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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000838.txt from 2003/06

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Left, Right or mixed handed?
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 00:51:56 -0400

Christy Erickson wrote:

>I've been doing a little research on the subject of handedness. I am
>"mixed," in that I write and eat with my left hand but do everything else I
>can think of with my right hand. I've met quite a few musicians who are the
>same "mix." Can we do a little informal survey here to get some statistics
>on the hand dominance of clarinet players?
Wow. You know, this is a neat topic.

And there are some relevant areas here, in case there are some folks who
question Christy's placing this question here:

1) This is something that has always made me wonder, in those small
hours of the night: Does anyone have any idea WHY the left hand plays
on the upper joint, and the right hand on the lower joint of ALL the
woodwinds, not just the clarinet? I mean, I have no desire to switch
this - and IIRC, I believe Abe Galper once posted a link to a pic of a
clarinet that had been done up with the right hand using the upper joint
and the left hand the lower - but it is something I wonder about, as to
why it developed that way, and not the other way around. Was there some
point in time at which standardization occurred, before which
instruments made both ways (presumably by hand) were not only extant,
but actively played?

2) Though less relevant to clarinet playing in general, the topic of
handedness can come up when instructing some students who display a
marked need to use one hand dominant over the other. In "hand" with
this idea is my question as to whether or not handedness can change over
the years - someone can become more ambidextrous through practice
(conducting notwithstanding! ;-).

Patricia Smith

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