Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest

Guran 01 Feb 10 - 03:27 AM
Howard Jones 01 Feb 10 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 Feb 10 - 11:00 AM
Guran 01 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 Feb 10 - 01:50 PM
Guran 01 Feb 10 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM
Howard Jones 01 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM
Guran 01 Feb 10 - 03:28 PM
Howard Jones 01 Feb 10 - 08:21 PM
Guran 02 Feb 10 - 07:50 AM
Guran 03 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM
The Sandman 03 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM
Howard Jones 03 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM
Guran 03 Feb 10 - 11:54 PM
Guran 04 Feb 10 - 01:24 AM
Guran 04 Feb 10 - 07:24 AM
Howard Jones 04 Feb 10 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 04 Feb 10 - 12:17 PM
The Sandman 04 Feb 10 - 01:31 PM
Guran 04 Feb 10 - 01:33 PM
Guran 04 Feb 10 - 01:43 PM
Guran 04 Feb 10 - 02:00 PM
The Sandman 04 Feb 10 - 03:04 PM
Guran 06 Feb 10 - 09:51 AM
Guran 09 Feb 10 - 01:04 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Concertina: Anglo/Duet hand rests
From: Guran
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:27 AM

There is a discussion on Height of Anglo hand/Palm rest going on at c.net:

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10752

Since there was a reference to my "communication" in PICA vol.6 p 62
I would like to make some comments:

Generally speaking the traditional handle with Anglos (and Duets too as being he same) suffers from these 'defects': a) it is not ideally located b) it is not high enough c) the height is equal, while it should be higher at the little finger side d) it should be wider to offer some stability e) the strap is too lean and floppy f) static work by the thumb is needed for stabilization while a thumb strap for instance would offer passive stabilization. A possible 'correction' of these disadvantages is shown in the photo in PICA when practised on a Duet and presented in a wider meaning in this article:

http://www.concertina.net/goran_ergonom.html

Questions and objections are welcome...!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 10:30 AM

On an anglo, thumb straps would inhibit the use of the air-button and left-hand drone button (where fitted).

You regard "static work by the thumb" as a disadvantage. If find it is helpful to keep the straps slack enough to let my hand move sufficiently to reach different fingering positions. The thumb can be then be used to tension the strap when required. If my hand were more firmly fixed in place it would restrict my playing.

One of the contributors to the c.net discussion says he is not 100% happy with the shaped rests on his instrument for this very reason.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 11:00 AM

I'm with Howard. If it ain't broke why fix it. Thumb straps on a Duet. Madness!
The wrists straps on my duet are like shoes. I put on new ones when they have stretched too far to be useful, and then suffer for a few weeks until they new ones are broken in.
Keeping the straps slack (ish) means that both hands are free to reach both the upper and lower notes on both sides. The size and shape of the block is immaterial. (as long as it has smooth edges!)
These attributes of my Duet have served me well for nearly 40 years.
Re-inventing the wheel isn't necessary.
Would you do the same with a saxophone? Just move all the keys around willy nilly?
No, Of course you wouldn't. The beauty of all instruments is the learning curve needed to achieve an acceptable level of playing.
No pain, No gain.
Coming up with a new key system (Hayden for one) is interesting, particularly for newcomers to the instrument. But, I'm happy with the way Duets are set up, thank you. I can pick up any MacCann, any size and very quickly get a tune out of it.

Might have to adjust the straps. (Big Hands), but, after that, it's all pretty easy.

So, Guran. It's an interesting idea. But, I won't be changing anyday soon sorry!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM

Howard:"On an anglo, thumb straps would inhibit the use of the air-button and left-hand drone button (where fitted)".

RE:No problem at all to fix that! I have done it on mine by just re-locating the hand rest/bar a little to free the air-button. It works even better by using levers acting sideways ( similar construction as "bowing-valves" on Englishes) instead of press buttons which are not suitable anyway for the thumbs since the distant joint of the thumb does not act in that direction (this has been practised by Geoff Crabb on his instruments)

H:"You regard "static work by the thumb" as a disadvantage. I find it is helpful to keep the straps slack enough to let my hand move sufficiently to reach different fingering positions".

RE: That is a dysfunctional way dealing with the situation.Avoiding static work is a general ergonomic primary object.The use of a thumbstrap offers a passive stable pivot point for the rest of the hand to slide reaching other positions. Do you have any experience from playing English? then you would know...

H:" The thumb can be then be used to tension the strap when required. If my hand were more firmly fixed in place it would restrict my playing".

RE: With an Anglo and a suitable position of the handle most individuals can manage 30 Anglo keys with a fixed hand and that is the best when possible since instrument control can only benefit from better stability. The individual length of the little finger may be a limiting factor reaching the most distant buttons on 3rd row for sure but a higher rest located closer to the keyboard at the little finger side deals with that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 01:50 PM

RE: With an Anglo and a suitable position of the handle most individuals can manage 30 Anglo keys with a fixed hand and that is the best when possible since instrument control can only benefit from better stability. The individual length of the little finger may be a limiting factor reaching the most distant buttons on 3rd row for sure but a higher rest located closer to the keyboard at the little finger side deals with that.

I'm struggling with the concept of "an individual length of a little finger"
My little fingers are the length that I was were born with. I have no problem. If in some strange way, they changed length dramatically, I'd play differently. But, No, they seem pretty motionary at the moment. So, i'll stay with the lovely box that I'm playing. It suits me fine..
If my fingers start to grow, I'll let you know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 02:04 PM

Ralphie:" If it ain't broke why fix it"

RE: Oh dear! That - or similar - probably has been the most common argument against progress since birth of Mankind.Another word for it is conservatism - it may seem to be a sensible attitude in many ways - out of 1000 novelties maybe one or two becomes a durable success, but without trying them out nothing would ever improve...

R:"Thumb straps on a Duet. Madness!"

RE:Like I said - have you tried it Ralphie? If not - what do you know?

R:"Keeping the straps slack (ish) means that both hands are free to reach both the upper and lower notes on both sides".

RE:True - unless you use say a 39 key or so MacCann - which is a fairly useless size of a Duet - you simply have to slide a little to reach the distant buttons. This inevitably means loosing stability and thus control of bellowsing and ability for articulation.Adding a thumbstrap like I have practised means that the thumd contributes by offering a)extra stability b)a stable pivot point for moving the rest of the hand around like I said to Howard above. I am not the first/only 'madman' who has practised it. William Hurlstone b. 1874- a performer presented in PICA volume 5 - used a similar handle with thumbstrap on Crane-like instruments.

R:" The size and shape of the block is immaterial. (as long as it has smooth edges!)"

RE:That is like saying that the length or width of the shaft on an axe or a hammer is "immaterial". Again - if you haven't tried it out you can't say - can you?

R:"These attributes of my Duet have served me well for nearly 40 years.Re-inventing the wheel isn't necessary".

RE: What you are saying is only that YOU don't want to change. I don't blame you and never expected you would. "Old dogs" don't ( I am one myself don't forget...) but "re-inventing the wheel" is hardly a proper argument is it when you are talking about some novelty??

R:"Would you do the same with a saxophone? Just move all the keys around willy nilly No, Of course you wouldn't. The beauty of all instruments is the learning curve needed to achieve an acceptable level of playing".

RE:If it took you 30 years of strainful learning to get 10 years of happy playing while a better designed instrument might be learnt to the same standard in 5years and offering 35 years of proficiency what would you choose? Greater "beauty" or more musical joy?

R:"No pain, No gain".

RE: If i get you right that is true. The period needed for changing habits is a strenous one too.Personally I would say that I lost about 15 years in stupid struggle with imperfect trad handles and learnt more in 1-2 years (after a 6 months turnover time) with modified instruments than during all those 15 years before...

R:"So, Guran. It's an interesting idea. But, I won't be changing anyday soon sorry!"

RE: Like I said before - you are too old to be expected to change, but you ought to be too wise from that ageing to know that a) times change by themsleves b) some novelties make life significantly easier and more comfortable and there are lots of these that you regularly enjoy in your everyday life.Your computer is one obvious example...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the "too old" bit...
Nice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM

It is not just a question of reaching individual buttons (my anglo has 40 keys arranged in four rows). It is also a question of playing phrases and chords. For me to play a phrase using all four fingers along most of the length of the rows and moving between the innermost and outermost rows usually requires me to move my hand within the strap. To change between chords may require quite a significant amount of movement.

I take your point about thumbstraps providing a pivot point, however I can quite comfortably achieve the same effect with simple thumb pressure. A higher rest may be an advantage, but much will depend on each individual's hands.

I've tried Geoff Crabb's 2-way air lever and it works well. However I've never actually noticed a problem using a conventional air button. The usual design seems to have been generally accepted for 150 years or so.

I'm aware that some people have ergonomic problems with concertina handles, and for them your proposal may be the answer. I'm also aware that Henrik Müller has adopted something similar for his home-built English concertina. However I find it is a solution to a problem which doesn't exist for me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:28 PM

Howard,
I think what you say reflects a great deal of the 'common opinion' or 'market preferrence' regarding these issues.Most people actively playing a musical instrument have become adopted to it and have already spent/wasted a great deal of time and effort to reach a certain standard of performance. Making any changes on top of that takes a lot of insight,motivation and prospect of beneficial outcome to seem worth while.

When someone starts questioning the present 'state of affairs' it mostly indicates some way that improvemets can be made and such signs should never be neglected.Since I am supposed to be a "pro" in the ergonomic field it is easier for me to see "defects" in our instruments but it is rather amusing that it still took me 15 years to start doing anything about it for my own part.

H:"It is not just a question of reaching individual buttons (my anglo has 40 keys arranged in four rows). It is also a question of playing phrases and chords. For me to play a phrase using all four fingers along most of the length of the rows and moving between the innermost and outermost rows usually requires me to move my hand within the strap. To change between chords may require quite a significant amount of movement".


RE: Yes - and in such case the need to move the hand within the limits offered by tha handle means a need to compromise between stability and flexibility which in the end should be dealt with in this order as I see it: The actual music being played should always be performed by using as much *stability* as its note range requires.
This because stability always improves control of articulation.If using one habitual set of handle adjustment some pieces of music will always be performed at lower standard than possible.

H:I take your point about thumbstraps providing a pivot point, however I can quite comfortably achieve the same effect with simple thumb pressure".

RE: I don't question that at all. You manage because you have learnt to...BUT..active muscular (static) work for the thumb always is a strenous factor that better be eliminated since it may - more or less (sometimes unimportant but still)obstruct movements by the other fingers.It IS better providing this "effect" passively by letting eh thumb relax in a thumb strap

H:" A higher rest may be an advantage, but much will depend on each individual's hands".

RE: Exactly! And this is so important that the very idea NOT having handles which are more individually adjustable or replaceable is a complete mystery for me ! it would be so terribly simple to make particularly Anglo handles possible to locate individually, possible to adjust more individually and with varying height and width AND which I have said many times : the hand bar *should* be higher at the little finger end to compensate for the angle at which the fingers otherwise hit the buttons ( not being along the travelling direction by the buttons!)

H:"I've tried Geoff Crabb's 2-way air lever and it works well. However I've never actually noticed a problem using a conventional air button. The usual design seems to have been generally accepted for 150 years or so".

RE: Despite it is so obviously dysfunctional!! Just have a look how the distant joint of your thumb works and in what direction the distant part flexes ! There have "always" existed two variants of air keys for englishes a) with a press button b) with a sideways acting lever ( Crabb type) and that is completely uninteresting since there is no need for an air-valve with an english (except "bowing valves" if ever used..) With an Anglo air valves and drones may be frequently used and should of course be activated in the most functional way !
By levers, NOT press buttons. And often an air valve on the left side as well or instead of the right side...

H: "I'm aware that some people have ergonomic problems with concertina handles, and for them your proposal may be the answer. I'm also aware that Henrik Müller has adopted something similar for his home-built English concertina. However I find it is a solution to a problem which doesn't exist for me".

RE:In my view and judging from my own experience it is never too late to change to something better.One can never know what a novelty IS without trying it out. I can only testify that the difference *may* be as between night and daylight but naturally it depends very much on the individual musical demands. Ageing may be a problem in itself.
Several elderly players I know had stopped playing "for good" as they believed "ageing" and some gained another period of 10-20years of happy playing after getting better handles compensating for strain, pain, lost effort, poorer coordination and so on...

(Henrik's variant by the way has got no thumb strap as you may know and which works allright for him - but that is related to a) personal needs b) a particular compact instrument c) a very specific playing idiom - single note "Irish" trad tunes. Generally speaking the use of a thumb strap IS a good idea for all - Anglo, Duet, English. The English fingerplate however can only be looked upon as an unfortunate mistake alltogether and should be dismissed for good - unless (!) one wants to play with only 1st and 2nd finger and have both 3rd and 4th on that finger rest ( as it was originally intended!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:21 PM

Guran, I fully take on board what you are saying. All I am saying is that in more than 30 years of playing I've never felt that the hand straps on my instruments were a problem, when properly adjusted. None of the points you list as "defects" are problems to me.

I agree that stability can be an issue, but I don't rely on the straps alone for this - I usually support one end of the instrument. I'm not convinced that what you are proposing is the answer, because if the hand is to be allowed sufficient freedom of movement then stability is going to be compromised.

I would be curious to try out an instrument with the modifications you're suggesting. However, as I said in my previous post, it seems to be a solution to problems I don't find myself facing.

As for the air button, it is only dysfunctional in terms of the end joint of the thumb. The thumb is perfectly capable of sideways movement from the first joint. Since I'm using the thumb to exert pressure to control tension in the strap, it's more natural for me to use sideways pressure on the air button rather than a downward lever, although I can see that with thumbstraps you would have to use a lever.

(PS Henrik's instrument, when I last saw it and as illustrated on his website, has both thumb and handstraps - on an English. As you say, this is in part because he plays Irish music and wants to make more use of the bellows)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 07:50 AM

Howard,
Glad to hear that you at least do not dismiss my sayings theoretically:-) Now, do keep in mind that I am not trying to urge you into a transition from your habitual playing - only delicately(?) suggesting that IF you one day might experience the 'new world' of an improved 'handle' you might also see the point in recommending next generation(s) to adopt possible means to make learning and performance much easier, precise and comfortable.

H:" All I am saying is that in more than 30 years of playing I've never felt that the hand straps on my instruments were a problem, when properly adjusted. None of the points you list as "defects" are problems to me".

RE: I fully understand this position as being self-evident.You may be entirely satisfied with your own enjoyment from playing and thus feel no inspiration whatsoever to encounter novelties.BUT...I guess you do learn a new tune now and then, maybe you even wonder IF you might play something a little but more complicated than you are used to or
enjoy playing standing without the aid of stabilizing the instrument on your knee if you are mostly playing seated?

H:"I agree that stability can be an issue, but I don't rely on the straps alone for this - I usually support one end of the instrument. I'm not convinced that what you are proposing is the answer, because if the hand is to be allowed sufficient freedom of movement then stability is going to be compromised".

RE:Like I presupposed - do you support the one end on your knee while playing seated mostly? Ever playing standing? What you then say is one of the clues regarding the *concertina concept* as such: The need to compromise between stability and flexibility. Ideally we should use a "flying hand" for all keyboard work but concertinas do not admit that.Since tonal control (all articulation) is depending on stability the demands of musical quality inevitably mean that creating stability is a prime object.It ought to be more important to
play few but nice notes than reaching a multifold of notes but not being able to articulate them nicely...IF you have to make that choice

H:"I would be curious to try out an instrument with the modifications you're suggesting. However, as I said in my previous post, it seems to be a solution to problems I don't find myself facing".

RE:I would much enjoy offering you that opportunity one day...there are not only "problems" to solve here but offering means for expansion of ones capacity of musical expression and that may turn out being the greates benefit

H: "As for the air button, it is only dysfunctional in terms of the end joint of the thumb. The thumb is perfectly capable of sideways movement from the first joint. Since I'm using the thumb to exert pressure to control tension in the strap, it's more natural for me to use sideways pressure on the air button rather than a downward lever, although I can see that with thumbstraps you would have to use a lever".

RE: I said this before, but anyhow you are right of course regarding the thumb's movement capacities but additionally we have to consider the muscular effort which certainly may be negligable some times and then no problem exists but also may be considerable, depending on particular music, and then the static effort inevitably obstructs the free movements by the other fingers. Consquently the safest way to prevent such drawbacks is stabilizing the proximal joint of the thumb and using the distal part by flexing for a lever instead of a press button.

H:"(PS Henrik's instrument, when I last saw it and as illustrated on his website, has both thumb and handstraps - on an English. As you say, this is in part because he plays Irish music and wants to make more use of the bellows)"

RE:Correct, but since then he has dismissed the thumb strap since ( he has declared this also publicly) his pain from injured thumbs makes him prefer having thumbs loose. As a quack I both see his point and also question the solution but in the end his own practise ought to decide what is most comfortable for him personally.There IS a risk that additional working load on the thumb joint(s) may cause unheatlh
and this is one reason that I do NOT recommend using ONLY a thumbstrap.My suggested "uniform ergonomic handle" is primarily based on a broad slanting "wrist support" COMBINED with a broad anatomically adjusted wrist strap that by cooperation form a cuff for the wrist/hand that takes the major part of both stabilisation and guidance of the sliding which is necessary - just like you mention - to admit access to the distant buttons.With that arrangement I find a
fairly ideal compromise between stability and flexibility where the thumb strap basically is just the said pivot and thumb stabilizer while the major stability comes from the wristsupport/wriststrap system. This has to be experienced to be fully understood I think but it works entirely different from traditional 'handles'.
One additional point is that this handle arrangment easily can be used "normally" without any other re-arrangements than leaving the thumb strap or wrist strap out temporarily and taking the wrist support away when maximal flexibility for some reason is needed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM

Ralphie: "Thanks for the "too old" bit...Nice"

RE: Well Ralphie... if you read this...like I mentioned we probably belong roughly to the same generation so it was no offense.
When we are young we wish to grow "old and experienced" as fast as possible - when we have become *that* we either wish we were young again or that nothing would ever change. Strange isn't it? The main point is that despite the novelties we encounter may be a lot better than the relics we habitually use we still may prefer what we got earlier or now - sometimes the earlier ther better, but it may proove our accumulated "experience" if we open our eyes for changes all the same since without curiosity we won't "experience" anything...
Cheers/Göran


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM

I dont use my thumb straps as a pivot point,on my english,I have them very loose so that i can move my hand easily.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM

As you rightly point out, without trying your system I can only speculate. I am struggling to imagine how any system of straps can be firm enough to give the stability you are suggesting while at the same time allowing the hand to shift to reach awkward fingerings, but possibly yours does this. If I have to choose, I choose flexibility over stability, and stabilise the instrument on my knee (when sitting) or thigh (when standing).

Nevertheless, apart from the stability question, where I accept the traditional design is not perfect, I still don't recognise that the other "defects" which you mention in your original post are actually problems:

a) it is not ideally located

Why? What would be ideal?

b) it is not high enough

Why do you feel a higher rest brings an advantage?

c) the height is equal, while it should be higher at the little finger side

Yet again, I don't see this. It might help to reach far buttons with the little finger, but there are other times when I want to angle my hand the other way, to raise the first finger to give that one more room to move.

d) it should be wider to offer some stability

Possibly, although I should have thought stability will mainly come from how firmly the straps hold the hand

e) the strap is too lean and floppy

Good quality straps aren't

f) static work by the thumb is needed for stabilization while a thumb strap for instance would offer passive stabilization.

As I said earlier, this is how I and many other players maintain stability while moving the hand, to control strap tension. It is an important playing skill, rather than a problem.

However, I am prepared to concede that some of my comments might arise as ways of overcoming the traditional design, and that your design may do away with the need for them. Perhaps it is my innate conservatism. However I have played anglo for more than 35 years without it ever occurring to me that the straps need redesigning. Ralphie presumably feels the same. Even with your professional interest, you admit that it took 15 years for you to decide there is a problem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 11:54 PM

Schweik:"I dont use my thumb straps as a pivot point,on my english,I have them very loose so that i can move my hand easily."

RE:That means that to alter between the low and high parts of the keyboard to reach all the buttons you slide with your thumb in the thumbstrap and with your little finger along the finger rest - isn't that so? In that case you meet the situation that either the stability is generally poorer (than with a more fixed thumb position and rotating the hand with the thumbstrap as "pivot") - or you have to grip steadily with your hand to create necessary stability resulting in static effort that we wish to avoid as far as possible


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 01:24 AM

Howard:"I am struggling to imagine how any system of straps can be firm enough to give the stability you are suggesting while at the same time allowing the hand to shift to reach awkward fingerings, but possibly yours does this".

RE:My object all the time has been finding a better compromise than what trad handles offer.For some styles of Anglo playing ( and for a player with not very small hands and possibly with say a 39 key MacCann)) it would be possible having a dead fixed hand. With larger keyboards that is impossible and the need to shift hand position within the handle is obvious.
Neither the Anglo/Duet type nor the English type of handle provides an optimal compromise, this is the basic point

H:" If I have to choose, I choose flexibility over stability, and stabilise the instrument on my knee (when sitting) or thigh (when standing)".

RE: I think this is what most players with some ambition to manage more than very simplified music do. The result still is that a)some music demanding stability more than flexibility will be excluded and b)playing standing will be desperate or excluded as well.Naturally the individual player may be quite happy with this situation and "no problems exist" but I see that as an unfortunate limitation of the musical potential of concertinas generally

H:"Nevertheless, apart from the stability question, where I accept the traditional design is not perfect, I still don't recognise that the other "defects" which you mention in your original post are actually problems:"

RE:Fine ! so I will try to comment without expanding too far here.You are not an ICA member? so you can read my articles (7 so far in later issues) in "Concertina World" where the views are presented further.

H: "a) it is not ideally located Why? What would be ideal?"

RE: Models do vary and some are better in this respect BUT with the common 6 1/2" sizes the handle is always (except on some cheap German 20 key models) 1)eccentric 2)offering no support for the wrist
1)may not be a big problem IF you consequently use a "fanning" way of bellowsing 2)is a general disadvantage (but sometimes eliminated with larger size)
In principle for mechanical reasons the handle should be located at the centre of gravity BUT if the trad eccentric instruments are played standing with a low position and elbow angle about 120 degrees the instrument balances in two dimensions which is acceptable
More:The hand bar of Anglo/Duet is located so that the support comes at the distal part of the palm. This MAY be fairly ok for SOME Anglo playing but generally supporting the wrist instead of the palm is preferrable, more below

H:"b) it is not high enough Why do you feel a higher rest brings an advantage?"

RE:Measures do vary a little but the original hand bar usually is 15mm high and this does not admit a relaxed hand position (= "natural grip position") vs the keyboard. To achieve that the wrist has to be 20-40mm above the endplate. This you find with large German Konzertinas for instance

H:"c) the height is equal, while it should be higher at the little finger side"

RE:If you rest your relaxed hand "flat" on a table you will find that the fingers do not point vertically to the surface. This means with the instrument that they can not flex and act perfectly in the same direction of travel as the buttons unless the hand position is compensated by lifting the little finger side 10-15mm

H:"Yet again, I don't see this. It might help to reach far buttons with the little finger, but there are other times when I want to angle my hand the other way, to raise the first finger to give that one more room to move".

RE: Hmm...The little finger is a nuisance in itself due to its handicap from shortness.It also has to come nearer to the keyboard rows to do its job better.Concerning your need to angle "the other way" this depends on individual habits. I can't speak for you there of course but I felt the same initially.After a short rehabituation period I found that I reached whatever I wished within the modified handle as well despite I have not very large hands but I would admit that a 64 key English or 65 key Crane for instance are not entirely comfortable in this respect

H:"d) it should be wider to offer some stability
Possibly, although I should have thought stability will mainly come from how firmly the straps hold the hand"

RE:A wider rest may offer support for the *wrist* like I said before.With the trad arrangement firm straps locks the mid part of the hand down and thus obstructs all finger movements. An essential object for an improved handle is to offer better stability while preserving the necessary flexibility and as far as I can see this can best be obtained by a combination of a suitable (higher) support for the wrist firstly (not for the palm) AND a steadier wrist strap (not the trad handstrap which obstructs flexibility)

H:"e) the strap is too lean and floppy Good quality straps aren't"

RE:Hmm...What I use is 1)2-2,5mm steady leather,50mm wide and anatomically cut in S or U shape, fixed so that it combined with the support forms a cuff for the wrist within which the hand can slide the 20-30mm necessary for reaching the whole keyboard while preserving the same degree of stability along the flexibility range

H:"f) static work by the thumb is needed for stabilization while a thumb strap for instance would offer passive stabilization.
As I said earlier, this is how I and many other players maintain stability while moving the hand, to control strap tension. It is an important playing skill, rather than a problem."

RE:Well, this is an issue where the ergonomist may get a bit agitated:-) Avoiding static effort is a main object for all sound and safe work! It can not be totally eliminated many times of course but all "solutions" must aim for reduction as far as possible.There is a very important *musical* side of it. Any unnecessary static load for the hand will impair precision movements by the fingers and that may be a disaster for musical performance.
I agree however that a good musical result may be achieved by "skill" but why getting there with a lot more strain and wasting a lot mroe time than necessary...?:-)

H:" However I have played anglo for more than 35 years without it ever occurring to me that the straps need redesigning. Ralphie presumably feels the same. Even with your professional interest, you admit that it took 15 years for you to decide there is a problem".

RE:What hurts me most today is that I did *know* spontaneously from the start that there were some fundamantal "defects" around but old players energetically told me to wait and see - practise will fix it.
15 lost years in retroperspective...The funny thing is that all collegues and nonconcetina friends said the same: Such pretty and handy instruments byt why these primitive handles??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 07:24 AM

Michael Marino of c.net:
http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10752&pid=108075&st=0&#entry108075

"I wish him the best of luck and parts of his foundation are extremely sound. Parts on the other hand need some serious re-thinking"

RE:Thank you! You are most welcome to express that "re-thinking" over here! As you did not do so on c.net either it is very hard to really understand what you actually wanted to say by your reply!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 11:38 AM

I'm not a member of the ICA but I have seen your article on cnet and also the one on the Concertina FAQ website.

You say "With the trad arrangement firm straps locks the mid part of the hand down and thus obstructs all finger movements."

My hand straps are a bit loose and don't lock the hand down. This lets me adjust the hand position to reach some awkward fingerings. I can adjust the tension with the thumb. Most anglo players I know do the same, and some have the straps even looser than I do.

I agree with you that this isn't the best for stability. However as I said before I get around this by playing sitting down. If I have to play standing up then I usually use a high stool, if this isn't available then I support it against my leg. But why should playing standing be so important? You wouldn't expect to play a piano standing up, why should it matter for a concertina?

Nevertheless, having experimented (with a rolled-up pair of socks!) I can see some small benefit in raising the wrist away from the instrument so that the hand and arm are in line. This does seem to improve stability slightly, but at the cost of some mobility. Perhaps your more sophisticated solution resolves this. You may even be starting to persuade me!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 12:17 PM

Just out of interest, I adjusted my straps on the Duet, to make them tighter...Couldn't play a damn thing! Far too constricting.
As the Jaguar in the original Creature Comforts Animation said..."I need Space!"
Have now put them back into comfy sock mode.
Plays fine now!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 01:31 PM

or you have to grip steadily with your hand to create necessary stability resulting in static effort that we wish to avoid as far as possible.
quote.
as the actress said to the bishop,push it, in pull it out,shake it all about.
I just play.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 01:33 PM

Howard: "I'm not a member of the ICA but I have seen your article on cnet and also the one on the Concertina FAQ website".

RE: Great! Have you read them too? :-) Anyway I have tried to be more systematic in the ICA "Concertina World" articles but as I haven't tired from the missionary duty yet I try to struggle on a while over here too:-)

H:"You say "With the trad arrangement firm straps locks the mid part of the hand down and thus obstructs all finger movements."

RE: Yes that is a simple fact that illustrates the conflict between stability/flexibility very well

H:"My hand straps are a bit loose and don't lock the hand down. This lets me adjust the hand position to reach some awkward fingerings".

RE: Precisely!We got something important in common there! Your next step is to realise/accept that this achieved *flexibility/mobility* does not only mean that your ability sliding 'longitudinally'( from nearest button row to the distant one) and 'transversally' (sideways from thumb side to pinky side and viseversa) in order to "reach awkward fingerings" also means that an unwished instability arises in the 3rd dimension which allows the hand to flop with the rest/bar as a pivot.To preserve necessary stability (which constantly has to be present otherwise you simply can not act sufficiently on the buttons) you do what you describe here:

H:" I can adjust the tension with the thumb. Most anglo players I know do the same, and some have the straps even looser than I do."

RE: Exactly! What this means physically is that you constantly are doing just *that*: "adjust the tension with the thumb".Each such moment consists of a static muscular effort but since "playing" the instrument mostly means quite intensive action by the fingers the stability has to be maintained more or less but permanently and this is a static effort which may be more or less harmful but in any case NOT desirable.
I have been watching quite a few anglo players - even established star players - who obviously in my eyes practise a crampful fight with their thumbs and/or use a rather absurd instrument position in order to create sufficient stability to manage a performance of music which may be excellent as such and at first thought a natural "proof" that their playing method is worth following. This is a repeated illusion when copying musical idols who may use the most bisarre and idiosynchratic individual methods not suitable for anyone else. It is entirely different in competitive sports - the one using the best method always wins the game and the results are easily measurable.

H:"I agree with you that this isn't the best for stability. However as I said before I get around this by playing sitting down."

RE:Again, I agree, of course. So do I, when possible, but apart from that finding other/additional means to create that stability YOU also need would mean that your physical capacity - which is limited - can be used for other and more urgent tasks within your musical performance.This is one benefit from creating stability without engagement of your thumbs - the rest of your hand can do its job better!

H:" If I have to play standing up then I usually use a high stool, if this isn't available then I support it against my leg."

RE:You may have noticed I also advocate for using (elastic) shoulder straps to support the instrument while playing standing and that is a much more comfortable and efficient way solving the problems playing standing.

H:" But why should playing standing be so important?"

RE: a ) a lot of concertina players testify that they do wish to play standing but find it hard to manage b) one exclusive option included in the "concertina concept" IS the portability and possibility to play standing ( or marching or dancing..) with additional means for musical expression.You don't fiddle at the best seated either, or sing

H:" You wouldn't expect to play a piano standing up, why should it matter for a concertina?"

RE: Well, pianos/keyboards ARE frequently played standing on the pop/rock scene, and as said - many players wish to. This of curse is entirely a personal matter but why not make it easier for those who want to?

H:"Nevertheless, having experimented (with a rolled-up pair of socks!) I can see some small benefit in raising the wrist away from the instrument so that the hand and arm are in line. This does seem to improve stability slightly, but at the cost of some mobility."

RE:Just a small glimpse from a whole world of unknown playing facilities I can assure you! I admit that to *know* what this is all about one has to experience 'the whole glory' or let us say one has to experiment a bit and take some time for it since old habits always
block perception of possible advantages from any novelty. I don't have to give examples ...

H:" Perhaps your more sophisticated solution resolves this. You may even be starting to persuade me!"

RE:That sounds good but I hope not! My aim actually is never to persuade anyone! I see a possible mission in trying to inform and inspire enough curiosity to try things out in practise but firstly to use a critical mind to question not well founded old routines and designs. By knowledge and practical trials hopefully people may "persuade" themselves in the end - for their own enjoyment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 01:43 PM

Ralphie:"Just out of interest, I adjusted my straps on the Duet, to make them tighter...Couldn't play a damn thing!"

RE: Well, you were not expected to either! The whole trad handle concept is dysfunctional.YOU find it acceptable when straps are set loose.Someone else finds it acceptable if set tight.If both of you are entirely happy that is great of course but do not misunderstand that as some proof that the handle is ideal! One favouorite example of mine is scissors.Do you use "sheep shears" when cutting your hair? (assuming you don't look like myself...) or riveted scissors? The later have actually existed since ancient Rome but people were "happy" without them until mid 18th century and since then everyone uses them...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 02:00 PM

Frank Edgley in the same c.net thread http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10752&view=getnewpost?s=f003aab13387d800c6e305813ca41ac0

said:" Especially his design comments on recent Mudcat posts suggest that he has limited experience, or performance expertise with anglo concertinas. If he has good ideas, these are obscured by his insistence that everything he says is correct and everything you might say (if you disagree) is wrong".

RE: Like I said to Michael Marino above...If you really want to take part in a discussion and give yourself the opportunity to present your own opinion or report your experience you better come over here were we can exchange messages on functional and equal terms. If you do not wish to do so your comments may have some other object than shedding light on the subject in the title.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 03:04 PM

surely it depends on the persons anatomy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 06 Feb 10 - 09:51 AM

From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 03:04 PM
"surely it depends on the persons anatomy?"

RE: Certainly so - the ideal height is related to the size of the individual hand AND also the distance between the handle and the button rows.What I have is:
- a higher and wider rest which is ca 15 mm higer at the little finger end than the thumb end to compensate so that the fingers hit the buttons along the traveling axis of the buttons, not sideways
- a broad rest wich I call "wrist support" since it is located closer to the wrist instead of underneath the palm and closer to the buttons at the little finger side
- a broad steady anatomically cut "wrist strap" (NOT the trad hand strap) since
- the wrist strap in cooperation with the wrist support creates a cuff that holds the instrument while the rest of the hand is liberated to reach the keyboard better than with the trad handle while better stability is achieved
- to improve stability even more a thumb strap like the english type is added

Summing up a better compromise than before is offered between stability and flexibility


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Height of Anglo/Duet hand rest
From: Guran
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 01:04 AM

Howard Jones,
I just read the recent messages to c.net in "Height.." and a new thread "Thumb straps.."
You said: "Do you have very large hands? I'm wondering why the straps should come over the knuckles sufficiently to cause a problem. John Kirkpatrick has hands like shovels, but his straps are across the back of the hand, just behind the knuckles. They don't seem to cause him any problems!"
RE: Large hands definitely IS a" problem". Again, if you don't recognize the problem it is because you are adapted to the "defect" and limit your activity to that, or "master" it by using seemingly efficient means. The major "defect" in this case is that the 6 1/2 " instruments are too small for real good solutions

You said:"Have you tried loosening the straps to allow a bit of hand movement? This can make it easier to reach all the buttons, although you may find that you sometimes need to tension them with your thumb".
RE: You get back to the conflict stability/flexibility ! Gaining flexibility this way is less efficient than relocating and raising the rest/support for the *wrist* rather than the palm so that the knuckels are NOT locked because that is the major reason you find your playing restricted with tighter straps and the trad handle

Uou said:"The results didn't encourage me to try any more permanent modifications. It did make it very slightly easier to support the instrument while standing, but as I suspected it considerably restricted my hand movement and made it more difficult to play".
RE: I agree according to what I said above.At the same time however adding a thumb strap to the trad arrangement (if done properly, not by this simple experiment) can make things a lot better too since then a looser strap IS compensated by the thumb stability ( and without any static effort for the thumb itself)
One important thing: Just trying as shortly as this will often by simple psychology only confirm ("as I suspected") your own objection due to old habits.You have to really test something new for a while to overcome that negative phase and that takes understanding and motivation.

You said:"Goran's proposed modifications go much further, and include raising the hand rest, adding a wrist support and wider straps".
RE: Because I am not so fond of half-measures if I once start reconsidering.The whole construction should be modified accordingly !! :-)

You said:"I find it curious that while EC players spend some time discussing the inadequacies of thumb straps, and Henrik Muller has built an EC with hand straps instead, some anglo and duet players are going the other way!"
RE: May seem funny but the very obvious conclusion ought to be that both original concepts have some basic good intentions.Combining the best from them is more constructive than an everlasting debate *which* is better...
There are other "ideas" too. Michael Bell (who is an ergonomics engineer) has presented one: A complete handle from hard materials. I have tried that also, slightly different, and it definitely serves the purpose for a small well balanced instrument and horisontal forearm position. It actually might be quite handy for anglo playing but the handle itself becomes rather large.It also takes more modification of the instrument but does not violate it. I looked for a more general solution myself. Do not draw too many conclusions from Henrik's experimentation (which I do appreciate) - it is as he says himself - specifically meant for him and his playing!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 July 4:56 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.