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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Jan 2005
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Does anybody know the history of left-hand piano music? I know Paul Wittgenstein really boosted the genre during the early 1900s by commissioning left-hand piano concertos, but the genre must have been around for some time before him?


What made me think of this is that I found my old music folder from four years ago, and I tried playing through the music this morning: it was all really, really easy ( laugh ) except for this one piece by Marjorie Burgess: "Tapestry: Piano Solo for Left Hand."

It's neat. I remember I really liked it when I first worked on it four years ago, and I remember that I had quite a rough time with it!

It's certainly much easier to play with both hands - is there some aesthetic benefit to playing with only one hand? (doubtful). If there isn't, then why do people bother to write left-hand-only piano music? (OK, OK, Wittgenstein did have much of a choice in that respect, but how many one-armed pianists are there?)


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There are two major reasons for left-hand solo music: injury and exercises. Since more people are right-handed, whether by nature or by coercion, right hands tend to get injured more than left hands, and many people need to concentrate to improve their left hand's abilities, so there are exercises specifically for exercising the left hand.

There's a little bit of right-hand music, but it is not as prevalent. For more information, check out Raymond Lewenthal's album of music for one hand that Shirmer's publishes. His notes are good.


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An encyclopedic reference on this is Theodore Edel's "Piano Music for One Hand" (Indiana University Press, 1994). Over 1000 works from student pieces to Godowsky are summarized, most for the left hand as noted above.


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Ah, thanks.

Here's a site I just found. It's dedicated to the memory of Paul Wittgenstein, and seems to have a rather long history of left-hand piano music. I haven't read it yet, but I thought I'd quickly post it here first! laugh

http://hjem.get2net.dk/Brofeldt/


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If you want a great left hand piece that's not too hard(although far from easy), try Godowsky's Waltz Poem #4. Cherkasky used to play this as an encore. Interestingly, Godowsky wrote 4 Waltz Poems for both hands and versions of the same 4 Waltz Poems for LH alone.

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Interesting. In college I injured my left hand, so I wrote a couple of pieces for right-hand alone. I was not aware of pieces written for right hand alone, but it stands to reason that there would be.


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I had a bout with severe tendonitis a couple of years ago and had to have surgery on my elbow and forearm to correct it. If I hadn't had some music for left hand to play during that time I think I would have gone totally INSANE! I was amazed at how challenging it was to learn a left-handed piece. (I worked mostly on Scriabin).

It kept my brain sharp and greatly improved my technique in my left hand.

Well, there's my two-cents for today whome

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Godowsky wrote tonnes of stuff, I'm not sure on the opus but I have the scores somewhere for a left hand etude that is stuctured (I believe) like a Bach French Suite.

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you mean "Suite for the left hand alone" ?


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