Knowing is Half the Prattle.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old Internet Posts Never Die (They just get sent to the back of the search results)

Every once in a while I Google myself (I know you all you do too). Anyway, every so often something comes up that I had thought has long since been sent to the garbage collector. Here's one I just found. I don't even remember writing it but I'd probably write the exact same thing again and I know I've had this conversation with other people since. This was some newsgroup where people were talking about playing musical instruments left handedly rather than right handedly. I posted this in January 1995 so this post is 11 over years old and still floating around the internet.


Musical Instruments (Was Re: Lefties in a right-handed world)
27 From: Evan Rappaport - view profile
Date: Wed, Jan 4 1995 2:15 pm
Email: (Evan Rappaport)
Groups: alt.lefthanders
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Roger Crice ( wrote:

: In article ,
: Paul Watson wrote:
: >
: >Follow-up to the person who person who observed that
: >musical instruments are generally slanted toward
: >righties. There are a few instruments that lend
: >themselves to being at least somewhat ambidextrous
: >[stuff about guitars...]

Actually I think that this conversation is fairly ridiculous.
I don't believe that musical instruments should be altered to favor right or left handed musicians, and in fact I believe that most musical instruments don't favor either hand. It generally comes down to a matter of perception. For instance while I was learning to play the clarinet as a left handed child, my first instinct was to place my left hand over my right on the instrument. While most of the right handed students did the reverse. Obviously the left hand on top position is the correct position. Does this mean that right handed clarinet players are not as good as they might be simply because the instrument is not in an intuitively natural playing position for them? I think not. No hand position inherently gives and advantage to either hand. After all, playing and instrument is not an intuitively natural act in and of itself. Learning an instrument is a matter of practice, and practice involves the discipline of learning the proper hand position. When you learn to play an instrument your perception of handedness changes and you learn to develop whatever is necessary. There is no need for left and right handed instruments left and right handedness is not like a handicapping injury there is no need for special equipment. I have been playing guitar for about 9 years now, and yes I play it right handedly. This was actually a conscious decision. At first I played it for a few months by tuning the entire thing to a chord and laying it across my lap (like a Dobro) in left handed position.This was what I perceived as the most natural position. Then I decided to learn to play it properly. Trying to learn guitar from a book in left hand position (particularly since all the charts are for right handers), and even trying to find a left handed guitar were out of the question. This was more trouble than it was worth. So I decided to learn it right handedly. I had the same trouble that I would have had if I was learning it for the left hand. You still have to develop strength and dexterity that you normally would not develop. Actually if there was any difference it may have favored my left hand since in right handed guitar the left hand does most of the work. Don't change the tool because you don't know how to use it, learn how to use it right.

O.K. now I'll see a gigabyte of hate mail saying what about Jimi Hendrix or any of the other left handed musicians. Good musicians would still be good musicians regardless of which hand they learned to play their instrument. If Jimi Hendrix learned to play guitar right handedly he probably would have still made the same music. Music comes from your head not your hands.

Just my 10 cents worth.
For any of you who sat and read this entire post you probably have better things to do than listen to me spout off.

Evan Rappaport
(no I don't have one of those big
irritating tags attached to my name)

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