Though being ambidextrous or having “mixed-handedness” has been known for years to be a physical advantage in certain sports (e.g. baseball, basketball), University of Toledo psychologist Stephen Christman’s new paper “Eclectic lefty-hand: Conjectures on Jimi Hendrix, handedness, and Electric Ladyland” examines the possibility that it may also contribute to an advanced creative predisposition for musicians. Specifically, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.
Here’s my favorite excerpt from the 16-page paper:
One of the implications of the increased interhemispheric interaction in mixed-handers is that it may give such individuals enhanced conscious access to right-hemisphere-based processing. It is well established that the right hemisphere is superior at processing nonverbal environmental sounds. This may help to account for the wide variety of nonverbal environmental sounds that permeate Electric Ladyland, from the sound collages of ‘… And The Gods Made Love’ and ‘Moon, Turn The Tides … Gently Gently Away’, through the use of a home-made comb-and-waxed-paper kazoo to augment the opening guitar of ‘Crosstown Traffic’, and the frequent presence of guitar and microphone feedback in songs like ‘Voodoo Chile’, to the mysterious underwater chime-like sounds during the guitar solo and bird-like sounds at the very end of ‘1983 … (A Merman I Should Be)’.