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Tuesday, September 29, 1998 Published at 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK


A piano that's right for lefties

Christopher Seed with his grand piano in reverse

A musical revolution is being handed to lefties who tickle the ivories.

The first piano made specifically for left-handed people has been delievered to a Winchester man, who is convinced it will become a landmark in the history of the piano.

Christopher Seed demonstrates the virtuosity of the left-handed piano
Left-handed Christopher Seed is so convinced that he has spent 28,000 and remortgaged his house to have the instrument built by the Dutch fortepiano makers, Poletti and Tuinman.

Mr Seed, 34, is a concert pianist, music teacher and examiner. He believes that the whole left side of his body is much more expressive and agile than his right.

As most piano music is written with the melody in the right hand, supported by chords in the left, a piano with the keyboard and pedals in reverse gives the left-hander far greater freedom.

Christopher knows this because he has been practising on a specially programmed electronic keyboard for the past two years.

His new pride and joy will be on the road with him from now on.

Left-handers fight back

There are six million left-handed people in Britain, and this piano is only the latest in a range of goods now available to them.

[ image: Jimi Hendrix: Had to play upside-down guitar]
Jimi Hendrix: Had to play upside-down guitar
There are shops, mail-order companies and web-sites which specialise in selling everything from left-handed scissors to playing cards.

Guitars are now available for left-handers but in his day, one famous lefty, Jimi Hendrix, learned to play using an upside down right-handed guitar. Left-handed guitars were available, but Hendrix was happier playing the "normal" version because access to its controls was easier.

Christopher says it has been a struggle for him getting by without any type of gadgets.

He did, however, make a stand for fellow lefties recently at his local bank.

[ image: Chords are usually left to the left]
Chords are usually left to the left
"I was amazed to find that having spent thousands of pounds refurbishing the branch, the only pens available to customers were chained to the right side of the desk and so useless to us left-handers.

"I did complain though and the last time I went in, they'd added pens to both sides," Mr Seed said.

As a result of general pressure from the left, some banks are now offering specially produced left-handed chequebooks too.

World premier early 1999

The left-handed piano will be making its official debut in February next year, in a solo recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

The programme will include Chopin's '1st Ballade', a piece that Christopher previously found too tricky.

"The piano has transformed my playing and I hope it will set a precedent for a future of left- handed pianists, and uncover a whole new wealth of talent in the world of music," he said.

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