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#1891177 - 05/04/12 03:44 PM Lefties or Righties
Rich D. Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1268
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
Which are better? Pianists that are right handed or left handed? Since most of the melodies are written for the right hand does that favor right handed pianists?

Rich
(Lefty)


Edited by Rich D. (05/04/12 03:44 PM)
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#1891184 - 05/04/12 03:51 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
The Hound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 124
I've often wondered if lefties find it tougher going playing the piano, though of course there's no real objective way of telling. I imagine due to the preponderance of righties and rightie-oriented implements in the world that lefties are by necessity better with their weaker hand than righties are, but playing piano is a pretty damn intricate and dexterous activity.

I'm interested to see what replies this thread gets.

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#1891189 - 05/04/12 03:55 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18292
Loc: Victoria, BC
Well, apparently someone believes there is quite a difference; he has gone to the trouble and expense of building a

left-handed piano

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#1891204 - 05/04/12 04:16 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 543
Left handed guitar players sometimes learn to play a right hand strung instrument "upside down" and many have developed perhaps odd, but interesting styles.
Some proceed to a lefty strung instrument, others stick with it.

I sometimes wonder if it would be fun to reassign my electronic keyboard notes to their opposite ends of the scale, i.e. highs on the left and lows on the right.
An hour or so ? maybe.

Oh, they have a gadget to do just that;
http://www.lefthandedpiano.com/midi.html

What is it, other than a box that subtracts the note number from 127 before forwarding it ? (-:

Not a toy worth more than $10 IMO.

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#1891209 - 05/04/12 04:22 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
I'm a leftie for writing and yet I often use my right hand for using scissors, throwing a ball, etc. I find that my right hand is stronger than my left in piano playing. But I am using my left hand more and more in playing so hopefully it is becoming stronger. I played organ for a few years as a kid and bringing chords down hard with my left hand seems to have 'stuck' with me all these years later! I have trouble controlling my left hand and always play too loud (or no sound at all!). Hopefully with time this will get better!

BTW my teacher is also a leftie and she says she finds her left hand is still the weaker of the two. Interesting!
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#1891216 - 05/04/12 04:31 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
PianogrlNW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/11
Posts: 305
Loc: Seattle, WA
I don't think lefties are at a disadvantage in playing the piano. Living in a RH dominated world, lefties as kids usually learn sports or other activities using their right hand. And doesn't everyone mouse at the computer with their RH?

Lefty
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#1891219 - 05/04/12 04:40 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
Sleepy Dad Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/04/12
Posts: 3
I'm a lefty and had habit of playing left hand louder than right. Thought it was only my problem but my son had same issue and he is a righty. My theory is that since the base keys have longer/thicker strings, they resonate more. In other words, play a low note at same pressure as a high note and the low note will be louder. Whether you are lefty or righty, you'll need to compensate for this.
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#1891226 - 05/04/12 04:49 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
nocturne152 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 447
It's just as easy, believe it or not. Playing the piano is a naturally ambidextrous activity anyway. There is a section in op34 no 2 valse in a minor where the left hand takes a melody while the right hand plays chords. This is weird to play at first but it fixes up pretty fast. Imagine that but on a bigger scale.
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#1891295 - 05/04/12 06:39 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: PianogrlNW]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: PianogrlNW
I don't think lefties are at a disadvantage in playing the piano. Living in a RH dominated world, lefties as kids usually learn sports or other activities using their right hand. And doesn't everyone mouse at the computer with their RH?

Lefty


Um, no.
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#1891298 - 05/04/12 06:41 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
Keith D Kerman Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
I always think that lefties have an advantage because they are forced to develop their right hand wheras righties can more get away with neglecting their left hand a bit.

Seriously, being a good pianist means being good with both hands.
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#1891303 - 05/04/12 06:46 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: nocturne152]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: lostaccato
It's just as easy, believe it or not. Playing the piano is a naturally ambidextrous activity anyway. There is a section in op34 no 2 valse in a minor where the left hand takes a melody while the right hand plays chords. This is weird to play at first but it fixes up pretty fast. Imagine that but on a bigger scale.


I agree. The piece I'm learning at the moment - a Ground by John Blow - has many ornaments in both hands, successive chords in both hands, quavers and semi-quavers in both hands... and syncopation between the two.

In many ways, I think Baroque composers are more interesting for the leftie than many later composers who turned the LH into a dull accompaniment. Perhaps some of them were lefties too?

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J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1891333 - 05/04/12 07:47 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
The Hound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 124
So I guess if we force everyone to just play fugues then the question would become academic!

I think the argument that piano-playing is inherently ambidextrous sums it up for me, too.

Out of interest, is it known which great/prominent pianists were left-handed?

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#1891335 - 05/04/12 07:54 PM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: The Hound]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: The Hound
So I guess if we force everyone to just play fugues then the question would become academic!


As they say, a fugue a day keeps the doctor away! grin

I'm interested in which composers were left-handed. I'm reading Jonathan Keates' biography of Purcell, but the chap seems to know little...


Edited by Eglantine (05/04/12 07:55 PM)
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Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1891466 - 05/05/12 01:08 AM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 686
I'm right handed.

I think it's completely irrelevant. Composers tend to ask more of the right hand, but often times the left hand has a heavier burden, in terms of controlling the sound precisely, or in terms of having more work to do physically. My left hand fingers are definitely stronger than my right hand fingers for one thing (although I take a lot of care to not neglect my left hand when it comes to practice).

Piano is a very "large scale movement" activity compared to say, writing, so I think the "handedness" is less important. It comes down to adapting and adding to your technique for every piece with some kind of difficulty that you encounter. As a terribly limited example, take Transcendental Etude no.12. I'd argue the left hand is a bit harder to pull off, with consistently wider jumps at the jumpy sections, and the stupid 3rds on the last page. Another example is La Semaine Grasse, which has more notes being tremoloed in the left hand. Scriabin Sonata 5 is definitely very right hand heavy, but he asks you to play the tripled notes in the left hand at the beginning of the recap, which is much harder than playing it in the right because the alternating notes that are close together are near the thumb.

Anyways, aside from all that, training is what gives us the ability to use either hand well for playing. I would not say my right hand is more capable than my left. It handles doubled/tripled notes maybe a little bit worse, it handles polyphony maybe a tiny bit worse, and it plays "heavy stuff" much better.


Edited by trigalg693 (05/05/12 01:13 AM)

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#1891472 - 05/05/12 01:18 AM Re: Lefties or Righties [Re: Rich D.]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
Well, I don't know what this means but the majority of presidents of the United States have been left handed and many of them played the piano. Richard Nixon was a great pianist.
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