Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Topic Options
#2901353 - 01/11/18 07:47 AM Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left?
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
I was posting in another thread when a question that's been lurking in the back of my mind finally crystallized:

Why the hell is it that my right hand, which has hitherto only been used (>40 years) for finger style bass and guitar, plus picking, is the one that adapted most readily to keys? You'd think that my left hand, which is used to noting, would go faster. It's for sure that my brain is still thinking bass...I'm most at home in the lower 2/3 of the keybed. It could be a brain hemisphere thing, but after all these years of playing stringed instruments, you'd think that I'd be more adept with my left hand than my right hand.

I have an alternate hypothesis. Like anyone else, the hand I'm concentrating on is the more capable hand. Perhaps, subconsciously, I know that my right hand is the laggard, so I'm devoting more mental CPU cycles to my right, leaving my left starved for attention...even though it's (possibly?) the more advanced hand. I'm not sure of a scientifically valid way to test this, because I can't apportion my mind equally to each hand. I have to focus on one or the other, leaving the other to wander about on its own. Can't spring for the expense of fMRI scans to see what's happening in my noggin. It'd take 'em all day just to locate my three functioning brain cells.

Thoughts?

Exercises? (Don't say Chopsticks. Can't stand the sound of the piece.)

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
KC Island
#2901355 - 01/11/18 07:58 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
Outkaster Online   content
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6137
Loc: Rochester, NY
It's the way your hand is designed....think of the first three fingers in each hand. They are the strongest. I know that from doing Judo also. You don't see guys soloing on keys with left their left hand because of the way the keyboard in relation to your fingers goes. Soloing is build on building layers to a climax. Think of the way they are build by listening to Craig Rolle in Santana build a solo. You wouldn't do that with the left hand because of how the keyboard is designed.
_________________________
"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


noblevibes.com


Top
#2901372 - 01/11/18 08:24 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Outkaster]
dsetto Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/28/15
Posts: 724
Loc: Los Angeles
re: a guitarist's string shortener vs sound trigger ...
I would also think a life-long guitarist would have an assertive left on the keyboard. (Playing bass improves my left.) ... Perhaps, the brain knows it's your right that's the sound trigger. Suggestion for that, simply practice left solo on keyboard. Teach your brain it, too can be a sound trigger. Slowly, mindfully - wherever your practice muse takes you.

re: two hands, simultaneously ...
Playing each instrument has its area of gains, and areas of weakness. For keyboardists, doing two potentially complex separate parts simultaneously is a gain area. (for 3+ parts, the complexity decreases for at least some of the parts.) Address that subject ... slow fully, mindfully. Starting simply, with two parts that are very related, and slowly increase their diversity from each other.

--
I found myself playing Black Dog on the piano a couple days ago. It was fun conjuring up both Jimmy & Bonzo in one being - on that section when the riff goes up a 5th on the off beat.

Top
#2901376 - 01/11/18 08:33 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: dsetto]
JerryA Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7111
Loc: New England
For what it's worth, I have observed more ambidexterity in classical pipe organists than in classical pianists.

Perhaps your body/mind adapts to the challenge placed before it? Take up left hand bass and see what happens!

Top
#2901383 - 01/11/18 08:45 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
Synthoid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 10258
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Originally Posted By: GRollins
Exercises? (Don't say Chopsticks. Can't stand the sound of the piece.)


I prefer this:


_________________________
To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.
-- Aaron Copland

Top
#2901384 - 01/11/18 08:48 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Synthoid]
JerryA Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7111
Loc: New England
Or try this. grin



Top
#2901389 - 01/11/18 08:56 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
Synthoid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 10258
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
And then move on to...


_________________________
To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.
-- Aaron Copland

Top
#2901393 - 01/11/18 09:13 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Synthoid]
David Loving Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/11/00
Posts: 5035
Loc: Texas
It's not "versus;" it's left and right. Try Hanon in several keys. Scales(parallel and contrary motion) and Arpeggios (simple ones) around the circle of 5ths. All with a metronome. Slow. I like what Synthoid said. Get some technique from pieces you practice.


Edited by David Loving (01/11/18 09:15 AM)
_________________________
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Top
#2901396 - 01/11/18 09:18 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Synthoid]
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Originally Posted By: GRollins
Exercises? (Don't say Chopsticks. Can't stand the sound of the piece.)


I prefer this:







Anything from the Russian contingent (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, et. al.) that's manageable? I lean more towards the Russians than the Germans. And, yes, I'm well aware that Rachmaninov was a keyboard wizard with two-octave hands (Marfan's Syndrome, some say)...but did he do anything that mere mortals can play?

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
#2901403 - 01/11/18 09:27 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
JerryA Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7111
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: GRollins
And, yes, I'm well aware that Rachmaninov was a keyboard wizard with two-octave hands (Marfan's Syndrome, some say)...but did he do anything that mere mortals can play?

Grey


Gentle left hand ostinato practice and sublime lyricism ...


Top
#2901408 - 01/11/18 09:52 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Synthoid]
area51recording Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Newburgh,IN
Originally Posted By: Synthoid
And then move on to...






'Tis but a short leap ;-)

Top
#2901487 - 01/11/18 07:07 PM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: area51recording]
Strays Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/06/16
Posts: 105
There are the Bach 2 and 3 part inventions. They're a lot of fun too.
_________________________
Dave's YouTube channel

Top
#2901519 - 01/12/18 01:00 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: Synthoid]
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Originally Posted By: GRollins
Exercises? (Don't say Chopsticks. Can't stand the sound of the piece.)


I prefer this:







Huh! He plays it too fast. My BFF Schroeder plays it at half that tempo...

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
#2901520 - 01/12/18 01:33 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: David Loving]
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
Originally Posted By: David Loving
It's not "versus;" it's left and right.


"There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do."

I assure you, in my case, it's versus. I have so many fingers, I don't know what to do. They're all demanding attention--my sole, undivided attention--and not one of them is mature enough to be trusted on its own.

As I've said elsewhere, I regularly conceive things that are beyond my ability to play. To date, I've simply used my own stuff to torture my fingers. It works, after a fashion. I've made progress, simply by teaching myself to play what I hear in my head. The booger is that some of the things in my head aren't just, say, one level above my current abilities, they're two or three levels above.

Woof!

I don't have any problems with spread. I can easily span >1 octave. Bass players are typically faced with a 34" scale length neck. If you play average thud-thud bass lines, you don't have anything to worry about; you'll rarely venture above the fifth or seventh fret. But should you be more interested in prog rock or fusion jazz, you're going to need to work those fingers. That's the category I fit into. So at least I've got that going for me.

My limitations aren't so much physical, they're mental. Bass players need far more strength than keyboard players. Speed/accuracy, at least in the physical sense, differ because the physical motions are a little different--but not so much as to be a huge problem.

An interesting problem that I have is dynamics. On bass or guitar (setting aside tapping or hammering), dynamics are controlled with your right hand, exclusively. On a keyboard, each hand is responsible for its own dynamics. This is going to take some work, but it's 80% a mental problem. I need to signal my fingers to strike gently or hard or whatever is required.

Working against me is the Kronos keybed, which has this quirk in that there's some bounce or rebound down in the last 1/8" or so of the key travel. I suspect that it's due to the aftertouch mechanism. The MM8 doesn't feel that way. When you press a key on the MM8, it goes down and stays down. On the Kronos, the key has an annoying tendency to bounce, creating a double or triple note where none was intended. It's just something that I'll have to adjust to. I've been playing the MM8 for several years and I'm used to its action. I've only had the Kronos since August and haven't had as much time to play as I'd like. I'll get there eventually, but that doesn't stop me from wishing that the Kronos action wasn't as heavy and didn't have that rubbery feel at the bottom.

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
#2901521 - 01/12/18 01:42 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: JerryA]
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
Originally Posted By: JerryA
Originally Posted By: GRollins
And, yes, I'm well aware that Rachmaninov was a keyboard wizard with two-octave hands (Marfan's Syndrome, some say)...but did he do anything that mere mortals can play?

Grey


Gentle left hand ostinato practice and sublime lyricism ...





Beautiful! I love Rachmaninov. I'd never run across that piece before, likely because I tend towards full orchestral, rather than solo piano.

Anything more along those lines?

(Oh, here Grey, why don't you try this Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto...it's easy...)

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
#2901555 - 01/12/18 06:53 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
David Loving Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/11/00
Posts: 5035
Loc: Texas
It helps to think of both hands working together. Why not try some of the recommended methods in practice? A classical artist once said that you don't play with your hands; you play with your brain. Maybe you need a good teacher. You can rent a real piano or purchase a digital with an authentic feeling action.




Edited by David Loving (01/12/18 07:17 AM)
_________________________
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Top
#2901574 - 01/12/18 07:36 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: David Loving]
GRollins Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1048
I've already Googled Hanon and have begun on C--I'll noodle on those exercises when I've got little snippets of time.

We're in agreement that it's mental--at least for me. Dexterity, per se, and strength aren't going to be problems--just getting my mind to acclimate to a new instrument will be the battle.

Grey
_________________________
I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Top
#2901586 - 01/12/18 08:09 AM Re: Left hand vs. right hand...or is it right vs. left? [Re: GRollins]
Wastrel Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/13/09
Posts: 2605
Loc: Los Angeles
I don't think you can directly map how you use your hands on stringed instruments vs keys because for one thing, using both hands simultaneously is required to sound each note (not counting hammer-ons or open strings) on a guitar, whereas each hand can and does create sounds independently OR simultaneously on keys. Decoupled two hand independence is a whole different animal on piano. There is different mechanical activity going on when finger picking with the right hand a barre chord held with the left, but it is still cooperative interplay between the hands to get the basic sound out as distinct from counterpoint and opposing motion on a piano.
_________________________
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
-Mark Twain

Top


Moderator:  Dave Bryce, Stephen Fortner