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March 04, 2011

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Why would you need a left-handed calligraphy set, if you are talking about Japanese calligraphy? The brush is held vertically, so I imagine you can hack it out with the left hand.

(I'm a southpaw who was taught basic Chinese calligraphy many years ago, but I'm ambidextrous enough to have managed it with the right hand.)

I'm right there with you, so to speak: I am very right-handed. So when I started developing tennis/mouse elbow in my right arm, it really messed with me.

My left hand is near-useless for any kind of coordinated or detailed work. I can train it to do things that mirror my right hand, but that's about it.

I'm right-handed, sort of. In kindergarten I wrote left to right with my left hand and right to left with the right hand. I was forced to become right-handed for writing, but in many things, I am a leftie. My left-handed roommate used a mouse with his right hand, I mouse with my left. I work combination locks and use screwdrivers with my left hand. In shoveling snow I am ambidextrous. Obviously I am either confused or incapable of making decisions.

Leftie, the only known one in my family. Have never had a problem with it, ever, until I encountered European banking machines, which have the card slot further on the right, making me contort my hand somewhat to get the card in. (My right hand is holding my wallet.)

No, western calligraphy.

But with Japanese calligraphy, though the brush is held vertically, the motions are more natural for a right hander than for a left hander, because the pull strokes for a right hander become push strokes for a left hander and because each character has a particular stroke order that must be conformed to. This problem has cleared up a bit as they now write in pencil or pen, but with a brush, it raises some problems.

In the west, lefties rotate the paper or their hand in order to deal with thiss but proper technique for Asian calligraphy requires that the paper be kept at the same alignment/relation to the writer regardless whether they are right or left handed. You can still do it, but it remains problematic.

If you play the guitar right-handed, your left hand does all the fretting (worrying itself sick). It's the one thing I've encountered where attempting to switch hands makes your right hand feel like the awkward, useless one as a right-handed person - not that the left is at all good at picking. But still, the right just feels knotted up, which is weird for a rightie.

I met a guy who played the guitar upside-down, because he was left-handed and learned on someone else's right-handed guitar. (Which is not, BTW, what leftie Jimi Hendrix did, because he re-strung his right-handed guitar invertedly, so the strings ended up the way they were supposed to be. Dick Dale may have played upside-down, though. I write this without googling to find out.)

I use the right hand for preference, but am ambidextrous enough to switch the mouse to my left when I start feeling that tendinitis twinge in my right. To the extent that I could hit a baseball at all when I was a kid, I was almost as good lefty as right. That didn't go for throwing, though. I can draw pretty well with my left hand, but very very slowly. Writing is harder. I've played the piano and the fiddle a lot in my life, plus a little guitar, flute, and pennywhistle. The handedness (so to speak) of the violin and the guitar always interested me a lot. I never tried it, but I suspect that if I switched hands, I could fret better with my right hand than I could pick with my left. Hmmmmm....long time since I've played, so the experiment probably wouldn't mean much right now.

My dad was left-handed, as is my daughter. With her it was strong and obvious from the first time she picked up a spoon or a pencil. When she was learning to print, she wrote mirror image, right to left and with the letters flipped horizontally -- even if she was copying something I had written down for her (e.g. a thank you note to Grammy). She put number magnets on the fridge from right to left. Homeschooling stuff that I was reading at the time said to leave her alone, she'd switch when she was ready, so I sat on my hands (very difficult!!) and lo and behold, she did. In a weird way she knew she was doing it "backwards" all along, but I guess she had to do it that way until...something clicked in her brain? I don't know. One day she just walked over to the fridge and shifted the numbers so they were left to right. I forget how old she was at the time, probably 3 or 4.

I'm a rightie (righty?), always have been. Late in life I was given Wii Sports to encourage me to exercise, which is great. In order to reduce the risk of tennis elbow (yes, you can actually get that playing Wii), I created a second persona ("Mii") who is left-handed, and tried playing the same games, alternately, with my left hand. Oddly, I am just as good (or bad)! Which makes me wonder what I might have been able to learn left-handed sometime in the previous half-century, had I but tried.

...are you a leftie or rightie (in the handedness sense)?

Wouldn't it be a hoot if there was a correlation between handedness and political orientation?

It is certainly a hoot that the universe is (weakly) left-handed.

--TP

lj, I think I have mentioned before that I have been learning piano as an adult for the last several years. Lately I'm taking jazz piano lessons -- this also turns out to be a music theory education.

Regarding hand independence, I'm mostly right-handed but my jazz teacher has observed that my left hand seems to be more comfortable and have a better sense of rhythm. Lucky for me, since the left hand plays bass on the piano (especially important playing jazz).

I think "hand independence" is a bit of a misnomer; at least for me learning to play different rhythms or different dynamics with the left and right hand is more a matter of learning each one separately and then (slowly!) putting them together. I'll never forget learning triplets, my first attempt at synchronizing left and right. The math is:

    1   2   3   4   5   6   1
L   1           4           1
R   1       3       5       1

That is, 2 x 3 = 6, one hand plays on beats 1 and 4, the other on 1, 3 and 5. This takes some getting used to and of course in real music you have to learn the feel of it since there's much more going on and counting it out distracts from the rest of the playing.

I am trained at right handedness, though I am equally uncoordinated with either.

Mastering writing well enough to graduate from whichever grade required that was the hardest thing I did in school until I failed typing. After more than twenty years in front of a keyboard I can type a passable 30 words with two fingers and a thumb, and I still write slower. (This is made worse by an inherited palsy that comes and goes)

All sports were righthanded due to the default preference, and I did work hard enough to be a passable quarterback and a decent basketball player. But specific skills that required extra coordination (dribbling) came slow and were always my weakness.

I "studied" guitar and banjo for over fifteen years, and never could play anything despite diligent practice and very good teachers. I can safely say that neither the fret hand or the picking hand ever got it right.

In a family that boasts musicians that played with Flatt and Scruggs, and spent most Saturday nights pickin and grinnin, this was a frustration almost too great to bear.

So I am righthanded because no one can spend enough time in a lifetime learning to be passably coordinated with both hands starting from where I did.

After breaking my collarbone I ended up using my left hand to write with for the remainder of second grade. To this day I can write with either hand and sometimes, if I don't think too hard about it, I can write with both hands at the same time. I always get stuck on the inside of the booth because I can eat with either hand and don't have to worry about elbowing friends

Right handed, but left-eyed. That is, I aim with my left eye. I was never a good enough athlete for handedness to matter. I'm lousy with either one. On the piano I've managed to use my left hand fairly well, by my performance standards, which are low.

My mother was left-handed, and so is at least one niece of mine, so there's a family tendency, which probably accounts for the eye business. That, BTW, is annoying in photography. Cameras (SLR's) are designed for right-eyed people. The viewfinder is toward the left side as you look at it from the back. Use your right eye and your nose clears the camera on the left. Use your left and your nose smacks into the back of it.

I've read that being "cross-dominant" (right-handed, left-eyed or vice versa) is a big advantage in hitting a baseball, because you aim with your front eye instead of your back one. You couldn't tell it by me.

Marginally left handed. But since the world is set up for right-handed people, I had experiences like this (in grammer school, as we were learning to write):

"pick up your pencils" Pick up my pencil with my left hand.

"put it in your right hand." OK, I'm easy -- shift pencil to right hand. No problem.

But then, when I ended up with my right hand in a cast for most of 8th grade, it was no big deal to switch. And now I can write equally illegibibly with either hand. ;-)


I admit to having amused myself in college, when Asian students remarked in mild surprise that I could actually use chop sticks competently (less common in the 1960s than it is now). So I would switch my chop sticks to my left hand and continue. And then ask if they could do so. This always led to displays of massive ineptitude, followed by muttering about "stupid white guys" -- because, as LJ mentioned, they had all been acculturated to use only their right hands.

I suppose that, if I ever take up Arabic or Hebrew, I will go with writing left handed. It ought to be a real plus for a language written right to left. Nice to have the option.

I'm very lefthanded. Never had serious problems with it; the only sport I ever played much was soccer, where it doesn't matter much.

There's always the minor stuff, of course: dragging my hand through the ink while writing in school, and power tools and electronics are all designed for right-handed use.

FWIW, Breaking a bone in your dominant hand works wonders in developing the other handedness. My left hand isn't bad now. However, my piano playing and typing is now a bit ackward as that bone causes the tip of my ring finger to droop a half-inch lower than the rest. Oh well.

And lj, I majored in performance on trombone. You DO know how to make a trombone sound like a french horn, right?

About upside down guitar/bass playing, Paul McCartney, though he restrung it as well.

About my problem with piano playing, It's probably not the hand, it's the ability to have my left hand do something without concentrating on it. I also can't juggle, despite really seriously trying. It's probably a good thing, cause I feel more sympathy for students who find themselves stuck on something. I still can forget that something is easy and be perplexed about why someone I can't do something, but having these kinds of experiences kind of opens one's mind up.

bc, we are going to have an open thread of instrument jokes, so save that.

bc, we are going to have an open thread of instrument jokes, so save that.

Sweet! Woodwinds, beware.

In a family that boasts musicians that played with Flatt and Scruggs,

Hey now! Extremely cool.

we are going to have an open thread of instrument jokes

Yay!

We could probably do individual threads on trombones, bagpipes, accordians, drummers, and bass players, and never run out of material in any one of them.

Note that the drummer and bass player joke repertoire focuses on the player rather than the instrument.

We could probably do individual threads on trombones, bagpipes, accordians, drummers, and bass players, and never run out of material in any one of them.

Not just those.

Why are violas bigger than violins?

They're not. They just look that way because the violinists' heads are so big.

Try the veal.

Proudly adextrous!

There is handedness - I am mildly right handed but swing bats and other things left handed. There is eyeedness. I am right eyed but, again, not strongly. There is also footedness and I am fairly strongly right footed.

I have never seen anyone address the interesting fact that these characteristics are frequently not in parallel with each other.

Handedness, eyedness, footedness -- reminds me of bicycling and basketball.

Bicycling -- as a kid I always felt shaky riding my bike with just the right hand on the handlebars, and fine with just the left. I thought this was weird given that I'm righthanded, but given what people have said above about mixing it up, I'm not so sure it's all that surprising.

Basketball -- I started playing in college. One summer day, a friend patiently spent however long it took teaching me to approach the basket and go off my left foot for a right-handed layup. Once I had it down pat, he said, "Now the other side." I never did get that right, despite trying for years. I could dribble about as well with either hand, but I couldn't shoot for beans with my left.

*****

ral -- the 3 against 2 rhythm (triplets and eighth notes) was incredibly hard for me. Seems like I once read (probably in Gleick's book about him) that Feynman could do 13 against 12. Yikes. I wonder how anyone could tell he was doing it right!

ursus, I think McManus book actually addresses it. I don't have it with me, but it's a really good read about not just handedness, but also about "sidedness" (if that's a word) and the whole question of asymmetry in the universe.

Original title for this open thread: I'd give my right hand to be ambidextrous

Also right footed, strongly, right eyed, not as strong as foot and hand.

I mentioned my dad was a college boxer, and as a kid, I never really understood why the orthodox stance for a right handed boxer had your left hand and foot forward, whereas in judo your right handed stance had your right hand on the collar/lapel and your left hand on the sleeve. Kinda curious how it works for MMA that combine grappling and striking.

On the Wii, I'll often switch to left and can do pretty well, especially with the baseball skills, but when I go to a batting center, left-handed sucks.

Another thing that I realize I haven't paid attention to, my computer at home is set up with a trackball mouse on the right side, and I'm not sure how my left handed daughter uses it. She also uses my laptop that has a trackpad and I'll have to check if she uses her left hand or right when I get back home at the end of this month.

JanieM,

Feynman was quite a character. My wife (a physics major) gave me his physics lectures on tape and it's a pleasure to listen to them, even though the math is way beyond me. I can't help thinking, though, that 12 against 13 is a bit of a parlor trick and not very useful.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman is a great read.

I was very proud of myself when I "got" 3 against 2. My first step into a wider world. I am living proof that you can learn this stuff as an adult, but I think the kids have an advantage

Right-handed.
After surgery in the shoulder I had to write with my left for several weeks. It looked terrible and did not really improve over time (neither in looks nor in speed).
If I carry a bag the strap has to be over the left shoulder, the bag hanging on my right side, otherwise I feel uncomfortable and I can only walk slowly because the bag anging against my left hip destroys the rhythm.
Interstingly the left seems to be a tick faster on the keyboard leading to notorious mistypings. I wonder when I last typed 'beacsue' (see!!!) correctly on the first try. Same with 'amlagam' (mercury alloys) and 'analgen' (Anlagen = plants (tech. not bot.). An then there is the notorious 'Isreal'.

A little off the subject, though related to it - I'm right-handed though my Dad was a leftie. He had recurring ganglion cysts in his left hand for most of his adult life that occasionally required surgery. The cysts came from the beatings he got across his left hand from the schoolteachers' rulers in Montana when he was growing up there in the 1920s.

Bicycling -- as a kid I always felt shaky riding my bike with just the right hand on the handlebars, and fine with just the left. I thought this was weird given that I'm righthanded, but given what people have said above about mixing it up, I'm not so sure it's all that surprising.

That makes sense to me. Your right hand is free to do more difficult things while your left simply holds on. It's your body telling you not to be a sitting duck with your good hand occupied with a task that's beneath it.

If you're right-footed for kicking, you might find that you're more stable standing on your left foot, since it's the one you're left (ha!) with to support your weight while kicking with your right.

So, non-dominant limb = stabilizer and dominant limb = manipulator.

Still doesn't explain my experience with the guitar thing. Or maybe it does, if you think picking is harder than fretting. I'd say that depends on the style of play.

Oh, bowling - I've never been much of a bowler, but kids' birthday parties are often held at bowling alleys these days, at least where I live.

The last time I took my kids to one of these parties, the lanes for our group were being fairly lightly used, so I decided to throw a few balls. I noticed that I felt awkward on my release and started watching the people who appeared to be good bowlers. I realized that I had my right foot leading as I released the ball with my right hand, which was the opposite of what the good bowlers were doing. (It seems so obvious now that it's a little embarassing to admit that I didn't know what I was doing wrong immediately.) For whatever reason, it was just my natural tendency to approach the line that way. But a little conscious effort corrected it without too much trouble, all of which goes to show that I'm not a natural athlete, but reasonable trainable.

Very righthanded, from what I'm picking up that means from this thread.

Son, 12, is lefty and constantly thinks outside the box. I like that. Hooked on robotics. He said something about writing code for his latest project before going to bed last night -- went way over my head. Yet his school grades are really down this year -- not to sound like I'm making excuses, but I think the stuff they do in the classroom just doesn't hold his interest.

I've always loved watching lefties hit in baseball. Their swings seem so natural compared to righthanded hitters.

And the next time you watch a baseball game, watch the way the lefthanders on the team wear their caps. What's with that? They're always slightly tilted to the side, kind of like you might wear it if you were half lit -- but they make it look cool. Just sayin'.

Lol, i am left-handed. It always bothered me that my hats are inevitably tilted to the side. It just feels wrong when they are on straight. Glad to know I make it look cool!

I do play golf, swing a bat, and heft an axe right-handed, I assume since I learned that stuff from righthanders, but all else is all left.

It isn't easy as a kid or young adult, what with everything made for righties. Three-ring binders and spiral notebooks, scissors, tools, all computers barring your own (amuses me to no end when people ask to use mine). Even some of the simplest things are made difficult if you are lefthanded, such as using can-openers.

It drew my grandmother and I together when I was a little boy, bumping elbows at the dinner table.

Seems like I once read (probably in Gleick's book about him) that Feynman could do 13 against 12. Yikes. I wonder how anyone could tell he was doing it right!

There's actually a pretty straightforward mathematical approach to polyrhythms (or, specifically, cross-rhythm) that makes the basic playing of one division against the other kind of a mechanical exercise. So, amazingly enough, Feynman's achievement here is not as hard as it seems.

The more difficult achievement is musical phrasing in a rhythmically complex context. Which can include the "x against y" kind of cross-rhythm we're talking about here, with different simultaneous subdivisions of a given unit of time, but also simultaneous rhythm cycles that begin at different points in time (i.e., the "one" is offset), and large-scale rhythm groupings that cross bar lines.

To play well in that context, you have to hold multiple understandings of the time in your head at once. It's hard.

Much sub-Saharan (i.e., black) African music is explicitly organized around the tension created by multiple simultaneous time-feels. Polyrhythm is used there to create deliberate rhythmic ambiguity, which plays a structural role in the music similar to harmonic ambiguity in Western music.

South Indian Carnatic music also makes extensive use of very complex polyrhythm.

Cuban and lots of other Latin musics, and a lot of North African music deriving from gnawa traditions, more or less live in the cracks between 3 and 2. The basic pulse is not always clearly in either, and kind of wanders along a continuum between the two, although both can usually be fairly clearly heard and felt.

Is it in 3 or 2? Yes.

Here's a cool clip from gnawa-based French/Algerian pop band Gnawa Diffusion. I periodically spend time with this track trying to follow where the "one" is from beginning to end. In general it kicks my butt.

Here is the brilliant Orlando Puntilla Rios leading a bata ensemble in a section of the Oro Seco. The bata tradition is, to my mind, the artistic equal of the Western polyphony of Palestrina or Machaut.

Some more Oro Seco playing, a little more home-style.

I will end this self-indulgent abuse of the open thread with a brief version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" by the Ari Hoenig trio. Ari and his excellent band have basically evolved a jazz style based on juggling and slipping in and out of different understandings of what time signature they are playing in, where the basic underlying pulse is, etc.

Big fun.

/drum nerd rant

Here's where someone makes a drummer joke :-)

Q: What do you call a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend?
A: Homeless.

I never really understood why the orthodox stance for a right handed boxer had your left hand and foot forward, whereas in judo your right handed stance had your right hand on the collar/lapel and your left hand on the sleeve.

For boxing, it's because the front hand is the hand you jab with. It's not supposed to be the power hand; that is your back hand. When you get to a position where a strike with your back hand is possible, you rotate your entire body into the punch, all the way down to your back foot, the heel of which lifts so that the ball of the foot can pivot the hips (and the rest of the body) into the punch. I'd imagine judo has the dominant hand forward because that's the one you're going be the most adept with grabbing/fending.

I feel as if I'm just really getting a handle onboxing technique. One of the biggest things that I have to unlearn is that the best punches are not the ones you throw hard. It's when you're relaxed that you do the most damage, in general. I delivered what I thought was a really light right cross to a partner in sparring, and he went to the floor. Which made me feel bad, because I like to exhibit more control than that.

Breathing is important, too. Also: being aware of how relaxed your core muscles are, so that you can tense them to guard, or relax them when you're out of range so that you conserve energy.

Back on topic, though, I am right-dominant in most everything, but go both ways where it comes to boxing/sparring. I can jab really well with both hands, but my left cross, although serviceable, isn't quite as effective as my right cross. I can kick roundhouse with either foot in front or back; makes little difference. I don't think I've paid much attention to doing breaking techniques left-footed; that doesn't seem quite so much a perceived goodness as (for instance) going from two boards to three.

Q:what do you cal a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend?

A: He had a girlfriend?

One of my favorite handedness examples is a guy I know whose big-muscle dominant is right (as in swinging a bat, throwing a ball, etc.). But his small-muscle dominant is left handed (as in painting or calligraphy). "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio...."

A: He had a girlfriend?

She fell in love with the drummer
She fell in love with the drummer
She fell in love

Q: What do you call somebody who likes to hang around with musicians?
A: A drummer.

Q: What is the drummer always late?
A: They can't keep time!

(Stupid, and my favorite, because the drummer is ALWAYS late)

I met a guy who played the guitar upside-down, because he was left-handed and learned on someone else's right-handed guitar.

i know a guy like that, too. we were in a band together for a while, and it was a horrible pain in the ass for me. i could never follow what he was doing because it was too hard to figure out what he was playing, in real time. i could never get the hang of visualizing the upside down string arrangement. he had no trouble following me because he'd already learned to read standard fingerings on the fly.

Moderately right handed. Curiously, not only is Mom left handed, both my ex and my wife are left handed, and my (right handed) brother married a lefty. Curious, I wonder if there was some subtle mechanism attracting us to them?

I want a girl, just like the girl...... ;)

russell: I will end this self-indulgent abuse of the open thread

Hardly that.

In fact, it would be great to have some posts from you on stuff like this.

Also, where it comes to one-handed pushups, I can do roughly equal repetitions with either hand.

Wait...Zen pushups: one-handed, clapping?


"Also, where it comes to one-handed pushups, I can do roughly equal repetitions with either hand."

I can do EXACTLY the same number of repetitions with either hand. Zero.


hairshirt:

So, non-dominant limb = stabilizer and dominant limb = manipulator.

Still doesn't explain my experience with the guitar thing. Or maybe it does, if you think picking is harder than fretting. I'd say that depends on the style of play.

I like the stabilizer/manipulator theory.

As for fretting vs picking, I dawdled around with the guitar a bit from the time I was about 12, so I had had some experience with the left hand by the time I took up the fiddle at the age of 40.

That disclaimer aside, I found learning to handle the bow much harder than the left hand's work. I think 40 is old to be taking up the violin; I did okay, but I think my bowing made real violinists cringe, and I would have learned it much more readily if I had started as a child.

Oh. Here's the one-handed clapping pushup. I haven't tried that one yet.

There's a guy who does a whole series of (mostly upper-body) bodyweight exercises using whatever's handy: playground equipment, for instance. If you search for "Hannibal for King" on youtube, you'll find a whole slew of his stuff. It's kind of inspired me to play around with position in other exercises to work different muscle groups. My goal is to be able to do the Jack LaLanne fingertip pushups.

Jack LaLanne was a [email protected]

I use this video to show students how to embed youtube videos in their blogs. The pushups at the 1:38 mark are where students ask me if the video is real, and I tell them it is.

That's just remarkable, lj. That guy is amazing, with or without functional legs.

An interesting example of the connection of handedness and evolution can be found with the cichlids in Lake Victoria. Some species live by eating the scales of other cichlids (biting them off). The individual fish always attacks from the same side and the victims guard one flank better depending on which handedness (attack path) is currently dominant. So there is an advantage to be not of the dominant group. As a result there is a periodic shift between the lefters and the righters every few generations.

My daughter (now 4) switches hands a lot and seemed to be becoming weakly left-handed for manipulating, writing and drawing--until a couple of weeks ago, when she fell and scraped the skin on the palm of her left hand, which she'd put out to stop her fall. After that, she started using her right hand more for manipulating things, and it seems to have persisted even now that her left hand has healed. As I write, she's eating cereal with her right hand and holding the bowl with her left. I'm expecting she'll go back to lefty dominance at some point, but you never know.

...Anyway, she has a little kids' guitar, and until recently she'd always wanted to strum it with her left hand, though it's a right-handed guitar.

So I looked into this whole subject of lefties and stringed instruments (I'm right-handed myself). Left-handed guitars are available, of course, but at a premium with less selection. And there are the various options mentioned above: people stringing electric guitars upside down (you can't really do this with an acoustic), or just playing them upside down.

Where it gets really tough is in orchestral stringed instruments. Left-handed violins were completely unavailable until very recently, and there's still an extremely strong bias against playing that way, because orchestras want their violin sections to have a uniform appearance as the players bow their instruments.

Anyway, music teachers often tell left-handed students that playing right-handed will actually give them an advantage over right-handed players, because they're doing the more complex job of fingering with their dominant hand. As far as I can tell, though, there is no well-established evidence for this, and it seems to be mostly just a line used to keep people from insisting on playing left-handed.

However, some left-handed people do successfully play righty. And some sources seem to indicate that Jimi Hendrix was really right-handed, he just played guitar left-handed.

This seems to be less a source of angst for players of instruments that are played upright, like the cello and concert bass.

Given how tightly packed an orchestral string section is, I don't see how you can't have everyone play the same way.

I didn't realize that acoustic guitars couldn't be restrung.

In Japanese sword arts, being a lefty actually does give you an advantage, because as soon as you add any force with your right hand, everything goes to hell. The left hand supplies force and the right guides, but strongly righthanded people (like me) tend to do both with the right hand.

Here's the one-handed clapping pushup.

Now if he could do the clapping part with one hand, that would really be impressive.

russell, your earlier comment made me think of one of my favorite bands. I don't know if what they do is exactly what you were describing. I know that 99% or so of the human population would hate listening to their music, but that the rest like it a lot. From Wikipedia:

In a typical polyrhythm by Meshuggah, the guitars might play in odd meters such as 5/16 or 17/16, while drums play in normal 4/4.[21] An example of Haake's dual rhythms is a 4/4 and 23/16 rhythm. He keeps the hi-hat and ride cymbal in simple 4/4 time but uses the snare and double bass drums for 23/16 rhythm.[7][31] On "Rational Gaze" (from Nothing), Haake plays simple 4/4 time, hitting the snare on each third beat, for 16 bars. At the same time, the guitars and bass are playing the same quarter notes, albeit in a different time signature, and eventually both sides meet up again at the 64th beat.[25] Hagström notes about the polyrhythms, "We’ve never really been into the odd time signatures we get accused of using. Everything we do is based around a 4/4 core. It’s just that we arrange parts differently around that center to make it seem like something else is going on."[3]

Extremely left handed here. I'm a pianist, and have to work my RH very hard, whereas my left hand doesn't need even to warm up - it's always ready. I played golf right handed briefly in my teens and had a pretty killer short game for a novice. Didn't like golf though...

Anyway, music teachers often tell left-handed students that playing [string instruments] right-handed will actually give them an advantage over right-handed players, because they're doing the more complex job of fingering with their dominant hand.

Hmmm. I agree that that's probably just a line to get them to play right handed. I played violin right handed for a while, and *really* struggled to draw a straight bow. For me there was no advantage, since the slow practice required to get good at that was much more boring than would have been the slow practice required to learn how to finger correctly.

btw, 40 is not too old to earn, JanieM! What we lose in flexibility and ability to absorb new things, we gain in patience and wily-ness (?).

U.S.A. State Sponsored Terror (rock music video) Released

Anti U.S. Police State Musician/activist, Scott Huminski, releases his 5th rock video with his band Scott X and the Constitution Commandos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXbojImKNlI

Television interview at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/RTAmerica#p/u/1/2KxmgZRUOnU

On eye contact, an oddity, the significance of which (if any) I cannot discern:

Almost half a century, in California, I took a course from a brilliant but eccentric American professor who went on to win various teaching awards. It was on art & culture & history & all, and he wrote elegant & fascinating lectures and delivered them fervently, even to the point of climbing up on top of his desk as he spoke . . .

. . . with his eyes entirely focused on a point about five feet above our heads. He never even came close to making eye contact with any of his students while lecturing; it was as if we were listening in on a talk he was giving to some unseen audience suspended on the back wall of the classroom.

I, for one, found it disconcerting.

On personal space, sometimes one must factor in size. In Madrid, forty years ago, my wife - about 5'7" then - would come back from travels on the bus and street absolutely battered by people who had bumped into her (with no sign of apology), to say nothing of poking umbrellas and blowing smoke in her face; it was as if she didn't exist to them. But I, over six feet tall, 180 lbs., and bearded, usually passed through these same environs without contact - as if they were afraid of what might happen if they messed with me.

I did nothing (conscious) to inspire this sentiment, but I confess I rather liked it.

This being an open thread, revelations about the US aiding Libyan rebels: accidental security leak, or deliberate distraction?

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Highly classified yet known to Robert Fisk makes me go hmmm, but I have no pet theories I care to defend.

All right, all the time. But then, that's probably no surprise to anyone.

One of my favorite handedness examples is a guy I know whose big-muscle dominant is right (as in swinging a bat, throwing a ball, etc.). But his small-muscle dominant is left handed (as in painting or calligraphy). "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio...."

Late to the party but I'm similar. I think I'm natively left-handed in all things (although I'm right-eye dominant, IIRC) but I learned to do certain things right-handed to the point where the left hand is unnatural. Hence I hit left-handed in baseball or cricket, but swing right-handed in most racquet sports like tennis or racquetball and I throw and bowl right-handed; I write left-handed but I mark time when conducting music (inasmuch as I conduct) right-handed; and I suck at painting, so it's moot.

[The racquet sports isn't actually a question of handedness per se, I think, but rather body position. IOW, I've been playing right-handed for so long that I natively position my body as I would to hit the ball right-handed even when I'm trying to hit lefty, which doesn't work at all.]

Oh, and to answer the question above: left-handed calligraphy is ridiculously hard. In fact, I think it's effectively impossible in the Chinese (and also Japanese?) traditions, and it's close to impossible in the European traditions if you're using something like a fountain pen (i.e. a writing implement with an asymmetric tip). I appreciate that others can do it; I simply have no idea how.

I suppose by now many have heard that a rather large quake (together with many, many smaller quakes) has struck Japan. The larger quake registered 8.9 on the Richter scale, and occured off the shore of Honshu, 38.322°N, 142.369°E.

More raw data on the quake and its before/aftershocks here.

I understand our compatriot lj lives on the other end of the country, in a relatively sheltered area, so tsunamis will (hopefully) not be a danger to him and his family. Nevertheless, it's almost a certainty that this has affected his life in some way. We wish you well, LJ, and hope that you can give us some sign that all is well with you and yours in the reasonably near future.

In the meantime, we await further news. There's more to come; this quake sent tsunamis in every direction, and some of them have not yet made landfall.

Hawaii is starting to see some precursor waves. Ongoing reporting for Hawaii here.

thanks slart, I'm just getting up now and trying to process it. I'm in the states, and my family is in Kyushu, but my 1st 5 years in Japan were in Sendai, where the epicenter of the quake was, so I am reading the reports. Thanks again for the comment.

due to a lack of dexterity in the left

For some odd reason I am just now noticing this. Just as the north magnetic poles should have an absence of south-iness, left hands should be much more sinister than dexter.

LJ - good to hear that you and your family is okay.

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