Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#571968 - 04/30/07 08:12 PM Small hand dilemma
Musicalnotes14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Tennessee, USA
I have really small hands. Sometimes when I want to play pieces that require large stretches, I have to leave some notes out. I wonder if any of you have this problem and what do you do about it. Also, any suggestions from you big hands people?
_________________________
Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. - Plato

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#571969 - 04/30/07 10:14 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
One of those big hands people here. Sorry, no suggestions :p


Kidding. Just use size to your advantage. People with small hands are often very good at playing impressionistic and baroque music. So just play what you play well.

Top
#571970 - 04/30/07 11:04 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I agree. The piano literature is VAST, covering over 4 centuries of music making. There's plenty there that will fit your hands.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

Top
#571971 - 05/01/07 12:15 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Musicalnotes14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Tennessee, USA
Thanks guys....any literature suggestions then?
_________________________
Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. - Plato

Top
#571972 - 05/01/07 12:17 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
Hand transplant?

Top
#571973 - 05/01/07 12:55 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
That's hard to say without knowing what pieces you are working on now/what you have performed in the past.

Top
#571974 - 05/01/07 01:13 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
soccer_daemon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/07
Posts: 128
I have this problem myself even though my hands
are not considered small, comfortable with a 9th
stretch from white note to white note or black
note to black note, but not mixing up from white
to black or vice versa.

However, I also prefer Chopin, Liszt, Rach to
others and those composers usually have large
stretches so to keep me inspired and motivated, I
still prefer to focus mainly on those composers,
although I also like Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.

I don't skip any notes, but just roll the chords
most of the time. But my problem isn't just that
alone. It's when even some appreg passage itself
is written with large skips, take for example
Chopin Etude Op10 No.1, there are some pretty
large stretch between finger 1 and 2 ....I ended
up needing to practice 12 and 13 to find the
most comfortable and natural fingering and also
the wrist/arm movement to help, which I think is
inevitable even with large hand since it needs
to be played with the continuous flow driven
mainly from the arm/shoulder.

But that's just my unique case that I need to
experiment to find out what works and what
doesn't.

Top
#571975 - 05/01/07 11:44 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Musicalnotes14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Tennessee, USA
Nope....checked the list for transplants and no hand transplants are available. Guess I'm gonna have to find some other way.... ;\)

Thanks for the input....I bet Chopin Etudes are the best to work out whatever hand problems we've got.
_________________________
Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. - Plato

Top
#571976 - 05/01/07 11:59 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
ted.stanion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 278
Loc: Portland, OR
Find out where you can get some of these!

Ted

(I know it's been linked here many times, but I just couldn't resist.)

Top
#571977 - 05/01/07 11:36 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Musicalnotes14:
Thanks guys....any literature suggestions then? [/b]
What kind of things do you play now?

I came across some Sweelinck in an mp3, that prompted me to track down the music. And lately I've been collecting scores of Soler sonatas, they're not too hard.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

Top
#571978 - 05/02/07 09:53 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 550
Loc: Japan
Alicia de Larrocha has really small hands but she compensates by being amazingly agile. Her left hand can jump two octaves, play bass and trills all in presto. Small hands have this advantage over big hands. And she is not the only one.

Anyway most music I have seen, and I have seen tons of it, employs twelfths but rarely - even Rachmaninov's so I must express a degree of "so whatness?" about this query. (Unless of course your hands are really titchy and you're some kind of freak)
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

Top
#571979 - 05/02/07 10:39 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Musicalnotes14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Tennessee, USA
I'm working on Rach Prelude Op. 23 No.4, Debussy's L'sle Joyeuse, and Saint Saens g minor concerto. I have been working on Chopin's black key etude (and want to do more... ;\) ) and his 1st ballade....stuff like that. What do ya'll think?
_________________________
Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. - Plato

Top
#571980 - 05/02/07 12:17 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Or you could replace your keyboard with one which fits your hand better. See:

http://www.steinbuhler.com/index.html

It's a weird feeling at first, but historically, harpsichords and pianofortes had smaller octave spans than today's modern grands.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#571981 - 05/02/07 12:48 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
Cherub Rocker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/06
Posts: 471
Loc: North Carolina, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Musicalnotes14:
I have really small hands. Sometimes when I want to play pieces that require large stretches, I have to leave some notes out. I wonder if any of you have this problem and what do you do about it. Also, any suggestions from you big hands people? [/b]
What's wrong with rolling the chords? It's no big deal, pianists do it all the time.
_________________________
Schubert: Impromptus Op. 90, Nos. 2 and 4
Chopin: Etudes Op. 25, Nos. 10-12
Scriabin: Sonata No. 2

Top
#571982 - 05/02/07 02:47 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Surely some pianists roll chords using artistic freedom, even when it is completely possible for them to play all notes simultaneously.

On the other hand, rolling of fast repeated large chords is impossible.

And sometimes e.g. in a funeral march, the character would be destroyed by rolling....

Leaving out a note can be the only possible solution, and depending on the actual note, it might not even be noticed by the audience.

Finally, we have to accept our shortcomings. There are hundres of pieces out ouf reach for 99 % of all piano players, be the reason small hands, or clumsy fingers, rigid wrists, lack of enough basic technique.

But, as has been pointed out earlier, there are thousands of pieces, that are musically interesting, whithout being a challenge for the average pianist.

Find them and bring them to life, rather than spend a a lot of time on a hopeless task. The beauty if music is not correlated to the technical diffculties.

Top
#571983 - 05/02/07 09:57 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
Catsgomoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/06
Posts: 33
You can overcome it, there are a few things you might have to "cheat" on a bit, but with work you can get past those kinds of things.

Look at Abby Simon, for example. He has very small hands, and he's probably the most fantastic player I've ever seen.

Top
#571984 - 05/03/07 12:05 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
drudged Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/06
Posts: 116
I too have small hands and I could only span 9th and stretch a bit to span a 10th and I'll really have to struggle to span an 11th. Now, even if my hands still aren't that big, I could span a 10th easilty and stretch a little bit for an 11th.

However, I find that hand span is not the problem but finger flexibility. Your fingers couldn't stretch out that much which is why you are having difficulty with those large chords.

And in some cases, there are pieces which may appear to require big hands but aren't necessarily all finger work but shoulder and wrist work (La Campanella is an example)

To improve your finger flexibility, I'd suggest playing Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor and if you really want to challenge yourself, Chopin's Etude #1 op. 10. I used to have rock hard fingers who couldn't stretch and now I could play chords and Rachmaninoff fairly easily.

P.S: It is reported that Chopin had small hands himself and he slept with corks in between his fingers.

Top
#571985 - 05/05/07 02:28 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
cjsm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 134
Loc: Washington, MO
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jan-Erik:


But, as has been pointed out earlier, there are thousands of pieces, that are musically interesting, whithout being a challenge for the average pianist.

Find them and bring them to life, rather than spend a a lot of time on a hopeless task. The beauty if music is not correlated to the technical diffculties. [/b]
This is good advice, and in another sense also. I am baffled by all the pianists who have the technique to play intermediate pieces easily, yet seem to look down on them and only practice virtuoso pieces that take them six months to learn. To me, this is not even being a real musician. A real musician plays music. He doesn't spend all of his time struggling to learn mind-bending difficult pieces.

I'm coming from a pop/rock background in this opinion. If Beatles followed the approach of many classical pianists, they would have never released any albums, except perhaps, Sgt. Pepper, because they'd always be chasing some holy grail of virtuosity.

There are tens of thousands of great, accesible piano pieces out there that aren't mind-bendingly difficult to play. Enjoy!

Top
#571986 - 05/06/07 09:48 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Musicalnotes14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 43
Loc: Tennessee, USA
You know, alot of times, musicians stress the playing of all the difficult repertoire, but they never considered playing or learning the easier ones. We mock people who are playing pieces like Clementi Sonatinas, Kuhlau Sonatinas, and others that are easier to play. Have we ever considered playing these pieces to play them well? Thanks Jan-Erik and cjsm for that advice. Brings in a whole new perspective to playing piano and music as a whole.
_________________________
Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination. - Plato

Top
#571987 - 07/04/07 01:36 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
I have really small hands for my age, my hands can only stretch an octave and it still tires me sometimes. Do finger exercises and stretch your hands daily.
for example open you hand, close fingers 2,3&4 and see how far apart you can stretch 1&5. DO the same with the rest of your fingers.
Despite my small hands, I still challenge myself and as you can see from the list of my repertoire, i'm not playing any repertoire that's actually well suited to my hands, instead I play pieces that many people with big hands play.
_________________________
Mastering:Chopin Etudes op.10 nos.8&12 and op.25 no.1, Chopin Scherzo no.4 in E major op.54, Mozart Sonata in B flat major K.333& Khachaturian Toccata

Top
#571988 - 07/04/07 07:26 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
My theory is that small hands are generally more powerful than big hands.

Try this:
-Find a table
-place your thumb and 4th finger about 10cm apart on it
-Using wrist motion, play a tremelo with these 2 fingers
-Now bring these 2 fingers much closer together, say, 2cm apart, and try the tremelo again.

The second time is much less powerful, which shows that the hand is more powerful when expanded. Small-handed people must expand their hands more to play what big-handed people play, meaning they can do it with more power!

Bottom line: Stop ya bitchin' and play! \:D

Top
#571989 - 07/04/07 07:17 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Hi.

I can reach from C to Fis,
and almost never I found that so needed that small hands people can't play it.

Of course, it is a lot easier when you have big hands. But it is not impossible when you have small.

Please, take a look at Mikhail Pletnev. He has a very very small hands. And yet, his playing is amazing!

Don't be discouraged. \:\)
Listen to him more, and find out how he decides to play stretches that he can't.

Top
#571990 - 07/04/07 10:41 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
sorry...double post.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Top
#571991 - 07/04/07 10:43 PM Re: Small hand dilemma
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
[qb] Or you could replace your keyboard with one which fits your hand better. See:

http://www.steinbuhler.com/index.html

It's a weird feeling at first, but historically, harpsichords and pianofortes had smaller octave spans than today's modern grands. [/b]
To find out what a Steinbuhler modified piano would be like, go to a store that sells inexpensive digital keyboards (such as Casio or Yamaha) that have typically 61 keys and many functions, and try your hand span on them.

Their keys are narrower than full size "Grand" keys, and will give you an inkling of what a Steinbuhler-modified piano would be like.

The problem with the Steinbuhler approach is that just about every piano you might come in contact with will not be Steinbuhler equipped. They will have regular-sized keys, so you would not be able to play the same on them.

A much more practical suggestion is to work on stretching your hands. There are two approaches to this, and both can be used simultaneously.

First, gentle stretching expercises (emphasis on gentle) can work wonders. Several of my students have increased their span using them. The Alfred Adult comprehensive piano course has a few pages on this in the first section.

Second, there are piano exercises specifically designed to "stretch" the hand, by working on increasing the span between specific fingers.

Joseffy has some, as does Pischna. (Both are advanced technique exercise books).

One caution...If you do not have a qualified piano teacher that is well-versed in technique training, (it is amazing how many are not), I advise finding one who is to help you with proper usage of those books.

Best wishes
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Top
#571992 - 07/05/07 01:12 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
I really would'nt reccomend the 1st option. What if you choose to be a pianist, you would struggle playing octaves on a normal piano and that would make matters worse.

As rocket said, it's very important to have a teacher who is well versed in technical training so no matter what problem a student has, they will know what to do about it.
_________________________
Mastering:Chopin Etudes op.10 nos.8&12 and op.25 no.1, Chopin Scherzo no.4 in E major op.54, Mozart Sonata in B flat major K.333& Khachaturian Toccata

Top
#571993 - 07/05/07 06:37 AM Re: Small hand dilemma
JBiegel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 850
Just to get maximum stretch, I have some posts that illustrate how to do the stretches for the 4th-5th fingers (put thumb on wood below the keys, and play 4th finger on middle 'F', then 5th finger on 'C' above that. Go chromatically up the keyboard using this perfect fourth stretching exercise). The diminished seventh chord stretch can be found somewhere amongst my posts if you do a search. It will help to give you power within your own reach and slightly stretch the span over time.
_________________________
www.jeffreybiegel.com

Top

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Pianoteq vs Digital Piano vs Acoustic Piano
by wildpig
09/16/14 11:57 PM
Baldwin Hamilton 1941
by JMN12
09/16/14 11:13 PM
Tucson, AZ: Is Arizona Room a bad place for a piano?
by Paul678
09/16/14 08:14 PM
Kissin plays...
by JoelW
09/16/14 07:33 PM
For Sale : True Keys Pianos (bundle) American,Italian,Ger
man

by imyself
09/16/14 05:51 PM
Who's Online
68 registered (barbaram, 255, AEMontoya, beeboss, 12 invisible), 966 Guests and 15 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76224 Members
42 Forums
157573 Topics
2314559 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission