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What Are The Various Ways To Hold A Concertina?


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Generally two handed works best :)

 

Alot will ultimately depend on how you play it. If you normally play in a sitting position, then probably the best way to play is have one end frame resting on your leg. I generally play with the right frame resting on my right leg and manipulate the bellows with my left hand; this habit comes from starting as an accordion player. Most players seem to play with the left end on the left leg and work the bellows with the right hand.

 

--

 

Bill

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Yes, there is a "correct" way, but what it is depends on which purist you listen to. Allan Atlas, in his book "Contemplating the Concertina", devotes a chapter to this issue. His is talking about English concertina but the ideas are the same.

 

Anything that hurts your body is a bad thing to do. (You will develop minor aches when starting any new instrument.) Anything that restricts your ability to operate bellows and buttons is to be avoided if possible, but whatever feels comfortable and produces good music is "right" for you at least.

 

Your instrument sounds heavy so you probably need to think first about supporting the weight in a way that does not obstruct the musical things you want to do.

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Is there a "correct" way or does everyone go their own way?

 

I'm a new owner of a MacCann Lachenal 46 key duet, if that makes a difference.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Funny you should ask, I was wondering the same thing. In the instructional CD by John Williams (Learn to Play Irish Concertina), John suggests resting the middle of the bellows on your leg just behind the knee. I notice that he uses his right knee. However, I recently spoke with an American player/repairer who said that he has seen bellows quite worn from 'leg resting.'

 

In the book by Bertram Levy (The Anglo Concertina Demystified), he suggests holding the instrument between the knees and waist with each concertina end somewhat over a leg, like this Holding2.BMP. Note that the bellows are then not resting on either leg and are allowed so move without any sort of friction against the body.

 

I do agree, however, that whatever hold one uses, it should not hurt; pain is not a good sign.

 

P.S. How does one add an attachment to an underlined word?

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There is no one single correct way to hold a concertina:

  • Various recepticles, particularly trash bins and dumpsters
  • Under the tire of a large truck will hold it quite effectively
  • In the fireplace, preferably held between two burning logs
  • Encased in concrete below the foundation of your house
  • ...

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

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Generally two handed works best :)

Bill

 

 

I remember a one armed concertina player from the folk scene in UK back in the '70s. Forgotten his name.

Strapped one end of an anglo (?) to his thigh and played the other end incredibly well for song accompaniment as I recall.

 

Got a name, anyone? He was quite famous.

 

MC (in nostalgic, but forgetful mode :blink: )

Edited by malcolm clapp
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Is there a "correct" way or does everyone go their own way?

 

I'm a new owner of a MacCann Lachenal 46 key duet, if that makes a difference.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Funny you should ask, I was wondering the same thing. In the instructional CD by John Williams (Learn to Play Irish Concertina), John suggests resting the middle of the bellows on your leg just behind the knee. I notice that he uses his right knee. However, I recently spoke with an American player/repairer who said that he has seen bellows quite worn from 'leg resting.'

 

In the book by Bertram Levy (The Anglo Concertina Demystified), he suggests holding the instrument between the knees and waist with each concertina end somewhat over a leg, like this Holding2.BMP. Note that the bellows are then not resting on either leg and are allowed so move without any sort of friction against the body.

 

I do agree, however, that whatever hold one uses, it should not hurt; pain is not a good sign.

 

P.S. How does one add an attachment to an underlined word?

 

This is a nice topic, I've been resting one end on my left knee like many do but I find myself having to stabilize my hand with my little finger on the right hand since it's in the air. It's not a big deal really, have tried different suggestions but the finger always wants to do that other wise it feels unstable on fast reels.

So I may try having an end on each knee and see how that works, bellows on the leg is out of the question, I could see that becoming a wear issue.

 

Lars

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Is there a "correct" way or does everyone go their own way?

 

Whilst it is important to have a comfortable playing position, out of respect for our instruments I think that we have a duty to minimise unnecessary wear on any parts. Whilst "anchoring" one end of the instrument on the leg will, over time, cause some wear to the wood, this is not significant compared with bellows wear, if played resting over the leg.

 

I think that as a general "rule", if you "anchor" the "business" end of the instrument (i.e. where you are playing melody) this should make the fingering easier on more difficult passages of music. So, I would suggest resting the instrument ends as follows:

 

Anglo (Irish music) - left end. Melody is played mainly on the left hand.

Anglo (other music) - right end.

Duet (all systems) - right end.

English. Interesting, as melody switches from side to side. I rest the right end, in common with my other instruments. However, as a result of an old tendon injury, I find it more comfortable with left leg crossed over right instead of the more logical right over left which I use for other instruments.

 

Hope that this is of some help.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Malcolm

 

The mystery one-armed concertina player was Dave Brady of Swan Arcade (from whence came Jim Boyes, now of Coope, Boyes and Simpson).

 

Nostalgia's OK, but it's not what it used to be!

 

Alex

 

 

Thanks, Alex. Was it anglo or duet? (It was a long time ago!)

 

MC

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  • 2 months later...

Malcolm

 

The mystery one-armed concertina player was Dave Brady of Swan Arcade (from whence came Jim Boyes, now of Coope, Boyes and Simpson).

 

Alex

 

 

Thanks, Alex. Was it anglo or duet? (It was a long time ago!)

 

MC

 

 

According to a M**cat posting, it was a duet, but no indication of system.

 

Sad to hear of his passing.

 

MC

Edited by malcolm clapp
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DEAR DICK: please note that that is precisely what i say in my own tutor. . . . that there is NO such thing as a correct way to hold the instrument. . . . . .(thus i'm not quite sure with what you're taking issue). . . . . .

 

the chapter to which Roger G. referred contains a number of illustrations showing the concertina (in each case an English) being held this, that, and the other way. . . . . .if you look at the chapter, you'll see that i give the following advice: DO WHAT'S COMFORTABLE...............

 

indeed, the whole discussion bounced off a thread on this website that ran some years ago. . . . . .in which more than a few respondents claimed that they knew the "correct" way to hold the instrument. . . . .the main point of the chapter was to serve as a "corrective" to just that rather silly notion...............

 

again, with what are you taking issue...............allan

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DEAR DICK: just to set the record straight. . . . .i play the English. . . .

 

the chapter to which Roger G. refers is icalled "LAPS AND STRAPS: HOLDING THE INSTRUMENT (A PICTURE GALLERY)". . . . . it first takes up the question of standing vs. sitting. . . . .and shows that the Victorian tutors opt for both methods of playing. . . . . .it then shows various ways in which players have held the instrument from the mid-19th century to our own time (whether standing or sitting). . . . . these photos range from depictions of mid-19th-century players to those who play the instrument today. . . . . . .

 

along the way, the chapter offers five "morals", though perhaps that's better put as one moral five times: Do what's comfortable!. . . .Do what's comfortable!!. . . .Do what's comfortable!!!. . . .Do what's comfortable!!!!. . . .Do what's comfortable!!!!!. . . . . .(note the elegant/subtle way in which the number of exclamation points helps the reader keep count. . . . .since these reiterations are spread out through the chapter. . . .JOKE). . . . .

 

now, while you might very well be right that you have little or nothing to gain by reading the tutor (and it wasn't meant for "everyone"). . . . .it is a good idea to read first and criticize later...........Allan

 

P.S.: with respect to the reference to the Victorian tutors. . . . .i refer to them often during the course of the tutor. . . .the subtitle of which is "An Historically-Informed Tutor for the English Concertina". . . . . .among the questions that i ask throughout: what can we learn about playing the instrument from the Victorian tutors. . . . . .

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DEAR DICK: well, let ME apologize for my rather aggressive reply.................

 

DEAR FOLKS: one of the dangers about an unvetted forum like this one. . . .especially in combination with electronic transmission in which fingers and mouse often work more quickly than the brain. . . . .is that ALL of us sometimes jump the gun a bit. . . . .or take things out of context. . . . .or otherwise twist what others say this way or that way. . . . . . .

 

i am reminded of a policy that a very good copy editor friend of mine uses. . . . .she always does her copy editing with brightly colored PEN AND INK. . . . . .as she puts it: it forces her to think three times before commiting pen to paper. . . . . .allan

 

p.s.: will count to ten before clicking

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