I am one in a long line of presumptuous amateurs who makes music that they themselves cannot play, so I must ask around to know whether my music is what you might call "reasonable" to be performed. I am fine with it being hard to play, but it should not be physically impossible, impossible for anyone below the level of Volodos, or unusually awkward for the hands which the music does not justify.
- To further specify "reasonable": imagine if you will a hypothetical pianist who is at the level where they, with practice, could perform average Frans Liszt pieces to a level of quality and musicality that's perhaps not good enough for a disc but good for a grainy YouTube video, and satisfies them. I hold no expectations that any such pianist will ever just show up and play what I made, but allowing this hypothetical figure to effectively perform it is what I wish to accomplish to be personally satisfied with my arrangement.
My specific query is about arpeggiated chords. How broad can I make them, and still allow a performer to make it sound as a single chord?
The piece in question is part of a piano arrangement of Shostakovich's 7th symphony. Here's the section of music as the computer plays it, so you can judge the tempo for yourself. And here's a plain image of the relevant passage. Tempo is ♩ = 120.
When making my arrangements I tend to use other pieces as reference for physical limitations. Here, arpeggiated chords of this width might be found in Liszt's Heroischer Marsch S.231.
An obvious difference is that those chords are used only at the starts of measures, so they may be stretched out for effect. That's less possible in my score, where they are repeated twice per measure. The overall tempo can be slowed down, as it's an expressive section where rubato is very welcome, but the broad chords - which evolve from much smaller and non-arpeggiated chords - should continue sounding like "one whole", rather than an ascending set of notes. That gradual widening of the chords is also why I haven't already removed or moved up the bottom notes by an octave - the downwards line over the course of these measures is one that I wish to preserve, if I can.
So the question is: does this music seem reasonable? And if not, what is about the width where I should start considering removing or replacing notes so that the overall chord is more manageable? What are some general guidelines here?