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Christopher Seed and the left handed piano

Chris Seed at the left handed piano
Chris at his left-handed piano with
Keith and Lauren in Luxembourg

Christopher Seed is an international concert pianist who can play piano both normally and in mirror image. In 1997 he commissioned the Dutch firm Poletti and Tuinman Fortepiano Makers to build the world's first left-handed piano. It is a complete mirror image of a normal piano with the high notes on the left and the low notes on the right. The lid opens the other way as well so Chris performs on the right side of the stage (as seen by the audience) and the pedals are reversed.

Being left-handed and with the piano reversed, Chris can now play more of the melodic and elaborate parts with his dominant hand, which he feels not only gives him a physical advantage but also a more instinctive way of playing.

Chris was giving a concert at the exhibition and also participated in the conference, talking about his musical background and the challenges of moving an instrument the size of a grand piano between venues.

We had a couple of long conversations with Chris over dinners and it is clear that he started playing "back to front" because he felt he was not achieving his full potential playing in the traditional direction. He was an accomplished pianist and public performer playing right-handed but he was sure he could do even better if he started to read music and play in the way his brain was naturally working. (his music still runs from left to right as normal but he reverses the base and treble lines).

He got a chance to test out his theory using an electronic keyboard with a special device to reverse the keyboard direction. He found he could play in reverse instinctively and very quickly became more comfortable playing that way. That was what spurred him on to get his unique piano made.

Chris has lots of very interesting views about music and left-handers and we will be meeting up with him in the UK soon to see if we can produce some articles and web pages that may help others.

You can find out more about Chris and his piano on his web site

Christopher Seed with his left handed and right handed pianos

Links to the sections of this report on the
Monde de Deux Mains Exhibition, Luxembourg 2007:

The exhibition and some of the contents

Dr Barbara Sattler and left handedness in Germany
Pierre Michel Bertrand and his "Histoire des Gauchers"
Christopher Seed and his left-handed piano
The conference on lefthandedness


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