Not much of Liebesträume No. 3 is easy per se, but these specific jumps starting just after the modulation to E major are really stymying me. In these spots, the right hand jumps up by more than a full octave, and the left hand jumps down by more than a full octave. You only have an eighth note's worth of timing to get into position. I can consistently land either jump if I'm looking at it, but if I'm not looking at it sometimes I'm off by a whole step (which sounds awful), and due to the tight timing and the wide span, it's infeasible to look at both hands at once.

Here is the score in question, with red highlights over the places that I find most difficult, and yellow highlights over "honorable mentions" that have an extra eighth note or so of preceding rest in the right hand, allowing me to quickly look right before looking left:

Excerpt of the score to Liszt Liebesträume No. 3, with highlights as described above.

score source: IMSLP #169695, Costallat 1917

Or, for a video performance, here's Khatia Buniatishvili:

I've tried to "just get good" at the jumps, and I've gotten better, but I've been practicing this piece off and on for a year and I'm still not near a consistency that I'm satisfied with. What kind of techniques can I use to land these jumps more precisely?

1 Answer 1


The technique I find most effective:

  1. Place your hands/fingertips gently on the chord at the beginning of the leap. (In cases where an arpeggio precedes the leap, treat the arpeggio as a block chord.)
  2. Now play the chord with an energetic staccato such that you "leap" off the key bed.
  3. Your arms now move in a smooth, slow parabolic arc to the destination note group (chord or blocked arpeggio). There should be no bumps, dips, or corners in the movement — just a smooth arc from the start position to the end position.
  4. Float down onto the destination keys and come to rest on the surface of the keys without playing them. The landing should be made cleanly, without any adjustments to the finger or hand position.

When this process is done smoothly and precisely in a single gesture, I find it greatly improves accuracy even at speed.

This is also described in How to Practice Torrent Etude (Chopin, Op. 10 no. 4) measure 2.

  • 1
    I've been trying to incorporate this advice and feeling like it might be helping somewhat (even if my results are still far from perfect). Thanks for your suggestions.
    – wchargin
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 0:05

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