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#3128449 06/16/21 02:24 PM
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I have very large hands. I can easily play chords spanning a 10th even with a thick texture. In a way it's handy (no pun intended) but it also causes problems in cramped positions, especially between black keys. Playing G or A between the black notes is hard for me, especially going legato from an adjacent black note. I have to twist my hand so the fingers play at an angle or else my fat fingers will cause the adjacent keys to go down.

Incidentally, I don't have that problem with D; it seems the space between the two black notes is minimally larger than between the three black notes.

I was hoping there would be videos with advice on how to deal with this but I haven't found much. There are a lot of videos with advice for small hands but there is little for large-handed people. If anyone has come across anything please post.

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Things like these are best addressed with a teacher I reckon.
Since the pandemic there are now more and more teachers available through online lessons, at least here in the US.
The investment into such guidance will pay off I'm sure...
Good luck!


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Here is Shirley Kirsten



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Thanks, yes that's the only video I found, but it only addresses melodic single note passages. I think the bigger problem is legato thirds or more generally legato chord playing between black notes.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Thanks, yes that's the only video I found, but it only addresses melodic single note passages. I think the bigger problem is legato thirds or more generally legato chord playing between black notes.


Shirley is a member here. You might send her an email asking for advice.
This was also the only thing I found


"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
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Here is Shirley Kirsten...
Wow! That's an incredible difference in hand size!

Her student, while playing the scale, moves further out from the fallboard when playing between the black keys, which seems to work. I wonder if he is able to translate that to playing real pieces. It could lead to a lot of extra hand/arm movement, which would be okay if it became habit and the movements were minimal.

I don't know which I'd chose (if I had to), very large hands where playing between black keys is an issue, or small hands where span is an issue.

Last edited by Stubbie; 06/16/21 03:47 PM.

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Originally Posted by Stubbie
I don't know which I'd chose (if I had to), very large hands where playing between black keys is an issue, or small hands where span is an issue.

As a guy, I'd have to say that choice would be easy.


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Nope, no issues with it at all.
Took lessons from 1960 to 1969, stopped at age 16.
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Incidentally, I don't have that problem with D; it seems the space between the two black notes is minimally larger than between the three black notes.
The gap between C# and D# is indeed a tiny bit larger than between the other 3 black keys. And it makes kind of sense as the triple of black keys is more crammed into this space. (Until your post I wasn't aware of that, I thought the gaps between ALL black keys would be the same, haha).

My hands are not that big, I can reach a 10th only at the frontside, but not from top. And still I have a similar problem: When I play the sequence Db-D-E-E# (2 3 4 5), it sounds muddy because my E press won't let my D go up again. Four fingers in this small room is too much.
I solved that by using the same finger for Db and D, by sliding from the black key down to the white one. (fingering: 2 2 3 4) I know this is not exactly the gold-standard of fingering, but it seems to work for me.

Btw: If I would have designed a piano keyboard, I would have made the black keys more narrow and longer towards the front than they are now. But piano building has a long history and the manufactures (especially Steinway) improved a lot to get to the point where we are today. I guess they tried everything before.


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Ultimately we all have to do what works for us, fingering wise. I know I am doing a lot of refingering to avoid too many "thumb under" in my left hand due to arthritis. I do a huge inward wrist rotation with elbow well out, probably ungainly but who's looking? I find some books where there is fingering intended to be helpful for beginners/intermediates the fingering is just plain whacky and I sit and refinger to what feels right and intuitive for me. If I keep making mistakes I always look at fingering first. And it has to feel compatible between both hands for me.


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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I have very large hands. I can easily play chords spanning a 10th even with a thick texture. In a way it's handy (no pun intended) but it also causes problems in cramped positions, especially between black keys. Playing G or A between the black notes is hard for me, especially going legato from an adjacent black note. I have to twist my hand so the fingers play at an angle or else my fat fingers will cause the adjacent keys to go down.

Incidentally, I don't have that problem with D; it seems the space between the two black notes is minimally larger than between the three black notes.

I was hoping there would be videos with advice on how to deal with this but I haven't found much. There are a lot of videos with advice for small hands but there is little for large-handed people. If anyone has come across anything please post.
Do you have this problem on acoustic pianos as well as digitals?


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Originally Posted by tbonesays
Do you have this problem on acoustic pianos as well as digitals?
Yes. My main practice piano is an accoustic grand but I also have a digital. Digitals usually have a lighter action and shorter keys where the problem becomes even more evident.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Thanks, yes that's the only video I found, but it only addresses melodic single note passages. I think the bigger problem is legato thirds or more generally legato chord playing between black notes.
When I need to play chord notes between black keys I adduct the wrist a little bit, and if the chord is not wide I may combine a little bit of adduction with a tiny bit of outward forearm rotation. It happens totally automatically and never caused me any problems.

Concerning the legato chord between black keys try making pulling motion of the finger instead of pushing motion.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Here is Shirley Kirsten

It is a very bad technique demonstrated at 1:10-1:35 of this video. No elbow wriggling is necessary. And just a very minimum wrist abduction/adduction. What is needed is just moving of the whole arm forward to the lid and then backward, while fingers stay as parallel to the keys as reasonably possible.

Originally Posted by Wie Waldi
My hands are not that big, I can reach a 10th only at the frontside, but not from top. And still I have a similar problem: When I play the sequence Db-D-E-E# (2 3 4 5), it sounds muddy because my E press won't let my D go up again. Four fingers in this small room is too much.
I solved that by using the same finger for Db and D, by sliding from the black key down to the white one. (fingering: 2 2 3 4) I know this is not exactly the gold-standard of fingering, but it seems to work for me.
Why on Earth are you playing Db-D-E-E# (2 3 4 5) between the black keys? It's extremely easy to play it on wide surfaces of white keys. You just need to flatten your second finger, play Db on the very end of the key and make a little motion of the arm towards your torso when transferring weight from Db to D. Fingers 3 4 5 then play normally on the wide surfaces of the white keys. No problem! smile

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by tbonesays
Do you have this problem on acoustic pianos as well as digitals?
Yes. My main practice piano is an accoustic grand but I also have a digital. Digitals usually have a lighter action and shorter keys where the problem becomes even more evident.

Well I have fat finger syndrome but never has it been a problem on an acoustic, even finger 3 into the A key.

If wrist rotation isn't feasible, maybe file down the black keys?


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My 2 cents - loose fingers can help with that, as they are less likely to knock down unwanted keys even if they touch them. Make sure to keep the tension in them to the minimum required. Hope it helps.


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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I have very large hands
You and me both, and some days it really, really sucks having hands this big laugh
For playing in-between black notes, learn to slide your fingers.
Meaning initially press the key toward the front and slide it in, as opposed to inserting your fingers in-between the notes.
You need to be able to play all keys almost anywhere on the key.
This is not always relevant / possible but in many cases it is and works - but it is a skill that needs to be learnt. Especially if you have learnt the bad habit of playing flat fingered i.e. not keeping your fingers slightly bent...this is going to be a challenge to learn. But it will be worth it.
Hope that helps.

PS: I forgot about this one. Practice with your elbows away from your body. Then play with your elbows really far away from your body. Think letting your armpits breathe. Then practice with your arms close to your body. Then real close. You'll be amazed how much this influences your hands / fingers and how you play. Find where you have the best results. In fact you might find that different arm positions at different times give you new tools

Last edited by JohnnyIssieBangie; 06/30/21 02:37 AM.
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I have very large hands. I can easily play chords spanning a 10th even with a thick texture. In a way it's handy (no pun intended) but it also causes problems in cramped positions, especially between black keys. Playing G or A between the black notes is hard for me, especially going legato from an adjacent black note. I have to twist my hand so the fingers play at an angle or else my fat fingers will cause the adjacent keys to go down.

Incidentally, I don't have that problem with D; it seems the space between the two black notes is minimally larger than between the three black notes.

I was hoping there would be videos with advice on how to deal with this but I haven't found much. There are a lot of videos with advice for small hands but there is little for large-handed people. If anyone has come across anything please post.
large hands or fingers will cause problems when playing in between black keys this is normal , you have discovered you can twist your fingers to fit and this is not ideal but works, there are some options one twist your finger in to fit or if its a chord or interval try it in another inversion some times works for me, sometimes for individual notes i try to avid going in between if possible or if i have to trying staying close to the end or the tips of the black keys as possible in order not to have to put your other finger in between or not as much . ultimately your the one that has to find what works for you but remember you have a big advantage in other areas of playing that will surly make up for this .

Last edited by Dazzie2; 06/30/21 06:32 AM.
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Same here.

>Here is Shirley Kirsten

That rotation of the wrist might work in slow passages but that amount of wrist rotation seems a way to RSI. I would do it differently.

Rotating the wrist like that is never going to work at speed. So you need a different solution for faster passages.


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