I can't reach!

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I'm 19 and I've been playing the piano for a little over 11 years. I've been getting a lot of music lately that has SEVERAL 10th stretches with notes in the middle as well. Herein lies the problem: I can BARELY reach a 9th. I've been told that it is possible for people with smaller hands to be able to reach these distances, I just don't know how they do it. I would appreciate any suggestions.


-- Andrew (superfriend2k@yahoo.com), June 05, 2001


I don't know who told you that it's possible for people with hands the size of yours to reach 10ths, but trying to stretch that far may injure your hand, so I don't advise trying it. My hands are the same size as yours. What my piano teacher taught me to do was to quickly roll the chords. You can also invert the chords (change the notes around) to fit your hands. If you're playing a pop tune or a hymn or something that doesn't call for an "authentic" performance (you know how some people wig out if you change classical music scores in any way, ROLLEYES), sometimes you can take blocked 10ths & play them as broken (arpeggiated) 10ths.

Whatever you do, DON'T risk injury by doing any type of stretching exercises.

Hope this helps.

-- Music Educator (noname_poster@yahoo.com), June 05, 2001.

Perhaps the question of stretches and other matters concerning the technical limits of the human machine might be best left as a topic for Piano Practice Tips. :-)


-- Mark Barry (noname_poster@yahoo.com), June 05, 2001.

Further to what Music Educator said, the Russian pianist Annette Essipov supposedly couldn't stretch an octave, but she broke them so expertly that she was able to play Liszt's 6th Hungarian Rhapsody, the second part of which goes on and on in octaves, brilliantly.

-- Alan (No_Name@yahoo.com), June 06, 2001.

Well, LOL, I guess Alan has told us how some pianists are able to reach greater distances! Wanna go break your fingers? I don't! I think I'll just be happy with the way God made me & find repertoire pieces that fit my hand span the way it is now (WINK).

-- Music Educator (noname_poster@yahoo.com), June 06, 2001.

She broke her octaves, not her fingers. Ha, ha.

-- Alan (NoName@yahoo.com), June 06, 2001.

Okay, you got me there. It's just that these days you read & hear about people doing crazy things just to be noticed. It wouldn't surprise me if someone decided to break their fingers if they thought it would lengthen them. Crazier things have been done. (WINK)

-- Music Educator (noname_poster@yahoo.com), June 07, 2001.

Simply transfer the top note to the right hand, and play the other two notes with the left hand( with the same fingering as if you had to strecth the 10th )

-- Donnie Robinson (Dystord2@lycos.com), May 07, 2003.

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