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Topic: G minor ballade octaves with small hands  (Read 1227 times)

Offline judiciary

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G minor ballade octaves with small hands
on: August 16, 2022, 09:10:23 PM
I have been tinkering with the Chopin G minor ballade for the past year on and off. One of the things that prevents me from feeling fully comfortable with it is the eighth note RH octave scales in the middle of the piece. I have really small hands, can just barely reach a ninth at edge of keys, and fast octaves have always been hard for me (I played a harpsichord early this year and I was pissed off to discover how easy octaves were on a smaller keyboard...)

I'm working from Cortot's edition (screenshot attached), the 1-3 and 1-4 octaves that he suggests feel super duper tense in my hand. Right now I'm trying to do 1-4 on black keys and 1-5 on white keys, but it's still not the most comfortable. 1-5 for everything feels relaxed but I am doubtful about whether I can do that accurately at speed, with the 1-4/1-5 combo I can do it at full speed but it worries me bc I feel my hand stiffening at the end of the run. I am really not in favor of "powering through" on something that's uncomfortable, I don't want to injure myself. But I haven't figured this out after a lot of experimentation.

Anyone have ideas for things I could try?
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Offline lelle

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Re: G minor ballade octaves with small hands
Reply #1 on: August 21, 2022, 12:05:35 AM
I have seen people with small hands do those octaves well with 1-5 all the way. If you feel relaxed doing that fingering it might be the way to go. It's possible that you won't play the passage as fast as someone who can use 3-4-5 but hey, what can you do? I think you can make a valid and moving interpretation of the piece without Horowitz octaves. I'm personally a fan of those people who are trying to promote the sale of instruments with more narrow keyboards just because of this type of thing.

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