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#2063146 - 04/11/13 09:55 PM Poll (sorta): What's your reach?
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
I'll drop a bombshell to start this off:
The biggest chord/interval I can manage without rolling or injury is a 12th cool

The biggest interval I've seen in sheet music is an 11th in a piano transcription of the StarWolf theme from Starfox 64 (found here), which is actually probably one of the best piano-transcriptions from a videogame tune that I've seen so far (although the writer doesn't seem to know about key signatures). There are some novelty and stride tunes where 10ths are required, but other than that, I don't see many songs requiring anything larger than an octave (sadly, Rachmaninov's not my forte).

To be honest, big hands aren't that much of an advantage, as all it really does is make fast passages and runs up the scale (like in Mozart pieces) more difficult, and kinda awkward looking. Haven't played too much Rachmaninov (except for fiddling with the C# Minor Prelude), but stride and ragtime, where large leaps and chords are common, tend to be quite easy for me. If you can play an octave without rolling, than I'd say you have nothing to care about. Chopin could barely manage a 9th, and Liszt's hands weren't very big either smile

So, what's your reach?


Edited by SBP (04/11/13 09:55 PM)
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#2063151 - 04/11/13 10:05 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19838
Loc: New York
BTW, for starters, I don't think it's right that Chopin "could barely manage a 9th." smile

What I've read is that his hands looked small, and perhaps were sort of small, but stretched wide, and so he had a pretty wide reach.

Maybe not like you grin but I'd bet my bippy it was more than a 9th.

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#2063155 - 04/11/13 10:23 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
TrueMusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/12
Posts: 254
Loc: San Diego, California
My hands are like Chopin's, they look relatively small but with a little preparation I can take most 10ths, except for Db-F, Ab-C, and Gb-Bb. Octaves are very comfy, as are ninths, and my hands stretch pretty pretty wide. My friends sometimes make fun of me for the way my hands seem to be able to just spread and get much wider. haha. I've got short ish fingers, but a wide palm and very flexy hands.
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Piano/Composition major.

Proud owner of a beautiful Yamaha C7.

Polish:
Liszt Petrarch Sonnet 104
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New:
Chopin op. 23
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#2063157 - 04/11/13 10:27 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4818
Loc: Seattle area, WA
9th. My fingers fit easily between the black keys and I love those Mozart fast passages. Big chords are a struggle. Big leaps are no problem.
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#2063178 - 04/11/13 11:06 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
PattyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 617
Loc: Texas
I have to really stretch just to make an octave. If it includes chords, forget it. I have short, stubby fingers (and toes) for a girl.

I've totally given up on Debussy. The man must have had huge hands.
_________________________
Patty

A tired dog is a good dog.

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#2063203 - 04/11/13 11:48 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 803
Loc: Finland
Left hand a comfortable octave, right hand a very uncomfortable octave. Have had some progress with that but not enough. Can play slow octaves but have to forget about any fast ones... frown

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#2063235 - 04/12/13 01:17 AM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 564
All 10ths, 11ths with my pinky on a black key.


Edited by DanS (04/12/13 01:17 AM)
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2063412 - 04/12/13 10:44 AM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 374
for the stars.

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#2063416 - 04/12/13 10:54 AM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
Brad Hoehne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 371
Loc: Ohio
I can do a white key to black key 10th (C to Eb for instance) with no discomfort at all. With some stretching, I can do a white key to white key 10th. With strain, I can do an 11th. I have big hands.
_________________________
1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etudes op 10 #12 "Revolutionary" and op 25 #2
Chopin Nocturne op 37 #2
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes

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#2063425 - 04/12/13 11:07 AM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: SBP
...I don't see many songs requiring anything larger than an octave (sadly, Rachmaninov's not my forte)....

So, what's your reach?

I can play a 9th but I very rarely do. Actually it's probably something I should work on, at least for the right hand. It's harder to see a need for ninths in the left hand.

But I've seen lots of music with tenths in it. Gershwin had big hands and used tenths in the left hand a lot. Doctor John's stride style depends on tenths, and lots of other pianists use them.

-Andy

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#2063450 - 04/12/13 11:46 AM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: erichlof]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10405
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: erichlof
for the stars.






Me, I can hit a barely functional major 10th in the left hand (of the sort in Debussy's prelude "Danseuses de Delphe." Reaching 9ths is fine and easy.

My son can play the opening of Rach 2 without rolling anything. Grrrr.
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#2063469 - 04/12/13 12:21 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5347
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: erichlof
for the stars.






Me, I can hit a barely functional major 10th in the left hand (of the sort in Debussy's prelude "Danseuses de Delphe." Reaching 9ths is fine and easy.

My son can play the opening of Rach 2 without rolling anything. Grrrr.

I can barely reach it, but only because it's so slow. I also can't bring out the notes the way I would like because of the stretch.

The one that's killing you is probably the minor 2nd in the RH? (That's the one I have a tough time reaching.) I don't do this all the time, but you can put your thumb up against the corner of the Db, and as you play the C, it will pull the Db down. Then, you don't have to use your index finger. It's difficult to bring out the Db, but it prevents the stretch from being an issue.
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2063494 - 04/12/13 01:41 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1016
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I've learned to avoid stretching to keep my hands healthy--so I'm glad to have an octave! Luckily, I like rolling.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2063502 - 04/12/13 01:58 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
I can play a tenth comfortably.

Perhaps another gauge of my reach: I can play all of the opening chords of the Rach 2 comfortably (but not much else from it!). grin

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#2063509 - 04/12/13 02:11 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 870
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I can play a tenth from white key to white key and from white to black key (e.g. C to E, C to E-flat) but a black key to white key is too far (e.g. C# to E).
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#2063516 - 04/12/13 02:30 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
You do what you can with the natural equipment you have. Generally, if you can comfortably reach an octave you can handle just about anything. But every now and then you will encounter certain works that are beyond your physical capabilities - and you just need to accept that. When all else fails, take up the clarinet. grin
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#2063522 - 04/12/13 02:37 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19838
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: carey
....When all else fails, take up the clarinet. grin

But then don't you have to worry about mouth size? grin

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#2063531 - 04/12/13 02:56 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
A 9th. But I suck at small passage work and am way better at large chords. Strange.
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'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2063546 - 04/12/13 03:19 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: carey]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4818
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: carey
You do what you can with the natural equipment you have. Generally, if you can comfortably reach an octave you can handle just about anything. But every now and then you will encounter certain works that are beyond your physical capabilities - and you just need to accept that. When all else fails, take up the clarinet. grin
To add to that, I found learning Brahms stretched my hands, especially between the inner fingers.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2063547 - 04/12/13 03:22 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Very comfortable 10th, including all chords, slightly less comfortable 11th. 12th, not so much.
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

My son can play the opening of Rach 2 without rolling anything. Grrrr.

...which is not a problem for me. grin

Derulux: That's cheating, you have to bring out the inner notes C-Db-D-Eb in that passage. mad grin
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2063619 - 04/12/13 04:54 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
tend to rush Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 55
For what it's worth, walking 10ths in the left hand are pretty common in the jazz world. I can't play some without rolling, but not all.

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#2063624 - 04/12/13 05:05 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: tend to rush]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I am a beginner at 64. I can do an octave and I think I am too old to stretch without breaking something. But as a beginner, I don't know what a roll is. What is rolling when you refer to an octave reach?

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#2063632 - 04/12/13 05:26 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: Michael_99]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I am a beginner at 64. I can do an octave and I think I am too old to stretch without breaking something. But as a beginner, I don't know what a roll is. What is rolling when you refer to an octave reach?


Michael -

A roll is when you quickly play the notes of the chord from the bottom up - without actually striking all the notes at the same time. Many folks use this approach when playing intervals larger than an octave.
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2063635 - 04/12/13 05:28 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: Michael_99]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4818
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I am a beginner at 64. I can do an octave and I think I am too old to stretch without breaking something. But as a beginner, I don't know what a roll is. What is rolling when you refer to an octave reach?
First of all, 64 is not old and you are never too old to increase your reach. Just be gentle, relaxed and slow about it. When you roll a chord, it's like playing an arpeggio or broken chord. You play the lowest note, then the next lowest, etc. So, if you were rolling an octave, you would play the low note followed immediately by the high note.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2063680 - 04/12/13 07:13 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: gooddog]
zillybug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/11
Posts: 133
Loc: USA
I can reach an octave with my right and a 9th with my left. When I first returned to the piano at 65, I could barely reach an octave with my right hand and it was very uncomfortable. It can get better with practice. I am now playing chords that I had to either roll or leave the bottom note of the octave out.
Judy

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#2063700 - 04/12/13 08:40 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: zillybug]
dynamobt Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 716
Loc: NH
I'm very lucky to have large hands for a woman. I can reach a 10th in both hands.
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#2063702 - 04/12/13 08:42 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: gooddog]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
gooddog, I have read your post, here:

I am a beginner at 64. I can do an octave and I think I am too old to stretch without breaking something. But as a beginner, I don't know what a roll is. What is rolling when you refer to an octave reach?
First of all, 64 is not old and you are never too
old to increase your reach. Just be gentle, relaxed and slow about it. When you roll a chord, it's like playing an arpeggio or broken chord. You play the lowest note, then the next lowest, etc. So, if you were rolling an octave, you would play the low note followed immediately by the high note.

Deborah, too, funny.

You see, I have been stressing and fussing over John Thompson's piano Book 1, page 30, The fairies' Harp where I have to read and play broken chords written as sounding together. I have finally got the piece under my fingers but it has taken a while.

AS a beginner it is nice to learn the lingo. I may not play better, but I will sound better when I talk at coffee.

age is relative to age. If you are 10, 30 is old, and if you are 80, 65 is young. I like the feedback that those that are 65, can stretch without breaking something.

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#2063727 - 04/12/13 09:40 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: Michael_99]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4818
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I like the feedback that those that are 65, can stretch without breaking something.
Ack! I'm not 65...yet...but close. I'm actually amazed at my hand and arm strength, the growth of my span, the wellness of my finger joints and increase in my skills since I re-started lessons 8 years ago. I'm trying to get my family to promise to shoot me when I get too old to play the piano. I can't get them to agree. crazy
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2063755 - 04/12/13 10:30 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8925
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
I am fortunate in that I can span a 10th with both hands (easier with the left), and believe me it comes in handy as an organist, particularly -though not confined to- in playing Franck's murderous works.

Otherwise, I can take the opening of Rachmaninov 2 without breaking, but just barely -the second chord in the right hand is dodgy- though I would not do so in performance.



_________________________
Jason

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#2063765 - 04/12/13 10:57 PM Re: Poll (sorta): What's your reach? [Re: SBP]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
I am also 64 years old with arthritis in my right hand and especially the fingers, so large spans are not easy. To make it worse, I have small hands and bad technique. My best reach is for the aspirin bottle or a cup of coffee, but when warmed up, I can reach a 9th in a major key.

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