Can't reach! Suggestions welcome -PROBLEM SOLVED!

Posted by: casinitaly

Can't reach! Suggestions welcome -PROBLEM SOLVED! - 11/15/12 09:55 AM

As I've got a bit of problem with my pinky, I am having trouble stretching to reach the top G and F while maintaining a legato from the 2 note-combo before them.Any suggestions on how to manage thsi would be most welcome!
Thanks




Posted by: Allard

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 09:58 AM

Would it be completely out there to think this would be easily played with the left hand?
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 10:04 AM

Well, given that I have to play a sting of eight notes with the left hand, I think it might be just a little tricky to jump up and play that quarter note smile
Posted by: supertorpe

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 10:50 AM

For a moment, forget the 2nd note of the combo: are you able to reach 1 octave with your thumb + pinky?
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 11:16 AM

Cheryl, to maintain the sound of legato, all you have to do is leave ONE note down. Not both. So let go of the thumb.

Edit: Or the forefinger. I can reach this easily so whatever works for you...
Posted by: MaryBee

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 11:18 AM

How about this? If you can playing legato between the two outer notes, maybe don't worry about legato on the inner one. Try letting your 2nd finger off the middle note earlier so you can stretch to reach the top note with your pinkie, while still holding the low note.

Edit: I see jazzwee suggested almost the same thing. But for me, I think it would be easier to do an octave stretch between fingers 1 and 5, rather than a 6th between fingers 2 and 5.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 11:20 AM

Hi, cas -

This is a time immemorial problem for me. When I first ran into it in a Joplin piece I ended up leaving out the bottom note of the octave, on the sense that the "harmony" provided by the "inside" note was more important from a listening standpoint. I still play the Joplin that way.

That being said, 5 years later my hand is a little more flexible and I can sometimes do this in a slower piece.

I have also found that the position of my hand relative to the keyboard helps a lot - my pinky is short, so the "stretch" isn't always the problem. I can angle my hand slightly to reach. But when I do that I try also to move my arm/forearm/wrist so that they stay lined up, and to make sure I keep as much "ease" in my body as possible, rather than the tenseness of stretching.

And then there's using the pedal effectively until your hand becomes more flexible, and some day your hand will, in fact, become flexible enough to do this..

But then, I'm glad I don't play classical and I have much more flexibility in how I approach things laugh

Cathy
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 11:34 AM

Try lifting your thumb off of the lowest note, and rocking / pivoting on your index finger, keeping that note down with your index finger, and rotating your hand to the right to play the high note, as Jazzwee described in his first example.

You can practice a version of this rotation motion by holding out your hand at arms length and twisting your hand left and right, as if you were turning a shower knob left and right. This is easy to demonstrate in person, don't know if it works by describing it.

A lot of people try to play these things by holding their hand flat and stretching, but that does not always work.

ps...how is the Blues going for you?
Posted by: timmyab

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 12:38 PM

As the notes are slurred I don't see any reason why you shouldn't hold them together with the pedal.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 01:00 PM

Originally Posted By: supertorpe
For a moment, forget the 2nd note of the combo: are you able to reach 1 octave with your thumb + pinky?

I might add, can you play an octave chord: C-E-G-C? This is critical information to solving your issue.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 01:01 PM

Originally Posted By: timmyab
As the notes are slurred I don't see any reason why you shouldn't hold them together with the pedal.


You can for that jump, but, technically, that would blend all the notes, including the bass, and thus change the sound into a blurry sound, whereas as written the slurs simply mean legato between distinct non-pedaled notes.

Posted by: Brian Lucas

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 01:08 PM

Originally Posted By: timmyab
As the notes are slurred I don't see any reason why you shouldn't hold them together with the pedal.
That was my thought. Since the notes are all part of the same chord structure, and none of the first beat notes are marked staccato, you could use the pedal to smooth the transition and then release it on the second beat to play the staccato (which gives you time to hop back down). If you don't want any of the notes to sound pedalled, you could wait until you strike the C to put the pedal down. Then, none of the notes would sound like they were held by the pedal. Not sure how fast this is, but that is an option.

If you're close to hitting all the notes, stretching will work too, just not immediately.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 01:25 PM

Wow, what a lot of replies! Thanks!
I was out for lessons (teaching not receiving!) and came home to so many ideas.

In order of your questions:
supertrope: are you able to reach 1 octave with your thumb + pinky?

YES

Jazzwee: all you have to do is leave ONE note down. Not both.
Ok, well that helps a lot right there!!!

MaryBee: I think it will be easier for me to stretch the octave too rather than from the Bflat to the G.

Cathy/Jotur I think angling my hand is going to have to happen... I'm going to have to work at this. It is nice to know that you've been working at managing this and having some success! This piece is Beethoven, and so quite structured!

Rocket88 - I see what you are getting at with the pivoting, thanks.
I haven't been doing much on the blues as I've been getting to know my new teacher and focusing on some foundation techniques that I need before moving on. We've been reviewing older pieces and looking at where I had troubles and have been ironing things out. I've seen a great change in my playing in the last month, so I feel it has been worth delaying the blues for a bit. I hope to plunge in soon!!!

"Timmytab: As the notes are slurred I don't see any reason why you shouldn't hold them together with the pedal.".... The problem is that the piece is actually very fast and the pedal isn't used.

Derulux: Can you play the 4 note C-E-G-C? This is critical information to solving your issue.
No, I can't.

Brian Lucas: you could use the pedal to smooth the transition and then release it on the second beat to play the staccato (which gives you time to hop back down). If you don't want any of the notes to sound pedalled, you could wait until you strike the C to put the pedal down. Then, none of the notes would sound like they were held by the pedal. Not sure how fast this is, but that is an option.

Well the target speed is quite fast, so I I realy think that pedalling will not be an option!

Thank you everyone very much. I'll work on the suggestions and let you know how I manage!
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly

In order of your questions:
supertrope: are you able to reach 1 octave with your thumb + pinky?

YES

Jazzwee: all you have to do is leave ONE note down. Not both.
Ok, well that helps a lot right there!!!

Derulux: Can you play the 4 note C-E-G-C? This is critical information to solving your issue.
No, I can't.

Ah, okay. So your hand size is in that very narrow gap where you can play an octave, but not a chord. That leaves you with two choices. Try Jazzwee's suggestion first. I have a feeling if your hand is too small to play the chord, the issue is the 2-5 distance, not the 1-5 distance. So, try holding down the octave. Not ideal, but manageable.

If that doesn't work, your only other option is the pedal. You don't need to press it down all the way.. just lightly lift the dampers so you get a sense of legato between the leap, then release. It will minimize muddled sound, while helping achieve what it is you want to achieve.

Hope this was helpful! smile
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 02:00 PM

Derelux, you are right, it is the 2-5 combo that I can't manage. Your advice is very clear - and indeed helpful! Thanks again
C
Posted by: outo

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/15/12 04:27 PM

I do encounter impossible legato streches quite often. And sometimes the pedal would ruin the sound because of what's going on the other hand. My teacher adviced me that even when it's not possible to achieve physical legato, you can still fake a legato effect by the way you play the notes in succession. So I practice that...
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/16/12 03:40 AM

Thanks outo -- sorry you have the same trouble, but glad you're working on a solution!
I think there is a lot of practice for this piece in my future!
I will focus on the long term benefits of mastering this problem.
It may be that in a year or so with improved technique my stretch will be better too. We shall see!
Posted by: MaryBee

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/16/12 10:06 AM

Originally Posted By: outo
I do encounter impossible legato streches quite often. And sometimes the pedal would ruin the sound because of what's going on the other hand. My teacher adviced me that even when it's not possible to achieve physical legato, you can still fake a legato effect by the way you play the notes in succession. So I practice that...
Yes, I've recently run into this where I have to play a sequence of octave intervals legato. For example, G-G, A-A, B-B, etc., playing each pair with fingers 1 and 5. The best I can do is just hold down the keys as long as possible and then make a very quick jump to the next pair.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/25/12 04:08 AM

I had my lesson this week and got some tips from my teacher!

He showed me that I can actually play these notes....(barely, but I can)... and that the issue is that I need to be more flexible about hand positions.
I have to learn to rotate my hand, to slide up and down the key and find the right position - in other words, I have to experiment.

He showed me a little exercise to do to work my way up to the octave position and that I didn't have to have my N2 finger right on top of the second key, but that I could just touch the very very tip of it.

It still isn't very comfortable, but it is a lot better and I've made a little bit of progress in being able to do it.
Posted by: JimF

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/25/12 08:08 AM

Glad to hear you found a solution C.

You also may find that, over time, just playing in these new positions at the edge of your comfort zone will spread your fingers a bit, allowing you to make stretches you can't make today. I once felt octaves were a stretch, but now regularly play ninths and can almost get to a tenth. But I don't think you can rush it.....just takes some time playing pieces near your limits.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/25/12 10:52 AM

Hi Jim, thanks for the encouragement. I think you are very right....It can't be rushed, but it will probably become much much easier and I will be able to get an overall wider reach! ....Someday!
Posted by: EdwardianPiano

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/29/12 05:55 PM

I have small hands too Casinitaly- but I have noticed they stretch a bit more than they did a year ago. I can manage the C E G C. Your teacher sounds great!
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 11/29/12 09:58 PM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I had my lesson this week and got some tips from my teacher!

He showed me that I can actually play these notes....(barely, but I can)... and that the issue is that I need to be more flexible about hand positions.
I have to learn to rotate my hand, to slide up and down the key and find the right position - in other words, I have to experiment.

He showed me a little exercise to do to work my way up to the octave position and that I didn't have to have my N2 finger right on top of the second key, but that I could just touch the very very tip of it.

It still isn't very comfortable, but it is a lot better and I've made a little bit of progress in being able to do it.



You can also play the octave Gs with your left hand, so that your right hand can just play the top notes (B and high G).

Whatever you do, don't "stretch" your reach by inserting corks or something inbetween the fingers... that's horrific and I can just imagine the draping skin between the fingers that's stretched out from when the corks are taken out...
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/09/12 11:52 AM

Sorry, I saw the replies here, then I got busy and forgot to come back!
EdwardianPiano - I know I can do things now that I couldn't last year too, so ...it will come, I'm sure -and for the time being my teacher is great with helping me on the work-arounds.(and yes, he really is a fabulous teacher!)

Bluoh, I think you missed the first post where I showed the cut from the sheett music - the left hand is quite busy and I really can't manage doing anything else with it! smile

And believe me, I never for one instant considered doing any sort of "stretching" to force my hand!!!!
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/09/12 12:45 PM

I've got small hands too. You've been given some great suggestions here. I'll add one that has helped me quite a bit: don't hop to the high G. Keep your hand very low, almost touching the keys in between. This will give you more time.
Posted by: polyphasicpianist

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/09/12 05:04 PM

Schumann had one of these:



I'm not sure he'd recommend it though.

Posted by: personne

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/09/12 06:55 PM

-
Posted by: EdwardianPiano

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/09/12 08:02 PM

That contraption looks scary!
Cas-hope you are having good piano time!
Posted by: BenPiano

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/10/12 12:24 AM

Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Schumann had one of these:



I'm not sure he'd recommend it though.



I hope Schumann, like me, used this device to elongate his nunchucks. smokin
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Can't reach! Suggestions welcome - 12/10/12 01:30 AM

Gooddog, that's what my teacher is helping me with - staying low, positioning my finger just on the tip of the Bflat, pivoting (in other spots)....he's really helping me with the technical aspects of moving about in more challengine note combinations.

So basically the problem is resolved.. I'm gradually working into being able to do it!