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RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
#2961649 03/29/20 06:49 PM
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I have small hands. I can do an octave if I play them on the edge of the keys. I already have to do a few things different because of my small reach. I can't practice too long on Moonlight Sonata because my RH starts hurting. My teacher isn't giving piano lessons because of the virus. My question - Not knowing how long this stay-at-home order will be, do I text my teacher and tell her I can't do Moonlight Sonata or do I keep working on it a little at a time? I can play all the other music I'm assigned without a problem.

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Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961661 03/29/20 07:36 PM
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Stop playing the piece immediately. Ask your teacher for other material or find something on your own.

No need to injure yourself over a piece


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961667 03/29/20 08:44 PM
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For practice I'm not playing any original pieces. I have easy piano books of Classical & Jazz tunes. They are arrangements of pieces with L chords. There are enough pieces to last me for a few months.

When it comes to reaching an octave, the ideal is to have big enough hands that can span at least an octave + 1 note. If you can't quite reach an octave playing 2 notes at the same time, some people would play the lower note and then the higher note slightly delayed like running the notes separately in a chord arpeggio. Don't force your hands to play in a way that is not doable.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961677 03/29/20 09:29 PM
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Hi Pat
Of course you don’t want to injure yourself and pain is not a good sign. Perhaps you could post a short video here that shows your hands? If not, I would recommend you let your teacher know you will need to put it on hold until your next lesson


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961712 03/30/20 12:20 AM
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I also have small hands that have stretched slowly over the past 3 years. There was discomfort at times and I would just stop and let my hand rest. You have to take care of your hands if you are serious about piano. Even if your goal is to stretch, I don't think Moonlight Sonata is an appropriate piece with which to do that. I suggest you tell your teacher. People with big hands often don't understand what it's like to have difficulty with an octave. No point getting hurt over a simple miscommunication.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961742 03/30/20 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by PatG
I have small hands. I can do an octave if I play them on the edge of the keys. I already have to do a few things different because of my small reach. I can't practice too long on Moonlight Sonata because my RH starts hurting.

Actually, the largest RH interval in that piece is a ninth. If you have trouble with octaves I'd say this is a bad pick. Your teacher should have checked that before you started and let you know.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961752 03/30/20 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by PatG
I have small hands. I can do an octave if I play them on the edge of the keys. I already have to do a few things different because of my small reach. I can't practice too long on Moonlight Sonata because my RH starts hurting. My teacher isn't giving piano lessons because of the virus. My question - Not knowing how long this stay-at-home order will be, do I text my teacher and tell her I can't do Moonlight Sonata or do I keep working on it a little at a time? I can play all the other music I'm assigned without a problem.


Most of the intervals in this movement are under the octave. Many 6th and 7th. And then indeed some arpeggios that span an octave. However with the pedal on, you dont really need to hold the octave. So if your hand hurts it is either because you do wrong movements, for instance trying to hold the full octave when there is no need to or you simply lack practice or both. In this movement the size of your hands should not be an issue at all. So you should stop practicing before you injure your hands and see with your teacher the right positions and exercices you could do to develop hand flexibility. Post a video here if you can, is another option so you can feedback.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
wszxbcl #2961754 03/30/20 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I also have small hands that have stretched slowly over the past 3 years.


I have come across this as well. A new technique, even with moderate practice, can cause pain and I have to rest a hand for a few days. With time my hands adapt and the problem is gone. As I recall with the Moonlight Sonata it wasn't the octaves but holding down notes for the secondary voice in the RH that was causing the problem.

Originally Posted by PatG
My teacher isn't giving piano lessons because of the virus. My question - Not knowing how long this stay-at-home order will be, do I text my teacher and tell her I can't do Moonlight Sonata or do I keep working on it a little at a time? I can play all the other music I'm assigned without a problem.


I would definitely contact your teacher; perhaps even help him/her, if she isn't tech savvy, through the process of going online (it is can be really easy and basic). Depending who you listen to, we won't be going back to normal for months.


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Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961757 03/30/20 04:29 AM
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I am going to assume this is the first movement.

I am working on the second movement and I can't focus too much of my practise time at any one burst on the section with octaves being played. My hands do seem to be gradually adjusting but I still need to stay aware that this is an issue so i don't overdo a practise session.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
Sidokar #2961761 03/30/20 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar


Most of the intervals in this movement are under the octave. Many 6th and 7th. And then indeed some arpeggios that span an octave.


I assumed you were talking about the first movement.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
Sidokar #2961971 03/30/20 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Most of the intervals in this movement are under the octave. Many 6th and 7th. And then indeed some arpeggios that span an octave. However with the pedal on, you dont really need to hold the octave. So if your hand hurts it is either because you do wrong movements, for instance trying to hold the full octave when there is no need to or you simply lack practice or both. In this movement the size of your hands should not be an issue at all. So you should stop practicing before you injure your hands and see with your teacher the right positions and exercices you could do to develop hand flexibility. Post a video here if you can, is another option so you can feedback.
This makes little sense to me. For starters there are numerous octaves in the piece. The OP has a very small hand since she can only reach an octave on the edge of the keys. Why risk a hand injury or even play when it's uncomfortable? There are plenty of other great pieces to choose with less octaves.

I can reach a tenth fairly easily but I wouldn't want to play a piece with a ton of tenths. When I play Fats Waller's music I can roll the LH tenths sometimes if I want to or the tempo is fast but rolling the RH octaves in the Beethoven would sound terrible. The few ninths in the piece could be rolled without a problem.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/30/20 03:40 PM.
Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
pianoloverus #2961989 03/30/20 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Most of the intervals in this movement are under the octave. Many 6th and 7th. And then indeed some arpeggios that span an octave. However with the pedal on, you dont really need to hold the octave. So if your hand hurts it is either because you do wrong movements, for instance trying to hold the full octave when there is no need to or you simply lack practice or both. In this movement the size of your hands should not be an issue at all. So you should stop practicing before you injure your hands and see with your teacher the right positions and exercices you could do to develop hand flexibility. Post a video here if you can, is another option so you can feedback.
This makes little sense to me. For starters there are numerous octaves in the piece. The OP has a very small hand since she can only reach an octave on the edge of the keys. Why risk a hand injury or even play when it's uncomfortable? There are plenty of other great pieces to choose with less octaves.

I can reach a tenth fairly easily but I wouldn't want to play a piece with a ton of tenths. When I play Fats Waller's music I can roll the LH tenths sometimes if I want to or the tempo is fast but rolling the RH octaves in the Beethoven would sound terrible. The few ninths in the piece could be rolled without a problem.




I am not interested to start an argument, but i maintain what i said. There is no need to have a large hand to play the 1st mvt of the moonlight, even with relatively small hands it is quite doable, especially with the pedal.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2961996 03/30/20 05:16 PM
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I think we all agree that sonata practice should be stopped for now.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2962015 03/30/20 06:20 PM
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I want to thank everyone for your input. Thanks! And yes, it's the first movement.
dogperson and sidokar asked me to input a video if I could. After spending most of the morning trying to find a video editor that would convert my .mov to .mp4. Got one from VLC but no sound. So I gave up and put it in Youtube. This starts on measure 7 for about 14 measures. Remember I'm still learning this. smile


Last edited by PatG; 03/30/20 06:22 PM.
Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2962118 03/31/20 05:30 AM
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Sidokar was right, while playing arpeggios you're holding the upper voice notes with your fingers, but you don't have to. These notes will be held by the pedal. You can release your fingers from these keys right after playing them in order to play arpeggios more comfortably.

For example you can play the first triplet of measure 7 using fingering 15-3-5.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 03/31/20 05:34 AM.
Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2962123 03/31/20 05:48 AM
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Hi PatG, thank you for posting the video. In terms of reach, your hand seems fine. So there is certainly some lack of practice and lack of flexibility. Your teacher can help you adress these points, thpugh it will take some time, but there 2 main issues.

One main issue is that you keep your RH fully extended too long. So as a consequence, your hand being small and the lack of flexibility both creates a strong tension when you are playing the other notes. Since you have the pedal on most of the time, you dont need to keep the hand extended and stretched. Once you have played the octave, you should fully relax your hand to play the arpeggio in a more neutral and comfortable position and a tension free hand. Many beginners keep the hand extended to ensure they can hit the chord but with a little bit of practice you can do it just as well starting from a tension free position.

The other issue is that you are playing too much with your fingers. Your arm and wrist are too static, again this makes the hand work more. You must give much more freedom to both and let the weight of the arm do the work instead of pushing the octaves and other notes with your hand or fingers only. It is complicated to explain in words so the best is to work it out with your teacher by visio for example.

But as i said as well as others, stop the practice if you feel pain. Once you get the proper technique, it will work just fine.

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2962278 03/31/20 03:43 PM
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Well after posting my video and those responses, I had a better understanding of what to ask my teacher through texting. She told me to go off the octave and let the pedal get it. I will also try to fully relax my hand and use more of my wrist and arm. Thank you so much!

Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2962292 03/31/20 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Sidokar was right, while playing arpeggios you're holding the upper voice notes with your fingers, but you don't have to. These notes will be held by the pedal. You can release your fingers from these keys right after playing them in order to play arpeggios more comfortably.

[...]


I would suggest trying an opposite approach; that is, contract the hand after the lowest RH note is played. Don't keep your hand stretched open. At this tempo there should be time to contract the hand which will allow it to relax while the next two notes of the triplet are played. I think that it is very important to hold the melody notes with the fifth finger.

By the way, I know that this is in the practice stage and you need yet to refine details, but just be aware that in measures (10 and 11) where the melody finishes on a sixteenth-note after a dotted eighth-note (over triplets in the LH), you are giving the sixteenth note the same value as the triplet notes, resulting in the fourth beat having four notes of equal value instead of the three. Another way of saying it is that on the last beat of these measures, there is a pause in the triplet accompaniment while you play the sixteenth-note with the same value as the triplets. The sixteenth-note has to fit in after the triplets and before the first triplet in the next measure, while keeping the triplets even without any pause.

Regards,


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Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
PatG #2962309 03/31/20 05:28 PM
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Quote
The other issue is that you are playing too much with your fingers. Your arm and wrist are too static, again this makes the hand work more. You must give much more freedom to both and let the weight of the arm do the work instead of pushing the octaves and other notes with your hand or fingers only. It is complicated to explain in words so the best is to work it out with your teacher by visio for example.


This is what I saw watching the video too. Piano is not just playing with the fingers. I could see the tension in your hands and arms watching you play. Really I would advise putting this piece on the back burner until you have the teacher there with you. It is a lovely movement and tackle it at a future date. I wish I had some suggestions on relaxing methods to relieve the tension/pain.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: RH hurts learning Moonlight Sonata
BruceD #2962315 03/31/20 05:38 PM
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Thanks for pointing that out about the triples BruceD. I'll pay attention to that and will use the metronome to help me. I'm glad I won't be playing it for weeks the wrong way.

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