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Pianomania – Love, Perfection and a Little Bit of Madness

“The tone isn’t breathing.“ – complains pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, distraught. This is a typical sentence in Steinway & Sons’ chief technician and Master Tuner Stefan Knüpfer’s normal work day. The film Pianomania takes the viewer along on a humorous journey into the secret world of sounds, and accompanies Stefan Knüpfer at his unusual job with world famous pianists like Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder, Till Fellner and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, among others. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Repertoire for small hands  (Read 2603 times)
dbmusic
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« on: April 01, 2011, 04:09:11 AM »

This topic came up at our music teachers' network meeting......concerning repertoire for intermediate/advanced students who have small hands ie they can barely reach an octave. Would be interested in ideas from other teachers who have works they have used that 'hit the spot' for these students!
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cygnusdei
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 05:48:59 AM »

I'm no teacher, but I think pieces with lean texture (e.g. 2-part polyphony) should work.

What comes to mind:
Bach Duets BWV 802-805
Chopin Etude Op. 25 no. 2
Mozart Sonata in C, K. 330 (1st mvmt)
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emilye
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 09:02:08 AM »

You can play many works by Chopin.
Etudes: e.g. op. 25/11, op.25/12
Ballades: 4 in f-minor and 1 ... I think that no. 3 too
Scherzo no. 1 and no. 3 (if you can barely reach an octave it will be good work for you)
Nocturnes: op. 27/2

Bach: II Partita

Mozart: Sonata in c-minor KV 457

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Now playing:
Prokofiev - Sonate in d-minor op. 14
Bach/Busoni - Chaccone in d-minor
Bach - II Partita in c-minor
F. Chopin - Barcarole in F sharp major, Op. 60
                Ballade in f-minor


Recommended Book: “Sviatoslav Richter – Pianist”

Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) is widely recognized as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. In this translation of the first full-scale biography of Richter, Danish composer Karl Aage Rasmussen combines his artistic appreciation of Richter’s career with a sympathetic telling of the pianist’s life based on family archives and interviews with people who worked and lived with him. Read more >>

thinkgreenlovepiano
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 05:56:20 PM »

I'm not a teacher either... I'm making this post as a student. I'm going to list a few pieces that I've played that didn't require too much stretching and were quite comfortable for me. I can only reach an octave...

So it may not have hit the spot for all my teacher's students, I don't know, but it did for me 
Bach French Suite No. 2
a lot of Mendelssohn... (:
Nocturne in c sharp minor op. posth.
Mozart Sonata K282, first movement



 
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liszt1022
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 04:40:14 AM »

By "barely reach an octave," are you implying octaves are the maximum reach and are fair game? Or are you looking for works without octaves, except maybe on the last note?
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fleetfingers
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 05:20:27 AM »

I am getting stuck on the "hit the spot" part of your question. Do you mean you are looking for pieces that won't require the playing of too many octaves, so it'll be more comfortable and easy for someone with small hands? Or, do you mean you are looking for pieces that will be a challenge and will strengthen the octave technique of someone with small hands?
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pianisten1989
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 07:28:24 AM »

The students can play most of Bach, Mozart, Haydn...

Here's a long shot: Chopin etude op 25/1
It might not work, but it also just might... It has got some stretch, but it will give the student a very soft hand if they can manage it. Though, don't try to teach them if they get pain in their arms and hands, but just try it for a while?
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dbmusic
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 09:19:45 PM »

Thanks for the input eveyone. With reference to 'barely able to reach an octave' I used that term in a general sense to imply 'small hands'. for students with small hands often stretches between fingers are restricted and so some chord configurations difficult. Obviously they will be given repertoire/technical exercises to extend and build on what they can comfortably reach but in recital and exam situations in their current musical journey they need pieces which will fit reasonably well under their fingers - 'hit the spot'! Sometimes there may be only one or two chords/sections which cause difficulty and these can be adjusted without interfering too much with the integrity of the music. It's better to have a piece that is challenging the student but not causing frustration because some parts are simply 'out of reach' - pardon the pun.
Keep the ideas coming Smiley
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bkaldridge
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2011, 12:29:07 AM »

I have this problem myself (and I'm an adult).  I can reach just over an octave - barely.  I'd appreciate any additional suggestions. 
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phillip21
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 11:06:41 PM »

For anyone prepared to consider more unusual repertoire, Joachim Raff's Op.75 is a 'Suite de Morceaux pour petites mains' (Suite of Pieces for small hands) which are uncompromising technically save the modest stretches required.  I have some but not all of them, and they seem to be dedicated to female pupils.  One of his once-most-popular pieces, 'Fabliau' is from that set.
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