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How do you play the D sharp and the G (F double sharp) with your left hand at the same time? Thats just not possible if you dont have a big hand right?

(I am not sure why the picture is tilted at a weird angle)

  • 2
    It's "only" a tenth, and made easier because the D sharp is a black key with two white keys next to it, so there is nothing to get in the way of your pinky finger. If your hand is too small, just break (roll) the chord. Liszt often assumes the performer can reach a 10th. If your hands are too small, best to choose another composer! – user19146 Jul 1 '18 at 11:40
  • If you've never encountered a wide interval before, you're not ready to play this piece. – MattPutnam Jul 1 '18 at 20:50
  • @MattPutnam I usually even see professional pianists who cant play this HARMONIC interval, so they roll the chord. This piece requires a good technique, not just a big hand. – Stallmp Jul 1 '18 at 20:55
  • Well, I don't consider I have "really big" hands, but that 10th is no problem. But there are several things that might be wrong with your technique that make it "impossible" even if your hands are big enough. Looking at the videos you posted in your question about Chopin Op 10 no 11 music.stackexchange.com/questions/67142/…, there's probably nothing that 6 or 12 months work with a good teacher wouldn't fix IMO... (your hand position is completely wrong for any sort of advanced playing, for a start!) – user19146 Jul 1 '18 at 22:02
  • @alephzero Can you play the D# and G at the same time (harmonically), I have no problems with playing huge intervals melodically – Stallmp Jul 2 '18 at 5:33

We can't see what you are doing when you try to play this, so it's a guess, but the videos you posted in this question looks as if your hand position is completely wrong there, so it's probably wrong here as well.

You need to get your hand higher so your fingers and aiming down onto the keys, not aiming sideways or at the end of the keys. Possibly your sitting position is too low (by several inches) for the keyboard you are playing, and you are sitting at the wrong distance away the keyboard as well.

Also, you want to make the distance between the notes as small as possible. If your pinky is positioned properly on top of the D sharp (not trying to reach in from the side) then the "shortest straight line" to the F double sharp means your thumb should be playing the note right next to the black keys, or even slightly in between the F sharp and G sharp keys - but not so far in between that the black keys are getting in the way, of course.

Three bars after the chord you posted, it occurs again with an extra C sharp (i.e. three notes of D#7) and to keep the same hand position, you want to play that note with either 2 or 3, right at the back of the C sharp key.

If that seems very unnatural, you really need to back off from trying to play pieces like this until you have got your hand positions right in very simple music. There are plenty of youtube videos showing piano hand position. Even better, get a teacher to help sort out the basics of your technique.

One of the big problems of self-taught players is that you can "sort of" play simple music with just about any hand position, however terrible it is, and by the time it matters that you are doing it right, doing it wrong has become a deep-rooted habit. If you want to progress, you have to break that habit somehow.

An easy way to get your hand in the right position is to start by practicing a B major scale. With your 2 3 4 fingers on the black notes, your thumb and pinky will naturally want to be on top of the white notes. If you start with C major, it's all to easy to have your hand too low and all your fingers poking forwards towards the extreme end of the white keys, not sitting on top of the keys and moving down.

  • Thank you very much for your advice, but one thing though. The issue here is that my hand is simply not big enough to play the D sharp and F double sharp at the same time, so I have to roll the chord right? – Stallmp Jul 2 '18 at 10:27
  • And also, I have been taught that your arm should be just a bit higher than the keyboard. Is this true? – Stallmp Jul 2 '18 at 10:36
  • "So I have to roll the chord right" - Right, you can't do anything else, but if your hand position is like the Chopin videos, you won't be able to roll it fast. "Your arm should be just a bit higher than the keyboard" - Well, it depends what you call "just a bit". I reckon the underside of my wrist in normal playing is about 2 inches higher than the keys, and my arm is level or slopes slightly down from elbow to wrist. Basically, you want everything, from your shoulders downwards, to have room to move around freely, not be "cramped up" and tense. – user19146 Jul 2 '18 at 14:01

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