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Musica Mancina – An Italian blog about left-handed music

It is always exciting to learn about other projects that are doing great work to spread information about lefty music to the world. This week Linksgespielt was contacted by MusicaMancina, a blog in Italian that provides texts and links to all sorts of left-handed instruments and musicians from all around the globe.

Mich Crown, the mastermind behind this website, kindly agreed to tell us more about his lefty work, his motivation and his musical story.

When did you come up with the idea of starting a blog about left-handed music making and why?

I am a 100% left-handed who always tries – consciously or not – to find a way to do things 'the left-handed way': pictures and footages of me at the age of two already display this precocious natural attitude. I am the guy who inverted the shifters of his first bicycle when he was 11 and takes pictures with the camera watching with his left eye in the viewfinder and pushing the shutter trigger – and the other buttons, of course – with the left hand (if 'tis relatively easy to do with a compact camera, try to imagine the awkward positions I keep with a reflex). Of course I have to come to terms with sense of reality, so there are a few things (driving the car, for example) I must do ‘the right (handed) way’.

The attitude to – let’s say – ‘preserve’ my natural lateralization in all aspects of life, has pushed me to investigate a lot of human activities, to understand how they could fit my needs, and of those of left-handed people in general. During this ‘magic quest’ for the sacred left-handed tools – let’s be epic for a while – I have had some favorite path to explore: Art in general and its ‘sancta sanctorum’ (I’m talking about Music, of course) in particular.

Music world has become very soon part of my life, since I’ve started at a very young age to sing (I was around 6 when I had my first lesson and about 7 the first time I grabbed the stage). This Wonderland where people turn physical vibrations of vocal folds, strings, drums, into metaphysical vibrations of souls, nonetheless has a ‘dark side’. Through the years I have heard (and read) expert musicians and teachers claim things spanning from total reactionary denial (“Instruments for left-handed? Through History there has never ever been such a thing. Why should we make them now!”), to something less relentless (“Guitars and basses for lefties make sense, but piano or whistle, they involve both hands the same way, so …”), and a lot of stuff in-between.

Since unfortunately a lot of these claims did not bring evidence, but logical fallacies, to support them, I’ve sought proof, because I wanted to understand and I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of confusion about this theme. For the most part of my life I did not share these researches, since I used to use the Internet just as a virtual showcase for my musical and writing production (as an amateur), but then one day I said: “Maybe sharing these information could help!?!”: and MusicaMancina was born.

What do you feature on your blog and where do you get the information from? Basically I share links to shops, artisans, etc… who produce and/or sell ‘left-handed’ instruments and to pages of musicians who play one or more instruments left-handed. Occasionally I write my reflections and share links to scientific videos and papers, history and Art pages, and to other ‘left-handed’ stuff (scissors, surgical scalpels, etc…). Information come from a variety of sources: scientific browsers and sites; history books, tv programs, and surfing the whole internet.

Are you a lefty musician yourself? What instruments do you play? As I said – actually wrote – before, I am first and foremost a singer, but let’s say that sometimes I torture (the verb ‘to play’ would be rather offensive toward the true instrumentalists) some instrument (guitar, bass and soprano recorder, all left-handed). Since my childhood, though pretty discontinuously and always at an amateur level, I’ve learned and practiced belcanto and modern singing. During belcanto classes I was forced to play a bit the piano (right-handed, as you can imagine): that was my first musical trauma.

I felt uncomfortable, and started hating the piano, but loved singing, so did what was strictly necessary, and nothing more. When learning modern singing, there were pre-recorded bases, so no more trouble. Nowadays, during my daily vocal exercises I simply use my left hand or pre recorded bases. My second musical trauma happened at the oratory, when a guy taught me some basic guitar chords the right-handed way. I was a child and didn’t know yet that there were instruments for lefties, all I knew is that I felt uncomfortable and every time he passed me the guitar, he reproached me because I instinctively placed it in the left-handed position. My third musical trauma happened in middle school with the soprano recorder. Then, when I was 14, I discovered that existed instruments for lefties, and understood, then as a self-taught I approached again guitar and soprano recorder, and one day I plan to own and learn to play piano too. In addition, during the years, I’ve found, bought, tried and sold a lot of different ‘left-handed friendly’ instrument (both instruments specifically left-handed and those who can be played right or left handed just changing hands position) just for the pleasure to have them in my hands.

What is your motivation to keep your blog running for 10 years now? Honestly, before I read your question, I simply hadn’t realized 10 years have passed. I think that the information provided from MusicaMancina can be useful. That’s all.

Who are you reaching with your blog? Have you met new interesting people through your work?

Statistics indicate that my blog is read by people from different countries in different continents, in particular from Germany, the U.S. and Italy. The fact is pretty weird if you consider that is the only page I run written just in Italian (my artistic pages are written both in English and Italian), but it is partially explicable with the fact that I provide a lot of links to site worldwide and long post are rare.

About people: once in a while I receive email with thanks or with some question about instruments; a lot are mothers of left-handed children.

Can you tell us more about the prevalence of left-handed instruments in Italy? Is there something like an 'Italian lefty musicians community'? Alas. As far as I know there’s no such a community in Italy.

Have you noticed an increase in online information and available instruments for left-handers in the past 10 years? Yes. And some big company who sell in many countries have voluntarily or not played a role, above all about the diffusion of ethnic instruments playable both left or right-handed with minor to no changes but the position of the hands.


Mich's Website and his Instagram


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