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#434499 - 08/29/06 03:01 AM handspan  
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Bosendorfer88 Offline
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I just want to have an idea about the biggest interval the forum members can play on the piano

i think the average is 9th??or not?i can play a major 10th pretty easily, although my left hand has a slightly bigger span

it is said about Liszt and Rachmaninoff that they could easily hold down a 13th!
so what about you?


"Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent"-Victor Hugo
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#434500 - 08/29/06 04:47 AM Re: handspan  
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Palindrome Offline
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My recollection (sorry, can't cite sources)

Liszt - tenth
Chopin = "hands open up, rabbit-like, and cover the whole keyboard"
Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Cesar Franck - twelfth


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#434501 - 08/29/06 04:54 AM Re: handspan  
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-Frycek Offline
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SC Mountains
Chopin - probably an easy 9, a very difficult ten. He said of Thalberg (not Liszt) that "he can do a ten as easily as I can an eight." Chopin's hands were very small but stretchy.

Me, an easy nine, a very difficult 10.

I remember reading somewhere that the average handspan of adult pianinsts (man and female combined) is a nine and that about 95% of the literature out there needs no more that a nine.


Slow down and do it right.
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#434502 - 08/29/06 06:43 AM Re: handspan  
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reonat Offline
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When I look at what a 13th I can't help but think 'holy sh** those are huge hands', concerning Rachmaninov.

I can do a 9th rather easily, a 10th if i streth a lot, but it hurts and it's rather unnatural.

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#434503 - 08/29/06 06:55 AM Re: handspan  
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Max W Offline
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RHUL
"95% of the literature out there needs no more that a nine."

Yeah, any interval larger than that can be rolled. I don't think I have come across a piece where it would be impossible to work around a large interval somehow.

My actual handspan is a major 9th, but I can stretch to major 10th (and 11th with the left hand).

#434504 - 08/29/06 07:36 AM Re: handspan  
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nezkeys79 Offline
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I am glad you brought this up because I have though about this for some time now. I quite small hands and find playing a 9th comfortable, but 10ths hard.

I see so many pieces with a 10th interval in the left hand (and not just a spread chord). Whether its stride jazz piano, classical, pop/film piano etc and its an interval you are required to play together, not spread(and it sounds good if you can do this rather than spread it!)

Its much harder with certain intervals I have found. For example I can just about reach C-E, D-F, E-G, F-A, and G-B. However doing C-Eb, D-F#, or Ab-C for example is very hard.

Do you think this means that certain pieces you will never be able to play?

#434505 - 08/29/06 08:15 AM Re: handspan  
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Frank_W Offline
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I've got big paws. I can span a tenth comfortably with either hand.

A thirteenth, though! Wow! That's impressive!


Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order
#434506 - 08/29/06 09:33 AM Re: handspan  
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ecm Offline
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I can thirteenth. but for fast playing and from up to down, I can only 12.

#434507 - 08/29/06 09:42 AM Re: handspan  
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I can easily reach a tenth with both hands. Then with some trouble I can just barely reach an 11th, also with both hands.


Once during a concert at Carnegie Hall, the violinist Rachmaninoff was playing with lost his place in the music and whispered to Rachmaninoff, "Where are we?" Rachmaninoff replied, in all seriousness, "Carnegie Hall".
#434508 - 08/29/06 09:49 AM Re: handspan  
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oldcars Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by nezkeys79:
I am glad you brought this up because I have though about this for some time now. I quite small hands and find playing a 9th comfortable, but 10ths hard.

I see so many pieces with a 10th interval in the left hand (and not just a spread chord). Whether its stride jazz piano, classical, pop/film piano etc and its an interval you are required to play together, not spread(and it sounds good if you can do this rather than spread it!)

Its much harder with certain intervals I have found. For example I can just about reach C-E, D-F, E-G, F-A, and G-B. However doing C-Eb, D-F#, or Ab-C for example is very hard.

Do you think this means that certain pieces you will never be able to play?
I would have to believe that the vast majority of audience members would not throw tomatoes at you and boo you off the stage if you rolled a larger interval instead of playing it exactly as written. wink


Bösendorfer 225
Yamaha CVP 307
--------------
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Henry David Thoreau
#434509 - 08/29/06 10:06 AM Re: handspan  
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signa Offline
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i can barely reach a 9th on both hands (not major 9th though). my teacher doesn't even have huge hands himself either and can only reach a 10th.

#434510 - 08/29/06 01:15 PM Re: handspan  
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I can do a tenth with both hands and an eleventh, if pushed, but only with my left. Don't know why that is because I'm right handed!


Best regards,
Jonathan
#434511 - 08/29/06 01:26 PM Re: handspan  
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playliszt Offline
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What was it that Freud called this?

Oh yeah.............pianist envy cool

#434512 - 08/29/06 01:42 PM Re: handspan  
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I can easily do a ninth, and when pressed, I can manage a tenth. I have extremely small hands, but I started piano at five and my teacher made me to stretching exercises twice daily, so they're pretty good at that sort of thing. Nevertheless, I have the smallest hands of anyone I know.


crystallized light

The Project, completed 2006
#434513 - 08/29/06 01:55 PM Re: handspan  
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Eternal Offline
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I can do a 10, but not 10.5
Does anyone know how to start a Poll here? It'd be nice to see the distribution.
- 8 or less
- 9
- 10
- 11
- 12 or more

#434514 - 08/29/06 02:14 PM Re: handspan  
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Skriabin Offline
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li, new york
10 is as comfortable as I can play without strecthing. 11 is too much.

#434515 - 08/29/06 02:42 PM Re: handspan  
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I can do a tenth fairly easily if I stretch a bit. Haha, I wish I could reach more. By the way, Richter can reach a 12th too.

#434516 - 08/29/06 02:53 PM Re: handspan  
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8ude Offline
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I can easily hit 10ths. I can hit most 11ths, but it's a stretch and not really comfortable. Really stretching I can hit a couple of 12ths.


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#434517 - 08/29/06 03:38 PM Re: handspan  
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St. Paul , MN
While playing a piece, I feel comfortable reaching tenths. I can stretch to an comfortable 11th, but wouldn't care to play those in a piece.


Playing piano is 90% mental, the other half is physical.
#434518 - 08/29/06 06:06 PM Re: handspan  
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jpw101 Offline
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The only tenths I can play with any comfort and certainty are the two minor ones on the black keys.

#434519 - 08/29/06 06:52 PM Re: handspan  
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Arizona
I can barely reach an octave.


whatever
#434520 - 08/29/06 07:06 PM Re: handspan  
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Bob1904 Offline
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Liszt could just do a tenth. (see "The Great Pianists" by Schonberg, p. 179)

I can do a 9th with ease, a 10th is stretching.

#434521 - 08/29/06 08:51 PM Re: handspan  
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Mark Purney Offline
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I'm also in the easy 10th / uncomfortable 11th club.
What's odd is I could play 10ths when I was about 9 years old.

#434522 - 08/29/06 09:16 PM Re: handspan  
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Jessica T. Offline
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I can comfortablly reach an octave, no more. This may hold me back in the future, but lately, I've adopted the attitude that "If there's a will, there's a fingering and a way."

#434523 - 08/29/06 10:03 PM Re: handspan  
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Palindrome Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by appassionata9:
...By the way, Richter can reach a 12th too.
Not any more. frown


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#434524 - 08/30/06 01:02 AM Re: handspan  
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Skriabin Offline
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Scriabin did the small hand thang too.

#434525 - 08/30/06 01:24 AM Re: handspan  
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I'm Liszt's coffee pal. Offline
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Liszt's backyard.
13th uncomfortably but 12th easy.


So, you're a cannibal.
#434526 - 08/30/06 02:28 AM Re: handspan  
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Bosendorfer88 Offline
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Montreal
i liked the idea of the poll, so i did the math based on the comfortable span reached, since most provided 2 intervals and i counted all the teachers and pianists as well
i think there's an error with the total but here are the results, 30 results:
8th:6.6%
9th:23.3%
10th:50 %
11th:0%
12th:20%
13th:0%


"Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent"-Victor Hugo
#434527 - 08/30/06 04:29 AM Re: handspan  
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SC Mountains
Inherent bias in the results due to self selected subjects. Those with ten and above tend to want to brag about it.


Slow down and do it right.
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#434528 - 08/30/06 06:12 AM Re: handspan  
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Bulgaria
I can reach out for a 11th.
And about the composers you mentioned:
Chopin could stretch his both hands covering a span of c to a flat`` together.
Liszt didn't have that much of a span - 11th maybe.
Rachmaninoff's hands were enormous. His fingers were so long they hit the wall behind the keyboard if placed horizontally (!!!).
And also, Schumann had a pretty large span - 13th, I think.

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