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Left Handers


David Drinkell
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Reading The Daily Telegraph online today (life in North America is much improved by access to British newspapers and crosswords - especially The Guardian cryptic - online) I was interested by two articles on left-handedness as I am myself left-handed. How many organists, I wonder, are similarly orientated? I believe Francis Jackson is one and I have an idea that Ralph Vaughan Williams was another. In my year at Bristol University, three of the five first-study organists were left-handed, as were two of the five full-time lecturers (Nigel Davison and Kenneth Mobbs, two of the three organists). I used to get a bit of stick (no pun intended) because I conducted left-handed, but I have always reckoned that those being conducted are either experienced enough for it not to matter or inexperienced enough not to notice. I don't think it makes any difference in terms f organ management, but I'd be interested to know what others think.

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Interesting. If one is left handed, does it mean that achieving independence between left hand and pedals is easier? In fact, does the problem then become one of achieving it between the right hand and pedals? I'm right handed (otherwise I wouldn't need to ask these questions).

 

CEP

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As a right-handed organist, I find that one of the harder aspects of playing is working out and writing in fingerings for my right hand. I'm sure many other organists have shared that frustration of working out a superb fingering and then trying to remember as much of it as possible whilst taking pencil in hand and annotating the copy - whilst one can simply write in the fingerings for the left hand as one plays. Do left-handed organists, therefore, find it difficult to work out left hand fingerings but easy to work out right hand ones?

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As a right-handed organist, I find that one of the harder aspects of playing is working out and writing in fingerings for my right hand. I'm sure many other organists have shared that frustration of working out a superb fingering and then trying to remember as much of it as possible whilst taking pencil in hand and annotating the copy - whilst one can simply write in the fingerings for the left hand as one plays. Do left-handed organists, therefore, find it difficult to work out left hand fingerings but easy to work out right hand ones?

 

No, those of us who are left-handers are unrecognised geniuses who have no problem working out fingerings of either foot!

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Interesting. If one is left handed, does it mean that achieving independence between left hand and pedals is easier? In fact, does the problem then become one of achieving it between the right hand and pedals? I'm right handed (otherwise I wouldn't need to ask these questions).

 

CEP

It's difficult to say, because if one is one-way-handed, one doesn't know how it is to be the-other-way-handed. Speaking for myself, I took to the organ very quickly and left hand/pedal co-ordination was never a problem. I don't think this was a particular talent on my part, but rather a knack which I was lucky to possess - rather like those who have the ability to add up a column of figures with the flick of an eye (I am no good at all adding up numbers!).

 

Regarding right hand fingering, I suppose we left-handers do have a slight advantage in that we can have our fingers on the notes while writing in the fingering. It doesn't work, of course, for left hand fingering!

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........... and me!

 

I'm VERY left-handed, which I'm pretty sure helps with seeing detailed drawings more-or-less in a version of 3-D.

 

A neuro-scientist friend tells me that many Architects, Mathematicians and Chemists are left-handed, many of them also musicians. so there must be summat in it.

 

DW

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Hi

 

When I started getting interested in seriously playing the organ as a teenager I decided to strengthen my left hand - writing left-handed (at that time, it was only slightly less legible than my right hand - which isn't saying much, as the teachers were always complaining about my handwriting!), drinking left-handed, and various other tasks. Maybe I had an advantage, as Dad is left handed. I still drink left-handed, and many tasks I can do equally well with either hand.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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