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Should our profession move away from advocating one wide 6.5 inch ovtave? (Read 807 times)

Offline jasper14

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Is it time for the  piano pedagogy and performance community to get with the times by embracing two narrower D.S key widths for smaller hands. Other instruments already come in different sizes. It's frustrating that the pedagogy community continues to push piano lessons for very young children, yet it still advocates traditional adult male-sized keys.

 To make piano playing and piano lessons more appealing to the masses, perhaps the establishment and the manufacturers should consider becoming more accommodating into the 2020s and beyond Ö








Offline dogperson

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Of course, it would be great if smaller keyboards were available for smaller hands,  but I donít see how the implementation would easily work as the pianist canít carry their smaller instrument with them to lessons and performances like a violinist can. 
The argument always seems to be made that  if you have a smaller scale piano at home that you can adapt to a larger sized one in other environments. I am not a believer in this  because if you have smaller hands, you learn to adapt the score by rolling chords, redistributing or omitting notes.  What if you no longer need  to work out this process at home because you have a smaller size keyboard and then  you are confronted with a standard size in another environment? You havenít taken the mental  time to work out how you will handle  the adaptation that is needed.

If the teacher uses acoustic pianos, wouldnít they need to pay for and have room for multiple instruments? Would a concert hall and conservatory be willing to purchase multiple sized pianos?

I doubt this can be easily managed unless the movement first begins with digital pianos that are portable. 

BTW: I noticed that all of your posts here are regarding smaller-sized keyboards. Do you have any non-disclosed financial interest?




Offline keypeg

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BTW: I noticed that all of your posts here are regarding smaller-sized keyboards. Do you have any non-disclosed financial interest?
That is why I didn't respond to the post when I saw it this morning.  Every single post is on the same idea.  In fact, why couldn't this simply be added to the old thread?  And I wondered the same thing.

Offline keypeg

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Responding.

Is it time for the  piano pedagogy and performance community to get with the times by embracing two narrower D.S key widths for smaller hands. Other instruments already come in different sizes.

First:  "get with the times", and "already" - implies that other instruments have started to be made in different sizes recently like a new and enlightened trend.  First point; the piano is not an instrument you carry with you.  You go to the piano if you perform anywhere (as dogperson said).  If all pianos are a standard size, then you don't have to adjust to new dimensions.  A lot of practising is with proprioception: knowing where things are vis-a-vis yourself in space.  You don't want to mess with that.

Secondly.  Size has to do with the instrument and nature of the instrument.  I have three recorders: descant, alto, tenor.  They are different sizes.  I played the same instruments, of the same size, when I was 5 and when I was 50.  If you make them smaller, the pitch changes. It is probably the same for all wind instruments.  I also imagine if you had a "child sized harp", it would be higher pitched, because the strings would be shorter.

Violin sizes do vary according to size. This is not a modern new thing. It has always been so.  It is not because of the size of the hand, but the arm.  It sits on the collarbone, and you stretch your arm out - if the end at the scroll that you play in first position is beyond your arm's reach, then you literally cannot reach the strings.   If your arm is too straight, you also can't play properly. The piano is not attached to you - you can move your body left, right, forward, back.  It's a different instrument.  Literally.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Is it time for the  piano pedagogy and performance community to get with the times by embracing two narrower D.S key widths for smaller hands.

You mean even though the piano has basically been in the form it has been for 170 years and people have been taught from the age of 3, for the last 170 years on it???

Other instruments already come in different sizes. It's frustrating that the pedagogy community continues to push piano lessons for very young children

I believe Keypeg already made a great argument for this:

Violin sizes do vary according to size. This is not a modern new thing. It has always been so.  It is not because of the size of the hand, but the arm.  It sits on the collarbone, and you stretch your arm out - if the end at the scroll that you play in first position is beyond your arm's reach, then you literally cannot reach the strings.   If your arm is too straight, you also can't play properly. The piano is not attached to you - you can move your body left, right, forward, back.  It's a different instrument.  Literally.

yet it still advocates traditional adult male-sized keys.

SEXIST!!!

To make piano playing and piano lessons more appealing to the masses, perhaps the establishment and the manufacturers should consider becoming more accommodating into the 2020s and beyond Ö

See point before about how people have been learning on the piano over the last 150 years blah, blah, blah.

You rant on about this EVERY couple of months. I'm also very sure your last post that looked exactly like this GOT DELETED!!!

Let it rest - the industry is fine, no one needs smaller keys - GET OVER IT!!!

In fact, lets send a message - anyone who sees this - vote the OP's videos with a thumbs down. I swear the amount of insanity that goes on is frustrating. 432Hz music good for the soul and all the what-not.

Offline timothy42b

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The piano keyboard is a compromise that fits the average hand.

Smaller hands struggle to reach, and larger hands don't fit well in some contexts.  There are no free lunches here - it's a compromise, but if you make it larger or smaller you cause opposite problems.

In the world of digital, the answer is already here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicki%E2%80%93Hayden_note_layout



And here's a weird one, similar to accordion in some ways:



Tim

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Should our profession move away from here's a way to test
«Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 01:04:52 PM »
I found one that works on Android (Kindle, etc)

http://www.tuningbell.com/isokeys

Or if you're an iPad/Apple fan:

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/musix-pro-midi-controller/id585857087

Tim

Offline perfect_pitch

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Seriously - why hasn't the OP's post been deleted... and his account? He only comes hear to spread his propaganda.

Offline j_tour

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Seriously - why hasn't the OP's post been deleted... and his account? He only comes hear to spread his propaganda.

But it's child-friendly.

Clearly the OP thinks of the children. 

A lot.

Man and child are not to be separated when it comes to such an intimate pedagogical relationship as teaching music.

It's a simple principle I like to call for short B, T, K

Bind children to the music by using oral singing as well as instrumental proficiency.
Torture them not with adult-sized hand tools.  Be gentle!
Kill them with kindness by offering smaller tools with which to practice.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline timothy42b

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On one hand, hardly any children ever go on to play piano seriously or develop even competent skill, let alone virtuosity, so why don't we give them an instrument that fits them and lets them enjoy the experience?  I can see that argument.

On the other hand, children get stuck in five finger positions for a long time, sometimes years! and probably won't struggle with octaves and tenths any time soon.  So is it really that frustrating? 

I'm thinking that maybe the niche for a small keyboard is neither the beginner nor the expert, but the occasional advanced intermediate with unusually small hands. 
Tim

Offline dogperson

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On one hand, hardly any children ever go on to play piano seriously or develop even competent skill, let alone virtuosity, so why don't we give them an instrument that fits them and lets them enjoy the experience?  I can see that argument.

On the other hand, children get stuck in five finger positions for a long time, sometimes years! and probably won't struggle with octaves and tenths any time soon.  So is it really that frustrating? 

I'm thinking that maybe the niche for a small keyboard is neither the beginner nor the expert, but the occasional advanced intermediate with unusually small hands.


... but the occasional pianist with small hands canít be taking lessons or be performing in public... as the likelihood of the teacher and the venue also having a re-sized keyboard is small. 

Offline perfect_pitch

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On one hand, hardly any children ever go on to play piano seriously or develop even competent skill, let alone virtuosity, so why don't we give them an instrument that fits them and lets them enjoy the experience?  I can see that argument.

On the other hand, children get stuck in five finger positions for a long time, sometimes years! and probably won't struggle with octaves and tenths any time soon.  So is it really that frustrating? 

I'm thinking that maybe the niche for a small keyboard is neither the beginner nor the expert, but the occasional advanced intermediate with unusually small hands.

a) Think of the bell curve - there are few geniuses at piano but they will go on to develop virtuosity at the hands of a standard sized keyboard; everyone else progresses at different rates - but as someone who teaches full time at a school (both Primary and Secondary students), I foster those that want to take it seriously and help those who just play for enjoyment. They've been doing so on our instrument for at least the last 150 years without any major changes.

b) That depends on the books you use to teach them. While I do start on the Bastien books, eventually they get to do moving hands and finger stretching, well before they start AMEB exams. Of course kids will struggle with octaves and tenths, HELL; even I struggle with 10ths and I'm a grown male adult. I work around it and accept that the standard size piano accommodates most people rather well. There's nothing I can't play despite my small hand size... and I'm currently learning the Rach 3.

c) Define unusually small hands??? I'd again claim that there's no need. I knew a 5 foot tall Russian woman with tiny hands but she could play the Chopin Ballade's with no problem. She was quite flexible with her fingers.

Offline keypeg

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On the other hand, children get stuck in five finger positions for a long time, sometimes years! and probably won't struggle with octaves and tenths any time soon.  So is it really that frustrating? 
I have heard of some poorish sounding systems doing that.  My own teacher has students go past that within weeks.  It also puts to question the notion of "position".

My first instrument was one of the first "keyboards" made, and it was child-size.  I rather regret that start.

Offline timothy42b

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And then there's this:

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/piano/lefthand-piano-christopher-seed/

It takes him almost four minutes of talking before he gets to playing but I found it interesting. 

If you wanted to try what he does, digital is the way to go. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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And then there's this:

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/piano/lefthand-piano-christopher-seed/

It takes him almost four minutes of talking before he gets to playing but I found it interesting. 

If you wanted to try what he does, digital is the way to go.

That's quite interesting.  I'm left handed, by the way.  I've time stamped this (from your link) so that it starts in the right place.  Comments below.



The whole thing is mirror image, and the piano is set up in mirror image.  Thus, if you try to follow the hands, when the left hand moves to the left, it moves to higher notes - when it moves to the right, it moves to lower notes.  The left side of the piano is treble, the right is bass.

All kinds of questions pop up, like reading, for example.  I have a mild version of what often causes "dyslexia" (inability to read / difficulty in reading) where you mix up shapes like b p d q, up versus down, left verses right, as in the stereotype of "god vs. dog" looking the same.  I was told once that people with this problem are often good at reading things that are upside down.  I can do that with facility.  The person who told me this, can't do so at all.  It is this very facility which can create the god / dog problem.  You'd need that same facility to be able to follow what's happening, and to switch pianos.

OT to this but related:

Many years ago when newspapers were typeset, there was an apology in the local newspaper for a typo about a performance, where it had been said they had created a "new punos".  The "punos" was the word "sound", put in upside down.  Knowing what it's intended to be, when I see the word, my mind turns it into "sound" so that I see the intended word.  By the same token, I might miss that it is "spelled backward" (i.e. upside down) since this turning around is instant.

Being left handed, I have considered the implications as an amateur musician/learner more than once.  It is more extreme for violin, since the "acting arm" doing the big motions and creating expression is the right.  The one that merely fingers the notes, and sort of holds things in place is the left.  If I hammer a nail, I hold the nail steady with my right, and hammer with the left.  When I write, I hold the paper steady with my right hand, and write with my left.  So my entire wiring is at odds.

On a recorder, however, the most frequently covered (played) holes are the ones on top, played with the left hand.  Is this a sign of music being right brained thinking?  ;)

Offline timothy42b

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On a recorder, however, the most frequently covered (played) holes are the ones on top, played with the left hand.  Is this a sign of music being right brained thinking?  ;)

I haven't seen anyone play recorder left handed (right hand on top) but historically it was not uncommon.  There are examples of recorders made with the bottom holes drilled both ways and one set plugged, so that you could choose which hand on top.  That may have had nothing to do with handedness, who knows?  Maybe it just took time to arrive at a consensus. 

I played trombone for a couple years left handed when I had a rotator cuff problem on the shoulder.  Things that were reflexive when done right handed required conscious thought left handed, and not just for muscle memory type things.  Key signatures that were ingrained when playing right handed suddenly were a mystery.  How many sharps in E major again? 

I have read that, when we test animals, only about 50% are strongly handed at all. Those are split 50-50 right and left.  But humans seem to be 90% strongly handed, and 90% of those are right handed.

Back to the piano player.  The sheet music was standard - flow of time is left to right, higher notes are higher on the staff though they are farther left on the keyboard.  So it's just the last step of execution that gets a different approach. 
Tim

Offline perfect_pitch

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Is this a sign of music being right brained thinking?  ;)

No... I think it's simply that 91% of people are right handed, therefore it's easier on a marketing sense to make the instruments for the 91% of people who will use it, and probably not worth making a second instrument that caters for left handed people who will only utilise 9% of the market.

Offline dogperson

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No... I think it's simply that 91% of people are right handed, therefore it's easier on a marketing sense to make the instruments for the 91% of people who will use it, and probably not worth making a second instrument that caters for left handed people who will only utilise 9% of the market.


Iím in the LH predominant group, but have no interest in a piano adaptation.

Offline timothy42b

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Iím in the LH predominant group, but have no interest in a piano adaptation.

In adapting an instrument, we should probably consider the degree of frustration present.

For you, there isn't much.  For some with very small hands, or very strongly left handed, there might be a lot.  It might be worth it to make what we call "reasonable accomodation" in the workplace.  Granted, that would make a later transition to the standard instrument difficult, but this population probably does not contain many of those who will achieve a high level of skill. 

Many years ago on a listserv, before forums existed, we had a long and sometimes heated conversation about whether to allow a left handed beginner to start on a trombone put together left handed.  (a simple straight tenor, without the added trigger, can be assembled either way)  The conversation included people with credentials - principals from major symphonies, jazzers, respected teachers.  Most felt it wasn't that hard for a leftie to play a right handed instrument - because for those few lefties in the crowd, it wasn't that hard - and it would save relearing the instrument when they eventually converted.  However for some it is EXTREMELY hard, frustrating enough they all give up.  (there is a theory that some left handers are intended that way genetically, others become that way due to some problem in the developmental process, and are likely to have some other anomalies and be more easily frustrated). 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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No... I think it's simply that 91% of people are right handed, therefore it's easier on a marketing sense to make the instruments for the 91% of people who will use it, and probably not worth making a second instrument that caters for left handed people who will only utilise 9% of the market.
You wrote that in response to my question whether the fingering of recorders, which favours the LEFT hand, might be a sign of "right brained thinking".  A right brained thinker is left handed.  You are explaining about instruments that favour left brained thinkers, so right handers.  ;)

Offline keypeg

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In adapting an instrument, we should probably consider the degree of frustration present.

For you, [addressing dogperson] there isn't much.  For some with very small hands, or very strongly left handed, there might be a lot.  It might be worth it to make what we call "reasonable accomodation" in the workplace.  Granted, that would make a later transition to the standard instrument difficult, but this population probably does not contain many of those who will achieve a high level of skill. 

I am extremely left handed.  I also have a smaller hand: female, 5' 7" tops.  Hand size and handedness being separate issues, but you mentioned both.

I considered this at some point maybe a year in to violin as an adult.  I already described how we hold the thing we're hammering or writing on with the non-dominant hand, and then hammer or write (move) with the dominant hand, so that an entire organization of the body has to reverse for a standard violin.  If you end up with a left handed violin, you could never have a stand partner in an orchestra or ensemble.  In fact, when I sit at dinner with others, there can be a clash of left arm bumping into right - you learn to choose where to sit.  This is a primary practical consideration.  Then: in lessons, with a teacher correcting and guiding you, most teachers would get confused, and it can be as confusing trying to follow a model if something is shown to you.

What does make sense is for teaching and learning to keep this in mind.  For violin, the left handed player should get more training in right hand dexterity, and earlier, with less emphasis on the left hand, for example.  I'd do exercises away from the piano where I make the right arm more active and leading.

For piano I'm thinking now of the small handed player - How well is technique taught?  You mentioned the ill conceived old fashioned "5 finger position" idea, which I hope isn't done much these days.  Chopin, already, was trying to change how piano playing was taught, and we still haven't caught on. Everything we  can learn about how to move the hands, wrists, arms, in 3 dimensional space, touch of pedal.  One of the few places where the small has a disadvantage are block chords, which you end up arpeggiating or dropping/replacing notes if you can't do the stretch. But in other instances, the problem is not the stretch but what solutions you have learned to do.

How much of any problem is approach / teaching / learning?

Online brogers70

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You wrote that in response to my question whether the fingering of recorders, which favours the LEFT hand, might be a sign of "right brained thinking".  A right brained thinker is left handed.  You are explaining about instruments that favour left brained thinkers, so right handers.  ;)

What is certainly true is that the motor cortex on the right side of the brain controls the left hand, and the motor cortex on the left side of the brain controls the right hand. More broad generalizations about right brain and left brain thinkers, to me anyway, seem to wander fairly far from actual data.

Offline keypeg

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What is certainly true is that the motor cortex on the right side of the brain controls the left hand, and the motor cortex on the left side of the brain controls the right hand. More broad generalizations about right brain and left brain thinkers, to me anyway, seem to wander fairly far from actual data.
Can you tell more?

Totally anecdotal: In high school I took an experimental creative writing class, a "level 6" that they invented (end of the 60's).  The only thing we did was show up, sit at our desks, and spend 40 minutes writing whatever we wanted.  Nothing was taught.  So it attracted a certain type of mentality.  One day there was a guest lecturer, a writer.  When he talked, he waved about with his left hand, and somehow after the lecture this left handedness came up.  The teacher asked, "How many of you are left handed?"  About 80% of us were.  This has always intrigued me.  How did a majority of left handers end up in this unusual kind of class, when the world is majority right handed?

Offline timothy42b

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What is certainly true is that the motor cortex on the right side of the brain controls the left hand, and the motor cortex on the left side of the brain controls the right hand. More broad generalizations about right brain and left brain thinkers, to me anyway, seem to wander fairly far from actual data.
I'm sure most of what we read is oversimplified.

What I've read is that for right handed people, the generalizations of what right and left brain do generally hold, but for left handed people there is much more overlap.

There are a couple of interesting recent articles about left handedness, one a study that found handedness is determined in utero by spinal development before the brain to spine connections are made.  There also is some progress in understanding the genetics. 

I am amazed when I see string players doing that rapid vibrato or even trills with left hand fingers.  It looks impossible to me. 

Tim

Offline keypeg

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I am amazed when I see string players doing that rapid vibrato or even trills with left hand fingers.  It looks impossible to me.
As the golfer (?) says, it's all in the wrist.  ;)  Seriously, vibrato is a kind of shaking you do of the hand and the finger is carried along, with the fingertip angle changing. That's why the German word is Bebung, like in earthquakes.

Offline ranjit

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Can you tell more?

Totally anecdotal: In high school I took an experimental creative writing class, a "level 6" that they invented (end of the 60's).  The only thing we did was show up, sit at our desks, and spend 40 minutes writing whatever we wanted.  Nothing was taught.  So it attracted a certain type of mentality.  One day there was a guest lecturer, a writer.  When he talked, he waved about with his left hand, and somehow after the lecture this left handedness came up.  The teacher asked, "How many of you are left handed?"  About 80% of us were.  This has always intrigued me.  How did a majority of left handers end up in this unusual kind of class, when the world is majority right handed?

That is very interesting. Unfortunately, I had a pretty rigid curriculum in school which didn't allow for such 'unusual' classes. It would have been a blast.

Based off of what I've read, the right-brain-left-brain concept is largely pseudoscience. The gist iirc -- It's true that certain areas of the brain responsible for literacy, numeracy, creativity, executive function, etc. are mostly localized to one hemisphere of the brain. BUT in a normal person, information passes through the corpus callosum (which joins the hemispheres) so rapidly that for pretty much any normal activity, regions throughout the brain are activated. There are some notable statistical differences between right-handed people and left-handed people though, but I don't know too much about the details. In my experience most of the "pop neurobiology" just averages out the functions of the brain in each hemisphere, and attributes those to right- and left-handers. That is definitely bullshit.

Out of curiosity, I checked out Wikipedia's article on handedness. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Handedness#/Correlation_with_other_factors

"In two studies, Diana Deutsch found that left-handers, particularly those with mixed hand preference, performed significantly better than right-handers in musical memory tasks.There are also handedness differences in perception of musical patterns. Left-handers as a group differ from right-handers, and are more heterogeneous than right-handers, in perception of certain stereo illusions, such as the octave illusion, the scale illusion, and the glissando illusion."

Pretty interesting. I'll probably check out what these stereo illusions mean as well.

Offline timothy42b

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Left handed baseball players average 5/8 inch shorter than right handers.

I wonder about piano players. 
Tim

Offline timothy42b

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Interesting article in ncbi:

Quote
The decline of motor performance of the human hand-arm system with age is well-documented. While dominant hand performance is superior to that of the non-dominant hand in young individuals, little is known of possible age-related changes in hand dominance. We investigated age-related alterations of hand dominance in 20 to 90 year old subjects. All subjects were unambiguously right-handed according to the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory. In Experiment 1, motor performance for aiming, postural tremor, precision of arm-hand movement, speed of arm-hand movement, and wrist-finger speed tasks were tested. In Experiment 2, accelerometer-sensors were used to obtain objective records of hand use in everyday activities.

Principal Findings
Our data confirm previous findings of a general task-dependent decline in motor performance with age. Analysis of the relationship between right/left-hand performances using a laterality index showed a loss of right hand dominance with advancing age. The clear right-hand advantage present at younger ages changed to a more balanced performance in advanced age. This shift was due to a more pronounced age-related decline of right hand performance. Accelerometer-sensor measurements supported these findings by demonstrating that the frequency of hand use also shifted from a clear right hand preference in young adults to a more balanced usage of both hands in old age. Despite these age-related changes in the relative level of performance in defined motor tasks and in the frequency of hand use, elderly subjects continued to rate themselves as unambiguous right-handers.

Conclusion
The discrepancy between hand-specific practical performance in controlled motor tests as well as under everyday conditions and the results of questionnaires concerning hand use and hand dominance suggests that most elderly subjects are unaware of the changes in hand dominance that occur over their lifespan, i.e., a shift to ambidexterity.
Tim