Plant a cao, appreciated

I’ve been thinking of the tune “Plant a Cao,” lately (sheet music down below). It was nominated for tune of the month over on It was voted down, but a fascination was still sparked. This is a scottish I first heard on the Musaique CD, by Ad Vielle Que Pourra. They play it at light speed, which suits me some of the time. My current favorite version is this one by Jean Luc Gueneau and Gilles Poutoux:

I heard the Gentiane version, featuring the great Jean Blanchard some years later. It has a gentler, more playful tone:

And here’s a solo accordion version by Jac Lavergne, from his Cadence d’Auvergne cassette tape.

The “lightspeed” version I mentioned above is the second tune in the set below:

And here is sheet music from Sylvain Piron’s set of scottishes on his tradfrance site.

As a bonus for my friend, Barb Truex, here it is on mountain dulcimer:


4 thoughts on “Plant a cao, appreciated

  1. Hello from centrale France,
    Sorry i speak only french and german.
    could be taken as “what are you trying to say ?
    Pour transmettre la musique traditionnelle, et notre patrimoine musical du centre-France, il faut écouter les vieux musiciens, les vieux instruments, les vieilles chansons.
    Les nouvelles versions, les créations, ne sont pas du “patrimoine”, donc 1) les bals sont passibles de la taxe SACEM ( pour vous: royalties) 2) J'ai beaucoup de problèmes pour jouer avec des jeunes musiciens, car les versions sont multiples et différentes. Même les instruments sont trop différents. Comment une “cabrette” (avec 14 notes de musique) peut jouer avec un Castagnari 3 rangées ?
    Quel est votre “point de vue” ? ?
    A + CLAUDE.


  2. Hello, sir, merci,

    Mon français est très mauvais. My point of view is very close to yours. One of the things I love about playing accordion is that I become a part of this tradition that existed before me, and will continue after. I didn't change the 2nd part of this tune because I wanted to innovate, but because I had misremembered the tune after many years. My point of view is that if I follow the lead of Frederic Paris, Sylvain Piron, and Jean Blanchard (even though he doesn't play box anymore), I will do fine.

    About the cabrette and the Castagnari 3 row, José Roux, Michel Esbelin, and Dominique Paris all play cabrette with Chromatic Button Accordions … which seem just as complex as the Castagnari 3 row.


  3. Hi – A friend just introduced me to your blog… I would say that the big difference between the Ad Vielle Que Pourra version and that of Gentiane is that the Gentiane musicians play it like the dance tune it is, ie. at a proper tempo and with proper phrasing so that people can actually do a scottish to the music. The Ad Vielle version is way too fast and the accompaniment has no nuance – they're just wailing away with every note receiving the exact same emphasis. To me, the details of the melody from one version to another are not important at all, it is the sense of the dance that matters.
    from a French trad fiddler


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