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Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands) (Read 8103 times)

Offline danny elfboy

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Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
« on: February 09, 2008, 05:39:13 PM »
I was wondering how a child, student or piano concertist with small hands would tackle this piece where the problem is holding the melody note with the pinky while the other fingers spread to play intervals of thirds between them; all without tensing and becoming stiff.

I'd like to understand how one makes this piece easy and playable even without having bigger hands, what kind of practice or comprimises one must do. Generally I'd like to understand how one overcome small hands problems in pieces like this one.

piano sheet music of Impromptu


Offline amelialw

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #1 on: February 09, 2008, 06:31:48 PM »
I do not really know this piece, only have heard it.

The thing is that people with small hands can overcome many difficulties especially with excellent training from the right teacher. That is what my teacher believes and she has help me overcome many obstacles. Some reccomend stretching but it must be done correctly otherwise it could damage the individual's hands instead. The other option is to slowly introduce pieces/materials that have stretches, jumps, octaves etc. the teacher could start out by assigning pieces with only a few and gradually move on as the student gets more confident in that area.

For example, when I 1st started out with my present teacher, she assigned me pieces like chopin's nocturne in e minor that had minimal octaves and jumps, subsituted that with fast runs that I could plays to bring out my strengths. Gradually, she introduced me pieces with more octaves and wider jumps like Rachmaninoff's Preludes and now i'm learning Mendelssohn's Rondo Cappriccioso.

I assure you, having small hands is not an issue. Rather having the right teacher is.
J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu

Offline quantum

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #2 on: February 09, 2008, 09:46:59 PM »
Imagine your 5th finger is glued to the key, your other fingers and wrist are free to wiggle.  Flexibility and suppleness is important.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline dan101

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #3 on: February 09, 2008, 11:57:07 PM »
The sustain pedal will help with those upper notes, along with occasional half pedals. Of course, having the option of holding the note is nice, but not an absolute necessity. Gorgeous piece, isn't it?
Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #4 on: February 10, 2008, 12:33:16 PM »
The sustain pedal will help with those upper notes, along with occasional half pedals. Of course, having the option of holding the note is nice, but not an absolute necessity. Gorgeous piece, isn't it?

How can you use the sustain pedal to sustain the upper note?
I mean you're supposed to first play the upper note and then raise and depress the pedal
If you raise and depress the pedal before the melody note is played then there's an annoying stop in the melody at the end of each phrase. But since one must first play the melody note and then raise and lower the pedal, the melody note doesn't get sustained just the triplets.

Offline counterpoint

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #5 on: February 10, 2008, 12:49:18 PM »
If you raise and depress the pedal before the melody note is played then there's an annoying stop in the melody at the end of each phrase. But since one must first play the melody note and then raise and lower the pedal, the melody note doesn't get sustained just the triplets.

I can't believe you don't know how to use the pedal in this piece...?  ::)

It's the same case as in the Moonlight Sonata.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #6 on: February 10, 2008, 01:15:07 PM »
I can't believe you don't know how to use the pedal in this piece...?  ::)

I have just followed the pedal markings on the sheet
As you can see in old post and thread of mine, I suck with the pedal and it is a very negleted area of my training (to those posts dozen replied the pedal was the negleted area of their training too  :()

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #7 on: February 10, 2008, 01:36:56 PM »
I do not really know this piece, only have heard it.

Here is the piece: (absolutely legal, public domain license)

Schubert Impromptu.pdf

Feedbacks are welcomes but I'd love to see a video of you while you play this piece (or other pieces generally troublesome for small hands)

Offline amelialw

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #8 on: February 11, 2008, 12:35:06 AM »
alright, I will sometime take a video of my playing when i'm ready. Not of the schubert impromptu but of one of my pieces that has octaves, large jumps etc. If I can't I will at least make a recording but I'll have to warn you that it will be sometime before I do it.
J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu

Offline danny elfboy

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #9 on: February 11, 2008, 12:44:51 AM »
alright, I will sometime take a video of my playing when i'm ready. Not of the schubert impromptu but of one of my pieces that has octaves, large jumps etc. If I can't I will at least make a recording but I'll have to warn you that it will be sometime before I do it.

The schubert though has a special challenge, so different from jumps and octaves where the problem is the span (so that it is often claimed that as long as the piece doesn't have intervals larger than the octave there are no problems, and that if you can play at least an octave you can play 95% of the piano literature).

The impromptu never exceed the octave. The problem is the span between each finger. For example between finger 5 and 4. Where you hold E with the 5 finger and play the B below it with your 4. In the impromptu the 5 finger holds the melody note and the other fingers play, hence the problem is the amount of note you can take between thumb and index, between index and middle finger, between index and fourth finger and so on.

This is still more of a challenge for small hands than bigger ones and I have seen this on Cramer studies, Scriabin but even Mozart and Bach too. And while I have heard solutions and strategies about large intervals and jumps ... I have never heard ones about this kind of "between fingers span" problem (which is not just a problem with more modern and virtuoso literature but even with classical and baroque one; where there are no intervals larger than the octave)

Thanks for the video, look forward to it.

Offline quantum

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #10 on: February 11, 2008, 08:48:54 PM »
Here is a the basic idea of using the pedal

Held note + arpeggios + Held pedal within same harmony ], play new melody note, only after playing and holding new melody note quickly lift up and down the pedal, continue with arpeggios and release melody note if necessary while holding down pedal, repeat as necessary.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline rhpatten

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 04:40:33 PM »
Hello there,
How are you getting on, a year later?  YOu did not give your age:  are you likely to be still growing or are you a matured adult?

I don't believe your problem is lack of finger length.  I think it may be that your muscles and tendons are [or were, a year ago,] not yet used to the 'feel' of the chords.   

TO get your hands used to feel of the basic chords, you should be practicing arpeggios up and down the keyboard.   I have a formula which I use which enables me to play every 1-3-5 arpeggio in every key, major and minor, in root position and 1st and second inversions, without getting too boring.   After a lifetime of ignoring exercises last year I went to a new teacher who immediately got me going on scales and arpeggios. Dramatic improvements followed quickly!

You know that this piece was originally published in G major, with Schubert's agreement, even though he wrote it in G-flat major?  I was given it to learn in G-major when a child; and it was years before I discovered that it was "supposed" to be in the 6-flats key!   You may find G-major chords a little easier to cover? 

But if you hands are really physically too short for this particular piece then you should move on to something different.  In the meantime learn, say, Mozart's sonata in Bb K333.  There is hardly a single octave in it.   Or the slow movement of Beethoven Pathetique, if you haven't already found it, which is not dissimilar to the schubert, but with smaller-compass chords.

Offline nyquist

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #12 on: January 26, 2009, 10:30:42 PM »
I was wondering how a child, student or piano concertist with small hands would tackle this piece where the problem is holding the melody note with the pinky while the other fingers spread to play intervals of thirds between them; all without tensing and becoming stiff.

Holding the top note is an invitation to injury.  I have relatively large hands (I easily span a tenth).  I do not attempt to hold the note.  You simply do not have too.  This should be a standard application of the pedal.  At the beginning of each new harmony quickly release and reapply the pedal.  By releasing you muffle the previous harmony.  The release of the pedal is in synchrony with depressing the key of the first note of the new harmony which in this piece always corresponds to the top note.

This is Pedal 101.  Even I know this.  Do you have a teacher?

nyquist

Offline kelly_kelly

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #13 on: January 26, 2009, 10:45:07 PM »
I have relatively small hands (I can reliably reach an octave, grabbing the occasional ninth) and I've played this piece. I don't think it's possible or necessary to hold the top note.
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Offline imbetter

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 01:23:57 AM »
its both possible and necessary.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline nyquist

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 03:01:58 AM »
its both possible and necessary.

Does holding the top note, assuming you are using the pedal, make any difference in how it sounds?

nyquist

Offline imbetter

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Re: Schubert Impromptu 90 n.3 (for small hands)
«Reply #16 on: January 27, 2009, 01:08:24 PM »
Does holding the top note, assuming you are using the pedal, make any difference in how it sounds?

nyquist

it doesn't affect the sound itself but if you hold it yourself it allows you to play the singing melody more legato and give it more of a singing effect. The middle voice is just an accompaniment and you don't need to focus too much attention to it.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman