22 Jan 2015

Numbness in left hand

We have not mentioned to anyone, but actually Ayumi suffered from an idiopathic numbness in her left hand for a long period in 2014. She recovered only recently. As we would have some performances around the end of the year, Ryusuke had to make repertoires which do not sacrifice her hand in the trouble.
The repertoire of Pocket Penguin—Duo Penguinistan has been made for two hands basically. Playing various kinds of music in Duo—a minimum format of ensemble—often requires many notes/voices that are not capable by just one hand. There is a way to hold the instrument vertically as many melodica players do for satisfying audience’s eyes by showing their hands and keys, but we don’t. In most cases we prefer to hold it horizontally such as a piano player, since it enables much more flexibility for both hands and it can respond to technical demands in our repertoire.
Melodica is a polyphonic instrument that is able to produce multi voices simultaneously. However, the independency of voices is limited. For instance, when one plays two notes, Each volume of them is different—the lower note is always louder. Releasing one key while playing two notes, the volume of another note gets suddenly louder. And of course using more keys needs more breathing. These characteristics of melodica has been often annoying us on playing and especially arranging, requiring to find notes which does not impair the balance of volume, and to ensure the space to breathe.
By the way, last year we started melodica ensemble club in London. There we can play multi parts together easily which I had to do alone. Thus we can overcome the technical limitation, get more options on arranging. Moreover the separation of each voice part is desirably clearer.
Throughout the experience in ensemble, and the trouble of hand, we are getting to see the limitation and character of solo playing or playing in duo. If music has a space for many people to join in, it is better to do so, one does not need to do everything alone.

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