During my lay-off with an injured right hand last term, I took some time to investigate piano music for LH. I was already studying Chopin’s Etude Op 10 No 12, so that got a good workout, but I couldn’t believe how much great stuff has been written for just one hand! Even more impressive is how amazing some of these pieces sound when played well – you simply can’t tell that many of them are only played with one hand.
I’ve already blogged about James Rhodes’ magnificent performance of Blumenfeld’s LH Etude, but now realise that that is just the tip of the iceberg. I was completely blow away by Takeo Tchinai’s (of whom I’d previously never heard) project to archive all the best forgotten LH piano music. Here is an example of the quality of his playing. This is Max Reger’s Four Etudes for Left Hand Alone. If you want to be totally blown away, listen to the last piece which is a prelude and fugue. The fugue starts at 8.42. Put your hand up if you could have told me that was only one hand playing if you weren’t watching! Amazing stuff:
The project’s website is lefthandpianomusic.org and well worth checking out. There is also a great list of pieces for left hand at the Piano Education Page. I also recently bought Lewenthal’s collection of “Piano Music for One Hand” which is a great collection of short and long pieces to suit all ability levels sourced from the classical, romantic and 20th century repertoire. You can buy it at sheetmusicplus by clicking the hyperlink above.
Even if you don’t have an injury, I highly recommend checking out some of these works. There is really no better way to improve the technique, coordination, sightreading, independence and dexterity of what is often a “weaker” hand. In fact I’ve been so enjoying this journey that I’m going to get all my students to learn one piece for LH only at the start of next year!
Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.