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My left hand is too far down to help, so I can't use it. How would I play it?

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    Does this answer your question? What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?
    – PiedPiper
    Jul 26, 2023 at 18:17
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    @PiedPiper Hm—the proposed duplicate assumes that the "impossibility" is caused by notes that all start simultaneously. It never mentions what I would assume is the easiest answer here, "who says your left hand has to stay down there; just use the pedal for a second." Jul 26, 2023 at 18:58
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    @AndyBonner That's a great point. I'll add that to the proposed duplicate later today, so everything is in one place.
    – Aaron
    Jul 26, 2023 at 19:29
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    @AndyBonner or play the C an octave higher, or who says you have to use only your hands?
    – phoog
    Jul 27, 2023 at 8:09
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    @user207421 that's not what the dot usually means -- it usually applies to the whole chord to which it is applied -- and it it not the usual way of showing that, which would be to write the middle C as a grace note.
    – phoog
    Jul 30, 2023 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


I would play the C an octave higher. Yes, you can use the pedal or even just play the low D staccato to free your left hand to help, but it's still a big and awkward leap. At a fast tempo it will be very difficult to execute correctly.

Raising the C by an octave is no crime in music of this style. On top of this, the composer or arranger should have made some provision for players who can't span a tenth, and the fact that there is no such provision means that most players will have to make some compromise or other. The most natural such compromise is to revoice the chord in the right hand.

If you find the change in the chord's sonority to be excessive then your only other options are to release the bass D (with or without the pedal) or to use your nose.


Some pianists could stretch this. If you can't, cheat. Either leave out the C or include it in the chord an octave higher.

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