Which leg? Concertina

Which leg? Concertina

My third post in one week, my FIRST week, but sure whatever…

Wanted to pose a question to my fellow concertina players. I’ve always rested the right side on my right leg, and braced there, drawing with my right arm. And then, a few months ago when I was out camping off the coast of West Cork on Sherkin with my cousins, I was talking a bit with one of them, the only other trad musician in my entire extended family, a concertina player aswell!

She told me that you should have the concertina tilted up slightly, not rest it flat on your leg! Now, she’s a proper, exam-taking, theory-knowing player, though she’s had a two year break from her beginner model. What do you do? Left, or right, inverse leg and side, play it in mid-air, behind your back?

Don’t know if there’s a correlation, but I’m left handed for writing , but I tend to do other things typically how a right handed person would…

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Re: Which leg? Concertina

As we have advised before, try these questions on Concertia.net, you will access a much broader pool of knowledge than on this site. The questions you have are concertina specific and although Anglo is used in ITM it is not exclusively an ITM instrument. You are asking questions about instrument technique which are not confined to playing ITM.

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Re: Which leg? Concertina

"Exam-taking" and "theory-knowing" or not, I would question whether someone still playing a beginner concertina is likely to have enough experieance to be regarded as an authority.

If you google "Irish concertina players" you will find photos and videos of many well-known players, some of whom choose the left leg and others the right. No dount there are reasons for either choice. If you have a teacher, discuss it with them, if not then concertina.net is a good place yo get advice.

Myself, I support it on the right knee, but I play English/harmonic style, not Irish.

Re: Which leg? Concertina

In my experience, either leg works. See what works for you. Pick one way and do it (sounds like you already have).

One thing that constitutes careful practice (but which some players find or consider completely unnecessary) is to keep your wrists in a neutral position. Not bent up or down in playing position, and not overly flexed back or bent forward. That’s where the tilting up comes from (depending on how the button rows align or not with the hex sides on your instrument). For some of us (and I’m definitely one) there is a risk of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) with wrists in an unbalanced position. I got carpal tunnel inflammation from having wrists flexed back while using my fingers to push the buttons - that posture can inflame tissues in the wrist that then press on the nerve. Some folks have huge strong wrists and scoff at this advice, but for some of us it is important. The same risk of injury from imbalance is why pianists are (and in the old days, typists were) taught to arch their wrists a little rather than let them flex downward while playing/typing.

As others noted, more about this on concertina.net in the dedicated Ergonomics forum — we aim to please everyone over there. 8o)

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Re: Which leg? Concertina

I learned from Noel Hill, he anchors on the slightly inner edge of the left thigh , and on one of the points, not the flats.

Unrelated to Noel, I often use a piece of leather on my leg to further help anchor the instrument. I also play the pipes, so the same leather I use as a popping strap works great with the concertina.

With the left slight inner thigh anchor and leather underneath, the left side is very secure. I can completely relax my left arm as far as having to put any energy into the instrument to keep if from moving around and just focus on playing.

The leather I use are 8” squares available for about $5.00 at Michael’s craft shops here in California.

Re: Which leg? Concertina

And you can see in Michael’s video clips how the wrists are straight from elbow to hand - that is one aspect I was trying to describe.

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Re: Which leg? Concertina

That’s really interesting everybody, and I KNOW I should be posting most of these questions on concertina.net, but unless I’m annoying the crap out of people posting here, I actually don’t mind. This particular one was just a a thought I had, I was a bit curious… When I come around to looking to buy a concertina again, I’ll make sure to post my question there!

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