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no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
#3013154 08/12/20 05:56 PM
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Excuse the fancy title, a reference to e.e. cummings which is admittedly nonsensical. I have ridiculously small hands for a male. In fact I hurt my hand a few years ago trying to play this piece. But I want to try again. E. Bailie in her wonderful "practical guide to chopin" addresses this issue, but only for measure 62 on for which she suggested dropping lowest note in RH.

So great, but I have issues well before that. Is there anyone with itty bitty hands who's worked their way through this otherwise not very difficult but lovely piece who might have some suggestions for me?

Many sincere advance thanks!

CG

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013173 08/12/20 06:26 PM
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I looked at the score but couldn't figure out where you have problems. Somewhere in the middle section? I'm guessing you can reach an octave but an octave with some interior notes causes a strain?

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013299 08/13/20 03:36 AM
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I do not see any problem, either. E.g., in the left hand in measure 1, you might play the d-flat and the following a-flat both with your little finger, because you have the pedal there and nobody will notice that you are not following what many piano teachers require (to take the ring finger for the a-flat). Same applies to similar left hand patterns in measures 9 and 12-16. In measure 3, in the upper line, I am playing the a-flat and the following b-flat with the right hand, together with the melody notes.

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013310 08/13/20 04:14 AM
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Have you tried any methods of stretching? Has it all been unsuccessful?

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013373 08/13/20 10:04 AM
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I have small hands too. I have an octave but it's maxed out. For m9 I can play the F of the left hand chord with the right thumb, but I can't play m72-75.

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
wszxbcl #3013428 08/13/20 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I have small hands too. I have an octave but it's maxed out. For m9 I can play the F of the left hand chord with the right thumb, but I can't play m72-75.
I suggest either rolling the big RH chords spanning more than an octave or leaving out the lowest note in the chord. Is that what you do?

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
pianoloverus #3013449 08/13/20 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I have small hands too. I have an octave but it's maxed out. For m9 I can play the F of the left hand chord with the right thumb, but I can't play m72-75.
I suggest either rolling the big RH chords spanning more than an octave or leaving out the lowest note in the chord. Is that what you do?

I drop a note in the chord.

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013454 08/13/20 02:29 PM
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Have you considered the Hailun pianos with narrower keys?


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Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
pianoloverus #3013563 08/13/20 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I looked at the score but couldn't figure out where you have problems. Somewhere in the middle section? I'm guessing you can reach an octave but an octave with some interior notes causes a strain?

Yes pl, this is the problem exactly. Later in the piece I can follow E.B's advice to drop last note in RH with confidence. It sounds great stiil. . Earlier on, with the two interior notes I don't know what to do. I have to drop something, but I really love the effect of those interior notes....yet I don't think it sounds as good to then launch back into the three octaves that follow. I'll experiment around and come up with something. I really appreciate the feedback as always and will take a closer look at suggestions. I can *just* reach everything up until the second half of measure 42.

Cyber, not really. I've got a fine Bluthner that I don't want to give up and likely wouldn't get what consider good value for it anyway. Plus, in addition to small hands I've got fairly fat fingers (which is to say I make a lot of mistakes). I'd notice the narrow keys, and not in a good way :-)

I.V. I've injured myself trying to stretch, so I'd be wary of anything like that. Plus I'm old. I don't think 70 year old hands are all that stretchable. I already push them with several hours of practice a day. ( noticed the other day I always say "practice." Which is to say with the intent of getting better. Maybe it's time to just start playing more for pure pleasure.)

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013612 08/13/20 11:39 PM
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I have small hands (can’t play a 9th) and just finished working on this piece in my lessons. The only measure I still struggle with is 68, the first chord. It helped a lot when I remembered that I didn’t need to hold the octave once I had played it (thank you pedal).

I do have to drop the “raindrop” in a few measures for the widest chords, but I half-pedal that whole section as directed by my teacher and it’s barely noticeable. It’s the best I can do anyway.

The 2nd half of measure 42 is not uncomfortable for me. I have been doing some work to increase my stretch this summer, so I don’t know how this piece would have felt 6 months ago.


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Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
cardguy2.0 #3013692 08/14/20 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by cardguy2.0
I.V. I've injured myself trying to stretch, so I'd be wary of anything like that. Plus I'm old. I don't think 70 year old hands are all that stretchable. I already push them with several hours of practice a day. ( noticed the other day I always say "practice." Which is to say with the intent of getting better. Maybe it's time to just start playing more for pure pleasure.)
Yes, a caution is certianly needed in that. But being unable to play notes within an octave is quite limiting, so it may be worth a second try.

It might be that you did stretching improperly in the past. In the first couple of months the only thing required is just widening and tensing your hands many times a day away from the piano. Like that:
https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/side-view-of-open-claws-palm-hand-gesture-picture-id501650331
Perhaps you could try it. It's important to keep your fingers curved and to try to feel widening in the center of the palm and not between fingers. The first task is not to stretch the ligaments but to activate hand muscles that are responsible for widening of the palm, in most people who don't do hard physical work with their hands these muscles are very weak and it takes time to activate them. Without them stretching is meaningless and harmful.

Re: no one has such small hands not even the raindrop prelude
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3013864 08/14/20 03:11 PM
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Thank you, Iaroslav. I wlll certainly check that out. I surely would like to reach more notes if possible without hurting myself. And yes, absolutely, I was reckless in the past. I simply would come to a chord that I loved too much to ruin by dropping a note, and strain and struggle. One day I heard a pop in the "web" between the 3rd and 4th finger. Ouch. And I couldn't play for a month or so after hurting myself with this very piece.

Hey, if you don't mind I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks again,
Cg


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