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Playing The Anglo While Standing


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There have been a few occasions when it would have been convenient if I could have played my AC from a standing position. I've tried this but have had very little luck as, when standing, I have to support the anglo with my right and left little fingers, which makes it darn difficult to play F# on the left hand inner row. Also, when standing, the bellows tend to flop about and I get very poor control. I've seen videos of folks playing while marching, and of some who bend over and hold the anglo against the thigh, while standing, to get the support you get when seated (I found that to be pretty uncomfortable too after a short time). I also knew one player who played standing and used his left thumb and left little finger to grasp the anglo and steady it, while his right arm worked the bellows. I've also tried to play standing with one leg up on a chair, so that I could still support the concertina near my knee, but I found this is tough on my hip joint of the leg not on the chair because it supports most of my weight then (bit o' arthritis there) if I do that for more than a minute or two.

 

So, while the vast majority of my playing will always be from a seated position, I'd like to know how those of you, who play successfully while standing, do it. Any tricks, techniques, advice would be appreciated. I wish to learn to do this without compromising my fingering positions, if that is possible. Thanks.

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Potential solutions:

 

Get a Céilí. They're light, and I really like writing out the word Céilí. It's the accent mark thingies.

 

Weightlifting. Many repetitions of the 12 ounce curl won't quite cut it.

 

On a more serious note, one of the old tutors (I think it was Sedgwick) suggested tieing a ribbon around both ends, and supporting part of the weight from your neck. I think the Salvation army had some kind of strap rig kind of thing for their people, too.

 

Maybe you can arch your palm a bit so that the weight is on the back of your hand and heel of your palm instead of on the top of your hand between thumb and finger. But this could get a bit uncomfortable after a little while, I'd guess.

 

Or you could hold the instrument up around face level, which brings the weight to the heel of your hand more. But that does look a bit goofy. (I do this at home when I'm chasing the cats. Poor cats.)

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There have been a few occasions when it would have been convenient if I could have played my AC from a standing position
.

It's been discussed gazillion times.

I think there are two ways of acheivnig it

One is time. With time you'll be more and more comfortable with the instrument and gradually learn to play it any way you want.

It seems to be the mainstream.

The other way, ingenious, is to build the custom strap-bracket system, the way it is described here

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Get a Céilí. They're light, and I really like writing out the word Céilí. It's the accent mark thingies.

Which is exactly what I did (get a Morse, that is, not fiddle with accents). I find my Jeffries 38 button definitely too weighty to consider using in north west morris, which can require you to play without break for half an hour or more in a processional. So I got a Céilí (no fiddling with accents that time, just cut-and-paste). My partner Anne got an Albion, same reason.

 

Not an option always available on cost grounds, but nice if you can do it and you have the satisfaction of supporting the Rich Morse Free Reed Development Fund.

 

Chris

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I have always failed to understand how players can maintain adequate control of the instrument whilst playing standing. I find. like many others, that the natural position for my metal ended anglo is to play seated, with the right hand end of the instrument taken on the right thigh. Perhaps left handed players would prefer the reverse of this? Presumably the average wooden ended instrument is significantly lighter than mine, which would put less strain and fatigue on the arm muscles but still do nothing to contribute towards overall control of the instrument. If height is a factor sit on a stool with appropriate foot rest for the right (or left) foot to bring the thigh to the correct level for support of the instrument.

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I'd like to know how those of you, who play successfully while standing, do it. Any tricks, techniques, advice would be appreciated. I wish to learn to do this without compromising my fingering positions, if that is possible. Thanks.

Maybe this will help, if you missed it first time around:

 

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KEKl8odYlUc&...38&index=10

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Also, when standing, the bellows tend to flop about and I get very poor control.

You'll notice from Peter T's video that he's playing with the bellows very "fanned," to help stop that happening.

 

I mostly play to accompany my singing, so I'm playing stood up pretty much all the time. I find it's easier, but then I've done it pretty much from day one. I find it awkward to have one end "fixed" on my knee, and much prefer the added mobility of playing stood up, and squeezing from both ends into the middle.

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The link on that page to Chris's page on Goran's ideas no longer works. The information on how the thing is actually built is now here:

 

Gangrene from playing English concertina? :blink: I wonder how many documented cases have been reported... :lol:

 

Truth be told, the English is the easiest of all concertinas to play standing up. :rolleyes:

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There have been a few occasions when it would have been convenient if I could have played my AC from a standing position. I've tried this but have had very little luck as, when standing, I have to support the anglo with my right and left little fingers, which makes it darn difficult to play F# on the left hand inner row. Also, when standing, the bellows tend to flop about and I get very poor control. I've seen videos of folks playing while marching, and of some who bend over and hold the anglo against the thigh, while standing, to get the support you get when seated (I found that to be pretty uncomfortable too after a short time). I also knew one player who played standing and used his left thumb and left little finger to grasp the anglo and steady it, while his right arm worked the bellows. I've also tried to play standing with one leg up on a chair, so that I could still support the concertina near my knee, but I found this is tough on my hip joint of the leg not on the chair because it supports most of my weight then (bit o' arthritis there) if I do that for more than a minute or two.

 

So, while the vast majority of my playing will always be from a seated position, I'd like to know how those of you, who play successfully while standing, do it. Any tricks, techniques, advice would be appreciated. I wish to learn to do this without compromising my fingering positions, if that is possible. Thanks.

Hard case on ground.

Left foot on hard case.

Left side of Anglo resting on left knee.

 

This works for me.

 

Some people I've seen play holding the Anglo up in front of the face making a rough right-angle with their elbows in order to support the weight.

 

From what I've seen, JK tends to play holding his Anglo with his hands sort of pointing down to the ground. Normally this would quickly result in an expensive Anglo Concertina jigsaw, but it seems that the laws of gravity are put on hold for him.

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Not hard with practice, and you need to ensure that the wrist/hand straps are adjusted correctly for you. I tend to play with the heel of my hand pushing on the body of the anglo and the back of my hand pusing on the wrist/hand strap.

 

I find that staying in one position is not good for the muscles particularly if playing when standing and so I keep moving concertina around

 

Position 1 - Woody described with left foot on case and left end resting against thigh (Bellows below waist)

Position 2 - Put hands through straps lift hands so that bellows are just below neck height - this is comfortable for me and corners of anglo frame seem to "nestle" at the base of my palms helping with feeling of security. Weight passes straight down fore arms which are almost verticle.

Position 3 - about halfway between 1 and 2 with bellows above waist line (as in my profie pic).

 

I'm no three stone weakling so perhaps that also explains why I don't find it too difficult. It does depend what tune you are playing obviously. I have seen JK fling the concertina round his head, but he sits down to play the four part fugue for example.

Edited by Peter Brook
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Thanks for all your helpful comments. I'm not in position to order a Ceili now and don't think I would anyway. I've tried one and find I really like the heft of the slightly heavier Edgley and Herrington concertinas I play currently (and am on a wait list for a Kensington, also not a "light" concertina). Peter T., I watched your video on You Tube and noticed that you used your little finger on each hand to support the concertina throughout the piece. This is a method I find that does tend to work, but I don't want to lose the use of my little finger to play notes and the low end of some chords that are best reached with the little finger on the left. I don't play Morris, mostly ITM and liturgical music from time to time with American pop/folk standards thrown in once in awhile.

 

Using a foot rest doesn't work for me as it puts most of my weight on one leg which is tough on my hip. But from those of you who play standing it sounds like I should find a comfortable standing position and practice developing the control of the instrument. Not a silver bullet solution, but perhaps the most obvious one. I may try to mess around with some neck strap device or something else to support the concertina to help me develop the control I will need. I'll work on the whole thing. Practice, practice, practice, then. Thanks again for the suggestions.

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I find there are a number of positions which work for me. One is with the concertina up near the face, with the forearms at or near vertical. Another is with the arms pointing down, and in this position it is possible to get some support for on end by pressing it against the thigh. In both cases, a lot of the weight is being supported by the skeleton rather than the muscles. Even so, I may switch between the two, and intermediate positions, to stop the arms getting tired.

 

John K often uses his little finger to support the instrument but is able to free it when he needs to use it. It probably helps that he has hands like shovels! If I were to use my little finger for support, it's such a stretch that it would restrict the movement of the other fingers, so I never do.

 

Having the right strap tension is also important, but as always its a compromise between a firm grip on the instrument and enough mobility to reach the fingering.

 

On stage, I always have a high stool with me. I mostly play standing, but for tricky tunes on either melodeon or concertina where I find I need to support the instrument more I can either sit down completely or half-stand with one leg raised (the stool has a foot-bar) but my weight supported. I think this looks better on stage than sitting on a normal chair, especially when the rest of the band is standing. Not very practical for processional morris, though!

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I remain baffled as to why anyone would wish to play the instrument standing when there is an option of playing seated.

 

My metal ended Anglo weighs in at 2lb 140z which may perhaps be above average.....I know not.

 

In addition to lack of control and needless strain on bellows and wrist straps I would look upon playing standing as a form of torture.

 

If the absence of a raised stage and audience visibilty are issues why not use a high stool with cross bar at appropriate height to allow the supporting thigh to rest at a suitable height and angle. A back rest would be a bonus.

 

The advantages would surely be evidenced in an improved quality of performance.

 

Concentrate on the music and leave the gymnastics to the likes of Mick Jagger !

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Peter T., I watched your video on You Tube and noticed that you used your little finger on each hand to support the concertina throughout the piece. This is a method I find that does tend to work, but I don't want to lose the use of my little finger to play notes and the low end of some chords that are best reached with the little finger on the left. I don't play Morris, mostly ITM and liturgical music from time to time with American pop/folk standards thrown in once in awhile.

Yes; I don't recall ever using my left little finger, and only use the right one when needed. Instead, to play the low notes, I move my hand and use the ring finger.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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I remain baffled as to why anyone would wish to play the instrument standing when there is an option of playing seated.

 

My metal ended Anglo weighs in at 2lb 140z which may perhaps be above average.....I know not.

Not always an option when playing for the Morris. I used to hate those processions which seemed to go on for ever.

 

My Anglo is a similar weight, and the only option, to avoid fatigue/pain when playing for Morris was to keep it on the move rather than have a fixed playing position. Even so, I've experienced a blistered thumb (air valve) and sore back of hands (straps) on many occasions!

 

I've just remembered why I no longer play for the Morris; the musician is very much taken for granted until the time when he/she is not available for a tour!

 

Peter.

 

PS - I much prefer to play seated.

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I've no dog in this fight, but with my continuing problems with my hands, I had taken the step of installing wrist straps on my English. Great relief allowing me to play for a full evening's session and get back to practicing my prefered 3 hours a day.

 

With my bluegrass band, standing is visually important at times and connects me to my compadres. Even with the straps I was unsure how standing and not throwing the pressure back on my thumbs and pinkies would be achieved....until I saw a video clip of Jody with his string band. There he is holding that wicked heavy Jeffries standing up, but he holds the instrument just below waist level (a bit bent over, but it looks to be his dancing self-expression).

 

So with a relaxed straight back with my chest up in singing position and my arms below my waist allowing the English to hang from the wrist straps I was able to put in two hour and a half sets switching back and for between box and banjo at our last gig. There was no loss of control or finger speed.

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