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Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with? (Read 1511 times)

Offline virtuoso80

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Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
« on: January 14, 2019, 07:31:15 AM »
I was recently lamenting that my fingers could not be just a bit longer, thus facilitating significantly greater ease with certain pieces. Although I suppose I can't complain about having especially small hands, I also can't help but realize that another few millimeters would be a major coup. So, I was curious to see what kind of hands everyone else here was working with (especially curious if I have larger palms and shorter fingers than many).

I can span some 10ths, can just barely stretch out those intro chords in Rach 2, but with discomfort. A quick measure gives right around 9in span, with my palm about 3.75in wide, with middle finger about 4 1/8in tip to knuckle measured on the back of the hand.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 02:07:32 PM »
Without measuring (as I'm not that interested in knowing the exact measurements of my hands), but I can just reach a 10th with both hands, better with my left than my right hand, but I struggle with both.

So far it hasn't stopped me from learning parts of Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto, but some of those chunky chord passages are a pain in the arse for someone with small hands.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 03:18:57 PM »
10th are no problems even though I'm slightly on the edge of the keys, done it for so many years like that it just feels normal. You can always very quickly roll large chords that you can't reach, most people don't even notice it if you get fast enough. There are also reduced sized keyboards you can put into pianos though I don't like them personally.

Much worse is if your fingers cannot fit inbetween black keys.
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Offline outin

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 05:44:27 PM »
Sigh...I would only need about 1 cm to be able to play proper RH OCTAVES. But it's do damn hard to grow your hands in adulthood...The problem is mainly caused by the shape of my thumbs, I cannot straighten it from the upper joint.My left is just a little bit better so octaves are not a problem there.

I have a very slim hand and while my fingers are long in proportion, some more width in the palm would certainly make  playing easier. In fact shorter fingers would sometimes be easier to handle, I often end up clashing with the fallboard.

Offline ted

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #4 on: January 14, 2019, 08:38:07 PM »
Not especially large or remarkable, but capable of easy tenths except Db,Ab,Eb,Bb major, which are uncomfortable. My fingers are much closer to equal length than those of most people I know. I don't know if this is an advantage or not.

"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline virtuoso80

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 01:14:12 AM »
I found this diagram: http://www-static.weddingbee.com/pics/278470/finger-length-variations.jpg    I'm right on the lower left corner of the red box, suggesting that I indeed have short fingers for my palm size. Thought others might be curious to see where they are as well.

Offline outin

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 06:11:34 AM »
x=1,09
Y=0,86
Still barely in the red area. Of course one should add the overall size to the variation when considering piano playing.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 12:11:07 AM »
I was recently lamenting that my fingers could not be just a bit longer, thus facilitating significantly greater ease with certain pieces. Although I suppose I can't complain about having especially small hands, I also can't help but realize that another few millimeters would be a major coup. So, I was curious to see what kind of hands everyone else here was working with (especially curious if I have larger palms and shorter fingers than many).

I can span some 10ths, can just barely stretch out those intro chords in Rach 2, but with discomfort. A quick measure gives right around 9in span, with my palm about 3.75in wide, with middle finger about 4 1/8in tip to knuckle measured on the back of the hand.

My Post on this OP was deleted, and this has not been the first time.

Accordingly, if you remember, my YouTube video has something of importance regarding "Arpeggiation," as it relates to the so-called "Small Hand."




Offline keypeg

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #8 on: January 19, 2019, 05:02:29 PM »
Finger length and palm width are not the only things to determine one's span. The diagram shows a hand that isn't stretched out that much.  I have a smaller (female) hand with fingers that are not that long.   But my thumb to pinky can form close to a 180 degree straight line so I can span a 10th at a "stretch" (couldn't resist pun).  But I'd only need that for playing solid chords in one hand, or intervals large than an octave.

Offline maxim3

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #9 on: January 21, 2019, 07:11:38 PM »
This topic makes me angry at The Way Things Are.

I started and quit piano several times during my life. Once I quit because I couldn't do most 10ths.

Listen to, and read transcriptions of some of the great jazz pianists like Art Tatum, Fats Waller, etc. They do all LH tenths, unbroken, with ease.

I think the sound of 10ths is so fabulous that EVERYONE should be able to do them, unbroken, IN BOTH HANDS. That means piano manufacturers, both acoustic and digital, should make *AFFORDABLE* *AFFORDABLE* keyboards in a RANGE OF F***ING SIZES!!!!! Why isn't this the case in 2019??? FOR F***'S SAKE!!!!

Offline dogperson

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #10 on: January 21, 2019, 08:54:00 PM »
This topic makes me angry at The Way Things Are.

I started and quit piano several times during my life. Once I quit because I couldn't do most 10ths.

Listen to, and read transcriptions of some of the great jazz pianists like Art Tatum, Fats Waller, etc. They do all LH tenths, unbroken, with ease.

I think the sound of 10ths is so fabulous that EVERYONE should be able to do them, unbroken, IN BOTH HANDS. That means piano manufacturers, both acoustic and digital, should make *AFFORDABLE* *AFFORDABLE* keyboards in a RANGE OF F***ING SIZES!!!!! Why isn't this the case in 2019??? FOR F***'S SAKE!!!!


Why are smaller span keyboards not made more affordable?  It is like anything else, there needs to be a large enough market to reduce the cost per unit.  You surely donít expect these to be sold under cost.

I do not have large hands, but I would not consider buying one of the reduced keyboards.  Why not? I donít just play at home but also take lessons and play some publically.  I would need to be able to substitute the keyboard each time I played in a different environment.  Not practical for me.  So far, Iíve been able to find a way to make any score that I want to play work for me: re-distribution, arpegination etc.  want inspiration? Watch videos of Alicia de Larrocha. Smaller hands did not slow her down.

I canít imagine quitting over this as there is such wonderful music... regardless of the hand span... but then, we are all different. 

Offline ted

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #11 on: January 21, 2019, 09:40:56 PM »
Although I can play most tenths in Waller I mostly choose not to because I find the rhythmic effect of broken tenths superior to that of straight ones. What you do is play either the top or bottom note with the last note of the previous swing triplet and the other end of the tenth on the beat. It is much closer to a jump than to a roll as hanging onto notes defeats the benefit. Once you get used to it you can displace one or both notes slightly from the metre, producing an intriguing rhythmic counterpoint which is most pleasing. Some of the best Waller interpreters have small hands, for example Stephanie Trick. But then, as dogperson says,we are all different. I ceased thinking about what I cannot do decades ago (thereís too much of it !) and began concentrating on what I can do. A very simple example of what I mean is here:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=45054.0
"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #12 on: January 22, 2019, 12:16:32 AM »
This topic makes me angry at The Way Things Are.

I started and quit piano several times during my life. Once I quit because I couldn't do most 10ths.

Listen to, and read transcriptions of some of the great jazz pianists like Art Tatum, Fats Waller, etc. They do all LH tenths, unbroken, with ease.

I think the sound of 10ths is so fabulous that EVERYONE should be able to do them, unbroken, IN BOTH HANDS. That means piano manufacturers, both acoustic and digital, should make *AFFORDABLE* *AFFORDABLE* keyboards in a RANGE OF F***ING SIZES!!!!! Why isn't this the case in 2019??? FOR F***'S SAKE!!!!
They (Steinway Piano Factory) did!  You need to check your facts before you metaphorically "Masturbate," accordingly.  His name, as every one knows, was Josef Hoffman.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #13 on: January 22, 2019, 12:31:56 AM »
They (Steinway Piano Factory) did!  You need to check your facts before you metaphorically "Masturbate," accordingly.  His name, as every one knows, was Josef Hoffman.

You should check your reading comphrension.  The question was AFFORDABLE, and affordable was mentioned several times.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #14 on: January 22, 2019, 01:22:02 AM »
Anyone interested in affordable, readily available keyboards in reduced sizes should look at this organizationís website, as they are collecting signatures on a petition for piano manufacturers

https://paskpiano.org/index.html

Offline maxim3

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #15 on: January 22, 2019, 01:38:47 AM »
Louis: I knew about Hoffmann and his custom piano. But suppose I walk into Steinway's and say, "Hey there! I'm maxim3 from the pianostreet forum! Could you just whip me up a piano with a smaller keyboard? Thanks!" -- they'll have me escorted from the building.

So would Roland, Yamaha, etc.

dogperson good website, pask -- but I'm not optimistic. Even the goddamned DIGITAL keyboard makers have been ignoring this extremely reasonable request for many years now. Does anyone in the world take petitions seriously?

Offline outin

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #16 on: January 22, 2019, 04:18:38 AM »


Why are smaller span keyboards not made more affordable?  It is like anything else, there needs to be a large enough market to reduce the cost per unit.  You surely donít expect these to be sold under cost.

I do not have large hands, but I would not consider buying one of the reduced keyboards.  Why not? I donít just play at home but also take lessons and play some publically.  I would need to be able to substitute the keyboard each time I played in a different environment.  Not practical for me.  So far, Iíve been able to find a way to make any score that I want to play work for me: re-distribution, arpegination etc.  want inspiration? Watch videos of Alicia de Larrocha. Smaller hands did not slow her down.

I canít imagine quitting over this as there is such wonderful music... regardless of the hand span... but then, we are all different.

First of all, several pianists say there is no problem adjusting between reduced and normal keyboards. Having one can lessen the strain on ones hands when practicing though.

It is common to refer to Alicia in this context, but I think it is quite misleading. To have one pianist conquer her limitations is little compared to the amount of people who got injured or quit due to problems with hand size. An amateur should not have to struggle for everything just because the instrument is designed for an average male hand.

However you are right: As long as there's not enough demand things will not change. And as long as the myth about hand size not being a real issue survives, there won't be. I wonder when they realize that digitals could be the solution...

My own playing transformed in weeks when I found an older grand with just slightly smaller keys and light action. And the improvements fully transfer to other pianos as well...

Offline dogperson

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #17 on: January 22, 2019, 08:39:03 AM »
I donít understand how switching between reduced size and regular keyboards is not problematic:

If you need to rearrange notes in order to play on a regular- sized keyboard, this is not an automated process but a conscious one that takes learning the changes you have consciously made.  So, if you Learn the music on a reduced size keyboard where you do not need to go through the steps of analysis and learning, when  you switch to a full-size keyboard to play the same music you do not have those changes learned. So how do you adjust that quickly to make changes to the music to accommodate the larger key size?

I can see that if you are able to play the music on a full-size keyboard, it. would not be a difficult transition to a smaller one. I donít think it works the other way if the music requires adaptation to play on the larger one.  That takes planning.

Offline outin

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #18 on: January 22, 2019, 12:53:51 PM »
I donít understand how switching between reduced size and regular keyboards is not problematic:

If you need to rearrange notes in order to play on a regular- sized keyboard, this is not an automated process but a conscious one that takes learning the changes you have consciously made.  So, if you Learn the music on a reduced size keyboard where you do not need to go through the steps of analysis and learning, when  you switch to a full-size keyboard to play the same music you do not have those changes learned. So how do you adjust that quickly to make changes to the music to accommodate the larger key size?

I can see that if you are able to play the music on a full-size keyboard, it. would not be a difficult transition to a smaller one. I donít think it works the other way if the music requires adaptation to play on the larger one.  That takes planning.

Well, experience seems to suggest that people adjust between different keyboards rather well, even if it may be counter intuitive at first thought. There are different sizes in other instruments as well and children gradually move to larger ones. They don't have to go back to beginning.

Yes, if one has only learned a work on a reduced size keyboard, some repertoire will require being reworked, but this should not be a major problem, if it's only a few sections that one simply cannot reach, as it usually is. It is a much bigger problem if one is always working with an overstreched hand when practicing.

I personally have little trouble adjusting to pianos that are much harder to play than mine. I play with my head as much as my hands so the hands soon adjust.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #19 on: January 24, 2019, 12:22:22 AM »
Numero Uno:

I, a the age of 67, still play on the same "Exquisite" Baldwin Baby Grand (that I have of photographs of me playing on) when I was three years of age.

2)  It was originally tuned and regulated by the same Tuner/Technician who did the same for Jorge Bolet, when he resided in his native Cuba.

3)  It was next tuned by a Non-Sighted Steinway trained Tuner/Technician who actually inspected Horowitz" actual piano, and not the one they put on Tour.

4)  Now, this piano is tuned by an 81 year old man who coincidentally was tested by the original Tuner.

Offline maxim3

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #20 on: January 24, 2019, 03:58:27 AM »
Wake up Louis, you're drifting seriously off the topic here. We're talking about hand sizes and difficulties in stretching and all that.

But it doesn't matter; I think we've covered everything. Since you're around, I just want to thank you for bringing that fantastic book After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance, by Kenneth Hamilton, to my attention. It should be required reading for anyone with the remotest interest in 'classical' piano. I suspect that it is beginning to be influential.

If you want to give more of your thoughts concerning this amazing book, perhaps you could start another thread.

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #21 on: February 03, 2019, 01:00:48 AM »
Me, I just play the hands I was dealt. ;D

Not too bad actually, since I can play most tenths comfortably.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline nastassja

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #22 on: February 03, 2019, 08:53:59 AM »
I have rather small hands (probably smaller than Alicia's). I can reach an octave and, with maximum stretching, (180 degrees) I can reach a ninth, but I can't say it is comfortable. Still, it never prevented me from playing what I wanted. I even learned a couple of Rachmaninov's pieces.
I find that some piano models suit my hands better than others (Kawai K15+Shigeru, Steinway D...), and that it takes a little bit more time to adjust to pianos that have slightly higher black keys, for example. I once tried a 3/4 piano and it would sure help reach tenths without the need to arpeggiate them, but so far there I would get very little benefit from buying such a piano (adapting to regular-sized pianos afterwards would be harder, and I do not "suffer" from having small hands so far). I do think that for people with a smaller hand span who cannot play without strain, it could be a good idea.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #23 on: February 20, 2019, 06:10:37 PM »
I was recently lamenting that my fingers could not be just a bit longer, thus facilitating significantly greater ease with certain pieces. Although I suppose I can't complain about having especially small hands, I also can't help but realize that another few millimeters would be a major coup. So, I was curious to see what kind of hands everyone else here was working with (especially curious if I have larger palms and shorter fingers than many).

I can span some 10ths, can just barely stretch out those intro chords in Rach 2, but with discomfort. A quick measure gives right around 9in span, with my palm about 3.75in wide, with middle finger about 4 1/8in tip to knuckle measured on the back of the hand.
The Taubman/Golandsky "Technique School" is based on the Morphology/Kinesiology of the Human Hand.  This, (which they have never acknowledged) came from the late 19th and early 20th Century writings of Tobias Matthay, who wrote extensively about tactile "Key Depression" and also "Forearm Rotation."

In terms of so-called ""Small Hands," they spend an immense amount of time talking about the difference between stretching and their "Walking Hand."

Additionally, Malvine Bree (20 year Teaching Assistant to Theodore Leschetizky,) wrote extensively on the said technique of Rolling Chords/Arpeggiation in her 1905 Book, for which Leschetizky penned the Introduction.  This was in addition to her instruction on what is now referred to as the "Breaking of the Hands," which is was the very common practice of playing of the left hand slightly ahead of the Soprano melody in order to accentuate a particular melodic line.

So, when Alfred Cortot refers to the "Small Hand," in his published detailed commentary on the Brahms Paganini Variations, I guess one should consider this as part of a legitimate "Pedagogical Discourse."  This, is in addition to his Youtube recordings of the Chopin A Flat Major Ballade.

Therefore (in my opinion), two and two is four.

Specific to this Post, when one  matriculated at the Piano Forte  in the 19th Century (and later the Hammerklaver) most of those engaging in instruction at the Piano were so-called "Aristocratic Females."  And, most of them were under 5 feet in height and had very small hands (Cortot reference).

Most importantly, they had Composer/Pianist teachers (especially Frydrik Chopin), as well as other notable teachers like Clara Schumann, Brahms, and many others.

Therefore, (once again) my Thesis' Predicate is not exclusive to the so-called Male or Female "Small Hand,"

That is: (according to Cortot, Earl Wild, Josef Hoffman, et al)

1)  "NO ONE" learned and/or performed any piece of music strictly according to the score. They did so based on an "redistribution of Chord Fingerings (stated in Earl Wild's Memoir), as well as additional arpeggiation, when required, per the Hand Morphology of the individual Pianist..

2)  This included the Centuries Old practice of spreading/arpeggiating/rolling a chord as an expressive performance practice, which was accepted universally Pre- the Keyboard playing of J.S. Bach.


Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #24 on: February 21, 2019, 07:56:02 AM »
Louis... your video post was deleted previously, and with GOOD REASON!!!

Remember this?!?

My Post on this OP was deleted, and this has not been the first time.

Stop finding ways to hijack other peoples threads so you can gain a few youtube views. You have posted this video in approximately 30 peoples threads.

It's getting disturbingly WEIRD!!!

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Curious, what sort of hands is everyone working with?
«Reply #25 on: February 25, 2019, 12:07:39 AM »
1)  The OP on this particular Thread stated in no uncertain terms that this Pianist cannot play the Notes of certain scores based on the Morphology of this Pianist's Hand.

2)  According to the Predicate associated with my Video, the answer to this interrogatory plainly states  the following "Fact":  Every Major Pianist/Composer of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th Centuries played and taught their students as stated in my truncated Youtube Video.

3)  As for a somewhat detailed explanation, I refer everyone to my response to Charles Blanchard's response to said Video.

4)  For those teachers with students with so-called "Small Hands," please contact me by PM, if you have further interest.