The technician and the artist

Mark Gilston
Mark Gilston
@mark-gilston
3 weeks ago
4 posts

Really both hands are equally important.  There is far more to the left hand than just pushing the right frets. Brian talks about some of the more obvious subtleties, but expression, duration of note length, a thousand different ornaments, several types of vibrato, harmonics, etc. are all the domain of the left hand.  I think Bing's comment (which I believe comes from Robert Force) is meant to get people to become aware of the importance of right hand technique, but left hand technique is a never ending journey as well, and an equal partner in the artistry.


updated by @mark-gilston: 10/24/18 12:03:31PM
Val Hughes
Val Hughes
@val-hughes
last year
26 posts

Thank you Brian and Robin.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,003 posts

I neglected to state my playing has been curtailed because I live with my parents due to their poor health.  

 

Sending healing wishes to you, Val and Lexie! 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
dianapalmer
@dianapalmer
last year
15 posts

I am sorry you two are hurting.

 

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
last year
110 posts

Val and Robin - I hope you both feel better soon.

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
last year
316 posts

I am sorry your hand is in pain Val. I know I depend on both mine and when my left hand is buggered I don't play well.

Most of the winter I haven't been able to use my left hand much so my playing has suffered. doh

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,003 posts

I hope a good remedy is found, Val!  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Val Hughes
Val Hughes
@val-hughes
last year
26 posts

I eventually went to the Doc. after a number of weeks. On tabs for swelling gave blood and have an X-ray on Friday. It is something that flares up every now and then, this time it seems to be lasting longer.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
1,875 posts

Oh no, that's a tough one Val!  Has a doctor been able to help?




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Val Hughes
Val Hughes
@val-hughes
last year
26 posts

In the same boat as Robin, left wrist giving lots of trouble and pain, it's even difficult to play the whistle. Going on a while now, I fear the worst.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
1,875 posts

My first banjo teacher, Dwight Diller of WV, used to say "The right hand is the real meat and potatoes, the left hand is just the gravy".    banjo




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,003 posts

My playing time has been curtailed the past several months.  What suffers?  My strumming.  Though this troubles my mind, I know when I am able to play more again, my strumming will improve. 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
last year
110 posts
I agree with Ken. Both hands are important and the left is good for much more than just fretting the right notes. How do you want to play that next note? Hammer to it? Pull off for it? Slide to it? Bend to it? Fret with a slight lift to mute? Use vibrato? Trill it? Etc.

I do think that people tend to make sure they are fretting the right spots and can ignore the right hand, but I also think that people often stop thinking about the left hand prematurely once they've gotten the notes correct, when there are so many more artistic possibilities to be explored with it.
updated by @brian-g: 03/21/17 03:38:36PM
dianapalmer
@dianapalmer
last year
15 posts

Yet, some say that the left side of the brain (which controls the right hand) is the logical side, while the left side is creative. This sounds like we should be fretting with our right hand and picking or strumming with our left. 

I guess that can't be right, as musicians throughout the years have fretted with the left (creative) hand.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,791 posts

I think it's a two-handed sword.   If the left hand does not get the right note(s) held for the correct amount of time (technical), the best strum/pick rhythm/pattern in the world can't make wrong notes sound good.   But with good clean notes, the left hand can turn those notes into fabulous compositions (artistry).  It takes both a technician and an artist to make a masterpiece of music. 

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
last year
1,048 posts

Diana, truth be told, there is technique and artistry involved in both hands. But Bing's main point is certainly to emphasize the right hand. Too many players worry solely about where to put their (left-hand) fingers on the fretboard. But it is the right hand that determines how softly or loudly we play, whether the tone is delicate or forceful, whether we hit all the strings or just one or two, whether we play exactly on the beat or just ahead or behind it, whether we play things straight or "swing" a bit, whether we accent strums, skip strums, mute strums, whether we play a block chord or an arpeggio, etc.

And when we play in a group, if you make a mistake with your left hand it disappears as soon as the next note is played. But if your right-hand rhythm is off, then your mistakes continue throughout and you are likely to stand out.

I would suggest that the main difference between the great dulcimer players and the rest of us is their superior control of the right hand.  Most of us can follow the tablature written by those folks, so our left hand goes where it is supposed to, but we don't sound as rich and expressive as they do because we have ignored our right hand as we've learned to play.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Bob
Bob
@bob
last year
175 posts

Sometimes my right hand does not know what my left hand is doing.

dianapalmer
@dianapalmer
last year
15 posts

Bing Futch once said that the left hand is the technician and the right hand is the artist. I am curious if folks here experience it that way, or if there are other experiences.