The Woman in White - You See I Am No Ghost

How is it remotely possible to reach A5 (under lyric "share") whilst at the same time playing F4 and A4 (under lyric "one")?

I can just about (unreliably) stretch ten notes but there surely isn't the slightest chance of doing so with 2 on A4?

The music's from the official piano arrangement (selections from) an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical (The Woman in White - You See I Am No Ghost) however and is otherwise very good so I just wanted to check there isn't some trick I am missing, especially as I am an entirely self taught pianist and have no teacher to ask.


Since the semibreves are from the harmony in that bar - as are most of the notes in the whole bar - it's feasible to hold them on using the sustain pedal. The same could be for the l.h., as that's a stretch for a lot of players. Pedal marks aren't always given, it's often left to the player's discretion.

  • 1
    Do you mean "sustain", or "sostenuto"? Jan 19 '18 at 23:19
  • @ivan_pozdeev sustain, definitely. Jan 20 '18 at 8:38
  • 1
    @ivan_pozdeev - I actually thought sustain, although sostenuto pedal would do a tidier job. Not every piano is blessed with one, though.
    – Tim
    Jan 20 '18 at 8:50
  • For some reason, internet communities are obsessed with the sostenuto pedal. In reality it's rarely used, it's not the right sound. In this case, it's impossible to grab the whole notes in the first bar without also grabbing the D on top.
    – MattPutnam
    Jan 20 '18 at 13:08
  • At what point would you depress the pedal?
    – PJTraill
    Jan 25 '18 at 20:59

I do believe that Tim is correct in that the intent is for the pianist to simply use the sustain pedal and not actually hold down the notes.

However, in direct answer to the question "remotely possible for anyone", I can definitely say "yes". I can play it with my right hand with some difficulty. I have to play on the very tips of the keys, take a weird angle, and it's quite difficult to avoid hitting the G as well as the A. In order to get it 100% of the time, I had to slightly depress the G on the way, but I figure that counts (since it doesn't make a noise.) It's much harder to keep good rhythm and such, but I imagine that would smooth out if I took the time to actually practice it.

Alternatively, I can play it with my left hand quite cleanly while my right hand takes the bass clef. This is the route most people would need to use in order to play the notes as written.

RH: right hand picture

LH: (please ignore the text on the back of my hand - it's my to-do list) left hand picture

As to what exactly is required for this... my hands both roughly have a "wingspan" of 9.5 inches.

left hand next to ruler


Of course, you could use the sustain pedal. I think you cannot really play D-E-F-G without it. I just tried, and I can play D-E-F-G above when I use the "wrong" fingering (3-5), but that is not comfortable while playing fast, and I still cannot reach the A.

Second, I could make some rhythmical pattern with the 1 & 2 fingers, like holding F4 & A4 together while playing D5-E5-F5, then lifting up on the F4 & A4 and giving a short pause, followed by pressing down F4 & A4 again when playing A5. But that's already kind of arranging :D

  • Welcome to Music.SE! I've tried to make an edit that might improve the clarity of your answer. I replaced the "1/2" and "1/8" with hopefully clearer references to the other notes. Please check my edit to see if I've preserved your original intention.
    – jdjazz
    Jan 19 '18 at 23:18

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