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Originally Posted by FrankCox
Gives a whole new meaning to piano drills...



Yes, I was thinking "drill and practice."


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Now that I have started this topic I paid more attention to my left hand today . If I hold the hands up as if holding an invisible tray the hands have a clear difference. The right hand muscle at the base of the thumb ---( looking across the surface )---has the usual bulge as normal . The left hand in that area looks much flatter .
The next difference is with the hand vertical and palm facing away and thumb sretched sideways . . The left hand shows the angle between first finger and thumb as a clear right angle.
The right hand tthumb rises at 45 degrees and then levels out at the pad area .Quite a different shape .
This reminds me of something the Chinese did for ( or to ) young pianists. They operated on the hands of young players to increase the reach . Probably this would run into disaproval but young players would adapt in no time physically .----- Probably .
Another hand position with stretched out thumbs is holding my hands as if praying to Daddy Christmas for a very special present . Now the left thumbnail is an inch lower than the right one . I wonder if any Doctors are here to comment . We need to ask questions. Like why is Daddy Christmas never covered in soot . Thought for the day .

Last edited by Jt2nd; 12/21/19 08:00 PM. Reason: Esprit d`escalier .
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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Now that I have started this topic I paid more attention to my left hand today . If I hold the hands up as if holding an invisible tray the hands have a clear difference. The right hand muscle at the base of the thumb ---( looking across the surface )---has the usual bulge as normal . The left hand in that area looks much flatter .
The next difference is with the hand vertical and palm facing away and thumb sretched sideways . . The left hand shows the angle between first finger and thumb as a clear right angle.
The right hand tthumb rises at 45 degrees and then levels out at the pad area .Quite a different shape .
This reminds me of something the Chinese did for ( or to ) young pianists. They operated on the hands of young players to increase the reach . Probably this would run into disaproval but young players would adapt in no time physically .----- Probably .
Another hand position with stretched out thumbs is holding my hands as if praying to Daddy Christmas for a very special present . Now the left thumbnail is an inch lower than the right one . I wonder if any Doctors are here to comment . We need to ask questions. Like why is Daddy Christmas never covered in soot . Thought for the day .


You have a wonderfully way of describing hand gestures. I’ve been trying them out with my own fair hands. Other than that, I have nothing to report,

Good luck.


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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
This reminds me of something the Chinese did for ( or to ) young pianists. They operated on the hands of young players to increase the reach . Probably this would run into disaproval but young players would adapt in no time physically.

I'm pretty sure it's a tale.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I guess here must go some warning like, don't try this at home, the trick was performed by a professional. smile

Probably this. Sometime ago I incurred a shoulder separation injury. Now I have a permanently larger gap between clavicle and scapula. On my other good shoulder, I suffer occasionally from impingement symptoms. No way this will happen with my bad shoulder!

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The odd thing about this change to my hand is --Would a doctor be bothered . It`s not painful .There is no profit for a doctor in that situation . Maybe this random happening will fall into the cracks and be permanently lost . I mean it`s very useful to know this can happen .
I thought at the time it was a strange thing that my right hand was controlling the drill switch. and I normally keep the thumb closed against my fingers as if using a starting handle on an old car . But the left hand was not doing any gripping . If I hold my right hand vertical like the accesory handle with my left hand placed in the holding position and then mimic the anti clockwise twist ---the left thumb is turned suddenly left / My body was sideways on to the wall so my elbow was able to follow the movement . Otherwise there would have been some nasty wrist damage .
There you are . Enough detailed information if you need to reproduce the event for yourselves . Total hand rotation about 60 degrees maximum .

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I guess there might be many medical explanations for this.

I'd think it unlikely (maybe not impossible) that the impact might just stretch ligaments/tendons sufficiently that you get significant extra movement but it seems unlikely this would happen without causing severe damage and pain. Did you have a previous accident that affected the hand? If you did and didn't stretch gently through the healing process you could end up with it healing up with permanently reduced movement. Then when applying the sudden stretch in your recent accident the old scar tissue might rupture and the movement range be restored.

Do not try this at home though :-)

Last edited by gwing; 12/23/19 09:55 AM.
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No gwing . Nothing previously connected with either hand . Botn hands are working normally now.
When I looked up muscle strains on medical sites they use 3 categories .Level 1 is the mildest strain with no permanent effect on strength . That must be what I had.
Useful to know is the direction of the force applied to my thumb. If you hold the hand flat with palm upwards the force direction on the outstretched thumb would be downwards .
Being a novice in medical matters , if I wanted to stretch my thumb to increase the reach I would try to pull the thumb further in the plane of my flat hand. Quite a different direction to my accident strain . So that , at least , is useful and interesting .
The internet does not seem a good place to learn much about increasing hand reach . That`s apart from musician forums. Medical sites want to talk about Pain .But how much do musician forums have to say about the subject ?
Probably just practice , practice , practice . Maybe there is something similar hiding on this forum . There you are anyway .I think I covered any relevant ,useful facts relating to reaching octaves .

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Firstly Happy Boxing day. A few small offshoots to the topic. The left hand has had plenty of time to stabilise and shows no signs of returning to the previous shape . That`s important to record .
Another topic similar to this mentions the younger Alicia de la Rocha and how she used to stretch he fingers to make them reach further . That was from an interview with her and not an urban legend .
Schumann`s case is interesting . He messed up his hands with attempts to stretch them . Is there any detailed historical information about that ? What exactly did he do ? The internet has a bad habit of swamping a topic and only giving recent material over and again . It may be there .
Muscles can be elongated with the right treatment. That applies to cyclists when they touch their toes to keep the large back and leg muscles from getting too tight .We need some more expert ways to develop healthy hands without injury .

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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Schumann`s case is interesting . He messed up his hands with attempts to stretch them . Is there any detailed historical information about that ?

No, this is most probably a tale, too.

Schumann developed a complete paralysis of his hand's 3rd finger and partial paralysis of the 2nd finger. The onset of paralysis was gradual. Schumann himself attributed it to too much writing and too much piano playing. He visited many doctors trying to find the medical cause and the cure, but with no success.

In the end of 19th century his wife clearly negated all the weird stories about the causes of his paralysis.

A researcher that reviewed his case in 1970's attributed his illness to mercury that Schumann took orally as a medicine. Another research that I read attributed his illness to nerve compression in the elbow region.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Schumann`s case is interesting . He messed up his hands with attempts to stretch them . Is there any detailed historical information about that ?

No, this is most probably a tale, too.

Schumann developed a complete paralysis of his hand's 3rd finger and partial paralysis of the 2nd finger. The onset of paralysis was gradual. Schumann himself attributed it to too much writing and too much piano playing. He visited many doctors trying to find the medical cause and the cure, but with no success.

In the end of 19th century his wife clearly negated all the weird stories about the causes of his paralysis.

A researcher that reviewed his case in 1970's attributed his illness to mercury that Schumann took orally as a medicine. Another research that I read attributed his illness to nerve compression in the elbow region.


The last analysis I read from current physicians who did a retrospective analysis concluded that Schumann had focal dystonia and used the stretchers n an attempt to treat it. There are several references, Two are below

http://stringvisions.ovationpress.c...tenmller-leading-expert-focal-dystonia/.

https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xm...301/Thesis%20Final-Shaver.pdf?sequence=1


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Interesting condition.

Tyrone, I need a help of your wonderful memory. Don't you remember the thread's title or the nick of the guy who asked for a good hand surgeon in US in Pianist Corner several months ago, having a problem with one of his fingers? Can't find it. I think he would probably be interested in researching focal dystonia.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Interesting condition.

Tyrone, I need a help of your wonderful memory. Don't you remember the thread's title or the nick of the guy who asked for a good hand surgeon in US in Pianist Corner several months ago, having a problem with one of his fingers? Can't find it. I think he would probably be interested in researching focal dystonia.

Here you go.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Interesting condition.

Tyrone, I need a help of your wonderful memory. Don't you remember the thread's title or the nick of the guy who asked for a good hand surgeon in US in Pianist Corner several months ago, having a problem with one of his fingers? Can't find it. I think he would probably be interested in researching focal dystonia.

Here you go.

Thanks! I knew your memory is flawless!

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Dr Calvin Lee has a site explaining how Botox works. If you look at the introduction banner you might notice he is also a Violinist . I thought there might be something better than a deliberate drill accident. Where will this topic lead to ?
How many like the idea of using wine bottle corks to stretch the hands . Chopin is said to have done that .

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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Dr Calvin Lee has a site explaining how Botox works. If you look at the introduction banner you might notice he is also a Violinist . I thought there might be something better than a deliberate drill accident. Where will this topic lead to ?
How many like the idea of using wine bottle corks to stretch the hands . Chopin is said to have done that .


I’m not sure where the idea that Chopin stretched his hands us from; do you possibly have any reference?
I am not in favor of anything artificial to try to stretch my hands..., not only do I think it is not effective, I would be concerned about possible damage ...but that’s Me.

I would never use Botox in my hands as a pianist.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Dr Calvin Lee has a site explaining how Botox works. If you look at the introduction banner you might notice he is also a Violinist . I thought there might be something better than a deliberate drill accident. Where will this topic lead to ?
How many like the idea of using wine bottle corks to stretch the hands . Chopin is said to have done that .


I’m not sure where the idea that Chopin stretched his hands us from; do you possibly have any reference?
I am not in favor of anything artificial to try to stretch my hands..., not only do I think it is not effective, I would be concerned about possible damage ...but that’s Me.

I would never use Botox in my hands as a pianist.
One would use Botox only for treating a serious medical problem.

Leon Fleischer had Botox treatments in his right hand, the one with focal dystonia, and they allowed him to play again with that hand. Using Botox for treating focal dystonias has been around since the 1980s. I'm currently reading a book, Girls at the Piano, by Virginia Lloyd, who discusses this (and gives some references).


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Hand Stretcher -Increase Handspan. That is one of the first sites I came across and the writer tells us about Chopin sleeping with wine bottle corks between his fingers. That gets me off the
" Quote your References " hook . I had never heard of Focal Dystonia but musicians (apparently , don`t ask me for a reference ) are very prone to it .Not all of them .Just some .
The Botox idea had me guessing that maybe a tight muscle as in a " left hand not reaching far " situation might benefit by an alteration in the hand tensions . I don`t think Botox is used in particularly serious ways if women (not all , but some -- don`t quote me ) can use it for relaxing their face muscles to stop frowning etc . This must be the lite end of the medical scene .
I don`t recommend any of this but it`s interesting that musicians have tried botox .It "comes from " Botulism which is enough to put me off .
As a right handed person the right hand was always the active one in day to day activities .The left hand would be often holding something still while the right was doing the "work" eg Peeling a potato . Sharpening a pencil etc .So my left hand was the Gripper. The Clamp to keep things still . So to have a months holiday from that activity , gave my thumb muscles a chance to unwind in a very healthy way . Nothing complicated .

Last edited by Jt2nd; 01/02/20 05:55 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake .
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