Why You Should Not Play Expressively with Your Left Hand

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Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about why you should not play expressively with your left hand. This is a bold statement. In fact, there are qualifiers here. Why shouldn’t you be expressive with your left hand? Well, there are times when you should. But mostly you should minimize the expression of your left hand, or whichever hand is playing the accompaniment, which is usually your left hand.

By focusing the attention on the right hand, and not overdoing the left hand, it makes the music much more rewarding.

After all, nobody is interested in hearing the accompaniment. It’s really just subservient to the melody, which is what the audience is going to go out singing at the end of the concert! You want to draw the attention to the melody. Use the accompaniment as a bed for the music to float on. That will make it much more musical because it doesn’t distract from the beautiful melody; it just supports it. Orchestral musicians learn this, playing second horn or second flute, being able to to be like one with the principal player. They are always just enhancing the melody rather than overtaking it and taking attention away from it. You can do the same thing in your piano playing.

There are times when the melody is in the left hand and the opposite is true.

For example, in Chopin’s B Minor Prelude, you have a melody in the left hand. Playing equally expressively in both hands takes away from the melody. You want to let the melody of the left hand just sing. Let the right hand be subservient so you can hear the tenderness and the subtlety of expression of the left hand melody. You don’t have to throw it on people’s heads! Let them reach out and yearn to absorb that melody by making it readily available to them by not overshadowing it with the accompaniment. Usually the left hand plays the accompaniment, but not always. I would love to get your opinions on this subject! Leave your comments here at LivingPianos.com and on YouTube. Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

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4 thoughts on “Why You Should Not Play Expressively with Your Left Hand”


  1. This reminds me of another of your videos about emphasizing the melody line within the right hand and going easier on the chord tones. It seems like the same reason underlies both.

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