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#590952 - 10/05/07 06:28 PM Small hand tricks
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
Ok, so I always hear about there being tricks to overcome huge chords (10th and even 11th) for people with a smaller reach (I've got like a 9th), but I've never actually heard anyone say what they are. So for example, Rach 2, how in the world do I do that? Or any other chords like that?

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#590953 - 10/05/07 06:33 PM Re: Small hand tricks
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Either roll them, or seperate a bass note from the chord and play it as a grace note. The former is (or rather, can be) more accurate to the written chord, while the latter is suited better to a louder dynamic & allows you to play a straight chord (but is also not always suitable for the music). with Rachmaninoff even people with large hands will sometimes have to use these tricks, he wrote a lot of big chords (the op.33/4 etude for example).

#590954 - 10/05/07 07:02 PM Re: Small hand tricks
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
I have smaller hands, the size of a 7th. When I play big chords in Rachmaninoff's pieces, I stretch out all of my fingers and use a note in each of the chords to connect the chords. I do alot of hand stretching too.
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

#590955 - 10/06/07 12:50 AM Re: Small hand tricks
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by rolling chords? I'm not really familiar with that technique.

#590956 - 10/06/07 01:26 AM Re: Small hand tricks
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 552
Loc: U.S.A.
A rolled chord means playing the notes of a chord separately instead of together. Sometimes it's called an arpeggiated chord. For an example, let's say you have a C major chord - the bass note is C, then E, then G, and then C on top. You would play bass note C first and then add the other notes one at a time. Also, you must end up holding all the notes down at the end so that you hear the entire chord. You will know when a composer indicates this technique when you see a vertical wavy line placed before the notes of the chord. I don't have a scanner so maybe someone else can scan some music for you so you know what it looks like. If you have a book of the Chopin Etudes just turn to Op. 10 No. 11.

#590957 - 10/06/07 01:28 AM Re: Small hand tricks
asherf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 255
Loc: Colorado
Rachmaninoff himself even seperates the beginning chords in the intro. It doesn't sound good rolled. I do the same. he plays the lowest bass not as a grace note and then etc... It actually makes the effect of tolling bells much better.

#590958 - 10/06/07 01:33 AM Re: Small hand tricks
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
I know what arpeggios are I just didn't know that you would ever play a chord that way. But hm, I guess I should check out Rach's own recording... Except he could actually reach those intervals.

#590959 - 10/06/07 01:41 AM Re: Small hand tricks
asherf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 255
Loc: Colorado
which makes it all the more interesting.

#590960 - 10/06/07 05:13 AM Re: Small hand tricks
brian13 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 116
Loc: California
i confront this problem on Rubinstein Melody in F.
there are some instances where you can play the topmost note of the chord with your right hand thumb to alleviate the left hand, but not all the time on this piece.
i usually will have to sag my hand over the edge of the piano using the very tips of the keys to be able to hit the big chords sometimes.

this also occurs in Traumerei by Schumann

#590961 - 10/06/07 12:16 PM Re: Small hand tricks
tulleh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 35
Loc: N. Ireland, UK
Some chords sound so much better when they're rolled.

#590962 - 10/06/07 12:31 PM Re: Small hand tricks
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
I have small hands. I sometimes take one of the notes with my left hand. Or I'll drop the fifth from the chord. Or I'll do an inversion that suits my hand better. As long as the overall effect is still the same many people will not notice.
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina


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