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Hand sizes? #1185434
04/22/09 04:41 PM
04/22/09 04:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 641
London
D
Drunk3nFist Offline OP
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Drunk3nFist  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
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London
I'd say my hands are relatively small. I can reach a comfortable 9th, stretch for a messy 10th and just about hit a decent minor tenth.

I heard Ashkenazy and Hoffman also have small hands. I wonder how they managed to play monstrous passages with thick wide chords.

On the other hand, I hear Richter could reach comfortable 12ths, and even easy 13ths for Rachmaninoff. However there must be some disadvantages to having huge hands?

I wonder what the hand sizes/max interval stretches are for the following:

Argerich
Lugansky
Kissin
Horowitz (They look large on his YT vids, but hey, looks can be deceiving)

Also, what are YOUR hand sizes/max interval stretches?


Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
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Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Drunk3nFist] #1185435
04/22/09 04:43 PM
04/22/09 04:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 848
New York City
H
Hrodulf Offline
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New York City
I can play a major tenth and sometimes can stretch to an eleventh depending on the notes involved. That's it.


[Linked Image]
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Hrodulf] #1185441
04/22/09 05:03 PM
04/22/09 05:03 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 52
New York City
steinwaymaster Offline
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New York City
Drunk3nFist, over the years of my life, I have read about certain pianist's hand size. I'm not 100 percent sure on any of these, but I think I pretty much am right. I think that Chopin could get a ninth; his hand size was small, but he could really stretch them. if I remember correctly, Horowitz could almost reach a tenth, and Rubenstein a twelfth. Horowitz's hands probably looked large because they were very flat and spread out.

I think there is more of an advantage than a disadvantage of large hands. I personally don't think you need to have Rachmaninoff Hands to be a pianist, but fairly large hands give you the ability to control the entire key and the sound. The only disadvantage I can think of is the look on others' faces when you give a high five.

Last edited by steinwaymaster; 04/22/09 05:06 PM.

“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”
- Leonard Bernstein

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Re: Hand sizes? [Re: steinwaymaster] #1185469
04/22/09 06:09 PM
04/22/09 06:09 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,686
Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline
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I can barely reach a ninth and that is from the front, vertical side of the keys. Long passages with octaves become painful because I have to stretch so hard. But I'm happy that I have small, fast fingers that fit easily between the black keys. I've never heard a pianist complain their hands were too big, but I have heard complaints about wide fingers.

I guess no one is satisfied but we all have to learn to work with what we have.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: gooddog] #1185476
04/22/09 06:34 PM
04/22/09 06:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
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Horowitzian  Offline
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I believe Horowitz could take tenths, but according to the man himself it wasn't terribly comfortable.

I can take a nearly usable tenth with the RH and a useless tenth with my LH. Your hands (palms, actually) do indeed stretch out as you use them in this capacity, and my LH stretch continues to get better. The best thing about my approximate hand size is that octaves are easy as pie. smile


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Horowitzian] #1185485
04/22/09 07:01 PM
04/22/09 07:01 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Brazil
R
Romulo Soares Offline
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Brazil
I think much more you play more your hands get stretch.

Last edited by Romulo Soares; 04/22/09 07:02 PM.
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Horowitzian] #1185487
04/22/09 07:04 PM
04/22/09 07:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 156
Seattle
ab-ster Offline
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ab-ster  Offline
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At 2:19 in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pEMqtcspz8 Horowitz did an 11th (He pressed A with his thumb and did a couple of mazurka E bass notes without lifting his thumb on the A)

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: ab-ster] #1185494
04/22/09 07:16 PM
04/22/09 07:16 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
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Originally Posted by ab-ster
At 2:19 in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pEMqtcspz8 Horowitz did an 11th (He pressed A with his thumb and did a couple of mazurka E bass notes without lifting his thumb on the A)


Hehe, I was just thinking of that clip after I posted above. I believe he made the statement about tenths not being all that comfortable earlier in his career, so it is possible his hands stretched out as I mentioned.

On a tangent, thanks for posting that link! I'm glad someone put The Last Romantic up after Opus3863a's channel was pulled. smile


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Drunk3nFist] #1185498
04/22/09 07:26 PM
04/22/09 07:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 359
F
FunkyLlama Offline
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I can just about reach a tenth.

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Horowitzian] #1185499
04/22/09 07:26 PM
04/22/09 07:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 108
Georgia USA
C
Chromatickeys Offline
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Posts: 108
Georgia USA
There is also a post from a lady who had a undersize keyboard made by someone in Pensylvania (I think). She commented that it changed her life and certainly her playing.

James

spelling edit

Last edited by Chromatickeys; 04/22/09 07:27 PM.
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Chromatickeys] #1185507
04/22/09 07:49 PM
04/22/09 07:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 108
Georgia USA
C
Chromatickeys Offline
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Georgia USA
Looked it up and that would be:

My New Steinbuhler small keyboard posted by Barbara G

James

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: ab-ster] #1185525
04/22/09 08:26 PM
04/22/09 08:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
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Joined: Feb 2002
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[Linked Image]

[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
I can often play the B-flat to D major 10th solidly in a piece, but the D-flat to F 10th is a bit difficult to play, and often results in me playing D-flat-D-(+1oct)E-F.



[Linked Image] [Linked Image]



[Linked Image]
Believe it or not, I actually DO attempt this sometimes.


Now... if only I could reach these intervals below at least this comfortably on a keyboard with normal-size keys....

[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

It's just too bad, because I really like the sound of double octaves. frown

... or is there either A - a retrofit that's this size that can go into an existing upright (either a Baldwin Hamilton or one of the 142cm tall ones from before the 1930s), or B - a digital with a weighted hammer action and at least 88 keys that has this key size?


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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Re: Hand sizes? [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer] #1185561
04/22/09 09:38 PM
04/22/09 09:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 216
F
Fredil Offline
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Fredil  Offline
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Hah. That's hilarious. ^^

Anyways, I'm fifteen and I have huge hands for my age, apparently. I can reach a ninth, maybe a tenth if I try a bit. I'm still not sure if it's an advantage or disadvantage to have big hands; ask me again in ten years wink

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: gooddog] #1185569
04/22/09 09:53 PM
04/22/09 09:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,288
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LiszThalberg Offline
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Originally Posted by gooddog
I can barely reach a ninth and that is from the front, vertical side of the keys. Long passages with octaves become painful because I have to stretch so hard. But I'm happy that I have small, fast fingers that fit easily between the black keys. I've never heard a pianist complain their hands were too big, but I have heard complaints about wide fingers.

I guess no one is satisfied but we all have to learn to work with what we have.


I have the same type hands. Barely getting a ninth but not actually playable size. Octaves are where its at.

Matt

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: LiszThalberg] #1185595
04/22/09 10:34 PM
04/22/09 10:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 4
Australia, NSW
J
Jolitty Offline
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Jolitty  Offline
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J

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 4
Australia, NSW
I can barely reach a ninth, and it has disadvantaged me a bit. I never got enough practice playing octaves in my graded exams when I was younger, so octaves are quite a challenge when it comes to the pieces I play now.

However, strangely enough, I can play a ninth with my left hand. It's handspan is about 1.5cm longer than my right.

Re: Hand sizes? [Re: Jolitty] #1185607
04/22/09 11:00 PM
04/22/09 11:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 65
Washington
EmilyChopin Offline
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EmilyChopin  Offline
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Washington
I have ENORMOUS hands, for a girl anyway. They look like giant paws, and my skinny wrists don't help the illusion. A lot of pianists go, "Oh I am so jealous of your hands!" but in truth they tend to get tangled up during small quick pieces.


Just because my instrument is the size of a table does not mean you may lean on it!
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: EmilyChopin] #1185666
04/23/09 03:03 AM
04/23/09 03:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 5,921
SC Mountains
-Frycek Offline
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SC Mountains
A good nine, an ify 10 with my fingers at 180 degrees. I have funny hands, an unusually long middle finger (where the lenght is totally useless), unusually long fourth fingers (where the length helps a bit), unusually short fifth fingers (where I could use the length). I look at my hands sometimes and expect some gypsy to come up and tell me I'm a latent werewolf or something.


Slow down and do it right.
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Re: Hand sizes? [Re: -Frycek] #1185706
04/23/09 07:05 AM
04/23/09 07:05 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 40
xnapoleonx Offline
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xnapoleonx  Offline
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My hands are tiny, very girly for a guy, so I can't do a tenth. A 9th is managable but not quite smooth.
It was even one of the main reasons holding me back from starting to play.


Piano resources for beginners by a beginner
http://tutorialpiano.blogspot.com/
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: steinwaymaster] #1185718
04/23/09 07:30 AM
04/23/09 07:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
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appleman Offline
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Originally Posted by steinwaymaster
...fairly large hands give you the ability to control the entire key and the sound. The only disadvantage I can think of is the look on others' faces when you give a high five.
Large hands often means large fingers.

I can barely reach an 11th. My only problem is that it took a while to learn how to play the G or A up close without hitting G# or A# reliably.


Dr. Appleman, former NASA engineer, Empire of Earth and B.S. of Ninjutsu at MIT.
Re: Hand sizes? [Re: gooddog] #1185754
04/23/09 09:19 AM
04/23/09 09:19 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 134
Washington, MO
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cjsm Offline
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Originally Posted by gooddog
I can barely reach a ninth and that is from the front, vertical side of the keys... But I'm happy that I have small, fast fingers that fit easily between the black keys. I've never heard a pianist complain their hands were too big, but I have heard complaints about wide fingers.


I've wondered about this. I can only reach a ninth block chord, and stretch to a 10th, but I often play pieces in keys where I have to finger between the black keys, and I wonder - How do people with large hands play pieces like this? - since their fingers couldn't possibly fit between the black keys, as mine barely do. I would image there's a whole slew of pieces people with wide fingers have a hard time playing.

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