left or right-sided music exist?
and the right side of the brain do react on different kinds of
music. This has been proved scientifically, ten years ago in Switzerland,
with the aid of electrodes.
Of course it was known for a long time that both halves of the
brain have clearly different functions. The left side is occupied
with learning processes, words, language, reason; the right side
with meaning, emotions, intuition and the sense of rhythm!
When the right side of the brain is damaged one can still talk
and act in a logical way, but speech becomes monotone in every
way, a lot of things are taken literally. When one asks, for instance
" How are you feeling?" the answer will be: "With my hands…."
For a part of the group of left-handed people the brain is divided
the other way round.
Now there is evidence that consonant sounds stimulate the right-sided
brain and dissonant sounds the left side.
is a violinist and specialist in music-psychiatry and together
with the British neurology-psychiatrist Peter Fenwick;
he is researching the relation between different kinds of music
and the function of the brain.
Apparently it is possible to deduct knowledge about a composer,
based on his compositions.
Intuitive composers appear to be writing music that mostly stimulates
the right side of the brain; the intellectual, logical and dissonant
musical language of for instance Schönberg is clearly orientated
from the left side.
As opposed to Schönberg one can put minimalists like John Taverner,
Philip Glass and John Adams who are right-sided in sound (consonant)
as in strategy.
Seen from a neurological point of view there are two ways of stimulation:
through something new or through repetition.
Repetition lessens the emotional response, so each minor difference
is experienced as a huge change. This kind of music is similar
to some traditional Eastern kind of music in creating a certain
The huge interest for this music is only natural in our world
full of technology and external stimulants, where the left side
of the brain works on full strength all the time. Strictly speaking
the musical cliché is working as a minimal 'sound carpet'. The
basis gets familiar, so small unpredictable changes cause excitement.
It is a well-known fact that music can influence bodily functions
like the breathing and the heartbeat, but now it seems that changes
in the hormonal levels of composer's influences their musical
language in a radical way. Robertson gives the example of the
unusual idiom of Janácek in his later years, when he was
falling in love again.
Composers, who are getting older, often write more peaceful music.
All kinds of neurological complaints seem to be noticeable in
music: brain damage caused by syphilis in Smetana, lunacy
in Gesualdo, who changed from consonant to dissonant from
one moment to the other.
Synethesis in Scriabin, Scriabin makes one sense react
on the stimulation of one other using colour and sound. Maybe
that is why we sometimes talk about 'loud colours' We now know
almost for certain Mozart suffered from the so-called syndrome
of Tourette, where one can have an increased intellectual activity
but at the same time no control over the use of abusive language.
Robertson has proved with some brain scans the atonal music stimulates
only activity in the left side of the brain while a consonant
piece like a sonata for strings by Rossini activates only
the right side.
The 'Lettzte Lieder' by Richard Strauss stimulate both
halves of the brain: the left side through the text, the right
through emotion. It must be obvious that these findings can have
far going consequences. It could even be possible to announce
at a concert or on a recording if will be right or left-sided
music that is going to be performed.
Seed is an internationally well known piano performer, but
one with a left side difference. Mr Seed is convinced his left
hand, and even the whole left side of his body is much more expressive
and agile than his right hand side. He therefore had a mirrored
piano build. The keyboard has turned; the bass register ends on
the right side. Most piano music is written with the melody for
the right hand and the accompanying chords for the left hand.
When one turns this around it makes much more sense for left-handed
people. The only practical way to achieve this is to turn the
this will be a precedent for the future generation of left-handed
pianists. This new keyboard could bring an abundance of new talent
in the music world.
and Tuinman, who normally build Forte Piano's, built
the Left-handed piano in the Netherlands.
It is a mirrored version, based on an instrument build by Conrad
Graf in Vienna around 1826, it was finished in the summer
of 1998 and exhibited on a Music-festival in Bruges.