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What to do with idle fingers on the push?


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I've been taking concertina lessons for a couple of months now, currently playing a Concertina Connection Rochelle 2.  I have noticed when playing a string of notes on the left side that I'm pushing primarily with the side of my right thumb on the hand rest (actually on the outside of the strap) and a couple of fingers reaching across the buttons to the body of the concertina in order to keep the right side parallel with the left.  Is this an acceptable habit?  My instructor let me try his Carroll concertina which requires much less effort with the bellows, so maybe my current technique is just what it's going to take with the stiffer bellows on the R2 (which are getting easier as I continue).  I see some players curl their fingers up along the inside of the hand rest, but it seems like it's better to have the fingers out over the buttons, same as the fretting hand on a stringed instrument.  I've noticed that I can also twist my hand a little to put pressure on the  hand rest from my thumb while twisting my hand under the strap to maintain alignment, but that doesn't feel comfortable to maintain.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Edited by Parker135
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To reply to myself, I'm getting the idea that this is an ill-posed question, or maybe it doesn't matter where I press on one side, or how I hold the concertina, while playing a string of notes on the other.

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I don't think it's a bad question at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this topic has been discussed, at least in part, on the forum in the past. But afaik there's not a firmly established best practice as you find with some instruments, e.g. the proper way to hold a violin bow. Probably a lot of us never thought too hard about it and just did whatever came naturally. Since you're already taking lessons, I would start by soliciting your instructor's opinion. And you can always try different approaches yourself to see what you find the most ergonomic.

Edited by Steve Schulteis
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I wonder if like when a tight rope walker uses arms out to balance, as to whether the supposed possibly idle fingers mentioned in this post, may not be so much as ' idle' as being still important in helping to balance the tendons in fact as instrument is played . Just a thought! 

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Steve and Simon, thank you for your comments.  

I did talk with my instructor about it, which was helpful.  He let me try his Carroll, and I've since tried a Ceili, which has me thinking it's largely a matter of how stiff the bellows are on my Rochelle 2.  They're getting better all the time (and I really like the R2 for beginning this adventure) but they're still significantly stiffer than his.  So I think I've just been doing what it takes to keep the ends roughly parallel without thinking about it...until I thought about it. 

 

I have a Clover on order, which may well solve the problem.  I just wanted to post this for comment in case I'm developing a habit that will be difficult to un-do later.

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Just adding a thought here reading about the topic of fingers; the truth is the joy of free reed instruments is that thee has never really being [at least I believe] a fixed one size fits all approach to how to do things! Unlike say piano, or maybe violin, guitar or even flute, there's so many possibilities and personal approaches to playing them, ad so many different kinds to choose from!

My own way of playing frustrates some purists, but it works for me [example I put my whole hand through straps] with thumb inside too! ] But that works also for me at least. I have found all kinds of almost contortions of finger position, or sliding over the edge  of a finger to reach a note; again it works possibly only for myself regardless.

Find out your own way; with a bit of good hints form others when desired and you will be fine!

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As I've continued to play the Rochelle 2, I've pretty much settled on using the right pinky to stabilize the instrument.  I normally play with the left end resting on my left knee.  I'm happy to hear that the concertina police are willing to look the other way on this one.  I'm looking forward to a Clover to see if I still need to do the same with the lighter action.

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Good to hear that you are building confidence on your instrument.

I also play with concertina sometimes resting on my knee, which I find is helpful.  My own way of using with all hand fingers inside including thumb! is alright solely for me personally, but not usually the done thing. Everyone finds their own way of playing style. Sometimes one can tense up when playing, and I find if , say (Anglo system) tune happens to be on right side in a tune, I take opportunity to relax the other hand, until needed ( a bit like a pianist often let's the hand rest between passages.. but this is only my own individual approach; and others will have their own ways of working. Relax, and enjoy playing, and you will hear the difference soon enough.

 

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