Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RAc

Resting your concertina while playing? Where and why?

Recommended Posts

In another thread, Lucasz wrote:

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another reason is because I operate bellows with my melody hand and pull direction is stable ballance wise (you go away from pivot point) and push can become unstable with higher volume and requires more controll.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I believe this is worthwhile discussing (hoping it hasn't been addressed before, at least less than the two dozen times that would qualify me as a Dinkeldorff...).

 

I recently switched to playing while standing, meaning among other issues there is no fixed resting point for the concertina. I find some tunes difficult to play in that position which probably supports Lucasz's proposition (although I tend to believe that in my case the problem is more of a different tilt of the concertina). Anyways, before that I used to rest my concertina on the right (melody hand) knee and operate the bellows actively with the left hand. If Lucasz is right, then this Position would be more natural for a duet Player (it would appear to be more important to help the melody side with the additional stability).

 

Well, given that EC players frequently Play their instruments free floating (or not rest a side on the knee as Rob Harbron does it I believe), another interpretation would be that ideally, the concertina would not need the added stability on one resting place at all?

 

How do others of the community deal with that? Is there a method to your concertina playing Position, in particular as to where you rest it?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by RAc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason I play with unsupported melody side is that for me personally, playing left hand side requires a lot more concentration (I'm very dominantly right handed). So I can both play melody and controll bellows with my right hand, but I can't play even the basic um-pah rhytm with free floating bass side. In the beginning I used neck strap and my hip in sitting position to stabilize the concertina and make the "loose end" move in a steady, predictable manner, but it created different problems and due to back injury I cannot play that way anymore. Nowadays I use thumb straps in addition to hand straps and play standing with knee support. 

 

With my previous setup, neck strap provided a constant pivot point of the free end, the attachment point of neck strap, and it was of little difference if concertina was moving inwards or outwards. But with my new setup, harder squeze of the bellows make an air "cushion" that provide an unstable pivot point for the melody side located at the bass side making the melody end to want to "slide" a bit on this cushion. This does not occur with chord heavy arangements, but with lighter and faster styles and single note accompaniments, this effect is significant enough to have to counter it by thumb tension, which makes my entire hand to be a bit stiffer and fast passages harder to play on the push. 

 

Just for the sake of completeness, bellows resistance on the pull has a stable, "self centering" vector, so it does not require any compensation. Combined with more ergonomic muscle work it makes it far easier for me to play some passages on the pull.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rüdiger,

 

my Crane has of course to be played sitting/rested (due to its dimensions and weight), and I'm putting it on my right knee/thigh, as I'm used to from playing the ECs. I've asked myself what may have prompted this choice, and I reckon it's because holding the instrument in a stable position with the right hand feels more natural for a right-handed person like me.

 

You have mentioned Rob Harbron, who in fact rests his TT concertina on one knee (I think as well the right one), but with the bellows. IMO you can't seperate this from his general playing technique, which includes lots of rapid changes of direction, in fiddle terms: he doesn't play many notes on one bow. Stability appears to be not an issue at all that way, the sides are both very much staying where they are...

 

For the more common style of playing more adjacent notes on one bellows or the other, stability is an issue - but IMO it's not so much about which hand does the more important key work (it's either in the case of the EC, of course), but which hand is better suited for a) holding the instrument in place and b) push/pulling and attacking the tone.

 

BTW, my Anglos I'm frequently playing standing up, which feels quite natural. With the EC, even the trebles, I wouldn't do that, apart from the occasional playing only the melody.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
typo (in spite of having used the preview option)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am just a beginner, so trying out different technical things on my Wren.

 

I am slightly ambidextrous.

 

I find that I am most comfortable resting the instrument on my left thigh. Changing to the opposite thigh seems unstable. This may have something to do with being a violinist and using the bow right-handed.

 

The further the bellows open, the less stable it feels, perhaps because I worry about running out of air (my air button is out of reach due to right hand placement).

 

It all feels really unstable if I play standing up!

Edited by sleepymonk
clarification

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, sleepymonk said:

This may have something to do with being a violinist and using the bow right-handed.

 

Sounds like a valid assumtion, I could relate to thinking of my (in my case) left hand as conducting a bow...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I phrase as if I’m playing with a bow. A bit frustrated when I can’t add more pressure when approaching fully open or fully closed bellows. In watching online, players don’t seem to have the bellows open very far (generally), that is, they seem to work within a smaller range of the bellows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re the English concertina, it's about meaningful bellows changes (which then will allow for more dynamic playing at any point), re the Anglo (apart from improving generally which includes more efficient use of air) about including the air valve in one's playing....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m getting better at more efficient use of air. The biggest handicap is needing hand rest padding for my right, and moving the strap anchoring point so it’s over my knuckles. I’ll have to keep playing with that as general fingering skills improve. I realize the air button is going to be needed. I like the idea of moving it elsewhere, though.

 

I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, sleepymonk said:

I’m getting better at more efficient use of air. The biggest handicap is needing hand rest padding for my right, and moving the strap anchoring point so it’s over my knuckles. I’ll have to keep playing with that as general fingering skills improve. I realize the air button is going to be needed. I like the idea of moving it elsewhere, though.

 

I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..

 

At least one player tried not only resting, but also straping via velcro patches. On similar note, I have observed differences in my performance depending on the kind of trousers I rest my concertina on, with the best results with my bare skin - not only giving me additional traction, but also better tactile feedback. I can play softer and with less overall volume that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, sleepymonk said:

I’m getting better at more efficient use of air. The biggest handicap is needing hand rest padding for my right, and moving the strap anchoring point so it’s over my knuckles. I’ll have to keep playing with that as general fingering skills improve. I realize the air button is going to be needed. I like the idea of moving it elsewhere, though.

 

I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..

 

33 minutes ago, Łukasz Martynowicz said:

 

At least one player tried not only resting, but also straping via velcro patches. On similar note, I have observed differences in my performance depending on the kind of trousers I rest my concertina on, with the best results with my bare skin - not only giving me additional traction, but also better tactile feedback. I can play softer and with less overall volume that way.

 

I just tried it (seated, feet flat, one end on each thigh), and it helps with stability. Of course, the legs don’t control the bellows, but the ends can freely move as needed since I’m not pressing downward.

 

I had been playing with my left leg propped up, and sometimes crossed over the right on a lab stool, so I guess the softer tone is now due to the instrument being further away on my lap.

 

I wear jeans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play EC with the left end resting on my left thigh.

I always use a very soft cloth (a yellow duster) between my clothes and concertina so as to try a mitigate any wear from rough fabrics to the bellows.

 

Incidentally, I have a couple of former band concertinas in the resto pile with wear to the bellows at points closest to the body - my theory is that they've been held against say a uniform whilst standing or marching which has subsequently worn the bellows.

Edited by SteveS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, sleepymonk said:

I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..

 

I generally play my baritone English with one end on each thigh. It's too heavy to wave around in the air, or even to just rest the left end (and a bit of bellows) on a leg as I commonly do with a treble.  I'm still using arm muscles rather than leg muscles to control the bellows for the baritone, though I get some power assist by gently moving my legs apart and together. 

 

However, there are some tunes (particularly waltzes) that I can't play even on the treble with the instrument on a knee - I have to have the whole instrument free in the air to wave it around!

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/16/2019 at 2:26 PM, sleepymonk said:

I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..

This is exactly how I play the bass concertina.

It's impractical for my style of playing with my TT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As with Steve S above,

 

This the way I was taught to play bass too, its the only real way a big heavy instrument can be managed. My Bass is a single action G Bass,  not the heaviest of the breed but heavy enough

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/16/2019 at 8:05 AM, sleepymonk said:

I am just a beginner, so trying out different technical things on my Wren.

 

I am slightly ambidextrous.

 

I find that I am most comfortable resting the instrument on my left thigh. Changing to the opposite thigh seems unstable. This may have something to do with being a violinist and using the bow right-handed.

 

The further the bellows open, the less stable it feels, perhaps because I worry about running out of air (my air button is out of reach due to right hand placement).

 

It all feels really unstable if I play standing up!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure I could play without my air release button.  In fact, I know I can't.   There might be something going on with your hand and wrist placement or there may be something wrong with the design of your concertina.  I have never played a concertina where I couldn't reach that button.   Depending solely on bellows direction for air control may limit speed or emphasis as you advance.     

 

And I have seldom seen a concertina player playing standing up for any length of time.   So I wouldn't worry about that too much.   (Though I know of Morris players and parade bands that march or stand, and we can't forget those old Salvation Army bands back in the day,)  Most of us likely play sitting down most of the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play Anglo. When practicing or recording, I prefer to sit in a straight backed chair with the left side on my left knee and the right side floating. In thinking about it, I guess that is because my left fingers are jumping all over the keyboard and appreciate the extra stability. However, I have learned to perform while standing, marching, dancing etc.

 

Here are four distinct positions that I use for standing.

  • Forearms vertical with the concertina in front of my face... or higher.
  • Forearms horizontal with the concertina perched on my substantial belly.
  • Forearms downward at an angle with the concertina perched on the top of my left hip/ thigh and my left leg slightly raised.
  • Forearms all the way down, concertina hanging with a slight push against my body.

These four positions all provide a bit more stability than having the concertina floating around (I do that too). Often I’ll switch around between these positions as muscles get tired and need a break.

 

For floating concertina, one very helpful trick is to hook a little finger around the lowest button (physically) and use it for added support. That means the little fingers are not available for play, but I’ve learned how to work around that. Six working fingers are enough to keep the music going. If I need a pinkie, it does its job then goes back to work as a stabilizer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...