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Hand sizes
#1916583 06/21/12 06:19 AM
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As a large handed pianist (i can comfortably span 16 notes), large chords and such are alot easier for me, however i find that when playing some things, my fingers need to be curled inwards to avoid getting them stuck in between the black keys, so I was wondering, do small handed pianists find anything easier that large handed pianists struggle with?


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Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916592 06/21/12 06:51 AM
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Give 3 notes to me and we both will feel better. :P

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916665 06/21/12 10:49 AM
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Wow, 16 keys...that indeed is huge. I'll bet ragtime and stride are easy for you. With my smaller hands I can manage a 10th but easier on black keys than white....plus my pinkie is a little crooked on both hands [ thanks for that gene ...dad.]....

however, I had a college professor [ rather well known name]who was about 6'4" with huge fingers....I was always amazed how he never got stuck in between the keys....

rada

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916668 06/21/12 10:59 AM
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I can play the large chords in the heroic polonaise without rolling them, if that means anything. I think most people can too. Oh well.

Re: Hand sizes
rada #1916673 06/21/12 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rada
Wow, 16 keys...that indeed is huge. I'll bet ragtime and stride are easy for you.

I think you'll find the "16-keys" thing is including the black keys. That would mean C-E, or a 10th. There's no way anyone can span 16 white keys!

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916676 06/21/12 11:31 AM
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Yeah haha Rachmaninoff's huge chords and La Campanella are much easier, so its both a blessing and a curse :P

But I suppose we just have to do the best with what we have


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Main Pieces I'm Learning:
Alkan : Le Chemin De Fer
Alkan : Scherzo Diabolico
Mussorgsky-Chernov : Night on a Bald Mountain
Liszt : Transcendental Etude 4 "Mazeppa"
Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916689 06/21/12 11:58 AM
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I can't think of any inherent advantages or disadvantages right off the back of my head...

Re: Hand sizes
ando #1916750 06/21/12 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by rada
Wow, 16 keys...that indeed is huge. I'll bet ragtime and stride are easy for you.

I think you'll find the "16-keys" thing is including the black keys. That would mean C-E, or a 10th. There's no way anyone can span 16 white keys!


I was thinking the same thing. 16 white notes is 2 octaves, not even Rachmaninoff had hands that big (I heard he could take a 14th though, so not that far off). A comfortable 10th is not big, probably just a bit over average.

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916964 06/21/12 09:39 PM
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Maybe this man can...



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


Re: Hand sizes
ChopinAddict #1916993 06/21/12 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Maybe this man can...


Yeah, but his coordination would be disastrous!

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1916996 06/21/12 11:33 PM
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Small hands here. I can barely do an 8th, and really only a 7th without trouble. I can get between the keys no problem, with room to spare. But the advantage ends there. When moving fingers from between one key to between another, I feel like the short kid on the hurdle track, tripping over everything and getting bruised all over because I'm nicking the tops as I jump.

Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1917187 06/22/12 11:34 AM
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Having small hands means you've got to move around the piano faster than someone with large ones because it takes us longer to arrive at the correct notes. A fraction of a second and a few millimeters difference might not seem like much, but believe me, it is. OTOH we have probably had to overcome this speed challenge earlier in our development than someone with large hands so in the end, it might be an advantage.

I've got small hands. They are fast and nimble but I don't know if it is because of necessity or luck.



Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1917227 06/22/12 12:30 PM
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Yes, you may have to be a bit faster with leaps when you've got small hands, as noted above. But I think the major problem with small hands - aside from the obvious fact that you cannot play very large chords - is the tension that will result during sustained stretches, i.e., long octave passages, or sustained tremolos of large chords. The reason is that it takes a certain amount of tension to stretch the hand; the more you stretch it, the more it tenses up. So, if you're playing the octave passage of Liszt's Funerailles, or those relentless tremolos of diminished triads in Liszt's Vallee d'Obermann, you will certainly benefit from having a larger hand, even though you can stretch the chords without too much problem. Playing Liszt in general is easier with a bigger hand because of all the octaves and big chords.

I can barely stretch certain 10ths. There are chords in Liszt that I simply cannot reach, even at a maximum and uncomfortable stretch (almost a straight line from pinky to thumb), even though the span of the chords is not beyond a 10th. I would certainly be much happier to stretch a comfortable 11th or 12th, that would make things a lot easier. But you can pretty much play most things as long as you can take 9ths (I think Ashkenazy could only take a 9th, and he plays everything). However, I think that if your maximum reach is only an octave, a lot of the literature (and most of the Romantic literature) is going to be impossible for you.

Re: Hand sizes
slava_richter #1917294 06/22/12 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by slava_richter
I think that if your maximum reach is only an octave, a lot of the literature (and most of the Romantic literature) is going to be impossible for you.
Impossible? I don't think so. There are always work-arounds. I've got a 9th and I haven't hit any roadblocks yet. Yes, sometimes I have to drop a note, roll a note or shift notes from hand to hand, but so far the music hasn't suffered.

Also, on the tremolo, repeated octave issue, admittedly it is a challenge, but it is very possible if you keep your hand-arm-shoulder relaxed.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Hand sizes
carlosj116 #1917304 06/22/12 02:56 PM
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Well, I suppose impossible is too extreme a word, but if all you can stretch is an octave, you will wear out fast trying to play Funerailles or Chopin's Op. 25-10, no matter how relaxed you are. Like if I try to play scales in 9ths, I die quickly, whereas I can play scales in octaves up and down the keyboard. The shoulder and arm conditions are the same, but the hand is stretched too far.

And you have a 9th! I think that's good enough to play almost everything (as I stated before). Yes, you may have to drop a note here or there or redistribute a chord. I have to do this sometimes in Liszt if the chords are repeated over and over - as he loves to do - they can't be rolled in this case.


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