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Anglo - what to actually rest the palm against


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I play Irish music on the anglo, and started out resting the base of my palms on the top of the rests, which are about 1" or 25mm high.  Felt perfectly comfortable.  A friend remarked the other day about how loose my straps were though, whereas his were much tighter; I don't think my hands are all that larger than the norm, and this got me to thinking that maybe my hands shouldn't be pushed through quite so far.  Thus I gave resting the base of my palms against the edge of the concertina a try, instead of against the rest, and suddenly my fingers felt a lot more free to hit the G row buttons; before I'd had to arch over a lot to get there.  It's a thousand times easier to work the F#, play in the lower range, play above D.  It's still easy to get to the accidentals row if need be, too.  

 

"Palm rest" thus is perhaps a bit of a misnomer.  The palm is just another word for the underside of the hand; which part are we talking about?  Having a tall rest I think threw me off the trail of what to do.  It isn't getting in the way of how I hold the instrument now though.  The more typical dinky rest would force you to push against the edges - right? For more evidence I went looking for videos of good players showing this, and found this super clear shot of Mary MacNamara.  

 

 

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If it's different approach to hands going through; I have been remarked upon myself for having a very odd way of placing my hands myself; as I put my whole hands through, thumb and all, as I always have.. meaning my own straps are extremely loose indeed! But it works for me ( and has for over 2 decades anyway).. You find your own way that suits you best individually, at least I think. If you see me play, it looks like the entire concertina may fall out my hands at any moment! But I do it my own way.. and always have!

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there are various approaches to to that question.

I am not an Anglo player. I would suggest, as you seem to have found for yourself with the Mary MacNamara image , that you find examples from the best players of YOUR instrument in YOUR preferred style.

Find, and go to, workshops where such players are tutors, probably as part of the program in various festivals.

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Not that you can’t do it some other way, but I believe most of the top Irish players have the straps snug with the palms positioned in the manner you are now employing. Noel Hill specifically teaches to do this along with anchoring the left side of the instrument on the left knee. He describes the right arm as the bowing arm (as if you were playing a fiddle). You might also notice that a lot of the really good players (particularly the younger ones) seem to have very little bellows movement (both up and down as well as in and out). 

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I use tall handles or foam spacers to make them tall, and straps a bit on the loose side so I can arch my hands, as some others have described. This is for ergonomic reasons: I am prone to RSI/carpal tunnel inflammation, so I have to keep my wrists as straight as possible, and this is the position that helps me do it (other ways failed miserably). You may need an entirely different set up. Good luck sorting it out.

 

Ken

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