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Stretches in the middle registers
#2900076 10/14/19 10:44 AM
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Hello PW,

I wanted to ask how you approach dealing with larger chord stretches that occur in the middle registers.

I am working on the barcarolle by Tchaikovsky, and there is one chord that occurs - B - G - B that I play with 1 - 2 - 4 in the right hand. The stretch is no problem when I play it in higher registers, but whenever I play chords like this around middle C, I find it to be really uncomfortable.

Any tips or advice for playing larger chords around the center of our body (with either hand)? Should I sit further back to make it less awkward?

I plan to ask my teacher about it, but lessons are not until Sunday and I don't want to lose valuable practice time in the meantime smile

Thanks!

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Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900077 10/14/19 10:50 AM
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Just a question. Why don't you play them with 1 - 3 - 5?


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Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900082 10/14/19 11:17 AM
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The usual position to play this one on the right hand would be 1 4 5 as a first inversion of a G chord. You Can Do 135 also alternatively though the first one is the usual one.

Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900086 10/14/19 11:32 AM
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As the hand moves to the left the same stretch between the thumb and another finger becomes more difficult. So 1-3-5 or 1-4-5 would be easier for most.

Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900089 10/14/19 11:41 AM
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Good question...I will give 1-4-5 a shot. I'm not using 1-3-5 since the chord right before it uses a similar fingering, but both make a lot more sense than the 1-2-4 I was using. I appreciate the responses.

In general, is it best to avoid fingerings like the one I originally mentioned when it comes to the middle registers, or do these stretches get easier over time? I'm of the opinion that it is significantly uncomfortable enough, it probably isn't worth doing, but I have experienced my hand become more flexible over time, and maybe that won't happen if I avoid this outright.

Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900112 10/14/19 12:22 PM
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Problems occur in the middle when the hand crosses over the middle line of the body. I recommend leaning your body to the left when you play this part.


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Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Morodiene #2900119 10/14/19 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Problems occur in the middle when the hand crosses over the middle line of the body. I recommend leaning your body to the left when you play this part.


That's exactly right! I've got small hands (AND old, AND out of practice hands) and leaning helps a lot. I've considered adding a seat belt to my bench, as I tend to do a lot of leeeeeaning.


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Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900126 10/14/19 12:44 PM
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I've been wondering about this a lot recently too. Fingerings that I find comfortable when my arms reach "staight ahead" become akward, tense, and sometimes painful when I reach towards more central or extreme octaves (i.e. when either arm starts reaching towards my navel, or towards highest/lowest octaves of the keyboard). To some extent, I can bend my body or lean over to work around this problem but it creates tension in other areas (neck, shoulders, back) and only works for a limited range of notes anyway.

Is this common? How does one handle this?

Last edited by 5150917069; 10/14/19 12:45 PM.
Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900140 10/14/19 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghostnotes


In general, is it best to avoid fingerings like the one I originally mentioned when it comes to the middle registers, or do these stretches get easier over time? I'm of the opinion that it is significantly uncomfortable enough, it probably isn't worth doing, but I have experienced my hand become more flexible over time, and maybe that won't happen if I avoid this outright.


Certainly that you will gain in flexibility and stretch over time. Now whenever possible you'd want to use the most comfortable position possible and the least stretched that you can find. The 124 is really streching the hand into an akward position. But in certain cases under specific constraints sometimes it is not possible to avoid an akward position so it is a balance between comfort and result; in any case I always favor the position that I can execute reliably.

Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900153 10/14/19 02:19 PM
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Near the middle of the keyboard, you can lean left if it's practical, or right for similar problems in the left hand.

You can also lean back so you're further from the keyboard. This will make your forearm angle better.

I was told by a physio to make this my number one priority to avoid cubital tunnel problems. We tend to hear more about the carpal tunnel.

I had cubital tunnel problems in 2012/13 and it's still difficult to lift a kettle of water with my right hand. In my case, it wasn't caused by playing the piano, but I couldn't play for months when I had it. This type of injury is frequent amongst pianists.

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/14/19 02:28 PM.
Re: Stretches in the middle registers
Ghostnotes #2900164 10/14/19 02:58 PM
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There are two things here:
- stretch
- middle register

I had to learn to deal with the latter (register) and am still getting on top of it. We often learn to play in the middle of the piano - to the left and right of middle C. I used to sort of "line up" my hands in a way that works in that region, especially when the music is mostly white keys. I did not have a teacher as a child when I played before, but I did get hand-me-down music - sonatinas - that were in that range. As I played more complex pieces that were outside of that pattern, I had "perplexing" problems that showed up in given registers. So:

I learned I can lean in and out - that if you reach far up you probably have to lean in; as well as leaning to the left or the right, and also balancing the body, counterbalancing with the feet. The ramrod straight "perfect posture" was a myth. You can also angle your hand different ways: it is not a terrible thing, for example, to have your thumb near the edge of the keys and your pinky way in; or to have your fingers at an angle rather than parallel to the cracks of the keys. I don't know if what you're dealing with is anything like what I had. If it is, then experiment in 3D space all the ways you can move and angle yourself for ease.


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