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Richard Morse

Concertina Support

When playing seated, how do you support your concertina?  

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I voted left on left. However, this really applies only to my playing the Hayden duet. When playing the English concertina I generally prefer to stand. I do not yet feel confident of standing with the wrist(hand?) straps of the duet. I do not know if that is a physical or a psychological difficulty.

 

- John

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I do not yet feel confident of standing with the wrist(hand?) straps of the duet.

Hand. (Unless your thumbs grow out of the backs of your wrists? :unsure:)

 

The wrist straps on an English are very different beasts, for a very different purpose, and do contact the wrists when in use.

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Guest Jeff
http://www.rowlhouse.co.uk/concertina/pictures/holding.jpg

 

I keep the bottom of the bellows closed and thus both end-frames and the belows on the right thigh, because this allows rock-solid bellows control without needing the little fingers in the rests (English concertina).

 

How do you manage to keep the "bottom of the bellows" closed without using the little fingers for it? (..or having them on the finger rests..) Do you press with the fingers on the buttons or with the palm of the hand against the ends or press with your thumbs?

 

I ask because the situation is not all that "rock-solid".....Gravity and friction cooperate opening the bottom of the bellows...particularly when playing gently and thus not using so much force keeping parts in position. If you eliminate friction and make gravity assist to keep the bottom of the bellows closed by resting just one of the ends on the thigh and balancing the instrument in that position you increase the efficiency. Another method is using a strap across the 'bottom of the bellows' to keep it closed.Check "method 4" and figures 4,6,7 at:

 

http://www.concertina.net/goran_supporting.html

http://www.concertina.net/images/goran_supporting.gif

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How do you manage to keep the "bottom of the bellows" closed without using the little fingers for it? (..or having them on the finger rests..) Do you press with the fingers on the buttons or with the palm of the hand against the ends or press with your thumbs?

 

No, I don't press with the fingers on the buttons (at least, no more than is required to move them in!), and the palm stays away from the ends. I _do_ use a strap that goes across the bottom of the bellows, but actually that's not necessary (I played for a long time the same way but without the strap). So long as you don't open the bellows too far, then you can keep the bottom of the bellows closed by pressing down with the thumbs as well as in/out. The strap just reduces the need for this extra downward pressure. I say the bellow control is rock-solid because if I stop playing at any point (i.e. with the bellows open/closed within my normal range) I can change bellow pressure direction (without pressing a button) without any "flapping" of the bellows. Obviously playing like this means that you don't use the full amount of air in the bellows, but my argument is that you have to change bellow direction at some point, so you might as well get good at it!

 

The reason is to remove the little finger from the finger plate - partly so it can be used, but mainly so that it frees up the hand and lets you play with almost any finger on any row (by rotating the hand, which is why I hate wrist straps), and it lessens the problem of the 3rd/4th fingers not having completely independant control.

 

Rob Harbron has ended up (independantly) playing this way too. Actually he uses a lot more bellow direction changes than I do. If you've heard him play, you'll know that his bellows don't flap around either :)

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That goes right over me head fellers (of course I can't balance a check book either). Doesn't matter though because the result in the recorded evidence on this very site is smoothe, classy and beautiful Mr. Ratface. Bravo!

 

In fact I credited your version of Capitan O'Kane last night at session after we had done the same selection and came in for some nice compliments on the chords I shamelessly nicked from you :) .

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In fact I credited your version of Capitan O'Kane last night at session after we had done the same selection and came in for some nice compliments on the chords I shamelessly nicked from you :) .

 

You're welcome to em :)

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I voted L on L, I play a heavy 44 key Jefferies Anglo (probably converted duet). You would have to be some sort of strong man to play raised up for very long.

 

Derek

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Right on right, Hayden Duet.

 

Sometimes rather than the frame, I put my wrist against my thigh (or both wrists on thighs).

 

Sorry for coming to this thread so late. I somehow didn't see it last time around.

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This topic got me thinking. I always played left frame on left thigh without really thinking about it. Therefore I have been playing right frame on right thigh for a few days as an experiment. I have to say I think I have more control R/R :D

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I am interested to know if the left left is chosen because people are right handed the bellows control would be done by the right hand and right right for left handed people?

If you are duel handed I just do not know where you would put it.

Answers on a postcard.

Al :)

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I'd also be interested in hearing why people have chosen to play which frame on which thigh. So far it seems that some have come to play the way they do because of habit (legacy of another instrument), some from copying other people's choice (regardless of how THAT person came to play that way), deliberate thought and experiments on their own part (for more control?), and some by willy-nilly unforethought.

 

The poll is showing some good trends but doesn't reveal the "why". If folks are willing to put in their oars again we may get some insights! What hand you are and he type of music you play may also be of relevance as that might be a factor in which side of the box you play most (and may want more control over).

 

As for me:

 

Right-handed

Hayden duet

Contradance, Irish, English, Morris, French-Canadian, ragtime....

Right frame/left thigh

Choice definitely from BA legacy.

 

If I had thought about it more I may have wound up playing R/R as that would make the box more centered on me. As it is I usually cross my left leg onto my right to get the box more on center - but that also works for getting it up a little higher too which I find makes for easier playing. Hmmm.... maybe I'll experiment with R/R for a bit....

Edited by Richard Morse

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I generally play right frame on right knee. I had already been playing B/C accordion for a year or so when I took up the concertina so my left had was use to doing the bellows work so I didn't see much point in training my right hand to do what my left already did well.

 

I put it on my right leg simply because I saw little point in reaching across to my left knee... yeah i know it is not much of a reach, but I am just a little more comfortable playing this way. And I don't play standing up.

 

--

Bill

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I play EC, mostly right frame on right thigh, but I vary it somewhat - if it's legs crossed, rather than foot propped up, I switch between right & left leg, and (rarely) left frame on left thigh if I'm playing a lot and my left arm/wrist is getting tired of the bellows work. When I started I was a little more conscious of trying to share the bellows work left and right, but I guess I've given up on that.

 

To summarize, I'm

 

right-handed

tenor EC

mostly contradance, Irish, English, etc.

mostly right frame, right thigh

I briefly played PA... that might have influenced me

 

~ Becky

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Mostly "in the air" but if I do rest it it is always right frame/left leg due to my melodeon background

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I have voted that I also play holding the instrument in the air when I am sitting. I ususally play standing but because of a lot of practicing often sit down. I always use a neckstrap myself. However I play in exactly the same position whether I am standing or sitting. In the dvd "Playing the concertina" one can amongst other things see how players hold the concertina when sitting down to play; a.o. Dave Townsend, Sara Daniels, Douglas Rogers, Pietro Valente and myself and some others.

Pauline

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I find this all most interesting the only reason I sit down to play or stand with the left leg on a chair, is so I can hold the left side of the concertina still ,so that I can play chords or base runs(sometimes with all fingers and thumb).If I am just playing the tune, with no chords, I do not require support.I am right handed, but I do not think this would make any difference,even if I was left handed I would still want the left side static.Also being right handed I feel I have more control over the bellows action,even if I am standing the right hand is moving the bellows not both hands.I suppose this may be different if I was playing Irish music across the rows or along the rows, I might then be able to stand and adopt some of the styles mentioned.I find your comments interesting Richard, as being Right handed, left left seems correct for you and the concertina is central to the body.

I suppose it all comes down to how you play when you start.The lady I found playing the concertina upside down was quite happy until I told her where she was going wrong.

Al

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