

OK. Next fall I will make it to the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio. It's free & features regional styles like Polka, Cajun, Creole, Zydeco & Conjunto. Plus international styles--like Tango & (of course) Parisian Musette.

(Rooting around on YouTube isn't a bad day to spend Christmas morning. Here's an example of Swamp Pop--Doug Sahm playing "Wasted Days & Wasted Nights" by Freddie Fender. That Wikipedia article is much better than the one on Zydeco; for one thing, it explains how a Mexican kid from Corpus became a recognized artist in a Louisiana genre. Freddie opened for Doctor John at a Houston club back in the 70's; the Doctor played Junco Partner for him--as a fellow "alumnus" of Angola. And The Good Doctor takes us to New Orleans music--a whole other story. Or stories.)
Old 12-25-2011, 11:44 AM
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What a great post. Thanks.
Old 12-25-2011, 12:24 PM
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You can hear a lot of it in the Pixar movie Ratatouille, too.
Old 12-25-2011, 12:52 PM
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Great info all around (I love zydeco, but musette is what I was looking for). Thanks, all!
Old 12-25-2011, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,061
Here's the CEline link -- good accordian, weird tune.

Never knew what that style was called either -- good thread.

I hear now that CEline did say correctly "dans les mires," not the barbarism I misremembered it as.
Old 12-25-2011, 07:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: the Prairie
Posts: 6,771
One of my faves - The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band.
Old 12-25-2011, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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Originally Posted by K364 View Post
I love the reference to "seedy hangouts frequented by low-lifes." My kinda' place.

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