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Do left-handed Anglo players feel particularly disadvantaged when having to play an instrument which is almost certainly designed and constructed to favour right-handed players ? How many right-handed Anglo players would be happy at the prospect of having to play a mirror image of the instrument designed to favour left-handed players ? (I suppose the same argument could be applied to the piano keyboard.)

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how about turning it round and using the little finger on the air key???

chris (English player- this probably explains the simplistic idea)

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From what I've seen with English music left handers tend to head for C/G boxes because this puts a lot of the melody on the left hand, while right handers like me go for G/D's because the melody is largely on the right. Dunno so much about Irish, but have a feeling that on the C/G the melody is well shared between the hands so handedness is not an issue. Others will have to speak for other musical styles but in general I don't think I agree with the suggestion that the anglo favours right-handers.

 

Chris

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In my limited experience I find that when playing ITM cross-row, both side of the concertina come into play of course, but more than half my button selections come from the left hand on a C/G anglo. Not sure what the percentage is, but I would estimate it at 2/3 on the left hand and 1/3 on the right. In a typical two part tune, the A portion (for me) is usually about 90% on the left hand and the B portion about 50:50 between left and right. Of course these proportions vary a bit with the key the tune is in. But this is my general impression. I'm curious if other players find these proportions in their playing. I'm right handed in everything I do, but have had no problem playing the left hand side of the concertina.

 

Where I have a problem is playing a harmonic style; ala Jody Kruskal or Alan Day. They play wonderfully, but I find it very difficult to coordinate my right and left hands to do melody and accompaniment independently. Playing cross-row and using both sides for melody and ornamentation, when appropriate, seems to come much more naturally to me. Plus musically, I've always been more driven by and drawn to melodies, rather than harmonies, though I appreciate both.

 

CaryK

Edited by CaryK

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As a lefty, it's taken me forever to realise all this. When I started playing morris tunes on an anglo around 1974, I began by playing the melody mainly on the left hand and little high chords on the right! Then I listened to William Kimber and promptly swopped what each hand was doing. Maybe I should have turned the concertina upside down. I eventually sold that box.

Having got into ITM a few years ago, I decided to go back to anglo and, after borrowing and trying a C/G and a G/D from the generous Mr Timson, I bought a Norman G/D, on the basis that I was happiest playing in the home keys. I eventually gave up - it was fine for a lot of D major and E minor tunes but my right hand just wasn't fast enough to play reels in G, for example, comfortably. I'm now looking at having another go, but with a C/G.

I've concluded that, as a southpaw, I'm happy playing harmonic style with right-hand melody as long as it's English music. But for faster Irish music, I need to learn to play in D on a C/G! CaryK's proportions for A and B parts sound about right to me.

 

Chas

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[Do left-handed Anglo players feel particularly disadvantaged when having to play an instrument which is almost certainly designed and constructed to favour right-handed players?]

 

 

no. that is, no, this Leftie does not feel "disadvantaged" on anglo, and no, it is not "almost certain" that this instrument was designed to favor the Right Wing. much of the right side of the anglo is useless, being taken up with and wasted on super-high notes that are rarely if ever used in ITM and other world folk music, whereas the entire left side is usable in these genres but for those two notes below the "G."

 

additionally, in my own case, my childhood musical experience consisted of six or seven years of piano as a kid. on piano, you're gonna get right-hand proficient whether you are a leftie or not. so....

 

i do, however, heavily favor my right brain.

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I'm right-handed so I can't answer the original question, but I'm puzzled by the assumption that the anglo is designed for, or at least favours, right-handed players. Compared with many instruments, the concertina does not appear to me to favour one hand more strongly than the other.

 

For the style I play (English harmonic) I find the fingering is more or less balanced equally (in terms of complexity) between both hands, although I concede my right-hand little finger may be a bit stronger than the left. If anything, being left-handed might help for those tunes where the melody drops onto the left hand. Construction-wise, it's true the air-button is on the right but I have no difficulty playing the similarly-positioned drone button on the left side (and on melodeon the air-button is on the left, so I don't think I'd have any difficulty if concertinas were built with the air-button on the other side).

 

I should have thought the problem is much greater for melodeon players, guitarists etc. Since many fiddle players start off by learning classical violin where they are required to play right-handed, most seem to stick with that, although I have seen a few fiddlers playing left-handed

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Do left-handed Anglo players feel particularly disadvantaged when having to play an instrument which is almost certainly designed and constructed to favour right-handed players ? How many right-handed Anglo players would be happy at the prospect of having to play a mirror image of the instrument designed to favour left-handed players ? (I suppose the same argument could be applied to the piano keyboard.)

Chris Droney is left-handed. Noone can dispute his skill on the concertina. Of course we are talking about ITM, here. With this music, the C/G is almost exclusively used, and depending on your fingering style, the button choices can favour either the right or left side of the instrument. In a related matter, violin or fiddle melodies are played with the left hand no matter which handedness you happen to be. Although there are a very few who play it the other way around.

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I should have thought the problem is much greater for melodeon players, guitarists etc. Since many fiddle players start off by learning classical violin where they are required to play right-handed, most seem to stick with that, although I have seen a few fiddlers playing left-handed

 

Living as I do with a fiddler, I can tell you that this is another instrument with high complexity on both hands. The left hand fingering has to be precise, but so does the right-hand bowing. The soul of the fiddle is in the bowing, the precision of the note is in the fingering. So few fiddlers bother to change hands. You can't restring a fiddle for left handed use either since they are assymetrical in cross section.

 

Chris

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i am right handed, and most of my work is done on the left hand. if i am doing something technically difficult on the left hand, i find it easier than technically different things on the right. who knows!

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I think it is likely that the difference between left- and right-handedness is exagerrated. Of course we all favour one hand or the other, but it is very clear that both hands are capable of acquiring fine motor skills (I nearly said 'dexterity', but that would be inappropriate in this context). Anyone who learns a musical instrument, or learns to touch-type, will train the 'other' hand to be capable of complex and accurate movement. It's only when we try to do something with the 'wrong' hand, which the other has been trained to do and that one hasn't - writing for example - that it feels difficult and unnatural.

 

That's not to say that left-handers don't face real difficulties when using equipment designed for right-handers, but I don't believe the concertina falls into that category.

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I'm another leftie and believe that all the assumptions about the instrument favoring the righties are bunk! I play ITM on my Anglo with lots of years teaching from Noel Hill and I think the Anglo let's me do just fine. I admit I do prefer tunes with more bass emphasis, but many of the popular tunes are of that construction. I agree that much of the right hand notes are too high and not terribly usefu or enjoyablel. Many of the tunes are centered around the first two+ columns of notes both left and right giving both lecture and righties equal enjoyment on the Anglo. I also play hammer dulcimer and find it's layout similarl satisfying.

 

So if one is a lefty, feel no shame or worry. Jump right in to the Anglo and have a ball.

 

Ross Schlabach

Edited by RP3

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Interesting subject - Left hand and right hand coordination. Splitting the mind down the middle and playing different things on the right and left hand and visa versa.Sounds really difficult.

How about when you use manual control on the car. Left foot doing something different to the right ,whilst steering with one hand and changing gear with the other,whilst looking where you are going. It just takes practice,as does playing the concertina, methodical use if possible of certain fingers on buttons for certain notes. I just picked out two notes on the left and kept time whilst playing something different on the right.No matter if it fitted the music ,it was timing I was looking to improve. Slowly I started to use the left as accompaniment, put in chords and gradually I managed it.

AND SO CAN YOU.

Al

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Hmmm, I like that idea Al. Sounds like a good way of learning to play harmonies and chords on an ec too.

My apologies for the digression from the main topic.

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I'm another leftie and believe that all the assumptions about the instrument favoring the righties are bunk! I play ITM on my Anglo with lots of years teaching from Noel Hill and I think the Anglo let's me do just fine. I admit I do prefer tunes with more bass emphasis, but many of the popular tunes are of that construction. I agree that much of the right hand notes are too high and not terribly usefu or enjoyablel. Many of the tunes are centered around the first two+ columns of notes both left and right giving both lecture and righties equal enjoyment on the Anglo. I also play hammer dulcimer and find it's layout similarl satisfying.

 

So if one is a lefty, feel no shame or worry. Jump right in to the Anglo and have a ball.

 

Ross Schlabach

 

The opinion which I expressed when I opened this topic may well be 'bunk', as you say! Nevertheless I would be surprised, for what it's worth, if anyone were able to convince me that whoever laid down the original design for the conventional Anglo was not probably right-handed. No problem. If we are going to master the instrument we all have to become ambidextrous and adapt. All part of the fun, as I never tire of saying ! Long live friendly controversy and no more criticism of those high notes. They are there to be played along with the rest !!

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I'm another leftie and believe that all the assumptions about the instrument favoring the righties are bunk! I play ITM on my Anglo with lots of years teaching from Noel Hill and I think the Anglo let's me do just fine. I admit I do prefer tunes with more bass emphasis, but many of the popular tunes are of that construction. I agree that much of the right hand notes are too high and not terribly usefu or enjoyablel. Many of the tunes are centered around the first two+ columns of notes both left and right giving both lecture and righties equal enjoyment on the Anglo. I also play hammer dulcimer and find it's layout similarl satisfying.

 

So if one is a lefty, feel no shame or worry. Jump right in to the Anglo and have a ball.

 

Ross Schlabach

 

The opinion which I expressed when I opened this topic may well be 'bunk', as you say! Nevertheless I would be surprised, for what it's worth, if anyone were able to convince me that whoever laid down the original design for the conventional Anglo was not probably right-handed. No problem. If we are going to master the instrument we all have to become ambidextrous and adapt. All part of the fun, as I never tire of saying ! Long live friendly controversy and no more criticism of those high notes. They are there to be played along with the rest !!

 

I would guess that the Anglo and Duet systems with their lower notes on the LH side and higher notes on the RH side are following general piano/organ/harpsichord etc., keyboard convention, which has been around for a lot longer than concertinas. I've never ever heard of a piano-type keyboard which has been built the other way round, just to suit a left-handed player; pianists just do it, regardless of whether they are left- or right-handed.

 

I agree with Howard Jones's posts earlier:

I'm right-handed so I can't answer the original question, but I'm puzzled by the assumption that the anglo is designed for, or at least favours, right-handed players. Compared with many instruments, the concertina does not appear to me to favour one hand more strongly than the other.

 

For the style I play (English harmonic) I find the fingering is more or less balanced equally (in terms of complexity) between both hands, although I concede my right-hand little finger may be a bit stronger than the left. If anything, being left-handed might help for those tunes where the melody drops onto the left hand. Construction-wise, it's true the air-button is on the right but I have no difficulty playing the similarly-positioned drone button on the left side (and on melodeon the air-button is on the left, so I don't think I'd have any difficulty if concertinas were built with the air-button on the other side).

I am left-handed and I play in much the same style as Howard, experiencing no difficulty or preference when using either side of the instrument, or both sides together.

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I'm left-handed & to be honest I've never thought it important. You've got two sides to the instrument so you use both hands - same as most instruments I guess. Like Al says - it's just about practice.

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