In the score below (from 1905 incidental score to Peter Pan by John Crook (1852–1922), see http://hdl.handle.net/1802/24425), the first few bars in both bass & treble staves have notations “L.H.” & “R.H.”.

What’s going on here? Is this an indication that the performer ought to cross his hands while playing this piece?

Score for “The Arrival of Wendy”

1 Answer 1


That's exactly it. Most players are better playing block chords with l.h. and the fiddly bits with r.h., so the composer has designated cross hand playing.A good player could play it either way, though. It looks sort of good as well!I reckon that the l.h. is actually playing the 1st and 3rd bass notes with l.h. too. Otherwise the stretch would be a 10th, or even bigger in bar 4. Bonus points for also crossing the eyes...

  • It's too early yet to say this is the accepted answer. Please wait until others have put in their tuppenceworth.
    – Tim
    Jul 20, 2016 at 16:37
  • I agree completely with @Tim. This is a technique that is used quite a lot. An extreme example would be Liszt's Third Concert Etude normally called "Un Sospiro"
    – JimM
    Jul 20, 2016 at 16:47
  • 1
    "!I reckon that the l.h. is actually playing the 1st and 3rd bass notes with l.h. too." The notation on the bottom staff follows the convention that you play the notes with stems up with the RH and those with stems down with the LH. You could split up the notes of "the tune" between the hands and play it without any hand crossing, but it's probably just as irritating to play it either way.
    – user19146
    Jul 20, 2016 at 18:37
  • Haha, "bonus points" ... A scenario like this typically does call for a tad bit of memorization unless you're REALLY a monster sight-reader. Jul 20, 2016 at 18:46
  • 2
    For an extreme and hilarious example, see youtube.com/watch?v=Aajtw30-YG0 Jul 20, 2016 at 18:47

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