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Viola da gamba

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Iris Faceto, left-handed Viola da gamba

Foto: privat

Iris Faceto begann ihre musikalische Ausbildung in Brasilien an der klassischen Gitarre. Parallel arbeitete sie an mehreren Projekten zum Unterrichten blinder Menschen in der Braille-Musikschrift.

2014 beschloss sie, nach Italien zu ziehen und sich der Alten Musik zu verschreiben – durch das Studium des nobelsten aller Instrumente, der Viola da gamba.

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Im Interview mit Linksgespielt

6. September 2021

Das Interview haben wir auf Englisch geführt. Eine deutsche Übersetzung gibt es hier.

Do you see yourself as a right-hander or a left-hander?

I'm totally left-handed and I'm so proud of it. 

Have you always played your instruments left-handed?

Yes. Actually in the very beginning when I was learning the guitar I have played it on the “right” way for two or three months on my father's instrument. About the viola da gamba always in the left-hander manner.

What was the reason to learn the instrument left-handed? Have you faced any reservations or concerns from other people about playing left-handed?

It was an idea from my father, just because he thought it was logic to play in a left-handed manner if I'm left-hander so he bought me a guitar and made the change of the string's side by himself and when we went to the first guitar class I have already passed to the “Dark side of the Force”. No one from the 4 guitar teachers I have had has told me anything about the fact I played it in the left-handed way, like it was a very normal thing. So I went to Italy for study the viola da gamba, a bow instrument, and one of the 3 teachers I had make me prove one month in the “right way" – of course after 10 years of classical guitar and 2 years studying viola da gamba I couldn't play it in a different way, it was too late for any “correction”. 

How did you come by your left-handed instruments?

My first guitar was a right-hander guitar that we just changed the position of the strings. Then I had bought a custom-made classical guitar according to my needs. About my bass viola da gamba is a right-hander instrument with some modifications for links and my pardessus de viole is custom-made for left-hander.

What are your experiences with playing left-handed in an orchestra?

Usually I don't play in orchestra but sometimes it happens... I think it is not a problem for a baroque orchestra once that they can mix baroque cello and viola da gamba and our bows are already in contrary directions. About the position instead… they always put me in an external side...

Has your left-handed playing ever caused any funny or strange situations?

Playing in a viol consort in small places we always hit the bows!!! Actually it is a nice thing to see  a duo with symmetric bows.


Have there been any negative reactions?

No, actually people are curious about “how can you play like this”.


Does playing left-handed present any advantages?

I think about it since I started to play (about 15 years ago) and my conclusion is that we left-handers should play as left-handers. I just can say what I think about my instrument or a bow instrument where the two hands make two different things, not like piano or flute that make similar things, you know… In our case, in a bow instrument, the most important thing is the bow, how do you make the sound, the articulations, the expressions and so on… We need an extrem precision on the bow and it is better if we make it with the hand we are more comfortable with. Of course with many hours a day on practicing we can play in the other way, but what I mean is the aplomb, the naturally way you can do this… It is not only a question of playing… We do everything with the left hand, we eat, we write, we wash the teeth, we comb the hair, etc… everything with that hand… so that hand is more “developed” than the other one. Try to use the reflex to protect yourself… a link hander use the link hand... so I think it is an advantage to play like the nature has determined us how to play.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

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