The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


Dominant hand playing

I was just watching the introductory video about dominant hand playing. As a left-handed writer (and almost everything else) I believe my left hand belongs on the fingerboard and my right hand holds the pick or bow. Why? My left hand presses down on the strings to create many more pitches than my right hand could alone. Mind you I said I'm a south paw for ALMOST everything. I kick right footed most comfortably and I cut with scissors right handed. My piano playing tends to be very left-dominant, however.

Craig

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I'm trying to remember who said this, but the way I heard it explained is that “the violin in the voice, but the bow is the tongue”. In other words, articulation, expression, dynamics all come from the bow. So the greater finesse is needed on the bow (right hand) than the left, which simply presses down strings (not quite, but but most expression comes from the bow). So I would think the pick/bow hand should be the dominant one. On the other hand, my brother is left-handed, but plays “normally”. Go figure.

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My piano playing tends to be very left-dominant, however.

Doesn't that prove the point Ralph made. Your left hand is your 'tongue' which does the best job of articulating the piano keys. You are 'picking' the keys with your dominant hand.

To continue the analogy: If you had no legs, you could use your right hand to press down 'frets' (the pedals) that your foot normally does.

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This doesn't explain why I'm very comfortable playing violin with the bow in my RIGHT hand. Yes, the tone is produced with the bow (the 'tongue') but I still get more in terms of sound from my left. As far as my piano playing goes, my left hand was a thorn in my teacher's side, as she could not clearly hear my right hand melody. Is there such a thing as a 'left-handed' piano?

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There are many subtle facets that underlie what we end up doing in life.
Naturally I don't know the facets brought you to feel you do best using your less dominant hand for bowing the violin. Heck, you may not either… at least completely, cognitively. If you do, that would be interesting to know.

However, as a general rule, using one's dominant hand to do the most self-expressive tasks is demonstrability the way to go for most people. I guess folks who are ambidextrous have a choice.

Edited Mar 14, 2014 by Carl Abbott
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A few lefties using standard right hand stringing come to mind. Jimmi Hendrix, Slim Whitman And Buddy Miles to name just a few.

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Wow! Just think what heights they might have reached had fate led them to use their dominant hand instead. On the other hand, mysterious are the ways…

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I'm a 69 year lefty and has spent most of my adult life with deciding which way to play. I had heard “both hands gotta do something” but for me, playing right handed never felt comfortable. I like the left hand for picking or strumming say for guitar or mandolin. The dobro worked out fine because my stronger hand held the steel. I mentioned all of that to say this. Don't waste your musical life trying to decide like I did. Pick one way or the other and give it an honest try. Your progress will tell you if it is right or wrong.

Edited Jan 4, 2016 by Aubrey Antone
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