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From the first page of the sheet music for "Graceful Ghost" (preview available from Sheet Music Plus), you can see that in the third measure (the first chord the right hand plays after the repeat starts), the notes are C, Db, C. How on earth is this supposed to be played? Am I supposed to mash both C and Db with my thumb? Am I supposed to roll the chord somehow? Is it a misprint? Am I misreading it?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Thumb on C, second finger on Db, fifth finger on C. You need a wide hand for that, and the ability to stretch almost an octave from the 2nd to 5th finger. Playing both notes with the thumb seems awkward because of the way the thumb has to bend for it. If you can't reach all 3 notes, try it leaving out one of the notes and see which two notes sound best.

This piece requires careful fingering. Spend time on it to find the fingering that works for you, particularly in the third strain. There aren't any misprints; all those crazy chords are for real.

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1  
ugh, I can make the chord that way stretched to capacity but I doubt I could hit it in the middle of a sequence. bolcom is a jerk. –  DelvarWorld Nov 19 '12 at 3:12
4  
@DelvarWorld Dropping the bottom C would be the most appropriate compromise if you can't reach it. –  NReilingh Nov 19 '12 at 3:48

That chord (and passage) pops up 6 times in this piece. I've got small hands and can still reach second finger on Db and fifth finger on C (both far up the keys, near the fallboard) with the thumb on the near edge of the key; this fingering also sets up the next chord, with the second finger remaining in place. I've listened to several recordings (including Bolcom's) and either the C or the Db often get left out, but it seems to sound best if both are there and slightly rolled. In any case, I wouldn't make a big deal about it -- it's a very transitory chord and only another piano player is going to notice.

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