That seems difficult to use... supporting the instrument with one's LEFT THUMB - and - to have that thumbstrap be on the back RIGHT side of the instument? Wouldn't your left fingers get in the way of the bellows? Have you tried this?
M. Ronconi [1845-47], "The French Accordion is held in the right hand ... the Thumb at the brass rail", "The German Accordion is held in the left hand ... The thumb is to be placed in the Loop at the back".....
Ah, but as I have mentioned a few times on C.net, Demian's accordions were made to be played left-handed
The only exception would be if I was demonstrating one of my earliest Demian accordions, all of which were left-handed, when I would play "left on right" !
This was by analogy with stringed instruments, where it is the left hand that fingers the notes, and the right hand that sounds them, which actually seems pretty logical ...
However, Viennese/German accordions made from around the mid 1830's onwards were right-handed, though some players/teachers seem to have stuck to the left-handed stance (even for the French
accordion), notably J.S. Cunnabell of Boston, "teacher of the flute and accordion", who defended the practice, in the Second Edition of his "Progressive Lessons for the French Accordion", as late as 1850.
Would you humour me by trying to play your flutina vertically, with your left hand resting in your lap, palm upwards gripping the socle with your thumb and last 3 fingers and using your index finger for the air dump? Besides being very comfortable to play this way, I've found that it makes a lot of sense having the fundamental on the pull now rather than on the push.
Whilst Sem's stance looks awkward, Alfred's looks just like the way I (and others) play a flutina, and I do use my little finger on the air valve, in fact I couldn't manage it any other way. I think my whole thrust was that there is no one "right way" of playing a flutina, and that though some sources say that they should be held vertically, many seem to suggest that it should be held horizontally, some even say flat on the lap !
Richard, I've already tried it (with a large flutina like Alfred Titchcombe's), and I'm afraid that personally I find it contorted, physically painful and very limiting. I'm also at a loss to know how I'm supposed to use the two bass keys with my thumb, which is all that's holding the socle on that side, whilst three fingers are wasted holding the "wrong" side of it ?
Indeed, I'm now left pondering the thought that perhaps the introduction of basses, as opposed to the constant harmony of the "bascules d'harmonie" on the keyboard, might have forced
some "vertical" players to adapt to playing horizontally ?
I don't for one moment deny that the French accordion was
played vertically, there is evidence for it (but also for melodeons at a later date), but there seems to be even more evidence (as early as 1832) that it was also played horizontally. There is even solid evidence that some of those who played vertically held the brass rail with their fingers and played using their thumbs.
(Just how awkward/limiting could you make it ?)
In his pioneering "Airs choisis pour l'Accordéon, précédées d'une Instruction Méthodique" (1832) A. Reisner wrote : L'accordéon se joue avec la main droite, on pose le pouce au dessous des touches, en l'accrochant à la petite barre en cuivre qui est posée au dessous des touches de manière que les 4 doigts se trouve au dessus du clavier. On posera la caisse de l'instrument horizontalement sur le genou gauche après avoir mis le pied sur un petit tabouret. On tire le soufflet avec la main gauche, de manière que le petit doigt soit libre au dessus de la grande clef derrière l'instrument, pour être à même de l'ouvrir quand il est besoin.
So as early as 1832 he directed that the instrument should be played horizontally on the left knee, the bellows pulled by the left hand and the wind key operated with the little
finger. I believe that the crinolined young lady illustrated playing this way in his "Méthode Reisner pour apprendre sans Maitre à jouer l'Accordéon" (1838) is almost certainly his daughter Louise, who was the first "accordion virtuoso". Certainly there is absolutely no doubt that the Reisners knew how to play the instrument.
Do you have any thoughts why the flutina is alone in it's "backwards" bisonorism?
That feature actually derives from Demian's first model, which played "on the draw". (And before you ask, the wind key of those could only
have been used if the instrument was played horizontally, unless you played it right-handed, but then the scale would have run the wrong way.)
I also have a Russian accordion, called a Saratovskya Garmoshka, that shares this "backwards bisonorism" but is otherwise like an early melodeon in style (right down to the treble sound box and the chiming bells on the bass end !).
To me, it makes a certain sense to be able to play a scale starting with the bellows closed, perhaps what we should be asking is why they changed to playing on the press ?
So are you a Blefuscudian or a Lilliputian ? (Or, which end do you crack your eggs ?)
Edited by Stephen Chambers, 11 March 2005 - 10:15 PM.