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Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: BDB] #1452298
06/07/10 08:58 PM
06/07/10 08:58 PM
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
Liszt actually had small hands. It is documented in The Great Pianists.


I guess a definition of small would be in order. There is some evidence that he could reach a 10th, at least on black keys. (the end of the Hammerklavier) Is that small?

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Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Damon] #1452308
06/07/10 09:09 PM
06/07/10 09:09 PM
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It was said he had average hands, with little to no webbing between fingers, so they were very flexible and stretchy.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: BDB] #1452314
06/07/10 09:14 PM
06/07/10 09:14 PM
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Here, as opposed to there
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by BDB
Liszt actually had small hands. It is documented in The Great Pianists.


Liszt's hands weren't abnormally large, but the webbing between his fingers was almost non-existant, thus enabling him to reach great spans (it's thought up to a 12th).



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: stores] #1452338
06/07/10 09:59 PM
06/07/10 09:59 PM
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Now that some explanation has been offered about large vs. small, I think similar clarification is needed about webbing.

What amount (or, perhaps more properly, what extent) of webbing is considered normal? Is it measured in relation to the first knuckle (i.e., the joint at the base of the finger)? What about between the thumb and index finger?

If someone has little to no webbing, what does that mean in terms of how deep the cleft is between the fingers?


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: -Frycek] #1452341
06/07/10 10:02 PM
06/07/10 10:02 PM
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Dallas, TX
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Originally Posted by -Frycek
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by -Frycek
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by -Frycek
Josef Hofmann
He cheated with a specially built smaller keyboard, at least once he became famous.


Did he tour with it?
I don't really know, but I can't imagine it was just for home use.

That's why I can't see a professional having a specially made keyboard. Wouldn't it mess him up when he had to perform on a standard piano?

According to research by, among others, Carol Leone at SMU, the answer is no. It's easy to switch back and forth (YouTube clip). I studied for a while with one of Leone's students with very small hands, and she was able to switch instantly. Of course, she was more comfortable and less prone to injury playing certain big pieces on a reduced-size keyboard, but she also played a lot of other stuff on a regular keyboard.


Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718
Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Orange Soda King] #1452392
06/08/10 12:06 AM
06/08/10 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I thought Liszt had fairly sizable hands. Chopin had small hands, though.

And I can only reach a 9th.


I didn't know Liszt had small hands either, but I certainly welcome the idea... smile



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Music is my best friend.


Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: ChopinAddict] #1452540
06/08/10 09:06 AM
06/08/10 09:06 AM
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Well 10th for me. I hope to stretch till im 18 a 12th.

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: GeorgeB] #1452586
06/08/10 10:25 AM
06/08/10 10:25 AM
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Originally Posted by EtudeBasher
Well 10th for me. I hope to stretch till im 18 a 12th.


If you're 16 now, your hand is probably as large as its going to be for the rest of your life. And that's OK.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Carey] #1452650
06/08/10 11:44 AM
06/08/10 11:44 AM
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frown ok. Even with rach stretching exercises and some other others daily?

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: GeorgeB] #1452659
06/08/10 12:00 PM
06/08/10 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by EtudeBasher
frown ok. Even with rach stretching exercises and some other others daily?


You could possibly "hurt" yourself with such "exercises" - so be careful !!

Just curious - why do you feel it necessary to reach more than a 10th? (I've been able to reach a 10th since I was 16. It never held me back from learning any piece of music that I wanted to play.)


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Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Carey] #1452678
06/08/10 12:25 PM
06/08/10 12:25 PM
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Liszt had normal size hands as per the Alan Walker biography. From my read through a few years ago, I remember that he quoted Liszt talking to one of his students later in life (I probably paraphrase) "The public thinks I have such massive hands, but in truth," he demonstrates a big chord "I can only barely reach a 10th."

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Carey] #1452686
06/08/10 12:33 PM
06/08/10 12:33 PM
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Im nearly an 11th just that teeny bit. The rach stretch exercise is nice. The horowitz one is somewhat better.

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: GeorgeB] #1452706
06/08/10 01:10 PM
06/08/10 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by EtudeBasher
Im nearly an 11th just that teeny bit. The rach stretch exercise is nice. The horowitz one is somewhat better.


But again - why is this important to you ??? smile


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Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Carey] #1452714
06/08/10 01:18 PM
06/08/10 01:18 PM
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Id like to have big hands, cause i was told the bigger the better but now i know you can play anything with a tenth...
Btw my first recording might go live today op25 no12 chopin etude

Last edited by EtudeBasher; 06/08/10 01:32 PM.
Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: GeorgeB] #1452745
06/08/10 02:14 PM
06/08/10 02:14 PM
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I can reach 12th c to g and i can press a flat major chord with my 2-3-4 fingers when i stretching.


Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Batuhan] #1452758
06/08/10 02:27 PM
06/08/10 02:27 PM
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Looks like this has turned into a stretching contest. smile


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Chopinist] #1452764
06/08/10 02:30 PM
06/08/10 02:30 PM
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i can stretch over a 15th :P















with 2 hands

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: GeorgeB] #1453028
06/08/10 09:51 PM
06/08/10 09:51 PM
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You will truly hurt yourself if you continue to try and stretch your hands further than they can comfortably reach.

Ease of technique comes about from your movements/choreography at the piano and not the ability to stretch long distances - if you try stretching your hand out now, you will see that it continues to flatten more and more, and as such, you're compromising the support you have from your hand and your arm when pressing a key. It also puts your hand in an extreme position, which removes it of almost all of its mobility.

I can only reach a 9th with my RH and a 10th with my LH but have never had any problem with large intervals in pieces.

Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: Carey] #1472582
07/11/10 08:31 PM
07/11/10 08:31 PM
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An Oligarchy
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Originally Posted by carey
This has been discussed on other threads. Not all famous pianists have/had large hands. Two pianists (that come to mind immediately) who had/have small or average size hands were/are De Larrocha and Ashkenazy. It didn't seem to hamper their careers much !!


Alicia de Larrocha had "smaller" hands (when compared to other concert pianists), but not actually "small" hands. If we would google for some articles on her hand span (for e.g. this page http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postmortem/2009/09/alicia-de-larrocha.html), we would realize she could actually reach a tenth. It was only when she was older that her hand span and height shrank a little (still she could reach a ninth).

I think what really surprises me are child prodigies (with tiny hands!) like George Li who could play pieces meant for big hands.


Nepotism: We promote family values here - almost as often as we promote family members.
Re: Pianist with small hands [Re: chihuahua] #1472583
07/11/10 08:38 PM
07/11/10 08:38 PM
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New Zealand
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the smaller the hands the quicker you can play....well....I see these 5 years old prodigies that play faster than me.....but I don't mind having big hands...easier to slap ppl with :O)

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