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Topic Options
#599606 - 03/31/07 08:51 AM Re: Hand Span
Hayley Rae Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 15
Loc: Somewhere
I can only stretch an octave. \:\(

I wish I had big hands.
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#599607 - 03/31/07 09:25 AM Re: Hand Span
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19776
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally posted by argerichfan:
but I cannot do those in the Ab minor version of La Campanella. (I just tried. )

There's an Ab minor version of La Campanella? Apart from the key signature, how does it differ from the "conventional" G# minor version?

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#599608 - 03/31/07 09:38 AM Re: Hand Span
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1845
Loc: Connecticut
The first version is in A flat minor.

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn

#599609 - 03/31/07 09:43 AM Re: Hand Span
op30no3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 360
Loc: Rochester, NY
Originally posted by BruceD:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
but I cannot do those in the Ab minor version of La Campanella. (I just tried. )

There's an Ab minor version of La Campanella? Apart from the key signature, how does it differ from the "conventional" G# minor version?

Regards, [/b]
It is practically a completely different piece.
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#599610 - 03/31/07 10:02 AM Re: Hand Span
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
Originally posted by AJB:
Look at the chords at the beginning of the original La Campanella. I can hit tenths but I can't play those chords.[/b]
I tried playing those chords. Not hard at all.

Now, the rest of the piece... Much thicker than the revision.

Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

#599611 - 03/31/07 04:54 PM Re: Hand Span
Piana Justice Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 299
Loc: Greenville, NC
Since my right hand is less flexible than my left [it should tell you which hand I write w/], I can reach an octave, but barely b/c my hands are small. It's rare I get those fast notes [that are an octave apart] just right. I have no problem whatsoever w/ the octave-apart note w/ my left hand, though. In spite of my flexibility, I guess my right hand is as flexible as it'll ever be.

#599612 - 03/31/07 05:32 PM Re: Hand Span
John B RX2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Liverpool, England
Hi folks - I'm new round these parts, so Hello!

I suspect that as important as overall stretch is the reach between fingers. For example, it is possible to reach a 10th, but still not be secure on the opening chords of Rach 2 (sorry, I have to disagree argerichfan - IMO they really should not be spread- the build up of the sound from chord to chord carrying the line - not relying on the spreading! ;\) ). Rather, it takes the ability to reach well between fingers. I suspect this generally becomes quite important in all kinds of passage work as well, as it simply enables a wider range of useful fingerings to be used.

#599613 - 03/31/07 06:20 PM Re: Hand Span
Liszt_BG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 342
Loc: Bulgaria
Mine is 11th. The first edition La campanella chords are in reach, so are the Rach 2 opening chords. But there's one catch - it makes a difference if the chords have middle tones inside, or there just a plain stretch - 2 notes! For instance - F# to A: no problem; but then, Rachmaninoff F# minor prelude final chords... ;\)

#599614 - 03/31/07 09:31 PM Re: Hand Span

Only an 8th. Hate it. :p

#599615 - 03/31/07 09:35 PM Re: Hand Span
sping Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 15
I can only stretch an octave too, but my teacher says that its enough to play most songs, she couldn't stretch any further than me herself!!

#599616 - 04/02/07 03:35 PM Re: Hand Span
RandomThoughts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/04
Posts: 106
Loc: Canada
I can just barely reach a 10th with left (ie. I can do it for a single chord, but not with 16th notes!), easy with right hand, which stretches an extra cm.

#599617 - 04/02/07 07:29 PM Re: Hand Span
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1540
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I can reach elevenths but not comfortably and certainly not rapidly. I am glad I can play fast, filled tenths in stride, particularly in the Waller solos. On the other hand, it has to be admitted that breaking these in various off-beat ways can often create rhythms more interesting than those obtained through playing them straight. The only classical example I play is the Ab Polonaise, in which I play all the tenths straight because I think they sound better that way.

In improvisation it's handy to be able to expand a chord into a form within a tenth in the left hand because, in general, widely spaced forms in the bass seem to sound more harmonious than clumps - unless you want a solid effect of course.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

#599618 - 04/02/07 11:09 PM Re: Hand Span
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I can do 10ths easily on the piano, and I can do 12ths on the clavichord. ;\)


#599619 - 06/29/07 04:17 AM Re: Hand Span
sallyf Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/29/03
Posts: 4
Loc: Como/Italy
I can barely reach an ocave, I'm a girl, can any girls here stretch over an octave?. I get jealous about other people's hands, for instance I was standing in the line at McDonlad's and I kept wanting to tell people they had pianists hands! There was a girl there with really long fingers and I ended up telling her..has this happened to anyone else?

#599620 - 06/29/07 04:40 AM Re: Hand Span
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
Hei SallyF !

I am a girl and I have tiny hands, I can reach C - Eb with my left hand and Bb - C with my right, but I have gained flexibility from practicing.

Be careful, though.

I use to look at peoples hands all the time, and when I see people with strong hands and long fingers who does not bother to play the piano, I find it hard to understand.

There must be other things to piano-playing than just finger size.... ;\)

Trying to play the piano:

#599621 - 06/29/07 06:55 AM Re: Hand Span
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
Originally posted by argerichfan:

From what I have read about Liszt (just covering the 10ths at the close of the slow movement of Beethoven's Opus 106 without breaking), he certainly wouldn't have managed those 10ths in La Campanella either.
Really? From what I have read, Liszt didn't have SUPER big hands, but he had practically no webbing, meaning that he could stretch a lot further than normal, some say even a 12th...

Anyway, I'm fifteen and can play an 12th at a stretch or an 11th with no hassles, but the most I ever use is about a 10th, so the extra finger length basically only aids in getting my fingers in the way of each other!

#599622 - 06/29/07 07:05 AM Re: Hand Span
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
Oh, and while I mention it, is anybody else cursed with having tiny pinkies? For most people, their pinky reaches up to the last crease (looking at the palm side) on their 4th finger, whereas my pinkies only come to halfway between the 2nd and 3rd creases on my 4th finger.

It's annoying because it means that I have to play all my stretches (ie, 11ths and 12ths) with my thumb and 4th finger.

Does anyone else experience this?

#599623 - 06/29/07 08:49 AM Re: Hand Span
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1277
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Rachmaninoff had HUGE hands. I have been told that Askenazy can only span an octave. Doesn't seem to matter, if they get the job done. I can reach a tenth comfortably. I have piano playing friends with larger and smaller hands. We all do the best with the "hand" we've been dealt. Generally the repertoire is sized to an average hand. After all, the composers actually DID want their compositions played. I had a girlfriend in college that was 4'10" and could barely span an octave, that played wonderfully. I have taught students the A major polonaise that could "just" reach the octaves, and they played it wonderfully. My teacher in college (Abbey Simon) once imparted that "what you do at the piano is all a question of desire, if you really desire to do it you will find a way". Just because I can span a tenth does not mean that I wouldn't swap hands with Askenazy!
John Pels

#599624 - 06/29/07 08:05 PM Re: Hand Span
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
I do rach 2 with solid chords... so i guess some 10th some 11th
some 11ths are smaller than some 10ths..

#599625 - 06/29/07 09:39 PM Re: Hand Span
bukopaudan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 506
Loc: USA
My hands stretch to an octave and 1. (9th)

It gives me trouble sometimes...
"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein

#599626 - 06/29/07 09:46 PM Re: Hand Span
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1278
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Just noticed now, I can do from C do Fis in the next octave.

#599627 - 06/30/07 03:59 PM Re: Hand Span
IpsoPhatso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 97
I can do C to E with ease, C to F with a little stress. C to F# with pain. :p

#599628 - 06/30/07 09:02 PM Re: Hand Span
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Originally posted by John Pels:
...Just because I can span a tenth does not mean that I wouldn't swap hands with Askenazy!
John Pels [/b]
Then you'd have small hands, and the same brain.

At a garden party, Godowsky and Hofmann were standing together, and a woman came up. "Why what small hands you have Dr. Godowsky. And you, too, Dr. Hofmann!" Godowsky responded, "Whatever made you think, madam, that we play the piano with our hands?"
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

#599629 - 07/01/07 05:14 PM Re: Hand Span
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
palindrome, that's a funny story ;\)
so many pianists have been successful with small hands... personally, I think it may even be an ADVANTAGE in certain repertoire, eg. much of the Classical era. However, in 19th and 20th century rep, having a big span rules.
My girlfriend has tiny hands... and although her playing is wonderful, it seems like I can always hear her the things she does to make up for her small hands.... breaking chords which should be solid, doing weird fingerings, etc... and ultimately, the music suffers.
Sometimes MY fingers feel too big for certain pieces...

#599630 - 11/13/07 07:03 PM Re: Hand Span
Anders39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 188
Loc: Norway
I can reach 10ths. Somehow my left hand can stretch a little bit longer than my right hand.
"Silence is music too"

#599631 - 11/14/07 01:14 AM Re: Hand Span
ZPomeroy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 529
Loc: australia
11th for me, pretty good seings i'm 15 and still growing
"I don't think I handle the notes much differently from other pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, there is where the artistry lies" - Artur Schnabel

#599632 - 11/15/07 11:52 PM Re: Hand Span
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
Chuang C. Chang's Method book has some stretching excercises and techniques for big stretches that look pretty promising...

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