Left/right brain integration/Strings

John E. Anderson jander at OSPREY.UNF.EDU
Thu Dec 26 16:40:41 EST 1996

"RenE J.V. Bertin" <bertin at NeurEtV.biol.ruu.nl> wrote:

> Below are some excerpts from a recent discussion on ASTA-L, concerning the question
> why string instruments are normally fingered with the left hand, and bowed/plucked
> with the right hand. The general view is that lefties should be at an advantage, given
> the fact that they use their best hand for fingering, but I'm not convinced this is the
> most difficult task "at hand".

Many left-handed guitarists (Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney come to
mind, and there are others) play with the guitar reversed, i.e. with
their right hand on the fingerboard and their left hand plucking the
strings, suggesting that (at least for the rock and blues genre; are
there any classical guitarists that play "in reverse") the hand plucking
the strings needs the best fine-movement control.

Later on in the same post, RenE quotes Joanne Tanner
70243.2334 at compuserve.com:

> I heard a a talk by a psychologist...[who] he proposes that the real reason for left side
>         cradling is that people monitor a baby's sounds (which are not yet language),
>         and thereby his or her emotional state, with the left ear.  Why the left ear?
>         The left ear inputs to the right side of the brain- and guess what? That's the
>         side that is involved in monitoring non-verbal, non-language aspects of
>         communication, and many aspects of music (though reading and writing music
>         involves both sides).

But each ear provides input to *both* sides of the brain.  See chapter
32 of Principles of Neural Science 3rd edition by Kandel, Schwartz, and
Jessell for details.

John E. Anderson
jander at unf.edu

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