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#2039365 - 02/25/13 11:59 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20234
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I just finished learning and performing the Chopin "Funeral March" Sonata. If there was ever any piece that made me want bigger hands, that was it. The Scherzo is murderous....

Do you mean bigger hands would help the scherzo, or did you switch subjects there? grin
I can't think of anything at all in it where hand size is an issue. (Other things yes, but not that.)

Where in the sonata are you thinking of at all? Nothing in the other movements occurs to me either, except maybe the L.H. of the main theme of the 1st mvt, but I don't see it as an issue there either because I don't think we should be 'stretching' or 'reaching' there (but moving).


Edited by Mark_C (02/26/13 12:04 AM)
Edit Reason: fixing the last part

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#2039370 - 02/26/13 12:05 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: Mark_C]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2446
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I just finished learning and performing the Chopin "Funeral March" Sonata. If there was ever any piece that made me want bigger hands, that was it. The Scherzo is murderous....

Do you mean bigger hands would help the scherzo, or did you switch subjects there? grin
I can't think of anything at all in it where hand size is an issue. (Other things yes, but not that.)

Where in the sonata are you thinking of at all? Nothing in the other movements occurs to me either, unless you mean the L.H. of the main theme of the 1st mvt, and I don't think it's an issue there either unless someone uses an inapt fingering.


Are you kidding? Have you ever tried to play it the way he wrote it? The left hand of the first movement's exposition requires an absurd amount of stretching. The main subject of the scherzo is nothing but a parade of rapid-fire, filled in octaves and tenths. The trio is stacked with tenths and elevenths. (Yes, I know, you can redistribute notes, but I firmly and stubbornly believe he wrote it the way he did for a reason!) Even the march is full of huge chords, which are only rolled because it's not feasible for most people to play it as written.

Also, the funeral march is indicated to be played with no pedal, and I obey this as closely as I can while still maintaining the legato touch he calls for.


Edited by jeffreyjones (02/26/13 12:06 AM)

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#2039375 - 02/26/13 12:19 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20234
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Are you kidding? Have you ever tried to play it the way he wrote it?

Yes....

Quote:
The left hand of the first movement's exposition requires an absurd amount of stretching.

Note my 'fix' of the last part of my above post. To me, it's more moving than stretching.

Quote:
The main subject of the scherzo is nothing but a parade of rapid-fire, filled in octaves and tenths.

Rolled!

Quote:
The trio is stacked with tenths and elevenths. (Yes, I know, you can redistribute notes, but I firmly and stubbornly believe he wrote it the way he did for a reason!)

Rolling, and some re-distributing. Make sure to voice it as written, and it's fine.

Quote:
Even the march is full of huge chords, which are only rolled because it's not feasible for most people to play it as written.

Recognizing that you may well know more about this than I do, that's news to me, and I think I disagree. Certainly it has never occurred to be that the only reason they're rolled is because people 'can't' play them as blocks. And BTW I can reach an 11th, but it never occurred to me to play the chords you're talking about as blocks, except sometimes privately as my own joke and with a smile.

Quote:
Also, the funeral march is indicated to be played with no pedal, and I obey this as closely as I can while still maintaining the legato touch he calls for.

Hey wait a minute. grin

It's not indicated to be played without pedal; it's just that there aren't any pedal markings for most of it. That's very different than "indicated to be played with no pedal."

I'm guessing that the way you're viewing these things reflects a school of thought, but it's total news to me. No issues of stretch or reach ever occurred to me while I was working on the piece, and it's not like I'm immune to that issue; there are pieces where I most definitely have it.

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#2039377 - 02/26/13 12:23 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: jeffreyjones]
outo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 1240
Loc: Finland
I have struggled with an inability to play an octave with my right hand. For a long time I was only able to play it at the very edge of the keys, which was quite impractical for any faster pieces and also made my thumb hurt. I tried all kind of streching, but it didn't help at all. Then recently I began learning a piece that simply was impossible to play without going deeper. Since not playing this one is not an option, I just experimented and finally went the other way, extend my fingers towards the fallboard, relax more without consciously streching and using the keys to help a bit and finally managed to play them cleanly.

My hand is not growing, but I think an octave is enough to play whatever I want to play, further intervals will have to be by rolling/pedals...just need to learn to do it convincingly. Luckily I have a teacher who has smaller hands as well, so I am sure she'll teach me the tricks smile

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#2039378 - 02/26/13 12:28 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2446
Loc: San Jose, CA
Yes, he does call to roll the chords in the Scherzo. But at the speed it's typically played at, you're still stretching a tenth or else you're not going to get all the notes in. As for the rest, if I had bigger hands, I would not roll a single chord that he didn't mark that way. Not even in the lyrical section of the first movement!

As it is, even with rolling, it's still a seriously difficult piece that taxes the hands mercilessly.

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#2039447 - 02/26/13 07:13 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: jeffreyjones]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Are you kidding? Have you ever tried to play it the way he wrote it? The left hand of the first movement's exposition requires an absurd amount of stretching. The main subject of the scherzo is nothing but a parade of rapid-fire, filled in octaves and tenths. The trio is stacked with tenths and elevenths. (Yes, I know, you can redistribute notes, but I firmly and stubbornly believe he wrote it the way he did for a reason!)

Ever think maybe he wrote it that way for voicing, and not necessarily for fingering? wink
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#2039595 - 02/26/13 12:23 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 220
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: adak
It would be great if I could even do a 10th on the black and white keys....

Adak,

Leave out the adverb and you have this statement: "It would be great if I could do a 10th on the black and white keys."

I thought the same thing after watching a Youtube video where Doctor John demonstrates his barrel-house and stride technique. It relied heavily on easily playing tenths in the left hand.

It would also be great if I could hear the changes in tunes for which I currently need lead sheets. My stretch won't increase, so I have to do what I can with what I've got. But with more practice and study I can hear more chord changes.

You've got nice big hands which are physically able to produce all kinds of sounds on a keyboard. Learn to use them and don't forget to train your ears as you do.

If you really want to play an instrument where you can play big intervals with one hand, you might want to consider the chromatic button accordion:

I can play a 17th on mine with no effort. That only applies to the right hand, though. The left hand has an entirely different, chord-oriented keyboard.

Andy


Edited by AndyJ (02/26/13 12:59 PM)
Edit Reason: *Adverb*, not adjective

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#2039642 - 02/26/13 01:29 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: Derulux]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20234
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Ever think maybe he wrote it that way for voicing, and not necessarily for fingering? wink

That sure is what I ever thought. It keeps surprising me to see how many advanced people believe that such notation necessarily indicates anything about which hand ought to be used for what.

Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Edit Reason: *Adverb*, not adjective

Yeah -- I read it before you changed it and it threw me off a fair amount. ha

(Really!)

But good job by you. smile
Most people wouldn't even be able to guess what the heck part of speech "even" is, and I didn't know for sure, but the "adjective" thing had me looking for other words that you might be leaving out....

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#2039725 - 02/26/13 04:22 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: Mark_C]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 220
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Most people wouldn't even be able to guess what the heck part of speech "even" is....

It's easy enough once you realize that the -verb in adverb does not mean "verb". I don't know the etymology, but for whatever reason, adverbs are modifiers that modify anything but a noun. "Even" modifies the verb "would", so it's an adverb. It's also an adverb when it modifies an adjective, which some people find even more confusing!

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#2039829 - 02/26/13 07:47 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: AndyJ]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20234
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
It's easy enough once you realize that the -verb in adverb does not mean "verb". I don't know the etymology, but for whatever reason, adverbs are modifiers that modify anything but a noun. "Even" modifies the verb "would", so it's an adverb. It's also an adverb when it modifies an adjective, which some people find even more confusing!

It's not as "easy enough" as you think, because to most people (me included) it's not obvious exactly what is being modified by "even." Sure, it modifies "would" * -- but for most people it takes some effort to realize that, if at all, and they still wouldn't be sure about it. Let me say this: If I had a farm, I wouldn't have bet it on it. grin


* I meant "could."
Which, acc. to the post below, is wrong. grin


Edited by Mark_C (02/26/13 09:50 PM)

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#2039855 - 02/26/13 08:49 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
malkin Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 3266
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I think 'even' is modifying 'do,' as 'do' is the main verb, but it is possible that my grammar is not sufficient to comprehend or compose a sentence. Maybe someone can suggest a way to improve it. I heard that Hemingway tried to stretch his grammar and caused permanent damage by so doing.

My hand size seems ok, but I do wish for a couple extra fingers now and then.
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